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How to track down the airgun spare parts you need

Jonathan Young offers a few tips for shooters who are having trouble trying to track down airgun spare parts to get it up and running again

We all know that sinking feeling when something inside an airgun goes pop. Just when you were getting going, something breaks. It is daunting to start stripping things down, but it may be the only way to get anything done if the gun is out of warranty. Hopefully it won’t be physical wear, but only part failure. All you then need to do is identify the part, then find a replacement. Job done! Well, no, not really as the last bit can be the most difficult part!

A parts diagram is invaluable, and some of these can be found online. Finding the original factory codes should then follow from there, and it’s vital to identify the right one. CO2 airgun seals, for example, are a favourite for the airgun gremlins to munch on, with many variations of O-rings or more intricate specially moulded poly seals. 

Each seal may look identical but will be different, with a unique and very specific code. While they appear similar, their overall diameter, internal circumference and thickness all count towards that perfect gas-tight seal, and the wrong part simply won’t do the job properly. 

If metal-on-metal wear is causing a larger issue, then component groups of parts and sub-assemblies may need to be examined. A slipping sear could mean a springer will discharge unexpectedly. This will be more to do with general wear than a breakage. However if your underlever airgun decides to slip when your fingers are in the way that’ll certainly count as breakage, but of a very unpleasant type.

So where can we start looking for airgun spares? Most gun shops will not have great stocks of spares, but it’s still good to ask, especially if the shop knows a gunsmith, but some may not keep spares at all. Manufacturers will be the next port of call. The reply back from a manufacturer’s office can frequently be that your gun model and the much-needed part have both been discontinued. Well, you probably knew that already, but again it’s still worth asking. 

A worker on the shop floor who is familiar with the maker’s older models and current line-up may have a better understanding, perhaps offering an alternative part that may be from a recent model. Shared screw threads, for example, means a rare, hard-to-find stock bolt could be replaced with the manufacturer’s modern alternative after a bit of a chop with a hacksaw and file. Who cares if the original had a dome head and the new one doesn’t if it gets the airgun back into safe, working order?

Here are a couple of examples of some extremely rare spares – a BSA/Williams .25 Stutzen rear sight with matching blade

When servicing some items in the collection many years ago, I needed some spares for a BSA springer, a 1990s Daystate PCP and a 2000s Brocock Enigma, and the parts were sent out directly by each of these three manufacturers, at a very reasonable cost too. If your gun is of foreign manufacture, the main contact here can be an importer or distributor, who by nature may have a non-retail policy. Ordering through a retail gun shop will then be the only route, but one who has an account with that importer to ease the ordering process. 

If the airgun part is rare then there may be no choice other than to ask an engineer to remake it. Smaller parts, especially rear sight bits, can be famously difficult to replace, some on a par with finding pure unobtainium. Reproduction parts have been made for sale for some of the scarcer designs. For general spares for older airguns, making use of existing used parts is now common, if only out of necessity, when the cost of fabrication in time and/or money is simply too much.

For these there are a number of routes. One less obvious resource are the various collector fairs, which on occasion can throw up unexpected spares. Finding exactly what you need, however, can mean asking around and waiting for a very long time. 

Another resource that has been of useful for spares sourcing is the online airgun community. Posting a wanted advert on a forum or chat group could turn up the needed part. Waiting for parts to turn up can, however, be very, very tedious. This is especially so if the project for repair is still sitting there, taking up space on the bench.

A lot of strip-down work was required to replace a tiny O-ring seal, so it’s important for several reasons to source the correct part

Specialist suppliers do exist, and these firms will operate a postal service for most items. All have online shops of some description, and a few of them also have a selling presence on eBay. With the vagaries of the internet there may be other spares suppliers out there working only online, so a frequent check for a given part number could reveal other sources. This more general online sourcing is of course the other option for airgun parts. 

Over the past two decades in this country one main resource for airgunners seeking spares has been eBay. 

For a go-to favourite airgun in the cabinet it’s wise to acquire any and all spares going. On occasion this can mean buying a complete, but broken example of the same airgun. That old spare wood stock may take up a lot of room gathering dust after 10 years, but get rid of it and what happens? 

The following week your favourite airgun develops a split at the wrist or gets dinged so badly that refinishing it will not be enough to keep you from crying like a baby. For those who are seeking spares, buying up broken or partially dismantled airguns is unavoidable for later use. That does mean having to store boxes and boxes of bits, but that’s a big part of airgunning!


Specialist suppliers

  • Bagnall & Kirkwood (01912 325873) in Newcastle has a specialist sub-menu for new spares available on its website.
  • Protek Supplies (01243 824284) in West Sussex specialises in older discontinued spares along with new items and an eclectic array of old and modern airgun accessories.
  • TW Chambers & Co (01349 832974) has a wide selection of new spares including those for many older airguns.
  • John Knibbs International/Airgun Spares (01675 481006) in Warwickshire is well known its spares service and has a strong association with vintage BSA and Lincoln Jeffries airguns amongst the many other marques covered.
  • Best Fittings (01747 312672) in Dorset is known more for its PCP charging gear, but it has much more besides, including purpose-made adapters for some older classics.
  • Silco ([email protected]) in Solihull retails a vast assortment of more general new airgun accessories, but it does have a small spares section dedicated to Umarex models.