Q: I’ve just cleaned the barrel of my air rifle and, rather than improving its accuracy, it seems to have had an adverse effect on grouping. I used a proper cleaning kit but I’m concerned that I may have caused permanent damage to the barrel.

A: If you used a cleaning kit that was designed for airgun barrels it is very unlikely that you’ve caused any damage. The most likely cause of the loss of accuracy is your barrel being too clean, as pellets seem to run best when there’s a fine film of lead in the bore. I’ve known it to take as many as 200 shots to get a barrel suitably leaded for optimum accuracy to return after cleaning, so you probably just need to put more pellets through yours. For the record, I never clean the barrels on most of my airguns, and they still shoot accurately — after tens of thousands of shots in some cases.

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