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So you want to be a tuner….

A few months back, a fella comes into the Baker Airguns retail store and buys a .22 FX Impact.  He tells me that it’s his first airgun.  I commended him on making an excellent choice, hooked him up with all of the necessary accessories, and he goes on his merry way.  About a week later, I get a phone call from the gentleman.  His complaint is that there are pellets stuck in the barrel and they will not come out.  After questioning him further, he proceeds to tell me that he wanted to adjust the regulator.  When I asked him why, he explained that the gun didn’t shoot good enough for him.  This is something I had never heard about the FX Impact before.  I tested that gun before it left and it was shooting exactly at factory spec.  He then proceeds to tell me how he adjusted the regulator.  “What I did was screw the adjuster all the way down to nothing and then tried shooting it.  I was going to adjust it up until I liked it, but then the pellets got stuck in the barrel.”  BTW, this person did not use or own a chronograph.  That brings us to today’s topic.  So you want to be a tuner…

The first question I would ask myself if I were new to airguns and decided I wanted to be a tuner is….why?  Why do I want to mess with this airgun?  Is it because you have a vast understanding of the physics behind fluid dynamics, kinematics, and projectile motion?  The engineers that designed the gun certainly do, but do you?  If the answer is no, then you might want to rethink things.  Billy Bob from Youtube that hit his airgun with a hammer and claims it shoots better now is not a trained, properly educated, engineer.  Don’t let Youtube “experts” convince you otherwise.  Your gun was designed by some of the smarter people among the human race, and there are highly trained people working in these factories that set up 100 guns just like yours every single day.  Sure, anomalies happen in any manufacturing process.  Once in a while you will get a gun that is out of spec.  If your gun isn’t shooting up to spec, send it back to the manufacturer.

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That brings us to the next point.  How do you know if your gun isn’t shooting up to spec?  That answer is simple.  You need to measure it’s performance.  This is done with a chronograph.  If you want to be a tuner, you’re going to need some basic tools.  A chronograph is an absolute necessity.  If you do not have a chronograph and you’re twisting the knobs on your airguns, you’re engaged in a fool’s errand.  There is almost no way that you could possibly know what effect your change has made to the airgun….let alone how much of a change.  So along with a good understanding of how airguns work, you’ll need some basic tools if you want to be a tuner.

The next thing you’ll need is an understanding of the scientific method.  Without using a scientific approach, you cannot accurately associate cause and effect.  You might get lucky and achieve your desired result accidentally…but can you repeat it?  Do you understand why it happened?  If not, you’re not a tuner.  You just got lucky.  You need methodology if you want to be a tuner.

As I said earlier, manufacturing anomalies will occur in any mass manufacturing process.  If you have a chronograph and can verify that your new gun is not shooting up to spec, the burden is upon the manufacturer to make it right for you.  You should not have to adjust anything on an airgun to get it to shoot to factory specs.  If your desire is to deviate from factory specs, I would HIGHLY recommend asking yourself the questions posed in this blog.  Modern airguns are complicated machines that harbor a massive, and potentially dangerous, amount of energy.  Adjustment to an airgun should not be taken lightly.  Nor should it be done by someone who doesn’t understand what they are doing.

The example I gave in the first paragraph is just one of countless stories I could tell just like it.  While I may applaud the interest and excitement shown over a new airgun, I would caution against considering yourself a “tuner.”  That is, unless you actually know what you’re doing…have the basic tools necessary…have a methodology in place….and have a good reason to do so.  Of course, we at Baker Airguns are in fact a repair center.  So if you insist on ignoring this advice, we’d be happy to repair your airgun for you after you’re done “tuning” it.

 

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