Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation



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Offline Nitrocrushr

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Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« on: December 24, 2018, 01:08:23 PM »
Part 1


I have been wanting to do a detailed review on Tony's new dual seal 22mm skirtless conversion.  He now offers this in kit form, allowing you to do the final assembly and set-up.  Well I wanted to buy a new walnut TX200 .177 rifle for this write-up, which proved to be the most challenging part of this entire project.  The first two rifles arrived with severely corroded bores;

Rifle #1
You can even see the corrosion on the outer edge of the breech.  This rifle was returned to vendor for warranty replacement.



Rifle #2



I will tell you with 100% certainty that this is not a preservative.  I was in contact with both the vendor and Air Arms about this, who confirmed that they are not putting a brown colored preservative in the bores that dries like rust.  On the 2nd rifle I actually plugged the breech and filled bore with acetone and left it soak for 10 minutes.  Patches and tight fitting felt plugs on my brass jag came out clean, nothing on them...again, it is not a preservative.

Rifle #2 went back for a full refund - no questions asked

Ok, enough on that, Air Arms is aware of the situation and is working to resolve.  But for those of you considering a new TX or PS, please be aware of this issue and take a close look at your bore.  A flashlight and magnifying glass will give you a good peak inside the breech - it will stand right out as soon as you shine the light on it.

Luckily I was able to locate a brand new TX200 .177 from older stock at Precision Airgun and Supplies.  It has a serial # prefix of "12" so it is definitely an old one ;D  It is a beech stock and not walnut, but that's ok.  I just wanted a mechanically sound, clean rifle for this write-up and after 3 tries that is what I got ;D

Here is the bore on rifle #3 - This is how they should look!!!!





Now on to the project...



Included in Tony's kit is

22mm sleeve with transfer port plug already glued into place

22mm skirtless piston with dual seals (standard seal plus an o-ring), piston guides and tophat
 
Spring Guide and three pre-load washers


The dual seal design helps to minimize velocity swings due to temperature changes, etc.

Here is a picture of a previous batch of 22mm kits lined up - you can see that each of the kits contain the items listed above.



You will need to provide;

Factory MK3 Compression Tube
Factory MK3 Piston Rod
Factory MK3 12 fpe spring - This is part number TX355

Here is a link to the correct spring on Pyramyd Air;

https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Air_Arms_Mainspring_for_TX200_Mk_III_and_Pro_Sport_12_ft_lbs/8682

To prep for this installation you will need to remove the threaded transfer port plug from your comp tube.

I used a propane torch and heated up around the base of the compression tube, then used two adjustable wrenches to remove (see picture further down in this thread)

Factory comp tube with transfer port plug removed - you can also see the o-ring that was fitted around the plug

Make sure you clean the threads really well inside the comp tube.  I used a bronze brush.  If need be, heat up that old loctite a little and brush it out while still warn.



Clean out the inside of comp tube when finished

Next, remove the piston rod from your factory MK3 piston.  I chucked mine up in the drill press and ran it up while heating the base of the piston with a torch.  After a little bit, you will more than likely see a tiny puff of smoke coming out from the base of the piston.  With a pair of welders gloves (or something to protect your hands from the heat}, unthread the piston from the rod - you can leave it in the drill chuck to do this.

The following was added 1/26/19



After the threadlocker has been softened with heat, I used a piece of scotch brite to protect my hand form the heat when removing the piston skirt



Next, heat the threads up again to soften remaining loc-tite, then quickly brush the threads out.  It is critical that you remove all of the loctite to insure the piston rod seats properly into the skirtless piston in the next srep below








Next, remove the front seal and o-ring seal from the 22mm skirtless piston and test fit your piston rod.  You can see in this picture that the first portion is machined out, with the threads only beginning towards the base of the piston.





Using a digital caliper with a depth gauge, you can check how far it is seated.  Measuring from the base of the piston, the end of your piston rod should be between 4-5mm when fully seated.  It took me 2 tries (had to clean my threads again), but mine finally settled at 4.29mm...perfect.







When you are confident that you are able to achieve the proper seating depth, reassemble using RED high strength loctite

Reinstall seals

Next, install the 22mm sleeve into your MK3 compression tube.  Before threading the 22mm sleeve into your comp tube, smear some grease on the outside of the sleeve.  I used Tri-Flow Clear Synthetic grease.  This will help to keep things from corroding.





Thread the 22mm tube into your compression tube.  You do not need loctite on the threads for this step.  I used 2 adjustable wrenches to snug things up.



Next step is to remove a coil from your TX355 12 fpe spring.  It is not recommended to use this spring at full length.  I only had to remove 1-coil, but you may find that you have to remove 2 coils, just depends on the rifle.

Removing 1-coil requires a cut right here



Using a dremel and cutting wheel, I removed the coil.  I then finished off the spring end to level it out, and ground it smooth.  There are probably a lot of methods out there, and there are videos available to show this process, but I heat my spring end up red hot (only where it needs to bend), and then quickly press it over an Air Arms metal spring guide with a washer set in place - I have this set up in a vice before I get started.  Press firmly and it should level itself out while still red hot.  I then grind the squared off cut to level it off and blend it smoothly into the end.  By now the spring has cooled down a bit, so I slowly dip into some motor oil to allow it to finish cooling down - I do not do this while it is still red hot!

1 coil removed and spring end finished off



Before fitting spring onto guide or top hat, read comments below regarding the spring ends.  To insure a good fit it is important that the cut ends are dressed properly.

Fits nicely onto the guide



Comp tube, piston and spring are ready to go - Look at the machining on Tony's transfer port plug.  Perfect fit 8)





« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 11:03:52 AM by Nitrocrushr »
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Air Arms TX200 .177 Rifle - 22mm skirtless dual seal conversion from Tony Leach

HW98 .177 - Vortek 12fpe


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Offline Nitrocrushr

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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2018, 01:08:58 PM »
Part 2


One of the benefits of this set-up is greatly reduced mass of the piston.  This equates to a big reduction in recoil.


Here is the factory piston with main seal and factory tophat - 250G



and here is the 22mm skirtless piston with seals and top-hat - 145.6G



Big difference ;D

Next, make sure you thoroughly clean out the inside of the compression tube.  I soaked a rag with acetone and ran it in and out a few times, then dried it out really well.

Nothing special, just a piece of PVC



Because I lubed this set-up with Krytox, I also gave the piston and compression tube a good scrub with Vertrel solvent

Next step, lube.  Everyone has their own methods, but here is mine;

I burnished a thin film of Krytox GPL206 into the walls of the compression tube.  I then smeared a very small amount around the front seal and o-ring seal...just a tiny amount as you can see in this picture



I also smeared a tiny bit of Krytox above the piston where the tophat slips onto.  This will allow the tophat to rotate smoothly.

Insert the piston into the compression tube and run it in and out a bunch of times while spinning it around to help disperse the lube.


The following was added on 1/26/19

Before inserting spring onto the top hat, inspect the spring end, especially the very end of the coil where it was cut.  As you can see in this picture of the factory spring end, there are times when the end is broadened, or protruding beyond the ID of the spring.  On the tight fitting top hat, this could cause the spring end to push outwards beyond the outside diameter of spring after installing onto top hat. 



Here is an image showing the affects of an improperly dressed spring end.  As you can see, it can press the spring outwards.



I have a very coarse round file that I use to dress up the end cut on the spring when they are like this. I hold it at a steep angle so that I do not dig into the main end coil.  When finished, I then polish things up with wet/dry sand paper.



After pressing spring onto the top hat (should be a VERY snug fit), inspect to insure the spring end is not protruding beyond the OD of spring.  If it looks like it is sticking out, or you feel an edge protruding...redress the spring end until you have a good fit, keeping spring-end even with OD of spring.  The TX355 OD is smaller that the ID of the 22mm comp tube, so it will have clearance.  When compressed, the spring guide keeps everything straight.



At this point, I set the assembled spring and top hat upright on my bench, top hat down.  I then carefully compress the spring a little bit onto the top hat to make sure it is not binding in any way.  The end coils should move smoothly onto the top hat.  If you feel them binding as you lightly compress the spring, you will need to polish up the lead edge of the top hat a bit.  I actually had to take the OD of my top hat down a tiny bit as this spring was a bit small for it.  Keep in mind that there will be slight variation in spring dimensions from spring to spring.  Tony manufactures the top hat based on average ID of the factory TX355 springs.  While it will fit the springs, some may be a little tighter fit than others.  The key is to make sure the spring fit onto top hat is very snug but not binding as it compresses.

If there is any binding, you will feel this after the rifle is assembled.  You will feel and hear spring noise as you cock the rifle.  This is caused by the coils binding as they compress over the top hat.  Mine did this and was immediately resolved by taking the OD of the top hat down a little bit, and polishing up the tapered end.

Be very careful in doing this as you do not want to reduce the diameter too much.  It needs to be a snug, pressed fit.

Here is a picture of my top hat after taking the OD down slightly and polishing the tapered end.  Rifle now cocks smoothly with absolutely NO spring noise.






Before pressing spring and top hat onto the skirtless piston, smear a tiny bit of lube onto the surface where top hat slides onto.



Note: Tony claims that the o-ring prefers a wetter lube as opposed to a moly.  Using Krytox is something I had abandoned a while back due to repeated failures in cross hatched comp tubes with parachute-type main seals.  I would get outstanding consistency, but it was always short lived, documented on 30 plus tunes.  So what is different this time?  Well, this comp tube has a smooth bore rather than cross hatching, and this dual seal design incorporates an 0-ring along with a plunger-type seal at the front.  So, I decided to give it a go ;)  Ed Canoles has had great success using Krytox on his smooth bore o-ring conversions, time will tell.

The following was added on 12/27/18 - In the responses that follow later in this thread, you will see some discussion regarding lubes, what lubes detonate, which ones do not, etc.  The takeaway in all of this is that you will have to decide for yourself which lube to use.  The key is this - whatever lube you choose, use it very sparingly.  Excess of any lube can and will cause issues. If and when you switch lubes, make sure to thoroughly clean up all traces of the old lube, especially when switching to or from Krytox.  For ease of Krytox removal, I use Vertrel Solvent.

Today I purchased some STP Oil Treatment and will plan on testing this at some point.  Here is the STP that I purchased;

https://www.amazon.com/STP-Oil-Treatment-fluid-ounces/dp/B0009PCPP4

Tony is currently using this and has been quite successful with it.  Again, clean and prep thoroughly and use VERY sparingly  8)


22mm kit all ready to go!  In the picture below, you can see that the kit comes with 3 preload washers.  I think there are two-2mm washers and one-1mm washer.  To start out, don't install any washers.  If you need them you can add them later.  Important note - If you do add a preload washer, you should slip the spring guide off the coil spring, slide the pre-load washer/s down over the spring guide, and then re-insert into the coil spring.  The must go onto the top of spring on the spring guide end.




In addition to the info above, Tony has some helpful videos, which you can view in the following link;



https://www.youtube.com/user/ocztony


If anyone is interested in learning more about the 22mm skirtless conversion, you can reach out to Tony Leach on his FB group "Airguntech", or in the group "Lost Volume"

https://www.facebook.com/airguntech/


https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447138175311176/


Also on his blog;

https://www.airguntech.com


Tony has been very helpful in answering all of my questions, and I am very pleased with his work 8)


Now on to the rifle.  Since I have written a number of project overviews on here, I won't bore you with any in depth details, but here are a few things I did to it before finishing it up with the 22mm kit;

Polished bore

Disassembled trigger - clean, hone and relube



Installed a Jim Maccari Machined forearm bracket



Installed a Jim Maccari Machined cocking shoe



Installed a Rowan Engineering cocking handle.  Also removed the factory cocking arm stopper and plugged hole with a set screw.  This rifle had a very tight lock-up, so I chamfered and polished the end up a little bit (I am not recommending that you try this unless you are confident and have the proper tools) - You have to be very patient and go a little at a time.  Go too far and you will have a sloppy fit to your lock-up, not good!!  This one is now solid and much smoother ;)  You can also see that I installed the triple o-ring set-up to act as the stopper.





Installed a Rowan Adjustable Trigger.  Here is a comparison to the factory trigger;





Ok, fully assembled and time to hit the chronograph.  I am posting this next chart to reiterate what I discussed in a post a while back, after a barrel clean, polish, etc, velocities will take some time to settle in.  This can take 30, 40 or even 50 shots.  During this time your barrel is getting re-seasoned with a thin film of lead.  As soon as that lead film is evenly layered onto the rifling, consistency returns.  Also keep in mind that this is a 100% fresh seal and brand new spring...things need some time to break-in.  That said, take a look at this ;D

The section I have hi-lighted shows the rifle settling in, and barrel getting seasoned.  Then after it settles in, you can see what this kit is all about.....the last 18 shots were an Extreme Spread of only 4 fps 8)



A few comments on this kit as compared to the stock set up - night and day difference!!  Greatly reduced cocking effort, almost no recoil and super quick, smooth shot.  This little 22mm piston is quick, light and VERY efficient.

While on the bench I fine tuned the trigger....just over 1/2 pound and extremely smooth and crisp ;D



Next day I put some more through it and then ran another quick chrono test.  Here's a dozen shots - Still holding incredible consistency with a continued Extreme Spread of only 4 fps 8) Right now the rifle is putting out about 11.7 fpe with the JSB 7.87's.



I am extremely pleased with the quality, fit and finish of Tony's kit, and most of all...the awesome performance!!  He puts a lot of time into the R&D and it shows.  I highly recommend this for anyone looking to go sub 12 fpe.  It's hard to describe the difference, but if you ever have a chance to shoot a Tony Leach 22mm skirtless TX, give it a go ;D

In the near future I am planning on showing this 22mm shooting on a recoil sled that I am making, and will be comparing it to the factory FAC set-up, and also a sub 12 fpe set-up using the heavy factory piston.  It's not an accelerometer, but it should show the differences in movement.  I will also get some outdoor target updates after I get a scope for it.  I am currently without a scope  ::)

Here are a few pictures of the finished rifle - It's a real gem ;)





« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 11:19:40 AM by Nitrocrushr »
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Air Arms TX200 .177 Rifle - 22mm skirtless dual seal conversion from Tony Leach

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Offline Motorhead

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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2018, 01:32:39 PM »
Very nice on all things done ... VERY NICE !

Not read it ? ... whats the price on this 22mm kit ?
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Offline Nitrocrushr

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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2018, 01:46:27 PM »
Very nice on all things done ... VERY NICE !

Not read it ? ... whats the price on this 22mm kit ?

Thanks Scott, I sent you a PM on pricing ;) For anyone interested in this kit, I would drop a PM to Tony to verify current costs.

Steve
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Air Arms TX200 .177 Rifle - 22mm skirtless dual seal conversion from Tony Leach

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Offline Jason_Garvin

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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2018, 02:22:36 PM »
Some very interesting mods.  See some neat ideas from over the pond.  Thanks for sharing,

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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2018, 06:32:37 PM »
Great post, thanks Steve!  As usual, excellent job!!!
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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2018, 09:48:36 PM »
Very interesting and thorough writeup as usual, many thanks. 

R
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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2018, 11:53:52 PM »
Very cool!!  I may have to drop Tony a line!!  Did you have to send him your parts?  Or can you just buy the kit and install as suggested?
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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2018, 10:15:42 AM »
I have been in contact with Tony and right now he has the DYI kit available for 110 pounds + shipping.  If you want you can send him your parts and he can do the work as shown above but the cost goes up to $180 pounds + shipping each way.  He does have the springs available but not sure of the cost.  It could be the 180 pound cost includes the spring, the 110 pound does not.  I think I have all that straight bases off our messages back and forth.
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Offline Nitrocrushr

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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2018, 10:37:35 AM »
I have been in contact with Tony and right now he has the DYI kit available for 110 pounds + shipping.  If you want you can send him your parts and he can do the work as shown above but the cost goes up to $180 pounds + shipping each way.  He does have the springs available but not sure of the cost.  It could be the 180 pound cost includes the spring, the 110 pound does not.  I think I have all that straight bases off our messages back and forth.

Thanks Brazos!  Tonyís current cost for the spring is 21 pounds, just check current exchange rates to convert to USD.  Occasionally Pyramyd has this spring in stock.

Also, for anyone looking to have a kit set up as shown above, just drop me a pm, Iíd be happy to set one up for you.  We can work out delivery of parts to me, Iíd set things up and send you a completed kit.  With action in hand I could set things up in your own action ;)

Steve
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania
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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2018, 12:11:07 PM »
Nice work there Steve. Similar results to mine and good detail on the assembly. Tony was able to supply a slightly longer rod with my kit (un-installed) so it fit flush with the piston top per his instructions.

I know you had one of the original kits without the dual seal. Did you sell that rifle? Anyway, what differences if any are you seeing? I have heard it is less sensitive to temp changes and now that its winter curious what you are seeing when you shoot outside?  ;)  Mine also likes the lighter 7.9 exact pellets (11.5ft/lbs) and shoots about the same string you are getting. It also shoots the 6.79 JSB GTO's lights out around 12ft/lbs.

Wondering how this kit would perform in a TX200 .22?? I may have to take you up on your offer!!

Merry Christmas!

Dan
« Last Edit: December 25, 2018, 01:02:08 PM by DanT »
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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2018, 01:31:28 PM »
The kit in .22 is superb, set up like the .177 they add a little power, which would suit you guys in the US, i how ever set up at 11.2fpe with FAPs and this usually means around 10mm total preload on the UK spec spring (so 2 to 2.5coils shorter spring), 1 finger cocking that a 6yr old could do. Do not think 15fpe plus though, never going to do it, not designed to do it remember ;) I would say i can shoot 10m at 9mag and watch the hole appear in the target under the ret in .22 standing, thats how little movement on my rifle here.

Im out of rods right now, will be in the new year before i can ask about new stock, just use the oem mk3 rod, i designed the nose to accommodate  all the threaded section of the oem rod to max the strength so it not an issue you have that 4mm recess on the nose, its there by design.

DIY kit no spring, 110.00GBP + shipping
Drop in kit using your parts 180.00GBP + shipping
Springs 21.00 (depends on buy in cost however)
Rods 25GBP
Spare seals 12GBP, O rings 0.50GBP for 2 (this is the seal you will need to swap only)
Bearing 8GBP per pair



« Last Edit: December 25, 2018, 01:36:04 PM by TonyL »
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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2018, 01:32:27 PM »
Got with Tony last week and my kit is either on its way or will be after the Christmas holiday. I went ahead and bought my spring from Tony, that way itís all here at the same time.
 Tony likes to use STP for lube on the seal, O ring and top hat. I mentioned using ultimox instead but he said the 22mm kit tends to detonate krytox/ultimox and finish line grease. I think Iíll try the STP just for kicks. Looking at the awesome consistency of your chronograph numbers, detonating does not seem to be an issue.

Great write up Steve. Canít wait to install mine!
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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2018, 02:12:51 PM »
Got with Tony last week and my kit is either on its way or will be after the Christmas holiday. I went ahead and bought my spring from Tony, that way itís all here at the same time.
 Tony likes to use STP for lube on the seal, O ring and top hat. I mentioned using ultimox instead but he said the 22mm kit tends to detonate krytox/ultimox and finish line grease. I think Iíll try the STP just for kicks. Looking at the awesome consistency of your chronograph numbers, detonating does not seem to be an issue.

Great write up Steve. Canít wait to install mine!

Thanks ;D  Yes, Tony uses STP.  Honestly, I have had zero detonation with the Krytox so far.  Just make sure to use it vary sparingly, and especially make sure youre not getting any on the front of the front seal.


Steve
« Last Edit: December 28, 2018, 09:56:06 AM by Nitrocrushr »
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania
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HW98 .177 - Vortek 12fpe


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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2018, 06:19:20 PM »
Krytox and Ultimox will detonate in 22mm set up, the reason is the pressure generated is super high, keep that in mind and go sparingly with what ever you use. I prefer STP as it gives the lowest friction set up and it lasts a decent amount of time, and you only need a drop ;)

22mm can generate 1600+psi, 21mm 1700+ 20mm 1800+
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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2018, 06:23:38 PM »
Krytox and Ultimox will detonate in 22mm set up, the reason is the pressure generated is super high, keep that in mind and go sparingly with what ever you use. I prefer STP as it gives the lowest friction set up and it lasts a decent amount of time, and you only need a drop ;)

22mm can generate 1600+psi, 21mm 1700+ 20mm 1800+

Very interesting bit on the pressures generated with this set-up.  What STP product are you using?

Steve
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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2018, 06:35:18 PM »
I believe itís this one but will wait for Tony to confirm.

http://www.stp.com/products/oil-additives/oil-treatment
  • Wentzville  MO
Shoot long enough, you'll have a one hole group.
Kalibrgun rifle .22
Air Arms S400 .22 in ivory MPR stock (tweeked)
HW77
Beeman R1 Huntington .22 ARH full power kit
Diana model 75,75,65
RWS 34 pro compact .177 vortek
Beeman R9 Huntington Beach .177  vortek
Beeman R7 Santa Rosa .20 and .177 barrels, Vortek kitted
Norica Massimo .22 Vortek seal
Anschutz 335
Steyr LG10p
Walther LGR
A.A. TX200 mk3 GinB left hand teak stock. Schweeeeeeeet.

Offline TonyL

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  • Real Name: Tony
Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2018, 06:43:58 PM »
Yep the blue bottled one, a smear round the O ring, work the piston back and forth, do NOT withdraw it as that will force lube in front of the piston seal, just build and test. You can feel the the friction just ease away with STP, often they go that smooth you feel they are not sealing.

  • UK Cheshire Stockport

Offline Nitrocrushr

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  • Real Name: Steve
Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2018, 06:56:04 PM »
Yep the blue bottled one, a smear round the O ring, work the piston back and forth, do NOT withdraw it as that will force lube in front of the piston seal, just build and test. You can feel the the friction just ease away with STP, often they go that smooth you feel they are not sealing.

Great info, thanks Tony! Iíll have to pick some up.  While I havenít detected any detonation yet, this is still a brand new build and things could certainly change ;)

Steve
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Air Arms TX200 .177 Rifle - 22mm skirtless dual seal conversion from Tony Leach

HW98 .177 - Vortek 12fpe


N.U.A.H. Club - Master

Offline Yogi

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Re: Tony Leach 22mm Skirtless Conversion Kit Installation
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2018, 07:08:05 PM »
STP-The Racers Edge. :-* :-* :-*

-Y
  • San Francisco, CA
Hatsan 95 Vortex, .22
RWS 6G, .177
RWS LP8 Magnum, .177
Diana 340 N-Tec, .22 Compact Lexus
HW 50S, .177 and/or .22

How do you word it... "Air Guns" or "AirGuns"?
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