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Air Arms Pro-Elite  


Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 14
2020-03-24 19:03:40  

I recently bought an Air Arms Pro-Elite in .22. Does anyone have some pictures? Apparently, there are not a lot of them out there. I do know they had problems with the cylinder not being the right size, and ripping apart the piston seals, and rather than fix the problem, Air Arms just pulled the model. My gun does not have issues and shoots fine.

Member of Trade
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 616
2020-03-25 00:04:31  

Do you mean photos of the exterior to see the outer appearance, or photos of the insides so you can work on one?

In either case, I don't have any photos close-by that I can lay my hands on. But, I did tune two of them, so I know them pretty well.

Mike E. from our own forum here did a nice YouTube video about the outer appearance of the rifle. Here's the link. I hope it works. If not, try a copy and paste:

Anyway, neither of the ones I worked on had problems with the cylinder size, or a ripped piston seal. I do remember that the factory piston seal setup was rather unusual. You were supposed to glue it onto the end of the piston. And, the OD of the piston seal was the same as that of the R1, IIRC. That's 30 mm. 

I don't remember that much of a parachute on the factory piston seal. I think JM had more of a parachute on his seal, and I think the material was a little more flexible than the factory seal. Both of those can help a lot with variations in the size of the cylinder.

Like I said, JM had some replacements for a while, but those are long gone. However, if you needed one, you might be able to take a Beeman R1 piston seal, and modify it. However, since yours is already shooting well, you shouldn't need to worry about any of that--at least, not for a while.

As far as photos, a quick Google search will show you photos of the exterior of the rifle. I just did that and found some. Maybe some interior photos are out there, too. I didn't see any of those.

Like the TX200, the Pro Elite had those two nice synthetic piston bearings that prevented metal-to-metal contact between the piston and the cylinder. That was a Cadillac set up. JM also had some substitutes for those, if yours were worn out. Those are long gone, too.  But, the factory ones worked well enough for a while. JM used superior material for his piston bearings.

I forgot until just now that the PE had that nice shrouded barrel. It's a really nice feature for being neighbor-friendly.

The velocity and power output was about the same as with the RX series of rifles. That's also about the same as a properly, power-tuned Beeman R1. That would be about 800 fps. in .22 caliber. You can use the RX series figures to help determine what the other calibers would probably be.

I'm not sure about the piston seal or cylinder problems being the ONLY reason the rifle was discontinued. Some of the British air gun companies discontinued certain models, because they shot too-fast for the British and other European non-FAC markets.

I seem to remember that at least some of the factory stocks were pretty gorgeous--maybe walnut? Whatever you have there, how about posting a photo of yours so we can have a look?

I think that's all I remember. HTH.

Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 746
2020-03-25 16:56:55  

if i remember right the rifle had a problem with the piston seal being pulled off or falling off the piston in to the front of the tube 

Google has many post on it but in your case you could have one that doesn't have a front tube problem, making it a real keeper 

so shoot it and if it fails,  fix it and shoot it, repeat as needed 

they still have seals at Knibbs, a few spares could be good idea

Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 3
2020-03-25 19:45:15  

I've been curious to hear whether Mike ever found time to work on that broken one.  If I recall correctly, he ordered a custom stock out of Europe for it.

They are beautiful guns.   Enjoy!


Member of Trade
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 616
2020-03-25 20:24:58  


I remember that I glued on at least one of the seals I used--probably both of them. And, I never had a problem with either of them.

A first-choice for the adhesive might be a very high quality Super Glue, or perhaps and equally good epoxy. Both of those have a lot of holding power, and neither of them Should contain any solvents that could damage the seal material. I'm not saying the seal material is that easily damaged. I'm just saying I don't know what it is, and a solvent might cause problems.

If those don't do the trick, a good choice for that application would probably be a high-quality contact cement. But, now, we are talking about products that contain solvents.

In fact, one of the best contact cement I've ever used before is the Permatex brand, and it contains several solvents. One of those solvents is toluene. Last I checked, their formulation still had toluene in in it. In fact, I just went and checked it again right this minute. Their MSDS sheet dated July of 2018, about a year-and-a-half ago, shows that toluene was still an ingredient at that time.

But, of all the solvents, toluene is probably one of the most aggressive. That could be a problem. I have a suggestion in that regard.

Before you actually try to glue the seal on to the piston, take the piston seal you're going to use, and put a drop of the contact cement on the front of the face of the seal with a toothpick. Then, let the seal and the cement stay there overnight like that. The next day, check to see if the contact cement has set up properly. the seal material should still be just as good as before you applied the cement. In other words, The seal material should still be as hard as it was before you applied the cement. If the seal material softens, don't use that cement. Use something else.

Other contact cements, that were previously good, like Barge, removed the toluene in their formula. It might have had something to do with the state of California and their restrictions. However, toluene is one of the things that makes contact cement work so well. But, since the tall you wean could cause damage, one of those Other contact cement without toluene might be a good choice. You only need a little.

Shoe Goo might work. But, it takes a thicker layer to hold then it does with a contact cement. That thicker layer might cause problems with the fit.

That flange on the front of the Pro Elite piston isn't as pronounced as it is on most other springer pistons. that's why the seal can slip off of the front. However, there is a little bit of a flange there. Clean it and the seal well. Then, apply  your chosen adhesive in a thin layer, and let it set. You shouldn't have any problem with it after that.

If the rear edge of the seal sticks out a little too far after gluing, just spin the piston, and carefully-remove the excess material,  like with some sand paper wrapped around a ruler, if you don't have anything better to use. Obviously a lathe would be perfect, but not everyone has one of those. And, neither is one necessary to do the job I'm describing. It just doesn't require that kind of precision.

Don't do any damage to the front edge of the seal. That's the part that seals the air in the chamber, and pushes the pellet out of the barrel.

Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 746
2020-03-26 16:15:29  

i would use epoxy for the glue but not all epoxy's are the same 

i used some L-B Weld package number 8265-s on some urethane and aluminum for a test make a top hat 

and that epoxy is the best 

so it really the piston could be setup like it had a leather seal on and use a modern day conversion 

you would need a lathe and some luck but a better attachment design would solve some of the problems 

but i'm looking at this from afar, so guessing is all i have 

it is hard to understand why they did a piston seal interface as they did 

on a Diana the seal is a pain in the back side to get on and would never come off and that is what a company shound be there goal also, a seal that will never come off 

if it was a cheap rifle the fix as need would be unreasonable but this rifle does fall in that category 

but then again if it is a tube problem, that would be a different kettle of fish