Diana 35: the big brother to the model 27

by B.B. Pelletier

Today’s blog is for Ian, who was given a Diana model 35. He wasn’t getting very good groups, so I gave him some tips on holding a spring gun when firing. I should have asked him what pellet he was using, because I suspect it’s a major part of the problem. He’s doing well now, but his last comment went like this:

“I’d be pleased if you could do a review on the Diana/Original Model 35, together with what velocity and ft/lbs to expect. Mine is the Original 35 built in 1968 in Germany and has the red recoil pad.”


Diana’s model 35 was one of the most powerful spring guns in the 1950s. It was made until 1987.

Former contender fades as airgun technology advances
When it was new, the Diana 35 was a powerful air rifle. It had a revolutionary trigger and was even set up to take a scope – sort of. But it remained in the inventory without change for nearly four decades and finally went out with a whimper as more powerful airguns passed it by.

It was powerful for its day, but you won’t think that shooting a Crosman Premier in .22 caliber at an average of just 550 f.p.s. is much to talk about. The one I tested did a little better with RWS Meisterkugeln, which weigh 14.2 grains, sending them out at an average of 591 f.p.s. That’s still only 11 foot-pounds; for a .22 spring rifle, that seems pretty tame by today’s standards.

They were called by many names
Dianas were sold in the U.S. under many brand names, which confuses collectors. The Winchester 435 is really a Diana 35, but gun people believe it must be special because of the name. They were also known as Original 35, Peerless 35, Geco 35, Beeman 200 and Hy-Score 809 (I owned a Hy-Score 809 made in 1977.)

A big gun!
Unlike the handy Diana 27, the 35 is BIG! It weighs about eight pounds and is a man-sized gun. There are two main variations – the first built between 1953-1964 and the second between 1965-1987. The later version had a thicker stock, very slippery stamped checkering (the kind most shooters HATE) and was generally not as svelte as the earlier one.

My 35 cocked with 24 pounds of effort, which is light for this size airgun. After I lubricated the firing mechanism, that dropped to 19 pounds, though the gun’s power remained exactly where it had been.


Lots of parts for a simple job. Diana’s ball bearing trigger was a real sales item in the 1950s. It releases about the same as a standard lever-type trigger.

The ball bearing trigger
The 35 has Diana’s ball bearing trigger, a simplified variation of it is still used today. It is not modular, so the airgunsmith has to know exactly what goes where and also needs a few tricks to get it back in the gun in the assembled state. Today’s Diana triggers are more modular, though they still use three ball bearings to hold the piston.


A plain dovetail ramp with no provision for a scope stop. Hang a stop pin in front of the ramp to keep the rings from moving.

Made for a scope – maybe!
Shooters didn’t scope airguns in the 1950s, but they started to in the ’60s. Diana put a simple raised ramp on top of the receiver tube and let the owner guess how to mount the scope. If you scope one today, you need to hang some kind of scope stop pin over the front of this plain ramp to keep the scope mount from sliding backwards on the ramp.

The Diana 35 was an early attempt at building a powerful air rifle. Later guns of the same size and weight would have nearly twice the power, but they benefitted from the work that Diana had done for them.

45 Responses to “Diana 35: the big brother to the model 27”

  • Denny Says:

    Very interesting. Keep ‘em coming. Thanks.

  • Anonymous Says:

    BB, thanks for the interesting history on the Diana 35. l’m going to print this off if you don’t have any objection and pass it on to my father in law as he still has a great fondness for the air rifle. How were you able to research so much so soon?

    As you know the legal limit in the UK is only 12 ft/lbs so I would be quite happy with the 11 ft/lbs you mention, as I’ve been told it’s shooting at about 8 ft/lbs using Milbro Caledonians and Crosman Acupells (no idea of weights, but the Milbro are domed and the Crosmans are pointed). So it seems that some work is needed to improve things.

    Thanks BB-I’m going to try JSB Exact you suggested which are sold here under the Daystate name. Apparently some political/marketing situation only allows the pellet to be sold to clubs under the JSB name and not through stores.

    Regards Ian

  • Anonymous Says:

    BB,

    Can you explain trigger pull and how the number of pounds is come to? I’ve seen different guns listed as low as 2lbs and as high as 12lbs, but it doesn’t mean anything to me. Any reply would be greatly appreciated.

    Matt

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Ian,

    I wrote an article years ago about my 35, so I had the pictures and some performance data.

    As far as the rest of the research, I use the Blue Book of Airguns, 5th Edition. I use it 24/7, because I’m always writing or answering questions.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Matt,

    I will answer your trigger pull weight question in next week’s bolg.

    Thanks,

    B.B.

  • Jacksonville Web Design Says:

    Where is the serial number located on a Diana Model 35, and is there a list that can tell me what year the gun was made?
    Thank you,
    Jim Summer

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Jim,

    Your Diana 35 may not have a serial number. My model 27 made for Hy Score doesn’t have one.

    The month and year of manufacture are stamped in the metal on the left side of the spring tube, above the trigger. On some guns you have to remove the action from the stock to see it and the print is very small.

    B.B.

  • Jacksonville Web Design Says:

    Thanks a lot B.B. I will check it out. I am able to see (above the trigger) “Made in Germany” stamped in tiny print. Thanks for the info!

    Jim Summer

  • manish_r_karnik Says:

    Dear B.B.

    Last week I got myself an April 1968 Diana 35 in .177 for an Indian equivalent of US $ 300. Its complete with a scope rail and red recoil pad you mention in the blog.

    Its in fine working condition and shoots well.

    Because of its vintage I want to know how often can I shoot with it ?

    Would it be possible for you to do a more detailed review of this fine classic ?

    Thanks

    Manish

    Mumbai, India.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Manish,

    Sure, I can do a more detailed review of the Diana 35.

    You can shoot your rifle a lot, if you like. The mainspring can always be replaced and the leather piston seal will hold up for many decades, if you keep it oiled.

    Drop 5-10 drops of pure silicone oil down the transfer port (the hole behind the breech when the barrel is broken open. If you can’t find pure silicone oil (a dive shop would have it) then you can use petroleum oil. It will bang and smoke a little, but that was what we used in that rifle when it was new.

    I’m scheduling the Diana 35 for next week for you.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Hi Guys, Im new to this blog, my name is Graham. I have a Winchester 435 that was given to me by my grandfather about ten years ago. ive been looking all over the place but cant seem to get an idea as to the value of the gun. it is in near perfect shape with a nice 3-9×32 scope on it. any thoughts would be helpful. Thanks Much… Graham

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Graham,

    As you are aware, your Winchester 435 is a Diana 35. In excellent condition the Blue Book says it’s worth $225, but I think $250 is closer to the truth. The scope adds little to the value, and if the mount has scratched the rifle’s base, it detracts.

    B.B.

  • Graham Says:

    Thanks B.B. I appreciate the quick response. I think i will be selling it so if anyone is interested please let me know. you can e-mail me at gdspeedster@gmail.com. thanks for all the help guys.

  • Anonymous Says:

    hi! can anyone help me with the original mod 35 ? i need 2 know were in the trigger the little spring and its guide go. djprosser@hotmail.co.uk

  • Anonymous Says:

    djprosser,

    See if this article & the images in it are helpful:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2008/05/diana-35-always-contender.html

    You'll have to cut-and-paste the above URL into your browser.

    Edith (Mrs. B.B.)

  • Anonymous Says:

    i have a diana model 35.his serial number is 87546.can you find how old is it? thank you.

    cyprus nicosia

  • Anonymous Says:

    where can i exactly find how years old is my diana model 35?thank you

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    cyprus nicosia,

    The guys on this forum can help you:

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/405945/

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    thanks very much.
    i am very pleased

  • Ashish Joseph Says:

    Is this gun diana 35 still produced?how come I find such claims!Is there any clones of the original diana 35 produced and anyone knows more?please share.

    thanks.

  • kevin Says:

    Ashish Joseph,

    The last production run of the Model 35 was 1965-1987. I still see these guns come up for sale occasionally on the yellow forum and on brad's classified. As far as "clones" many break barrels have roots in these early model guns. The evolution in airgun design has produced lighter models with faster velocities.

    Look at the Diana/RWS Model 34 that is still in production and one of the best values for an accurate, powerful breakbarrel with quality finish.

    kevin

  • Complete Says:

    Does anyone know where to find the original sights for a diana model 25 airgun??

  • DeProfeet Says:

    Hi B.B.,

    I recently re-discovered my Diana 35, which I inherited from my grandfather and which is the gun that I learned to shoot with when I was a young boy.

    After some searching I found your excellent reviews about the 35. I was puzzled though that you (and all other sources that I found) claim that the 35 was produced from 1953 on.

    The story that my grandfather (and my father) always told me, was that the 35 was left behind by a German soldier in '45 (in Amsterdam). The Germans used it for fun practicing on the rooftop of the building they were stationed in.

    I can find no markings on the rifle except for the Diana logo and mod. 35 and also the text D.R.P. on the left side. D.R.P. stands for "Deutsches Reichspatent" and was formally used up to 1945.

    This leads me to believe that the DIana 35 design is much older and was produced during or even before WW II !

    Do you know if there are any other clues I could look for to find out how old the rifle really is?

    Cheers,

    Mark.

    P.S. the rifle still shoots like a dream! :-)

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Mark,

    I think we are talking about two different airguns. DRP stands for Deutshes Reich Patent, which is a pre-war designation. Your gun should look different than the one pictured above.

    I am not in my office, so I can't research this today, but if you want to ask your question again on Thursday, I will try to research it for you.

    B.B.

  • kevin Says:

    Mark,

    I'd suggest looking for the date stamp in two places. You're looking for a stamp that says 3 40 (March 1940) or 11 67 (November 1967). These stamps are very small. The size of one point type. A magnifying glass would help.

    First, look on the metal tube just above the wood at the left rear of the trigger.

    Second, look on the woodwork, on the heel of the butt at the top.

    Let us know if you see anything.

    kevin

  • Anonymous Says:

    What is this gun worth?
    Pellet gun
    on top of barrel under front end of scope
    Diana Mod35
    Made in Germany
    Stamped on barrel 02 71
    stamped on gun cal 4.5/.177
    serial stamped on gun 71277625
    Staeble scope 2.2x
    contact coy13@yahoo.com

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    A rusty Diana 35 in working condition is worth $50-75. One in excellent condition is worth $150-225. A really pristine one might fetch $250.

    B.B.

  • ralf wolters Says:

    hey

    i have a diana mod .35
    its was my grandfathers air riffle (one of them) but for some kind of reason i dont know this is the only one he kept the rest he sold

    after he died my dad gave it to me i whas around 9 years ever sins im schooting every eccept living things

    my dad told me that this riffle whas a little bit pimpt because my grand father put a shorter stiffer fether in for much more power

    when i first tryed to load the gun i wasnt able to knik it down in a normal way i realy needed al my power with two hands and the gun between my legs to get it loaded

    this riffle has to be atleast 50 years old but it has still very much power non of my friends who have modern knick barrol rifflescan compare with it also the accurasie is very well i can schoot an USB cable at range of 20 meters.

    a had some other riffles one of them whas a gammo co2 shotgun i can tel you this thing was realy lame and boring compared to my oldy

    but there is one on my wishlist the crossman nitro this thing is realy cool and smooth i tried is in alocal store and im in love now

  • Mr B. Says:

    ralf wolters,

    Thanks for sharing your Diana 35's history with us. I've had mine for 31 years and still enjoy shooting it.

    B.B. writes a daily blog, Monday through Friday that you can access at http://www.pyramydair.com/blog

    There are only a few of us monitoring these older blogs, this one was written in 2007. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask them there.

    Hope to see you!

    Mr B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Hi B.B.

    I would like to find out the age of my Mod. 35.

    I think that I have same Mod. 35 which Mark has, with D.R.P. stamp, but there are no other year markings. All so I have numbers 232 on the lever that cock the spring, below the rear sight.

    any idea?

    -Timo

  • Mr B. Says:

    Timo,

    Look for the month and year to be stamped on the left side of the "receiver" above the trigger and almost under the stock. Very small numbers. You might need a magnifying glass.

    You posted to a blog written 3 years ago. Not many of us are checking the old blogs for new posts.Pleaese let us know if you found the date on our current blog http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/

    Mr B.

  • Timo Says:

    There are no other year stamps or markings, so this seems to remain unsolved mystery. :(
    Thanks for your time B.B.

    ps. great forum and reviews.

    -Timo

  • Mr B. Says:

    Timo,

    One last thought, take your 35's action out of the stock and maybe the date was stamped a little low and you'll see it then just above the trigger.

    Thanks for the complement, but I am not the poster of this blog. He is known as B.B. and never signs as Mr B.

    Mr B.

  • Timo Says:

    I have already removed stock and looked from all over the metal parts, there is nothing.

    Thanks

    -Timo

  • Anonymous Says:

    Hi,

    I was investigating the internet for info of the diana mod 35 from my father. I stumbled on this blog in my search. Great info. But I'm not sure of the dating mentioned here. In the 2010 catalog of diana the mod 35 is mentioned and shown with the year 1936. So I think this gun was in production earlier. The version I have does not have checkering or a scope mount, so this must be older than the version you where mentioning. Maybe we Dutch had an earlier try on this gun than you guys in the States ;-)

    Marcel

  • Ezbe Says:

    Hi guys I am the proud owner of Diana 35 year 1965. Its butt is cracked. Can you help me get an old one just in case. Shall be grateful.

    You can post the details here I will see it.

    imagesads@gmail.com

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Ezbe,

    You need a new old stock stock, or one that's been taken off a parts gun.

    Try this man:

    John Groenewold, PO Box 830, Mundelein, IL 60060-0830, (847) 566-2365
    http://www.jgairguns.biz

    B.B.

  • Ez Says:

    Thank you I will try it out.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I have an early Indian model . And a standard 4.5mm is to large . Is there a smaller size ?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    There is no smaller pellet than the .177 that is made commercially. But .177 pellets come in a wide range of sizes. You need to try a smaller one. I suggest Crosman Competition pellets. They should be small enough.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I bought a diana 35 in 2009 brand new witch has a t05 trigger and the year on the gun is 2007,I have hunted a lot with this gun at long range never found it under powered until i saw this blog,I thought it to be same power as 34 ,I also have diana mod 36,diana mod 45 and diana mod 56th.But after doing some penetration tests at 200 feet distance ,still convince me that its quite powerful,and also the mod 36 looks same as 35,If any body has info please share

  • Anonymous Says:

    I don't know what you have, but it isn't a Diana 35. That model was not made past the mid-1980s. Maybe you have something Diana made on the 34/36/38 platform that was called something else. The 35 shown in this blog has not been made for over 20 years.

    B.B.

  • Vince Says:

    The 36 is an upgraded 34, nicer stock and (I think) sights. The action and overall performance are the same.

    The 35 that is the subject of this review is a very old variant, I suspect a newer one (like yours) is also built on a '34 action. The T05 trigger is a dead giveaway.

  • SB Says:

    Beautiful article. I have a Diana 35 1965. I had got an original spring from Germany but I gave it to guy to fix it but God knows what he did, stole it or what I do not know. It just does not have the power although it shoots straight. What should I do? What do I need to do to fix it. Please let me know how and where can I buy its spring and piston and what not. The stock is also cracked I would appreciate one. Will be most grateful for any advice and help in restoring my beloved Diana 35.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    SB,

    First of all — welcome to the blog.

    Second, let's get specific about your Diana 36. What caliber is it and what velocity does it shoot a given pellet (please name the pellet and tell us the weight in grains)?

    Parts are available, but until we know more about your gun they aren't going to fix it. For instance, when was the last time you oiled the pistol seal, how many drops did you use and what was the oil?

    Third,how bad is the stock crack/ Diana 35s aren't made anymore and haven't been for the past 25 years or more, so finding a new stock will be a challenge. But it might be possible to fix what you have.

    When you have the answers to these questions, please post them to the current blog, so the readers can share your experience and hopefully learn something by it.

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/

    B.B.

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