Diana 52 - the tactical version
by B.B. Pelletier
Mo's finishing up his Diana 52, as he converts it from a mild, unassuming air rifle into a tactical gun. If you'd like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.
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Diana 52 - the tactical version
In this segment, I'll paint the metal parts, reassemble the gun and add some tactical accessories.
Before and after pictures of the triggerguard.
The breech before and after sanding, cleaning and rubbing. I put more work into the breech after I disassemble the rifle.
Now, I'll prep the barrel.
I used double-sided tape to seal off the muzzle. Trim off the ends (before attaching the tape) so the front of the barrel gets an even coat. Use masking tape for the end that contacts the action. Always cover a large part as the paint tends to fly onto parts you dont want to coat.
Here's the barrel after 1 coat of primer, 3 coats of paint and 2 coats of clear. I removed the paint from the barrel due to a large scratch, then repainted it.
The cocking arm needed attention too. I did not disassemble it from the
action since it needed only a touch up. I covered the surrounding parts
with paper and masking tape. If yours needs a proper paint job, disassemble it and pay close attention to the joints and hinges. Painting them could hinder free movement. Quickly clean off those parts after each coat to prevent sticking. A light coat of mineral spirits on these parts before painting will prevent the paint from adhering.
The cocking arm painted and drying.
Now, to the buttpad, which is made of three parts:
1. A white plastic spacer that contacts the stock wood.
2. A black rubber spacer that contacts the plastic spacer.
3. A thick brown rubber end that contacts the black spacer.
It takes a bit of work to separate these components. I cleaned the black rubber and the white plastic thoroughly to get them back to their original condition. Then, I installed only the white plastic sleeve and the black rubber part. The end pad was discarded so it doesn't spoil the new look. Plus, the scope relief feels better and so is the hold because the rifle now has a shorter pull. Of course, you may not like a shorter pull, so you'll have to consider that when you transform your rifle. The only flipside is that the buttpad cannot be rested on a smooth surface since only the screws make contact.
Here's the finished rifle.
Here are some general tips I'd like to pass along to you. If you've done a lot of painting, you may already know this:
Each coat should be a full coat to maintain consistency.
DO NOT paint the stock in installments as the coats may dry as different shades.
Monitor how the paint responds to different holds, distances, etc., and use it to your advantage for a perfect the job.
Once all the coats have been completed, give it a couple of days to dry
completely. Paint may appear dry on the outside, but will need 12 hours to fully dry. Leave it for a few days and then apply the clear.
Once the painting is done, give it a couple coats of clear following the same guidelines. Just because it's transparent doesn't mean you can slack off. If not done properly, clear coats will ruin all your work. If done properly, they'll preserve and showcase the finish for a long time.
Wait for a couple days before reassembling it and shooting.
To complete the look, I fabricated a muzzle weight/suppressor and had it painted in matte black. It' made of steel with aluminum alloy baffle inserts and is secured with two grub screws. A suppressor is legal in England but illegal in the US unless licensed. More info about silencers and airguns can be found here.
Seen here with the silencer attached. It's the same diameter as the action and 20cm long.
I do a lot of my shooting seated. The 52 is very forgiving when it comes to hold, so decided to attach it to my camera tripod.
Tripod mount that attached to where the sling stud used to be.
This is the tripod. It's a Sony VCTR640 and extends from 20" to 60" high. Costs $49.99.
Here's the rifle mounted on the tripod. The groups didn't suffer one bit.
Now I can say for sure that the rifle shoots as good as it looks!