Diana 52 – the tactical version Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Guest blogger
Mo bought a used Diana 52 and converted it into a tactical rifle. He took some great pictures that give you a step-by-step reference in case you want to do the same thing. If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html that Blogger software uses, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them) and they must use proper English. We will edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.

Take it away, Mo!

Diana 52 – the tactical version
Part 1

by Mo

When Diana saw success with the model 48, they asked themselves how to make the 48 better. The answer was the model 52, which had a Monte Carlo stock with a raised cheekpiece.

Now, that was nothing but a cosmetically enhanced model 48. Of course, the increased length of pull benefited some. But that just wasn’t enough. The 52 could look different. Really different.

Enter the Diana 52 Tactical.

Before we go into the works, here’s the setup:


Here’s a shot of the gun before my changes.


Notice the buttpad in the above two pictures.


The barrel that broke my heart with the bluing or lack thereof!

The buttpad clearly needed replacement if it was to complement the new look and do its job. For the time being, I took a shortcut to make it match the rest of the gun.

Before you start…
Before you paint your stock, practice on a cheap stock or another piece of wood identical to the stock you’re going to paint. Observe how the paint settles on the wood. Find out the optimum distance to ensure the thinnest, most consistent coat.


These are the paints I used…which were spray cans. If you have a compressor, use it. I didn’t use the thinner shown to clean the gun. To clean the stock, use surgical spirit (called rubbing alcohol in the U.S). The thinner was used to remove paint from metal parts if needed.

Let’s get down to work!
First, separate the stock from the action.



Remove all parts from the stock–triggerguard, buttpad, slings, studs, rails, bipods, etc.

Make sure all surfaces to be painted are free of dust, dirt, oil and grease. If the stock has any damage, tend to that first.

See if the checkering has thinned out anywhere. Use a toothpick or something similar to try to deepen the checkering. The same method can be used to remove excessive paint from the checkering. DO NOT apply multiple coats here. Multiple coats will thin the checkering. Once you achieve a satisfactory coat, mask it with tape after it’s dried or the tape will peel off the paint.

Caution: Remember to paint in a well-ventilated, dust-free area. Don’t paint near an open flame or where there’s a risk of sparks flying (cigarettes, fireplace, etc.). Wear gloves, eye protection and a mask over your mouth and nose. Make sure everything you need during the job is within easy reach.

Sand the wood, as this will make sure the paint sticks to the surface. If it’s not properly sanded, the paint may peel and chip. Don’t remove too much wood and be especially careful around the checkering.

Paint in one direction to get a consistent finish. Don’t spray sporadically or hold the spray too long onto one particular area. Use a fluid motion. If you miss an area or if it’s too thin, it’ll get covered in the next coat.

I shake the can between coats and clean the nozzle after each coat to prevent droplets from spattering.

Start with a coat of wood primer and the apply the first coat of paint


Here, the first coat has been applied over the primer. The light areas will be covered by the second coat.


After the first coat has dried, I applied the second coat. The stock now appears evenly painted and darker.

I used a toothpick to remove excess paint from the checkering–after it dried. Then, I masked the checkering and added another coat to the rest of the stock.

Depending on the paint and your climate, it may take from a couple of hours to a day for the paint to dry. After each coat, look for deformities, missed areas, etc. Missed areas can be given a short extra blast and deformities can be sanded to perfection.


The final coat has been applied and the stock is now drying.

If you dust or if fibers stick to the paint, do NOT try to remove them immediately. The paint tends to stretch if it’s cleaned before drying. You can rub out these after the paint has dried.

In part 2, I’ll paint the metal parts, reassemble the gun and turn it into a real tactical rifle.

72 thoughts on “Diana 52 – the tactical version Part 1




  1. Good morning Vince: I don’t think you can sand inside checkering. However, Brownells carries tools used to point up checkering, etc. Mr B.

    B.B., Joel at Atlantic Guns says hello to you and your wife Edith whose name he remembered. He made an observation about you that I want to share with everyone. He said that when Tom was running things in Damascis, he was just as excited about the person who showed up with a gun that didn’t have a chance of winning and made him feel as welcome as the guys who arrived with all the right stuff to win. A telling little peek into The Man’s past. Thanks B.B. for your patience with us all. Mr B.


  2. Thanks for the numbers, BB. I know what you mean about “Joe Gunshow”… some of the horrible deals that people offer on gunbroker (Chinese B3 rifles for $70??? MP513 for $190???) still amaze me. Yet they’re there, year after year. I guess they’re just waitin’ fer a sucker…






  3. OT…Just wondering if anyone knows the answer to this.
    I’ve mentioned before that my Slavia 630 shoots seems to give up very little (if any) accuracy to my Avanti 853c.
    So I’m wondering…does Slavia choke their barrels.
    CowBoyStar Dad



  4. CowboyStar Dad,

    You can find out! Just push a pellet from the breech through the muzzle. If it’s choked, you will feel resistance for about the last two inches of barrel.

    Now, riddle me this: I saw a faint (mag 2 or 3?) star right above (4-5 degrees above) the crescent moon this morning at 7 a.m., while on my walk. It was so cool-looking that I started humming the opening bars of “Also Sprach Zarathustra.”

    Was it anything special?

    B.B.


  5. b.b., the least I can do is answer your star queries.
    You’ve helped so much with my gun questions.
    What you likely saw was the red giant Antares, which will be close to the moon for the next couple of mornings.
    BTW, I did as you mentioned and the pellet did reach a slight resistance at the end of the barrel, so I will assume it is choked.
    CowBoyStar Dad


  6. B.B., a new star rising that speaks about things possibly against the Jewish and Christian values–I wonder if that’s what you ment??? Mr B.





  7. Kevin,

    Oh, is THAT what you guys are talking about? I saw that rifle in Nuremburg, at IWA, back in 2006. Back then it was just a 10-meter rifle and this one has a Running Target configuration, but I assume the action is still the same. The model number is.

    They have a 10-meter pistol, as well.

    Don’t look for either to be imported because I was unable to convince EAA they would sell. Back then the pistol was slated to sell for $500 and the rifle for a little more.

    B.B.


  8. Mo,

    That’s a neat idea. I’m a fan of the 48 series rifles and the tactical look.

    Wayne, I read about your idea for sharing guns. So you’re a communist! Ha ha. Just kidding. Just don’t send anyone to a gulag.

    That’s interesting about rotary swagged barrels. I’ve never heard of them and had assumed that the Lothar Walther barrel was the top of the line.

    Matt61


  9. B.B.,

    Should have known you were on top of things.

    Unfortunate. Very interesting looking running target rifle.

    Nuremberg? Bavaria? You travel the world to bring us the latest news. Reason #1,089 this is the greatest airgun site.

    kevin


  10. I don’t understand why RWS keeps advertising such high velocities for the P5 and LP8 pistols. Anyone can go to the Diana website and see that the factory velocities are 580fps for .177 and 430fps for .22. It just seems to make a lot of people angry when their pistol doesn’t hit 700fps. I know they probably sell many to new shooters who don’t know any better. On the Diana site they do mention a new grip, trigger and a scope rail on the LP8. It’s also a half pound heavier than the P5 so it might be a little tamer to shoot. I wish the Browning was a Rutten like their rifles were.


  11. Mo,
    I like the looks of the 52 you started with, but you are doing careful work and have a vision, so I enjoy following along just the same.

    Volvo/Wayne,
    Giving some more thought to the bucket, I think the challenge would be both accessible and meaningful for a 2″ target at 100 yards, if a low-powered rifle is used. I’m thinking R7 class (or even 953). I’ll try with my Hammerli 490, but I assume both of you have multiple options in that power class. How about trying a few shots at 100 yards, just to see if the pellet makes it? I will do the same. With the size of the target being too small for wooden buckets, perhaps we can use Wayne’s buckets as trophies for the the “Order of the Bucket”…I don’t think there will be that many who can do it; I’m pretty sure I can’t:).


  12. B.B., NO, that is not what I ment. Googled Sprach Zarathustra, who turned out to be an empty headed, but an extremely polished speaker whose ideas were contrary to tradition Jewish or Christian values. Sometimes I’m too devious for my own good. Thought you might have been trying to make some sort of political statment. Sorry for my misunderstanding–Mr B.


  13. Thanks for the awesome response guys!

    Vince, you cannot sand inside the checquering. What you can do, is to use a dremel tool with the smallest head attached and brush away. Alternatively you can use the same tool to create custom stippling. I’m currently in the process of stippling one of my older guns. Will post once thats done.

    Chuck, you’re gonna love the ending on this one!! :)

    Matt61, wait till you see the rest! The 52 has a lot of potential and is a great looker!

    BG_Farmer, yeah the rifle was pretty ok to look at when I got it. But it shot so well that I just had to get it looking as good as it shoots!

    The Venom kit does wonders to the Diana.



  14. BG_Farmer,

    I must have missed something–a 2 inch target at a 100 yards? That is pushing it for a centerfire rifle much less a low-powered airgun.

    All, I finally followed up on B.B.’s advice to contact Doug Turnbull Restoration about my Winchester 94 from the 70s with the light coat of rust. They were very knowledgeable, friendly, and professional, but the answer I got was the same as from Midwest Gunworks. Metalwork for Winchester 94s of that era is beyond recovery. Apparently Winchester was using what they call a “mystery metal” with some unidentified alloy that is not compatible with modern bluing salts. If they tried to reblue my rifle, they said it might turn purple. Apparently, the problem is in the metal itself, so stripping every trace of the old blueing off the gun would not improve things.

    It occurred to me later to wonder if Winchester kept a record of its blueing formula, but I suppose that has been investigated and if it’s not available it would be prohibitively expensive to reconstruct.

    Argh. In spite of the ingenuity as shown in today’s blog, it would seem that some things, even the reblueing of a relatively recent copy of one of the most popular rifles ever, is impossible. So, you owners of Winchester 94s from this period will want to keep your guns oiled.

    Matt61


  15. I forgot to mention this in the original post.

    For people having trouble with scope creep or reticle misalignment with their Diana’s.

    The Bushnell Legend is mounted on Promount Protecta One Piece High Mounts. These are also known as Sportsmatch Dampa mounts. As far as I know, they’re manufactured by the same company.

    I have NEVER experienced scope creep. The scope had held on with no issues.

    This would be a good combo for a heavy recoiling rifle if you don’t mind the extra magnification.

    Mo.


  16. Mo,

    Great job on part 1 of your article. Interesting transformation so far. Appreciate hearing about the venom kit in a diana.

    Here’s one for you since you’re in the process of custom stippling a stock and are obviously very handy.

    Shot a friends discovery over the weekend. He made a custom thumbhole stock with adjustable cheek piece, adjustable butt pad, checkered the forearm and stippled the grip. The stippling was very well done and comfortable. I asked him what he used for the stippling.

    He went over to his workbench and picked up an old phillips screwdriver. He had taken his dremel, cut the flanges in the end of the phillips so he now had 4 points, not one, at the end of the phillips screwdriver. Then he took his dremel and sharpened the points. Used his leather mallet and this homemade stippling tool and it turned out very nice.

    kevin


  17. Mr B, I think I found similar info on wikipedia. But read my second paragraph! Coincidence? I DON’T KNOW!:)

    “‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ (German: ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’, sometimes translated ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’), subtitled ‘A Book for All and None’ (‘Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen’), is a written work by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche…”

    But wait! Read this!

    “…This concept first occurred to Nietzsche while he was walking in Switzerland through the woods along the lake of Silvaplana (close to Surlei); he was inspired by the sight of a gigantic, towering, pyramidal rock.”

    Whoa! Sound familiar? And a pyramid, too! I think we have a Twilight Zone episode here.

    -Chuck


  18. BB,
    I don’t think any of us really believed you were going beyond good and evil.

    Matt,
    Pushing it is what the challenge is all about:)… Did you read my rambling note on it the other day?

    Sorry to hear about your Winchester, but it means something to you as is, there’s no loss in not being able to restore it to museum quality.



  19. Everyone,

    I was referring to the erie opening of the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. But I guess that didn’t carry through.

    This morning on my walk I was looking at the crescent moon (by which I mean a friggin’ phase of the moon and nothing more) with a star positioned directly above the top point. If you ever watch 2001, they use a Moon/Jupiter shot in a similar way at the beginning of the film.

    I’m sorry all of you don’t have access to my private thoughts…

    BUT WHY NOT? : )

    B.B.


  20. Hello B.B. and Everyone:
    Thanks for your response B.B…. but now I have another problem… Recently, I bought a 100cf 3500psi Steel Tank to refill my Talon SS tanks… The problem is the following… I knew that it came with a DIN Valve, but I had planned to change it for a K-Valve after purchasing it… What I didn’t knew (but of course, now I do), is that these type of tanks come with 7/8″ valve threads instead of the normal 3/4″ valve threads that common aluminum tanks come with!! Ihave been searching the web for 7/8″ K Valves, but people say that they don’t come like that… I was planning on purchasing this:

    http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=Tank_Valve_Converter_Din_To_Yoke

    What do you think?? Will this be OK??
    Cheers,
    Jony


  21. Mo,

    Visited the site that was your “inspiration” for stippling. Interesting. Diamond bits. Completely different look that my friend, Lenny’s, homemade stippling. With using his homemade stippling screwdriver created smaller, very uniform holes. I like the looks of the stippling in the link you gave me though.

    Lenny said his stock is caro? walnut. Air dried for 6 years. Bought the blank on ebay for $90.00. He said if you didn’t want walnut you could probably find a gunstock blank a lot cheaper. Beech would be cheaper he said.

    kevin



  22. BG_Farmer,

    A B.B. turned evil would be interesting to contemplate. The damage could be enormous.

    Hm. I didn’t see your post yesterday even on a second pass today. Anyway, I’m all for it. With my B30 now shooting 900 fps thanks to the kind attention of Rich from Mich, I’ll see what I can hit at 100 yards.

    For the Winchester, I was just hoping to make it look respectable, but the main thing is that it works. I could even reinterpret the rust spots as heavy use and consider it a historical restoration at no cost.

    Matt61


  23. Kevin,

    A friend of mine used his army knife to create a type of stippling on his firearm. It wasn’t uniform but did the job well.

    I initially wanted to stipple the entire stock to have a really different feel. It would’ve looked good too. But couldn’t find the time. :(

    I think he meant Claro walnut. I know of that. But its not available here. I can get beech, walnut, teak and a few other varieties.

    Nobody around here sells blanks. And its way too expensive to have it shipped from the US/UK..

    Stippling with a dremel is an easy job once u get in a few hours practice. The results are uniform and appear professional. You can also do a bit of carving n designing if you’re into that sorta thing.

    Is there a way u can mail me a couple of pics of Lenny’s rifle?

    Mo.


  24. B.B. I think we knew what you meant. But, you know how we go off on tangents anyway. And even rib you a little. I did a google search on ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ as soon as I saw your comment and watched about five different renditions of it. I kow exactly what your talking about. I also sent an email to my amateur astronomer brother in Arizona to see if he could identify the star but haven’t heard back yet. I think CowBoyDad identified it. Maybe my brother will concur.

    Incidentally the first version of the music I got a hit on was as the opener of one of Elvis’ shows. The one where he wore the white leathers.

    -Chuck


  25. Mo,

    I’ll try to remember. Lenny lives over an hour drive north of my home in town and although it doesn’t seem that far we only get together once or twice a year.

    When I saw him last weekend he surprised me when he showed me the stock he made. Took him 4-5 months to finish it in his spare time. Wish I would have had a camera along.

    kevin


  26. Bg – farmer,

    Matt makes a good point. I think we really need to scale it down to 25 yards. I’m not sure I can see 2 inches with the naked eye at 100 yards. I still like my paste can at 45 yards and the 499. Looking at the energy level it seems fair. I have a good bit of data to back it up.

    Matt61,

    Most 70’s era firearms are not terribly collectable. Don’t feel bad about your Winchester.


  27. Thanks Kevin.

    Its nice to see other people’s work. Sometimes it makes you think “Why didn’t I think of that!?” I love that feeling!

    Its always good to change things for the better :)

    Mo.



  28. Matt,
    My crazy take on the bucket shot is in Monday’s (Vince/Rekord) blog comments. I couldn’t tell whether you found it or not. If not, I’d like your take on it.

    Volvo,
    1/2″ at 25 yards replicates the angular size OK, but it doesn’t do justice to the difficulty. If you can see 1/2″ at 25 yards, you should be able to see 2″ at 100 yards, right? I’m probably wrong, and willing to listen:). I like the 499 shot as well. What is the flight time?








  29. Hi B.B.,

    when I heard Kevin mention a Baikal rifle, I was thinking this-

    http://www.baikalinc.ru/en/promo/2609.html

    apparently it’s just gone into production. Seems interesting, but like all the really cool stuff they make, it seems EAA doesn’t see a tangible profit margin.

    Mo,

    cool idea for a guest blog. Tactical accessories are not wasted on airguns, and on a quality gun like the 52, it makes all kinds of sense. Strange that RWS never thought to put out a Tactical model with a synthetic sniper-style stock (like the BSA Lightning Tactical??)


  30. I think RWS DID sell a matte black model 48 years ago. A bipod, too if I recall. I’ll check a couple old issues of mid 1990′s air gun magazines when I get home tonight. If I ever get out of work…

    Derrick


  31. I think that RWS was trying to compete with Beeman’s nickel plated/black composite stocked R1. Anybody remember that? It was called the Beeman R1 AW or All-Weather or something…Come on. Would I make this stuff up? McMillan composite stocks were new and all the rage….

    Derrick



  32. Western PA,

    Thanks! The closest RWS got to a good synthetic stock is the Panther. But not sniper style. Personally I like wood. But at times the light synthetic stocks are great.

    I feel the 52 is highly under-rated. Also several potential buyers are scared away by the weight, broken scope stories and at times, price.

    But this gun holds a lot of potential. Especially in .22.

    Mo.



  33. Mo,

    I have one question about the surgical scrubber: what percentage isopropyl alchohol is it? Here we usually have 70% and 99% “rubbing alchohol”, and I’ve used both, but the 99% would seem to be better, due to the water in the other kind. 99% is harder to find and a little more expensive, but for small projects, one bottle goes a long way.



  34. BG_Farmer,

    I assume you are talking about not using scopes for this 2" group at 100 yards with a 500fps to 700fps air rifle?
    With my eyes, I'd rather try for 5/16" at 25 yards with the new S&W 586-8 pistol… than 2" at 100 yards with a R-7, if were not using scopes.. a R-7 would be a good low power choice with a scope.. I've got a HW-30… (for a little while longer.. Vince?) But I think the CZ 634 might do as well… Hard is good.. possible is best…

    Wayne


  35. Matt61,

    WHAT “new $10,000 rifle being issued to the U.S. Army”?

    And while we’re on the subject, why can’t the military buy a plain lead pencil for under $200?


  36. Derrick,

    I remember the AW R-1’s well. I don’t think they were good sellers, as they ended up discounting them a good bit below the STD R-1 price. I already had an R-1 when they came out and didn’t bite. Now they sell at a premium. Go figure.

    I do have the HW30S with the nickel coated barrel and black stock You can get any of the HW rifles in the black and silver look still, but I believe most of the stocks are just painted, not a polymer like the R-1 was.

    While I generally favor the warmth of wood, I am getting more attached to my FX Whisper each day. I appreciate the rifle more due to all my time with springers. I think I feel a story coming on.

    You implied you were busy at work. May I ask what field you are in?


  37. Vince, Volvo & BG_Farmer,

    The problem as I see it with the open sight 100 yard 2" group or bucket shot.. is the barrel gets in the way as you aim high enough to allow for all that drop.. did anyone do a "chair gun" on it? I signed up, but haven't had time to figure it out yet.. I would guess that a JSB 8.4 shot from my HW-30 would leave the barrel at 655fps and drop about 3 or 4 feet in 100 yards.. So how do you see a 2" target that looks like 1/8" at best, behind the 5/8" dia barrel?… can we have a plumb bob hanging over the target?

    It sounds like fun, if we can come up with something that is feasible.. How about a 7/8" hole at 50 yards if your saying 500fps, like the daisy 499.. or the R-7, or any 700fps or less rifle, for 100 yards and a 2" hole.. if we must.. then let people video tape it.. what fun showing how one modifies the sights to get it done..

    So, Vince, how would you modify my/our HW-30 so this could be done.. that is pretty high rear sights, isn't it?

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range


  38. My best guess on the new $10,000 rifle for the Army is the Crosman Marauder. The seemingly high cost is mostly due to making it compatible with ALICE.


  39. Wayne,

    If you think it is doable with a scoped R7, feel free to try it that way, even use a rest to start out if it helps. My thinking is that if it can be done that way, someone, somewhere, might be able to do it offhand with peep sights. The original shots were depicted as incredibly good (perhaps impossibly so), so I’ve been trying to stay faithful to that; from all I can tell, Quigley was shooting way past the effective range of even his highly modified buffalo gun.

    By the way, I know I can never make those three shots, but that won’t stop me from spending a lot of time trying:).

    On the other hand, if you can shoot a pistol like that, your eyes may be better than you think:).



  40. Volvo,

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that I was busy at work. I was just AT work. Ha ha, sometimes there’s a difference.

    I work at a bicycle shop.

    Looks like that Diana I was thinking of was a nickeled model 34 with an epoxy coated (sounds suspiciously like they mean painted) stock.

    The bipod must be stuck in my head from someone’s modified gun or the current model 48 Professional.

    Derrick


  41. Wayne,

    My post crossed your second one. 2″ at 100 yards looks just like 1/2″ at 25 yards. The drop is awful (I’m not near Chairgun, though I did run it), but I have a magic Mendoza sight that shoots uselessly high, which I’m hoping will be enough. I wouldn’t mind making a tang sight if that’s what it takes. Anyway, I’m not trying to be difficult, just trying to make up a fun but truly difficult challenge…None of us lose face if we can’t outshoot “Matthew Quigley”:).



  42. Chuck, I’m not going to get into the Twilight Zone thing and would never mention anything about a certain someone being stationed not too far from the Swiss border–not me Mr B.



  43. BG_Farmer,

    The reason I used Surgical Spirit was cause it was the only solvent I could find that was strong enough to remove the paint before it dries and weak enough not to have adverse effects on skin contact or damage the stock.

    The mix I have has 99% ethyl alcohol. The remaining being denaturants. This one has no added color or perfume oils.

    Mo.




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