Diana Chaser Pistol Part 2

Diana Chaser Pistol Part 2 Part 1

An entry level target pistol that impresses

By Dennis Adler

The foam liner in the cardboard box comes out and fits into the zippered carrying case so you have a range case with the gun. No problem with storage here! For less than $80 you might have expected a blister pack, certainly not this. Diana has made entry level pistols respectable again. Note the space at the top right that will hold a couple of tins of pellets, and two openings for the extra cost Stormrider pellet magazines

There are several features of the new Diana Chaser that really make this a great target pistol regardless of its affordable price point. That it’s a Diana makes a perfect place to start because there’s a certain level of quality that you expect with the name, particularly with a single shot target pistol. As I mentioned in Part 1, the Chaser has a distinctive grip contour that is designed to press the extended base of the grip around the palmswell of the shooter’s hand. The grip also has a pronounced thumb rest shelf. These two features help stabilize the pistol in your hand, especially when shooting one-handed. And the grip contours are ambidextrous.

When it comes to ergonomics and target pistols, grips are one of the essentials and the Diana’s design provides a solid hold by wrapping around the palmswell and pushing into the side of the hand for stability.

It is an ambidextrous design. The contour of the grip shows well in my left hand. Notice how the grip supports the shooting hand thumb, keeping it in proper position, while the rest of the hand gets a tight wrap around the frontstrap. This is a very narrow grip so if you have large hands or long fingers the shape will still work. Notice how the back of the extended pistol grip runs under the palmswell and presses into the hand. This gun sets rock solid. Also notice the fine receiver finish and white laser engraved Diana name and Chaser logo.

Another reason the grip shape is advantageous is because the grip itself is narrow, only 1.006 inches at its widest point. The depth of the grip, at mid point, is only 1.625 inches, so your hand really wraps around it. This is where the extended rear grip contour, pressing into the palm of the hand, helps keep the gun stabilized. It also makes the Chaser suitable for different hand sizes. I found it perfect for my medium-sized hands (as I shot it both right- and left-handed to show different ways to work the bolt action). The height of the gun, base of the grip to top of the rear sight, is 6-inches and the sight radius is an abundant 11 inches (which is great with the shoulder stock mounted in the pistol configuration). Is this a particularly comfortable air pistol to hold? That really depends on your hands. The undercut triggerguard can be beneficial, but if you have smaller hands, your middle finger can get pressed between the back of the triggerguard and the frame. My grip on the Chaser gave me plenty of relief and my hand was still higher up on the grip than it would be if the triggerguard came straight back. I think for the average shooter it will prove to be an asset.

This is what makes the Chaser a must have for beginners or seasoned shooters. With the Stormrider magazine the Chaser can send 9 lead or alloy wadcutters downrange before reloading. The bolt action works smoothly from shot to shot.

The Chaser is a bit muzzle heavy but with a two-handed hold that’s negligible. And a two-handed hold is the best way to shoot the Chaser, especially with the optional 9-round pellet magazine inserted. This little gem, borrowed from the new Stormrider PCP rifle, makes the Chaser into a bolt-action repeater. And this is where the fun really begins!

Right-handed shooters will like the bolt on the left. Left-handed shooters will need to make a couple of adjustments to the off-side bolt handle. There’s more than one way to do this…

…but I often shoot left-handed for practice, even though I am right-handed (but left-eye dominant), and with the Chaser I found the fastest way to work the bolt was to roll the gun over and work it as shown. This is more helpful when using the Stormrider pellet magazine.

I used my thumb to push the bolt closed and down, and you are ready to roll the gun over again and re-sight. Shooting right-handed with the Chaser and pellet magazine, the bolt action is fast and you can keep the gun pretty much on target while working the action.

Loaded with 1.77 caliber (4.5mm) pellets, the Stormrider magazine gives you a lot of target shooting time without having to reload. The bolt action is firm but once you have a rhythm for working it, you can move from shot to shot pretty fast. This is even better with the shoulder stock mounted, which we will do in Part 3. With the longer 17.7 inch barrel you have a bolt action 9-shot carbine in .177 caliber and 7-shot in .22 caliber.

Other noteworthy features

There is a knurled knob extending from the front of the CO2 chamber cap. This is a threaded “strengthening rod” that can be unscrewed and run into the holes in the cap to help tighten down the CO2 and to remove the cap when the CO2 is exhausted. Hand tightening the cap depends upon your individual hand strength. Diana took that into consideration.

It looks more like a precharged pneumatic than a CO2 pistol and the screw under the pistol grip is misleading. There is no CO2 chamber in the grip (though it can store an extra CO2 cartridge). The front of the under barrel chamber unscrews and the CO2 goes here.

Just put a drop of RWS Air Chamber Lube or Pellgun oil on the tip and slip the cartridge into the Chaser under barrel chamber. Replace the cap; tighten it down to pierce the CO2 and you’re ready to go.

Tightening that cap and piercing the CO2 takes a strong hand. Diana knew that going into the design and added a threaded “strengthening rod” inside the cap that fits through the holes so you have enough torque to seat the CO2. This also comes in handy when it is time to change the CO2 (after about 50 rounds).

The pellet loading channel (called a loading base in the instruction book or a loading tray) is exposed when the bolt is opened and makes it easier to feed pellets into the chamber, like having a feeding ramp. This is also easily removed by sliding it out (to the left side) when the Stormrider multi-shot pellet magazine in used.

Speaking of the pellet magazine, in order to use it, you have to lock the bolt back by pulling it back until it clicks, then slide the pellet tray out to the left. It is held in place by a magnet, so it won’t fall out when you lock the bolt back.

Here I have a loaded 9-shot Stormrider pellet magazine which slips into the same slot the pellet tray came out of. The magazine also has a metal insert that matches up to the magnet in the receiver so it will stay in place once inserted. When you close the bolt you load the first pellet in the magazine into the chamber.

The magazine slides into the same dovetailed slot, is held in place by a magnet in the base of the receiver (like the loading tray), and locks into the bolt. Each shot allows the rotary magazine to advance to the next pellet as the bolt is opened.

When inserted the pellet magazine leans out to the left side of the receiver to clear the sights. It can be a little distracting at first.

The .177 caliber barrel has a finely machined polished black finish and is locked into the receiver by three hex head screws. The barrel has to be removable in order to swap it out for the 17.7 inch rifle barrel in the kit guns. The Chaser metal receiver is beautifully machined and finished in a fine semi-matte black with DIANA and Chaser laser engraved on the right, caliber markings, model number and serial number on the left, along with the requisite safety warnings. The bolt and bolt handle are also handsomely machined and polished, to give the Chaser the look of a fine target pistol.

As I said earlier, for right-handed shooters the bolt action is quick to operate and you can stay on target. With the shoulder stock attached this is even smoother to operate with either the 8.3 inch or 17.7 inch barrels.

In Part 3 we will go over loading the magazine and also get a further look at the .22 caliber model, which will be shown in the rifle kit. As I mentioned earlier, if you step up to the rifle kit you end up with two barrels, and a shoulder stock, so the rifle can also be converted into the pistol; best of both worlds. At present there is no upgrade with individual parts (17.7 inch rifle barrel or shoulder stock) to take a Chaser pistol and make it into the rifle.

So here’s the ticket, in either 4.5mm (.177) or .5.5mm (.22 caliber) you can buy the pistol kit which includes the pistol with the 8.3 inch barrel, the 17.7 inch barrel with noise suppressor (recessed into the case in this photo) and shoulder stock. The .22 caliber version shown in the zippered case has room for 2 multi-shot magazines and a large rectangular cutout that can hold pellet tins and CO2. The .177 caliber Pistol is shown resting on the case. 

In Parts 3 and 4, it’s time to chronograph the .177 and .22 caliber pistols and then see what they deliver at 10 meters.

4 thoughts on “Diana Chaser Pistol Part 2

  1. Finally a pistol that has caught my imagination. Sure looking forward to chrony and accuracy testing. Dennis, how does the sights compare to the Crosman 1377 ? Best wishes
    Harvey


    • Well, it’s probably a matter of preferences but I’m not that fond of the sights on the 1377, so the Chaser would be my choice. Of course, I haven’t adjusted it yet, so the final verdict is still not in. As for the Chaser as a whole, it is an interesting design with a lot of potential. Looking forward to the chronograph and shooting tests later in the week. If it shoots like it looks, this is going to be a real winner.



    • Not so much a quirk, as a de facto empty magazine device (slide locking back on an empty magazine) since the pellet slots are blocked when the Stormrider magazine is empty. The bolt won’t close, so you know you’re out of ammo.


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