Diana Chaser Pistol Part 2 Part 1
An entry level target pistol that impresses
By Dennis Adler
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.