Diana Chaser Pistol Part 4

Diana Chaser Pistol Part 4 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Range testing the .177 caliber model

By Dennis Adler

As a pistol the Diana Chaser delivers a lot of bang for the buck. It’s medium-loud with no felt recoil whatsoever. The balance of this airgun in the hand makes it easy to hold on target in either a traditional one-handed target shooting stance or with a two-handed hold and Weaver stance. If you are serious about learning to target shoot with a single shot pistol, using a one-handed target shooting stance, the Chaser is a great airgun to begin with. It has good sights, a surprisingly light, well made trigger, and is easy to load and fire with its bolt action design.

If I was seeing the Diana Chaser rifle kit, or even just the Chaser pistol for the very first time, and had no advance information on its suggested retail price, then saw what features it had, how it came packaged, and how well it appears to be made, I wouldn’t have blinked if I was told the pistol sold for $149.95 and $199.95 for the rifle and pistol kit; in fact I’d have thought it was darn reasonable. Why? Because we are talking about an entry-level airgun market where model ranges are often separated in price by less than $50, and retailers look at the MSRP, wholesale cost per unit, allotted shelf space (in stores like Walmart), and then the discounted price it will actually have to sell for. When you consider all of variables, all of a sudden $50 is a big number. This even applies to internet retailers like Pyramyd Air, because almost every gun is sold below MSRP. The beauty is that no one has to drive to the store, you just pick and click and it’s on the way.

Even though the Chaser is an entry-level target pistol, Diana didn’t skimp on the sights. The fully adjustable rear has reference marks for both elevation and windage. While it does not have click stops, if you keep notes (or have a great memory) you can make adjustments and easily reset the sights to the zeroed factory position. I found the setting perfect for my initial test and made no adjustments. The gun was zeroed for windage (though I often wasn’t) and the elevation was POA under the bullseye at 10 meters.

What we expect for under $100 (more often under $80) is a fairly good looking, serviceable air pistol that will shoot accurately. When a new air pistol comes along that breaks the established norm, and offers more than expected for the price, you have to ask yourself “what’s the catch?” When it comes to Dianawerk, one of the most recognized names in air rifles, the catch is simply that the Chaser isn’t made in Germany. Well, neither are the vast majority of German, Italian or American branded airguns, yet we don’t think twice about that. Dianawerk put their new design into the hands of a Chinese manufacturer and they built the gun to Diana’s specifications. If Diana is pleased with the results we should be as well, more so, because that $149.95 to $199.95 price that we would have expected to pay is only $76.99 to $131.99 and there is no bump in price for the .22 caliber models. And you still have every right to be skeptical.

The Chaser has a trigger you might expect to find on a more costly air pistol. It is a two-stage trigger with a very short pull, which can be adjusted, (however, there is no tool included with the gun for that purpose), and an average trigger press of only 2 pounds, 14.7 ounces.

Recapping the Chaser  

Thus far we have determined that the build quality is very good, the fit and finish excellent, accessories well made and interchangeable between the .177 and .22 caliber models, and the additional multi-shot magazines, built for the precharged pneumatic Diana Stormrider air rifle were designed to fit the Chaser as well. We know about the cardboard box, form fit liner and zippered carrying case, and we know that it has a higher value look than other single-shot air pistols in this price range (forget about the multi-shot part, that’s something else altogether). The only thing I would like to have seen would be a white outline for the rear sight and a white dot, or better, a fiber optic front sight. A lot of target shooters prefer traditional pistol sights, so that isn’t even anything you can honestly complain about. What’s left, is how well the trigger works, and how accurate the Chaser is in both pistol and rifle configurations. If it scores high in these last two evaluations, the Diana could be the low ball, back door, best buy of the year for an entry-level airgun. But it has to deliver. Not only does the Diana name build our expectations, but the design of the airgun itself hints at 10 meter accuracy.

With the shoulder stock (borrowed from the .22 rifle/pistol kit, since I only had the Chaser pistol in 4.5mm) I shot the carbine pistol 10 meter tests using a 4.5mm Diana Stormrider 9-shot magazine. This is a fairly easy magazine to load. On the side that faced the bolt there is a clear plastic cover. You rotate it counter clockwise, and as it moves around it exposes an open port from the backside of the magazine into which you place one pellet nose up. Move the plastic cover another step, insert another pellet and continue the process until you have loaded nine. At this point the leading edge of the clear plastic cover will be on the left side of the magazine, just opposite of where it is in this photo loading the first pellet…

…after the last pellet, rotate the cover clockwise to close it with the first pellet showing through the opening in the clear plastic cover. When the magazine is empty a solid channel moves into the slot preventing the bolt from closing, a reminder that “you’re out of ammo.”

Diana’s use of the Stormrider’s magazine for the Chaser is not the first time a single shot target pistol has been fitted with a similar style multi-round magazine. The Diana Stormrider magazine is similar in design to the Benjamin Marauder pistol and rifle magazines, as well as the Umarex Gauntlet, and Kral magazines, but again, you have to look at the price point of a Benjamin Marauder precharged pneumatic at a $500 MSRP vs. the CO2 powered Chaser at under $80. The Diana really has no direct price point CO2 competitor with all these features. The closest is the Crosman 2240 but it is only a pistol, only available in .22 (though it has an optional shoulder stock) but doesn’t have a multi-shot magazine capability.

Shooting the .177 model

First off, let’s look at the two-stage trigger design. This is an alloy trigger with an integral crossbolt safety; nothing fancy. It has a nearly vertical profile (which reminds me of several cast alloy triggers used on centerfire pistol upgrades) and a very short factory set take up of only 0.0625 inches. You absorb between 14.2 and 14.5 ounces of trigger pull resistance during that short 1/16th of an inch take up. The remaining pull is another 0.125 inches with a total trigger pull resistance of 2 pounds, 14.7 ounces average. It has a light sensation of drag as you pull through but it is as close to a target trigger as this price range air pistol can come. It is not as fine a trigger as an Air Venturi V10, which trips at 2 pounds, 1.2 ounces, but is actually very close to the trigger pull on the Tanfoglio Gold Custom, which averages 2 pounds, 13 ounces. This is a better trigger than I have found on the majority of air pistols at this price, and even some costing considerably more. The trigger pull on the Chaser does not induce any negative effect with accuracy. If you miss, it won’t be because of a heavy or sloppy trigger.

One point that I have already brought up to Diana is that the adjustable trigger is neither mentioned in the instruction book, nor does the Chaser come with the hex head tool necessary to make adjustments to the trigger take up.

The magazine slips easily into the channel in the receiver where the pellet tray fits for single shot loading. The removed pellet tray can be seen just to the left of the open pellet tin.

Next, let’s look at the sights. This is a basic windage and elevation adjustable target rear sight that comes preset and zeroed in. There is no mention in the instruction book as to what distance the sight has been set, but when I do my initial test it will be at 10 meters and we’ll see how the factory settings fair. As for adjustments, the windage setting has five positions (hash marks) on either side of center; the elevation screw is also marked with detents around its circumference, so every change in elevation and windage is precise and there is no guesswork (if you keep notes) as to how far it has been adjusted.

With the lightweight alloy H&N Sport Match Green wadcutters I managed a best five rounds out of 10 measuring 0.5 inches and a total spread of 0.937 inches firing offhand at 10 meters.

10 Meter Pistol

To test the .177 caliber (4.5mm) Chaser as a target pistol, I fired it as a single shot. With the stock attached, I switched to the Stormrider pellet magazine to make it into a bolt action repeating carbine pistol. All tests were shot at 10 meters with three different types of pellets, RWS Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters, RWS R 10 Match 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters, and H&N Sport 5.25 gr. Match Green alloy wadcutters. After my first few rounds I found the Diana windage adjustment zeroed in dead center and the elevation almost POA with slight variances depending upon the pellet being fired. In short, I found no reason to make any changes to the settings on the gun as it came out of the box.

My best group of the day was shot with the RWS R 10 Match wadcutters which gave me two very nice 5-shot groups measuring 0.625 inches and 0.437 inches.

As a single shot pistol, I was hoping for a dime-sized group with H&N but I shortchanged myself a bit with a total 10-round spread of 0.937 inches (a dime is 0.687 inches) but I still had a best five at 0.5 inches using the lightweight H&N alloy pellets. After the H&N I decided to go for the gold (literally the color on the RWS R 10 Match pellet tin) running another 10 shots through the Chaser. This time I got my dime and then some with a bullseye blowout for five shots measuring 0.625 inches and a second group dead center top with a spread of 0.437 inches. The RWS Meisterkugeln Professional Line hit a little higher (or I did) and punched 10 shots into a spread measuring 1.187 inches with a best 5-rounds grouped at 0.74 inches. The R 10 Match pellets won the set.

My old standby, RWS Meisterkugeln 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters, didn’t do quite as well as the R 10 Match pellets in the Chaser, giving me a total spread for 10 shots of 1.187 inches, and a best 5 rounds grouped into 0.74 inches.

Carbine Pistol at 10 meters

As a carbine pistol (using the shoulder stock from the .22 Chaser) I went with the best shooting pellet from the pistol test, the RWS R 10 Match. Sighting is easier and the stability of the Chaser with the stock is exactly what armsmakers in the 19th century sought to achieve, a rifle-like hold with a pistol to achieve a longer, more accurate shot.

When I switched to the shoulder stock and Stormrider magazine I put up a new baffle box so my first shots would be on a fresh cardboard backer and make perfect wadcutter holes. This doesn’t last long after you punch a few dozen rounds into the same area. But for my shoulder stock test (shot indoors because it was pouring down rain) I had a best 9 shots measuring 0.875 inches with a best five at 0.56 inches using RWS R 10 Match pellets.

My best 9-shot groups (one full Stormrider 4.5mm magazine) measured 0.875 inches with a best five at 0.56 inches. I had nice round holes thanks to a new baffle box with a fresh backer. I was sort of amazed that I went almost completley around the 9 ring, nicked the 10 and never touched the red bullseye. Yeah, just the way I planned it…

As anyone who has been following the weather in Pennsylvania knows, it rains almost every day and right after a downpour the sun popped out, I grabbed a target stand, took the Chaser carbine pistol outside at 10 meters and shot a 9-round group measuring 0.81 inches with five shots measuring 0.437 inches. Not bad for an $80 air pistol!

The rain stopped, the sun came out, I saw my shadow and grabbed the shoulder stocked Chaser, a target stand and headed outside. At 10 meters in bright sun with plenty of light to frame the sights against the target, I landed 9 shots at 0.81 inches with five rounds measuring 0.437 inches.

As a repeater, the Diana’s bolt action feels very much like a small .22 caliber rifle (and with the 17.7 inch barrel it would be). Unfortunately, I didn’t have the 4.5mm Chaser rifle barrel, so this test concludes with the Diana as a carbine pistol. But the results with the 8.3 inch rifled barrel are a very good indicator of what the 17.7 inch barrel can do.

In the conclusion to the Diana Chaser series I will run the .22 caliber model through the same series of range tests in pistol, pistol carbine, and in rifle configurations.

12 thoughts on “Diana Chaser Pistol Part 4




    • It would have to be a correct fit to the existing holes in the Diana receiver, also correct width and approximate height to the front sight. I will have to look into this further to give you a better answer, but my feeling is that it probably would be more expense and work than practical. The sight on the Chaser is pretty good. I would opt for an optical sight with an 11mm base to fit the rail on the Chaser.


      • Actually, the Williams Notch Sight I have mounted on my Crosman 2300KT uses a dovetail mount. There’s no need to line up with the mounting holes on the receiver. When mounted, the elevation control is on the left side of the receiver. My concern is whether or not the elevation control would interfere with the bolt handle.

        https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Air_Venturi_Williams_Rear_Sight_Notched_Blade_Elevation_Windage_Adj_3_8_Mount/3978

        The other half of that would be changing out the front blade sight for one designed to work with the Williams Notch Sight.


        • I was looking at the wrong Williams sight, my mistake, but yes the Air Venturi Williams rear would fit on the Chaser rail with a 3/8th inch dovetail mount. I will get the overall length and see if it would leave enough room for the bolt to pull all the way back. Looks like it will be close.


        • Here is the official word. I will have to get one and find out for sure. “It fits fine and allows the bolt to move without any interference. The problem is that the sight sits considerably lower than the factory rear sight, so it may not align properly with the front sight.”

          Dennis


          • I expected something like that or the Chaser front blade sight being too wide to work with the Williams notch sight. That’s why I suggested in my previous comment that the front blade sight might need to be replaced with one compatible with the Williams notch sight.


          • I’m looking at the Chaser right now and after removing the threaded barrel cap that plastic front sight unit is firmly mounted to the barrel. I do not see that it would be easy to remove. It isn’t too wide, it is too tall. If one were adept at modifications it could be lowered (skillfully ground down) to align with the Williams rear sight. If I were doing it I would grind the blade down flush with the ramp and find a front sight insert that could be mounted on the flat top of the ramp and align with the Williams rear notch. Would be an interesting project, just not sure it is practical for a $70 air pistol. The Air Venturi Williams notch rear sight costs as much as the Chaser pistol. Given the accuracy of the Chaser though, might be worth the effort to make a Chaser as accurate as target pistols costing well over $200.



    • I’m not sure just yet but I will be looking into that at the end of the series by mounting a red dot sight with an 11mm rail mount. To do this, you need to remove the rear sight and this gives you a rail length of 2.75 inches from the back of the receiver to the back of the channel for the Stormrider magazine, to pellet tray. I won’t know for certain if this is enough length until I try mounting the optic. It is not here yet and I do not have the OAL measurements for it. But we will know soon!



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