Diana Chaser Pistol Part 6
By Dennis Adler
Yes, I know this is supposed to be a test of the Chaser .22 with the rifle barrel but there has been a lot of talk about the sights on the Chaser, such as changing the rear sight for one with more adjustments. With the 11mm rail running the entire length of the receiver this opens the door for several possibilities to upgrade the Chaser. One suggestion has been the Air Venturi Williams notch rear sight. It will fit, but whether it will be comparable with the very tall ramped front sight on the Chaser is another question. This is something we will have to delve into at another time, as well as other options for adjustable sights. But today, to put one possible upgrade for the pistol or rifle version to bed, I want to address the very affordable option of adding optics.
Optics are hot; more and more handgun manufacturers are introducing semi-auto pistols with dovetailed mounting plates built into the slide, and some models come with a reflex sight as a standard feature, like the Smith & Wesson Pro Series C.O.R.E. (Competition Optics Ready Equipment) M&P40, several variations of Sig Sauer pistols, including the P320 RX, and Springfield Armory’s XD(M) .45 O.S.P. (Optical Sight Pistol). It may be only a matter of time until a similar approach is taken by an airgun manufacturer with a CO2 powered semi-auto. Red dot sights have been around for decades, reflex sights nearly as long, and the technology to build them more efficiently has brought the cost way down. Reflex sights for air pistols are very affordable, but you have to be able to mount them. Diana eliminated that problem by incorporating an 11mm rail across the top of the Chaser’s receiver. All you need to do is remove the rear sight and mount an optic with an 11mm base (or a base adjustable to 11mm). You can also mount an 11mm to Weaver rail to use other scopes and reflex sights. Options abound.
For this article I have selected a Hawke Sport Optics 1x30mm red/green dot scope with a 9-11mm rail mount. This is a medium-priced scope with an anodized aluminum chassis, 25 layer multi-coated optics, 5 MOA dot, and 5 brightness settings in red or green. The Hawke has flip up protective covers for the lenses, which can be a little annoying depending upon the gun it’s mounted to, so the covers on the Hawke are hinged to removable shrouds that fit over the lens barrels. This makes them easy to remove for mounting the scope on a pistol, where the flip up lens covers can be annoying. The Hawke Model 12120 weighs only 5.7 ounces and runs on a single CR 2032 battery. It has a suggested retail of $60 and yes that puts it at almost the same price of the Chaser pistol, but doubling the investment with an optic is money well spent.
More bullseye hits?
The first thing you need to do is remove the rear sight from the Chaser’s receiver. This requires unscrewing the Philips head screw at the front of the mount, then removing the elevation screw which is a flathead, carefully lifting the rear sight up about half way until you see the adjustment spring underneath. Making sure not to let the spring pop out (springs go all kinds of places), remove it as you raise the rear sight and set it aside. Underneath is a second Phillips head screw to remove and then the sight comes off the receiver.
The Hawke has two sides to the locking clamps 9mm and 11mm. I had to loosen the locking screws and rotate the clamps to fit the 11mm rail, and then slide the sight onto the receiver, positioning it as far to the rear edge as possible. First thoughts are, “Will the bolt handle clear the bottom of the locking screws?” Yes. The next question is, “Will the Stormrider magazine still fit?” And the answer there is unfortunately, no. It won’t clear the barrel of the Hawke scope. With the scope mounted, the Chaser is a single shot target pistol.
With the Chaser needing sight adjustments for each brand of pellet, at least with the adjustable rear sight, I decided to limit my Hawke optics test to one brand only and shoot the Meisterkugeln 14 gr. wadcutters. We have already established average velocity at 445 fps and shooting at 10 meters with the Hawke scope set on the green dot, I began making sight adjustments with my own sighting target. It took only six shots to zero in and of those six three were almost overlapping. Switching to a 10 meter target my best five rounds went into the bullseye, 10 and 9 rings, with four of five overlapping and the fifth just a hair higher, for a spread of 0.625 inches.
I ran half a dozen other targets with similar results so I was pretty satisfied with the Hawke setup on the Chaser. One thing about target shooting with the .22 Diana, it goes through CO2 pretty fast; I would estimate 25 to 30 shots before you begin to see a drop in point of impact. And that brings me to my last target of the day. Running low on air and hitting a little below the bullseye, I was still getting tight groups. My last target (pictured) has 10 consecutive rounds at 0.5 inches.
The .22 pistol with the Hawke scope has a total MSRP of $146 and sells for around $125 through Pyramyd Air. I don’t think you can get a better combination for shooting fun, target accuracy, and value for the dollar. The Chaser and the Hawke is a pretty good pair.
Next week the real conclusion of the Chaser series with the .22 rifle, a full range test at both 10 meters and 50 feet to see how accurate the rifle version is for plinking and small game. In the event I get rained out (the rifle needs to be tested outdoors), I have another surprise in the lineup to substitute next week. It’s all an airgun experience, come rain or come shine.