Diana Chaser Pistol Part 6

Diana Chaser Pistol Part 6

Adding optics

By Dennis Adler

There have been some conversations over the rear sight on the Chaser and if it could be replaced with a better rear sight, and it might be possible, but if you are going to upgrade the Chaser .22 (or the .177 model) might as well go for optics and get the most accuracy you can from this exceptional entry-level CO2 powered target pistol. I decided to match it up with a Hawke 1x30mm red/green dot scope with a 9-11mm rail mount. The Hawke has flip up covers over the lenses (pictured closed), which is great on a rifle, but for a pistol they are easy to remove being hinged on hard rubber covers that slip over the barrels of the sight.

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.

It is a handsome combination that looks a lot more expensive than it actually is. This combo averages $125 for the .22 pistol and Hawke scope.

Vision quest

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.

There was a 30 minute break between Friday’s downpours, and sunshine, too, so I did a quick 10 meter test outdoors with the .22 and Hawke scope. In bright light a green dot is easier to see than red. This is another advantage of the Hawke which provides both red and green dot reticles.

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.

In order to mount any optics on the Chaser’s 11mm rail you have to remove the rear sight. This begins with unscrewing the Phillips head screw at the front of the sight.

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.

After removing the front screw, remove the elevation adjustment screw (which is a flathead) and slowly raise the rear sight upward, carefully removing the elevation spring underneath so it doesn’t pop out and fly across the room into a dark hole. There is another Phillips head screw under the sight that needs to be removed, and then the entire housing can be lifted off exposing the 11mm rail.

Here are the parts that need to be removed. They should be put into a small plastic bag and stored in the case. As you can see the 11mm rail runs the entire length of the receiver and measures 2.75 inches.

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.

The Hawke fits nicely on top of the Chaser. It comes with reversible clamps for 9mm and 11mm rails. When I unpacked this one the clamps (arrow) were in the 9mm position, so you need to loosen the locking screws, pull the clamps away from the base and flip them over. Once this is done the Hawke will slip on to the rail and line up perfectly. It is positioned as far back as it will go on the receiver’s rail, which is flush to the back. Unfortunately the front barrel of the scope blocks the Stormrider magazine and you can’t use it unless you move the scope back a quarter of an inch beyond the back of the rail to clear the pellet magazine. That looks a little odd and only leaves half of the rear clamp in contact with the rail. I’ll probably try that with the rifle version next week to see just how far back it has to go to clear the magazine and still keep the scope on the rail.

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.

The Chaser and the Hawke make a pretty effective pair. This target, fired offhand at 10 meters, is pretty tight (except for the flyer in the 9 ring at 2 o’clock) but still measures 0.625 inches center-to-center. That’s a dime.

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.

With the bright sun, a clam breeze, and a half empty CO2 cylinder, my shots were beginning to hit below POA but I had a nice target going just the same and ran 10 consecutive shots, all low but grouped in just 0.5 inches. Yes, I like the Chaser and Hawke combo!

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.

11 thoughts on “Diana Chaser Pistol Part 6

  1. The optics confirm that TheChaser is target accurate. Very impressive and confirms the pistol’s Best Buy status. I hope Pyramid bundles the stock with a pistol, and wouldn’t be a bad idea to offer a premium sighted target , and optic package as well.


  2. I’m posting the following comment a second time because the system is holding up my first comment with links saying, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” I don’t know why it’s awaiting moderation. The links are to Pyramyd Air product listings. Here’s my comments without links.

    The CenterPoint 1×25 Multi-TAC Quick Aim Sight has mounting rings that are not attached to the scope tube. The supplied rings could be replaced with alternate rings that provide enough elevation to allow the Stormrider magazine to be used.

    UTG has 11 mm Dovetail to Weaver mount adapters that insert right into the Weaver mount on the scope ring so that you can then attach to a dovetail. These adapters are available in the Pyramyd Air Accessories.



  3. With regards to the Hawke Sight, It looks like one could drill and tap the rear screw forward a little, thus moving the sight back to allow the magazine to fit while maintaining a good clamp?


    • I’m not a big fan of driling and tapping holes. You could, but it really works just fine as is. The small degree of overlap at the rear is not a problem as will you see in Part 7 and it leaves just enough clearance for the rotary magazine to fit. Be sure to read Part 7.

      Dennis


      • Thanks for the reply. I am a compentent machinist, so I will give it a go and post a picture. I should get the sight this weekend. I think I would like the security of both clamps fully on the dovetail.


  4. Hi, attached is the picture of the adjusted Hawke mount. Turns out the mount uses a stud so just drilling a new hole is required. Need to make sure the new hole is straight. I found the mounting clips didn’t fit very well and requiring some filing. Very happy with the accuracy. Hmmm need resize photo to meet upload limits, will do later.



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