RWS Diana 34

by B.B Pelletier

A reader pointed out that I have never looked at the RWS Diana 34 before, so today I will rectify that. I have actually owned a couple of 34s over the years, and I’ve had both calibers. My time spent with other Diana guns is helpful as well, since things such as triggers and barrels are shared between models.

What IS a Diana 34?
The Diana 34 is an entry-level, German-made Diana breakbarrel spring-piston rifle. It’s important that you know this rifle is made in Germany, because in recent years, RWS, like Beeman, has added guns to their lines made in Spain and now China. While the powerplants of guns from those countries might be as good as the lower-cost German guns, the barrels and triggers usually aren’t. read more

Killing snakes with an airgun

by B.B. Pelletier

This is not your normal posting, because I don’t usually discuss killing critters with airguns. That’s not going to change, but a question last week prompted me to write this one post. A reader asked if there was a good semiauto pellet gun for under $100 that he might use to kill venomous snakes. Of course, there is no semiauto pellet gun for less than $100 and even if there was, it wouldn’t be the thing for hunting snakes. What you want is a single-shot breakbarrel.

What I’m about to share with you, I had discovered 30 years ago and have used it successfully ever since. I’ve killed many snakes, venomous and otherwise, with this tip – every one was a one-shot instant kill. read more

How can a single-stroke pneumatic be a repeater?

by B.B. Pelletier

This question came from one of our more active readers who wonders why a gun that requires you have to do something other than simply pulling the trigger for each shot can be called a repeater. That’s a good fundamental question that I’d like to answer today.

Single-shots came first
Nobody will argue that early muzzleloading firearms were single-shots. The shooter had to preform an elaborate loading ritual each time he wanted to shoot the gun. Shooters in those days must have thought, what a blessing it would be if that were not necessary – if the gun could just be cocked again and shot without reloading!

There were many early attempts to create repeating firearms before 1800 – but the one I want to mention was the gun invented by Italian Bartolomeo Girandoni. He worked to get his gun perfected; but, when it blew off his son’s arm in an accident, he abandoned the idea of working with gunpowder (too dangerous) and went to airguns. The 22-shot Girandoni repeating AIR RIFLE was adopted by the Austrian army in 1780, and they took delivery of up to 1,500 arms before the contract ended. This air rifle was capable of hitting a man-sized target from greater than 100 yards with lethal results! Imagine – everyone on the battlefield is shooting single-shot smoothbores that can’t be expected to hit a man beyond 40 yards, and here comes a guy with a 22-shot repeating RIFLE! It was the assault rifle of its day (only this assault rifle was really accurate, too). read more

Daisy No. 12, Model 29

by B.B. Pelletier

Daisy’s No. 12, model 29 is a retro-looking single-shot from the 1920s and ’30s.

I love this little BB gun – just for the way it looks. It’s so retro, and, indeed, it’s a follow-on to Daisy’s earlier model H. According to Dunathan’s The American B.B Gun book, the No. 12,pyramydai Model 29 was produced from 1918 to 1937. The Blue Book of Airguns, Fifth Edition puts the dates between 1929 and 1932. I believe Dunathan is closer to correct because this gun is obviously a follow-on to the model H, which ended in 1920 (Dunathan) or 1923 (Blue Book).

It’s a single-shot that shoots both BBs and darts. To load it, you remove the barrel using the bayonet-type front sight blade, which is actually a spring-loaded barrel catch. The BB goes in the rear of the barrel and rolls down until it hits the shot seat, which is a constriction. There, it sits until the gun is fired. In this day of semiautomatic BB guns, I wonder how many shooters would be patient enough to put up with a system like this? read more

Open sights: part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

We are discussing the types of open sights encountered on sporting airguns and firearms.

Post and bead
This has been a popular sporting sight for more than a century. The front sight is a blade with a small bead on top. The rear sight is a u-shaped notch. On some guns, a v-shape is possible, but that means whoever selected the rear sight was not familiar with this type.

The bead on top of a post has been a popular sporting front sight for a long time – and still is today. The bead represents where the bullet will go.

I have never cared for this sight. I find it too arbitrary for accuracy beyond simple plinking, and I find that the bead is almost never lighted well enough to use it the way it was intended. The recent addition of fiber optics has made an improvement to the second shortcoming, but the sight is still too imprecise for me. On the other hand, it is found on more guns than any other sight. read more

Open sights: part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

This post was promised last week, and it will take more than one posting to cover it all. Open sights are so simple-looking that few shooters give them a second thought. If we had been brought up at a time when firearms had no sights, we would probably appreciate today’s highly refined open sights much more.

Blade and notch
The earliest open sights were on the front of the gun only and were nothing more than a reference point. Since the guns themselves weren’t accurate, the sights were of little concern. However, during the matchlock era, rifling came into play, and the shooting community also discovered that a close-fitting lead ball can be very accurate when fired from a smoothbore, too. In fact, there was a club of target shooters in Ohio in the 1800s that shot nothing but smoothbore guns and round balls. They were said to be capable of making groups of just a few inches at 100 yards with those guns! read more

Crosman’s new 2300S

by B.B. Pelletier

Crosman’s new CO2 pistol! The 2300S is the gun that aftermarket makers have been building for years. Now, Crosman offers it straight from the factory

You can tell a lot about a company by the new products they field, and Crosman is a company that’s alive with new products. Some of them, like this new Crosman 2300S target pistol, show they are listening to the serious airgun market.

What is the 2300S?
You may not know this, but Crosman doesn’t offer a .177 version of the 2240 pistol. That’s just the reverse of what usually happens, because .177 is so much more salable these days. Well, the 2300S is a longer-barrelled .177 version of the 2240. However, it’s a lot more than just that. read more