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Education / Training Diana model 60 recoilless target rifle: Part 1

Diana model 60 recoilless target rifle: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Cristal Lopez is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. She’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd AIR gift card.

Cristal Lopez is this week’s Big Shot of the Week. She got a chance to shoot her brother’s TX200 Mark III.

Photos and test results by Earl “Mac” McDonald

I had fully planned on testing the velocity of the HW 55 CM for you today, because so many of you indicated an interest in the gun in Part 1. In preparation for that report, I test-fired the rifle against both my HW55 SF and my Walther Olympia LGV, and the results were not what I expected. First, I discovered that the stock screws on the 55 CM were loose. Wouldn’t you know that when I tightened them, the gun vibrated less than before? But the firing cycle still felt a little harsh, so I then fired both the 55 SF and the LGV alongside the 55 CM for a comparison.

As things turned out, the 55 SF recoils about the same as the 55 CM (now that the stock screws are tight), but the SF buzzes a lot more than I remembered.  Instead of shooting what I’d remembered as a “perfect” rifle (the SF), I discovered that I probably need to do something about the powerplant in that rifle, as well.

Then, I shot the LGV. It recoils a lot less than the 55 CM, but you would expect that from a rifle that’s several pounds heavier. However, the LGV also buzzes just a little, so it isn’t the sweetie that I remember, either. It’s not enough to do anything about, but it’s still not the perfectly smooth rifle that I remembered it being. Apparently, the tune that Beeman did on the CM was a good one, and that put me in a quandary about what to do next.

Here’s what I’ve decided. I will definitely test the velocity of the CM as it is now, but then I plan to open the gun and look inside. I expect to find a synthetic piston seal now that I know Beeman rebuilt the rifle. I’ll apply some black tar to the mainspring to soften the firing impulse. Of course, the rifle will be tested once it’s buttoned up again. You’ll have a positive before and after velocity test, plus we’ll all learn if the mainspring inside is an upgraded one or not and if the piston seal is synthetic.

That’s a lot of work, though, and I’m not prepared to do it for today’s report. But Mac just finished testing a Diana model 60 target rifle, so I’m starting that report today.

Mac owns a Hy-Score model 810, which translates to the Diana model 60 recoilless breakbarrel spring-piston target rifle. Diana made several breakbarrel target rifles on what is known as the Giss contra-recoilling piston system that cancels all recoil. I will cover how the Giss system works in the next report, but our Russian blog reader, duskwight, knows all too well how it works, as he’s designing something similar for himself.

Besides the model 60, they made models 65 and 66, both of which have a barrel locking lever to hold the barrel positively shut when firing. The model 60 is the only one of the three that doesn’t have that latch. The model was made from 1963 to 1982, and Mac’s was produced in February 1967.

The Diana model 60, which is a Hy-Score model 810 in this case, is a breakbarrel target rifle from the 1960s and ’70s.

Can a breakbarrel rifle be accurate?
You know, whenever that question is asked, the Diana Model 60 is the rifle I use to answer it. Since the sights are not both (front and rear) mounted to the barrel, the breech joint does come into play! I won’t string you along on this question. Yes, a breakbarrel air rifle can be just as accurate as a fixed barrel air rifle, and Mac will prove it to you in Part 3 of this report.

The Diana 60 uses just a single ball-bearing detent to close and lock the breech in position. It’s the same design that many of their sporting spring rifles of the same era use. Apparently, it works quite well. How well? You’ll have to wait to see.

Description of the rifle
The model 60 is heavy, at about 9.5 lbs. It’s all wood and metal. The only plastic to speak of are the trigger and triggerguard. The rifle spans 43.5 inches, of which 18 inches make up the barrel. The Hy-Score version of the rifle came with a steel barrel jacket for added weight. The length of pull is 13.5 inches, which Mac finds perfect.

The bluing is deep and flawless — what would be found on airguns costing over a thousand dollars these days. The wood stock is checkered with hand-cut diamonds. Of course, the gun was made in the days when human labor was still affordable, so that isn’t such a surprise.

Generous checkering on the flat bottom of the forearm.

All checkering is hand-cut.

The depth of the stock makes it possible for the cocking lever to be one piece and still have a short cocking slot. This would reduce vibration if there was any, but Mac assures me there isn’t. He says it’s difficult to tell when the gun has fired, because it’s so smooth.

The cocking link is one piece, but the depth of the stock allows the cocking slot to be short. This adds to the stability of the rifle.

Mac is very taken with the obvious quality of this rifle. He scrutinized the smallest details, and though I won’t show you all of them, perhaps just one will give you the sense he is trying to convey in his report. The pivot bolt is locked down by a screw that intersects the larger bolt head on its periphery. Many rifles have this, including the Slavia 631 and even the Diana sporting rifles, but few of them have a total of 11 cutouts for the locking screw to intersect with!

It’s a small detail, but Mac feels it conveys the overall quality of the airgun. The barrel pivot bolt head has 11 cutouts on the periphery for the locking screw!

Mac can’t stop talking about the trigger on this rifle, and you must remember that he owns 7 FWB 300 rifles to compare it with. He says it is so delightful that he doesn’t want to adjust it, though it allows for plenty of owner adjustment.

Since the Hy-Score 810 was sold by Air Rifle Headquarters (the original one) back in the ’60s and ’70s, I have a catalog description of it from contemporary times. The next report will have a little more history from this material.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

82 thoughts on “Diana model 60 recoilless target rifle: Part 1”

  1. In february of 1967,I was just completed for delivery too! This is a dreamy,legendary Diana right here.
    It’s details line up like fruits on a slot machine! Each fine detail lines up like another cherry….Winner,winner chicken dinner! The cocking slot is the shortest of the short ones I’ve seen.
    That checkering is so well executed the unimaginitive oval is forgivable.To hear that it’s trigger and shot cycle are as good as everything else comes as no suprise.Tell Mac for me that I would like a place in line if he EVER parts with it BB,please.

    • Frank,.

      When I found out that Mac was willing to part with this rifle, I put myself at the head of the line. I hate to be greedy (no, I don’t, but I say that because it’s considered polite), but I have wanted one of these for a long time. But Mac has an issue with this gun that I think he needs to resolve. So I told him to hang onto the gun until he resolves the issue. I don’t want to tell you what it is just yet, but it will come out in a future report.


        • Frank,

          Not if you are really interested. You see, I get to be around this kind of stuff all the time. I can step back from this one if you really want it.

          I’m not entirely sure Mac wants to sell it, but he said it was going to Roanoke this year (October), and I somehow forgot to include that in Part one. 😉 But when I talk to him on the phone, he seems to vacillate.

          But my chances of finding one are probably greater than yours, so for you I will step aside. And that isn’t a noble gesture, either. Mac and I have a number of trades and deals pending and right now I am in potential hock to him through Valentines’ Day, 2035, when we both reckon is won’t matter anymore. I could use a break!


          • Well BB,you know enough about me by now (hopefully) to know a) I’m serious b) I don’t want it bad enough to keep you from it! c) If I never get another airgun,it will take me years to finish “playing”
            with the ones I’m already fortunate enough to own…..! So I’m blessed no matter what happens,and also not in any hurry.Thank you,no matter what comes of it.

            • Frank B,
              Ya’ know, Mac is a heck of a nice guy. You’ve heard BB’s stories about how he often gives an airgun at a show to some young person who is sincere and shows potential but can’t quite muster the funds. I guess you can’t disguise yourself as a 14 year old, so you’ll just have to hope your sincerity will pull you through. BB has already offered to do the gentlemanly thing, so you’ve got a fair chance!
              Good luck!

            • Frank,

              I spoke to Mac about your interest and we both agreed that the gun should go to you. But like I said, I’m not sure he is ready to part with it just yet. And neither is he. We’ll just have to wait a little. But keep a space reserved for it, because I think in the end he will let it go.


              • The hardest part will be reserving a space…..I’m good at the patient part.Thank you both for your consideration.I would love to meet you both one day at an airgun show.

  2. B.B.

    Hopefully this test will settle some questions and dispell some myths about break barrels.
    Break barrels can’t be as accurate as fixed barrels. Ball bearing breech locks can’t be as accurate as wedge breech locks.

    Of course the myths will persist on the other forums and blogs.

    With Mac behind the trigger I would expect this rifle to do very well if it has the right stuff in the first place.


  3. B.B./Edith,
    The idea of giving $5 for each bug/suggestion is pure genius! Who better to catch the little things that can slip by than those of us obsessed with airguns? And, you don’t have to pay us a salary, it’s like piecework, you get paid for what you produce. Or better yet, an Easter egg hunt for airgunners! I have found quite a few bugs and made a few suggestions, I hope they are helpful and that I didn’t wear out the offer too badly!

    • Fused,

      It’s been REAL scary to wake up each morning! The number of emails is nothing short of staggering.

      I’m on the list to get the emails and help fix any problems that are the responsibility of the editorial team. I think the server is still being slammed by a lot of people visiting the site, and that’s where some of the errors are occurring.

      In any case, we’re in it for the long haul, as we’re giving away $5 for each error or bug until July 27.

      As far as wearing out the offer…don’t worry about it. You can’t wear it out. Some people are sending in about 10-15 bugs/errors every day!

      I agree that the idea is pure genius. It wasn’t my idea…but I do write up all the copy for our email promotions. So, if we’re inundated, that means my writing was a hit 🙂


  4. BB:
    Can I just pipe up on behalf of the break barrel springer as well?
    We have had two in the family with a combined age of about 80 years.
    A .177 BSA Meteor and a .177 BSA Senior.
    Neither had been properly serviced all those years and did suffer a fair amount of abuse.
    Despite all that they could still shoot.Not peak performance granted but they still did the job as far as a casual plinker like me was concerned.
    With a little research on makes and models plus being prepared to spend a few bucks $250-300.
    Someone buying a breakbarrel should expect to get many many years of trouble free shooting.
    If my grand kids aren’t still shooting my HW99s long after I’ve turned my toes up,I will be very dissapointed.

    • Maybe our grand kids will all be shooting versions of the Rogue or something equivalent…
      They’ll laugh at us thinking how we needed a chrono and how we measured what was called a reverse bathtub by us old folks. Maybe my first version of the nitro piston will be valuable by then?

      Or maybe things will have turned for the worst and they won’t be allowed to shoot airguns or even worst won’t be INTERESTED in shooting sports! Now THAT’S scary!

      I hope to shoot with my grand-kids and give them a guns when they’re old enough… If I do have some grand kids some day… But it’s quite far for me my daughter (the oldest of my two kids) is 7 so I hope to have over 20 years before grand kids are old enough to come shoot with papi powpow…


    • Dave,

      I’m with you on this. But I do get this “Breakbarrels can’t possibly be as accurate as fixed barrels.” all the time. And when I do I try to tell them about the Diana model 60, which is not only a breakbarrel, but also doesn’t have the rear sight on the barrel (like the experts say it must, to maintain alignment) and it doesn’t have a positive barrel latch.

      Like the bumblebee that isn’t supposed to fly, I don’t think anyone ever explained to the model 60 that a breakbarrel just can’t be as accurate as a fixed barrel.


      • BB and J-F:
        It would be a real shame if future shooters or present one’s turn their back totaly on springers generaly and the break barrel particulaly but I think the future is assured.
        Look at the accoustic guitar for example.A great survivor.Whatever comes next you just can’t beat the real thing 🙂

        • Dave,

          I think your analogy is right on the money. Here we are in 2011, yet we venerate (at least I do) guns like the Webley Mark II Service and the pre-WWI BSA underlevers. I don’t think it’s much of a leap of faith to believe that fine vintage airguns will continue to be loved in the decades to come.


          • I’m girding myself up to dodge the incoming rocks.

            Regarding the future of break-barrels and who will own them, and why:

            Break barrel in the future = Black Powder today

            Spring piston in the future = Flintlock today

            Black Powder rifle kits of today = Spring piston, break-barrel kits in the future

            The same personality will own them.

            Spring piston, break-barrels will not disappear – they will always be owned by intelligent people with an interest in history and the novelty.

            • Chuck,

              “Spring piston, break-barrels will not disappear – they will always be owned by intelligent people with an interest in history and the novelty.”

              To that I would add,….. and people that like simplicity in their airgun shooting but demand accuracy.

              In my opinion, in the future even fewer shooters than today will have the ability to shoot at very long distances. Lot sizes continue to shrink, shooting ranges will become as scarce as drive-in movie theaters and vintage 10 meter guns will gain in popularity. The quality of these guns combined with supreme short range accuracy will revive their demand. Even those with break barrels LOL!

              These 10 meter guns can play many roles very well. Shooting offhand at 10 meters and mini sniping are great fun. The accuracy becomes mundane at short range. I’ve been having fun at 30 yards shooting many of the 10 meter guns with scopes mounted (did you just see B.B. cringe?). On a calm day you won’t be able to scrub the smile off your face. It’s been an interesting a fun challenge matching scopes to guns and mounting them. Most 10 meter guns never anticipated scope mounting so the short rails, lack of scope stops, low eye placement, etc. has forced some ingenuity. Although I’m unconventional since I’m unrestrained by tradition I see this gaining in popularity as well.


              • Kevin, I wrapped up a short shooting session yesterday with my LGV Olympia at 30m. Yes, the classic match rifles are very versatile, and I’m looking forward to finding my own GISS powered Diana. While I have good examples of most power plants, I find springers to be the most interesting rifles to shoot. Maybe because they are more difficult to shoot well?

                BTW, I finally got my hands on a PW tuned R10 action with shroud to go on my refinished stock. Now I need a scope and time to sight it in! Jay

            • Springers and break barrels will keep on going and being produced for a looooong time.
              They won’t be dated, they’ll stay popular for the same reason they are today, for the same reason people keep on buying the R7 and TX200, because they’re so simple to use and require almost no maintenance AND they bring their own powerplant, what more could you ask for? They’ll stay popular for the same reason bows and arrows and slingshots are still used, they’ll stay because they’re so darn fun!


        • I don’t think people will ever turn their back on springers either.
          People will still shoot and appreciate them just like we still like old cars and motocycles (even if the ones coming from your country have… hmmm reliability issues?) with carburetors.
          Companies will keep on bringing new springer rifles just like companies are still selling crate engines with carburetors.
          I don’t think the Rogue will kill or take away much from the springer market but the “regular” PCP are gonna look dated compared to the computer regulated valves if it catches on, maybe we’ll be talking about these as the dark side in a decade or two…


      • BB,
        Certainly a lot of good thoughts about break barrels and their limits of accuracy. Every break barrel that I’ve pushed sideways… even gently…. at the muzzle has moved. And I think the barrel probably flops around (figuratively) during the firing cycle.
        But maybe that movement is all just another component of the dynamics of the artillery hold. If the barrel moves exactly the same way with every shot, does it hurt anything?

        • If you look at how a breakbarrel is made, you might get some clues…
          Let’s say that the fork on the front of the tube has been machined our perfectly square and even, and that the barrel breech block has also been machined out perfectly square and even.
          The two are not a perfect size for them to fit together with a zero tolerance fit. Bearing shims of some material or another have to be on both sides to keep both parts from eating each other up, and take up the extra space between.
          You have to tighten the hinge bolt enough that the block and bearings are pinched tight enough that the whole works in forced into a constant alignment. The pressure holding everyting squared up is on the bearing shims. Nothing else on the sides should be touching.
          But when you tighten up the breech bolt, the fork squeezes down more at the front than the back. It becomes pidgeon toed. This is not particularly stable since the pressure is uneven. It can slop.
          So how to get the slop to still align the same every time? There is the breech lockup. It is usually a steel to steel contact between the breech faces that is held in place by the locking mechanism pulling down hard on the back of the barrel block.
          At this point, the side to side hold of the barrel block is positioned by the bearing pinch in the fork, and the vertical is forcibly held between both breech surfaces. We have three point contact.
          This should be very solid and repeatable but there are gremlins.
          Everything has to be tight enough that it IS repeatable unless there is some kind of undesired variability introduced. A breech seal that is too thick preventing a good steel to steel solid contact at the breech faces. Dirt between the breech faces. Hinge bolt too tight preventing the breech lockup being consistent. If anything is too loose, it will not be consistent.
          Everyting being held by the right amount of force, and without anything preventing it so that it is repeatable. It should be self aligning.
          Then when you fire, recoil and vibration try to disturb the alignment. You have to let it disturb the alignment the same way every time. Just let it do what it wants to do.

          Make any sense? Anyone know if I totally botched it?


          • Twotalon,
            I think you’ve totally nailed it. Seems like it all comes down to manufacturing tolerances and how good the chisel or ball detent is. And maybe the most important part is the metal to metal contact of breech face to receiver face.
            I have a Gamo Shadow 1000 that is slightly different. The pivot bolt is a shoulder bolt, and the head is actually a clearance fit thru the side of the fork that it goes thru. The barrel breech block is clamped via the shoulder bolt to the only the far side of the fork. So the breech block is not pinched between the 2 sides of the fork. In fact, the way the shoulder bolt is done you cannot over tighten it and lock up the hinge joint. I am amazed it worked it all. I had to modify that arrangement as soon as I saw it!

            • I have one of those too. The barrel flops. I have not gone to the trouble of fixing the problem. Let’s just say that it is seldom used.
              If we ever get any wild pigs around here I might dust it off and get some pba.


            • Let’s have a look at an interesting way to get around a couple of bugs.
              Now, how hard you close the breech can cause a problem with the consistency of lockup. Breech seal thickness can cause lockup consistency problems. Dirt between the breech faces can cause lockup consistency problems. AND after a lot of use, wear on the breech faces cause the barrel to gradually point higher.

              Enter the R7….
              It has a ball bearing lock. The ball is in the barrel’s block, and is used instead of a wedge. It rolls over a cross pin in the front of the rifles front block to lock up. Instead of locking the breech faces together, there is a bevel between the barrel block breech face and the ball. This is where the cross pin gets trapped to lock the breech. The breech faces never touch.
              The breech seal has to be a bit taller than expected in this situation because the breech faces never meet. Not as much chance for dirty breech face problems. Pellets that are not seated quite far enough will not have their skirts smeared. Breech face wear will not be an issue.



              • TT,
                Your technical descriptions are very good. Thanks for taking the time to write them. There are certainly an endless number of variations on the break barrel hinge and lock-up mechanism, from darn good, to pretty poor.

        • The barrel slop on break barrels is irrelevant when both the front and rear sights are mounted to the barrel so always move together, its only an “issue” when you start mounting diopters or optics to the rail fixed on the cylinder, then i guess some POI shift may be observable but having shot near identical rifles in both set-ups I really don’t think its an issue, at least on quality made well maintained German rifles anyway.
          Ive shot many a good group with both my own and mates model 27’s,better than groups shot with fixed barrel underlever model 50’s and even comparable to 10m recoiless guns. If you go to BB’s post on model 27 I have posted my best 27 group there and you will see its not far from the very best ever spinger group i just shot with a Gecado 60 posted as reply to this main story..

  5. B.B., I will certainly follow this one with interest! I too happen to own a 1967-vintage “Hy-Score 810.”

    The old Diana 60-series double-piston guns are truly wonderful guns to shoot, and IMHO the quality of them is rather underrated by US collectors. The checkering and wood finish on my rifle are better than any other vintage match rifle I own. The model 60 action is also somewhat shorter and lighter than the succeeding model 65/66, making it one of the trimmest truly recoilless springers ever made; with the barrel sleeve removed it is about the same size and weight as an HW 55 M.

    The 60’s trigger is marvelous, and the level of detail design is remarkable; note how the barrel sleeve has the ends beveled so it is actually “floated” and does not touch the barrel!

    The model 60 is also interesting in having been made for such a long time–as you noted, about 20 years! It actually out-lived the 65/66, surviving as Diana’s offering for beginners or juniors well into the age of the fixed-barrel model 75.

    I’ll look forward to future installments!

    • Mike,

      Well, I guess I should have put Mac’s comment in about the barrel sleeve! He noted that under the nut was a cupped washer, to keep tension on the sleeve and prevent it from making any noise or from moving. He didn’t send a photo of that, so instead of mentioning it I showed the breech bolt locking screw.

      Now, I am very interested to learn that YOU also own an 810. Mac has one issue with his rifle that is driving him nuts and you are the guy to resolve it for him.

      I’ll let you know what it is when we get to it.


      • B.B.

        I’ll do my best to give good advice on any problems–keeping in mind that I’m just a boring old amateur collector, and not much of a mechanic!

        Just to close the loop on the barrel sleeve comment, the rear end of the sleeve also has an internal bevel, and sits on a rubber O-ring. So actually, both ends of the weight sleeve are “floated” away from the barrel–truly an obsessively designed detail.

        I’d actually never thought about using the muzzle nut to vary the axial tension on the barrel. Perhaps that’s an additional tool one might use when fine-tuning accuracy?

  6. Recoiless spring guns is a pretty short list.

    One of the first new airguns I purchased was a diana 54. Yes I like shooting the FWB 150/300 guns. The Anschutz 380 took the recoiless sledge system a step further and is a dream to shoot. The diana 60/65/66 is the pinnacle in my opinion.

    I have a diana 66 that you only have to shoot once to fall for. These giss double contra-SP systems are an engineering marvel that few tuners will tackle.


    Dave Slade is a wizard with these guns though. If the opposing pistons are timed properly you end up with gun that you will never sell. I like the squared stock on the diana 66. Reminds me a lot of the HW55CM.

    For those that are interested in adding one of these marvels to their collection be aware (as mentioned by B.B. and Mike Driskill) that the Diana 60 was rebadged and sold as the Hy-Score 810. The Diana 66 was rebadged and sold as the Hy-Score 811 and also as the Winchester 333.


    • Kevin,

      Thanks for that tip about Dave Slade. I didn’t know he worked on Giss guns. He may be called into play before the story is over.

      I never owned a breakbarrel Diana target rifle, but I did own a very early model 10 pistol and a Diana 75 sidelever rifle. I had to sell the model 10 to pay debts after a divorce and the 75 I just let get away. So I am fascinated by the thought of owning a model 60 that is as nice.

      Robert Law has something to say about the Diana target rifles and I think I will include it in Part 2. It may surprise some readers to learn what he said.

      Thanks for that schematic, too. I was afraid that somebody would jump down my throat to explain that duskwight is building a Whiscombe system rifle and that the Diana is the opposite of that, but so far I’ve not heard a peep. My only point in mentioning that was the dual pistons and the mechanism that’s required to cock them and keep them in time.

      I never owned or even shot an Anschutz 380. I’ve only seen a couple for sale. They remain a mystery to me. If you wanted to take a stab at a guest blog, it would really be a pleasure to know more about this obscure target rifle.

      Anyway, thanks for contributing, as always.


      • B.B.,

        Seems that you’re now making up for those lost guns and quickly acquiring those few you didn’t own. 🙂

        I appreciate the offer to write a guest blog. I’m not a writer and don’t play one on TV either.

        I’ll give everyone a quick snapshot of comparisons though.

        You’ve summed up the Diana 60. The inside and outside quality of my Diana 66 just oozes. The firing cycle gives not hint that a pellet has been fired. The Anschutz 380 is most similar to the Diana 66 in its imperceptible firing cycle, trigger pull (13 1/2″ LOP) and accuracy. I prefer the straight trigger blade on the 380 over the curved blade on the 66. I DO NOT like the plastic cheek piece on the 380 but do like that it’s adjustable. I also like the adjustable butt pad on the 380. The blocky style stock on the 380 along with the accessory rail is a nice touch and as I mentioned earlier these blocky stocks (like the HW55CM) fit me well.

        To try and overemphasize the firing cycles, the Walther LGR (SSP) has more feedback of a pellet being fired than the Diana 66 and Anschutz 380.

        A well running FWB 150/300 can be as accurate as the 66 and 380. I’ve gotten used to, but still don’t like, the external sliding sledge system of the FWB 150/300. The action moving during the cocking and the sights coming back at your during the firing cycle is a minor annoyance. The 66 and 380 greatly differ in this aspect since the recoiless system is completely internalized. Another minor point is that the breech chamber of the 380 is entirely opened to the side for ease of loading pellets. I really like this feature since it’s especially important if you scope these guns (I know, sacrilegious). Although the FWB Running Target models have this feature the rest of the FWB 150/300 series don’t.

        We’ll call this a mini blog.


    • The Mayer & Grammelspacher-built, 60-series double-piston break-barrel match guns may also be encountered with Geco, Gecado, RWS, Winchester, and Original logos, in addition to Diana and Hy-Score!

      Those M&G guys weren’t a bit afraid of re-branding for marketing’s sake…! 🙂

  7. B.B.,
    This may sound silly, but might a break barrel better maintain it’s accuracy if it broke to one side, as opposed to down? Of course, this assumes that the culprit is wear and gravity. I don’t know.

    • If part of the purported source of inaccuracy is play in the pivot AND (more likely in my mind) inconsistent compression of seal ring on closing the barrel, a side break would just trade vertical error for horizontal error (and on a field gun, really compound matters as besides gravity drop with distance you are now shooting for an intersecting triangle if using a receiver rear sight or scope — that triangle would only be correct at one distance)

      I can easily visualize a ball-bearing catch being more repeatable than a flattened wedge, as it would seek to center itself completely. A wedge may only center vertically but allow for side-to-side slippage.

      The real question, in my mind, is where the catch is positioned relative to the pivot point. Most are, as I recall, just above the pivot — where the spring force is pushing the upper part (barrel and seal) further apart, and “aiming low”. If it were possible to have the catch below the pivot point, the pressure would produce a tighter fit of barrel/seal, and “aiming high” effect. Unfortunately, unless the receiver/barrel-block are machined with an arc, a low position catch can not be opened — the barrel block with the catch would be moving into the receiver as the barrel (above the pivot) pulls away. Hence the need for an arc parallel to the pivot point curvature.

        • Probably cost… Break-barrel is relatively low cost compared to a design with:

          1) separate cocking lever
          2) manufacturing a barrel/receiver fitting
          3) having to add a separate loading port and (in the case of the m54) safety system so one doesn’t lose a finger if the action snaps closed unexpectedly

        • I’m a little surprised by all the break-barrel “problems” that appear on the forums! While any mechanical device will have its inherent compromises, it’s no mistake that this layout has vastly out-sold all competitors for more than a century.

          Break-barrels are mechanically lighter, more efficient, and more economical to produce and buy, than any other spring-piston layout, since the barrel doubles as the cocking lever.

          Break-barrels allow loading the pellet directly into the barrel’s rifling, a significant aid to accuracy. Back in the days before sliding-breech mechanisms were developed–when “fixed barrel” meant “tap loader”–this was considered their major advantage (tap loaders can also be quite accurate, but are dependent on careful design and very fine workmanship).

          Break-barrels allow instant visual checking of the bore, and access for cleaning.

          Lateral movement of the barrel was long-ago solved by adjustable-tension breech bolt and washer designs; vertical movement by efficient detent latching. In my opinion, these are just not a significant issue in any well-designed and properly adjusted break-barrel air rifle.

  8. Baldwinsville was a huge success for me, I got another Predom, a Diana 28 with almost perfect bluing and a crosman model 38 T( sadly it leaks and I dont have any matching o-rings but it was free so I guess I should be complaining,

  9. Oh, and does anyone know where i can get parts for a haenel 28?? I need the tiny screw that makes sure the screw that holds the barrel doesn’t move and i need the little HAENEL sign for the left side of the grip

  10. B.B.,
    In truth, I shoot the heck out of my break-barrels, and can’t detect any accuracy issues (except for my Ruger Air Magnum). My comments are with respect to a lot of what I hear from others.

  11. Hey great article as usual. I was wondering if you could help I was up in the attic and found a model c Sheridan silver streak in great condition. The woods a bit dull but it works and looks awesome. Anyway I have no clue to it’s age except that it’s after 49 and before 63. Do you know how much it would be worth or if there is a way I could narrow the age range?

  12. I have a Diana 60, and is is my favorite. I have D75 too, but it’s too heavy.

    I have fixed a few guns with Giss systems and wrote a small guide for how to do it. Originally it is in Swedish. I translated it, but I’m not familiar with the English names for all small mechanical parts.

    This is the link to the file; http://www.mediafire.com/?onpy98l6i6zylp1
    It is in MS Word format. Hope it helps someone.

    Any comments are of course welcome.

    / Micke

  13. @ B.B.

    I have another link/file which might be of interest.
    There is a large auction site in Germany for match air guns called “egun”. Most likely where most old German spring match guns in the world are sold. Since 2008 I have collected the sales prices for all guns sold, and put them into an XL-spreadsheet.
    I have collected the prices in Euro and number of bids for Anschutz 220, 250, 380. Diana 60,65, 66, 75, and FWB 150 and 300.
    I assume this is the most comprehensive statistics for old spring match air guns there is.

    You can download the statistics at this link; http://www.mediafire.com/?rez21c022rmmn

    This file is updated weekly. It has until today some 2800+ selling prices/bids.
    Even if you are not in Germany, it gives you a fair idea of the prices and the interest on the market.

    / Micke

    • /Micke,

      I scanned your spreadsheet and am amazed at the information you have gathered. Surprisingly, the Diana 66 sells for less than the FWB 300. In this country they are about the same, with a slight advantage to the 66.

      I will take the time over the next few days to really look at all this data.

      Thank you for a wonderful resource.


      • Just a few comments:
        – Only complete guns are in. If they are defect, it’s stated as comment.
        – Things that will/can affect the price, “with bag”, with scope, and other things are in as comments.
        – Sellers that asked a minimum price but didn’t get it (0 bids), is not in.
        – Condition is not in. It’s simply too subjective.
        – Three guns are “zeroed” in the statistics Special FWB300 models. They are special and not representative. (price around 1000 Euro)
        – There are factors that can affect the price, but these are either not know by me, or the effect is hard to evaluate. “Sold only in Germany”, or sellers that bought back their own guns under other identities are two examples.

        As you can see, I have this year started to link to the specific gun so you can see all details. At first I didn’t record the number of bids, that’s why it’s missing the first few months.

        / Micke

  14. …and, I have made manuals for how to repair Diana 75 and Diana 6G too. Unfortunately these guides are in Swedish, (sorry – my native language), but perhaps they are of some assistance and someone can use “Google translate” to understand the meaning.
    I will translate them the next time I fix a D75 or D6G. I need to re-design the spring compressor for D75.

    These are the links:
    Diana 75; http://www.mediafire.com/?onpy98l6i6zylp1 (MS Word)
    Diana 6G; http://www.mediafire.com/?t6p5c8w5w28bm4f (MS Word)

    / Micke

  15. Ok, some more stuff that might be of interest:

    1. The original repair manual for Diana 60. The quality is not so good, someone scanned it in.

    2. The original repair manual for Diana 75.

    The problem with these two manuals is that they describe a tool for compressing the springs. I made such a tool and found it worthless. There is no way you can compress the springs and at the same time get the cogwheels in position. Use the spring compressor I described in the manual for Diana 60 instead.

    3. The patent from Diana describing the double piston system. The strange thing with this patent is that it describes to pistons moving towards each other when you fire the gun. All Giss’ systems works the other way around – when you fire, the pistons move from each other.
    This is the link to the patent; http://www.mediafire.com/?95diz2ty4r6rbsx

    The FWB300S is a very popular gun in Germany and also here in Sweden. As you can see, a couple of them are sold every day in Germany. I find them to clumsy, and there is no feeling in shooting them. And I don’t like that there is a “sledge” moving in the stock.
    I tested the one I had, and compared it to the Diana 75, and found them equal in precision.

    One reason that the Dianas are sold cheeper is that many of them are sold as “defekt”, the repair if you have worn out seals is around 180 Euro at the factory. Thats more that the gun is worth.
    Some have tried to fix them, resulting in broken cogs and being sold as “spare part donors”.
    I have added comments in the spreadsheet if the gun is not functioning or sold as “defect”.
    Sorry that the file is in German but lots of egunners download for reference.

    / Micke

  16. Guys, I have a beautiful Diana Model 60, purchased from Air Rifle HQ in the 60’s which has been stored in the back of my gun safe for quite some time. I recently took it out to shoot it and realized that the breech seal is worn and not enough pressure is developed to push a pellet thru the barrel. Can you advise me on the correct seal to get, any information on where to get it, and any tips on removing the old and installing the new? Thanks much. This is an absolutely beautiful gun.

    • A great many Diana breakbarrels use a standard “o-ring” that pops out with a think screwdriver, and a standard #109 o-ring works fine in its place. Unfortunately I don’t know about the model 60 in particular.

      Does it look like an o-ring, with measurements of approximately .34″ ID and .54″ OD?

  17. Thanks for the response, Vince. Mine has (I should say had) a clear, gelatin-like ring which was pitted and gouged a little bit. I dug it out carefully but it fell all apart. Pretty old. Since posting, I took the time to read more of the blog threads and will try to find an 0-ring that will fit in, and possibly shim it. One member also mentioned Umarex and I see that rings can be purchased there. You guys are very helpful. Thanks much.

    • Rube,

      You are in luck! Pyramyd AIR, who owns this blog, repairs your rifle. They have the parts and the knowledge.

      I would advise you to contact them and make arrangements to get the rifle resealed. The seals they use will not wear out again in your lifetime.

      The seals that came with the model 60 were made of synthetic material that dry-rotted with age. Nothing could prevent their eventual breakdown. But the new material is very long-lasting.

      A warning. Be very wary of sending your rifle for repairs to places that say they can fix it. My friend, Mac, has had six such target rifles held for over a year after be paid for their repairs up front. My advice is to go with Pyramyd AIR. They may take a wile, but they will give you status on the job when you request it.


  18. A good friend picked up one of these (he beat me too it!) and i shot the best group i have ever shot with a springer,period! Even the lovely fwb300 couldn’t beat the Gecado that day.Group 10m outdoors of small front bag only.So need to fnd one of these for myself, the trigger on this one is possibly the best I have ever felt, id say its in the region 4-6ounces.

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