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Education / Training Diana 25 smoothbore pellet gun: Part 1

Diana 25 smoothbore pellet gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Pyramyd AIR has changed their Big Shot of the Week to the Big Shot of the Month, and the reward has been upped from $50 to $100. Guy Roush is this month’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Month on their airgun facebook page. He’ll receive a $100 Pyramyd AIR gift card. Congratulations!

Pyramyd AIR Big Shot of the Month

Guy Roush is the Big Shot of the Month on Pyramyd Air’s facebook page.

Diana 25 smoothbore
This Diana model 25 smoothbore is an old airgun!

This report comes to you courtesy of Vince, who sent me this Diana 25 to test for you. While I just recently tested a .22-caliber Diana 25, this one is quite different. It’s a .177-caliber smoothbore gun, and I think it’ll be the very first smoothbore pellet gun that I’ve tested since this blog began in 2005. There have been plenty of combination guns that shot both BBs and pellets, but to my recollection, they all had rifled barrels.

How pellets are stabilized
Diabolo pellets are so-named for their wasp waist and flared tail, which is hollow. They’re named after a juggling apparatus called a diabolo that a juggler works with a string. The wasp waist and hollow tail create lots of aerodynamic drag that both slows the pellet down and also keeps its weighted nose pointed forward. Because of how much the shape of the pellet affects its stability in flight, the question often arises whether the rifling in the barrel that spins the pellet is necessary.

I often see comments asking how much I think the presence of rifling affects the accuracy of such and such a gun, and I never know what to say. My best guess is that at close range, say 10 meters, a smoothbore is okay; but as the distance to the target increases, the smoothbore quickly falls behind the gun with the rifled barrel. Now, I have the means to actually test that, and we can all see for real!

The origins of this airgun
Vince acquired this gun recently, and I don’t think it was represented to him as a smoothbore. I think he even asked me if it was a smoothbore, and I told him to look for the word glatt somewhere on the barrel, as that would be the term they would use. Well, guess what? There are no words on the barrel of this gun, so what do I know? I think the early manufacture of this gun is the reason why things like being unrifled were left off.

In fact, other than the Diana logo and model number on the spring tube, there are no marks of any kind on this gun. There’s no serial number, of course, but that’s common for guns this old. But this gun goes even farther than most. Not even the caliber is marked, so I guess buyers either had to get that from the hang tag, or perhaps this gun was originally sold in Germany at a time when .22-caliber pellets were not common. I went over the entire barreled action with a tactical flashlight and a magnifying hood looking for other marks. It doesn’t even say Made in Germany, which leads me to think it wasn’t made for export.

This model is also a much earlier gun than the 1970s-era Winchester 425 (Diana 25) that I tested for you recently. Looking in the Blue Book of Airguns, 10th edition, I would say this is either a model 25 Improved that was produced 1933-1940 and 1950-1985, or it’s an even earlier model 25A. If I had to guess, I would put it in the earlier group for the lack of country of origin and caliber markings, plus the strange configuration of the breech (which I’ll show in a moment). It’s definitely a leather-seal gun with a direct-sear trigger. This will be the first direct-sear model 25 or 27 Diana I’ve ever tested, so I’m curious how well the trigger works. Naturally, it isn’t adjustable.

Diana 25 smoothbore trigger
The trigger on this rifle is old-school, with direct-sear contact.

What model is it?
I know it’s a Diana model 25, but that can be any of three different airguns. And here is a puzzlement. The overall length of the gun is 38.375 inches. That’s close to the 38.5-inch Blue Book-listed length of the earlier model 25A that was made from 1925-1934. The model 25 Improved is supposed to have a length of 39.7 inches, which is too much of a difference from the gun I’m testing. But the earlier gun is supposed to have a walnut stock, according to the Blue Book, and this one definitely has a beech stock. So, I’m thinking this might be an earlier gun and that the Blue Book might have overlooked the beech stock possibility.

Perhaps, the strange shape of the breech is a clue about which model it is. Instead of a conventional straight-cut breech with parallel sides, the action forks have strange-looking scalloped cuts on both sides of the baseblock —  and they really stand out.

Diana 25 smoothbore breech and rear sight
Here you can see the rather strange, scalloped breech shape. The rear sight adjusts for elevation, only.

As little as this gun is, it might look cheap at first glance, but all you have to do is break open the 15.4-inch barrel one time to feel the bank-vault quality that’s built into the locking detent. While the price was undoubtedly modest at the time, this is no cheap airgun. The beech stock is very slim, yet the pull is an adult 13.25 inches, making the gun pleasant to shoot for older children and adults, alike.

Vince went through the gun and tuned it before sending it to me, so I can’t comment on how the original powerplant might have felt. He installed the mainspring from the harmonica gun I reported on several years ago. A couple coils were cut to make it fit, and now the rifle cocks with great ease.

I’ve shot the gun several times just to familiarize myself with the operation. It shoots with the same authority that a more recent model 25 has. The buzzing is very low, which I must attribute to Vince, since I can see his work through the cocking slot. I imagine the original gun was probably a little buzzier.

The front sight is a tapered post that’s dovetailed to the barrel. The rear sight is leaf-type sight that’s adjustable for elevation only. It’s also dovetailed to the barrel.

Diana 25 smoothbore front sight
The front sight is a tall, tapered post.

Test plan
My plan is to test this gun exactly like I would test any airgun. I’ll check the velocity next, and then the accuracy in Part 3. If I can find an accurate pellet when I test at 10 meters, I might do a fourth test from 25 yards. Everything will be done with iron sights, as there’s no convenient way to mount a scope on the gun. But I think I proved with the El Gamo 68 that I can shoot iron sights at 25 yards.

Future plans
Once the gun has been baselined for accuracy, I plan to use it as a testbed for other tests with diabolo pellets. Finally, we’ll have a basis for comparison, rather than just guessing what might happen. Between this airgun and the Twist rate test, we should wind up with a pretty good idea of what rifling is doing for diabolo pellets.

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.

99 thoughts on “Diana 25 smoothbore pellet gun: Part 1”

  1. Hi BB,
    Do you think that this smooth bore was made to shoot darts instead of pellets? From what I have read darts used to be pretty common for airguns. I don’t know if they shot at a normal dart board in taverns or what they did with the darts. I would be interested in seeing how your rifle shoots darts if you are willing.

    David Enoch

    • David,

      I don’t think this gun was for darts. It shoots too fast for them.

      I have owned dart guns in the past. A Benjamin piston, for instance. It sends the darts out the spout at around 300 f.p.s. and even then they stick into wood too deep to recover without major damage. Shooting at a dart board is out because they will bury out of sight.

      A dart gun needs to be in the low 200s and I think this gun is in the 600s with pellets. We shall see.


    • David, in the latter ’70s I did shoot darts from my rifled Gamo that reportedly shot a pellet at 600 fps.
      We did shoot at a dartboard and the darts were traveling at much less than the 600 fps. This was not a good thing; the Gamo was a break barrel springers and the darts did not seal in the barrel. A lot of air was lost and I doubt this practice was good for the rifle. I suppose there are darts that are designed to provide a seal and those will probably travel quite a bit faster in the Diana (or almost any other airgun, smooth bore or not). I believe a CO2 or other pneumatic may be a better choice (but I haven’t done any scientific research on this). ~Ken

  2. BB,

    Interesting airgun. I have an old .22 cal Model 23 (not a 25) with the same scallops on the breech but I could not find any date code so this is a little help on the age of the airgun. It also has the direct sear trigger and a rifled barrel.

    I wish mine had a hooded front sight. That sight “blade” will cut your finger if you are not careful!

    Paul in Liberty County

        • Kevin,

          THANK YOU!

          There is a clear date of 6 40 on the butt. It is small and faint, but also very clear.

          I never would have looked there. I knew someone would know something about this, and I should have figured it would be you.

          So this gun was made at the start of World War II. It must have been one of the last ones made before the war shut things down.


  3. I was wondering if the gun was an immediate post-war piece. That would explain a lot of stuff… while Germany was struggling to recover from the war they might have dispensed with luxuries like rifling. Ditto with the breech bolt – 2 positions? I had to use that old trick of making a spacer out of wire and hammering it out to a specific thickness in order to get the breech tight.

    Also, while under Allied occupation and before everything sorted itself out they might not have been sure what to call their country.

    I did note one interesting thing, though… this is obviously the mechanism the Chinese copied when they made their bottom-feeder Industry breakbarrels that we know as the B1 and B2, and was more recently seen in the 490. Sent chills up my spine…

    • I don’t know what was wrong with the 490, except the trigger is a little stiff if you don’t lube it fastidiously (moly makes it pretty decent)! Mine is still fun to shoot, although it eats pellets at an astonishing rate due to almost complete lack of cocking effort — I think the pivot bolt provides more resistance than the spring :).

      • Actually, the horror is all related to the B1 and B2 series. Soft metal and very poor QC. They were garbage. I had a 490, and it was a crude platform that nonetheless shot very well. And I never had any reliability problems with it.

        • Vince,
          That 490 still shoots well :>)
          Even though I’ve made several changes:
          Shortened the Bbl and changed the stock configuration,
          I left the internals as they were when received from you.
          It’s a nice little plinker and a good one to bring out when the
          relatives gather here. :>)

            • You would have to test my memory! lol
              I think it was around 4 yrs.ago
              It was right after the guest blog where you
              tested 3 or 4 different low powered rifles with
              cheap pellets.
              I tried to find that blog earlier just because I
              wanted to re-read it but didn’t have any luck.
              Anyway the 490 I got from you was one of the rifles
              in that test.
              It’s the only rifle I’ve ever bought thru the web
              so I hope my memory isn’t too far off.

                • WooHoo!
                  My memory isn’t completely gone yet!
                  I did get the order wrong though lol
                  It appears I had the rifle before the blog
                  came out.
                  Oh and the comments reminded me that
                  I did make one other change and that was
                  removing the auto safety.
                  I’d like to thank you again for a good deal
                  on a nice li’l rifle!

  4. Vince ,

    I believe You are onto something . The Germans weren’t allowed to have rifles in Post war Germany until 1957. This is when the 10m shooting took off . After rifling was allowed is when FWB and Anschutz started making the 10 m rifles.

    • gene salvino,

      The allies allowed german manufacturers to produce smoothbore airguns with open sights in 1951. Walther was re-established in Ulm (Anschutz is also in Ulm) after WWII and started producing airguns in 1951. The model LG51 was born. The LG52, introduced in 1952, early on had a smooth bore and open sights but sometime in 1952 they were allowed to produce airguns with rifled barrels and allowed to manufacture rear diopter/peep sights. The late 1952 model LG52 had a rifled barrel and diopter sight affixed on the stock behind the tube since no provision existed to attached the sight to the tube. By 1953 the walther model LG53 had the diopter mounted on the rail atop the tube where we’re used to seeing it today.

      There was no world championships for air rifles until 1966, however the German National Championship – which served as the defacto “big international event” other then Olympic Games – held its first post WWII event in 1955. It is perhaps no accident Walther’s introduced the LG-55 that year .. it swept the individual and team events.


  5. Kevin ,

    Great info , When We were at Anschutz training it was interesting to hear the stories of the families that got relocated from Suhl to Ulm by the Allies. They were thankful to not fall into Soviet hands . The 1957 number in my head was when the Germans were allowed to have an army again !! The Bundesweer.

  6. “While I just recently tested a .22-caliber Diana 25, this one is quite different. It’s a .177-caliber smoothbore gun, and I think it’ll be the very first smoothbore pellet gun that I’ve tested since this blog began in 2005.”
    What about the Daisy model 35 you tested a while back? It was a smoothbore that shot pellets and BBs. Or would it not count because it was designed to use both types of ammunition?

      • I am too. If for no other reason than it will give us another comparison of smoothbores and rifles which is useful to have.

        For what its worth with the Daisy 35… I would have liked to see the Daisy 35 get tested with a wider variety of pellets, especially the cheap(er) wadcutter pellets that are frequently carried in the big box stores. I’m sure it probably wouldn’t have made a huge difference since the Daisy 35 is a plinker (especially if you tested a version with fiber-optic sights), but I can’t shake the feeling that at 10-11 yards it should have done a bit better than 3 inch groups. (I would have expected minute of soda can based on what I’ve seen from the smoothbore Crosman 760 at 50 feet…)

  7. Vince/B.B.,

    Assume since we haven’t heard anymore about the harmonica gun and the harmonica guns’ spring now resides in this Diana 25 that the harmonica gun is relegated to be a wall hanger?


      • Ya know, I KNEW I shouldn’t have brought it up…

        In a nutshell… the gun’s mechanism wasn’t going to work. The guy who did it was a better machinist than engineer. Essentially he was using an escapement mechanism relying on spring pressure to move pins while they were side-loaded, which wasn’t gonna happen.

        BB offered me the gun, and I decided to try to convert it back to single-shot. Unfortunately I completely misinterpreted how the gun was modified. I tried to disassemble it by melting the braze and separating the parts, but it turned out that the original barrel and spring tube were seriously chopped up.

        So essentially there’s some usable parts that came out of it, and that’s all.

        Hardly my finest moment. I really wish I never laid my ham-fists on that poor thing.

        • Vince,

          Sorry. Didn’t know this was a sore subject.

          Considering the basket cases you’ve revived in the past this one must have been something.

          Thanks for the update. The harmonica gun was an interesting curiousity. Wonder if it was ever able to be fired after that magazine made from bar stock was fitted. Doesn’t sound like it.

          Sure wish you were closer. I’d have fun watching you in your shop.


          • Actually, I DID manage to shoot it several times while indexing it by hand and holding the mag in place. Some of the mag holes were off and the pellets hung up, but after beveling the barrel entrance I was able to get all positions to fire.

  8. A date code of 6-40 makes perfect sense. Even though we did not get into the war until 41, Germany had been at war for a year before this gun was made and I am sure that most factories were converting to wartime supply.

  9. I have an old Daisy 250 (Made in Scotland – I believe under license from Diana)… Appears to be very much the same gun, mine is a rifled .22 cal. I bought it in 1979 out of a barrel full of them and some Daisy 160s? from a surplus store in Waterville Maine (Mardens) for 12 or 13 bucks. I have had it apart a few times over the past 33 years, most recently to replace the spring and possibly some other parts from a very similar Chinese built .177 copy. It still shoots as well as it ever did. I did chronograph it once, but don’t have the data with me, as I recall, it now shoots in the low-mid 400s with 14.5 grain Crosman Premier HPs. Accuracy is fair (hard to judge with the open sights and my poor skills), but I seem to be able to print 5 shot groups of around 1 inch at 12 meters (basement) rested. The trigger is pretty horrible, even when compared to my current Remington/Crosman springers…

    I can scan the manual and parts list if you want.

  10. A very interesting piece of history ( my second favourite indulgence) as the topic of todays blog. I’m glad people like Kevin and others here have the knowledge that is so vital in making this blog what it is. The date of 6 40 would coincide with the beginnings of the ramping up of the German war industry. The military would consume all the rifled barrels being made. Maybe a smooth boor would not be of much use to the military. Anyway, this is a true history piece from a very devastating and abrupt period of change. I will be following this with interest all weekend. Thanks B.B.

    • During WWII, the German industrial base did not fully convert to war production, as was the case in the US and UK. Certain consumer goods were allowed to remain in production, as strange as it may seem to us. For example, toy electric trains were kept in production, at least on a limited basis. This was likely done to maintain civilian morale, maybe to maintain an illusion of normality.

      Considering this, it is possible that certain airgun models stayed in production. This would be especially likely if the guns were used in military training. It may have been considered in the state’s interest to foster shooting skills in youngsters.

      Will someone who knows more than me about this than me comment on this?


      • Hi Les. As for the reasons for the smoothbore airgun being made in the mid 1940, what you consider could be entirely true. The German people still wanted recreation, and letting Diana make a smoothbore airgun would be justified. After all, the war was moving along with blitzkrieg pace, and Germany seemed invulnerable at this time in WW2. Later, when things went south, everything went into the war effort. It is a time of world history, I haven’t paid much attention to for a few years. As for my ‘double’ spelling error. Good on you. Bore, Boer, boor. The English language can try a man’s patients at times.

  11. I have a Thompson Center Muzzle loading rifle that I have owned since 1975. This December, the lock broke so I sent it to Thompson Center (Now a Smith and Wesson Co.) for repair. It was just returned repaired, lubed, and better than ever. All at no charge. It’s hard to beat a warranty like that!

    Also, I notice that all the local stores are sold out of .22 LR ammo. I mean none at all. The buying is due to what folks fear may be pasted into law. We will see what happens.


    • That Smith and Wesson customer service is just fantastic. Now I’m wondering what to do if my SW1911 ever needs to be sent in for repair. The U.S. Postal Service website claims that any mailing of handguns is illegal. If it is illegal for them, wouldn’t it also be for private carriers? But then how do people send their handguns to SW as they surely do?

      I stocked up on .22LR when I thought that California was going to ban the purchase of mail order ammo. However, my 500 round shooting session put a small dent in my supply.


      • Matt,

        The U.S. Postal Service has made it a policy to not transport handguns. It doesn’t violate any other federal law, but because they are a part of the federal government, their policy has the force of law.

        Private carriers can transport anything they wish, as long as their transport doesn’t violate any laws. So handguns are carried by private carriers quite legally.


        • I believe the postal service WILL allow handguns to be mailed via Priority Mail – IF it’s sent from an FFL. UPS and FEDEX will ship them to either the manufacturer or to an FFL – BUT it has to go via overnight mail.

  12. Pictures of this old gun sure throw serious contrast between where we were and where we are today in design and performance and power. This thing seems primitive and I dare say prehitoric by comparison to something like my Condor or even mt Hatsan 125TH.

  13. Just put my eyes on a new gamo whisper fusion in the what’s new section. That’s an appealing gun. I have an old whisper, likely one of the first of it’s kind which I keep because it is unique to my gun collection. It’s the first airgun I ever saw with an integral silencer. This new Whisper looks like something I might need to find a way to get a hold of. Any thoughts on this gun?

    • John,

      I have tested several Gamo Whisper derivatives in the past. The basic Whisper was the best of them. As they added power and features I found the rifles harder to shoot accurately.

      As for the noise, the shooter will not hear how quiet the gun is, because the noise of the powerplant is conducted through the bones in the face. It will sound loud to the shooter, no matter how quiet the muzzle report is. The muzzle report of any breakbarrel springer is pretty low compared to the powerplant noise.

      So it won’t sound quieter to you but it will to someone standing next to you.


      • I’ll keep that in mind. My whisper is one of the guns with the steel triggers. I’ve heard those were the better guns. When I got the thing they were new on the market and Michigan didn’t have any laws about shrouded airgun barrels yet. I am still not sure why they restricted them. It’s not like airguns are particularly noisy in the first place. I’ve shot many a squirrel out my livingroom window with one and nobody was the wiser with mine. The lady that lived above me was feeding the squirrels on her balcony. They decided that my screen was a handy ladder and were destroying my screen so I took issue with the squirrels. Nobody ever knew what I did and a shroud didn’t help mask the report of the gun.

  14. B.B.

    Interesting rifle. It looks like Kevin helped you find the date of origin. A bit curious since the Germans were at war in 1940.

    I’d bet that Mike Driskill could shed some light onto this one. I don’t know him or how to ask him but maybe you do? Maybe ask on the vintage forum.

    For what it’s worth your description of the “strange, scalloped breech shape” immediately reminded me of Mr. Driskills excellent write up about Diana 27 variations. He refers to the breech as being fluted. Perhaps you have seen it before but since there are so may similarities between the 25 and the 27 I offer it anyway. You may have to log in to see it.


    • Mark,

      Yes, Mike might be a great person to shed some light on this airgun. Although I am a member of that forum it won’t let me sign in with my correct user name and password. I even reset it, just in case the cookies of my new computer were the problem. They said I was fine, but I still can’t sign in.

      Thanks, anyway.


  15. Would it be possible that .22’s came with rifled barrel and .177 were smooth bore?
    My Slavia 618 in .177 has a smooth bore but Vince has a 618 in .22 with a rifled barrel, so am I crazy to think that?


    • J-F,

      The Diana 25’s from this era (1933-1940) were offered with smoothbore and rifled bore in all calibers. It was “an option” as shown in the early catalogues. I don’t remember if it was garvin, frakor or grant that showed these early adverts years ago. As I remember, beech or walnut was also an option.


      • Would it make sense for Slavia to have done the same thing +/-30 years later? Vince said he hadn’t seen a smooth bore 618 before I talked about it but I have one right here and other guys around here have talked about it so I’m not the only owner of one but as far as know they’re all .177 caliber.


        • J-F,

          Don’t know.

          I’m not very familiar with slavia’s. I had a wonderful 634 that PW tuned and did some work on the trigger. It has a good barrel and with his tune is very easy to shoot accurately. My neighbor at my club got that one as a birthday present. If I remember correctly it needed a mount with a hardened cross pin (similar to the fwb’s and old webleys) for the scope.

          He, of course, has the same problem with ground squirrels I do and also considers rabbits a problem since his wife has extensive flower gardens around the waterfall that he and I installed about 20 years ago. He’s taken numerous ground squirrels and lots of rabbits with that gun.

          Rabbits get a free pass at my place since I could care less that they eat my grass. Don’t care for their pellets on my flagstone walkway or my deck but that’s not enough reason for me to shoot them.


  16. I have an off topic question BB. Since President Obama made his historic firearms and ammo sales promoting statement, have airgun sales also increased? I have found that firearms and ammo are in short supply at my local retailers. Even the most common “what used to be readily available” items are nonexistent and store owners have no real idea when they will be. Just curious. Toby

    • Toby T,

      If you’re referring to Walmart, they’ve been holding back on ammo in SOME stores for months. In my area some stores always have a decent inventory while others not so much. The closest Walmart to my home is down to just a few calibers, with no rimfire. They never know when they will be restocking, and that is their pattern for years.

      Outside of Walmart I keep getting adds for ammo sales, so I know that ammo is out there. But, after the recent tragedy people were swarming to stores like there was no tomorrow, so I’m sure some stores still need to play catch up.


      • Victor. Walmart is one of my towns suppliers. There are also two gun stores and a Big 5. All of them are more or less out of the common items. I guess people around here overreacted to what was said. In this state guns are not looked upon negatively for the most part, they are what you might say a part of life, lots of hunting and recreational shooting. The gun laws here are what I consider great, better than other places in this country. I just hope it all settles down. Toby

        • Toby T.,

          Considering the recent reactions and actions of folks like Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, et al., I don’t think your neighbors are overreacting.


        • Toby,

          In my area we have probably a dozen Walmarts within 20 miles. The buying frenzy here started before December 21, 2012. The logical effect is that the price of guns and ammo has gone up. Classic supply and demand. However, rim-fire ammo at Walmart started to go up about a year ago. Some of us are always stocking up, so there’s never a need for “reaction”. In my case, I like to buy my ammo by lot number, so I’ll take everything on the shelf. But, again, I’ve always been doing that.


    • Toby,

      I don’t know. I am a very active reloader and I just acquired an AR-15, so I have been looking for magazines and components. The firearms industry is burning the midnight oil trying to work off the backorders right now. There are no primers or certain calibers of ammo. That’s why I am glad to have many bricks of .22 LR set aside.

      I suspect airguns have seen an increase, but I doubt it was or is as strong as firearms. But I will ask around at the SHOT Show and see what people are saying.


      • B.B.,

        At last years SHOT Show, Ruger told me that they weren’t taking any more orders for their new 1911 because of the overwhelming demand. Wow! I’m sure that with the SEVERAL surges of the past 4+ years for guns and ammo that everyone is feeling the sky-high demand. You may recall, there was one surge just because Obama won his first term. Obama has been very good for the gun industry.


          • I have a very good supply of ammo, powder, primers, bullets, pellets, lead, etc. I always have. I also cast bullets and reload shotgun shells. So, I can out wait a “Run” on supplies. It pays to be prepared. You don’t have to be ready for the end of the world but smaller local disasters happen all the time. This is a wake up call.


      • Thanks BB. I was just wondering. I also have my ample supply of .22 bricks along with the rest of my ammo so the current shortage is not an issue….yet. It is nice to know I have my airguns to shoot and not have to worry about a shortage of ammo for those. Toby

        • Toby T,

          I have hundreds of tins of pellets. When I buy, I buy a lot (sometimes literally by the lot). I have whole cases of some higher end pellets. Same with rim-fire ammo, which when I buy, I always buy by lot number. Stores could go dry for a few years, and I’d still be fine. I’m sure that B.B. would be fine for a couple decades.


    • TCM,

      Good question! Because my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I pushed a pellet through the barrel to confirm this is a smoothbore. There is no choke on either end, though the breech is tighter than the muzzle, probably due to being pressed into the base block.


      • Is it possible to break open the rifle and just look through the barrel like you do with a bolt-action with the bolt removed? And isn’t there a borescope which seems to be some device for putting a light down the bore to examine it closely?


        • Matt,

          Yes, you can look through the bore as you say. But the bore is so shiny that it fools the eye into seeing things that aren’t there — at least my eyes. So I verified with a pellet.

          A borescope is a great idea. They start at over $400 and quickly climb. I have just acquired a used one and if I can get it working again, I will have one to use.


  17. Anybody else look at the PA add and take inventory of what they have ?
    I have more of the “high end” top sellers than I have of the just plain “top sellers”. Twice as many.

    Now I know where my bank account drifted off to.


  18. Finally, I learn the meaning of Diabolo for pellets. I always thought it had something to do with “diabolical.” Speaking of jugglers and string, back in Hawaii, I saw a guy who had strung a line between two palm trees, and he was walking backwards on it while juggling clubs. There is so much misguided talent out there…

    John, I just happened to witness your fantasy test of the AR-15 last night on YouTube. A guy dropped dirt into the actions of both the AK and the AR. The AK did fine, but the AR did surprisingly well too. (Isn’t this dangerous? I had thought this could cause the gun to blow up in your face. But the guy had no eye protection and no helmet.) Has the reliability of the AR been proven as a result? By no means as questions continue to abound as you look at the tests more closely. With rounds picked up from the dirt and loaded into the magazine (a good quality P-mag, not the military issue), the AR did fine. With the bolt carrier group removed, covered in dirt, and reinserted, the rifle also functioned perfectly. But, when dirt was dropped into the trigger mechanism, the gun would only fire single shot. The bolt cycled but the trigger had to be reset each time by working the safety. One other aspect of the test was that the guy refused to dump dirt into the breech of the AR as he had for the AK because he said that the AR was a “closed system” where the dirt could not penetrate. (He did pile dirt on the receiver with the dust cover open and the bolt closed with no problem.) As I remember the AR mechanism (for the A1), if you pull the charging handle fully to the rear, the bolt will lock open until you hit a bolt release. Until you did, your system would be “open.” But the norm seems to be to pull the charging handle back partway so that the bolt closes on release. To be fair, the guy was careful to pour dirt into the AK breech with the muzzle held up because he said that even an AK cannot handle dirt in the chamber. Larry Vickers, a Delta Force veteran performed another test where he buried an AR in dirt (after taping shut the muzzle and closing the dust cover) then threw it down a hill, and it worked perfectly, but this other test seemed more thorough. Ultimately, I think everyone is right here. The AR is not as reliable a combat gun as an AK. But it works fine on the firing line and through most other situations if you keep it lubed.

    On the subject of prepping yourself with supplies, it seems to make sense to stock up on one or two calibers rather than all of them just because the logistical disadvantages of multiple calibers for whole armies also apply to an individual. True?


    • You are correct. No need to have lots of ammo for your Type 99 in 7.7 Japanese rifle. Stock up on what you may really need for the main guns you own. Guns/Ammo like .30-06, .308, .223/5.56, .22 LR, 7.62X39 and 12 ga. would be good choices.

      The AR is not as reliable as the AK. But, it is reliable enough if you take care of it. If it were not, it would not still be in service.


  19. B.B., I had a couple of surprises today. I picked up the PT-85 after a couple of days not firing a single shot. It wouldn’t shoot. The hammer cocked back but nothing happened when I pulled the trigger. I toggled the safety and tried a few times, then it did shoot. I as near the target and pointing the handgun in a safe direction, well, safe for living things. I’m not sure if that pellet even fired or what it hit. I was about 4 feet from my target and backstop.

    I think I found the problem. When I ejected the magazine a couple of pellets fell out of the still loaded clip. I had thought to use up some 7.2 gr. Daisy pointed field pellets. The head size is too small. There isn’t much room to seat pellets in the clips so the head size needs to have a bit of snugness.

    Now for surprise number two. I loaded up with CPHPs. I decided to take my stance and use the 6 o’clock sight picture. I grouped most of 16 shots inside a nickel just to the left of center, with not drop. Whether I have improved my stance and hold, I don’t know but I am delighted. I had intended only to shoot for group without concern for where that group was located. I have read multiple complaints about the PT-85 shooting to the left. I am rather pleased with today’s results. ~Ken

  20. I was wondering, B.B., if you have tried one of the laser sights? I was considering buying one for a Crosman C11 I have. It has fixed sights and it shoots off maybe 2″ high and 2″ right at about 20 feet. That’s not too awfully bad, but it would be nice to see what the gun could do (and me also with my 59 year old eyesight) with a laser. I have zero experience with them. The gun isn’t set up to mount a red dot scope or anything, but has a rail below the barrel. The gun has been 100% reliable for the three years or so I’ve had it. I used to shoot bowling pin matches, and think that CO2 air pistols would be fun to use in that type of matches using smaller lighter pins (hollow ones?) at closer distances of course. I shot at just shy of 25 yards and it was great fun. I used a S&W .38 Special revolver in stainless with adjustable sights (sorry, can’t remember the model number), and I don’t think anyone else was using a wheelgun at that club. I actually won one competition in the lower class. The pins were mounted on railroad ties and you had to knock the pin off the tie. If you knocked it over and it stayed on the tie you couldn’t go on to the next one till you knocked that pin off the tie. It’s hard to hit a bowling pin when it’s been knocked over with the round base facing you! Maybe a BB pistol couldn’t do this safely due to thew BBs bouncing back at you. Just wondering if anyone has looked into it.

    Thanks, Jon in Keaau, Hawaii

      • It’s a kids rifle but all metal and wood. Weighs in at about 2 lbs 4 oz and it’s 33″ long. Will do about and inch at 30′. Only takes my pinkie to cock and does and estamated 250 FPS.

          • Just did an acuracy test on the Slavia 614. I got the best results using Crosman Premiers in the box. Fired 5 fast shots at 30′ letting the pellet sit flush and got a 1 1/2″ group. Then setted the pellet about a 16th of an inch and got a 1″ group.

            Not to bad for a 30-40 year old smoothbore gun. After shooting it I would up the FPS to maybe 300 FPS or more.

            This was done with tired 66 year eyes, trifocals and cateract surgury in both eyes. All I see when looking threw open sights is blurry sights. But that’s why they make scopes.

            This is a great tin can popper for a 5-10 years old. And safer than BB’s bouncing back at you.

  21. I have just joined your group.I have many of the rifles you spoke of.Dianas, Slavias you dont seem to mention Jellys All the youth size rifles not to mention Falkes and Bsa’s.
    On another post bolt action air rifles were mentioned I have 4 ,3 are german and one Chezck.

    • Rob 82, welcome. We have another reader interested in shooting darts with breakbarrels, and it would be quite useful to compile a list of smoothbore breakbarrels.

      Come to the most current blog and hang out with us.

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