Diana model AR-8: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana AR-8
Diana AR-8 N-TEC air rifle.

  • The rifle
  • Big!
  • Inexpensive?
  • Sights
  • Scope base
  • Trigger
  • Firing behavior
  • Summary

The full title of the rifle we are looking at today is the Diana AR-8 Professional Success. That’s right. Apparently the Germans have hired Koreans to name to their airguns. Remember Shin Sung — Good Luck for Dignified Masterworks?

The rifle

The rifle I’m testing is a .22, but it also comes in .177. The serial number I’m testing is 20067725. The name AR8 is derived from the Blaser R8 Professional bolt action rifle, though that firearm bears little physical resemblance to this air rifle. Perhaps they mean similar in performance within the airgun world.

The AR-8 has a gas piston unit — the Diana N-TEC piston. That is a unitized piston assembly with an internal gas spring. I tested one before in the 340 N-TEC, and I know how nice it can be. Let’s hope the AR-8 tests just as well.

Big!

The AR-8 is a large air rifle. It’s 48 inches long and weighs 7.2 lbs. You know you are holding something when you heft this air rifle. The stock is black synthetic, shaped with the rounded forend Diana is putting on many of their rifles these days. There’s the hint of a schnable at the tip. Fine stipple-like texturing on the forend and pistol grip is too smooth to give any grip, and the stock feels slippery in my hands.

I find the cross-section of the forend too wide for comfort. The pistol grip is very vertical and thin, so it feels good to me with my medium-sized hands. The butt has a thumbhole cutout that’s ambidextrous, and I like it. I’m not a fan of thumbhole stocks, but for a airgun this inexpensive, I think it compliments the rifle.

Inexpensive?

Why does B.B. think $350 is inexpensive? Because this is a Diana! You get their accuracy, an adjustable trigger (no, I don’t think it’s T06, or if it is, everyone is sworn to keep it a secret), and reputation for build quality. Plus it has a gas piston/spring. Just because it’s a Diana you know I.m going to test for barrel droop! But, yes, at $350, this could be a terrific bargain.

Sights

The sights are unlike any I’ve seen! I wish I had designed them.

The front sight adjusts for elevation. A thumbwheel raises and lowers the sight element, and the pellet moves in the opposite direction.

Diana AR-8 front sight
The front sight adjusts for elevation, via a thumbwheel!

The rear sight is unique. A broad white stripe points to a shallow squared notch where the front sight should be centered. But that white stripe causes me to want to center the green front fiberoptic dot above it, in a “snowman” configuration. My Taurus 1911 pistol has something similar and once I got used to it, I liked it a lot! The jury is out on this one, but at least the engineers at Diana are trying.

The rear sight has a locking screw on either side of the sliding notch. Loosen them both and slide the sight in the direction you want the pellet to go. Then lock them down. I haven’t seen this arrangement on a pellet rifle in a long time!

Diana AR-8 rear sight
The rear sight has a small Allen locking screw on either side. Loosen both, then slide the sight in the direction you want the pellet to go.

Scope base

The AR-8 has a traditional Diana scope base atop the rear of the spring tube. All your recent Diana scope mounts will fit it. Will you need a drooper base? I will test for that.

Trigger

OMG!!! Trigger fanatics are going to love this adjustable trigger! It is extremely crisp and very light. Details in Part 2. I am betting it is breaking at under 2 lbs. out of the box.

There are three adjustments the user can make. The first stage travel is adjustable and the factory sets it at the minimum. I don’t care for it, but those who like single-stage trigger certainly will! And I can adjust it to suit me.

Diana AR-8 trigger
The trigger adjustment screws are so deep inside that I couldn’t capture them. There are three — one behind the trigger and two in front. Note the straight trigger blade.

Both the stage one and stage two pull weights are also adjustable. I have seen some Rekords that couldn’t be adjusted this nice. And the blade is very straight, which is my personal preference.

Firing behavior

I cheated, like I always do, and fired a couple shots. The stock slapped my face like a woman, when I got too fresh on the first date! I really hope that goes away (the stock slap — not the women).

The rifle is detonating right now, and the firing behavior should change when that ends. I really hope it does, because this will be painful to shoot for accuracy, if not.

Summary

The Diana AR8 has many differences. It’s not just another breakbarrel with a new name. This is one to examine carefully. That’s what I plan to do.

46 thoughts on “Diana model AR-8: Part 1

  1. BB,

    Well, I cannot say that I care for the looks of it. I applaud their efforts to step out there and try something new and I know there will be those who will warm up to this thing, but I prefer the styling of the rest of the N-Tec line.

    You stated that this air rifle slapped you like a woman. You did not say that with the 340 N-Tec. Could it be that because of the lightness of the stock to the rear, the center of balance is more forward and thereby exaggerating the recoil motion at the rear of the stock? I had the same issue when I put a gas spring in my synthethic stock Gamo CFX a few years back. It was a most unpleasant experience, one which I quickly rectified.


  2. Pingback: Diana model AR-8: Part 1 | Airguns: Air Rifles and Pistols

  3. B.B.,

    The sights look quite high. I see that interfering with a low mounted scope,… maybe not. Do they remove? You also mentioned fiber optic front sights,… but I fail to see any. I do like the sight adjustments. You featured a older rifle awhile back that had that type of rear sight movement/lock down.

    Per the P.A. site,… it does have a T06 trigger. Interesting on the “slap”. It is quite powerful per the specs.. Like RR stated, maybe the lower weight and weight distribution has something to do with that. Interesting rifle on several fronts.

    Chris


  4. B.B.,

    Try as I might I cannot see the green front fiber optic dot in the front sight that you are referring to. All I can see is a white stripe on the picture of the front sight. Which to me is more confusing to use as an open sight reference. How would I align the two white lines? Pardon me but is this a manifestation of your color blindness which you referred to previously that when you manipulate the picture to bring out the detail that it sometimes changes the actual color that is present?

    It is the cheapest Diana air rifle using the Diana N-TEC piston but is more expensive than your standard Diana 34P. This rifle might benefit once a scope has been added increasing its weight which might help reduce its tendency to slap you.

    Siraniko


  5. Well, here we go, the first Diana since the takeover, it’d better be nice
    Trigger, sights and stock are different, the blueing and accuracy should tell us whether this is from Germany via China or not
    The Gas Spring, sorry Theoben but its not answering a question nobody qsked.
    Generally harder to cock and less pleasant to fire than the equivalent spring gun, no more consistent and certainly no longer lasting whilst being less user serviceable and more expensive, I’ve never yet heard a reasonable answer as to why.
    Consider…the AA TX200 and the pro sport, rifles not built to a price….but eschewing the gas spring, also cobsider the fact that Weihrauch offer just one rifle, the HW90 in gas spring and the aftermarket offers a kit to convert to back to HW95 spring configuration… but not the other way round.
    It says it all really


    • Dom,

      If I am not mistaken the 340 N-Tec is part of the new owners line.

      What my main concern is that the new international sales manager came from Umarex. I am sorely afraid he will be pushing for Diana to be more like Umarex and offer similar products to Umarex. This thing looks like it came from Umarex. 🙁


      • The 340, at least nominally appeared to have lineage with the Diana 240 (itself related to the venerable 34) this seems to be a further jump…the company that bought them out are importers of all sorts of old nonsense, CO2, BB, Airsoft, paintball as well as other equipment, fishing etc…and all mainly far eastern, so the worry is there that the quality will fall over..
        It does look a bit like the other Umarex/Benjamin/Crosman/Remington etc…. Chinese but twice removed and a bit of sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors etc
        I hope not


        • Dom,

          I too hope not. They have the opportunity to take Diana and elevate it to the top of the airgun industry so long as they focus on quality. I think that is there intent. You can go to their website and contact them and order any of their air rifles with a customized walnut stock. I may have to break down and do such next year.


  6. The sights look like the original ones on the firearm. The professional stock is plastic and the success version is the very thumbhole stock. So this Diana AR8 bears much more than little physical resemblance to the Blaser R8.


  7. Certainly a new and different looking airgun. My own thoughts of the gas shock guns are mixed with what I see here. My brother has a Theoben Crusader, it shoots pretty well, but it feels quite harsh. And the thought of any tune/repair is a concern. Some of my shooting friends have had good things to say about gas spring guns without the name reputation of Diana, etc. Another interesting BBP exposition! Onward!


  8. B.B.,

    I do like adjustable front sights. It is mildly disappointing this air rifle lacks additional elevation adjustment on the rear sight. I have a cheap Chinese air rifle that has both, and the range of adjustment is tremendous. I know manufacturing costs are a factor, but still, do you have any other explanations for long guns rarely having adjustable front sights? It seems to me that it should be standard.

    Michael



  9. Hello BB and Fellow Airgunners
    Anytime a major airgun company introduces a brand new airgun model, my heart soars like an eagle. I use my favourite Cheif Dan George quote from Little Big Man. I say “major airgun company”, because the Diana name has earned a reputation for inovation, and quality even though it has been sold. Only time will tell, and this new air rifle should let us know if the Diana name still holds true to their reputation. I love surprise tests of a new model, and will be eagerly following this test to hear your conclusions.
    Ciao
    Titus


  10. B.B.,

    Thank you for looking at another new spring rifle. Having sampled a couple of PCP rifles, I’m ready to acquire another spring gun. There are so many interesting choices, and your data and conclusions have been a big help in winnowing the field. Among gas-spring guns, I have shot Benjamin NP pistol and NP and NP2 rifles and and liked the experience except for the triggers. Oddly enough, I liked the NP trigger better.
    The AR-8 appears to have some good features as well as some design compromises. But the price is really right for one of their guns. It’s a bit long, but the weight looks manageable. It might be a good step-up from the NP’s if the performance is there. Or maybe I’ll just get one of Diana’s older metal spring models like the 34, 48, or 460.
    In any event, I’d be a lot dumber about all of this without your wonderful writings.

    Thanks again!

    Walt



    • walt,

      I got an NP rifle this summer, the crosman crusher. there are 2 internet mods for the trigger, the roller bearing and the longer adjustment screw. I tried the screw mod and am quite happy with it, Of course I have very little non-military trigger experience (just the NP and my daisy 853, but I have a beeman P17 in the mail 😉 )

      the screw is behind the trigger and is for sear engagement. 8mm length is recommended but I had a 10mm and ground it down, it was too long to allow the trigger to move at 10mm. It seemed to reduce my group size about half, when i first adjusted it, but that was before the rifle was broken in and the groups were much larger (or before I learned how to shoot it 😉 )

      worked fine up to about 500 shots then i had a couple of accidental discharges in a handful of loadings so I backed it off 1 & 1/6 turns. at that setting with it being broken in it seems really good to me. so if you do this mod I would recommend setting it where you think it’s good and then back off another turn to be safe for after it breaks in.

      I really like the crusher, it’s 22 and a bit too powerful to be firing inside, though i do it anyway 🙂 I got it on sale for $93 and am pretty happy with it, takes a bit of effort to cock.

      after close to 2000 shots it is really well broken in now, using my scope with 7 yards parallax I’ve been able to get groups in the .2-.3 inch range at 7 yards. the Chinese made crusher has the shrouded barrel like on the Benjamin trail NP which is really solid strong anodized aluminum unlike the plastic shroud on the american made NP2 😉 the plastic stock is very nice too, it really looks and feels like a nice firearm so can’t be carrying in public where firearms are not allowed.


      • 6.5,

        Thanks for the info and the benefit of your experience. I’ll have more fun with whatever I buy because of the expert knowledge available in this forum.

        Happy shootin’

        Walt


  11. Michael—Re adjustable front sights—— They may be perceived as weak and delicate. Almost every shooter has bumped a front sight against a tree , or wall, etc. They weigh more. They can be higher, or larger than a simple front sight, and interfere with the sight picture when using a scope. In my opinion, adjustable front sights should be an option, so that the scope only shooter does not have to pay for an expensive sight that will be removed and never used. It probably will be lost , once it is removed from the rifle. I removed the large, bulky globe sight from my new HW30S. I am looking for a good place to store it, so that it will not be lost. —–Ed


    • Ed,

      I have a large tool box that I store my excess, spare and loose airgun parts in. I bag the parts and label them so they are protected and I know where they go later.


  12. B.B.

    I look forward to the rest of the review! Do you know if this rife has a canted beech block. What I mean is when you insert the pellet do it sit flush with the breech or does it sit at an angle. I have a 340 N-Tec and it sits at an angle, drives me nuts……

    Also, why it this air gun so much more powerful than an N-Tec, about a 100 fps more powerful!
    Thanks,
    -Y


  13. This might be a rifle I could use if the accuracy is there. It would be a good winter rifle for me with it’s gas spring. We have lots of winter in the UP of Michigan!

    Mike


  14. does pyramyd typically have a lower free shipping threshold for black Friday/cyber Monday? I was thinking of getting a sampling of 8-12 of the cheaper pellets to experiment with, I’m about done with experimenting with the cheap daisy flat heads 🙂



    • 6.5:

      PA offers pellet samplers by different manufacturers. I ordered the JSB, RWS, and the two H&N samplers a while back to have different pellets to try when I got 177 CCS 2400KT. I do wish that the samplers included more pellets. 22 cal. versions of some of the samplers are also available. Here is a link (I hope) to the 177 samplers.

      /airgun-pellets/calibers_0_177/pw_varies

      Also, PA has some of the H&N Excite pellets in 100 count tins for a very reasonable price. Actually most of the Excite line are reasonably priced. In my CO2 guns the Excite Econ wadcutters shoot almost as well as RWS Basic or Hobby pellets.

      Jim


  15. Thanks to everyone who responded to my leak issue. It’s all better now cocked it and filled no worries. I’m just glad this blog is here and BB has brought so many great minds together. I’m just gonna set on the bench and keep watching lmao. But will holler for help every now and then lol.

    Again Thanks!!

    Rock




  16. Those small rifles are so pleasurable to shoot! I was shooting my HW 90 .25 yesterday and it wore me out aster less than a dozen shots. I then switched to my 40 plus year old Slavia 618 and only stopped because of fading light. I estimate over 100 pellets. Now I am 6 feet 3 and well over 200 lbs but I none the less enjoy the small light springer so much more. I am in the market for a quality one.


  17. If I’m correct, this gun uses the same power plant (nitro piston mechanism) as Diana 350 Magnum n-tec; however the stated fps for this gun is actually higher. Any idea what is the reason?

    Thanx.


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