by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Artillery hold
- JSB Exact RS
- RWS Superpoint
- Slippery butt plate
- Cocking effort
- RWS Hobby
- Shot cycle
- Cocking lever latch
Today is the first of what are sure to be several accuracy days with the Diana K98 air rifle. I started slow, shooting from 10 meters off a bag and using open sights. I shot off a bag, but I did use the artillery hold. After the test it occurred to me that I should have tried a group with the rifle rested directly on the bag, but it was too late. I will do that in a future test.
As I shot the rifle I concentrated on several comments made by reader, Zimbabwe Ed. Ed has had some negative experiences with his K98, so I will address those as I go.
The first comment I will make is that Ed is right about the K98 being muzzle heavy! It is extremely muzzle heavy! I therefore rested the forearm on the palm of my off hand with the hand located out by the near end of the cocking slot. That made the rifle rest very solidly on my hand. I’m not sure if this is the best way to hold the rifle, so as the accuracy test progresses I will continue to experiment — including resting the rifle directly on the sandbag.
JSB Exact RS
The first pellet I shot was the 13.43-grain JSB Exact RS dome. No special reason — I just felt like it. The sights were exactly as they came from the factory and the rear sight was adjusted way over to the right. The group of 10 shots went into 0.604-inches at 10 meters. That’s not the smallest group of 10 I have shot at that distance, but it is a good one for open sights for me. Nine of those pellets are in 0.467-inches. That borders on great. Think back to the test of my Airsporter Mark IV a couple days ago and compare that to what you see here. You’ll see that the K98 is better. And this was with my right eye (the one that had a detached retina)!
I will say that the sights on the rifle are not conducive to target shooting. The inverted vee front sight (Perlkorn in German) is difficult to level with the top of the rear notch. It is easy to center, though.
This group landed to the right of the aimpoint, so I adjusted the rear sight notch to the left a bit. Next, I tried a pellet I was sure would be a winner.
This was the RWS Superpoint. Since the K98 is a Diana, I expected this pellet might do very well. I did miscount pellets on this one, so the group is not 10 but just 9 pellets. All 9 went into 0.871-inches, but 7 of those are in just 0.594-inches. I think when I shoot with a scope this pellet will shine.
The rifle was still shooting a little to the right, so I made a second sight adjustment. I also dialed in 2 clicks of elevation.
Slippery butt plate
Now I will comment on that slippery metal butt plate Ed talked about. The rifle did slip off my leg once when I was cocking it, so again, my experience agrees with Ed’s. I had no trouble holding it to my shoulder while shooting, but since I was shooting off a sandbag, that might be the reason. I think Ed was shooting offhand.
I’ll also observe that in this test I did use 2 hands to cock the rifle most of the time. Apparently sitting close to the shooting bench is different than just sitting in my office when I chronographed the gun for Part 2. The rifle was much closer to my chest in this test, which made the cocking effort harder. I can still cock it with one hand, but on this test I preferred using 2 hands.
The last pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby wadcutter pellet. I had high hopes for this one, both because the K98 seems accurate and also because Hobbys are a good pellet for shooting this close to the target. At 10 meters ten Hobby pellets went into a group that measures 0.532-inches between centers. That’s the smallest 10-shot group of the session, and I note there are no real stray shots in this group.
I’m shooting the K98 from the artillery hold, which means it’s as free to move and recoil as it can be. The shot cycle is quite smooth, though the rifle does tell me how powerful it is. The pellets were at the trap the moment I heard the gun fire, which isn’t common in my tests.
Cocking lever latch
Ed told us that his cocking lever falls down every time he shoots. Another reader said his lever falls under certain circumstances. I was not able to replicate that on my rifle, but I now do notice that the lever latch feels very soft when I return the lever to the stowed position. I might take my action out of the stock and see if I can strengthen the latch.
Today was just a first effort to get to know the K98 rifle. I do still like it very much. I think the accuracy is way better than what you see here, but let’s give it the chance to settle down and me a chance to get to know it. Stage two of the trigger has some creep that I’m going to try to adjust out for future tests.
Next I want to back up to 25 yards and continue to shoot with open sights. I am thinking about a scope, though. I think a compact scope would be nice, given what this is (a realistic copy of a K98K Mauser). There is a lot more to come, so stay with me.