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Competition Diana 240 Classic:Part 3

Diana 240 Classic:Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 240 Classic
Diana 240 Classic.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Which pellets?
  • The test
  • First 5 shots
  • Second 5 shots
  • Artillery hold wins
  • Tune in a Tube
  • 10 JSB RS pellets
  • 10 RWS Hobbys
  • 10 Crosman Premier lites
  • Pellet skirt damage
  • Evaluation thus far

I love my job! Today, the kid gets to play with a youth air rifle that’s easy to cock, has a nice trigger and, according to the velocity figures we saw in Part 2 of this report, plus the pedigree of the maker (Diana), should turn out to be very accurate. It’s as if I was employed by Santa Claus to test all the new airguns before he carts them off to their new owners all over the world. And, every two hours I get a break for hot chocolate! I love my job!

My job today is to begin to discover how accurate the Diana 240 Classic air rifle is. Like always, I will start at 10 meters and shoot with open sights.

Which pellets?

Reader Titus Groan suggested that I try JSB Exact RS pellets, and they were already on my list. Given the power of this rifle is lower, the lighter RS should do quite well.

Another light pellets that’s accurate in many airguns is the ever-populoar RWS Hobby. I have to try them — maybe even at 25 yards. Reader Esaz-92 likes them in his 240.

Finally, I think I will try the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome. That pellet has done quite well in other tests, and while it isn’t exactly a budget pellet, it is cheaper than a lot of premium domes. So, if it’s a winner, we will have a chicken dinner!

The test

The first test is off a sandbag rest at 10 meters, using open sights. I will try both the artillery hold and the rifle rested directly on the bag, to see which is best. I will start with JSB RS pellets for no particular reason beyond they were the only pellet specifically recommended by a 240 owner.

The 240 Classic sights are fiberoptic and I had the room lights on directly above the rifle, but when the target was lit by a 500-watt light source, the sights appeared black to me. That’s a good thing, of course, because it allows me to be more precise when aiming.

First 5 shots

The first 5 shots were using the artillery hold. They landed to the right of the center of the bull when I used a 6 o’clock hold. Five JSB RS pellets went into a vertical group that measures 0.515-inches between centers. Not great, but also not bad.

Diana 240 Classic first 5 RS pellets
The first 5 JSB Exact RS pellets, shot with the artillery hold, made this vertical group at 10 meters. It measures 0.515-inches between centers.

After this group I adjusted the rear sight to the left. The sight has a set of index marks that showed it was adjusted to the right when it came from the box, so I centered it.

Second 5 shots

The second 5 shots were taken with the rifle rested directly on the sandbag. The impact of the pellets is nearly perfect. but the group is more open, if slightly smaller at 0.486-inches between centers.

Diana 240 Classic second 5 RS pellets
The second 5 JSB Exact RS pellets, shot with the rifle rested directly on the sandbag, made this somewhat rounder group at 10 meters. It measures 0.486-inches between centers.

Artillery hold wins

I know the second group that was shot with the rifle rested directly on the bag is rounder and also slightly smaller, but I felt it was also more open than the first group. So I decided to shoot the entire test using the artillery hold. And the first group was astounding!

Tune in a Tube

Now that the little rifle was sighted-in, I decided to do something about the tiny buzz in the powerplant. So, the barreled action came out of the stock and I gave the dry mainspring a good shot of Tune in a Tube. When it was out of the stock I noticed that the piston was well-greased, but the mainspring was dry, so this will be a good before and after comparison.

Diana 240 Classic Tune in a Tube
The rear of the piston, seen on the left, was well-greased, but the mainspring was dry.

10 JSB RS pellets

Now the rifle was sighted in and also well lubricated. It should have been a delight to shoot. And, it was! I fell in love with this little rifle, now that all the vibration was gone. Maybe that is how I came to put 10 JSB Exact RS pellets into a group that measures just 0.428-inches between centers. That is SMALLER than either of the 5-shot groups I just finished shooting with the same pellet under the same conditions! Statistics say this is a very rare occurrence — when 10 shots go tighter than 5 shots, but it happened this time. I think this may be the first time I have ever documented this.

Diana 240 Classic 10 RS pellets
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 0.428-inches at 10 meters. This is great!

10 RWS Hobbys

With this group under my belt I was ready to take on the world. Next up were RWS Hobbys, and I expected great things from them. Unfortunately, they didn’t deliver. Ten made a somewhat vertical group that measures 0.745-inches between centers. Well, reader Ersaz-92 did say his 240 is picky about the pellets it likes.

Diana 240 Classic 10 Hobby pellets
Ten RWS Hobbys went into 0.745-inches at 10 meters. Not so good.

10 Crosman Premier lites

The last pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier. I thought they might surprise me, but 10 made a group that measures 0.753-inches between centers. That’s slightly larger than the Hobby group, and also the biggest group of the day.

Diana 240 Classic 10 Premier lite pellets
Ten Crosman Premier lites made this 0.753-inch group at 10 meters. Biggest group of the day.

Pellet skirt damage

Most Diana breakbarrels rifles have slanted breeches that often damage the skirts of pellets when the barrel closes after loading. Reader Yogi had mentioned that. This 240 Classic certainly has a slanted breech. I didn’t notice any problem with feeding either the JSB Exact RS pellets or the Crosman Premiers, because they were small enough to enter the breech deeply. But the RWS Hobbys were larger and wouldn’t go all the way into the breech. A bit of their pellet skirt stuck out on the bottom of the breech block and did get bent when the barrel was closed. How much that affected accuracy is difficult to say, but it certainly didn’t help. The next time I test this rifle I might try deep-seating Hobbys.

Diana 240 Classic pellet skirt
Here you can see the bit of pellet skirt that was bent up when the barrel was closed.

Evaluation thus far

I think the Diana 240 Classic is a world-beater. I don’t know of another breakbarrel rifle that’s as nice at anywhere near the price. And I’m not done testing it yet.

I plan to test this rifle at 25 yards with open sights, and then again with a scope. I’m getting kind of attached to this little sweetie! I already know the bottom line. If you like breakbarrel spring guns that are fun to shoot — get one of these!

30 thoughts on “Diana 240 Classic:Part 3”

  1. B.B.,

    I can practically sense you grinning from ear to ear while you were writing the article especially the part.

    This the first time I have seen that the ball detent is held in place by peening(?) the sides to prevent the ball from popping out. Never noticed it before. I had always imagined that the ball came from behind and was retained by the smaller diameter hole. No problem with that just that I wouldn’t have thought of using that method to retain the ball.

    This is looking like an air rifle I can recommend for my nephew.

    Siraniko

  2. This is one of the few air rifles I have bought new in the last 10 years. I tend to like the old ones, like the diana 23,25,27 etc. I was so impressed with shooting the panther 21, which is the identical action in a synthetic stock, I decided I needed the 240. Mine also shoots very close to 10 meter match rifle groups, which makes it one of the most accurate small break barrel air rifles I have ever owned.
    I was lucky and got one of the early ones that did not have the fiber optic sights but the old fashioned sights with a steel globe and pointy post.
    I think one of the secrets to the 240 is its very short stroke, you will find that cocking it the stroke seems to end halfway already. This results in a snappy short shot cycle, and I think that is what makes it easy to shoot well.

    Best regards,

    Carel

      • One of the screws on my Diana 34 rear sight is missing and in my search for a replacement I came across some very expensive rear sights and some less expensive replacement stock sights.

        I wonder if you need the replacement rear stock sights pyramid cells would fit and not have fiber optics.
        For example: /product/rws-base-plastic-rearsight?a=7293

        OR

        /product/micrometer-rear-sight-fits-weihrauch-beeman-hw-air-rifles?a=3541

        • Actually, I do not need either as I do not have one of these.

          The RWS base would be useless without the rest of the rear sight. As for the HW sight, it could possibly be modified to work, but likely only with great difficulty.

          Now if you hunt around you can sometimes run across the regular sights. The big question is how to remove that chunk of plastic off of the front of the barrel so as to allow the installation of real sights?

          • RidgeRunner,

            I see a glow tube and I want it painted black.
            No glowing anymore, I want them to turn black.

            Get a small craft brush and some black model paint. :^)

            Michael

            • Michael,

              Oh, I know. The truth is the air rifles I buy do not have glowy thingy sights. They do not come with cheap scopes either. This one is tempting, but I would more likely buy an HW30 / R7, because they have better triggers and sights. I just have to save my pennies a little longer.

      • The sights look similar to my 34P, and they work fine. I once felt like you, but now that I’ve tried them, I don’t find them offensive, at least for offhand work, which is what a 500fps rifle is best suited to!

        A lot of offhand muzzleloader target shooters have put correctness and pride to the side and mounted fiber optic sights. I have seen them on flintlocks. Target sights are usually taller than is absolutely correct anyhow. I used to begrudge folks the modern sights, but I’d rather see them keep shooting than give up from frustration.

  3. B.B.,

    Nice shooting. Glad this is turning out to be all that you thought it might be. The slanted breech has always intrigued me. It makes sense on the closing/action/seal end of things,.. but not on preventing pellet damage. I think that if I ever owned on that I would be inclined to always seat the pellet deeper,.. at least until the proud edge was flush.

    Good Day all,…. Chris

  4. BB,

    That’s it, rub it in. Playing with air rifles all day and then you have to remind us that we have to pack up and trudge off somewhere to do someone else’s bidding in the hopes they reward us with enough pittance to afford our own air rifles to play with during those rare minutes we can squeeze out for our own personal enjoyment.

    You are making it very difficult to not buy this air rifle for my grandson and I to play with. This kind of accuracy will make thinning out the pack of feral soda cans around here boring after a bit for him. I can see Ritz cracker crumbs everywhere or maybe even Dum Dums.

  5. B.B.

    Well finally proof that your surgery was a success. Very nice shooting!

    I still do not understand why the slanted breech block? Mine was a bear to get any pellets seated, only after I really went to town with JB Non-Embedding Paste could I open up the leede enough to get pellets in. Now my breech block show signs of wear(blueing rubbing off) in the upper right of the block. Why?

    How do you like the mat finish on the gun? Perhaps you could do a series on the best rust proofing finish in a harsh marine environment. Leaving pieces of metal in salt water and see what happens….

    -Y

  6. Everyone,

    The slanted breech is a design requirement. For the breech to close air tight the breech must be slanted to a degree. Look at any breakbarrel that has the breech seal in the base block and you will see why this is. Dianas are just more pronounced than some.

    B.B.

  7. B.B.
    I am new to the blog and wanted to thank you for all your work on the UTG drooper scope mounting bases for RWS/Diana rifles. I have the TO 6 version on a 54 Air King and it is wonderful (both the mounts and the rifle). Does this 240 have the typical poorly designed RWS scope rail and if so which UTG mount will fit? There are two different ones available for the TO 5 trigger.

    Ken

    • Ken,

      Welcome to the blog.

      The 240 Classic doesn’t have Diana’s scope base. It just has parallel dovetails cut directly into the spring tube. I don’t know whether it’s a bad drooper or not yet, because I haven’t tried to scope it.

      The rear sight should not need to be removed.

      B.B.

  8. I’m a sucker for a low price, but the question for me is how the accuracy compares to the HW30S. The 240 doesn’t sound like it’s quite there.

    On the subject of eyesight, I’ve been going with the principle of aim small miss small to use the smallest targets that I can. At my 5 yard range, I aim at dots that are about the width of a pencil eraser. They are about the same as the 100 yard NRA targets at 100 yards although maybe a little smaller. Without a scope, they are barely visible to me. It’s good for shooting, but I wonder if this is causing eyestrain as my vision seems to have deteriorated a bit. No doubt Josh Unger’s wife knows the answer if she reads the blog. Or is there a body of knowledge about this? I’m sure I’m not the first guy in this situation.

    Matt61

  9. Could you clarify how hold sensitive this rifle is? All I really want is a good springer that is not hold sensitive! I’m trying to improve my shooting, but it’s hard with the extra factor of perfecting the artillery hold, and moreover, figuring out which variation of the artillery hold it likes, and then on top of that figuring out what pellet it likes! It is nearly impossible! So if this one turns out to be not sensitive (insensitive doesn’t seem like the right adjective) I’ll be really tempted.

  10. With the Diana 240 classic .177 caliber that I gave to my godson for his birthday two years ago, I was able to achieve some one hole five pellet groups with the Crosman Pointed 7.4 grains with the open sight at around 8.5 meters (about 28 feet) and less than a dime groups at 10 meters (about 33 feet).

    By the way, nice review, thanks!

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