by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!