by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 240 Classic
Diana 240 Classic.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • BB’s eye
  • You liked it
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS Hobby
  • Crosman Premier lite
  • The trigger
  • Trigger
  • Cocking effort
  • Evaluation so far

BB’s eye

Just an update on my eye that had the cataract removed. It is now more acute at distance than the other eye. I see the doctor who did the surgery this Friday and am expecting that she will pronounce it fixed. I can now aim with open sights once more. Now, on to today’s report.

You liked it

Just an observation from the comments to Part 1 of this report. Many of you like this Diana 240 Classic air rifle for the same reasons I do. You like the small size, easy cocking and the general classic styling. Today we begin discovering how it performs, and I have to admit that I have high hopes. There aren’t enough airguns like this one in the market anymore, and I think that’s a shame. Because this is where the heart of airgunning lies — not in .22 rimfire power and accuracy, but with guns that are fun and easy to shoot.

JSB Exact RS

Let’s get started. The first pellet I tested was the JSB Exact RS dome. In .177 caliber these pellets weigh 7.33 grains, making them lightweights. Let me show you the string I fired before I explain what happened.

2……………..481 DS
12……………523 DS

The DS after the velocity means I deep-seated those pellets. I thought I might get lucky and be able to get two bits of data from a single test, but all I got was an indication that the 240 Classic doesn’t like deep-seating. At least not with JSB Exact RS pellets.

The average of the other 10 shots that were seated flush was 528 f.p.s. The spread of just those shots went from a low of 511 f.p.s. to a high of 541 f.p.s. That’s 30 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet is putting out 4.54 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

RWS Hobby

The next pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby. At just 7 grains, the Hobby is one of the lightest lead pellets around, and is usually used in velocity tests by manufacturers. In the 240 Classic I’m testing Hobbys averaged 548 f.p.s. with a spread from 544 to 551 f.p.s. That’s just 7 f.p.s., which is remarkable in a brand new spring-piston airgun! At the average velocity, Hobbys generate 4.67 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Just to be consistent I did deep-seat two Hobbys after the string was shot. They went 540 and 525 f.p.s., respectively. No advantage there.

Crosman Premier lite

The last pellet I tested was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome. This pellet is made from lead that’s been hardened with antimony, so it might perform differently than pure lead pellets in a lower-powered rifle like the 240 Classic. Ten of them averaged 524 f.p.s. with a low of 511 and a high of 533 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 22 f.p.s. At the average velocity, Premier lites are generating 4.82 foot-pounds at the muzzle. That makes them the most efficient of the three pellets tested.

I did seat two Premier lites deep. Their velocities were 518 and 513 f.p.s., respectively. What that tells me is deep-seating isn’t beneficial with the 240 Classis. Maybe there is one pellet that will do better when seated deep, but it doesn’t look like it’s worth the effort to find out. We now have a pretty good handle on the power and consistency of the 240 Classic. It’s in the same category as the vintage Diana 25. But what about the trigger?

The trigger

There is no denying that the old ball-bearing trigger that’s found in the vintage Diana 27 and some Diana 25s can be adjusted to a razor’s edge. The question is — how good is the T05 trigger that’s in the 240 Classic? I happen to think that it’s very good. The second stage breaks cleanly, and the straight trigger blade only enhances the feel.

The trigger on the test rifle is set to release at 2 pounds on the nose. While I was testing it I noticed a tiny bit of vibration in the shot cycle. If Tune in a Tube did not exist I wouldn’t pay this slight vibration any attention, but it does and I think I’m going to treat the mainspring. Accuracy testing will then be a delight.

Cocking effort

The 240 Classic has a ball bearing detent that is a trademark of Diana breakbarrels. It’s stiff, but not so much that you need to slap the muzzle to break it open. The rifle cocks with 13 pounds of effort, which makes it very easy to cock.

Evaluation so far

The 240 Classic is stacking up to be the classic Diana I had hoped for. All that remains is the accuracy test, and I’m betting that will go very well. We shall see.

If this rifle tests out as I hope, it’s going to be a world-beater in my book! Remember what I said about this being a more affordable alternative to the HW 30S? If it is accurate, it will be just that, in my book.