Diana K98 pellet rifle: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana K98
Diana’s K98 Mauser pellet rifle is very realistic.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • First scope
  • First scope failed!
  • 10X fixed power UTG scope
  • The test
  • JSB RS
  • My eye
  • JSB Exact 15.89-grain
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Conclusion

I last tested the Diana Mauser K98 air rifle on December 20 of last year. On that day my right eye was so bad that I couldn’t even see the sights when wearing my glasses, so I had to shoot that test left-handed. Even so, I managed to shoot a 10-shot group that was almost one-inch at 25 yards. And I did it with the rifle rested directly on a sandbag!

First scope

Today I mounted an old Leapers 3-12 SWAT mil dot scope that happened to be attached to high rings that were sitting on a prototype Leapers drooper base. This base will fit the new Diana scope bases on the rifles. The scope was so old it was from the pre-UTG days. It just says Leapers on the tube.

I used the drooper base for its downward slant, because the Mauser 98K is a Diana, and most of them have some droop. As the test unfolded I discovered this rifle doesn’t have any droop and I could have left that base out of the scope mounting solution. That would have been better,
because the combination of the base and high rings put the scope too high for the rifle to fit me comfortably. If this wasn’t just a test I would select a different set of rings and no drooper base.

First scope failed!

It took about 10 shots to sight in and then I shot a first group. It wasn’t shot as well (not as uniformly) as I hoped, so I tried shooting a second group with the same pellet. But, after three more shots, the parallax failed. The scope focus became fuzzy no matter where the sidewheel parallax was set. That’s the first Leapers scope ever to fail on me like that. The scope is probably close to 10 years old and has been mounted on dozens of different air rifles for testing, so I got a lot of use out of it. But no more!

10X fixed power UTG scope

I dismounted the scope and mounted a 110X50 fixed power UTG SWAT scope in its place. The reticle on this one is very thin, so aiming is as precise as it can be. I felt that offset the slightly lower magnification this scope offered. You will note that this scope is compact.

Diana K98 scoped
The scope is way too high the way it’s mounted here. The drooper base proved unnecessary, so the scope can be lowered quite a bit.

The test

If you read Part 4 you’ll discover that I was able to shoot this rifle rested directly on the sandbag. That is a testimony to the smoothness of the shot cycle. So, that is how I shot it for today’s test.


First to be tested were 13.43-grain JSB Exact RS domes. They did well in Part 4 and I wanted to see how much better I could do with a scope. However, allow me to tell you about my new eye before I describe the test.

My eye

I can see through the scope very clearly, and the reticle lines that used to be very crooked have straightened out quite a bit. There is still some crookedness to them, but it’s far less than before. My cataract was really degrading my ability to see clearly!

Back to the test. The rifle shot pellet after pellet to the same place. It was wonderful to watch. In the end I had shot 10 pellets into a group that measures 0.584-inches between centers. I would say the Mauser 98K is accurate!

Diana K98 JSB RS target
Ten JSB RS pellets went into 0.584-inches at 25 yards.

JSB Exact 15.89-grain

Next I tried 10 JSB Exact 15.89-grain pellets. They went into as group that measures 1.07 inches between centers. For 25-yard shooting it’s not too bad, but the RS is still the pellet to beat,

Diana K98 JSB Exact target
Ten JSB Exact 15.89-grain pellets went into 1.07-inches at 25 yards. While acceptable, in light of what the RS pellets did I wouldn’t choose this one.

RWS Superdomes

In Part 4 I got a phenomenal result from RWS Superdome pellets. So naturally I thought they would be the best pellet today. I shot two groups of 10 and I’m showing you the best one, though the other one is only slightly larger. The best I was able to do with Superdomes was 10 in 1.382-inches at 25 yards. As you can see, most of the pellets grouped together, but there were 4 outliers that opened things up. In the other group that was larger I had similar results, with three pellets opening the group. Perhaps sorting pellets by head size with the Pelletgage would improve things, but I don’t care about that.

Diana K98 RWS Superdome target
Ten RWS Superdome pellets went into 1.382-inches at 25 yards. For some reason, these pellets were not as good as the 10 Superdomes I shot from this rifle with open sights in December.


It seems the Mauser K98 is a little picky about the pellets it likes. No doubt if I were to continue testing with other pellets I would find one or more that also work well. But I have zero desire to shoot this rifle with a scope. It was made to shoot with open sights and that’s how I would shoot it. I’m still deciding whether I want to buy this one or return it to Pyramyd Air

40 thoughts on “Diana K98 pellet rifle: Part 5”

  1. B.B.,,

    Nice shooting with the 13.43’s and glad to hear your eye is doing much better. Double check the 10X50 wording as it turned into 110X50. I often compliment you on being able to shoot with a high mag. level, but I am not sure what to say to 110X. 😉

    Unless,…. you were referring to the fact that you mounted 1 scope?,….. as opposed to 2 or more. I had a dream about that once. I think a BKL tri-rail adapter came into play. 3 scopes on one gun. That would make for a fun picture. 🙂

    Good Day all,…… Chris

  2. B.B.,

    Off topic,…. with all of the after market parts available for air guns,… Why has no one ever made a drop-in trigger group for a Avanti 499? 2 stage, adjustable, “decent” quality. 1st., 2nd., pull weight, stop. That would be fun.

    As a 50 buck, or less, add on,…. I would get one. The 499 is (very) worthy, and accurate.


    • Chris,

      Have you ever disassembled one? There’s no “dropping in” a trigger assembly. It is all part and parcel. I am not saying that it cannot be done, but it would likely require considerable modification to the BB gun. Also, “drop-in” trigger assemblies tend to cost considerably more than the 499 does.

      Now I have thought of taking something like an HW 30S and mounting a suitable smooth bore barrel with a magnet in the breech, and give it a lighter spring and possibly a shorter stroke. I would actually prefer that over the 499.

      • RR,
        Yes,… I have had mine apart several times. The trigger “group” does come out as a unit. I am just tossing it out there as a question/idea. It would be the crowning jewel on an crazy accurate shooter.

        • Chris,

          Well there you go. Here is your opportunity to become rich and famous. If you can design and market such properly, you will be able to retire to your own private island in the tropics.

          • RR,

            Yes, that would be nice. I did recently play with several prototype “pellet pens” that load a pellet sideways. Real handy for loading a tight loading port like the Maximus or other similar loading ports. They were all my invention. Somebody with the resources could pull that off. “Uncluttered” at the nose is the key on that one. A 3-D printer and the ability to use the design software would be the best way to proto-type that one.

  3. BB
    Im glad to hear that your eye is doing better.

    But i think this rifle needs a scope. Plus a bag of little green army men placed randomly out to 50 yards, and a nice quiet aftetnoon on a sand bag playing WW2 sniper. And a cup of coffee. This is definitley the next air rifle im getting.

      • Jimaok;
        What a marvelous, cool idea. I had not thought of that fun shooting gallery concept. More fun than just shooting at a circular bullseye target. I will use the Hakim trainer that BB gifted me to which I added an old 3X9 scope I had gathering dust in the closet. Very accurate now and and a tack driver that will “pop” many bad guy VC soldiers.


        Pearland, Texas

  4. I don’t want to rain on the parade but….there are reports that the pin that connects the cocking arm to the cylinder is too brittle due to a mistake in tempering. I have two of the 98’s I sold that have needed a replacement, a talk with PA has confirmed that the tech dept. has also seen the problem. It’s an easy fix but…you have to have the parts on hand which the “normal” shooter won’t.

  5. Side Bar: Hard Air Magazine did a two part review of the Marksman 2070 .177 Break barrel …So, I bought one from PA and could not be more impressed with a $75.00 air rifle and Pyamyd’s super low shipping cost. To encourage
    air gun beginners, a basic, low cost airguns are important. So, B.B., I hope you pick one up and tell us what you think,.
    Thanks, read your blogs every morning with my frist mug of coffee..

  6. B.B.,

    I am having a Twilight Zone moment. No one else has mentioned it, but on my monitor the the photos of the targets for the JSB 15.89s and the Superdomes are the same picture.

    Next I’ll look out the window and see a goblin on an airplane engine!


  7. BB—My Diana Mauser 98K came back from the smith last week. He installed a 16 Joule tune kit and the rifle is easier to cock. It is not in the same class as my R7, and 30S, but I can now shoot at least 50-60 pellets without having to stop and rest (20 shots with the original spring were all my 80 year old muscles could manage). As before, I was able to get 5 shot .70″ groups with the open sight. All shots in the black on a 5 M bb gun target ( at 10 M). I removed the open sight and attached my Gamo peep sight. No barrel droop, now I am getting all shots inside the 9 ring, about .44″ . But the big news is that it is much easier to load. The overhanging rear sight prevented easy loading. Diana seems to be saving money by using the same open sight on all of it,s rifles. However, I looked at the picture of their 460 magnum air rifle, and the same sight is on that rifle, but forward of the loading port ! I don,t know why they did not put the open rear sight in the same place on the 98K . I have 6 German training rifles, and 2 7.9 x57 Mausers. This Diana 98 “replica” does not feel anything like a real 98 or a 98 training rifle. It is a big , heavy, accurate target rifle with a thick,wide stock that resembles a Mauser 98 military stock. —–Mikwiniowa, I read the same report re the brittle pin. It was some time ago, but I seem to remember that it was the 460 magnum rifle that had that problem. I am sure that Diana had fixed that problem when they designed their 98K rifle. ———Ed

  8. I still get surprised at the difference between two pellets of the same manufacturer with the same stated head size.

    Should I try the JSB Exact RS (13.43 gr) or the JSB Exact Express (14.3 gr) or the JSB Exact (15.89).
    50% difference in accuracy between the RS and Express … how does one not have to try all?

    • Belgrath04
      Right. And if you shoot enough and different pellets. You finally find a pellet choice that tends to work in multiple guns.

      But really the only thing to do is try.

  9. Belgrath04—-
    Sorry, I forgot to mention that I am using Crosman premier round nose ( dome ) pellets. Hobbys shot larger groups as did the similar Crosmah hollow point pellets. In my Sheridan co2 rifle, both Crosman pellets shoot identical tight groups, but this Diana likes the domed pellets better. I shoot Crosman pellets because I can get them in 2 nearby stores. I will order some JSB pellets with my next P.A. order. I agree with BB regarding not scoping this rifle.But I will not replace the open sight because it makes loading pellets so difficult. I also plan to replace the pointed front sight blade with a flat top blade. ——ED

  10. B.B.,

    I can’t fault you for being hesitant to purchase one of these. It is the antithesis of Diana’s Model 240 and your Model 27.

    It is heavy and not the sort of air rifle you would want scoped, so it is not a hunter but an open-sight, bench-rest springer. (How’s that for limited purpose?) It has a slippery butt pad, is too hard to cock for extended shooting sessions, has a linkage pin that will need to be replaced, is fiddly to load compared to other underlevers, some of them have a problem with the cocking lever catch, and it is pellet-fussy. And it is not cheap for an air rifle with all of those issues at $450.

    For $450 one could go to Pyramyd Air and instead purchase one Diana 240 and 15,000 Crosman Premier Lights! :^)


    • In fairness, the following occurred to me.

      The slippery buttpad can have a rubber cover put on it, the linkage can be replaced, a good woodworker could easily move the rear sight a half inch or so more towards the muzzle. Also, who among us would not benefit from the workout the colciong would provide (seriously — don’t chuckle)? I hjave no answer for those who get one with a faulty cocking lever latch.

      It IS a looker, a smooth shooter with a nice trigger, well made, and with the right pellet, it is accurate rested on a bag with open sights at 25 yards.

      If one desires a Hakim but without the issues and eccentricities of a vintage taploader, this could be a good choice.


  11. Chris,

    I often put myself in situations in which I have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do!

    Colciong was a typo I did not catch, of course, and so, probably partly out of a bit of embarrassment, I tried to crack a joke. Esperanto is (was?) a “synthetic” language invented by idealistic linguists in the 1950s or 1960s to be, they hoped, an international language of diplomacy. Well, gosh dangitall, the United Nations chose French as the official diplomatic language. The problem there is that French, and I know this from personal experience, is not particularly easy to learn as a second language. So, pretty much everyone at the U.N. relies on an impressive corps of translators so that things don’t get mucked up.

    Esperanto has long been relegated to being a quaint footnote of linguistic history. There was a movie written and shot in Esperanto starring a pre-Star Trek William Shatner called “Incubus.” Probably because Shatner had no idea what any of his lines meant, it is often hailed as his greatest acting performance!


    • Michael,

      🙂 You got me on that one. Thank you for explaining “wannabe” language. I have never heard of that. It goes to show that a person hanging out here can learn something more than air guns. Chris

  12. Michael—-Re moving the rear sight of the Diana Mauser 98K—-You may have to sacrifice the handguard, the extended slot you will have to cut will remove so much wood from the handguard that it might split all the way. Someone will have to drill and tap 2 new holes in the barrel or shroud. This might require complete disasembly of the rifle ( and reasembly ). Just remove the rear sight and use a scope, or a good peep sight like my Gamo. I use stick on sandpaper on the butt plate. If someone wants to pretend that they are fighting WW2, they should get the Gletcher Mosin-Nagant 1944. It is fun ( and cheap ) to shoot, accurate at 10 meters, and they will be on the winning side !———Ed

  13. Hello fellow air gun enthusiast’s!I have not often as of yet joined in with many comments but for the most part enjoy the banter.I am currently restricted to the use of a walker or less often a wheelchair in my home,seems I’m always carrying something,anyway,I purchased a K98 and received it over the past holidays.I’ve had some time to test it w/a variety of pellets in .22cal.It has its likes and dislikes,I too have a chronograph w/lighting kit.That is a must have for a shooter who enjoys ballistics and performance.I have not encountered the issues w/K98,thanks for the heads up!I shoot from a sitting position and cock the rifle w/butstock held between my feet-no slip,I also lay the rifle across my lap w/barrel pointed to the left to load,insert pellet w/left hand.Works for me,even tho I’m right handed.I DO use a scope a 3x9x40/medium one piece scope rings,that military stock doesn’t have much of a comb so the lower the scope the better!This aught to be a good squirrel sniper rig out of my doghouse blind next fall,hope I didn’t get to far off track,Dan

    • Toto@F52,

      Best of wishes on a speedy recovery from your current situation. I admire your determination to still make the effort to shoot. The chrony is fun. The Hawke Chairgun ballistics program is fun to play with and does not require much effort. There is a lot to do on it and much to learn. It is free too.

  14. Thank you for your kind words,BB,glad you came thru your ordeal w/your vision so well.Thanks for your teaching! 🙂 My mother has had to have caterac’s removed also,we all have a row to hoe,I guess.Chris,Your smart and challenge others to use their brain cells! I’m so glad we can all share an unconditional love for air gun &shooting sports!We can’t take it for granted.-Dan

    • Dan,

      Why,.. Thank You! If I am challenging other’s brain cells,.. it is often because I am challenging my own. And,.. in need of help or advice. It takes a lot to spark my interest/passion most times,.. but when it happens,.. I go from 0-60 in about 2 seconds. 🙂 Take care,….. Chris

  15. I’d try the JSB 14.3, H&N FTT and CPUMs next. I just tested < those pellets in my Diana 52, and it likes CPUM and FTTs. Now, I have to buy a tin of JSB RS, just to be sure.

    I'm sure it would shoot great with a scope, but you're right: it just won't look right. I'm surprised Tom, that you didn't try a peep sight. It seems that would be a good compromise between the hard-to-see open sights and a clunky-looking scope mount. 😉 Is there a reason not to? Would the stock rear sight be in the way, or…?

    I'm also surprised that you cock it with the buttplate on your leg (apparently) without brusing. Apparently, you are toughened up from years of airgunning.

    Thanks for the review. Please don't stop here. Please make a Part 6 with a few more pellets tested and an aperture sight. Oh, and also, whether you decided to buy it or not. ^_^

  16. In case anyone needs the solution to the falling cocking lever issue, the previous poster provided a link to a gatewaytoairguns thread. But it was the wrong page. His solution is on pg. 3 of the thread, and it is Post #27. It uses the hook side of velcro as interference shims in the cocking lever slot.

    In Post #34, we can see how silly it looks with a big honkin’ scope on it. 😀

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