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Air Guns Diana Stormrider precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 1

Diana Stormrider precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana Stormrider
Diana Stormrider precharged pneumatic air rifle.

This report covers:

  • What it is
  • What it isn’t
  • Description
  • Fill probe
  • Fill port is exposed
  • Stock
  • Free-floated barrel
  • Power
  • Sights
  • Summary

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Today we start looking at the new Diana Stormrider PCP. Though this one snuck up on us, it’s getting a lot of attention now. That’s because of what it is.

What it is

The Stormrider is a precharged pneumatic (PCP) repeater that comes in both .177 and .22 calibers. It’s produced in China to Diana’s specifications. The biggest news is it retails for $200. I remember a time 5 years ago when many people thought that was impossible, yet here we are.

What it isn’t

Here is where the native drums are getting it wrong. The Stormrider is not a threat to the Benjamin Marauder. It doesn’t have the highly adjustable trigger, the sound suppression, the ability to vary the fill pressures or the ability to adjust the power. If it challenges anything it’s both the Benjamin Discovery and the Benjamin Maximus, but I’m not sure it even does that. Both those rifles fill to 2000 psi and the Stormrider fills to 2900 psi, and that is a make or break difference. If someone plans to use a hand pump, the Benjamins are the way to go. If they use a tank, the Stormrider excels because it’s a repeater. Assuming, of course, it is accurate.
What it also is not is a thousand-dollar PCP. Mention those three letters and people who don’t shoot them assume infinite accuracy. None of the comparison rifles mentioned above have that and I doubt the Stormrider does, either. My task will be to see just how accurate it is.


Beside what you already know I will tell you that the Stormrider is svelte and petite. It’s also very slender and rather small. I would call it the Beeman R7 of PCPs, though both the Disco and the Maximus deserve that title, as well. The Stormrider weighs 5 pounds, give or take, and it just 38.5-inches long. That’s small!
The rifle is a repeater, holding 9 pellets in .177 and 7 in .22. The magazine follows the shape and form of other popular circular magazines, but is quite a bit smaller. And this magazine has one more unique feature — a rare earth magnet that holds it in place when you insert it into the breech! It’s inserted and removed on the left side of the rifle — like the first Marauder magazines. That magnet allows the magazine to slide in and out of the breech easily.

Besides the magazine, Diana also gives you a single-shot tray that also stays put via the magnet. This little feature is one the rest of the airgun world should pay attention to because as many people want to shoot single shot as want to use the magazine. Other companies charge extra for what they must feel is an unnecessary accessory, but they should attend one field target match and have their thinking realigned. Single-shots are in!

Diana Stormrider breech, tray, mag
The rare earth magnet in the breech holds either the magazine or the single shot tray in place. Because of that, both slip in and out of the breech easily.

Diana Stormrider accessories
Diana fill probe is a male Foster on the other end. Yes! THAT is what sells airguns — thought given to the end user! Also shown are the magazine and the single shot tray.

Fill probe

I have to acknowledge this. The fill probe has a male Foster connection on the other end, making the Stormrider as easy to fill as any other standard PCP. Manufacturers who don’t acknowledge the Foster fitting as universal are subjecting themselves to a loss of sales, I believe. All it takes is one bad experience where their gun cannot be filled because the proprietary probe isn’t present and another customer potentially walks.

Fill port is exposed

On the flip side, Diana gets a slap on the wrist for leaving the fill port hole open and exposed. There is no cap to cover it. That can be remedied with a simple piece of Delrin, machined to fit through the port hole that goes through the end cap. Either that or something else is needed to cover that hole.


The wood stock is classic, with a Monte Carlo comb and a raised cheekpiece on the left side. It’s ambidextrous enough for every shooter though. The pistol grip and forearm are both stamped with diamonds to resemble checkering. I don’t think that adds anything. The butt has a thin black rubber pad that is grippy.

Free-floated barrel

One look at the top picture and you van see the barrel is free-floated. The barrel on the rifle I am testing is anchored well and hardly moves. A synthetic muzzle brake has a couple vestigial baffles that may do something. I will report on the sound level in Part 2.


The specs claim 26 foot-pounds for the .22 caliber rifle and 20 foot pounds in .177. I think 20 foot-pounds is a little high for .177, but 26 is fine for a .22, so I chose the .22 to test for you. The specs say to expect 40 shots per fill, which would be a lot. I think that number is for .177 and maybe a few less for .22. We shall see.


Praise, praise, praise for the adjustable open sights! No fiberoptics! A plain squared-off post in front and a wide notch in the rear. Good going, Diana! As long as you are going to put sights on an air rifle, put on sights we can use — like these!

Diana Stormrider rear sight
Both front and adjustable rear sight are plain black — thank goodness!



What we have in the Stormrider is a lightweight repeating PCP rifle with plain open sights and a single shot tray. The fill probe attaches to a common female Foster quick disconnect. It’s powerful and costs $200. If these features bear out in testing there’s just one more thing to ascertain — is it accurate? Oh, boy, do I love my job!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

82 thoughts on “Diana Stormrider precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 1”

  1. B.B.,

    I’m thinking at this price point that this is unregulated. The cylinder might be capable of handling up to 2900 psi, but until the power curve is determined we won’t really know how the valve of this is set up. Who knows, it might be set up for a lower pressure? Then again this means that the end user should have a chronograph to determine up to what pressure it should be filled.

  2. I’ll bet its made to Diana’s design specifications but not it’s manufacturing specifications. I hope these companies realize they are destroying their reputation by going to overseas manufacturing and putting their name on it. They need to start using an alternate brand name or a subsidiary company so we know what we are getting or at least assign a manufacturing class code for quality, like Class I, or Class II.

    More power to them if they can keep the price down with less options and cheaper manufacturing labor, but poor performance is unacceptable for a top notch brand name. Looking forward to the your findings.

    • Bob M,

      The major issue usually is after a time the manufacturer starts looking for ways to cut costs to increase their profit margin and the quality begins to slip. That is what killed the Webley Tomahawk. That is why Crosman never did bring out the Mav 77 or whatever it was. I think that is why Crosman buys parts from China and assembles many of their airguns here. That gives them a little higher level of quality control. Now if they could just figure out how to make a sproinger trigger…

      • RidgeRunner
        The bean counters and their wonderful ideas strike again and they always ignore the unintended consequences. Glad companies like FX are uncompromising when it comes to quality.
        Perhaps bottom line pricing is king in todays world of competition. Hopefully a handful of companies will continue to balance profit and quality and enrich the world with superior products.

  3. BB,

    I have been waiting for you to get one of these and put it through it’s paces. If this has a usable trigger and decent accuracy, Diana will not be able to keep up with demand.

    I am glad that they put decent sights on this. I am sure they did it because glowy thingy sights would cost more, but they have done right by me for a change. The single shot tray is a real nice touch also. I would like to have one for my .357 HM1000X. As you have stated, more people would like the option to shoot single shot.

    I do believe the market is ready for a compact, light, inexpensive multi-shot PCP.

    • RR’

      Let’s be fair. Diana could just be listening and reading about what we want and providing it as they can. After all, they probably didn’t save money on the sights and save money on the added single shot tray AND save money on the extra machining involved in providing the fill probe adapted already to a Foster quick connect. I don’t think any company will cater to our needs if we don’t give them some credit when they do, be it by purchase or a simple acknowledgement in a forum like this. Besides, too much skepticism will leave wrinkles on your forehead. 😉

      • Halfstep,

        LOL! I have learned to be skeptical because of life’s experiences. This does indeed seem to be a very nice air rifle, no matter what the price. Right now I do not have a bed available for it at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns, but should one become available, this is on the short list.

  4. B.B.,

    Wow! There is a lot to like here! Besides what you have said, I could say a few others, but really no complaints for the price. The accuracy rivals the Maximus, if not better, for those that care to search a bit.

    The one thing that really stands out is the short scope rail ahead of the magazine. That appears that there would some scope mounting challenges/limitations. The Maximus has 3 1/4″ there.

    All in all, I like it very much. This would have been a (real) contender for my business had it been around when I bought my Maximus. Pumping to 2,900 would not be an issue as I have a Shoebox and tank.

    I am hoping that you will,.. kind of,.. sort of,.. “fast track” this one. Then again, I don’t even want to think about what your “to-do” list must look like. 😉

    Good day to you and to one and all,… Chris

      • B.B.,

        I have said it before, but I do not think that anyone would mind a Part 1 (description and chrony) and a 10/25,… 25/50 yard grouping all in a Part 2. Each to their own, but I would be looking to provide timely info. and keep the back log to a minimum. With that, you could do more of your most excellent side articles and the history/vintage air gun reviews. Just an idea and only a suggestion. Nothing more.

        We all have respect for your diligent reporting,.. regardless.


        • Chris,

          That’s great, but a 10/25 and 50-yard report takes me 12 hours to shoot and more time to photograph. I know this seems like I’m sipping iced tea while the clouds pass overhead, but there is a LOT of work involved in every one of these reports.

          Also, while one person wants it one way, someone else wants to see something else. I have developed this format over the past 12 years of listening to the comments.


          • B.B.,

            Loud and clear. 😉 No one doubts the work. I guess I did not realize just how much. If something is to be condensed,.. then it makes sense that something will be lost/omitted at the same time. None of us wants that.


          • >but a 10/25 and 50-yard report takes me 12 hours to shoot and more time to photograph.

            So you could cut it down to 6 hours, if you simply shot 5-shot groups, right B.B.?

            Hahaha–just kidding! Your 10-shot groups (and other methods and skills) make you the premiere airgun tester in the business.

            I’m really enjoying seeing what you can shake out of these budget PCPs.

            I got tired of trying to consistently read tiny, cheap (and inaccurate) pressure gauges so I just picked up a new 4-1/2″ 0-3000 Wika XSEL gauge from an Amazon partner merchant to monitor my fills. It features 20 psi. scale graduations, +/- 15 psi. (0.5%) accuracy, and an internally zero-able needle. It’s also rated for 3000 psi. continuous use. I paid less than $13 for it, shipped, but it’s a $100+ gauge anywhere else. Being a larger gauge, I suspect it might also have more “parasitic” internal volume that must be pressurized, but I won’t know until I get a 1/8″ to 1/4″ NPT adapter or re-thread my old adapter and try it. I figured I’d just mention it as a heads-up for any of the PCP accuracy nuts here!


              • That’s exactly my principle reason for buying the gauge too (my aging eyes), B.B.!

                Here’ a link to the Amazon partner / advertiser.

                Of course I don’t post links to businesses that carry PA’s products, because I appreciate PA’s sponsorship of your blog, but PA doesn’t carry any high-end professional air pressure gauges so I think this is okay.


                You can download the specs and owners manual from Wika. It is a very nice professional process gauge.

                I doubt this seller has permanent inventory or availability at that price (which went up a buck or so already). I’ll post photos of it on my Ninja SCUBA tank adapter once it’s mounted but I encourage you to order one now, because I’ve been shopping for a quality large gauge (USA “assembled,” at least) for a long time and it’s a rare deal. I bought an NPT thread adapter, which was only a couple of bucks at the hardware store. I’ll mount it with the adapter first and post the result–perhaps as soon as tomorrow (Saturday). Maybe I’ll tap new 1/4″ NPT threads in the SCUBA adapter later.

                The only problem is it will only work for 3000 psi. fills and below (say for all these budget PCPs you are testing) and you may want a 4500 psi. gauge, but then you will not have the high resolution, easy to read 20 psi, graduations either.


  5. BB,

    You mentioned that you were going to report on the report of this air rifle (pun intended). A comparison with the Discovery and/or Maximus would be useful, most especially since these are the Diana’s major competition. I know you do not normally like doing comparisons, but that will be almost impossible with this one.

  6. BB,

    “The specs say to expect 40 shots per fill, which would be a lot. I think that number is for .177 and maybe a few less for .22.”

    Don’t PCPs generally give a higher shot count in the larger cailber?

  7. Hi BB
    So now its official, that another great & respected name has to go down to Wang Po (Ridge Runner?) level to sell their products! They can never quite match the original in quality of material and finish. Wonder how the original owners would feel. They (Diana) couldn’t give me a straight answer recently,(said not all are stamped Made in Germany) when I asked why no” made in Germany” on the 350 mag I wanted to buy, which made me suspicious, & now I know for sure. Why are so many great names willing to risk their excellent reputations? Easy huge profits? Even the automobile industry is in it big time. Maybe a blog on why?

  8. So I’ve been pretty busy the last week and a half building set pieces for my daughters show choir, as well as developing a new and unique design of spinner targets. I’m getting some awesome results with over a dozen spins at 30 yards with 550 fps muzzle velocity. These spinners have a 1 inch and a 2 inch target faces on the spinner arm. This gives a target size I can hit consistently at longer ranges or I can go for the more challenging smaller target. The different size targets on the spinner arm also makes it auto indexing so the targets always present themselves to the shooter.

  9. It would be nice if the manufactures standardized on the foster fitting, you would think that it would be more cost effective than making a propriety probe. It’s not a big deal, I added a male foster adapter to the probes for my HW100s so filling from compressor, pump or tank is easy.

    Not all high-end rifles are well equipped. I was disappointed that FX didn’t include a dust-cover for the foster fitting with the Royale 500 – the Maximus came with one! At the Royale price point you would figure that a dust cover, single-shot tray and a spare magazine would be included.

    Glad to see that they are making PCPs that are suitable for younger shooters.


  10. Mr. Gaylord:
    Thought this might might be an interesting 3P juniors PCP rifle until you reported the 20 FPE and 26 FPE numbers. Something tells me that this rifle will exceed rule 4.1.7 limit of 600 fps muzzle velocity.
    Will someone please explain why there are no sporter class PCP’s on the market that have been submitted for inclusion on the approved rifle list (Rule 4.2.1) at a $200 price point?
    When that happens, that will be a PCP rifle a junior can purchase with their own allowance and odd job money and shoot at 3P and 4P matches.

    With all the new $200 PCP’s coming on the market, are there any rumors about any PCP manufacturer detuning a $200 PCP to be 3P rules compliant and then submitting for inclusion on the approved rifle list?

    Respectfully submitted
    William Schooley
    Rifle Coach
    Crew .357
    Chelsea, MI

      • Mr. Gaylord:
        Perhaps your explanation can be the subject of some upcoming Friday history blog post. I’m sure your personal experiences and history of trying to bring a 3P rules compliant PCP rifle to market wold be very interesting to the air gunner community that reads your blog daily.
        I eagerly look forward to your explanation and insights.
        William Schooley
        Rifle Coach
        Crew .357
        Chelsea, MI

    • William,

      A lighter hammer and/or lighter hammer spring will tone down about (any) PCP. Lower fill pressure too. At least that is my understanding. Is there rules against that, as long as they chrony within your limits? If you are looking for something straight out the box, then I am not sure what to suggest.


      • Chris:
        This might work in practice, but te problem is with the 3P list of approved rifles rule.

        4.2.1 Approved Rifles
         Air Rifles officially approved for Sporter Class air rifle competitions are the AirForce
        Air Guns Edge, Crosman CH2000 (CO2), Crosman CH2009 (CO2 or compressed air),
        Daisy M853/753/953/853CM (pneumatic), Daisy 888/887 (CO2), Daisy XSV40 Valiant
        (compressed air), Air Arms T200 (compressed air, with non-adjustable cheek-piece
        and butt-plate) and the Champions Choice T200 (CZ 200T, compressed air, with
        adjustable cheek-piece and butt-plate). Daisy 887/888 rifles may have 2010 model
        replacement stocks.
         Rule 4.2.1 approval of an air rifle as a legal Sporter Class air rifle confirms that a
        specific air rifle fulfills National Standard Rule 4.0 requirements for velocity, function,
        cost, weight, trigger pull and general configuration. Any air rifle not included in the list
        of approved Sporter air rifles that complies with this rule must be submitted to the
        National Three-Position Air Rifle Council for approval before it can be added to the
        list of approved rifles.

        William Schooley
        Rifle Coach
        Crew .357
        Chelsea, MI

        • William,

          Thank you for that detailed reply. My initial comment was of me thinking of a rifle, most any PCP rifle, that someone could de-tune for (home) use and practice. Reading the rules, I see your point. I too would want to purchase and practice with the same thing that I would be using in competition. My point still stands in that I feel that some of the higher powered rifles could be de-tuned (from the factory) and submitted for approval. Of course, that would require the manufacturer’s to first do so (from the factory) and enter into a niche market.

          Restrictions are good and needed to level the playing field,.. but in general I am not a fan of them. Innovation and progress in the industry needs to be taken into account as well too,.. in my humble opinion. I am a fan of innovation and progress and it should be admired and always worth consideration.

          I suppose that you would know as much as anyone on all the parameters. You have to agree, that most (factory) and after market modifications seek to do the opposite of decreasing power. In the end, I suppose that you would have to lobby the air gun industry and make a positive financial argument to support your idea. Isn’t funny how money seems to do just that? 😉


            • GF1,

              Unless I got it wrong, William is looking for new offerings that meet his criteria, or, if it is an existing model, why doesn’t the manufacture offer a de-tuned version that would meet his criteria. From what I gather, the approved list of rifles must be “as-is” from the factory, so after market de-tune kits would be out of the question.

              • Chris
                Yep your right about that. That’s one reason I don’t like certain types of competition. And not only talking air guns. I’m talking cars, boats, motorcycles, airplanes and so on.

                Well you get what I mean. I like the types of competition’s that allow modifying your equipment.

                Two things happen though.
                (1) When they control the equipment to be used for the competition. That is showing the skill of the person using the equipment. Which is a good thing.

                (2) When the equipment can be modified it shows what the equipment and person using the equipment can do.

                I like number 2. That’s why when I drag raced throughout the years I always liked the “outlaw” classes. Basically run what you brung. Heads up both cars go when the light turns green. The first one to the other end wins. That’s my type of competition. 🙂

  11. I would just like to comment on the quality coming out of China. I was a quality technician for Parker Hannifin Hydraulics for over 40 years. We made high end hydraulic piston pumps for industrial and mobile applications.
    One of the components, we called a swashplate, was partially sourced from China. Our facility could not keep up with demand so they started sourcing some of them from China. These parts had very close tolerances and finish requirements. Initially the parts from China were dimensionally very good, but the finish requirements did not meet spec. There was a bearing ratio requirement on the surface that the piston rides on. The first lots were rejected for not meeting the finish spec. The next lots received were excellent and met all the specs. We were making the same part in-house at the time. The parts from China exceeded the quality of the parts we were making. These parts were checked on a Zeiss CMM. After the initial lot, the Chinese parts were always within spec. I was very impressed with their consistent quality, which was better than ours. So, the Chinese do have some manufacturing facilities that can produce quality parts. Don’t assume that Chinese parts mean poor quality.

    Now Mexico, that’s another story. Based on what I have seen from them, I would never willingly buy anything coming from Mexico. Every lot of parts coming from Mexico was rejected and had to be reworked in-house before they were usable in our pumps. After a couple of years we gave up on Mexico and sourced the same part from company in Detroit, MI. Never had another bad lot, problem solved.

    Many US manufacturing companies are compromising on quality in order to compete with the less expensive parts from over seas and Mexico. They have a huge cost advantage because of not having to adhere to environmental requirements or labor laws. The Chinese are actually killing their people with pollution from their factories. Remember when China had to shut down factories near the Olympic games?

    • Geo
      Going to see again how China is doing.

      I’m going to try me a China gun again. Got QB79 on the way. Should be here before the weekend. They are a bulk bottle fed Co2 rifle. Going to feed it on a regulated HPA bottle. Matter of fact the same bottle I had on my .22 Maximus.

      Got my fingers crossed.

          • GF1,

            Thank you for setting the record straight. Well,… that is interesting. It will be more interesting to see what you end up doing with it. We all know that you have no limits on modifications and ideas,.. that is a compliment by the way! 😉

        • Oh and here’s the bottle I’m going to use. It what I had attached to my Maximus.

          Her was the Maximus.

          And here is the picture of my shop compressor boosted Benjamin hand pump. And yes it did fill much faster. About 30 psi was the max air I could put in from the shop compressor and still fill real fast and be able to pump with out alot of extra effort.

          • GF1,

            Is that a modified blow gun (red) that I am seeing? I see what you did. I like the concept. It does make sense. It looks to be, at first glance, a “booster” for a hand pump. Maybe a 3,000 psi easy to pump-hand pump is attainable? Is it easier? Like I said, you have no limits,.. I like it.

            • Chris
              Yep I unscrewed the fitting in the air nozzle. Then screwed in that adapter I made into the air nozzle and hand pump where the stone type filter was. That’s where the hand pump draws it’s first stage of air.

              I know you heard of naturally aspirated and artificially aspirated race engines.

              Naturally aspirated is air sucked in from the carburator or throttle body.

              Artificially aspirated is like a turbo or blower or super charger that pressurizes the incoming air into the engine. Well that’s what I did to the hand pump. I artificially added pressurized air into the hand pump. Just like what happens with your Shoebox first stage air.

              And here’s your answer about is it harder to pump with the added intake air from the shop compressor. Yes it is. That’s what I said when the highest amount of air I could add was 30 psi. At the bottom of the stroke I had to use my weight and put it to it a bit to get the last 4 inches of pump travel to put the air in the bottle.

              But took half as many pump strokes to fill from 1500 to 3000 psi with the added shop compressor air. So that adds up to a faster fill time.

              I think I found out how we can have a cheaper cost 2 stage hand pump to go along with the hundred dollar pcp we talked about years ago. Use a shop compressor for the first stage. I bet one of those electric cigarette lighter tire pumps would even supply the first stage of air to the two and three stage pumps I just mentioned. So could boost your hand pump if your out camping or hunting and using your hand pump.

              Bet the hand pump with the added 30 psi of air could fill a Marauder from 2000-3000 psi with 40 pumps instead of 85 pumps.

              All I know is it worked and I’m happy.

      • Gunfun1,

        Good for you on the QB79 and your plans to convert to HPA.

        I have the QB79 that Ron Robinson converted to a REGULATED HPA shooter that he used to take 2nd place with at the 2009 FT NATIONALS.

        I think B.B. shot with Ron Robinson at a recent Airgun get together when Ron used a Benjamin 397 for FT. Ron’s an unconventional shooter that has always pushed the envelope but his performance and his many books on Airguns can’t be dismissed.

        Back in the day Ron was deeply involved with the QB Platform and ran with it farther than anyone else I know of. If you get a good barrel you too could place 2nd or maybe take 1st place with that gun at the Nationals!

        • Kevin
          I’m for sure excited to get it. Just checked my tracking number and says it will be here today.

          And definitely know who Ron is. And I do remember BB was at feild target event with Ron when he was shooting a multi-pump.

          And I do practice alot for sure. But doubt I could win a national event. That takes alot of everything being right to get to that point. But thanks on all you said. Definitely will post some results this weekend from the QB79.

  12. B.B.,

    The saved expense by the Stormrider providing a Foster fitting and a single shot tray essentially makes this more like $165. A penny saved is a penny earned. This is considerably less expensive than the Maximus or Discovery.

    I hope you have plans to test the Beeman QB Chief PCP. It has a 2000 psi fill pressure and sells for $179. If that is accurate, I’ll buy one in a heartbeat.


  13. Chinese Dianas? My father, who bought our diana 25 28 years ago, would not believe it. But times are changing. Marketing is a hard thing.
    China was once the most technologically, artistic, scientifically advanced country in the world. It led us many enduring inventions, like the gun powder. And the chop suey.
    If the Chinese can find their way to focus on quality over mass production, then the rest of the world should be scared. I am sure it’s quite possible.
    Perhaps it is time to rethink our paradigms?

    Thanks for the report, Master BB!

  14. Evidently Diana has opened up a new entry level line of airguns designated Action Line and this is their first offering. Their German made airguns will be their Performance Line. Hope they make it clear which is which.

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