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Education / Training The Diana model 50 underlever: Part 4

The Diana model 50 underlever: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 50
Diana model 50 underlever.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Low light
  • The test
  • RWS Superdomes
  • RWS Superpoints
  • Falcon pellets
  • Discussion of the results
  • Next

Today we are back with the Diana model 50 underlever spring rifle, shooting at 25 yards. I have a couple things to tell, so let’s get started.

Low light

First, my quartz light that I always us to illuminate the target was on the fritz, so for all of today’s shooting I illuminated the target with a powerful flashlight. It wasn’t ideal, but I believe it worked okay. I learned one thing for sure — I need a backup quartz light!

I remembered to switch the front sight post to the large square-topped one that’s best for target shooting. I wouldn’t have that as an excuse for poor marksmanship!

The test

I had planned to shoot the test with both the peep sight and the open sight for a little surprise. But moving the open sight takes time and I wanted to give this test my full attention, so I will do a separate test with the open sight at 25 yards.

And this was where one surprise came up. While examining the rear sight I noticed the peep is loose with seemingly no good way to tighten it. I will look into this more, but that could be a problem for accuracy.

I remembered that the rifle likes the artillery hold, but I didn’t quite remember how nice the trigger is. It moves in stage two but there is no creep and the release comes as a surprise. When coupled with the slim stock, the trigger is a real plus, because the rifle feels just right to me.

RWS Superdomes

The first pellets I tested were the RWS Superdomes that proved so accurate in the last test. This time 10 pellets went into 1.044-inhes at 25 yards.

Superdome target
Ten RWS Superdome pellets went into 1.044-inches at 25 yards.

RWS Superpoints

I had to try RWS Superpoints next because they were so tantalizing last time. You may recall that 9 went into 0.549-inches at 10 meters, and the other one opened the group to 1.064-inches. That was both the best and worst group of that test.

This time the greater distance sorted things out. At 25 yards, 10 Superpoints made a 1.959-inch group. I think the lighting may have had something to do with this, but not that much.

Superpoint target
Ten RWS Superpoint pellets made this 1.959-inch group at 25 yards.

I expected a better group from the Superpoints. That led me to wonder about other pellets I hadn’t tried yet. The Air Arms Falcon is always a contender, so I decided to make it the last pellet of this test. They certainly got down to the target quicker than the first two!

Falcon pellets

Ten Falcon pellets made a 1.809-inch group at 25 yards. So the Superdome is still the clear winner in the Diana 50.

Falcon target
Ten Falcon pellets went into 1.809-inches at 25 yards.

Discussion of the results

I expected smaller groups from this rifle. The lighting was one possible problem and the movment of the peep sight was another. If I get much better results from the open sights in the next test I may revisit this test.

Accuracy aside, I really like the way this Diana 50 shoots! I like the trigger and I like the way the rifle holds.

There is a little bit of buzz when it fires, so it might be necessary to inject some Almagard 3752 grease into the mainspring to quiet down the powerplant. That could only make the shooting experience that much better. I might have a go at the trigger adjustment while the stock is off (for access to the mainspring). Don’t know if I will do any of this, but I’m writing it down as a reminder.


Next I want to test the rifle with open sights at 25 yards. Hopefully I’ll have the light sorted out by then.

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.

29 thoughts on “The Diana model 50 underlever: Part 4”

  1. BB,
    You might want to look into the LED work lights available from a number of venders, notably our friends at Costco.
    Much as I’ve always liked your fav, the TotaLights, let’s face it. They’re cutting edge technology, circa mid 19’70s, they work in the white-hot users range, and the lamps are short-lived and very expensive. Not so durable in the “Oops, I accidently kicked it over…” department, either. (But I still have mine.)
    Retire it, and get however many work lights You may need for coverage, get all the exact same maker, wattage, and kelvin color balance output.
    VERY IMPORTANT, CALIBRATE, especially for red/green colorblind individuals. Even pretty low-end digital cameras have the very simple ability to properly color balance otherwise unknown Kelvin balances. Really, needing no more sophisticated equipment that either a photographic gray-card or sheet of basic typing paper…and the ability to meticulously follow the instructions in the book.
    Done properly, you should squander no more than about 90 seconds of your precious time. (And correct that pesky color misalignment issue with your M1 Carbine.)
    Of course, when challenged with the red/green thing, you’ll have to take somebodies word for it being correct but relax, I’ll tell you, just try not to use the clown outfit on the test shots. :):):)
    (As a promised side benefit, I’ll tell you the minor legendary photofinishing story of th green poodle.)

  2. BB,

    When you say loose do you mean where the peep slips over the normal notch in the rear sight? If so, doesn’t the thumb screw on the left of the peep tighten down to hold it in place? If it’s some other aspect of the sight then that will impact the use of open sights as well, won’t it?

  3. I do not want to sound like an almost literal “Monday morning quarterback”… Is there a reason you did not just use a piece of Teflon tape or slip of paper to fill the gap around where the peep slips in, so that it would hold steady until it could be actually fixed?

    Please understand, this isn’t a criticism, just an honest question.

  4. BB,
    I would second another blogger’s opinion in favor of a LED work light for target illumination. When my 500 W halogen bulb burned out (again) while working on my bike I went and bought an all LED Snap-On brand light. If I were to believe the manufacturer’s claim they will outlast me (I am about your age) but that is of secondary importance. In my book, the greatest advantage of the LEDS is safety – they are barely warm when lit so it basically eliminates the risk of burns, fires, etc. Being solid, they do not break if they are dropped, lit or not. They seem very bright and very white but my color perception is . . . well . . . let’s say questionable. I’ve had it for more than a year now and I will never go back to incandescent bulbs on portable lamps. FWIW, Henry.

  5. Thanks for the blog on sharpening. I love it when there is a product that solves my problem, and it is the dressing stone. This is much better than rubbing my stone around on sandpaper to flatten it. The dressing stone raises some questions about how it works. Presumably it is harder than the stone it is supposed to be flattening. Is it coarser? That would seem to be necessary to make it cut aggressively, but the coarseness seems like it would ruin a finer grain. Yet, the dressing stone seems to work on any grain. And what’s with those big grooves? Presumably to cut down any larger bumps in the stone that is being flattened. And thanks for the reminder to avoid cheap products. I’ll avoid my initial instinct to get the $22 model with the mediocre reviews and get the $60 model. And that’s a great idea with the pencil grid to test the results.

    For today’s post, it sounds like the square post is the ideal for shooting round targets. But it can’t be superior to the ring sights used by dedicated target guns. Perhaps the post is the next best. The flat post doesn’t geometrically seem like a match for a round target.

    Kenholmz, glad you survived Harvey without any serious problems and thanks for following up with the article on Fort Worth. My understanding is that bowie knives were not treated as concealed weapons, and the original ones were displayed with a lot of ornamentation. Perhaps this also played a role in intimidation similar to displays of aggression in the animal kingdom. I can see how people could get desensitized to routine shootings in that environment. It sounds like the town of “Machine” in the Johnny Depp film, “Dead Man,” which is in a state of complete anarchy.


    • Matt,

      Yes, this stone is coarser than the others. No, it is not harder. It’s a man made thing. The grit it is made of is probably the same hardness as the other stones.

      The grooves are to carry the slurry (water and particles) away from the stone being dressed.

      The pencil grid wasn’t my idea. It’s shown in the instructions that come with the stone.


      • BB
        Also those channels in your dressing stones are basically cutting edges.

        Think of the flat surface as a knifes cutting edge and the channel as the clearance area.

        So as you go back and forth all those edges cut the stone your dressing. That’s why I mentioned the dressing stone should last along time before it needs dressed with the sandpaper.

  6. BB
    Also those channels in your dressing stones are basically cutting edges.

    Think of the flat surface as a knifes cutting edge and the channel as the clearance area.

    So as you go back and forth all those edges cut the stone your dressing. That’s why I mentioned the dressing stone should last along time before it needs dressed with the sandpaper.

  7. B.B.,

    At what distance would consider to be the maximum practical yardage for peep sights?

    I understand that your front post may not be ideal, but even with a variable front sight (ring) set up w/hood, I was wondering.

    Thanks,.. Chris

      • B.B.,

        Well,.. that is certainly a nugget of wisdom to ponder. I was thinking more along the lines of air guns. Power being relative, I would suppose that more than 25 yards is certainly do-able then. Thanks,….


        • Chris USA,

          I would think the limit would also be how good you can hold the sight picture. A small target and a coarse front sight do not make an ideal sight picture. Pair the small target with a fine post and you can hit the target. 2″x3″ metallic silhouette at 45 yards using peep sights on a CO2 are doable.


      • Hopefully not while riding a horse full on.

        You know. Dances with Wolves when they are hunting the Tacanta.

        Which the dictionary says is the top of the buffalos heart. Maybe that’s why they bit and ate a piece of the buffalos heart when they shot it. ???

        • Well that is the right word for the Buffalo heart.

          But the Buffalo was called a Tatanka.

          And really I should of realized that sooner since that’s one of the scenes they was trying to communicate what a Buffalo was when they sounded out the word in the Indian language.

  8. Last week I was at the fantastic new CMP range near Talledega, Alabama. My son-in-law and I were shooting at 200, 300, and 600 yards with his scoped Rem 700 in .308 and doing OK. But the fellow next to us with a proper match rifle and aperture sights was kicking our hineys even at 600!

    BB, I can generally shoot better with aperture sights when also using an aperture-type front sight element. I wonder if that would also help the groups with this Diana.

    I have a hunch that the lovely and ingenious “star” front sight on those classic Dianas met an early demise, because in the end a simple tunnel sight that can take interchageable elements (including apertures) just works better!

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