Diana Stormrider precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana Stormrider
Diana Stormrider precharged pneumatic air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • RWS Superdome
  • Experience pays off
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • The trigger
  • Next — the shocker!
  • Aiming error
  • Magazine
  • Final group
  • Summary

Today we begin looking at the accuracy of the .22-caliber Diana Stormrider PCP. I know that many of you are eagerly awaiting these tests to make an important decision. Let’s jump right in.

The test

I shot using open sights from 25 yards off a rest today for several reasons. First, the Stormrider comes with open sights and, while a scope has to be sighted-in which can take some time to do, a gun’s native sights should be pretty much on all the time. The second reason I trusted the sights is the rifle I’m testing is one Pyramyd Air put through many tests already. Surely they have shaken it down before sending it to me.

I aired up the rifle for the first two groups, then again for the final two. As I shot, the discharge went from relatively quiet for the first 5-6 shots, then increasingly louder until the final shot.

Sight-in

Well, never assume too much, I guess, because the first shot landed 6 inches below the aim point and almost missed the target trap. I had to crank in considerable elevation on the rear sight. Fortunately, it’s there to adjust. Shot two was below but close to the bull, so I started the group.

RWS Superdome

The first pellet to be tested was the RWS Superdome. Diana airguns have always favored RWS pellets — but of course the Stormrider is only a Diana in name. It was made by Snow Peak of China. Does it share Diana’s DNA?

Apparently not. The Superdomes all loaded very hard into the breech. It felt like they were being shaved off by a sharp air transfer port edge as the bolt pushed them past. After verifying that the first shot for record landed just under the bull, the remaining 9 were fired without looking again. When I walked downrange to change targets I was shocked by what I saw!

Ten Superdomes had made a 3.053-inch “group.” It’s more of a shotgun pattern than a group.

Diana Stormrider Superdome group
Wow! Ten RWS Superdomes in 3.053-inches. I am not the best shot, but I don’t think I’m this bad!

Experience pays off

This is where it helps for have done this a few times before. I know I shoot better than this, plus I felt the tight fit of the pellet as it entered the breech. That group wasn’t me — it was the pellet. I was shocked until I remembered that Diana didn’t really make the Stormrider, so it doesn’t have to perform like their other airguns.

JSB Exact Jumbo

Next I tried 10 JSB Exact Jumbo pellets. These loaded so much easier that I knew they were going to shoot better. And they did! Ten pellets made a nice round group that measures 1.013-inches between centers. While that’s not as small as I would like, it does tell me the Stormrider is accurate. I will tell you why in just a bit.

Diana Stormrider JSB Exact group
Ten JSB Exact Jumbos went into 1.013-inches at 25 yards. This is more like it.

The trigger

Ridgerunner — the trigger is single stage with a long easy pull. I like it a lot for a single-stage trigger.

Next — the shocker!

Next up were 10 Crosman Premiers. They made a 1.935-inch vertical group, but notice that five pellets are in one hole that measures 0.107-inches between centers. That’s phenomenal! Is it an accident, or is it what happens when I shoot correctly? I don’t know. What I do know is all the other pellets that are not in that group are either higher or lower. That strongly suggests an aiming error. Now I will tell you why I think the Stormrider is accurate.

Diana Stormrider Premier group
Ten Crosman Premiers went into 1.935-inches at 25 yards, but 5 are in just 0.107-inches. What a tease! You can bet I’m going to try these pellets again.

Aiming error

I wore the low-correction reading glasses and used the eye drops that some readers suggested the other day, and the front sight was as sharp as it could be. The bullseye was blurry, but it’s supposed to be. However, I could not see the rear sight notch clearly enough to know whether the front sight was level with the top of the rear notch or not. I’m suspecting my eyesight was at fault in this test. This is the first time in my life when I can’t trust open sights explicitly. Therefore, this is also the first time when I think a scope test will show us much better results. At least we will be able to trust those results.

Magazine

I tried the magazine because the Stormrider is a repeater, after all. I found the mag stiff and hard to load and it failed to fire the last pellet. It feels like something that will smooth out with use.

Final group

The last pellet I tried was the 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy. Ten went into 1.191-inches. That’s just a little bigger than the first group of JSBs.

Diana Stormrider JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy group
Ten of these heavier JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets made a 1.191-inches group at 25 yards.

Summary

I believe the Diana Stormrider is a very accurate rifle. For the reasons mentioned, I believe I am the cause of the larger groups today. At the very least I can’t say that I’m not.

Next I will scope the rifle and we will get to see what it really can do.

49 thoughts on “Diana Stormrider precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 3

  1. B.B.,

    This is going to be a good first PCP for a hobbyist. Seems to still have some rough edges especially in the loading area. Might need some polishing in there. A little valve, hammer, and spring adjustment maybe to lower the required for pressure. This has the capability of taking away sales of the Maximus from Crosman. Wonder how the other competition is going to perform.

    We really are in a Golden Age for Airguns.

    Siraniko


    • Siraniko
      Not if it can’t shoot as good as a Maximus.

      We will have to see after BB scopes it. But I have seen exactly this kind of grouping from China guns. Well and other brand guns too.

      Time Will Tell



        • Siraniko
          Sort of. If a person gets one and can’t hit what they aim at then that could go in not a good way.

          Here’s a picture off how my Maximus is set up now. And yes the Maximus a very good base gun to start with can be modded alot. It’s at around .550″ center to center groups at 50 yards right now with JSB 15.89’s. But mind you it’s very stable with the bipod scope set up I made. That helps alot.


          • Gunfun1,

            Again I agree. It’s just that I’m thinking it might be cheaper to replace the barrel rather than the entire breech for those who want a multi shot capability. Then again if the shooter is out to get the best accuracy then he/she’d be starting out with the Maximus to which the only objection I can imagine would probably be the trigger.

            Siraniko



            • Siraniko
              True. Just be nice to have at least the accuracy there in the first place.

              And we are kind of jumping the gun. Need to wait and see what BB comes up with when he scopes it. Maybe the gun will show itself then.


  2. B.B.,

    I am still holding out hopes and looking forward to the scoped test. Maybe have a peek-see at the air transfer port with a small mirror and light? Or, push in/seat a pellet fully and then poke it back with a rod? The quieter to louder thing was interesting, maybe suggesting a slight over fill (partial valve lock) condition at the start? That is the only time I have experienced anything like that.

    Quite the variation on spread. Maybe do the same pellets again when scoped just to see if any of the spread variation can be attributed to the pellets at all. Looking forwards to more.

    Good Day to you and to all,…. Chris


    • Chris,

      Each PCP will have it’s own “optimum” fill pressure. When I brought home my Talon SS, filled it to 3000 PSI and shot it over a chrony down to 1000 PSI. This was a .177 with a 24″ Weihrauch barrel and I was shooting H&N Silverpoints. The first shot was around 400 FPS. MANY shots later I finally reached the top of the power curve with a velocity of well over 1100 FPS. The pressure at that point was 1800 PSI. Since I was filling with a hand pump, that was great. I also had 30-40 good shots at that fill pressure.



      • B.B.,

        I would suppose that (both) sides of a shot curve can be taken advantage of,…. as long as it within the fps spread that you want and the results on paper back it up. I am sure I do, but have not verified it in quite awhile. An overfill is obvious as you know from the lower sound and the lower poi.

        I would think that if you have discovered a stock fill level to not be optimal after doing the crony phase, that you would adjust the fill downward during the accuracy phase of testing. Maybe not. I do not remember the topic/situation arising during your testing before other than I know that can exist and what to do.

        Chris


  3. BB,

    Like you said, a good single stage trigger is fine and certainly better than some two stage triggers we have pulled. Your description of the sound strongly suggests a slightly lower fill pressure would be in order to be closer to the top of the power curve with your initial shots.

    This air rifle most certainly has a lot of potential. I may have to seriously consider letting one of my other air rifles go to a new home so as to open a bed at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns.


  4. B.B.,

    Getting into PCPs is so much cheaper than it was even a few years ago! Another nice write-up.

    My vision is still pretty decent, and though I can shoot well with iron sights I definitely do better with a scope, especially at greater ranges. Will be looking forward to that scoped test.

    Also, I keep hearing good things about the Gauntlet and that may be another entry-level PCP to compare soon if you can get one to test.



      • When I pre- ordered my Firestorm in late July the delivery date was the end of Sept. Now it’s Oct 25. I hope Diana is being very careful with quality also. ( Hear that Diana? I don’t want another nightmare like I had with the, then new, Wildfire that did release on time and wasn’t right yet. )


  5. B.B,

    I think that your shooting is not the main cause but that the rifle is quite sensitive to which pellet you use. Otherwise I would expect the horizontal pattern to be recurrent in all pictures.

    Did you clean the bore as some reader suggested? For a German Diana it normally does not matter, but for a Chinese this can be a large difference,

    Regards,

    August


  6. From all the cleaning comments posted lately I’m willing to donate my services. Sounds like a win win for both of us I can spend a day exploring your collection and you get shiny clean barrels. Better yet it might make a great prize for a contest I’m sure I’m not the only one that would be interested. I can almost hear you say” if you got time to lean you got time to clean”.



  7. BB,

    I know that you don’t look at other reviews so you can start from a clean slate, but if this is the gun that Tyler at PA tested, (“the rifle I’m testing is one Pyramyd Air put through many tests “) then you should have gotten better results. He used Crosman Premiers and JSB Exact Jumbos also, to better effect with a scope at greater distance. If it’s not the same gun, in the immortal words of Rosanne Rosannadanna, “Never mind.”



    • Not even I know if it’s the same gun or not. There are a few of them out there in .22. I can only speak for the one that I shot in the video in terms of performance. I did also try a .177 that was not quite as impressive as the .22, but still for the money very good.

      I am sure BB will get it dialed in with a scope, looking forward to seeing it!


      • Tyler,

        Would like to say that I enjoyed your video review of the Stormrider. As I recall, that one was incredibly accurate at 50 yards. Looking forward to B.B.’s continued review also. He really get’s into the meat and potatoes of the rifles he reviews.


  8. B.B.

    The rear sight seems to be held to the barrel and reservoir by a clam. Is it possible to move this clamp along the length of the barrel to accommodate longer scopes or to tune the harmonics of the barrel or perhaps to entirely remove the clamp and create a floating barrel?

    Dennis


    • Dennis,

      The clamp is inlet into the stock and anchors the front stock screw. It has to stay where it is. But the barrel is already free-floated as much as any other firearm barrel. They bed them about 4-6 inches from the receiver.

      B.B.


      • BB,

        Is the barrel tight inside that barrel/tank band or is there clearance like on a Marauder? And if it does fit the barrel tightly, do you think it’s close proximity to the receiver would make the barrel deflect more than it would if it were farther out the barrel, as the tank pressure changes? Is the sight mounted on an 11mm dovetail ?


  9. Yes, the scope should settle this question once and for all. Unfortunately, the iron sights on my B30 were one feature that could not get fixed. The front sight kept falling off, and I just left it off. The rifle is plenty accurate with a scope, but I am curious what it would be like to shoot the open sights.

    Gunfun1, you are right that snipers can and should adjust for their shots when possible. There was a case in the Pacific War where a unit was pinned down by a machine gun in a bunker 1200 yards away. Their officer requested help, and in response a two-man sniper team, complete with scope and shooting mat, showed up. They were able to suppress the bunker after a few shots. On the other hand, there was quite a different incident from the highest scoring American sniper of the Vietnam War, Adelbert Waldron. Incidentally, the man in your sniper duel story was Carlos Hathcock who was ranked fourth. (He was also the inspiration for the Stephen Hunter character, Bob Lee Swagger.) Number two was Chuck Mawhinney, an interesting character who was extraordinarily successful at melting back into society after the war. He did this so well that when his identity was revealed years later, the members of the small community that he lived in walked around in shock for several days because they couldn’t reconcile this background to the mild-mannered person they had come to know. Anyway, there is a story that Waldron was on a boat on a river that began taking fire from a sniper in a tree from 900 yards away. After failed attempts by others to suppress the sniper, Waldron hit him with a single shot from a sitting position…. But unlike Mawhinney, he could not make the transition back to society, and came to an early end. This may be a certain profile of veterans. There is a memorable character in the German memoir of the Eastern Front, The Forgotten Soldier, who is a complete failure in civilian life, but an incredibly gifted soldier. You would think that civilian life would be incredibly easy in comparison, and the memoir’s author makes that point about the relative discomfort. But the relationship is not so simple.

    Matt61


    • Matt61,

      Good point on the transition. In one situation, you have a job, you know that job, you are probably very good at that job. Things are predictable. Planned. Controlled. I can easily see where the civilian life is anything but that and could present quite the challenge for some. While many skills would be conducive to transition,.. I would suppose that just as many are not.

      If I were ever in a position to hire,… Vet’s would be at the top of the list.

      Chris


    • Matt61
      My dad was in the Korean war and told me some pretty scary stories about the war. And he was involved in different situations. He was a surveyor in the army. His job was to layout where Mash units would be placed. Number one job was securing the area before everything else took place. So basically a sniper.

      When he got out of the service he bought the farm I grew up on. If you met him you would never even know he was in the military. I think the getting out and back to home and how that’s handled probably has a lot to do with each individual person and what they encountered. All I know is I’m glad I never ended up in war. And my hat is definitely off to all that served.




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