by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana model 30 gallery gun
Diana model 30 gallery gun.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Cocks hard!
  • Description
  • Trigger
  • Safety
  • Sights
  • Potential accuracy
  • Why was this airgun so hard to get in the U.S.?
  • The end — or maybe not!

You’ve had a weekend to contemplate this gallery gun and today I will finish describing it and talking about its basics.

Cocks hard!

All of these bolt-action repeaters cock really hard, and the Diana model 30 is no exception. The piston can only move a short distance, so the mainspring has to be stiff enough to give the ball a good push. Even so I wouldn’t look for much velocity. My experience with a Haenel 310 tells me this one will shoot 350 f.p.s. or less. We will see in the next report and I will also measure the cocking effort.

Description

The rifle is 42-3/4-inches long, overall. The barrel is 16.9-inches of that. The pull measures 13-1/2 inches. The rifle weighs 7 lbs. 6 oz.

The stock is beech, finished matte. The forearm is thin and the rifle holds well. The stock tapers both up and also narrower as it approaches the tip. The pistol grip is plain and there is no checkering anywhere on the stock. Except for the bolt action the rifle would be ambidextrous.

Trigger

The two-stage trigger has two adjustment screws that control the length of the first stage and the pull weight. That would be the way Diana would do it. The trigger blade is plastic and is on the straight side.

 Diana model 30 trigger
The trigger has two adjustment screws. The front one adjusts the pull weight and the rear the length of first stage travel.

Safety

The safety is automatic and sets each time the rifle is cocked. A large black plastic knob in the rear of the receiver slides back about a half inch and the safety is set. To fire the gun the knob is pushed straight back into the receiver. The safety cannot be set when the rifle is not cocked.

 Diana model 30 safety
When the rifle is cocked the safety knob moves back automatically, setting the safety.

Sights

The front sight is a tapered post, or what the Germans call a Perlkorn. The rear sight adjusts for both windage and elevation and the adjustment is somewhat odd. The sight slides left and right in a dovetailed notch. It’s something you set and them leave it. The elevation adjustment is via a wheel and there are detent stops in the adjustment. But the elevation is held by a single locking screw that must be loosened to adjust. It’s obvious this sight is meant to be zeroed and then left alone. For a gallery gun that shoots just one kind of ammunition, this works.

Diana model 30 rear sight
The rear sight adjusts for elevation via a wheel, but that locking screw must first be loosened. For windage the entire assembly is drifted sideways in the dovetail.

Potential accuracy

Y’all (that’s a Texas contraction of you all, written in dialect) think that a gallery gun must be accurate. Well, they are — to a point. Gallery guns are not target guns, so don’t expect that level of accuracy from them. I did a test of the Haenel 310 bolt-action trainer a few years ago and I pitted it against the Daisy 499. The 499 beat the 310 handily at 5 meters, despite the 310 being rifled and the 499 being smoothbore. Now if the distance was increased to 10 meters I suspect the 310 might pass the 499. Might have to test that someday.

So, a gallery gun is accurate to the level of hitting a close target of some size, but not to the level of putting shot after shot through the same hole.

Those Winchester pump (slide action) .22s you encountered in shooting galleries are accurate, too. Just don’t pit one against a Winchester model 52 target rifle and expect to win.

Why was this airgun so hard to get in the U.S.?

I mentioned in Part 1 that the Diana model 30 was fairly common in Europe and the UK but quite rare here in the U.S. Why? I think those running RWS USA, who imported Diana during the time the model 30 was being made, didn’t want to bother with it. Not only was it an odd airgun, it also required odd ammunition, and despite the fact that RWS made those lead balls, it was too much to fool with. They probably felt there would be some people shooting steel BBs in their guns and others jamming 4.5MM lead balls in their guns, since some shooters don’t pay attention to the details.

So, they put it in their catalog at $1,000. That may have satisfied Diana (at least they could say they tried) and also kept sales to a bare minimum. It should have sold for $250-350, depending on the year, for it wasn’t an exclusive item with Diana. I wanted to review one for The Airgun Letter but I usually bought the guns I reviewed and there was no way I was going to spend that kind of money. At the end of production RWS USA lowered the price to around $300 to blow the few they had out the door, and that’s how the one I am reviewing was purchased.

The end — or maybe not!

Sadly the rifle stopped shooting all of a sudden. Apparently a ball jammed in the breech. I took it back to the owner who managed to get the ball out, but now there are complications with the mechanism. Something simple went wrong but it will take some complex work to repair it. So this report is either suspended or over.

However, new reader Jurgen told us of the model 30 returning to the Diana lineup. This time it will be called the Oktoberfestgewehr. I plan to do everything in my power to get one. And, by the way, the new rifle is 4.4mm and shoots 360 f.p.s. How’s that for a calculated guess?