Diana model 26 breakbarrel air rifle: Part 1
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
The Diana 26 air rifle.
This report covers:
- The deal
- What is it?
- Earlier model 26
- Blue Book of Airguns
- Comparison to the 27
I have written a lot about Diana air rifles over the course of this blog. A quick look finds 2 articles about the Diana model 25, and 6 articles about the Diana 27. There are probably more on each rifle, but they may be titled so I can’t find them. While I have written a lot about these Diana models, I never heard of the Diana 26 until reader Carel from the Netherlands told me he had one.
Back in February I mentioned on the blog that I would like to find a Diana model 35 to detune, just to see how sweet it could be. Carel contacted me and told me he had a nice old one I might like. Then he told me about this model 26. I had never heard of it, and he tells me they are quite scarce in Europe, too. I think the gap between the models 25 and 27 was too narrow to support another model.
At any rate we cut a deal and now I have the 26, the 35 and a model 27S that I plan to review for you. The 26 starts today.
What is it?
What is a Diana 26? Is it a 25 on steroids or is it a 27 on a diet? I will answer that with a resounding, “Yes!” Actually, this 26 is larger than my Hy Score 807 (Diana 27), so I have to be careful of what I say. For sure it’s more like the 27 than anything else.
This gun is beautiful. It’s the best of the three, cosmetically. Carel also installed a new spring in it, so it both looks and performs like a brand-new airgun. It’s a square-sectioned spring that looks like an Ox or possibly a Titan.
This rifle was manufactured in September of 1988. That’s actually a clue as to how it differs from a 25 and 27, because both of them were discontinued in 1986. The model 26 was produced from 1984 to 1992, so this one is from the middle of the run.
The date code is stamped lightly on the spring tube.
Earlier model 26
There were two earlier Diana models 26 that are in no way related to this one. The model 26 Youth was produced from 1913 to 1933 and the model 26U went from 1933 to 1940.
Blue Book of Airguns
According to the Blue Book of Airguns, the model 26 had either a T01, T02, T03 or T04 trigger, and would be marked accordingly on the receiver, just after the model number. But the one I am examining is not marked that way. It does have the single letter D just below the model number and that is all.
No trigger designation on this rifle.
I haven’t dived into the guts of the rifle yet, and I may never do so because of how nice it shoots. But a look at the trigger reveals some differences. For starters, there is a safety! Models 25 and 27 don’t got no stinkin’ safeties! And, of course the safety is automatic.
The trigger is modular, rather than in pieces.The trigger blade is plastic.
This picture shows a lot. Besides the automatic safety on the 26 (right) you can see how fat the 26 stock is, compared to the 27. Also note that the Diana scope base is on the 26 instead of the peep sight base that’s on the 27.
One clue that this rifle may have the ball bearing trigger are the two adjustment screws on the trigger blade. Carel has it adjusted well, so I think I will leave it right where it is.
The stock is what makes this 26 larger than my 27. It’s beefier, longer and thicker in all dimensions. The butt has no pad, just like the 27, but instead of the 27’s rubber button the 26 just has a grooved butt for better purchase. The 27’s butt is grooved, too.
Here are the two rifle butts. The 26 on the right is much larger than the 27.
The model 26 is a breakbarrel single shot spring-piston air rifle that was offered in both .177 and .22 calibers. It’s supposed to get 750 f.p.s. in .177 and 500 f.p.s. in .22. The barrel is 17.25-inches long and the rifle is 43 inches, overall. The length of pull is 14.125-inches, which I credit to the generous stock, because my Diana 27 length of pull is only 12.625-inches.
The model 26 has the same tapered front post in a globe that’s on my 27. The rear sight is also the same plastic adjustable open notch.
The front sight is the same on most Diana sporting air rifles of this vintage.
The rear sight is Diana’s classic open rear sight.
Comparison to the 27
In short, the 26 is a modernized 27. The barrel length, sights and powerplant size are identical. What differs are the 26’s larger stock, the more modern modular trigger and the modern scope base.
I have already shot this rifle and noted that it is smooth. It seems to have a square-sectioned mainspring installed, and the lubrication looks right. It doesn’t vibrate when it fires, but it does have some forward recoil.
As I have said, I will probably leave this rifle just as it is. I have other airguns to tune.
I would sure like to hear from anyone who owns a 26. Since mine isn’t stock I’d like to get a perspective on one that is.