by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 35
Diana 35 pellet rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight in
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Season the bore
  • Other pellets
  • RWS Superdome
  • RWS Superpoint
  • Discussion
  • Summary

I’m testing the accuracy of the Diana 35 today. I hadn’t planned to do that before I opened the rifle and at least lubricated it, but I’m now glad that I did. The trigger on this rifle is adjusted as good as I can get it, but it’s still a bit vague where stage two begins. I think a good lubrication of the trigger parts will help that a lot. So, what you see today could improve.

Also, I note that this rifle is cocking as easily as a Diana 27, yet it is more powerful. It isn’t up to the full spec of a 35, but the cocking effort is so much less that, unless the mainspring is severely canted, I might just leave it as it is. It’s sort of exactly what I was hoping for when I dreamed the whole thing up while working on Michael’s Winchester 427/Diana 27.

The test

I’m shooting off a sandbag rest at 10 meters today, using a modified artillery hold. I’m holding the rifle more than the classic artillery hold, but not as tight as a conventional hold. With the shape of the buttstock and the slipperiness of the plastic buttplate, I can’t really hold it with a conventional artillery hold.

I’m shooting 5-shot groups, so I can shoot many more types of pellets before I get tired. That really paid off.

Sight in

I had the rear sight completely off the rifle and broken into all its parts, so a sight-in was necessary. I sighted-in with Air Arms Falcon pellets for no particular reason. The first shot hit 2 inches high and slightly to the right. It took two more shots to get in the center of the bull. After that I never adjusted the sights for the other pellets.

Air Arms Falcons

First to be tested were the Falcons I sighted-in with. The first group was well-centered but vertical. It measures 0.442-inches between the two widest shots of the 5-shot group. Not a bad start!

Falcon group 1
Five Falcon pellets went into 0.442-inches at 10 meters. Very encouraging!

Season the bore

I was so impressed by the first group that I thought I needed to shoot a second one. Then I heard you guys telling me I needed to season the bore for this pellet. Well, I won’t shoot enough for that, but I might as well shoot that second group right now.

The second group of Falcons went to roughly the same place and was even more tantalizing. Four of the pellets are in 0.123-inches. But one additional shot opened the group to 0.396-inches. I have no idea which of the five shots that one was. This rifle likes Falcon pellets.

Falcon group 2
Five Falcon pellets went into 0.396-inches with 4 in just 0.123-inches. Almost a screamer!

Other pellets

Then I tried a host of other pellets that all gave good groups but not great ones. Rather than flood you with a bunch of mediocre pictures, I’ll just list the pellets I tried.

RWS Hobby
RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
H&N Baracuda Match with 4.53mm heads
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
JSB Exact RS
JSB Exact Heavy pellets

The largest 5-shot group made by these pellets measures 0.718-inches between centers, so we are not talking about poor accuracy. I’m simply cutting to the chase and showing groups made by the best pellets, because we all know they are the only ones I will try, out of this batch, from this point on.

RWS Superdome

I hope you’re paying attention here, because the next two pellets both come from RWS. I think I mentioned awhile back that vintage Diana airguns favor RWS pellets. The current Diana guns do, too, though they also like other premium pellets, like those from JSB.

Five RWS Superdomes went into 0.553-inches at 10 meters. The group shifted its point of impact a little, but that’s to be expected when a heavier pellet is fired.

Superdome group
Five RWS Superdomes made this 0.553-inch group at 10 meters.

RWS Superpoint

The last pellet I’ll show was made by the RWS Superpoint. I wasn’t going to test it until I remembered that in my .22-caliber Diana 27 the Superpoint is one of the very best pellets. So, I gave them a try and, lo and behold, they turned in a 0.459-inch group that was just behind the two groups of Falcons.

Superpoint group
Five RWS Superpoints made this 0.459-inch group at 10 meters.

Discussion

This 35 is one of the first, vintage .177 Dianas that has proved to be accurate for me. I include in that list the underlever Diana 50 that I tested for you a couple years ago. It did well at 10 meters, too, but fell apart at 25 yards. Of course that rifle is a taploader and I know that has some bearing on the accuracy. I haven’t shot the 35 at 25 yards yet, but I’m hoping it will do okay.

Now, as for this 35, I like it. I like the size. I like the shape of the stock. I like how easy it cocks. And I like the accuracy.

I don’t care for the trigger — yet, but I think I can do something about that. I also don’t care for the vibration and jolt when it fires, but again I believe I can fix it.

Summary

I set out to get a Diana 35 working as smooth as I could, so I would have an adult-sized air rifle that was also pleasant to shoot. So far this one is better than I was hoping for. Now — if I can just do my part!