Diana 35: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 35
Diana 35 pellet rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Falcon pellets group 1
  • Falcon group 2
  • Falcon group 3
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellet
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Falcons with a different hold
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the freshly lube-tuned Diana 35. This is going to be a good one!

The test

I shot off a sandbag rest at 10 meters, using the rifle’s open sights. I used three different variations of the artillery hold that I’ll describe as we go. I shot 5-shot groups, just so I could stay fresh for all the targets I planned to shoot. Let’s go!

Falcon pellets group 1

I shot the first target with Air Arms Falcon pellets because they had been the most accurate back in Part 3. After the first shot I looked at the target through my spotting scope that’s a pair of MeoStar 10X42 binoculars. For close distance these binos are quicker to set up and all that I need.

I’m shooting with the artillery hold for the entire test. Right now the rifle is resting on my off hand where the cocking slot ends (closest to the triggerguard) on the forarm.

The first shot hit outside the bull at 3:30. That puzzled me until I remembered that I had disassembled the rear sight to remove the protective sheetmetal ears. So I finished the 5-shot group with the sights set where they were.

The first group measures 0.345-inches between centers. Looking back at Part 3 I see that of two groups with Falcons the best was 0.396-inches, so today’s first group is already better. But this was just the start.

Falcon group 1
The very first group of 5 Falcon pellets measures 0.345-inches between centers.

I adjusted the rear sight three clicks to the left and one click up to move the point of impact into the center of the bull.

Falcon group 2

I used the same artillery hold for the second group. This time I was very sensitive to letting the rifle move in recoil. I also squeezed the trigger until the sear broke — there was no “ambushing” the target.

This time 5 Falcons went into 0.194-inches between centers. That group is worthy of the trime, so I used it instead of the dime!

Falcon group 2
When five pellets go into less that 0.2-inches at 10 meters, it’s trime-worthy! Five Falcons are in 0.194-inches at 10 meters. And this was done with the open sights that came on the rifle!

Falcon group 3

Well, the second group was certainly good, but it wasn’t as high in the bull as I had hoped. So I elevated the rear sight three clicks and shot a third group of Falcons. I also moved my off hand to the end of the cocking slot for this and the next two groups.

This time the pellets did hit higher but the group had one pellet landing outside that opened it to 0.536-inches. Four of the five shots are in 0.211-inches.

Falcon group 3
These Falcons opened up a bit, to 0.536-inches at 10 meters. Four are in 0.211-inches.

Qiang Yuan Training pellet

Next to be tried was the Qiang Yuan Training pellet. It’s also a wadcutter and, if you recall from Part 5, this rifle likes it for power. Five went into 0.481-inches at 10 meters. That’s not too bad, but in light of what the Falcons do, it’s not the best, either.

Qiang Yuan Training group
Five Qiang Yuan Training pellets made a 0.481-inch group at 10 meters. Not bad — just not best.

H&N Finale Match Light

The final new pellet I tried was the H&N Finale Match Light pellet. Unlike the other two, this pellet did not do at all well in the Diana 35. The rather open group measures 0.66-inches and is the largest group of the test by far. Just looking at the target tells you it’s wrong for this rifle.

Finale Match Light group
Do I really need to say anything? The group of 5 Finale Match Light pellets measures 0.66-inches between centers, but look how open it is.

Falcons with a different hold

For the last target I went back to Falcon pellets but put my off hand touching the front of the triggerguard. It’s harder to stay steady holding that way but some rifles respond to it. This time five pellets went into 0.371-inches at 10 meters. Look how round this group is.

Falcon group 4
Five Falcons are in 0.371-inches at 10 meters. Apparently this rifle loves the Falcon pellet regardless of the hold.

Discussion

I got exactly what I was looking for in this Diana 35. It cocks easier than my model 27 and shoots smoother, as well. And — this is a .177 — the first one I can recall that was accurate for me. Doggone-it-all — I want to keep shooting it! And I will, but maybe not to write about. You see — I still have a Diana model 27S to test for you!

Summary

I wanted a Diana 35 that cocked light but still shot with power. I got it. The best part of the tune was the Tune in a Tube grease that smoothed the action without robbing velocity. A model 35 is probably harder to find than a model 27, and an older 35 like this one is positively rare — at least in this country. All I can say is, wait for my estate sale, because this one will be in it.

50 thoughts on “Diana 35: Part 6

  1. B.B.,
    That’s some great accuracy and nice power in a really cool vintage gun. I was not surprised at all to see that this one is a “keeper” for you. Good for you; enjoy! =>
    Take care & God bless,
    dave



  2. BB and Fellow Airgunners
    This will be my first comment in quite a while, but I had to thank you for this wonderful six part in-depth review and tune of your Diana 35 air rifle. I am a long time proponent of spring piston airguns, so this 6 part review was right up my alley. Being somewhat of a trigger freak, it was great to finally see how Diana’s ball bearing trigger system works as I’ve only heard good things about it. Do you, or your faithful readers have any idea why they would have abandoned it in favour of the one in current use? If I were to hazard a guess, I would assume it to be too labour intensive to assemble, and adjust in the factory.
    We have been doing a major landscaping renovation in our back yard so I was unable to use my usual 25 meter outdoor range for the greater part of a month. However this weekend I was finally able to set up my new range that provides unlimited distances from 10 to 30 meters, so I can say with all honesty the wait was well worth it. My wife claims I was often seen moping around in a blue funk from the time we disassembled the old range until today. She knows me only too well after almost 40 years together.
    As I said earlier although I haven’t commented on topics in a long while, I eagerly await your blog, and accompanying comments each day. Its an hour where I look forward to reading about my favourite topic at my leisure while enjoying a spot of English Breakfast, or Earl Grey tea. Life is good.
    Ciao
    Titus


  3. BB,

    I have no intention of attending your estate sale and would be very upset with you if you have it in the near future. I may relent about 25 years from now, but I would not count on it. I will just have to do without this fine old gal not residing at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns. Now I would like to have that trime.

    By the way, I was able to get some trigger time yesterday with my Tomahawk. It was terrible. I am going to have to spend some time with this young lass and get back to basics with her.



      • B.B.,

        I ended up with a trime in my pocket change a couple weeks ago. I have no idea where I picked it up. but when I noticed it, I put it into a small tray of sundry little air gun things I keep. Every now and then I might even shoot well enough to put it to use! ;^)

        Michael



        • Twotalon,

          Today there are more tube factories making more tubes than at any time since the 1970s. The very best home audio and guitar amplifiers have never stopped being all-tube.

          (The following is only how I recall and not necessarily precise.)

          In the 1990s tube manufacturing dwindled down to a few factories in China, one in the Czech Republic, and one or two in Russia, along with one factory in Geneva, Illinois, Richardson Electronics. Then I think the one in the Czech Republic closed, but an American businessman, Mike Matthews bought an old tube factory in Russia, bought old machinery and paid to have it refurbished and installed, and then he hired some older workers with experience and some new ones, too. The company he started for this (his original American company is called Electro-Harmonix) was called Sovtek. This was during the Boris Yeltsin and very early Vladimir Putin years.

          Then Putin seized everything outright from Matthews, including any Russian financial holdings, and probably handed it off to a crony. There is still an oligarch-owned company in Russia called Sovtek, probably owned by Putin through an oligarch.

          Despite advances in solid-state technology, for home audio and guitar amplification tubes still sound much better than anything else, although computer algorithms are starting to come close to replicating the harmonic signatures of tube amplification circuits. Regular ears can still distinguish tubes from them, however.

          Michael


          • Michael

            My ears can lo longer appreciate good sound . One nice thing about tubes, though….they can take a beating.
            You can overdrive them or have a voltage problem as long as it don’t last too long and not cause any major damage. Try that with solid state and it fries right now. You can cook a tube and have it go a bit flat, but it still works to a reasonable degree.

            tt


            • TT,

              You might be surprised. The subject of old damaged ears being able to appreciate the difference comes up a lot these days. Many folks believe that the uppermost harmonic information in the audio signal is still somehow processed, even if it is above the threshold of healthy young human ears, 20khz. It provides what audiophiles call “air.” There seems to be an effect produced by frequencies we cannot hear on the frequencies we can hear.

              I hear you (no pun intended) about durability of the tube vs. solid state, although it does depend on durability against what. Against shock, age, and wear and tear, solid state is easier going on electrolytics than is the vacuum tube, but give me tube/valve rectification versus solid state any day of the week. The warm-up delay the tube rectifier requires before passing voltage on to the circuit’s pre stage is mother’s milk for circuit component life. A solid state rectifier sends the juice right THEN to the tubes, which none of them likes.

              Also, legend has it, NORAD is still all-tube because vacuum tubes are less affected by electromagnetic pulse than is solid state. That legend assumes that NORAD is still all-tube and tubes are less susceptible to electro-magnetic pulse than are transistors. It does make for dramatic paragraphs in novels by Tom Clancy, and who knows, it might be true.

              I have on at least a couple dozen occasions walked up to a dust covered amplifier in the back or basement of an old music store or pawn shop and tried to fire it up, electric guitar in hand. If it was a tube amp, it was a 50-50 proposition that it would come alive. Every single time I tried that with a solid-state amp, it ended up being completely good-to-go. That is the whole electrolytic thing.

              Michael



                • Gunfun1,

                  Your dad was a luthier? And I already thought you were somewhat (Hah!) cool before I knew that. Now, well, I don’t know what I’ll do! Hmmm. There is no room for cartwheels in the house for that degree of celebration, but the backyard perhaps. Wait a minute — I don’t know how to cartwheel. ;^)

                  I instantly believe your dad had a good ear. It makes perfect sense. If you had said he was a guitar player and worked on guitars but didn’t have a good ear, that I would have doubted.

                  Michael


              • Michael

                All of our tube stuff had a time in cycle . The electrolytic crapacitors swelling/leaking when they get old are also a favorite.

                Reminds me of an old voltmeter I had on my bench. Had a nixie tube readout. A bad electrolytic would cause it to go into autoranging (constantly flashing numbers) when resistance checking.
                It came back from the lab as broke after the last time it went in for calibration, so I lost it. Nothing else in the shop could replace that thing.

                tt


                • Twotalon,

                  Most tube guitar amps that are in regular use have their electrolytics replaced before they go bad. Simply going by how many years have gone by is considered enough. Of course amps that just sit and are fired up rarely need to have their caps replaced sooner than do amps which are warmed up and played every now and then or more.

                  Michael


              • Michael,

                EMP,…..according to the Coast to Coast overnight radio show, (that I catch the tail end of on the way to work),….. the Earth just missed an EMP from the sun that would have WIPED things out,.. by just 2 days. I guess the 2 day delay made it weaker. How true? It sounded good at the time. 1-2 years ago I do believe. I don’t recall that being on the news. 😉

                They made it sound like a BIG deal though. One tidbit I learned was that you could protect stuff by putting it in a microwave. I have heard of aluminum foil too. What good is it though if the cell towers are blown out? The power grid in general was more the emphasis.

                Chris





          • B.B.,

            You just reminded me that my mother has three of those tiny gold coins stored in her safe depost box. I helped her move two of those boxes into one to save rent after my dad died, and she showed them to me.

            For years after The Crash my Great Aunt Minerva (“Minnie”) and Uncle John had their life savings in the form of dozens of those types of gold coins in Mason jars in their crawl space, four inches under the gravel. Can you imagine? I guess we all can. And should, if for no other reason than to remember. My mom’s three coins probably were among those that they stashed back then.

            Not everything about the old days was quite so good, was it? Life and history are complicated. The older I get, the more I appreciate that.

            Michael




  4. Hi B.B.

    If your groups keep shrinking like this I will have to send you an old dutch ‘dubbeltje’ coin. It was the smallest coin in use.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubbeltje

    I think I still have some somewhere. Very happy this one turned out to be a keeper. I am still amazed at how straight that spring came out! A really nice classic airgun series.

    Already looking forward to the 27S also!

    Best regards,

    Carel


    • Carel,

      This 35 is everything I hoped for! I am so happy with it.

      I told several readers that I would install the new mainspring in it to see what that does to the cocking effort and velocity. But after that I think I will put this spring back in and leave it alone.

      I am looking forward to the 27S, too. It’s the only one of the three that buzzes when shot, so the transformation should be dramatic.

      As far as the coin goes, I could use a California quarter dollar gold coin that is the smallest I have ever seen. But it’s so small that a single .177 pellet hole would look large. The type one gold dollar is 13mm in diameter, which is one millimeter smaller than the trime.

      I also looked at getting a “widow’s mite” from the holy land. They are very small, too.

      B.B.


    • Carel,

      Is the Dubbeltje the smallest in size or in value? I ask because at 15mm it seems to be slightly larger physically than some other tiny coins. Regardless, I thank you for posting this. One tenth of a guilder! That is wonderful.

      Money keeps shrinking on all of us, doesn’t it?

      Michael




    • Jonah,

      Sorry to hear of your post-op back pain. I had been feeling sorry for myself earlier today because I have been having some sciatic nerve pain lately. But your post here set me straight. What little I am suffering no doubt pales in comparison to what you are enduring.

      I hope you are pain-free soon,

      Michael


      • Actually, the sciatic pain was received by the operation and no longer bothers me. The only “pain” I ever feel now is when I’m on my feet too long or lifting things over ten to fifteen pounds. Doctor says that “pain” will also go away in time. The operation was a complete success as my right leg no longer hurts all the time.



    • Doc,

      That is different and new to me. I have seen many guns that are the same idea, but the cap is applied to a nipple through an opening along the barrel, perhaps eight inches before the muzzle. A long arm alongside the barrel actuates the hammer.after the trigger is pulled. I recall that being a type of parlor gun used for shooting darts and such indoors on cold winter nights.

      Michael


  5. B.B.,

    So the Falcons proved to be a magic bullet, er, pellet, yet again. In .22 they proved to be the most accurate in “The Gaylord,” too. Perhaps a purchase of the appropriate parent company stock is in order, Ha-Hah! :^) I already purchased a bunch of them in lead.

    Michael


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