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.