Diana Bandit PCP air pistol: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana Bandit
Diana Bandit precharged pneumatic air pistol.

This report covers:

  • Bandit
  • Customer reviews
  • The case
  • Description
  • Weight
  • Power
  • Sights
  • Magazine
  • Trigger
  • The point
  • Fill coupling
  • Discharge sound
  • Free-floated barrel
  • Summary

Today we begin looking at the Diana Bandit precharged pneumatic (PCP) air pistol. It is the pistol equivalent to the Diana Stormrider rifle.

Bandit

The Diana Bandit is a repeating PCP pistol that comes in both .177 and .22 caliber. It has a circular spring-loaded magazine that holds 9 pellets in .177 and 7 in .22. I selected a .22 for my test.

Customer reviews

I read some of the customer reviews of the gun before examining it. It seems to me there are two main camps that purchase a pistol like this. One camp buys it based in the price. It’s everything they want in a Benjamin Marauder PCP air pistol (they hope) for $190 less. The other camp buys the pistol to modify it into something they really want. First they have to fix all the things that Diana got wrong when they designed the airgun, like not putting in a regulator, then they move on to accurizing it with other barrels and exotic sights.

This report isn’t going to satisfy either camp. I’m going to test the Bandit as it came to me and see how it performs as it stands, right out of the box.

The case

Speaking of the “box” in this case it’s a soft case with a foam insert. It’s perfect for carrying and storing the pistol.

Diana Bandit case
The Bandit comes in a fitted soft case.

Description

The Bandit is a large air pistol. It’s just over 20 inches long and the 9.5-inch barrel is almost half of that. The pistol is largely metal and wood, with just a few synthetic parts like the sights. Looking at it I would say the folks at Diana are listening to the market very closely.

The grip is hardwood and I find it very ergonomic. I have read complaints that it is too large, but my hands are average and it fits them fine. Maybe even better than fine. It fits like a Luger that has been customized — or a Crosman Mark I/II pistol with custom grips. Maybe after accuracy testing I will have more to say about the grip but that will have to wait.

The cocking bolt is located on the left side of the gun. That favors the right-handed shooter, though lefties will have no trouble using it unless they mount a scope that gets in their way. The bolt handle has three rubber o-rings that provide a better grip for your hand. The handle is long enough to get a good grip and I find that the bolt cocks smoothly. There is an increase in pressure required at the back of the cocking stroke, but if you pull the bolt back sharply you won’t notice it.

Weight

As large as the pistol appears, it weighs just 2.2 lbs. That’s the way of precharged airguns. They are largely air! And with all that barrel and reservoir tube out front you might think it is muzzle-heavy, but it’s not. The grips grab your hand so tight that I think they absorb the forward weight.

Power

One thing several of the reviews mention is how powerful the pistol is. The .22 I chose is supposed to launch pellets at 630 f.p.s., according to the manual. And once more I have to give Diana credit, because the manual explains that velocity was achieved with different lead pellets! I would think it would be with something lightweight, like a Hobby, but we shall see in Part 2. Many owners are praising the Bandit for its accuracy. Diana claims 11.8 foot-pounds (16 joules) for the .22 version, so we shall see.

In .177 the manual says to expect 725 f.p.s. with the same caveats. And the power would be 9.6 foot-pounds (13 joules).

Sights

Most owners will probably scope their pistols or at least mount a dot sight. The top of the receiver is flat (yea!) and has 11mm dovetails behind and in front of the loading trough. If you shoot with the magazine you will probably have to use two-piece scope mounts and the rear sight will have to be removed.

The open sights are a squared-off post in front and a square notch in the rear. The rear sight is adjustable in both directions. THERE ARE NO FIBEROPTICS ANYWHERE! Once again, I think Diana is listening!

My plan is to shoot the pistol with the open sights at 10 meters. Then I will install a UTG Micro Reflex dot sight and sight that in at 10 meters. That sight has become my go-to dot sight for airguns. If the accuracy warrants it, I will do a second accuracy test with the pistol and dot sight at 25 yards. And if the pistol is REALLY accurate I may even scope it.

Magazine

The circular magazine installs from the left side of the receiver. It is held in place by a small rare-earth magnet. To load it into the receiver you must first remove the single-shot pellet tray (Diana calls it the loading base in the manual). Thank you, Diana, for providing that tray with the pistol. Pull the bolt back and cock the gun to remove the tray. Then insert the magazine in its place. Once the magazine is in the receiver, slide the bolt forward to load the first pellet. It is possible to work the bolt again and load a second pellet, so pay attention to what you are doing.

Trigger

The Bandit trigger is two-stage and adjustable. The adjustment controls the amount of sear engagement, so care must be taken to not get it so light that it becomes unsafe. The description calls it the Diana Improved Trigger.

The safety is completely manual. Once more Diana is to be commended! It’s a crossbolt safety that’s located in the trigger blade.

Fill

The pistol is filled to 200 bar. That is 2900 psi. Not 3,000 — 2,900. I had an urgent email last week from a person who doesn’t reads the blog, and he has a .45-caliber AirForce Texan that he told me wasn’t working. He said he filled it to 3,000 psi on the tank’s gauge and the bullets just pooped out. I told him his onboard gauge wasn’t reading correctly and to just reduce the fill pressure to 2,700 psi and shoot it through a couple 2 by 4s, which he did. He was happy about that but then complained to me that an air gauge that doesn’t read correctly is like having a car oil gauge that’s off.

First of all — no, it isn’t. The oil pressure gauge on a car (that has one) is a more expensive unit, and is coupled to a pressure sensor in the engine that sends information to the gauge. That’s assuming we aren’t talking about some hinky unit that has a live oil feed going up to the gauge!

Secondly — do cars even HAVE oil pressure gauges anymore? The little air gauges that are on PCPs are notoriously off in pressure, sometimes by hundreds of pounds. He had one that was way off. But the thing is — just learn where your gun wants to stop and stop there. Don’t worry about what the number is. Use those little gauges as “ballpark” guesses until you have more information about them.

The point

The point is — use the larger air pressure gauge on your fill device — be it a tank or a compressor. It is more likely to read accurately or at least be closer to it. If it doesn’t you will soon get a feel for how much it’s off and in which direction. It’s like knowing how to shut your kitchen cabinet whose door doesn’t quite line up as it should.

Fill coupling

Diana provides a probe-type fill coupling that has a male Foster filling on the ether end. That’s another gold star for them! However, the air probe fill hole is missing some kind of cover or plug to keep out the dirt when the probe isn’t in there.

Discharge sound

I haven’t shot the pistol that much, but so far I think it is quiet! Maybe not whisper quiet, but perhaps quiet enough for a large back yard. I’ll know more after the velocity test. I looked down the moderator and can see several baffles, so there is real technology in the can.

Free-floated barrel

You can’t please all of the people all of the time. The Bandit has a free-floated barrel that was all the rage about two years ago. Everybody wanted one. But now I read complaints that there is no barrel band. Go ahead, Diana. Put a barrel band on the pistol so they can tell you why it isn’t needed. I dare you! Why don’t I just shoot the pistol for accuracy and let the targets decide for us?

Summary

The Bandit looks and sounds like a very good value. I am hoping the accuracy is where folks say, because if it is, this is one to consider!

56 thoughts on “Diana Bandit PCP air pistol: Part 1



  1. So, this last weekend I took a trip to visit a friend down in Oregon, and ran across a Winchester 450 .177 tap loader stuck in the back of a pawnshop. It is missing the front sight insert and the ring that screws into the sight hood. The reason the rifle caught my eye was the “Made in Germany” moniker on the compression tube. It was a whopping $65 out the door, no tax there.
    So the questions I have: Is the front sight a common Diana sight? Am I going to be able to find the screw in insert holder? Next is the “innards”, I am thinking maybe this is the 3 bearing release trigger? Finally, it is hard to read the numbers stamped in the tube, looks like 09-69? If that is correct for the timeframe this might have been made in, it could have a leather seal? Since the number is hard to discern, is it possible it could be ’89, and be a synthetic seal? I haven’t tested operation figuring that if it is a leather seal, lubing it may be called for prior to shooting. I am hoping this is similar to the Diana 50 written up a few years back. The rifle doesn’t have an obvious safety on it, has a blued metal, appearing to be adjustable, trigger on it as well. I haven’t even fully cocked it as I am not sure I could de-cock it, and I would like to lube the seal if it is leather prior to shooting. TIA for any insight you guys might be able to give me on it.


    • MMCM13,

      Nice find! Take a little Balistol and rub onto the engraving and let it sit for a little bit. Shoot just go ahead and do all the metal. Take super fine (0000) steel wool and gently rub the numbers and then take a magnifying glass and try again.

      I would at least pull it out of the stock and try to see what kind of shape the spring is in. If you have a compressor and are not intimidated by the possible bearing assembly, it really should be taken apart and checked.

      You can try a few drops of silicone chamber oil and give it a couple of days in the corner. If the seal is leather it will not care what kind it is and soak it up. If it is not, any excess in the chamber will eventually be blown out.

      Is the sight a “common” Diana sight? Most probably. Can you get the parts? That I cannot tell you.

      Whatever you do with it, enjoy it. Now if fiddling with this ol’ gal is too intimidating for you, I might be able to find a spare room for her at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns. 😉



    • MMCM13,

      That’s why I love going to pawn shops and flea markets. So far, I’ve found:
      Beeman R1
      Diana 25
      Daisy 953 in a wooden stock
      Crosman 1400 with original scope mount and Revelation 4x scope
      Crosman 2200
      Daisy 880 with a metal receiver
      Original Crosman 760 with wood stock- pretty beat up and not working now.

      I’m wondering if the Winchester 150 is a Diana 50? BB, what do you say?

      BB-I wish you would have gotten the Bandit in .177, too. It would be neat to see if it is accurate and has enough velocity for pistol field target. It could be a great budget gun for that.

      Brent



      • Brent
        Does your 760 also have a wood pump handle along with the wood stock. If so I would like to buy it even if it’s not working. Well forgot. If it has the rifled barrel.

        Let me know what is what. Even if it’s beat up.


        • Gun fun 1,

          HereIs a picture of my Crossman 760. It has a wooden pump handle and a plastic stock. I looked down the barrel with a bore light and it appears to be rifled but it’s hard to tell. It has a blow off type valve and the trigger gets harder with the more pumps you put in it. I always wanted one as a kid but I like the Crossman 1400 I have better. If you’re still interested I suppose we should do the transaction offsite but I’m not sure how to do that.
          Brent



          • Brent
            Don’t look bad from what I can see in the picture.

            I think I’ll pass. Not because I don’t like it. More because you should get it fixed up and shoot it. If it does have the rifled to I think you will be surprised by how well it shoots. My old rifled barrel 760 always shot good.

            Let me know if you get it out shooting. And thanks for the offer to sell it to me.


    • So the research shows that there’re 2 versions of this, one based on the D-35 and one based on the D-45, 45 being the newer one. Mine is the early one with the ball release trigger. It shoots the 7 grain RWS wadcutter at 690-710 f/sec or so, appears healthy. Now I am trying to track down the front sight pieces to see how it shoots with respect to accuracy. I have some high hopes as I was able to hit a 2″ target at 10 yds, just guessing where the blade might be in the center of the globe in front sight. I am thinking about tracking down a diopter sight for it as I have never shot a rifle with one.


  2. I suppose he meant a dipstick that was marked wrong or at least that would be more apt.
    I am happy to see the gun as is and while i am not a fan of the manufacturer they may well have improved the accuracy of the barrels or may in the future and i suppose a certain percentage of them are going to be quite good.


  3. B.B.

    My car has an oil pressure gauge. At warm idle it reads 1 at load it reads 5. It is more fun to watch than the tach or speedo!
    My Diana LP-8 magnum is my most fun to shoot air gun! I wish people would realize how much fun an air pistol is!
    I’m hoping for 1/4 inch groups.

    -Yogi



    • I used to work on the big rigs. Kenworths, Freightliners, International Harvester/Navastsr, etc, etc. General fleet maintenance. The older Cummins diesels ran high presdure, low flow oil systems. Firing one of those up cold could produce close to 90 PSI of oil pressure. That would drop when warm. Later, they went to a high flow, lower pressure system, and a cold start would produce more like 40 PSI.
      What’s that got to do with airguns? Not a darn thing.

      Here I will suggest to Tom that he try a surprise pellet when he shoots the Crosman 760 for accuracy. It-s a pellet that I don’t think he has a high regard for, and that is the Gamo Match wadcutter. My 760 is shooting very well with that pellet, and I have switched to that from the RWS Meisterkugeln rifle pellet, also a wadcutter.


    • Yogi,
      Glad you are loving your Diana LP-8 Magnum. Tell me a little about it please. I’ve read B.B.’s review of it, but I never have actually seen one and I don’t hear from owners of them. Do you find the size too big or ok? Do you find it hard to cock? Does it get easier to cock over time? Have you checked the speed of yours to see what she shoots? What can of accuracy do you get from her? How many yards away can you hit a coke can with her? What pellet does she like the most? Sorry for so many questions. Just wondering.

      Doc


  4. BB,
    I am interested! I haven’t read anything about this pistol before. Is the grip right handed or ambidextrous? And, if it is right handed, does Diana offer left handed grips?

    How does Diana decide which guns will be branded RWS and which will be branded Diana? Will this pistol be an RWS here in the US?

    Have a Merry Christmas!
    David Enoch


  5. B.B.
    I am interested on your take on this. I have had my Bandit for about six months. I found the accuracy as good as my ability. It improved a bit when I added a dot sight. The magazine sticks up enough to be a distraction to the open sights. I have just received the regulator to put in it. Mine is also the .22 caliber.
    Gerald


    • Gerald,

      I will not be installing a regulator in the test gun, so can you tell us how it has performed for you?

      Please hold off on your accuracy report until I get mine up, so I don’t go in with a bias. The Stormrider Gen II test has already given me a little bias, but I want to give this pistol an open mind when I shoot it.

      B.B.


      • B.B.
        I understand that you test new items without modifying them. If you were to keep this item you may decide to add the regulator down the road. Tyler’s video makes it look easy.
        Please don’t take any bias from my take on accuracy. I left out any details to avoid comparisons.
        Gerald




      • BB
        I don’t know. I never had one of those cars.

        And also thinking about it boost gauges for turbo chargers and superchargers use gauges that feed the pressure to the gauges. The more accurate expensive gauges anyway. I know we always looked for the temperature gauges that had a flexible copper tube and sensor built into the tube that went directly to the gauge. We stayed away from the electric fed gauges other than the one showing the alternator output. Those were electric of course

        But back to air gun gauges. Yes those are just used as a reference to fill your gun to and when to stop shooting and refill again. Same with a pcp compressor gauge too. You should never think they will read the same. If they do you better go buy some lottery tickets that day when that happens. 🙂



  6. “The case
    Speaking of the “box” in this case it’s a soft case with a foam insert. It’s perfect for carrying and storing the pistol.”

    Respectfully disagree. A gun case, especially one that’s foam lined, should only be used for transporting a gun. It should never be used for storage unless your goal is to accelerate rust on your gun.


    • Kevin,

      I have to disagree with your disagreement. This foam is closed-cell. I have been storing a Whiscombe rifle in a case lined with closed-cell foam for more than 20 years without a trace of rust. Open-cell foam is hygroscopic. Closed-cell foam is not.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        Point taken about closed cell vs. open cell foam. The problem is not so much the type of foam as it is moisture trapped inside a gun case with the gun.

        If your gun is cold (creating condensation) or wet (rain/snow) prior to being put into a case it will accelerate rust. Especially on a blued gun. I’ve seen this many times and have a 16 gauge that years ago I left in a gun case after I was in the field that now needs to be reblued.

        Even a gun safe should have a desiccant or dehumidifier.

        It’s ok that we agree to disagree. None of my guns will be stored long term in a gun case unless I have another memory lapse like I did with the 16 gauge.


        • When I used to come home from rabbit hunting I would leave my shotgun in the case until the temperature stabilized. Then a bit later I would take the gun out of the case and wipe it down with an oily rag. I remember coming into the house after hunting and the gun would sweat. I really tried to avoid that issue by keeping the gun in a case so it could warm up slowly. Never had a rust issue on any of my guns but I always kept them wiped down with an oily rag, even if someone just touched the metal.
          Geo


  7. If you would rather have a root canal than tune an airgun, get an LP8 or similar.
    I think I got a gen 1 Bandit. It shot 860fps out of the box, with a parabolic shot curve to match.
    B.B., you got nicer grips on yours it looks like. I went ahead and put a right hand Chaser breach on,
    the left hand mag loading bugs me, but it is accurate, now that shot string is nice and flat, thanks to the reg.
    Its would be easy to buy a rifle length barrel and band and get more power, but not many shots out of its 50cc air supply,less than a Prod, which is the main limitation.Very curious to see the numbers you get with this one.
    It likes any JSB dome in .177, Alright!
    You will need to learn how far off your fill gauge is. Sort of like a Harbor Freight welder that has no digital gauges or dial indicators.Impossible to recreate your settings with out making sharpie markings on the dials. That’s what we get to work with at the low end. Have a nice day!
    Rob


  8. I saw a Diana Model 250 on the Pyramid Air website yesterday. It’s a Chinee made spring piston rifle with a wood thumbhole stock. Comes with a shock reducing scope mount and a 3x9x32 AO scope for $129. Looks promising.


  9. BB,

    If I was a crossbow hunter, I would have to give this serious consideration. My problem is years ago I bought a compound bow to hunt deer, but I could never bring myself to skewer a deer with a razor tipped arrow. It is a too slow and painful death. I really like shooting bows, but I could never bring myself to hurt an animal with one of these things.

    Now if I was truly hungry it would be all bets are off.



  10. B.B.,

    Now that I have the two Marauders, there is one thing I would like to have soon. That thing is the single shot tray.
    I am wondering what kind of experience you or other blog readers have had.
    My problem is regarding the .25 in particular. I have read nothing good about the Air Venturi tray for the .25.
    I definitely want to do some shooting in single shot fashion, so this is consequential for me.
    Any feed back will be greatly appreciated.

    ~ken


    • Ken,

      I do not know about the Air Venturi tray, but the one that came with the .25 M-rod fit rather poorly I thought. (too tight) I shaved it ever so slightly and now it fits good, but a wee tad loose. I would think that PA would sell the original and Benjamin/Crosman might. Might be some after markets as well. I thought that trays have always been a stock accessory? Maybe not. My mags. seem to do fine. I have tried both ways. I have 3 mags. for the .25.

      In general,… when first getting a gun,… do single feed/tray first. Get some good group data and then try the mags.. Again,… gather group data.

      Chris


      • Chris USA,

        Thanks. I don’t believe a single shot tray comes with the Marauder. What you write about the one you have from PA is exactly the reason I must ask about your experience. I am not a master craftsman (or anywhere near that).

        I do agree with you completely about shooting the single shot mode initially. That also slows me down a bit, which is a good thing. I just have to stop trying to break the barrel open to load a pellet. 🙂

        ~ken


    • Ken,

      Also,… on getting to know your new gun(s) and (YOUR) capabilities,… use a front rest and something for the back. I have found that stacking (whatever),…. like pellet cans and then topping them with something like PA pellet can (packing) foam works good. You want a firm rear rest (with the ability) to apply a “little” up or down pressure to fine adjust. I refine pressure further with 1/8″ rubber sheet shims. Bottom line,… be steady however you can, whatever it takes. Once you find what (it) can do, then you can go unrested back end.

      Chris


    • Ken,

      I can’t say for sure on the .177 and .25. Compared to the Air Venturi and the Benjamin single shot trays the Umarex Gauntlet in .22 caliber were far superior in my marauder. I would try them first, they just fit better.

      Don


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