Diana Bandit PCP air pistol: Part 3
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Filled to 200 bar
- Not able to adjust the rear sight
- The test
- Superdomes first
- UTG Micro Reflex dot sight
- Take rear sight off
- Hades pellets at 200 bar
- 180-bar Hades target
- 170-bar Hades target
- Is the sight mounted tightly?
- How is the gun rested?
- Ah HA!
- Oh, well
- Final target — Meisterkugeln
Today we look at the accuracy of the Diana Bandit PCP air pistol, and I have to tell you that it’s just a first look. This gun took a LOT of work to get it to shoot!
Filled to 200 bar
I re-read Part 2 and saw that the .22-caliber Bandit that I’m testing, as it comes from the factory, only gets 7 or 8 good shots per fill. I also saw that a 200-bar fill is probably too high but I didn’t have much to go on, other than the customer comments that seem to agree. Many who gave the pistol a high rating say they had to back off on the fill pressure to get any accuracy.
The small reservoir fills quickly so you have to be quick on the valve when filling. I learned how to do it so I could nail the fill within an indicated 5 bar every time.
Not able to adjust the rear sight
I started the test shooting at 10 meters with the open sights that come on the gun. The first shot landed way to the left of the bull so I added some right adjustment and the adjustment screw fell out! The rear sight notch is still to the left of center and there is no way I can get it close to where it needs to be. So the open sights are out. I’ll tell you what I did in a moment.
I shot from 10 meters with the pistol rested on a sandbag. I shot 5-shot groups and refilled the pistol after each 5 shots except for the first target which was for sight-in.
I shot RWS Superdomes first with the open sights. I will show the target but there is no group to show because I was trying to adjust the sights. I shot 9 shots on a 200-bar fill.
There’s not much to see. I was all over the paper trying to sight the Bandit in with the open sights which proved impossible. The shots in the center of the bull were three of the final five that I shot. The two under the bull were the last two shots. These final five shots were shots 5 though 9 on the first fill.
I later learned things that may have also pertained to Superdomes, but this was the first and only target I shot with them.
UTG Micro Reflex dot sight
Fortunately I had plans to mount the UTG Micro Reflex dot sight on the pistol before the test began, so I did at this time and then continued with the test. Pyramyd Air only carries the red dot version, but I have the green one that I can see a little better.
Take rear sight off
To fit the dot sight to the Bandit the rear sight needs to come off. Even though the Micro Reflex sight is very small you will have loading clearance problems unless the rear sight comes off. Then it’s fine.
Hades pellets at 200 bar
Several owners report good things about JSB pellets in their Bandits, so I switched to Hades pellets with the dot sight. I refilled the reservoir to 200 bar and shot another 8 shots. This time I thought I nailed it!
I numbered the shots as they were fired so you could see how they went. When I saw shots 4 though 8 I thought I understood what the Bandit wanted. The final 4 shots measure 0.31-inches between centers. This is one of the few times you will see the dime in this report.
180-bar Hades target
At this point in the test I thought I knew it all. Boy, was that wrong! For the next target I filled the pistol to 180 bar — measured on the large gauge on my 88 cubic foot carbon fiber air tank. The gauge that’s built into the Bandit registered 170 bar, which is pretty close for a small gauge.
The next target was a heartbreaker. I thought I had nailed the fill pressure, but look what happened.
But hope springs eternal in the human breast. The three shots in the bullseye, which were the last three shots in this 5-shot string, gave me hope that I was closing in on the fill pressure the Hades pellet liked.
170-bar Hades target
This time I stopped the fill at 170 bar. Okay — this target should be the one (I thought). So why, with the same Hades pellet and the same sight setting, did all 5 pellets hit the bottom of the target paper? I haven’t got a clue! Make up whatever comes to your mind for this one — I’m moving on.
There they are. Five, count ’em, five pellet holes at the bottom of the target paper! I haven’t got a clue. Do you wonder why I’m not showing the dime in most of these targets? I don’t even call them groups. They are targets.
Is the sight mounted tightly?
Yes, it is. And the free-floating barrel is giving no signs of moving as the air is expended. One owner criticized Diana for not installing a barrel band on the gun to tie the barrel to the reservoir. If they had one the complaint would have been to leave the barrel free-floated. Sadly these impromptu airgun designers are never present when the design is being put together.
How is the gun rested?
Throughout the test I rested the gun on the sandbag, pushing the triggerguard into the bag on every shot. The gun didn’t move, once on target.
Okay, let’s continue. At this point I abandoned the Hades pellet in favor of another JSB pellet that at least one person said was good in his pistol — the 18.13-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy. The fill was 170 bar for the first five shots. Five pellets went into a group that measures 1.563-inches between centers. It’s not that great, but at least it’s a group and not just shots on paper. It’s well-centered, but below the aim point.
I wondered with this heavier pellet if a higher pressure fill would work better, so for the next 5 shots I fill the pistol to 200 bar. This time 5 pellets went no higher but they did go a little to the left. Five went into 1.538-inches and notice that most or all of them went through the paper sideways.
So I’m sitting here at my keyboard, writing this test up and looking at all the scattered and sideways shots and saying to myself, “Why, with all those shots going wonky like that it’s almost like…
And I swear to you — it happened just as I am describing now. I’m sitting here 4 hours after shooting the targets, typing the report and looking at all those targets, while saying to myself that if someone came to me with a bunch of targets like these I would tell him that something is tipping his pellets right after they leave the muzzle. Id say have a look at your silencer and see if there is a streak of lead. So, I looked but there wasn’t a streak.
There was a WALL of lead built up in one place where it looks like each and every pellet hit as it passed through! Oh, my gosh! I still have four more targets to show you and now they have lost all of their meaning because I just figured out what the problem is — AFTER THE FACT.
What the heck. I shot them so I’ll show them.
I then dialed the dot sight up 3 clicks and 2 clicks to the right.
Dot sight adjusted one click to the right.
Final target — Meisterkugeln
At this point in the test I was still unaware of what was really happening, so I switched to RWS Meisterkugeln pellets and shot five of them on 185 bar. They grouped in about one inch and I thought, “Ah HA! It was the pellets!” So I dialed the very responsive UTG dot sight five clicks down and shot a second 185-bar group that I expected to hit the center of the bull. Only the pellets went to the same place! The group grew a little, but 9 or the 10 are in 1.193-inches.
I was ready to throw up my hands and say I don’t know what happened today. I even started writing this report with that mindset. Then I had the epiphany to look at the muzzle.
I can’t call this an accuracy test of the Diana Bandit. It’s a shakedown cruise. The pellet/muzzle clearance problem needs to be resolved before accuracy can be tested. And no, I am not going in through the muzzle with a 5/16-inch drill (although that was my first inclination).
- You know what this is? It’s a wake-up call for all you guys who want silencers on your PCPs. They are fine and they do quiet things down, but you have to know their weaknesses and what to look for. I know all of that but when my nose is pressed to the grindstone to get a report published it’s easy to overlook.
- I think we have a lot more to learn about this air pistol.
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