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Education / Training Diana 23: Part 1

Diana 23: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Dioana 23
Diana 23.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • A stripper
  • The rifle
  • Two versions of the later rifle
  • Trigger
  • Breech seal and locking detent
  • Sights
  • Cocking
  • What is it good for?
  • Summary

This report should be titled, “By any other name” because the airgun I’m writing about doesn’t say Diana anywhere. It says Gecado, Mod. 23. I know it is a Diana because I have paid attention to Diana air rifles for the past four decades, or so. They can also be named Hy Score, Winchester, Peerless, Original, Milbro, RWS, Geco (of which Gecado is a derivative) and Beeman. And I bet there are more names I haven’t mentioned.

Dioana 23 markings
These are the principal markings on the rifle. There is no serial number, caliber or date of manufacture.

A stripper

Decades ago a new car that was basic and was priced as low as that model would go was called a stripper. Well, the Diana 23 is the stripper of Diana pellet rifles. In the photograph above the rifle appears to be the same size as a Diana 27, but when you see them together the difference becomes obvious.

Dioana 23 with 27
When compared to the Diana 27 (bottom) the Diana 23 looks tiny.

Diana 23 Germany
This is the only other marking on the rifle. There’s no date of manufacture.

The rifle

The Diana 23 I am reviewing is in .177 caliber and has a rifled barrel. They also came in .22 caliber and in both calibers smoothbore barrels do exist.

The rifle I’m testing is 36 inches long and has a 14.25-inch rifled barrel. The pull is 13 inches exactly. The rifle weighs 3 lbs. 11 oz. which puts it solidly in the youth air rifle class. Yet as diminutive as it is, I find that older men are attracted to it far more than kids. My late friend Mac had several of them and loved them dearly, including a .22 that absolutely fascinated him. He thought of them as the model trains of the airgun world — sort of like I feel about the Sharpshooter pistol that’s powered by rubber bands.

There are two different models of Diana 23s. One was produced from about 1927 to 1940 and the other one was made from 1951 to 1983. The gun I am looking at is the later model.

Two versions of the later rifle

The 1951 to 1983 model 23 also breaks down to two different versions. The first one has a thinner slab wood beech stock with finger grooves on the forearm. That is the one we are looking at. The later version has thicker wood, no finger grooves, pressed checkering a slightly raised cheekpiece and different front and rear sights that may be plastic. I have the earlier version, but unfortunately I do not know when the model switch was made.

I think the model I have is the most desirable because it is slim and lightweight. It makes no pretence of being anything more than a basic air rifle.


The trigger is two-stage and not adjustable. It is a direct sear that holds the piston in place until the moment of release, yet the trigger pull is very satisfactory.

Build a Custom Airgun

Breech seal and locking detent

The Diana 23 breech differs from the larger vintage Diana rifles that start with the model 25. Instead of the breech seal being around the rear of the barrel, it is a leather seal attached to the end of the spring tube around the air transfer port. The rear of the barrel is solid metal that presses against the seal when the barrel is closed.

Diana 23 breech seal
You are looking down into the air transfer port behind the barrel. The leather seal is around it rather than around the breech. The silver bump on the left is where the ball-bearing breech lock engages.

Diana 23 breech
The actual breech has no seal. Don’t be fooled by the discoloration. Diana used the same ball-bearing detent from their larger rifles to lock the breech closed during firing.


The front sight is a tapered post. The rear sight is a V-notch at the end of a leaf. A sliding elevator works on a stepped ramp to raise and lower the notch. As simple as it appears, you get crisp detents as the elevator slides up and down the ramp and there is even tiny pointers on both sides of the elevator to tell you where you are. So, as inexpensive as this model is, Diana still put a lot of thought into it.

Diana 23 rear sight
The rear sight is simple yet effective.


The mainspring is weak, so cocking a Diana 23 is very easy. I am guessing it will register under 10 lbs. when I test it in Part 2.

I looked through the cocking slot of the stock and saw that the mainspring was very dry, so I took the barreled action out of the stock and oiled the mainspring with some bicycle chain oil. This rifle doesn’t buzz when fired which is good because as weak as it is, this would not be the mainspring to put anything thick on.

Diana 23 spring
The mainspring was dry, and in this view some of the coils appear to have collapsed.

With the action out of the stock I used the opportunity to go over all the metal parts with Ballistol and to look for a date of manufacture. No other marks were seen anywhere — including on the inside of the stock.

What is it good for?

You might ask what a weak little pellet rifle like this is good for. I would turn that around and ask you how well your 6-year-old granddaughter does with the Beeman R7 you bought for her? The Diana 23 belongs to a class of diminutive pellet rifles that have no modern equivalents. 

I like the R7 as well as anyone, but it isn’t made for wee teeny folk like this Diana 23 is. There is an entire class of small air rifle that isn’t being made anymore. Even rifles like the Ruger Explorer that come close are still larger, heavier and harder to cock.


This will be a quick look at an air rifle most of you will never own. There are others like this one that I will never get to, so enjoy this look while you can.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

143 thoughts on “Diana 23: Part 1”

  1. B.B.,

    When you said stripper my first impression was that this was going to need some paint stripper. This is a very basic first rifle with decent sights. I guess the front sight is a simple post? This would also be welcome to any parlor for indoor shooting especially in these times.


    PS: Section Breech seal and locking detent Second illustration caption second sentence: “Don’t be folled (fooled) by the discoloration.”

  2. The first air rifle I owned was a Diana 25 given to me by a friend. It consisted of a stock and action.
    I lubed the main spring, breech seal and put some oil down the transfer port.
    The sights same as Gecado 23 are very good and my air rifle is accurate at 10m
    I still own the air rifle and have never had to strip it down.
    All Diana (Original) air rifles during this period were sold here in South Africa as “Gecado”

  3. BB,

    As you said we use the 23 to let the children shoot at targets. The 23 is perfect for that as it is an accurate rifle on a 10 mtr target, has a good trigger and can be cocked by almost everyone.

    For myself it is perfect on a lazy afternoon. You cock it and see whether you can get all your pellets inside the 8 ring (we use 10 mtr pistol targets). It is not very finicky about the pellets you use so you just shoot what is there. The only disadvantage for me is the size. I am 2 mtr and a normal hold of the rifle is not possible. I use something between a rifle hold and a two hand pistol hold as the stock does not reach my shoulder.



  4. BB,

    This may be a “stripper” but it is obvious that a level of quality was still maintained. Many of the older Dianas would be considered “strippers” by today’s standards. A basic, slightly shaped slab of wood for a stock. No butt pad, just a few slots at the shoulder and a rubber bump. No safety. No trigger adjustments. Decent quality, but still basic sights. Not even dovetails cut into the compression tube. Awesome!

    Unfortunately, the handling of any type of gun by children in this day and age is strongly discouraged. When you throw in litigation, this would be a true nightmare today. I can understand why this class of air rifles no longer exist. I don’t like it, but I do understand it. BB guns can be bad enough without “adult” supervision, which is sorely lacking in these times.

  5. B.B.

    As alway your Friday blogs are the best!

    You mentioned that some D 23’s can with smooth bore barrels, was this just the earlier variety?
    Can you shoot pellets, with any kind of accuracy, out of a smooth bore?
    Glad this rifle has a rifled barrel! I wonder if this rifle will break the 300 fps barrier?

    Wishing everybody as enjoyable a Memorial Day Weekend as possible,


    • Yogi,

      Smoothbore pellet guns can be quite accurate at close range.This report documents that.


      The 23 was smoothbore throughout its production, I believe, but I really don’t know.


      • B.B.

        Thanks I went back and read that 2013 post. Towards the end after you discovered that round balls were not its thing, you mentioned darts. I have always been fascinated by the dart guns that are used to tranquilize large animals. Have you ever done a report on these? If not, maybe you should.
        Stay safe, stay sane,

        • Yogi
          That would be a blog I would like too. I always wondered how accurate they are and at what distances they should be used at. And how the darts are propelled. I think it would be a interesting blog.

          • Gunfun1,

            I read a manual online for the long version years ago, and it mentioned a maximum distance, although I don’t remember the number. It was not far at all; however, I remember that much.

            The darts I saw pictures of (and the practice dart I have) have plastic fins/feathers on the back end to get ’em spinning, but they can’t be very accurate beyond perhaps 25 feet.


              • Gunfun1,

                I didn’t chrony it like I did the lead ball, but it had to be screaming. I will weigh the dart on my postal scale and post that info here, although I won’t be able to do it for a few days.

                If it helps, the dart is about the size (and perhaps weight) of one of those old-fashioned clothes pins for drying clothes on a line, the kind that has no spring but just worked on friction alone.


                    • Michael
                      That could be very easy to do.

                      So seriously how many yards you thinking. You think a feral can at 15-20 yards would be doable with the wooden dart?

                      But is it worth it. How much do those guns cost now days. New or old.

                  • Gunfun1,

                    Just some basic online research tells me the company that markets these things now is called Pneu-Dart. They call the pistols and such “tranquilizer projectors.” It looks like the darts come in .50 cal and 12 ga. Prices on these devices seem pretty fixed at $350 on up, but for a vintage Crosman made one, who knows? They could go for less or for more. It really comes down to whether it is an auction or not and how many folks want it.

                    Crosman 150 and Benjamin 262 pistols, which some of the Palmer Cap-Churs I’ve seen are based on, vary a lot in price. A very good shooter without box and in poor cosmetic shape might be $100 or less. In much better shape, how much does one want it?

                    Regarding shooting range, I doubt anyone could reliably hit anything beyond 15 yards, but who knows? Accuracy might depend much more on the projectile than on the air gun with these.


                    • Michael
                      There is a used dart gun for sale on that left coast place right now. It’s in the $400 zone. Not too much information about it though.

                      I wish I new more about it. I would maybe try negotiating with them on it.

                      You never know what kind of airguns you will run into now days.

                      I could make myself gun poor real quick if I don’t watch what I’m doing. 🙂

                    • Michael,

                      Yes do check it out, they say that the bore is 13mm which comes to about .51 cal, could be some fun with some home made projectiles.


                      edit to add, posting to your comment here /blog/2020/05/diana-23-part-1/#comment-456466

                    • Mike the first link that used a Sheridan says it is accurate to 40 yards.

                      And the second link that shows a pistol has a statement at the bottom that say guns out to 80 yards. So it makes me think they may have long guns too. I didn’t look any further but I did save the links. And if 80 yards is true. That’s pretty respectable.

                    • Mike,

                      Thanks much for posting those. I should check them out. And you are right on about the typo.


                  • Gunfun1,

                    On the out to 80 yards I think they are talking about the powder burner versions not the co2 or pump airguns.

                    They have some long guns that fire the syringe with .22 cal blanks.


                  • GF1

                    As for the trajectory you would just have to try it out and see.

                    Since these are for vaccination and sedation I would guess you only need to hit the critter but I am not a veterinarian so I am not sure how important the shot placement is.


                    • Mike

                      But I was thinking they can’t have that flat of a trajectory.

                      I bet the dart is in a sense being lobbed out of the gun. I’m sure it’s making some kind of power but then again I had a blow gun and I could put a dart through both sides of a aluminum can at 15 yards. It doesnt take much I’m sure to stick even a 1/8th inch diameter needle in a hide of the animal. Well maybe it does need to make some kind of energy.

        • Yogi,

          No, I never tested darts in that airgun and I’ll tell you why. It was too powerful. I was concerned it would bury the darts so deep in the target that I would ruin them pulling them out. I also feared for the bristol dartboard.

          I gave that airgun to the son of one of the pastors at my church, so I can’t go back now.


        • Yogi,
          A while back I watched a You tube video by Joerg Sprave where he shows how those darts work. Sorry I could not find the link quickly. I found it interesting that the dart is a pcp at least the one he demonstrates is.

        • Yogi,

          I have a pistol and rifle (yes, shallow rifling) Cap-Chur tranq guns, both made by Crosman for Palmer. The pistol was built on a Crosman 150 (1×12 ounce CO2) and the rifle a Crosman 160 (2×12 CO2 back-to-back). They are .50 caliber. I haven’t gotten the rifle to hold CO2 yet, but the pistol, before it became a leaker, fired 185 grain lead balls at 185 fps. with a large patch to serve as wadding a la a muzzleloader. (They are breech-loading, incidentally.)

          The pistol put the wooden practice dart that came with it all the way through a suburban Chicago phonebook (about 2.5 inches) at point blank range. It came out the other side fully and was deeply stuck into another such phonebook a foot or so behind it. I would “guesstimate” the long gun’s velocity of a 185 grain hard ball at around 250 fps.


          • Michael,

            Thank you! You saved me from having to talk about Crosman’s involvement in tranquilizer guns.
            They had an entire section about them don’t know if it is still there.


            • Shootski,

              Of the two I got the pistol first. I saw a photo of it posted by the seller, and I thought, that looks just like a Crosman 150, but the seller says it’s a “Palmer Cap-Chur.” Hmmm. I bought it anyway, because well, a CO2 big bore air pistol, right?

              It has that nice (to me, anyway, despite my big paws) slim grip of the early 150s that just melts into your hand and becomes one with it.


      • B B,
        The 23 was available with a rifled barrel also. The only current junior rifles of similar size that I am aware of are the Diana Eleven and the Cometa 50, which is a shame. Even Diana 240 sized rifles are a bit thin on the ground these days. Which is a shame.
        I have an Original catalogue here from 1980. What a huge range of air rifles they had then, including many great juniors.


  6. Just a update.

    My gen2 Fortitude is on the truck for delivery today. Can’t wait to get it unboxed and see how she shoots.

    Well that is if I can put my RC jet down. Flew it some more yesterday and it is really a smooth flyer and tracks well. Hopefully I can say my Fortitude is a smooth shooter today. It should be. It’s a pcp. 😉

      • Yogi
        The kit I just built is a YF22 made from a type of flat foam board and you use a hot glue gun to put it together. It uses a propeller in the middle of the jet and uses a small electric motor for power and a li-poly battery. I was surprised. Yesterday I got about 18 minutes of flight out of a battery. Usually 12 minute is the normal.

        I posted some info on yesterday’s blog and a picture of mine. Also I posted a video of a guy that does alot of rc planes and jets. He is flying a F18 ducted fan jet. It uses a small turbine blade that is also powered by a small electric motor. They are a called outrunner motors. Basically the outer housing spins and has powerful magnets placed all the way around the inside of the bell. The propeller or ducted fan is attached to that. The armature is stationary and it mounts to a firewall on the jet or air plane. They are powerful little motors. They make good torque and rpm’s.

        But here is the link to yesterday’s blog. Scroll down about 3/4’s of the way down on the comments and you will see. My jet and the video I posted. And of course the conversation about the stuff.

        If you check it out. Let me know what you think. If you don’t that’s ok too. 🙂

    • GF1,

      Well, if you find it hard to work that Fortitude into your busy schedule, box it up and send it to visit with the older ladies at RRHFWA. I am quite certain they will enjoy a little time together.

        • Michael,

          I have always tried to live my life with a bit of humor. We are writing here, so I enjoy creating a word of a phrase every once in a while that can bring a smile to others faces. Feral soda cans, sproingers, etc. Sometimes they catch on and others start using them. I wish I could take credit for TCFKAC, but I use it all the time.

          ChrisUSA, Thedavemyster and Gunfun1 enjoy using humor. You yourself have made a smile or two here as have many others. We all enjoy a serious, informed discussion of airguns here, but we must be careful to insure we do not become too stodgy.

          As for RRHFWA, it is both serious and humorous. Whenever the blog is about an airgun I am interested in or as here with GF1’s new Fortitude I like to suggest that the aforementioned airgun may enjoy a nice holiday, vacation or visit at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns. Through the years I have had many airguns come through my home. I pick some up at yard sales, online, etc. I play with them for awhile, sometimes fix them up a bit and then find them a good home to go to for someone else to enjoy.

          Some, however move in to stay. These are the ones I speak of as the old ladies. It is all BB’s fault really. He introduced me to a 1906 Lincoln Jeffries Model BSA air rifle at the Roanoke Show one time and I was started down this road.

          I am very picky about who is invited to take up permanent residence here at the Home. I want to shoot these airguns, so they have to work. I also do not want or need too many as I will not have time for them all. Another major factor is Mrs. RR. The cost of this endeavor can be substantial. She being the CFO has much to say when another old gal is invited to move in. 😉

          Something else I always keep in mind is BB has given us one of his “pearls of wisdom” a while back about how we only possess these for a time. Sooner or later someone else will own them and hopefully enjoy them for what they are. Many of the old ladies here at RRHFWA came through his hands.

          It is my hope that my grandson will keep the doors of RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns open. If not, I hope he finds each of these old ladies a good home.

      • Michael
        I hope it gets here today. I want to get it sighted in today. My kids are coming over tomorrow for the Memorial day weekend. We are suppose to be doing some shooting and BBQ’n and my oldest daughter knows it on it’s way. She said she wants to shoot it. We’ll see.

      • Edw
        That’s crazy. The fastest plane I had was a P51 that I pylon raced in the war bird pylon competition. It had a 50 inch wingspan and weighed about 4 pounds. It had a .40 size Nelson racing engine on it. It would do right at 200 mph off the race course. On the pylon course it did a average lap of 10 laps at a 175 mph. That’s almost to fast to keep up with pylon racing. Especially add in 5 other planes that want to beat your plane. It sounded like angry bee’s times ten flying around you. How we never got hurt I dont know. But it was fun. 🙂

        And how did you meet that guy trying to break the 400 mph. You fly RC?

        • I fly quad copters. Real rc planes and I don’t get along. They die early and often. I met the guy when he was replacing out heat pump, HVAC guy. He saw my 3d printer and started talking about the plane he was printing. He’s beat 400, the record now is around 550 mph. I’m not sure how they keep eyes on them at that speed let alone fly it.

          • Edw
            Right. That’s crazy fast. And how strong is that plane. We use to have to do stuff to the pylon planes to keep them together.

            And I have one small quadcopter. Its got a jet body on it. Its fun to fly. I want to get a big quadcopter and put a jet fuselage on it. I like vertical take off and landing planes and slow flight and flying on the stall. That’s what I want from the quadcopter and jet fuselage.

            But I like the racing quads too. Just never got there yet. What kind of quad do you have?

  7. Very nice small rifle, small-backyard perfect; sized rightly for FM, then and now. 🙂

    What adults should be doing these days is strongly discouraging children from overindulging in “social media,” actually an oxymoron. Instead, adults need to be encouraging kids to know the outdoors and learn enjoyable, practical physical skills, such as airgunning. Good for the body and the mind. At the same time, adults are going to have to learn what being a REAL parent means and work on developing that skillset.

    • FM,

      Kids nowadays do get a little frustrated when they can kill 497 zombies on their boob tube game, but cannot seem to hit the broad side of a barn even if they are standing inside when they shoot an airgun. It takes many of them a considerable time to convert from their “reality” to the real reality.

    • Having said that, FM has been enjoying backyard can-killing sessions with the Umarex MP-40. He knew he and Mrs. FM had done something right when a few years ago, Number 1-and-only daughter bought her dad a range session experience with a .40 Glock. Dad let her do most of the shooting; for a first-timer, her groups were impressive. Maybe she’ll be inducted into air gunnery sometime.

      • FM
        That was a nice present. I thoroughly enjoy when me and my daughters get to shoot. Time is one thing but now the oldest is a mom. Then work and all that other stuff.

        Enjoy the kids every chance you get.

    • I find airgunning to be an excellent hobby for the kids.

      I have three in various stages.of elementary school. My hope for them is both practical and selfish.

      In a practical sense, I want them to learn safe handling of guns. This is for their own safety; one needs to prepare them to make good decisions, especially for when they get older. I also want them to enjoy the satisfaction that comes with developing skills and technique. Like all things, mastery of a subject breeds more interest and a sense of success. Maybe that could be airgunning/shooting sports or maybe not. But it’s Dad’s job to expose them to many doors. They choose the ones to walk through.

      This brings me to the selfish reason. I want them to enjoy airguns with Dad! Call it an investment in the future. But airguns are a relatively untapped,.rich market. So much history, variety, and range of products. It’s a golden age.

      How do I help them grow interest? By not pushing too much. And making it fun. We are plinkers, for now. Spinners… rocket can launcher, Shoot-N-C, that’s us. The gun selection for small shooters ARE a little slim. We have the Ruger Explorer, P08, and PPK for smaller hands. But yeah, not tons of other choices. That said, half the time they just want to shoot the K98 or MP40… even though they can’t shoot from anything but a sandbag. My 4th grader likes the K98 accuracy, which he can tell beats his Ruger Explorer. And the MP40…welll….!

      Would like to see more options like this Diana 23.


  8. B.B.,
    I bought a rifle almost identical to this one on eBay; the only thing wrong with it was a broken rear sight; I made up a crude peep sight that I held in place with duct tape till I found the best pellets for it, then I epoxied the rear sight in place; so, the gun has fixed peep sights, but it shoots well and is accurate at 10 yards…longer actually, but you have to compensate for drop, as it only shoots (estimated, it was in my pre-chrono days) in the 300s since it is a .22, but man, is it easy to cock and fun to shoot; I gifted it to my nephew for a backyard plinker; but it I saw another one, I would buy it in a heartbeat! These are great guns, and a ton of fun. =>
    Looking forward to the rest on this fine gun,
    and wishing all a blessed Memorial Day,

  9. B.B.,

    When I first opened up today’s blog, I went, “Oooh.” My wife glanced at my screen to make sure it was family content! (True.)

    This is my kind of topic, no doubt. Unless this can’t hit the broad side of a barn (but I’ll bet it is at least reasonably accurate), I can already say I love it. Small, lightweight and handy. EASY cocking. Low powered, probably, so that every pellet is like a tracer. Good looking like all vintage springers. Wood. Steel.

    Oooh. :^)


  10. B.B.,

    I just noticed the length-of-pull and barrel length of this Gecado/Diana 23 are each almost the equal of the 27 in the photo. The big difference is in the powerplant length. This may have been marketed as a youth model, but it is almost adult-sized. Actually, for many adults, it was/is probably just right.


  11. Wonder what Geo has been upto. Haven’t seen him post in a while.

    Hopefully he’s ok. And if I remember right he lives in Michigan. Hope that flooding there didn’t affect him.

    • Hi GF1
      Yes, we are still doing well. Our grand-daughter works at Meijer and lives with us. Her boss was confirmed to have the coronavirus. My grand-daughter took a leave at that point. It has now been two weeks and she is still fine…thankfully. Our son also works at a Meijer at a different location but no one in his store has been diagnosed with the virus to date. Oh, and he also lives with us. Michiganders are not doing what our governor has ordered regarding the wearing of masks and social distancing. Probably the reason we have more confirmed cases and more deaths than many other states. Ignorance can be corrected with education, but dumb is forever.
      We live in southwest Michigan, 15 miles north of Kalamazoo. The flooding and two dams that failed are up in the thumb area in Midland on the other side of the state from us. We do have several rivers in southwest MI that are above flood stage currently, but nothing damaging so far.
      I have been doing some pesting lately; sparrows, starlings, and grackles. I normally leave the grackles alone as long as they stay off from my feeders.
      Thank you for thinking of us, and have a save Memorial Day holiday.

      • Geo
        Glad you all are doing ok. They told us at work if one person gets it the place gets shut down and they have to do a bunch of disinfecting. Then it might take a few weeks to come back to work.

        We have been off and on working since this has all started. We have been working on a limited crew of only 5 people per shift. They are bringing 2 more people per shift back this week and say we will be back to about 75% by June 1st. We normally have about 30 or so employee’s per shift. So who knows right now. The place we make parts for is only at about 25% right now. So if they ain’t working we really dont need to work.

        And the starlings and grackles still invade the fields out here. The grackles definitely out populate the starling now days. Then the sparrows aren’t as bad but they still cause problems.

        Hope you all stay well and have a good Memorial day.

      • Geo,

        I hope your grand-daughter and your entire family continues to stay healthy,

        A friend of mine owns a small essential business he keeps open several days a week. He is extremely concerned that someone will infect him and that he might pass the virus to his son, a young adult living with him who is in remission with Hodgkin’s Disease. If his son, who has a greatly compromised immune system, were to contract the virus it would be a death sentence.

        People who wear masks do so to protect OTHERS from being infected by them (the mask wearer). People who are pre-symptomatic are contagious nonetheless. People who refuse to wear a mask do not care about the health and welfare of others. It is not a question of rights. No one has the right to harm another’s health and well-being.


  12. B.B.,

    “There are two different models of Diana 23s. One was produced from about 1927 to 1940 and the other one was made from 1951 to 1983. The gun I am looking at is the later model.” Are you certain of that?
    The typical marking convention was: Made In Germany before the end of WWII and then the change to: Made in the American Zone Germany which changed in about 1950 to: Made In W Germany up until reunification. Of course there was also Made In The GDR (East Germany) until reunification. So is this example pre war?


  13. Off topic:

    While on GTA, there was a discussion on the Fortitude Gen 1 and Gen 2 trigger assemblies and (if) there was anything different. Here is a reply from a Crosman engineer,……

    There were no changes to the trigger pack for G1 or G2. The hammer spring, valve spring, the tube plug and transfer port were changed.


    • Chris U,

      That is good to know. The lighter valve spring allowed the lighter hammer spring and made it easier to cock. Probably helped the trigger a little also. It seems like they also ended up with more shots and consistency per fill.


    • Chris
      I was going to wait till BB did the next report on his gen2 Fortitude but since you brought it up I’ll tell about that part of the gun for now. And since BB said he wasn’t going to mess with his trigger on his Fortitude.

      First of the trigger is identical to a Maximus and Discovery trigger. And the same old hard single stage pull. But it does break crisp. I could tell easily when the shot was going to release.

      But glad I didn’t make no bets about that I wouldn’t mess with the trigger because I had to.I just don’t like that heavy pull.

      But I did it like I done my other guns I had with that trigger. I cut 2 coils off the heavy spring right behind the trigger blade then put a lighter and a little smaller diameter spring inside the original cut off spring. Then I bent the sear spring that also holds the safety in the trigger housing to have a little less pressure. That spring is the one that makes you feel when the shot will go off.

      So now it feels like I have a lighter 2 stage trigger. The lighter spring I put inside the original spring behind the trigger acts like the first stage feel of the trigger. It stops right when the sear safety spring gets a bit harder. That’s the second stage feel of the trigger now.

      And I never have added the 2 set screws in the back of the trigger housing. I have done it this way always and works out nice.

    • I have been thinking about B.B. mentioning a balanced valve and what that means. It seams in a non regulated gun that by changing the strengths of the two springs, valve and hammer for a given set up a balance can be obtained to achieve the most and consistent shots for a given pellet velocity and fill pressure.

      As both springs get stronger the fill pressure has less effect on the valve opening duration and how far it opens. We have seen guns that fall off the power curve immediately from the fill max fill pressure.

      If that is true then guns with weaker springs would be effected more by the fill pressure. As the pressure goes down the valve will open more and stay open longer. That can be used to optimize the power curve for both pellet velocity consistency and maximize the spread of the fill pressure giving that velocity.

      Obviously there are many other variables that come into the air guns performance but those two springs can be used to tune the gun once the other features of the gun has been set.

      I know from experience that if you go with too weak of a valve spring the pellet velocity will become erratic So there is a limit.

      I wonder how many companies go to the effort of trying to get a good balanced gun. Obviously the transfer port was also changed on the Fortitude probably to achieve the power they wanted. Did they adjust the springs to achieve good consistent velocities or did the regulated pressure take care of that. They may have just picked weaker springs and then tuned using the transfer port. The process would be interesting to hear about.


      • Don
        You done said it. The combination.

        Anybody can throw a regulator in a gun and make it shoot better. But get things right and the added regulator will really improve the guns performance.

        Right now I have tested my gen2 Fortitude at 0-6 turns of adjustment with the striker spring pressure and Crosman definitely got the system balanced right. The gun is getting good velocity throughout the the range of low to high. And a bit surprised. The 4 turns from the factory is a good setting for velocity and shot count. But one more thing. That’s where my paticular gen2 Fortitude is getting it’s best a accuracy with the pellet I’m using.

        And I will share something when BB gets into more shooting with his gun. But one thing I found was very wrong and it is similar to what I found with the shrouded Marauder rifles. I’ll put it this way my gen2 Fortitude got more accurate after I did it.

        I just love when previous similar experiences pay off in the future. 🙂

        • GF1,

          How bout a picture of your test target that came with your gun? Just curious.

          We may have had the same shroud issue. Mine showed up on my test target.

          Oh and I think Gene is on to something important in polishing the hammer/striker.

          • Don
            No problem with the hammer and striker. It’s all spring pressure.

            My test target was under a 1/4 inch.

            My accuracy issue showed up at the 50 yard mark. Which if my air guns won’t do under a inch at 50 yards it’s a plinking gun to me.

            My shroud was hitting the air tube at about a 1/2 inch behind where the Foster fitting screws into the fitting on the air reservoir. I took the barrel band off and still not the groups I was looking for. The shroud still contacted the air resivoir. Then took the shroud off and the gun grouped at about .750″ at 50 yards. So I actually bent the barrel up with the shroud off. I put the shroud back on and it wasn’t contacting the air resivouir anymore. Guess what same good groups with the shroud on.

            What can I say. It is what it is. And yes no band clamp still. Now the barrel free floats like its suppose to.

            • My shroud was laying on the bottom of the barrel band and gave me a horizontal 10 shot group that looked like a smile. I did the same bent the barrel till it was centered in the barrel band. That helped a lot. I don’t have fifty yards out back so I am guessing my groups may be a little better..

              Like you told me last week a crown tune may tighten up your groups significantly. Or a burr in your transfer port.

              I have a Hawk 3-7 scope with laser etched reticle makes a nice light and handy gun. I don’t know if the accuracy will equal your Maximus but it is a good gun with many benefits.

              • Don,

                This is my favorite scope.


                The clarity is incredible. The only downside is it will not stand up to sproingers. I would trade any one of my other scopes for another one of these.

                • RR,

                  Thanks for the link, that is the scope I was talking about. Should of said 2-7. I also have a couple of the wire reticle 2-7 Hawk scopes but the etched glass is worth the extra cost. As said before the illumination could be left off for me.


              • Don
                That’s pretty much what my groups looked like out at 50 yards. A smile. And yep the gun is much better now. And it was off and on windy yesterday so that was messing with it too. My other guns I shoot all the time showed a little bigger groups too. So I’m looking for a nice calm day to see what it does. I’m pretty positive it will get better groups.

                And I have a fixed 4 magnification UTG scope on mine with no AO adjustment. I did order another 3-9 magnification scope with adjustable AO and a single shot tray. So that should be here next week. I’m going to put the fixed power scope back on the walnut left hand TX 200. That’s what I took it off of.

                So hopefully I get a calm day today and then we’ll see what happens next week when I get the single shot tray and the other scope. Oh and right now my .22 Maximus and FWB 300 is the accuracy winners at 50 yards. Well and same with my .25 Condor SS but it’s my accurate gun for twice the distance. That being 100 yards. 🙂

                • Check out the scope RR linked above, it is a nice small scope with great clarity. They are my go to scope for most of my pellet guns, I also like the bug buster scopes.

                  • Don
                    I like the Hawke scopes. I have a sidewinder on my Condor SS.

                    All my scopes use to be the Hawke Varmint 1/2 mildot sidewinder scopes until they stopped making them. Now they are called the Hawke Airmaster scopes is what I believe they are called. Basically the same as a Varmint scope but cost more. So I went to these UTG scopes.


                    Here is the other UTG scope I use. It’s what is on the Fortitude. It’s going back on the TX200 when the one I linked to above gets here next week.


                    And you’ll notice if you read the description about the fixed 4 magnification scope. It focuses fine from 10 yards to infinity. That’s what the lower magnification does for you. No fiddling around with getting the right magnification and focus for different distances. Makes a nice fast aim when pesting and you might not have much time for that focusing stuff.

                    Oh and just to mention I ordered the single shot tray for the Gauntlet.Its like $9 or $10 dollars cheaper than the Air Venturi one. Either one fits the Marauder rifles or Gauntlet and now the Fortitude.

  14. This blog is a highlight of my day, and I especially enjoy the Monday and the Friday blogs.
    One of the things that I have noticed in the comments is that we all enjoy shooting airguns (or probably, just enjoy shooting). I think that the enjoyment that BB points out for us is how fun each of the items that he evaluates can be.
    If your main goal is making 10m competition sized groups, you probably won’t be satisfied with anything less than a 10m pistol or rifle. If you think that a hand held crossbow might be a “hoot” then the “great enabler” is there to assist (and you can find an excuse for your subsequent purchase).
    Shooting a low powered, “accurate enough,” break-barrel, stripper, springer and having a spinner go whizzing around, or having a soda can go plunk, always brings a smile to my face!
    A good friend of mine, who did far more large game hunting than I ever will, would refer to the accuracy one of his less accurate rifles as a “minute-of-moose” rifle (meaning he wouldn’t be shooting varmints at 300 yards, but a 200 yard moose was well within his range). His rifles would each fill a position in his collection, from plinkers to large game.
    If I go out for enjoyment (and smiles) I agree that very little would fill the bill like the Diana 23, or something similar.
    Enjoy the weekend, and remember to observe Memorial Day.

    • Billj
      Guns used within their limits is how a person should shoot them. Just like you mentioned. From shooting 10 meter targets to 200 yards at a moose.

      Know your gun and they all can be fun. It’s when you try to push things and expect something better is when the day gets ruined.

      Have a good gun out for a shooting session with friends or family and you will end the day with smiles on the face. And probably asking when everyone can get together the next time around.

      Smiles is what it’s about. That happens and everything else just falls in place.

    • Billj,

      A term I first read here a long time ago applies to me most of the time: “Minute-of-Pop-Can.” :^)

      I, too, look forward to this blog, especially Friday and Monday mornings, but really every morning. I’m not certain I would remember how to drink a cup of coffee on a weekday if this blog were to go down.


  15. I’m by no means an air rifle expert, and saying ‘enthusiast’ is even a bit much. I’m the owner of a G-Force Tac (very cheap breakbarrel .177cal) and I was recently given a Chinese Emei TS-45 or “EM-45” air rifle as a gift.

    I found your blog through “A Tale of Two TS-45 Rifles” and came to appreciate it simply because your air rifle is the exact same year as mine — at least I think.

    Do you have any more info on these rifles past your article on them way back then? I’d be glad to send in a bunch of pictures so that I could hopefully identify it. It’s serial # is 810630, if that helps any. Thanks!

    • emei-owner,

      Welcome to the blog.

      I don’t have much more on that rifle. They did have a problem with the sliding compression chamber slipping when opened, so always restrain the cocking lever when loading. I used to stick it under my arm when I loaded the rifle.


      • That’s so far the only issue that’s made itself known. It has extremely tight grouping, a very accurate rifle like you said before. I’ve made sure to keep the lever down with my elbow when loading.

        Apart from being a little more difficult to load, (could be my sausage fingers) it’s proven itself superior, and feels weighty in it’s nice wooden stock, much like a real SKS. The crisp sight picture and AK-like bridge helps with that, too.

        It’s too bad there aren’t many of these Emei rifles around, as with this one I’ve really grown to like them, and have been looking at other side-cockers like the Norconia B88.

        Anyways, thanks for the reply! You run a nice blog. 🙂

    • Emei-Owner,


      You claim not to be an enthusiast, yet here you are. If you hang out here much, you will end up being such.

      Now, as for becoming an air rifle expert. Your homework assignment is to start in the Archives with March 2005 and read each article up to present times. For extra credit, read the comments with each article. There is often a lot of information in there. Will you then be an air rifle expert? No, but you will most definitely be an enthusiast and well on your way.

      • Okay — perhaps I am a little bit of an enthusiast, but trust me when I say I know nothing about them!

        I’m for sure a firearms enthusiast (definitely not an expert there) so It’s only natural that I love plinking, which is of course what led me to my two surprisingly great rifles. As for becoming an expert.. well, respectfully, I think I’ll stay an enthusiast, a hobbyist at best!

        If I was any worse, I might be in trouble because I already have a fair few expensive hobbies 🙂

        I’ll definitely read up on here a bit more though — I’m unfamiliar with their mechanics, and that alone intrigues me. Thanks for the reply!

        • Emei-owner,

          I think that the first post was over here; /blog/2005/03/hunt-with-the-sheridan-blue-streak-air-rifle/

          When I first found this blog I did look back and read all of the blogs, it did take some time but the learning was worth it.

          So much good information here, welcome in.


  16. Off topic:

    On GTA there is a fellow having somewhat erratic FPS from his Gen. 1 Fortitude. I Iinked BB’s articles. Anyway,.. this is some more info. on things that changed from Gen. 1 to Gen. 2. Regulator delay is suspect.

    The G1 regulator vents through the threads of the trigger assy screw. G2 added a vent hole to the air tube. FWIW: The schematic does not show any change to the regulator.

    Did you recently have the trigger assy off, locktite the threads, or tighten down on the stock lug? All of which can block the venting on G1.

    • Chris
      Darn anyway I wish you would of posted this early yesterday. I had my stock off yesterday working on the trigger. If I would of known that info I would of looked to see if my gen 2 had that air hole in the resivour tube.

      If I remember right the Huma regulator like I tried in my Maximus and like you have in yours called for the optional air bleed hole in the resivour tube. I can’t remember the exact location but I think it was suppose to be where the regulator met the gauge block.

      The next time I have the stock off I’ll have to check and see if I see the hole. It was a pretty small diameter hole if I remember right. Under a 1/16″ I’m pretty sure.

      • GF1,

        I remember no mention of the bleed hole in the HUMA instructions, nor do I remember seeing any in the gun. From my post, it said it was (added) in the Gen. 2, so the Gen. 1 must not have one. Why would a stock Maximus have/need one?

        Mine is a dedicated pester now. Always at the ready and ready to deliver some “special pellet treats” to the squirrels.


        • Chris
          Not the factory Maximus. But when you add a Huma regulator to a Maximus or Discovery. Search online for the instillation instructions for the Huma regulator for a Benjamin Discovery. You should find the info for the bleed hole there.

  17. Hi all,

    I just wanted to comment that this is one of my favorite airguns, and here in Europe quite common but underrated. Many people here started with this as their first airgun. The fancier versions with really sweet click adjustable sights are the ones I always look for. There is something about them that makes them very satisfying to shoot and I always end up with a pellet tin so much emptier when I thought I would just take a couple shots. Very addictive.

    I often find banged up ones with rust on them and fix them up to shootable condition, and I give them away to friends to plink with in the garden.

    Best regards,


    • Carel,

      There are far too many fine air guns common in Europe but scarce in the United States. With some of these gems the low numbers imported for initial sale in the U.S. were perhaps partly due to we Americans wanting things to be ever more powerful. (We are those who are fond of .45 ACP because there is no .46 ACP!)

      For some time now I have desired a nice, clean BSA Cadet Major (not the much smaller Cadet), and I imagine the UK is drowning in them. However, here in the U.S., they are quite uncommon.

      It is frustrating.


  18. B.B.,

    I’ve been thinking about our briefly discussing above the long length-of-pull and barrel (for a youth model) of the Diana 23. And as apparent from the photo of it and the 27, the 27, too, has a much longer barrel than was necessary for a springer. The extra leverage of a long barrel on a barrel-cocking springer is very nice, as you have oft written, but might it also present an issue?

    Lower-powered springers such as these wonderful Dianas get the pellet out of the muzzle more slowly than magnums and shorter barreled springers. Might the combination of slow lock time and long barrel have a relatively negative effect on accuracy?


    • Michael,

      Out of room somewhere up above,….. you mentioned “homemade projectiles”,….. I would bet that a hardwood dowel, turned to size and shaped like a bullet,… would work quite well for a test projectile. Lighter than lead, so some fps could be attained. Soft enough (like lead) to take to any rifling. Hard enough to retain shape well. Maybe? 😉


      • Chris
        I would like one with some homemade wood projectiles for a different kind of plinking. Sounds fun to me. And I bet that wood projectile would put a thump’n on a feral can. 🙂

        • GF1,

          Homogeneous density (or lack of) might be the downside. That could set things up for an off balance launch/spin/travel. It would be nice to do in a pinch and can be done at home with simple tools.

          Really,… I can’t believe that something other than metal (tin/lead/copper) has not been used in bullet design/fabrication before.


          • Chris,

            In at least two whodunits/howdunits I’ve seen the murder weapon fired a bullet molded from ice, which then melted leaving no evidence. The Mythbusters might have busted the idea, but my memory is a bit fuzzy on all of that.


        • GF1,

          Hank (Vana 2) could do it. Of course,… he would use rosewood, teak wood or iron wood,…. or some other wood in the exotic realm. Maybe inlays? 😉


        • GF1,

          In reply to the above /blog/2020/05/diana-23-part-1/#comment-456481

          No not a flat trajectory at all, just knowing you gun and how your dart flies is the key and the syringe is smaller and sharper than a blow gun dart so the power does not need to be that strong.

          See my thought below to Chris about a football shaped projectile, yes thump’n the can.


      • Chris,

        I think it was I who mentioned homemade projectiles up here /blog/2020/05/diana-23-part-1/#comment-456477

        Anyway these are smooth bore guns so I would suspect that a wood projectile would be football shaped with a flat in the middle to fit the bore, they might not be real accurate but they would teach a feral can just who was boss.


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