Diana Mauser K98 PCP rifle: Part 1
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Another great one?
- This PCP
- Adjustable trigger
- Oh, yes they did!
- Stuff in the box
- What do we have?
BB’s going to rant, just a little. We airgunners ask for realistic replica airguns all the time, and then we gripe because they are TOO real! I don’t know if you remember, but I was so impressed by the spring-piston Diana K98 air rifle that I bought the test gun. I knew it was a re-skinned Diana 460 Magnum — a springer I don’t particularly enjoy for its hard cocking — but the realism of that re-skinned rifle was and is astounding.
Another great one?
Well, having just pulled the Diana Mauser K98 PCP rifle out of the box I have to say that I believe Diana has done it again. This K98 PCP is very realistic. So I did something I usually avoid. I read the reviews. There were only two and both of them criticized one of the most realistic parts of the rifle — the rear sight! They were upset that it doesn’t adjust for windage! Well — guess what? The rear sight on the K98 firearm also does not adjust for windage! What did you expect — a Corvette that has 4 doors and a cargo hatch so you can store your groceries better? Come on, guys — a Corvette is a sports car and a K98 Mauser is a battle rifle from World War II. I guess the only thing that would be funnier would be to watch an airgunner pull the trigger on an 8mm K98 firearm and learn what real recoil is! I can tell you this — I had to get rid of my M48 Yugo Mauser because I could not take that kick! Okay, the rant is over.
The 1898 Mauser was the last major step in the evolution of a bolt action rifle system whose design was embraced by countries around the globe. We Americans honor John Moses Browning for his ubiquitous designs that changed the world of firearms forever, but in truth, Peter Paul von Mauser’s rifles probably made their way into just as many hands. And the 1898 rifle was the high-water mark of all his work. In fact, after the end of World War 1 the American government was ordered to pay $250,000 in royalties to Mauser Werke for copying their design. I love the 1903 Springfield, as do many riflemen, but in truth it’s a Mauser 98 at its heart.
The Mauser 98 went on to be modified and updated over many years until about 1935, and arsenals around the world upgraded older versions into the latest designs for decades longer. Besides shortening the barrel and refining the rear sight from the early langvisier (long sight or what some call the “roller-coaster sight) into the shorter sight that is copied on this air rifle, one of the many modifications was to bend the bolt handle down — to speed up cocking the rifle — not for mounting a scope, though that was a side benefit.
It was discovered that the 7.92mm Mauser cartridge that was used for machine guns had faster burning power that produced less of a muzzle flash in the rifle and also allowed for a shorter barrel (from 29.1-inches in the 1898 down to 23.2-inches in the K98). A lighter bullet gave a flatter trajectory that allowed the rear sight to flatten out considerably.
The rear sight on this Diana air rifle adjusts for elevation via a sliding stepped ladder, just like the firearm. It’s not as long as the firearm sight but it works the same way.
The airgun’s front sight is a post that’s protected by a hood. A hole through the top of the hood gives access to the post that can be screwed up and down for more elevation adjustment.
The Diana Mauser K98 PCP comes in both .177 and .22 caliber. In .177 Diana says to expect 20 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, which is really rocking it! In the .22 caliber that I am testing they say to expect up to 26 foot-pounds. I went for the larger caliber because at this energy level it seemed like the right thing to do.
The rifle’s air reservoir is filled through a port in the bottom of the forward stock band. Diana supplies a probe for the fill and it has a male Foster coupling on the other end, so it mates with the most common fill technology.
The rifle is filled to 200 bar, though the green area on the built-in gauge on the bottom of the forearm goes up to 3,000 psi. When I fill I will just watch the gauge on my carbon fiber tank. I know it is accurate.
This rifle is a repeater. It uses a rotary magazine and holds 12 pellets in .177 and 10 in .22. But what I appreciate even more than that is the fact that it comes with a single-shot tray installed! That will be how I shoot it most of the time, except to test the function of the magazine, so I appreciate that they included it.
Because this is a pneumatic, a lot of weight is saved. The rifle weighs only 6.6 lbs. Even so, the overall length and thickness of the stock let you know you have a rifle in your hands!
I find this Diana PCP to be very realistic. Aside from the short upper handguard that puts the rear sight too far forward (but only for appearance — it focuses just fine) and the scope base at the rear of the receiver, in most other respects this rifle is a close copy of the firearm. No, it won’t accept a bayonet, but it does feel great!
The stock is wood and is finished better than any Mauser firearm ever was. I can only tell you that fact because the description on the Pyramyd Air web page says it is. These days the plastics they have created go beyond my ability to discern.
The stock has the Mauser cutout in the butt that serves as the rear sling anchor and the front anchor is on the left side of the upper handguard clamp, where is should be. A K98 Mauser stock would have an open steel bushing in the butt for disassembling the bolt in the field. The PCP has a metal cap inlet into both sides of the butt to replicate this feature, but it serves no functional purpose.
The trigger adjusts for sear engagement. I will look at that in the next report.
Oh, yes they did!
The “barrel” appears stout, but upon examination I found that it is more of a jacket. And the end cap at the muzzle unscrews. And inside the “muzzle” Diana has put technology — in the form of baffles. So, the muzzle report is quiet — despite the power! Now — THAT is where you should depart from the original in a lookalike PCP airgun — not in the rear sight!
Stuff in the box
Besides the manual that I find well-written, there is a plastic bag with one magazine, a fill probe and a set of replacement o-rings. The latter is the only hint that this rifle is made in China, besides the small print markings on the receiver.
What do we have?
What is this air rifle? It’s a bolt-action repeating PCP with good power, a single-shot capability, great iron sights that are real steel and a high degree of resemblance to the firearm it copies. I hope it tests out well, because this is an air rifle for offhand shooting for fun, rather than for mounting a scope and fretting over quarter-inches on paper. Yes, there is a scope base on the rear of the receiver and yes, I will no doubt test the rifle both ways. But personally I like the open sights.
This PCP is unique, in that it competes with nothing I can think of. It is what it is — a realistic airgun copy of a Mauser battle rifle. I think this report will be very interesting.