The Diana model 10/Beeman 900 target pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Beeman 900
The Beeman 900 pistol is another form of Diana’s model 10.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • RWS R10 Pistol
  • Qiang Yuan Match Grade pellets
  • H&N Finale Match Light 
  • No crazy person here!
  • …or?
  • Summary

Today I’m going back to the Beeman 900 that is a rebadged Diana 10 target pistol. I didn’t do so well in Part 3 and you readers were all over me to not rest the gun directly on the sandbag, but to rest my forearms on the bag and hold the pistol loose in front of the bag. So that’s what I did today — sort of. This turns into a much larger test than planned, and isn’t that always a good thing?

The test

I shot from 10 meters and at the start of the test I rested my forearms on the bag and held the pistol in my hands in front of the bag. I shot 5-shot groups because I wanted to test a lot of different pellets and the way things turned out, I’m glad I did!

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

First to be tested were the pellets I used to shoot in my original Diana 10 — RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutters. I bought a sleeve of 5,000 with the pistol and, except for my father-in-law shooting several thousand while I was on manuevers with the Army, I shot them all in that pistol.

The Beeman 900 put five Meisters into a 0.742-inch group at 10 meters. The group is horizontal and I don’t know why.

Meister Rifle group
Five RWS Meisterkugeln made a 0.742-inch group between centers at 10 meters.

RWS R10 Pistol

Next up were five RWS R10 Pistol pellets. One of them sailed through the 10-ring while the other four grouped in 0.565-inches at 4 o’clock on the edge of the bull. The 5-shot group measures 1.251-inches between centers.

R10 Match Pistol group
Four of the five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets went into 0.565-inches at 10 meters, but the 5th shot opened it to 1.251-inches.

Qiang Yuan Match Grade pellets

The next pellets I tried were Qiang Yuan Match Grade pellets that Pyramyd Air no longer stocks. Four of them went into 0.478-inches at 10 meters but the fifth one went low and to the left, opening the group to 1.14-inches.

Qiang Yuan Match group
Four Qiang Yuan Match pellets went into 0.478-inches in the bull, with a 5th one landing low and to the left and opening the group to 1.14-inches between centers.

H&N Finale Match Light 

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the H&N Finale Match Light pellet. When I saw the group I couldn’t believe it. Was I shooting a Chinese B3-1?

Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets landed in a group that measures 1.657-inches between centers. Yikes!

H&N Finale Match Light group
The Beeman 900 put five H&N Finale Match Light pellets into 1.657-inches at ten meters. Cowabunga!

No crazy person here!

Okay, enough of this! I had to try something different. I would rest the pistol on the bag and see how that went with the same pellet. Well, it wasn’t great but this time 5 shots went into 1.127-inches, so it’s tighter. SO MUCH FOR NOT RESTING THE PISTOL ON THE BAG!!!

H&N Finale Match Light group rested
Resting the Beeman 900 directly on the sandbag reduced the size of the group to 1.127-inches between centers — a half-inch improvement.

However, I was still unsatisfied. I can outshoot that group with a Crosman Mark I, so what’s the deal? Time to drag out the heavy artillery. I got my FWB P44 target pistol. And I rested it on the bag because this pistol does not move in the slightest when it fires. Surely it can do better with any pellet than the Beeman 900, but at this point it was this one pellet that was in question. So, for the third time I put five H&N Finale Match Light pellets downrange. 

This time five pellets landed in a group that measured 0.644-inches between centers. It’s half the size of the best Beeman 900 group with this pellet, but still nothing to write home about. So perhaps this pellet isn’t good in either pistol — or…?

H&N Finale Match Light group rested P44
The FWB P44 cut the group size in half. Five H&N Finale Match Light pellets went into 0.644-inches at ten meters.

…or?

Or, was I the weak link? One way to tell was to bring up the best group I ever recorded with the P44 and compare it to a group of the same pellets today. On June 9, 2016 I shot this pistol and put 5 Vogel target pellets with 4.50mm heads into 0.242-inches at 10 meters.

FWB P44 Vogel target best
Back in June of 2016 I put 5 Vogel pellets into this 0.242-inch group at 10 meters, shooting the FWB P44.

On this day. shooting the same pistol in the same way, my group of five Vogels measures 0.575-inches — more than twice the size of the group from 4-1/2 years ago. Clearly I am off my game today and it is showing up in the results of this test. A little of this may be because I’m already 35 shots into the test and somewhat tired, but I don’t think all of the difference can be explained away.

FWB P44 Vogel target today
On this day I was able to put 5 Vogel pellets into a 0.575-inch group at 10 meters with the FWB P44.

I was either off my game or tired or both. Only one thing remained — shoot a group of 5 Vogels from the Beeman 900. This I did and when I saw it I knew the test was over. Five pellets went into 1.231-inches at 10 meters.

Beeman 900 Vogel target today
Well, I’m done! The Beeman 900 put five Vogel pellets into a 1.231-inch group at 10 meters.

Summary

I’m not finished with the Beeman 900. I know it must shoot better than it has and I just need to find the right pellet to do it.

Shooting the FWB P44 was a blast, as well. That pistol has lapsed into history and been replaced by the FWB P8X target pistol. That makes the P44 an historical airgun as well! Goody!

53 thoughts on “The Diana model 10/Beeman 900 target pistol: Part 4

  1. B.B.,

    Your blood sugar OK? Maybe you haven’t been keeping yourself hydrated all that well? I’m seeing a lot more horizontal dispersion when comparing the groups from the different pellets.

    Siraniko


  2. For years, B.B. has warned blog enthusiasts about the uncertain future of the S&W 586 revolver in the Umarex product line. A month or so ago, PA had the best price I’ve seen in years (maybe ever) so I finally bought one, but I’m not terribly happy with it. Perhaps blog readers might have some ideas. Compared to B.B.’s tests and nearly all the PA customer reviews I’ve read, my revolver is a real gas hog.

    November isn’t the warmest time of the year in N. Central Idaho and even our storage room “range” runs a bit on the cool side so I fire only five shots over a period of perhaps 15 or 20 seconds and then let the gun warm soak wrapped in an electric heating pad set on “low” (and checked with a thermometer for 100 F max.) for at least a half-hour before I take my next 5 shots. Even with such pains to keep the 586 cozy warm, I only get 30 good shots before the pellets start to drift downwards. Any pellets discharged after shot 33 are at risk of stopping in the barrel. My Crosman Powerlet cartridges are about 5 or 6 years old. Do they lose CO2 with time? I ordered new ones from PA so I guess I’ll find out when they arrive. Most reviewers report CO2 use that’s similar to B.B.’s tests–about 50 shots per Powerlet. Only one PA customer review reported only 30 full power shots. I’m mostly shooting double action, but double vs. single doesn’t seem to matter much.

    Speaking of the action…that brings me to my next disappointment. The trigger is certainly light and the revolver is accurate, but I think I could shoot it more accurately and enjoy it so much more if the severe DA trigger pull stacking was at least consistent. It stacks in different places at different times and the pull is not smooth. It also stacks far worse than any of my seven firearm revolvers, including a Smith J frame and a Smith N frame. B.B. reported that he recorded a wide range of trigger pull weight readings, but the difference was not noticeable in shooting. I think the variable trigger pull is very noticeable on my gun and I’ll take a heavy but smooth and consistent trigger over this flaky light one any day! Sometimes the trigger feels like it’s getting “hung up” on something as the trigger stacks in variable places.

    My final and less severe gripe is with the three front sight blades I received. One blade is 0.105″ wide and other blades are both 0.120″ inches wide. I think Umarex messed up in sending two identical blades, because the blades are advertised as being different sizes.

    I’d love to hear about blog readers’ 586/686 experiences before I bring up the issues with PA customer service. I’d really like to own a 585 like the ones others reportedly enjoy–even if I have to send my gun back to Umarex to get it. I’ve scoured the PA site, B.B.’s blog and many of the airgun forums and I don’t think there’s another sporting air pistol candidate that would satisfy me (but I’m open to suggestions)! Thanks for any insight or advice here. –Cal



      • Haha–you know me, B.B.. I just keep thinking of details that seem to be relevant (at least to me). I’ve been terribly busy for the last couple of years, but whenever I find time to post, I go large!

        Thanks! If I think there’s room for improvement, I’ll send the gun to Umarex after talking to PA Customer Support.


      • I don’t think my 586 is functioning correctly so I phoned PA this morning and, thanks to the stellar PA customer service department, I received an RMA for a replacement. Sorry for my long post that probably won’t help anyone else here, but I was was desperate for insight from your very experienced readership here.


    • Calinb,

      Maybe dry firing might eventually smooth out the trigger parts? As for the gas usage, maybe something is sticking there too. I would be super tempted to tear into it to clean, polish, lube, shim and maybe adjust/swap a spring or two,.. but that is just me.

      Did you run across anyone tearing into one while researching other reviews?

      Chris


      • Thanks, Chris. Yeah–I keep hoping the trigger will smooth out but I have close to 200 rounds through it and haven’t noticed a big difference yet. I agree that something might be sticking that causes the valve to stay open too long and waste gas. I guess I could chrony it, but I’m not sure it would tell me much. I found several posts in more than a couple of places that said CO2 Powerlets don’t lose CO2 with age. I’ve yet to come across a takedown guide, but I’m sure I could figure out, if necessary. I also found an entire series of Powerlet capacity tests in HardAir online magazine. Powerlets/CO2 cartridges vary a few to maybe a dozen percent in capacity, but not enough to explain my low number of shots.


  3. Oops…I forgot to comment on B.B.’s group with the RWS Meisterkugeln pellets.

    >”The Beeman 900 put five Meisters into a 0.742-inch group at 10 meters. The group is horizontal and I don’t know why.”

    B.B., As you well know, five shots are too few to establish accuracy with good confidence and, similarly, five shots are often too few to conclude that a horizontal (or diagonal or vertical) pattern exists. Look at your Meisterkugeln group this way. It’s probable that one of your two side impacts might have landed on the other side of center alongside or over its mirror twin or just about anywhere not much farther toward the other side of the group. Then the group would not be at all horizontal. If one can change such a suspected characteristic of a grouping by moving only one pellet impact in a mere 5-shot group, the assigned characteristic is likely to be an illusion–especially when you can think of no other reason to explain it! 🙂

    Show me a 10-shot group of Meisters displaying the horizontal property and then I’d ponder possible reasons for it!


    • Calinb,

      I certainly don’t disagree with your 10 shot group advice. Two hand “HOLD” with forearms rested on a bag reduces the vertical and accentuates the horizontal POI is my thought. Yogi thinks B.B. should use a CLASSIC one hand pistol shooter’s position…i tend to agree since B.B. probably has most of his pistol shot count using that position.

      On you S&W how is the SA trigger function compared to the DA? Also, do you lube the CO2 Powerlet head with Pellgunoil before inserting? Did you check for the presence of and seal condition? BELAY THAT! Just noticed you have an RMA…hope you get good results.

      I wish they had an N Frame!

      shootski


      • I understand what you’re saying about holds. Air gunners know the significance of holds and sometimes they are still quite significant in firearms too!

        Single action mode uses the same amount of gas with my 586, but SA has a very good “feel”–only the very minor amount of creep that’s been reported by others. I have no complaint with SA mode, but DA is how I intend to use this revolver most of the time. (I intend to improve my DA skills and, in truth, a heavier DA pull would be more realistic and useful to that end!)

        The inconsistent “catching on something” feeling in double action occurs well before reaching the cocked hammer position.

        Yup–I oil the Powerlet and I don’t see defects in the seal but it’s hard to tell without disassembly. Also, it doesn’t matter whether I leave the Powerlet installed for many hours or even overnight or use it comparatively promptly after installation–I still get the same number of shots. This tends to indicate the CO2 is not leaking from the Powerlet.

        All good things to check–thanks for the suggestions!


        • Calinb,

          I know what you mean about DA skills needing work.
          I often thumb cock in the shoot house much to my instructor’s displeasure…. But i usually score a better HIT COUNT than the DA blasters.
          He reminds me that SA is problematic with Many on One. I’m however not sold.
          Especially since i carry my Model 29 in .44 Mag as backup when Big Bore Airgun hunting or walking about in the Moose, Cat and Bear woods. Sometimes even in more Urban settings.

          shootski


          • I’m not fully convinced about DA vs. SA with many on one scenarios either. Has your instructor ever participated in any timed simulations and trials. I suspect the results would depend on the individual. I vaguely remember a credible youtube vid on the subject. Maybe it was on Paul Harrell’s channel.

            S&W 29 in 44 Mag is what I carry in the woods too, Shootski, except when I travel farther north and into griz territory. Then I carry my Super Redhawk in 480 Ruger.


  4. BB,

    Still better than I could do. I would find it hard to believe that anyone would be on there game unless shooting/practicing every day (like you used to do when competing).

    Looking forwards to seeing what else you come up with.

    Chris


  5. B.B.

    I think you need to shoot this pistol they way it was intended to be shot, standing freehand! You should “cock your elbow”, they way you described in your blog on pistol shooting.
    If that does not work, how about running a brass brush down the barrel with JB non-embedding bore paste?
    If that does not work, how about ordering a new barrel from Chambers?
    You should not rest until you can get 1/4″ 5 shot groups…

    -Y


  6. BB,

    “That makes the P44 an historical airgun as well! Goody!” Oh no, BB has a new “antique” to try out! LOL! It seems that just about all of my “modern” airguns have gone that route.

    I know there are some who wish that you would test more of the “new” stuff, but if you look around you can find a plethora of folks doing that. How many out there are showing us where all the “new” stuff came from? What is truly amazing is sometimes the “new” is not so new after all.



    • RR,

      The HW 99 is the same rifle as the HW 50. In England it is called the HW 99. I think they did this so as not to confuse the 25mm comp. tube HW 50 with the newer 26mm comp tube HW 50. I wish they would call it the HW 99 worldwide, but no dice…

      -Y


  7. Off-Topic: Well, BB was right AGAIN! That friend’s 11 yr old Benji Trail .22 DID in fact have a bad piston seal, AND, it is very VERY sensitive to hold. This one too likes a very firm hold on the butt to the shoulder, AND it “requires” a FIRM grip on the forearm WAY up by the barrel-bolts. It finally yielded 4.8 MoA like this (possibly better in the future), but on letting the forearm loose, it repeatedly yields ~6-7″ (~35 MoA) vertical strings. THANK YOU BB!! —Barrika


  8. FWB P44 target pistol – nice! FWB P8X target pistol VERY NICE!
    ** sigh ** 🙂

    B.B.

    “35 shots and getting tired”, I am going to have to research into fatigue while shooting – seems that I am running into that. Would appreciate if you could comment more on the subject.

    Coming from a hunting/pesting/plinking background, I shoot (mostly) off-hand and very quickly (usually less than one second from shouldering the rifle). Consequently, the intense focus period while making the shot is only a fraction of a second long.

    I find that with bench shooting that I can get about 3-4 targets (5 shot groups) maximum before I need to sit up and clear my head before continuing. Like, I will be shooting .250 to .375 inch groups (@ 40 yards) then loose focus and shoot a .500 to .750 group of “fliers”. Think that is due to the long intense focus period needed for a 5 shot group. Guess that it doesn’t help that the magazine holds 28 pellets and I keep on shooting until it is empty LOL!

    I usually shoot 5-6 magazines while plinking spinners but find that is way too much for a bench shooting session. Your comment about 35 pellets and getting tired got my attention. I was blaming the reduction in accuracy on barrel fouling (thought the bore-scope didn’t support that theory) but now I think I am going to have to find what my “focus budget” is and work within that.

    I curious what other people are experiencing with their bench shooting sessions. Would appreciate comments.

    Hank



    • “…what other people are experiencing with their bench shooting sessions.”
      Hank,
      I feel B.B.’s pain with this open-sighted pistol report and trying to get a good group, and in a related note, to comment on your question: I get tired after not many shots, like 15, if using open sights.
      Yes, I have been shooting a lot from the bench with scoped air rifles. But this past weekend, I wanted to test the accuracy of my Henry lever action .22 with some of the subsonic rounds I gave B.B. to test.
      I made up a target with 3 nice “inverted T” targets that usually work well for me to check open sights. After firing just 5 rounds at each target, for a total of 15 rounds, I got a good feel for which rounds were best at 15 yards (shooting off a sandbag on the bench). But when I thought about making new targets to test the gun at 25 yards, I felt like I was too tired to concentrate enough to get another good set of groups, and decided to leave that till next weekend. =>
      Cheers,
      dave
      P.S. B.B., if I had shot as many rounds as you did for this report, I’d have been wiped out loooong before you were; I would have had to call a “time out” after the first 3 groups. =)~


    • Hank,

      I give it about 60 shots and allow getting up and stopping at any time in the session. Having good energy and being in the mood to shoot are prerequisites. Having a plan/goal/test to perform also helps to keep enthusiasm/energy high. Not having other things to do (or should be doing) is nice too.

      Then again,.. if I get 10 shots in 1/2″ at 50 yards with the (FIRST) 10 shot magazine,… I might just quit right then and there! 😉 Some days it is just better to not tempt fate. LOL!

      Chris


      • Chris,

        Yeah, a good session at the bench is dependent on a lot of things… the lack of mosquitoes is nice but shooting in below freezing temperatures is not 🙂

        Doing lots of testing and experimenting these days so motivation is good!

        Concentration wise, I didn’t appreciate the difference between plinking and bench shooting. 100, 200, 300 shots when plinking are no problem but 100 shots at the bench is a lot – actually way too much for me at the moment.

        Will work on that this winter, plan on doing more 10 meter shooting so that should help.

        Shootski has a good point about breathing, check out his comment below Chris.

        Hank


        • Hank,

          Did do and commented on the breathing. I have always admired that about you,.. in that you will go for a walk about down the range and shoot off hand, at various targets, at various ranges. Yes, I can see where that would keep interest/energy at a much higher level! 😉 I may have to adopt that with the Maximus.

          I will (start) with walking around the yard a bit and then see if I can hit the side of my yard barn first!!!!! 🙁

          My off hand needs just a wee bit of work! 😉 Isn’t that what the full auto air guns are for?

          Chris



    • Vana2,

      How is your BREATHING Hank?

      And, I’m not talking about the in shot cycle breath control. All to many of us forget to BREATHE deeply and often enough in everyday life; let alone when we have stressors, good and bad ones, in our lives.

      Shooter performance is most quickly effected by lack of Oxygen to eyes, brain, and muscles in that order. Interestingly clearing excess CO2 out of the body works in the reverse order! So BREATH and do it by learning to do better exhaling; the inhale will most often be automatically better if you do. Your stress hormones will be lower, your vision improved, brain function above the reptilian part improved, and muscle tremors will be diminished…regardless of your Baseline levels of endurance is mostly Oxygen cycle driven not anaerobic.

      Give better breathing between shot cycles a go and see if it works well for you!

      shootski


      • Shootski,

        Breathing? Yes still doing that 🙂

        I understand what you are saying and that is excellent advice!

        I do go into a deep a breathing mode before I do physical activities (like archery and such) but have not done so when bench shooting. I’ll print off your comment and tape it to my shooting box as a reminder to self.

        What I started doing (and has been helping) is to get up off my butt and walk the 40 yards to the target (every 3 targets, 15 shots) to look at the target instead of just peeking through the spotting scope. Yeah, that would help with the breathing and it rests my eyes – good exercise as well 🙂

        Hank


      • Shootski,

        While I would do well by your advice,.. I remember reading that before (from you) and DO, do that when the eyes began to fade. It does for sure make a difference. Oh, do not hold the breath too. It does take a bit of practice.

        Chris


  9. BB, Have a sandwich, you’ll feel better. I get a kick just looking at the pistol.
    I find that I sometimes try to time my shot because I can’t seem to stop moving when I want.
    I’m going to guess that is a bad habbit.
    Rob


  10. A real anti gunner is the guy shooting back. Ha Ha. To make a Diana 10 requires a little love, but so does a Rheinmetal 120mm smoothbore. It’s just a question of degree. It just looks like a ‘quality’ thing to me.The attention to ergonomics. It’s more like an instrument.


  11. B.B.,

    First things first”Qiang Yuan Match Grade pellets
    The next pellets I tried were Qiang Yuan Match Grade pellets that Pyramyd Air no longer stocks.” Huh?

    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/p/Qiang_Yuan_Olympic_Pellets_177_Cal_8_2_Grains_Wadcutter_200ct/1201

    Second – “but to rest my forearms on the bag and hold the pistol loose in front of the bag.” That “hold” was with two hands which is a great modern Tactical “HOLD” for retention in a combat/defensive it is still two handed and does not allow the BUILT relaxed position of the Classic position. It reminds me of flying Sky Pigs with a yoke designed for two handed flying (i always used only one hand) compared to the Fighters/Sailplanes/Aerobatic aircraft that almost always have a Stick for use with one hand! The use of two hand holds causes opposition muscle action which can lead to Horizontal stringing especially with arms rested on a bag or other rest; in my opinion.
    So I agree with Yogi that you should use Classic Target Pistol Shooter stance since that is what your mind-body knows or knowed once upon a time!

    All the above is based on you having your blood chemistry under total (best for you) control for at least two weeks!

    You are in my prayers for that!

    shootski



    • Geezer,

      In Part 2 B.B. wrote this: “With just this first pellet I have verified that this pistol is right where it should be for power. That means the piston seal has definitely been changed.”. Hope he reads this before he thinks his Rememberer is not working!

      shootski


  12. Looking at the targets it seems like there might be an issue with the crown. All of the pellet strikes are ripped up and to the right like the pellet isn’t flying quite true at impact.


  13. DrKropp,

    I speculated about damaged pellets also but the FWB P44 (2nd to last Target shot on this test day) shows the same tearing, up and right, of the Target paper.
    Could be a number of causes for the tearing pattern. Obviously not directly caused by either gun.
    I did note that the FWB P44 punched much cleaner circles beyond the ripping.

    I suspect out of perpendicular Target face to boreaxis presentation, unbalanced tension on target paper by mounting device/method…no backer board (or shot out board) also possible.

    shootski


  14. Shootski,

    “Could be a number of causes for the tearing pattern. Obviously not directly caused by either gun.

    I did note that the FWB P44 punched much cleaner circles beyond the ripping.

    I suspect out of perpendicular Target face to boreaxis presentation, unbalanced tension on target paper by mounting device/method…no backer board (or shot out board) also possible.”

    That is some good stuff right there! It is also splitting some very fine hairs. I do admire the in depth analysis.

    Chris


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