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Hy Score 807 pellet rifle: Part 1

Hy Score 807
This Hy Score 807 is also a Diana model 27.

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • It’s a beaut!
  • What is a Hy Score 807?
  • Many names
  • Description
  • Power
  • Sights
  • Trigger
  • Summary

Several months ago (April 11, to be exact) reader David Enoch contacted me to tell me about a really good buy he saw on eBay. Here is his message.

Tom, there is a nice wow cal Hyscore 807 on EBay with a buy it now of $125 plus about $30 shipping.  Good price but I don’t need another and once the shipping is added there is not enough left to resell it.  If were a 177 I would buy it though. 

David Enoch

I thanked him but told him I didn’t need another .22-caliber Diana 27, which is what that rifle really is. I almost posted the information on the blog for one of you readers to take action, but as the day advanced I realized that I just couldn’t pass it up. Not at that price. So I broke down and bought it.

It’s a beaut!

When the rifle arrived I was more than pleased. My other 807 is not as nice, cosmetically, as this one. The bluing is deep and the wood is fine. It has different markings than my other rifle, and the date stamp tells me it was made in October of 1973.

807 date stamp
This rifle was made in October of 1973.

Then I shot it, not knowing what to expect. Oh boy. The trigger needs a lot of adjustment and the rifle vibrates when it fires. I guess you know what that means?

What is a Hy Score 807?

We have quite a few new readers who may not know anything about this air rifle. So now is the time for them to find out.

Diana produced several classic breakbarrel spring-piston air rifles in the 1950s through the ’70s, and the most well-known of all is the Diana model 27. They were made in both .177 and .22 caliber, and I have owned both calibers but for some reason I always like the .22 best. I suppose that’s because my first experience with one was a rusty old Hy Score 807 I bought for $18 in a pawn shop in Radcliff, Kentucky, while I was stationed at Fort Knox.

I didn’t expect much from that old rifle, as rusty and beat up as it was, but I had an old straight-grip Webley Senior at that same time, andthat pistol shot like a champ. Just ask RidgeRunner, who owns it now. Much to my surprise, the Hy Score also shot very well. It was quite accurate for what it was, and at 20 yards it was hard to miss what I shot at.

Many names

At the time I thought Hy Score was an airgun manufacturer, and they did make a couple air pistols. But they also bought airguns from overseas and had their name put on them. The German company, Diana, was one with whom they did a lot of business.

Other companies also put their own names on Diana airguns. Winchester called the .22-caliber Diana 27 a model 427. Beeman called it their model 100 and also the Original 100. Milbro also made this model and no doubt called it some other things.

Build a Custom Airgun

Description

The rifle I am examining is 42-3/8-inches long with a 17-3/8-inch barrel. The length of pull is 13-3/4-inches. My other 807 has a 12-3/4-inch pull, so there were differences over the years. That rifle has a date stamp of August 1967, so it’s 6 years earlier. The gold embossed stamping on the buttstock is different, too.

897 butt stamp
The new rifle butt stamp is on the left. It’s larger than the old one and only on one side of the butt.

The stock is made of beech and is well-shaped in the case of the rifle under examination. As I remember it my rusty old 807 stock was slab-sided, but that’s pushing my rememberer back 40 years.

The forearm of both 807s is plain. In that respect the old and new air rifles  appear identical.

All the metal is deeply blued and polished just past matte. I can’t see any difference between the older and newer rifle in this respect.

The rifle under examination weighs 5 lbs. 15 oz. That makes it a couple ounces heavier than the older airgun, and the size of the stock is probably where that comes from.

Power

I haven’t chronographed the new rifle yet but I can see from the penetration of the pellet in duct seal that the new gun is off its feed. The breech seal looks fine, so whatever the problem is, it lies within the powerplant.

Sights

The front sight is a globe-type with a raised square post. It’s fixed and not an insert, so you have to work with it.

The rear sight is a sporting type that has four different notches to choose from. The rifle came to me with the square notch selected so that’s how I will leave it. However β€” The elevation adjustment knob is missing and I assume that the spring and ball-bearing detent are missing, as well. A replacement rear sight sells for around $55 on eBay and $63 at Chambers airgun spares. I don’t believe I will go that route.

807 rear sight
The rear sight is missing the elevation knob, but the notch is set correctly for the squared front sight.
It looks like a U here but that’s just lighting. It’s really square.

Instead this will make the perfect platform for a Diana peep sight. I have a couple of them from past tests. I’ll remove the sporting rear sight and bag it in case something good comes along. 

Trigger

One thing I really like about the Diana 27 is its ball-bearing trigger. I read an online report that said they are “notoriously difficult to adjust.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. The trigger adjusts easily and you can get a great two-stage pull with a crisp second stage let off. 

807 trigger
The Diana 27 ball-bearing trigger adjusts easily to a nice two-stage pull, if you know what to do.

Someone has bubba-ed the adjustment on this trigger to a light and vague one-stage pull that can’t be predicted. Fortunately, I know the secret to adjusting the trigger and pretty soon you will too.

Summary

Well, that’s enough to get us started on yet another Diana 27. This one needs some love that I am itching to give!

47 thoughts on “Hy Score 807 pellet rifle: Part 1”

  1. B.B.,

    I hope you don’t run into any issues while seeking to mount a peep sight onto this rifle. Is there a manufacturing year stamp on the potential rear sights? That might make it easier to match the sight to the rifle.

    Siraniko

    • Siraniko,

      It’s a matter of matching the sight to the rifle base, as far as I know. But having the base means the rifle was meant for the Diana peep sight.

      >>

  2. BB,

    By all means go with the peep. I myself would have to restore that sight if at all possible, unless I had a spare Diana peep laying around looking for a home. As nice as you say this one is, I might still fix it up anyway.

    How many of these Diana 27’s did you say you have?

  3. Good morning all. Saturday, I shot a bunch of pellets through the kids’ Umarex Embark as I wait on delivery of a Beeman R7. I noticed that out of several 10-shot groups, sometimes I would get 6 or 7 in a very tight group, and then a few strays would open the group, or I would get two distinct groups on the target. In trying to figure out what may be causing this, I put a bare cleaning jag on a cleaning rod and pushed it down the barrel from breach to muzzle. I felt the slightest, feathery resistance at the breach and nothing anywhere else. Then I pushed a pellet through with the same rod. Big difference! There was quite a bit of resistance at the breech, then a smooth push through the barrel, but then another significant amount of resisrance right at the crown before the pellet popped out of the muzzle like a cork. It was like the pellet was catching on something. Is that normal for an Embark or does the plastc front sight need to be removed and the barrel recrowned? The front sight is plastic and there is a set screw, but does anyone know if it is also held on with glue? How do I remove that front sight without damaging the barrel? How will I get the sight put back on to the same spot? Sorry for all the questions. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Roamin,

      Keep the resistance. You want the resistance! It’s probably where the front sight was attached and swaged the front of the barrel and the breech was where it was swaged from being pushed into the base block.

      BB

      • Thank you, B.B. I remember you writing in other posts that spring piston guns are usually not chokes but the pcp and pneumatic guns are sometimes intentionally choked for accuracy, and also that sometimes front sights are swaged to barrels creating the same effect. However the front sight on the Embark seems to be a piece of plastic held in place by a single set screw (and perhaps some glue for good measure) so I didn’t think initially that there should be any choke or constriction there. I sort of conceptualized the resistance at the breach end as something that would allow the congressional chamber to build up pressure to launch the pellet down the barrel,, but to upset that travel just as the pellet leaves the barrel was counterintuitive to me. Also, when I comparing the crown on this $100 rifle to any of my other powder-burning rifles, the Embark seems pretty rough, so I was wondering if it was the crown or if the plastic sight, which is like a sleeve over the muzzle end, is somehow interfering with pellet on the way out. Here is a picture from your blog on the Embark so you can see what I mean.

        • Roamin,

          Doubt very much if your crown is to blame for the flyers or 2 distinct groups you’re getting in 10 shots.

          Several things to try with your Umarex Embark to tighten your groups:

          1-Check your barrel for side to side play after lockup. You may have to tighten your barrel pivot bolt.

          2-Check to make sure all stocks screws are snug.

          3-Clean your barrel with JB Bore paste. The Umarex Embark is notorious for being dirty from the factory and having minor high and low spots. Shooting coaches that use the Embark exclusively for their shooting teams clean the barrels on all new Embarks. Here’s a link to how to clean your barrel using JB Bore Paste:
          https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2005/11/is-your-airgun-barrel-really-clean/

          • Thank you, Kevin. I checked the stock screws (the two in the forearm have a bit of blue locktite on them from the factory, but I should probably get in the habit of checking them more often. I hadn’t noticed any side-to-side play, but I will check for that, too. I was going to try the barrel cleaning next shooting session. I recall B.B. describing loading up a bronze brush with the stuff and going back and forth 20 times. How many pellets do you think it will take to re-season the barrel after cleaning? Also, how do I keep the JB off the breach seal?

        • Roamin,

          Not to upset the pellet but to squeeze it down to the same size for every pellet. That’s what intentional choking does. I’m not sure if unintentional choking does something similar or not.

          BB

  4. Romain,

    On the groups, I would say variants in hold/grip/pressure/rest are at play. As you know, it does not take much. Being a really light rifle is not helping. At least you are getting some impressive results. Sorting pellets would be the only other thing you could do.

    I will let other people speak to your other questions.

    Chris

    • Thanks, Chris. As a newer reader in this blog, I have read many of your earliest posts and I feel like I am as full of questions as you were then. You are so right about the hold. Over the past few weeks, I have tried many variations of hold, and ran through each type of pellet in my growing inventory with each hold looking for that goldilocks combination. Some pellets shoot best off the bag, some shoot best off the bag but with some slippery nylon between the bag and the forearm, and some pellets like the artillery hold best. Although I don’t understand why that is, but it’s interesting. It’s a bit like trying to pick a combination lock. I just have to keep trying different combinations and see what works.

      A thought just occurred to me. Since the Embark was designed for the SAR program and non-lead Journey pellets, which are the same as Predator GTO wadcutters (made by JSB), perhaps the constriction at the muzzle is there on purpose to make sure the harder, non-lead pellets engage the rifling? But why just at the last millimeter of the muzzle?

      • Roamin,

        Can’t reply to your reply since we ran out of room so I’m replying to your questions here.

        Please click on the link I provided about barrel cleaning and it will answer most of your questions. Don’t worry about getting JB Bore paste on your breech seal. Just wipe it off when you’re done cleaning the barrel with the technique detailed in the link.

        Whatever you use as a final step to your barrel cleaning, i.e., tetra gun, ballistol, etc., make sure you follow up with a clean patch so you only have a fine film on the inside of the barrel. If you do this then you won’t have to shoot a lot of pellets to re-season the barrel. In B.B.’s test of the Umarex Embark the Air Arms Falcon pellets were more accurate in his gun than the Journey pellets. You may want to try these in your Embark.

        https://www.pyramydair.com/product/air-arms-falcon-177-cal-4-52mm-7-33-grains-domed-500ct?p=714

          • Roaming,

            Hope you don’t have a roaming variable airgun. Your group description of clusters makes me think you do.

            Hope you are able to overcome it!

            Deck

          • Kevin, thanks again for all the advice. I found no side-to-side play in the barrel, stck screws were still tight, I did not find any burrs with the Q-tip, and after cleaning, I shot 8 groups of 10. Although, I can still detect the resistance at the breach and at the muzzle when I pushed a pellet down the barrel with the cleaning rod, I no longer think it is affecting the accuracy significantly. Not just because BB commented that the resistance is a good thing, but because at the end of the day, (literally), I got this group:

      • Roamin Greco,

        I’ll venture one quick test since you say you are feeling resistance in the last millimeter before the muzzle. Take an ordinary Q-Tip and see if you have a burr that will snag a few of the fibers of the Q-Tip head.

        shootski

      • Roamin Greco,

        Are you strictly limiting yourself to non-lead pellets? Although the Embark was intended to be used with non-lead pellets you might find the accuracy you are looking for with lead pellets.

        Siraniko

        • Siraniko, no not at all, I have tried a wide variety of lead and a few non-lead pellets, although I should be getting some JSB GTO wadcutters on Wednesday, which are the same as the Journey pellets that this rifle was designed to shoot in the SAR program. And I am expecting some Air Arms Falcons and a few others from P.A. on Thursday. Incidentally, the group in the photo above was a 10 shot group of H&N Match Green 5.25 gr. Wadcutters, which up until recently, was the closest non-lead pellet I could find to the Journey pellets. Unless I completely missed the entire card with 6 out of 10 shots, I would have to say the gun can stack them! Not bad for $100. Also arriving Thursday is a peep sight that I intend to try out on this rifle. This has been a fun exercise. Tomorrow I take delivery of a (hopefully) gently used Beeman R7, and the adventure begins again. My goal is to get off the bench and learn to shoot really well standing off-hand. But I am still learning trigger and breathing control and of course, the artillery hold.

    • Chris USA, after cleaning, I shot three groups at 10 yards. Off the sandbag, the groups started at about 7/8.” Then I switched to the artillery hold, and my group shrank to 3/4″ with 8 shots going into a 1/2.” That’s without subtracting the width of a pellet. So the right hold / pellet combination is important. I just was looking for a pelletgage today, and I was a bit surprised to find that they are about $50. But I will keep that in mind. Thanks for your response.

  5. B.B. How is the Royal Rangers going? What methods did you use to teach gun safety? In my hunter safety course back in the day, instructors staged a demonstration using different firearms (shotgun, .22 rifle, blackpowder muzzleloader) to shoot at iceberg lettuce, watermelons, cantaloupes, and a block of ice, with devastating and tangible results.

    • Roman,

      The safety class went well, but no demonstrations.

      When we moved to marksmanship with the Daisy 499 all the kids had a problem with, “The sight keeps moving.” I guess it doesn’t do that in their video games! πŸ˜‰

      BB

        • Perhaps kids today get confused unless they see a glowing red cross-hair superimposed on the target. I wonder if we must start them with red dot sights with a cross-hair reticle and then “graduate” to iron sights, rather than the other way around. Ha! Ha! I know BB and many of you will lambaste me for speaking such blasphemy.

          P.S. I have the opposite problem when I play video games, when I want the reticle to move, I move my arms instead of just moving my thumbs! Eight year olds look at my gyrations with contempt.

      • What did you find helpful in teaching the safety class? I recall you invited ideas from the readership on that, and received several good ideas. Perhaps you could blog an outline of your lesson or do a video?

        • Roamin,

          I’ll give that some thought.

          The most helpful thing we did was teach the kids that when an instructor or leader points to the sky, they all stop talking. That means “sign’s up.” It worked in the Boy Scouts and it works with the Royal Rangers, too.

          BB

  6. I am trying to find info on a Hy Score 808 but let’s be kind and say the blog search function leaves something to be desired as far as narrowing down the search parameters. Gives me 85 pages on anything I search for. I am on page 39 and this is close as I f have found. Any info? I also found a cool looking, kind of funky old air rifle that has NO info on it. I tried Google image search and no luck, where is a good place to try to find out what it is? Seller is no help at this point which is probably a red flag but I can’t seem to let it go. πŸ™‚

    • Bob,

      Do you own a Blue Book of Airguns? Because the Hy Score 808 is also known as a Diana 15. There is a crossover name chart on page 992 that tells you all the other brand names to look for.

      BB

  7. Hey BB thanks for responding, No I do not own the book. I am not a collector. I have been reading so many of your vintage blogs that I found myself wanting at least one vintage airgun though. Perusing sale sites using your methods of misspelled words and off names like Hy Score, which I have done for a long time for other items, I found a couple of Diana versions, this 15 and a 22. So I tried to see if you had written anything about them but searching the blog for something like that really doesn’t work. I did find a quirky looking sks like little underlever though that caught my eye. Turns out it was nothing more than a Chinese B3 but I like the darn thing and found your tests on it. I know it isn’t collectible or rare or anything now but I still bought one to play with as it just trips my trigger. πŸ™‚ Let me know if you have done reports on the Diana 15 or 22 please.
    Bob

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