Diana 45
A late Diana 45 from RWS.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sights
  • First group — Hobbys
  • Trigger
  • H&N Baracuda with 4.50 mm heads
  • Baracuda group 2
  • Norma Golden Trophy FT
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Shot cycle
  • Summary

Today I start testing the accuracy of my new/old Diana 45 that I bought (or traded for) at the airgun show in Malvern, Arkansas, last year. Today’s test was strange, and you’ll soon know why.

The test

I shot from 10 meters off a sandbag rest, using the artillery hold. The 45 moves a lot when it fires and I’m pretty sure the artillery hold is the right way to go, but next time I will test the rifle rested directly on the bag as well. In fact I adjusted my hold as the test progressed and I’ll mention that when we get there. I began shooting with the rear of the cocking slot resting on my off hand.

Yes, there will be a second 10-meter accuracy test because of that strangeness I mentioned. I want to test this rifle with more pellets before doing anything else.

I shot 5-shot groups today because this wasn’t supposed to be a test of the rifle’s accuracy — just a test of the pellets it likes. Famous last words!

Sights

In part Two I mentioned that reader Mike Melick from Flying Dragon Air Rifles had gifted me with a Chinese-made replacement front sight for this rifle. It is actually made stronger and I think better than the German original, and it held tight to the barrel throughout today’s test. It has a tapered post insert that I used for today’s test.

First group — Hobbys

Since I’m sighting with open sights I expected to be on paper with the first shot, so I started at 10 meters. I first shot two pellets to “warm up” the powerplant. Some springers need that and others don’t. I was pleased to see the first two shots go exactly where I aimed from 10-meters away.

The first official RWS Hobby pellet, which was the third one fired, nicked the 9-ring of the 10-meter rifle target, so I left everything where it was and shot another 4 times. As you will see the other 4 pellets went to the left and landed in a vertical string. I don’t think this rifle likes Hobbys. This first group measures 0.96-inches between centers — almost a one-inch group. That’s no good.

Diana 45 Hobby group
The Diana 45 put five RWS Hobby pellets into a 0.96-inch group at 10 meters. I think it’s obvious the rifle doesn’t like this pellet.

Trigger

As I mentioned in Part 2, the trigger is two-stage and very nice. I didn’t start feeling stage two until the fourth shot of this string, which is 6 shots from the start. I then felt it off and on for the next 10 shots or so. After that I felt it every time. I think that’s a combination of the trigger needing to be warmed up through use and BB needing to remember how to squeeze it. Once that second stage kicks in this trigger is marvelous!

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H&N Baracuda with 4.50 mm heads

The next pellet I tested was the H&N Baracuda with a 4.50 mm head. This is where the fun began because my first shot with no sight adjustment and the same artillery hold hit the paper 2-1/2-inches below the aim point. It took me a long time to even find it through my Meopta binoculars. So I now have to sight in my rifle.

Huh? I’m sighting in on the SECOND target of the test? I told you this was a strange report!

I cranked the rear sight up a bunch of clicks (too many to count) and fired again. The second shot rose 1-1/2-inches and went a little to the right, though I called that pull to the right. So, more up elevation until the rear sight started floating, and I had to go down a couple clicks again to put the spring under tension. The Baracudas landed just below the bullseye at which they were aimed.

Then I shot five times and got a group that measures 0.438-inches between centers. That’s looking much better, but the strange things were not over. Two pellets later I shot a different pellet at the bullseye below this target and those shots climbed up alongside this group. Fortunately I had spent some time looking at this group and was able to tell which pellets belonged and which did not. I drew a line around the pellets in this Baracuda group.

Diana 45 Baracuda group 1
I drew a line around the group of five Baracuda pellets. They measure 0.438-inches between centers and are fortunately separate from the pellets that hit next to them. This is the smallest group of the test.

Baracuda group 2

Because of the tightness of the first Baracuda group I shot a second group at a different target. I did adjust the rear sight two clicks to the right for reasons that escape me now when looking at the result. These five are within 0.594-inches, center-to-center.

Diana 45 Baracuda group 2
The second group of Baracudas is sized 0.594 inches between centers.

Norma Golden Trophy FT

Next I shot 5 Norma Golden Trophy FT pellets. They landed in a 1.09-inch group. It is the largest group of the test. I was told these Norma pellets are very much like  RWS pellets, so, like Hobbys, these are pellets to avoid in this rifle.

Diana 45 Norma Golden Trophy group
Five Norma Golden Trophy pellets made this 1.09-inch group at 10 meters. It is the largest group of the test.

After this group I slid the rifle back so my off hand was at the end of the cocking slot. The rifle seemed more stable this way.

JSB Exact RS

Next I shot five JSB Exact RS pellets. These are the pellets that hit the target 2-1/2-inches above the aim point and landed right next to the Baracuda pellets you saw earlier. I did not draw a circle around this group that measures 0.462-inches between centers.

Diana 45JSB RS group 1
This group is the one outside of the line. It is five JSB Exact RS pellets in 0.462-inches.

That group was so nice that I shot a second group with the same pellet, after adjusting the rear sight three clicks to the left and eight clicks down. This time five pellets hit the target I aimed at and went into 0.637-inches at 10 meters.

Diana 45 JSB RS group 2
Five JSB Exact RS pellets went into 0.637-inches at 10 meters.

Shot cycle

Because I was using the artillery hold I felt the rifle pulse with every shot, but I didn’t feel any vibration. I could hear it, but not feel it.

This 45 is roughly equivalent in accuracy to the other 45 I tuned. I would like to quiet the mechanism, but nothing will stop the movement of the rifle when it fires.

Summary

I now have a good idea of how accurate  this rifle is I think I will tune it before proceeding with more accuracy testing. I won’t button the piston like I did with the other rifle. I’ll let Tune in a Tube do its job and I think I may replace the mainspring. We shall see.