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Diana Oktoberfest Gewehr BB rifle: Part Five

Oktoberfest
The Diana Octoberfest Gewehr.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Groenewold lead BBs
  • The test
  • Beeman Perfect Rounds
  • Summary

Today I try two more lead BBs in the Diana Oktoberfest Gewehr. John Groenewold got some 4.4mm lead balls in and reader Michael sent me a gift of a pound to test in this rifle. To round out the test I also tried some obsolete Beeman Perfect Rounds that were made by H&N. We may assume they are similar to the Smart Shot that H&N also makes, though these are not plated with copper. There are many more sizes of lead balls available in Germany where H&N is headquartered, and isn’t it odd that the 4.4mm balls we need for the Oktoberfest are not available in the U.S.?

Groenewold lead BBs

I have some lead BBs from John Groenewold on hand but I was unable to find them for this test. So, thanks to Michael, I now have a pound’s worth. That’s how they come — loose in a plastic bag. A pound is about 950 BBs.

Michael said his Groenewold BBs measured — well, here, I’ll let him tell you.

“Most of my JG lead balls are pretty uniform and measure 4.29mm. Every now and then I’ll measure one that is as large as 4.34mm.”

So I measured one of them. I got 4.28mm. That’s pretty small. It’s a lot less than 4.4mm. I wondered how well these balls would do in the Oktoberfest. Only one way to find out. Yippie!

Groenewold BBs
The one Groenewold BB I measured came in at 4.28mm.

The test

I shot the Oktoberfest off a sandbag rest at 5 meters. The rifle was rested directly on the bag. I wore my reading glasses with a +1.25 diopter correction to see the front sight sharply. I shot 10-shot groups. This is exactly how I have tested the rifle twice before.

Ten Groenewold BBs went into a group that measures 2.26-inches between the centers of the two holes farthest apart. That’s not a good group! In the previous tests even steel BBs shot better. So Groenewold BBs are not for the Oktoberfest — at least not for what I want to do.

Groenewold group
Ten Groenewold BBs went into 2.26-inches at 5 meters. This is not a good BB for the Oktoberfest.

I was going to call it a day after the one group, but there were some other lead balls I hadn’t tried yet. The first were 4.55mm zimmerstutzen balls that measure 4.49 to 4.54mm. The first one failed to drop all the way into the tubular magazine, so I didn’t force them. The last thing I want is to have to disassemble this rifle to clear a jammed BB.

Beeman Perfect Rounds

I also wanted to try some Beeman Perfect Rounds. They say 4.5mm on the tin, but this test series has taught us that those numbers are only ballpark figures. You have to measure the balls to find out for sure.

I only had about 15 BBs left in a tin and they measured between 4.4 and 4.5mm.

Perfect Rounds
Beeman Perfect rounds measured 4.44 to 4.45mm in diameter.

Because they are larger there was no doubt in my mind that Perfect Rounds would be more accurate than Groenewold BBs. We know for a fact that the Oktoberfest likes larger BBs. But — would they be as accurate as the German 4.4mm lead balls that were tested in both Parts 3 and 4 of this series? Those BBs are super uniform, which I believe adds to their accuracy.

Well, the Oktoberfest put 10 Perfect Rounds into a group that measures 1.302-inches between centers at 5 meters. That puts Perfect Rounds behind those super-uniform 4.4mm balls from the pink tin and also slightly behind the German 4.4mm lead balls from the green tin. That last one (the difference in group size between the 4.4mm BBs in the green tin and the Perfect Rounds) is too close to call, so if I find another tin or two of Perfect rounds they will be okay for the next test, which is shooting the Oktoberfest at the BadaBang electronic target.

Perfect Round group
The Oktoberfest put 10 Beeman Perfect Rounds into a 1.302-inch group at 5 meters.

Summary

Okay, I have tested the Diana Oktoberfest Gewehr with every lead BB and ball to which I have access. There are other lead balls in the world — especially in Europe — but they aren’t easily available in the US.

I still enjoy the Oktoberfest, though I have to admit that it isn’t the airgun I was expecting. Instead of a less expensive Diana model 30, it stands by itself as a personal shooting gallery gun.

When we next see the Oktoberfest I will give you something to do with it. And it will be more than you expect — I hope!

45 thoughts on “Diana Oktoberfest Gewehr BB rifle: Part Five”

  1. Tom,

    Definitely an uphill battle for the Oktoberfest as that the right sized ammunition is not available to put up a good fight against the 499. Could there be a conspiracy that the proper administration is not being made available?

    Siraniko

      • Very likely it is not available because there is no demand. Shipping costs across the pond are not cheap. If a large enough demand appears, I am certain someone will fill it.

        • RidgeRunner,

          Then it is a failure on the part of Marketing to take into consideration the ammunition required by something they are selling. The price point is attractive but the fun potential is held back by the lack of accurate ammo.

          Siraniko

        • RidgeRunner: I wrote H&N about SmartShot. I inquired about any pending shipments of the copper-plated lead rounds to the US. The response was that there were no orders! What? I have four 1500 count bottles of SmartShot on back order at P/A. I guess i could mean that orders were prior filled in Germany and the loads are in transit or awaiting customs and transport here? All I really know is that there will be very little shooting of the Model 30 until I receive the order from P/A.

          I do agree that there seems to be some timing disconnect at Diana. The modular 34 comes out with no modularity of parts. Now the 30 comes out with a poverty of ammo. Germans are usually so organized, but they’re certainly having their issues of late!

          • LFranke,

            Let’s see. How many world wars did the Germans lose? Have not the Germans had difficulties supplying Ukraine with weaponry? Were not the Germans sucked in to being fuel dependent on the Russians? Did not the Germans recently have a mass breakdown of their latest fighting vehicles and have to send their old ones to NATO?

            I am not impressed.

          • I made a mental error, my rifle is the Oktoberfest which is the consumer Model 30 not the Gallery (PRO?) Model 30. It’s the second class Diana citizen. Sorry to confuse.

            RidgeRunner does point out that there is no magic in the Germanic business model. I can agree with that. Their stuff is often very good but then one runs into strange failures like the “L” shaped return spring on the 5GTO1 that fatigues after 3,000 and has to go on a trip to Arkansas to UMAREX for its replacement. I found the same kind of weird failure with my Vigo kitchen sink. a The hand sprayer valve stem needs a thermoplastic small domed piece with a stem on it to interact with the sprayer handle. Vigo can’t supply me with a new “button” and would replace the whole sprayer head. It’s just stupid!

  2. I can see where this would be a fun little plinker. I do wonder how it compares to the Diana 30. Ah well, unless one of us should just happen to stumble upon one at an outrageously great price, we will not likely know.

    I must have missed it somewhere, why no loosey goosey hold?

  3. For me the battle is between the Daisy 25 @ 44.00 and the Oktoberfest @ 170.00. You almost get four Daisy 25’5 for the price of one Oktoberfest. I recently purchased a 25 from PA and am over the moon for it. Yes, it’s a China 25 but for now out of all my toys it is getting the most use, just a little tweaking and you have a very nice,fun ten meter plinker. I use the 25 for a comparison because when I was a kid the 25’5 were at every Parish fair and Church fair(South Louisiana) used for a challenge of popping balloons or target shooting. Never had a 25 as a kid but I intend to remedy that and get a 60’s vintage one soon.

  4. Tom,

    Too bad the JG BBs aren’t more accurate in your Oktoberfest. I have shot mine at a target only twice now thanks to freezing temperatures and a thin blanket of snow on the ground. I did not take measurements with calipers but went with the far easier but less accurate tape measure. I also shot just 5 shot groups. The groups were slightly smaller than yours, but that is of course due to half as many shots for each. Two big differences from your much more scientific approach. I also put three shots into a soda can about 7 meters away.

    Compared to my Haenel 310 my Oktoberfest is much more substantial and sturdy-feeling. My Oktoberfest cocks with far less effort than my Haenel 310, shoots much more smoothly, and is also remarkably quiet. My Haenel shoots with a little twang.

    Again, I hoped the JGs would be just the ticket. Do you or any friends have some waterfowl shotgun shells? A quick look at a chart informed me B shot is 4.32mm and BB is 4.57mm. In the UK those are BBB and BBBB, respectively.

    Michael

  5. To all-

    This may be a few days early for Christmas, but I wish all of you may continue to administer ammunition to appropriate targets with your favorite air shooters!

    • Thanks pacoinohio.

      Maybe a little early for you, but, for me, Christmas is more than a day, ie the decorations go up around the 1st advent and they last until the 6th of January.
      My online purchases for Christmas presents have to take place in November, to allow for a timely reception. In the shops, Christmas themed products appear after Halloween, sometimes even before.
      Come to think of it: YOU’RE LATE ! 🙂

      My Mum always says “it’s the thought that counts” and so, girls, consider yourselves hugged, boys, shook by your hand – and may you, at least for a moment, wear a happy smile. 🙂
      Merry Christmas.

  6. Need Help. I’ve been looking at BB guns and the Oktoberfest appears to be perfect for my need. I did see in the Pyramyd reviews that someone is using Number 9 shot in place of the HN BB. Does that make sense and more importantly, would it work. 25 lbs at a relaeding site appears reasonable and would last a lifetime. I also did see a BB gage reviewed and would that help

    Sorry for the long message
    JDA001

    • jda001,

      Number nine birdshot is far too small for this rifle. It isn’t even large enough for a Sharpshooter catapult gun! Don’t buy it!

      A BB gage would help if you sorted with it, but I doubt any of them go as large as the 4.4mm shot that works best.

      BB

      • BB
        Thank You Guess I’ll stick to my RR for now until they get the ammo sorted.. Been thinking of getting one of those cork gun 3 D printed barrel add ons on ebay and turning one RR into a #3 cork gun. Might be nice to have a European and US carnival gun.

        Kind Regards

        JDA001

    • jda001, I would try to avoid getting any balls stuck inside any airgun, and particularly the Oktoberfest rifle (not quick and easy to clear). So yes, double checking that one does not load an oversize ball, with the use of some kind of gauge, is very good thinking. Besides, it should also help with accuracy! 🙂

    • jda001,

      On wikipedia there is a page for “shot (pellet)” that is detailed and instructive. The following is from that page and would be the shot size most likely to work in the Oktoberfest. But some of the more obscure shot sizes must not get produced very often and are hard to find for sale.

      B (USA) BBB (UK) [for] Waterfowl 0.17 inches 4.32 millimeter

      Michael

      • Michael
        Thank You for the response. I did find a #9 lead ball in an European shop. I guess they use a different standard and they call it a #9 round ball. I guess I’ll wait for the Diana shot to make it to the US before I purchase the Oktoberfest .

        Thanks all for the guidance
        JDA001

        • jda001,

          “I did find a #9 lead ball in an European shop. I guess they use a different standard and they call it a #9 round ball.”

          NO. You are incorrect and BB/Tom is correct. In both Europe and the United States #9 is the same size, 0.08 inches (2.032 millimeters). It is less than half the size that the Oktoberfest will shoot. It might even be so small as to jam the Oktoberfest mechanism. Either you misread the description of that European shop or they published a misprint,

          Michael

          • jda001, I would caution against these in an Oktoberfest rifle because of the real chance (!) of a stuck ball.

            My tin contained quite a variety of sizes, some too small, some measured 4.4mm but some were bigger. Also, they were not uniformly round, ie repeated measurements at different points of the same ball produced different diameters.

            I have made one of my lead ball shooting, bolt action airguns unusable due to some of those No 9s. I cleared the blockage but now the gun doesn’t work anymore… 🙁

            By comparison, my copper plated lead balls, by Diana or Händler & Natermann, measured to be slightly undersized and more round, which means, I think of them as safe to use. 🙂

  7. Tom and Everyone who has offered their most welcome suggestions,

    I received my exchanged Dragonfly Mk 2 late yesterday and after letting it warm up slowly in its box overnight, I just took it out, looked at the 10 for $10 paperwork, saw that this one has a clean barrel (!), tightened the forearm screws, which needed a small amount of tightening (Blue Loctite later today), and then I dry-fired it in the neighborhood of 10 shots with eight pumps for each shot. I also put some Pellgunoil on the pump head.

    The 10 for $10 does not test the pumping effort on multipumps. The “Services Performed” checklist shows 10 shots were fired over the chronograph, the chrono tape was enclosed (more on that below), the rifle cocked reliably for all shots, and the trigger functions correctly for all shots.

    At first it was sticking slightly (but only slightly) at the end of the opening stroke and during the air compressing stroke. But by the end of the 80 pumps, the jerkiness lessened until it finally became almost smooth. I can easily imagine it getting smoother yet once I lightly lube the mechanism and work it a little more. I haven’t tested the pumping effort on my scale yet, but it stays nearly constant from one pump to the next and my neighbor’s commercial mail scale measures 23 pounds for most pumps. So this one is probably a keeper. :^D

    The 10 for $10 chronograph test documents the following velocities with 7 grain RWS pellets:

    Shot 1, power factor six, 867 fps.
    Shot 2. power factor six, 858 fps.
    Shot 3. power factor six, 807 fps.
    Shot 4. power factor six, 840 fps.
    Shot 5. power factor five, 784 fps.
    Shot 6. power factor six, 817 fps.
    Shot 7. power factor five, 728 fps.
    Shot 8. power factor five, 747 fps.
    Shot 9. power factor five, 645 fps.
    Shot 10. power factor five, 698 fps.

    What is “Power Factor”? On another 10 for $10 certificate I have for a springer air rifle, the power factor is three for all shots. A spread of 50 fps for the shots with a power factor of six and especially a spread of 139 fps for the shots with a power factor of five are pretty wide, but it hasn’t had enough wear-in time, so maybe that isn’t unusual.

    But again, what is power factor?

    Michael

    P.S. Thanks very much for everybody’s patience with me through all of this.

    • Wow Michael, it seems your amazing patience has been worthwhile. I almost suggested to demand a refund and not to give them your custom. And I would have been wrong, while you were right to persevere.

      Michael, you are a better, more tolerant man than I !

      Merry Christmas 🙂

    • Michael

      The 10 for $10 my rifle tested at PA involved 99 pumps. They reported velocities at various numbers of pumps. The important thing for me was a techy had to do a lot of pumping and any problems with pumping would negate shipping such rifle to a me. I have no idea what the test means for your rifle. Just hoping it is a good one.

      D3ck

  8. BB

    I noticed that the target for the Beeman shot had all but one hole inside the 6 ring,, or roughly the size of your dime. Generally you mention clusters like this. While certainly not 499 territory, it really wasn’t a bad target.
    And, I wondered, as did RR, why the artillery hold wasn’t used. My memory , like the rest of me, has not aged well, so you may have mentioned something about that in one of the previous posts.

    Ed

  9. B.B. and Readership,

    So according to RidgeRunner this is an air rifle everyone should really like…so inaccurate with available ammunition that it won’t ever get boring trying to make it shoot better?
    Thank heaven few would try to hunt with this Diana!
    Maybe it needs to be shot only after drinking a few Mass of Oktoberfest Bier.
    AND ONLY if the muzzle is chained to the gallery counter with a very short length of it at that!

    In my book an uninteresting airgun until or IF ammo that helps improve accurate fire is found.

    shootski

  10. Reading Tom Gaylord’s report inspired me to shoot my Diana labelled airgun, also in 4,4mm calibre, that is also a bolt action repeater and also shoots lead round balls. I tried to copy Tom Gaylord by also shooting benchrested at a paper target, that I also placed five metres away.
    I had filled the airgun’s magazine with copper plated lead balls, that Händler and Natermann call Präzisionsrundkugel.

    While I was enjoying the plinking, one 5-shot group – yes, only half the number that Tom Gaylord shot – appeared that was so small, it really surprised me (see the bragging picture).
    It appears that, when all the stars and (!) the whatnots align, then even I, am given a good result. Now I feel motivated to seek an unlikely repetition … 🙂

    Oh yeah, the airgun I used, although it has been thought of as manufactured deliberately imprecise, comparable and confused with the Diana Oktoberfest rifle, and I think of as rather different, is the Diana 30 neo. 🙂

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