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Diana Oktoberfest Gewehr BB rifle: Part Four

Oktoberfest
The Diana Octoberfest Gewehr.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sorting lead balls
  • Poor results
  • What to do?
  • How the Oktoberfest is meant to be used
  • No steel BBs
  • Up to 5 meters
  • The smaller lead balls
  • A secret
  • The most accurate ball
  • Begs the question
  • Summary

Today we take the Diana Oktoberfest out to 10 meters and we try several other lead balls that weren’t tried before.

The test

I set up my shooting bench 10 meters from the target and attempted to shoot 5-shot groups off a sandbag rest. Things did not work out quite like I had planned and I will explain as we go.

Sorting lead balls

I wanted to learn what lead balls work well in the Oktoberfest, so I found several and measured three from each tin. No lead ball is a uniform diameter. Because they are lead they get flat spots easily, so I measured them in several places on their circumference. And the three balls I measured gave me a range from low to high. But I’m getting ahead of myself. One of the balls I accepted for trial proved too large and created problems. Let me first show you the four balls I did not try.

lead balls
These are the lead balls that were not used — except for the balls on the left side. I did try them with poor results.

Those four balls range in size from 4.41mm to 4.49mm. I decided to start with the smallest balls, which are the ones in the tin on the left in the photo above.

Poor results

The first target was a 10-meter air rifle target. I used a 6 o’clock hold and was wearing reading glasses with +1.25 diopter correction to see the front sight blade sharply. But the results were pretty poor. Let me show you.

poor target
I’m not even going to measure this “group”. These were five of the balls from the left-hand tin in the photo above.

Beside the poor grouping I also fired three dry-fires that were confirmed through the spotting scope. As we have learned, dry-fires with the Oktoberfest are a no-no, so testing ended right there.

What to do?

My test plan had just blown up. I dared not try any of the larger lead balls for fear of sticking one in the barrel or the magazine. What should I do? Well, I knew something that helped me decide.

Build a Custom Airgun

How the Oktoberfest is meant to be used

In Europe, where the Diana Modell 30, the Oktoberfest’s big brother is used, it’s used in shooting galleries. Now there may be some galleries in fixed locations, but I believe most of them are packed into small trailers that the Germans call caravans, and moved to wherever there is a public gathering. The shooters at these galleries would be lucky to stand 5 meters from their targets. It’s probably more like 3 meters. Therefore the Oktoberfest is a short range airgun. It may be rifled, but it’s not intended for shooting at long distances. I need to test it the way it was intended to be used.

No steel BBs

After studying the Oktoberfest I realized that it is indeed made for lead balls and not steel BBs. Sure, it works with steel, but lead is better for the barrel. So this Oktoberfest will not see steel again.

Up to 5 meters

I moved the shooting bench up to 5 meters from the target. And I tried two more lead balls. The first was a ball I did not try in Part 3 because I felt they were too small. When I measured them for today’s test I got a range from 4.28 to 4.41mm in diameter. That’s pretty small, but I felt I had to try them.

The smaller lead balls

I listened as the balls dropped into the tubular magazine. They all fell quickly to the bottom, so no danger of sticking. And, as I told you previously, I would never cock the rifle unless the muzzle was elevated, so the rifle won’t dry-fire because of that.

383
Here’s the thousand-word picture. First, the copper-plated balls in the green tin are the smaller lead balls I’m shooting. And the dark lead balls in the pink tin are the most accurate ones from the Part 3 test.

Ten of these smaller lead balls went into a group that measures 1.118-inches between the centers of the two holes farthest apart. The group is centered well on the bull, which means this is a good ball for this rifle, even though it’s on the small side. Remember, close to the target.

Punkt target
The smaller lead balls grouped 10 in 1.118-inches at 5 meters. This is good enough for shooting gallery work.

A secret

I have a secret that I will now share with you. I asked Pyramyd Air to send me their new BadaBang electronic target, so I could test it with this Oktoberfest. The lead balls that I will shoot are great for that steel target, because unlike steel BBs, they won’t bounce back at me. So that will be my next test.

The most accurate ball

Remember that tiny group from the Part 3 test? I wondered if that ball was still that accurate. Another 10-shot group was warranted. This time I shot from 5 meters with the balls from the pink tin. Ten of them made a group that measures 0.61-inches between centers at 5 meters. It’s SMALLER than the 0.81-inch ten-shot group with the same ball in Part 3. Of course that one had a flyer and nine shots were in 0.352-inches, but today’s group is still extremely good and 9 of it’s balls made a 0.371-inch group.

Pink target
At 5 meters the Oktoberfest put 10 lead balls from the pink tin into 0.61-inches and 9 in 0.371-inches.

Begs the question

If this lead ball is that accurate, how will it do at 10 meters? I had to back up and try.

At ten meters 10 of these balls went into 1.562-inches. That tells me that this Oktoberfest is a shooting gallery gun and good for 5 meters but not much farther. Maybe you could stretch that out to 20 feet. That was what I needed to know.

Pink target 10
At 10 meters ten of the balls from the pink tin went into a 1.562-inch group. 

Summary

I now know which BBs to shoot, and at what distance. I also know the limitations of the Diana Oktoberfest. Many people around the world have conjectured but we now know for certain.

54 thoughts on “Diana Oktoberfest Gewehr BB rifle: Part Four”

  1. Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier), good shooting with that pink tin ammunition. Worthy of a silk flower, no wait… here, “Prost!”

    PS Which, more readily available, lead balls would you recommend, ie what’s your second choice of ammo for the Oktoberfest rifle?

      • TG: It might behoove you as a fair representative of PA to give their customer service/sales force a call. I got into a debate with one of their staff about the ammunition for the gallery gun. I was claiming with a rifled barrel that lead rounds are appropriate and the sales person insisted that steel was the thing. Well….it ISN’T.

        Apparently, to confound the current situation as of today 1 December, one can’t find H&N SmartShot anywhere. I even Emailed H&N and they said that they haven’t received any orders for them from the US???? Could be that there is a container ship bobbing about somewhere with lots of ballast?

        I took your counsel to heart and will avoid putting anything other than SmartShot in the magazine tube. I ordered some Gamo rounds, but another blog writer indicated that they are oversized. I have other uses for these in the first place.

        One thing that would be helpful from you as our arms expert: WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED WAY TO CLEAN THE BARREL ON THIS THING? I got the job done with laborious use of a loop and cleaning paper strips and lots of Sheath/Barrier. I kept using the Shealth/Barrier oiled strips (cut down so as not to jam the barrel) until they turned light gray and followed with dry strips. I couldn’t find my .177 bronze brush and that was probably a good thing, I suspect.

        My preferred barrel cleaning routine is with JB Bore Paste and brush followed by felt pellets PUSHED through the bore followed by Sheath/Barrier until clean and then again dry pellets to get the petrochemical out of the tube. Can’t do that with the gallery gun despite the fact that it is Chinese manufacture and my experience is that they, like the Hatsans, are really cruddy when you get them. Obviously, there is no way to do a push through on this barrel as with all my other break barrels.

        If you find a better fitting round ball for the Oktoberfestgehwer, please let your adoring public know! BTW, northern Ohio misses its son – or maybe that was just the wind howling on the shores of Lake Erie.

        • LFranke ,

          The guys and gals on the sales team just read the descriptions and say what they say. The old hands like Ruth read this blog and keep up-to-date. It’s the best I can do.

          How do I clean the barrel? When I discover a way I’ll let you know.

          As for the Buckeye state missing its son, I think that’s just the wind. πŸ˜‰

          BB

      • BB

        Years ago you rested your 499 on a chair back trying to take you out of the equation. I’m not asking you to test different holds; just want to know how you hold a 499 when no rules apply.
        Yesterday I spent hours shooting my 499 using a Williams peep whose adjustments are easier to sight in than the Daisy Avanti peep. I love the shooting cycle of the 499. which to me is a push like that of black powder gun. My 5 meter deck gallery is almost wind proof.

        Deck

  2. Tom,

    After Part 3 I asked if the lead balls in the pink tin are the same size as the JG ones for the Haenel 310. I’m going to look for mine, but in the meantime, have you found any of yours from years ago?

    Michael

      • Tom,

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

        If smaller round balls might actually be accurate, you could try Crosman Copperheads. They are about the smallest BBs out there. Yes, they’re steel, but they are copper coated. How might one 5-shot group of Copperheads tempt you? ;^) Remember the old used car salesman saw? “I always put cheap gas in her. She absolutely hates Premium!” (I think I remember that from “Breaking Away.”) If the Oktoberfest loves Copperheads, the advertisement copy could read, “Use Crosman Copperheads — she absolutely hates premium BBs!”

        Michael

  3. It is a shame the H&N lead balls did not make the list. I kinda wish I had something I could use them in.

    It looks as though Gamo and Beeman were relabeling the H&N lead balls.

    • RidgeRunner,

      You could always put the H&N lead balls up on the top shelf, like the unopened bottle of Booker’s whiskey standing aloof. In my case it’s a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue, still sitting in that casket they come in. You could say to visitors, “I save the H&Ns for wedding reception picnics. and quinceaΓ±eras.” :^)

      Michael

      • LOL! Alas, my pellets are not seen by what very few visitors I have and I cannot resist sipping on my Captain Morgan Black. Now, I have to admit that if I had some scotch, it would likely last a very long time.

  4. BB,

    With its unique features and ammunition, the Oktoberfest is interesting from a curiosity sort of perspective.

    It’s showing some potential.. every gun is a tack-driver within its effective range eh?

    Hank

  5. Tom,
    I know you have more airguns to test than time on your hands. But I would like to see a test of a Ruger Mark IV Pellet pistol? Maybe even test it with darts:-)
    It would be a little late for me since I purchased 4 to give out as Christmas presents. I purchased them solely by the way they look. Hoping for the best.
    If I see Santa I’ll tell him to stop by your house first:-)
    Speakski

  6. “…this Oktoberfest is a shooting gallery gun and good for 5 meters but not much farther”
    B.B.,
    So this is a good candidate for my indoor 5-meter range….good to know; thank you. πŸ˜‰
    Blessings to you,
    dave

  7. I will let the pessimistic side of my brain take over for a while. Does anyone consider that the gallery guns are intentionally made NOT to be TOO accurate? After all, if you put an accurate gun in the hands of a good shooter, or even someone with some natural ability, the gallery owner may stand to lose a bunch of money in prizes. An inaccurate gun with inaccurate ammo adds to the size of the group. So the gallery owner would give customers the first type of lead balls but keep the pink tin in his or her pocket for demonstrations? Or if he or she is giving out too many prizes, he or she can back up the shooting line to 10 meters instead of 7. Just saying. Now back to my normal optimistic self.

    Sounds like this would be a good gun for basement shooting or where someone’s space is very limited.

    • Roamin’,

      You never dated a carnival girl! ;^)

      Trying to impress his girl, a guy buys ten tickets for $4 each. The prizes are small stuffed animals such as kitty cats, teddy bears, little horses and so on. The guy takes his 10 shots and hits the bullseye six times. Not bad! He hands his girl the newly won kitty, horse, teddy bear, a little burro, etc.. The carny behind the table smiles and waves bye. He just made $16 on the four tickets that were misses, and he made $1.50 for each of the prizes (that he bought in bulk from a wholesaler) the young couple walks off with. The smiling, waving operator just cleared $25.00 in 10 minutes!

      By the way, carnival girls are fun dates. They teach you some of the tricks, and you get to see them again the same time the following year,

      Michael

    • Roamin,

      The pessimistic side of my brain has pondered the same thing as the pessimistic side of your brain….Accuracy would be counter to profit.

      I have some FWB 10 meter stuff that sees most of its use during the winter indoor shooting season (which is already here in Canada).

      Rather than an Oktoberfest a nice little HW30/R7 would be my choice for basement shooting. I’m looking for a peep sight for my R7 for paper-punching this winter.

      …Only accurate guns are interesting πŸ˜‰

    • Roamin,
      My first thoughts was “it is not supposed to be accurate”. From the BB’s testing I think it is made as accurate as the standard for such equipment is seatled down. So it is not tending to follow the FWB. It is enough accurate if you care about the right ammo and it is very fun to shoot. Let us also see the price – performance – good lookin perspective.
      It is OK and I know how much fun it does to good friends having barbeque in the garden with some funny targets to devastate πŸ™‚ Without any points, though with some beer and smile on all faces. This is made for it, just without pressure and tension – for fun.
      Same rifle with FWB accuracy would be a different story.

  8. 5 meter gun. How about shooting it free hand standing.
    I assume that is the way that they are shot in the back of the caravan.

    Hey, maybe you will win a stuffed animal??? lol.

    -Y

  9. Tom,

    I just received mine and took it out in the backyard. Five shots at 20 feet, rested, shooting the JG lead balls, I had a 1.32 inch group. It was 27 degrees out there, and I was in the shade (target in bright sunlight). In your hands on a nice day I would expect five of these in a half inch at 5 yards.

    A very nice shooter, by the way.

    Michael

  10. Today I re-measured lead round balls with my new calipers that show hundredths of a millimetre as opposed to my older ones that only tell tenths of a millimetre.
    I took a picture to save myself writing the proverbial thousand words… πŸ™‚

    • hihihi,

      Nice!

      From yesterday: My soft top SAAB has a rollbar and rear seat area screen attachment that allows (heated when cool/cold) year-round top down unblown enjoyment without looking like we are sitting in an aquarium with the side windows up!
      To answer you about wind in the face…i rode Sport (no windscreen) motorcycles in my youth and suffered many hits to face by all manner of things. I have also flown Ultralight, Squirrel Suit, and Parasail with far fewer bug/stone hits.

      shootski

      • shootski, you’ve certainly experienced some exiting forms of travel and had the freedom to express, what sounds like, some kind of air rage (as opposed to road rage). What fun! πŸ™‚

        My first experience of wind in the hair travel was, of course, the bicycle.
        Second experience, a Series 1 Landrover (pictured) which I mostly remember for it’s VERY LOUD tyres! πŸ™‚
        There were others, but now I’m old and I too like the top down becalmed warmth that our convertible provides. πŸ™‚

        • Hihihi – that is one of FM’s top favorite off-road vehicles. Wish he’d gotten one when the getting was still good, but got pulled instead to the Deutsche Kraftfahrzeuge Seite.

          • FawltyManuel what’s the story with German vehicles?

            I remember that the Landrover was cheap to buy, but not to run. The early ones had petrol engines!

            When we broke up, she kept the Landy while I chose my Flatacraft Force 4, that we had towed with it.

            This little rigid inflatable boat was my third form of transport that provided wind in the hair excitement (with sea spray as well, of course). πŸ™‚

            Number 4 is pictured. This always open top car provided an intimate closeness to whatever the weather was as, no doubt you’ve already spotted that it didn’t have much of a windscreen. Neither did it have windows, doors nor a roof (yet it was my daily driver for years). πŸ™‚

        • Hihihi – funny thing, started out with English cars; my father purchased a 1960 Ford Prefect in ’66 for FM to drive. It was not fast. No doubt that’s what he wanted in order to keep sonny from getting in trouble. Then there was a ’67 Beetle and that drew FM into the German car arena. But then he bought his own MG Midget in 1968 thanks to an Italian dockworkers’ strike which delayed delivery of a Fiat 850 Sport Spider and drove a young, impatient FM to desperation. The dealer had the Midget and the deal was sealed. Drove it first, then a ’74 MGB for a total of 51 years of English motoring. In between, and because of an interest in not-so-common WWII vehicles, picked up a VW 181 which is still driven, and a ’43 VW Type 82 which should – finally – be fully restored sometime next year. Maybe FM watched too many WWII movies and programs, Westerns too. No, you can’t watch too many Westerns.

          Forgot that for a short time FM drove a beat up ’54 Dodge with an inline-six and plugs which were frozen to the block, but it got you places and the price was right. πŸ™‚

          So that is the story of FM’s wheels. Regret boring anyone with it. At least was not crazy enough to get into owning/restoring WWII Japanese military vehicles! Should have gone for less complicated, saner period technology, like Ford GPW or Willys MB Jeeps.

          • Ah FawltyManuel that was an interesting comment/reply.
            I can see how a Beetle might lead to other such-powered ‘Things’, like your current KΓΌbelwagen.

            And English cars are great for learning mechanics.
            And those wealthy enough to have mechanics on permanent standby. πŸ™‚

            Happily I could never physically fit into the Beetle, which my parents offered to buy (to save the family car from scratches and dents). But sadly this also meant that most fun sports cars, like the Midget, were also a no go to me. πŸ™

            The exception: I remember riding shotgun in our beautiful MGB (edited a picture to resemble my memory of it) with my legs very comfortable at full stretch (apparently the biggest/longest passenger footwell of all English sportscars!). I also remember the frightening body roll at higher speeds due to the rather agricultural suspension!
            But what a looker. πŸ™‚

            Anyway, I believe, while one is alive, it is never (!) too late to do whatever one wants (or at least try to). Which reminds me of a fabulous motto that I came across in a doctor’s waiting room. Maybe you already know these ten two-letter words:

            ‘If it is to be, it is up to me.’
            πŸ™‚

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