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What BB did

HW 30S
BB’s HW-30S.

This report covers:

  • Series?
  • BB’s problem
  • BB’s quandary
  • Why not the Diana 27?
  • The HW 30S?
  • What to do?
  • The HW 30S today
  • Diana 34
  • Summary

Today we dive into the resurrection of an air rifle. By that I mean we watch as a hard-to-cock beast gets transformed into a pleasant shooter — or at least that’s the hope. For many of you, this report series may be the solution you have been waiting and hoping for.

Series?

Yes, this will be a series. How large a series depends on what we encounter as we seek to transform reader RidgeRunner’s Diana 34 into an air rifle he can enjoy and be proud of. The series won’t be titled What BB did, but today marks the first part, nevertheless. I am tying my need for a lightweight go-to pest rifle to RidgeRunner’s need for a smoother Diana 34 with easier cocking.

BB’s problem

BB’s problem with a spring-piston air rifle began recently when he went looking for an air rifle to dispatch a mockingbird that he thought was terrorizing the swallows on his back porch. Luckily for me I never found what I wanted because the mockingbird is the state bird of my home state of Texas. They are also the international symbol of innocence, since they harm nothing, though my cat, Punky, would have told you otherwise when he was pecked by a mockingbird mother after he killed one of her chicks.

So mockingbirds are safe from BB Pelletier, but the problem he encountered by not finding the one airgun he needed out of 100 possibilities, remains. The cobbler’s children are still going barefoot. BB needs a pest rifle he can count on to shoot where he expects to use on those pests that arise from time to time. I’m not going to kill woodchucks at 35 yards and, if the pest turns out to be a raccoon, I will have to select a more appropriate air rifle. What I need is a way to dispatch small pests without resorting to scopes and wondering what the aim point should be.

I said in the report titled The fool with 100 airguns, that mockingbirds are extreme predators, because that’s what I believed. It’s true that they will go into the nests of other birds and take their eggs but they aren’t known for killing chicks like I thought. After seeing Punky get attacked I figured mockingbirds were all bad guys, but I guess that mother bird had a right to get even for what he did.

BB’s quandary

Also in the report titled The fool with 100 airguns, BB discovered that the Diana 35 he thought could be his go-to air rifle turned out to have a front sight that is just too difficult for him to see.

Why not the Diana 27?

Fish asked a good question, or almost did. He reminded us all that I love my Diana 27. So why not just use it? Well, in recent times I have discovered that my 27 isn’t quite as accurate as I would like it to be. I can probably always hit an Oreo cookie at 10 meters offhand with it, but I need something a little more precise.

Reader Arbiter mentioned that he likes his Diana 34 for squirrels and smaller. At the time I thought that was overkill, but with the RidgeRunner project now in the offing, perhaps it was spot on. But if so it needs to be a GOOD Diana 34 — one that cocks easily and is as smooth as silk to shoot — not some Bow of Hercules that can only be bent by men of legend! I will have more to say about the 34 in a bit.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

The HW 30S?

Okay, if the Diana 35 is not the right rifle for BB, what is? Well, I knew I had the Weihrauch HW 30S that I bought new and tested for you extensively a few years back. Many readers said the 30S was the rifle I should consider, but when I said I would consider it one of our readers, who’s name I can’t recall, told me to heft the 30S and see if I can see the front sight. Yeah — I can see the front sight. In fact when I hoist the 30S to my shoulder naturally I can not only see the entire front sight but also about two inches of the barrel in the notch of the rear sight! In other words, the comb of the HW 30S stock is too high! What to do?

I blasted Norica’s Omnia ZRS rifle recently when I discovered that the stock was unsuited for a good cheek weld. Norica doesn’t get blasted and Weihrauch doesn’t get a pass for anything. If the stock is wrong, it’s wrong, no matter who made it.

What to do?

Well, in the report titled, Should I? I floated the idea of either me modifying the HW 30S stock myself or having a custom rifle stock made for it that is more like the stock Weihrauch used to put on the rifle. That way is the most costly, but I end up with the air rifle I want rather than some ultramodern tacticool monstrosity created for couch commandos.

My decision was to go the custom stock route. I contacted Steve Corcoran and he is currently considering my request. A conventional (read that as old school) rifle stock is not his normal product, but he told me he would give it a try.

The HW 30S today

When I got it the HW 30S was already shooting great right out of the box. Since then I have adjusted the Rekord trigger and given the powerplant a Vortek PG3 SHO tuneup. The rifle is smoother than before, more powerful and cocks with the same 22 pounds of effort as when it came from the factory. But I did have to adjust the trigger again today. I reported in Part 4 that I adjusted the trigger to a 6-ounce stage one and a 12-ounce stage two pull, but in a later report I said the trigger went off by surprise. When I cocked the rifle and restrained the open barrel to check the trigger today it still went off by surprise. So something has happened that I didn’t document. Today stage one had no spring feedback and, once pulled, the trigger blade just flopped around loosely.

I went to my work bench and adjusted the one adjustment screw that sits behind the trigger blade. It was so loose that there was no tension on the trigger blade for stage one. I adjusted the screw in until I could see the trigger blade move forward under spring tension. The rifle now has a trigger with a 5-ounce first stage and an 11-ounce stage two that breaks as crisply as a glass rod.

HW30 trigger
That aluminum screw behind the trigger blade is all there is to adjust the Rekord trigger.

Yes, I’m aware the trigger weight seems to have declined after today’s adjustment, but those numbers are what my trigger-pull gauge gave me. In stage one the trigger blade now returns to start when the pull is relaxed instead of just hanging limply and flopping around. This is a trigger I can work with. I just need that conventional stock for this rifle to become my go-to pest rifle.

Diana 34

But RidgeRunner has a Diana 34 that he wants to have tuned. The 34 is a legendary air rifle that has morphed through several incarnations and I need to know exactly which one he has before coming up with a plan. My Diana 34 Panther (yes, my rifle says Panther instead of just P on the spring tube) has a ball bearing breech detent that I doubt could be a problem for anyone to break open. But the Diana 34 has gone through so many transformations over the decades that if it were a car it could have started out as a ’64-1/2 Mustang and morphed into a 2023 Smart Car. I can’t say anything more about it until I know what I’m dealing with.

The powerplant tune doesn’t concern me. I have done hundreds of them. But the breech detent is a different story. I have had only one or two chisel detents apart over the years and, to the best of my recollection, no ball bearing ones. But the thing went together somehow at the factory and it has to come apart — right? At least that is my hope. I’m hoping there is no swaging that requires a 100-ton press and a specialized jig or anything like that.

Summary

That’s what I’m starting today. I have good velocity numbers and good accuracy for this HW 30S rifle, though with a new stock I may use a more consistent cheek weld and improve on the accuracy a bit. The trigger was on the too-light side but I tightened it up today and it seems to be where I want it. If not I can always adjust it again because the Rekord is very easy to adjust.

When I receive RidgeRunner’s Diana 34 I will give you a full assessment of what it is. We are sort of doing a twofer report in this series, his rifle and mine, but the overall goal is to finish with a pleasant spring piston air rifle, regardless of what model it is.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

66 thoughts on “What BB did”

  1. B.B.,
    Since you are considering the HW30S, I did a little penetration testing for you.
    I shot through a piece of poplar from a few feet away; the pellet went through and dented the 2″x4″ behind it.
    And at 15 yards, it will always penetrate the bottom of a wasp spray, or spray paint, can.
    So, at 15 yards, it certainly could take down a squirrel, or similar critter, with a head shot.
    (And with my .177-caliber R7, I did so many times).
    Hence, for things smaller than a raccoon, I think the HW30S is viable.
    However, something like RidgeRunner’s Diana model 34 may be even more so…once you work your magic. 😉
    Blessings to you,
    dave

    • Dave,

      Great suggestion!

      I’ve (from my earliest experiences) always equated springers to .177 caliber.

      Now I think that a HW30 in .22 would be an excellent pesting rifle. The combination of modest power and (relatively) large pellet would result in excellent energy transfer on small pests while being backyard friendly.

      Hank

      • Hank,
        It is certainly backyard friendly, as well as being very forgiving of how it’s held (as I’m sure you know).
        I use .22 JSB RS 13.43-grain pellets to get the velocity up to 500 fps, which shoots pretty flat to 20 yards.
        For an old longbow-shooting range-estimating guy like yourself, it should work just fine. 😉
        Cheers,
        dave

  2. BB,

    I’ve always thought the HW30S and the R7 to be identical save a few cosmetics. Now I’m wondering if the stocks are that different.

    I’m average size (5′ 11″; 180 pounds) and find that my R7 stock is fine with a scope but excellent with iron sights.

    My standard check for correct stock fit is to look at a target, close my eyes, raise the rifle and when I open my eyes I should have the sights aligned and on target.

    The R7 comes up perfectly for me each time. Guess that I’m the same size as the guy who designed the stock.

    Just saying, lowering the cheek is an easy mod.

    Cheers!
    Hank

    • Hank,

      My HW30S has the older style of stock (hogbacked, without the pronounced edge or cutout on the bottom of BB’s), but find the stock puts my face a little high for the iron sights. I think it’s more of an issue of facial geometry though (round face, fleshy cheeks makes for a higher cheek weld).

      It is the perfect height, however, for a red dot, which is what I’ve got on the grooves. With the front sight insert removed, the dot projects neatly into the front sight tunnel when shouldered.

      Cheers,
      Nathan

      • Nathan,

        Seems that the comb on my stock is lower than the on BB has in the picture above and possibly narrower as well.

        Yes, your right, didn’t think of it but facial geometry will make a difference as will how you hold the rifle.

        Hank

  3. Interesting point- “A good 34”. I have never had a satisfactory 34 out of the box, but that is part of what draws my interest. Out of (8) D34’s I have worked on, only 1 was a real basket case. All the others were transformed into excellent shooters without the need for skilled machining (excepting the manufacture of a tune kit). Just installation of after market kits, seal replacement, proper lubrication and full break in periods of up to 1000 rounds.

  4. BB,

    I second Nathan’s suggestion of using a red dot sight on the HW30S.

    The Sig Romeo5 has a fine 2 MOA dot and switches on automatically when it detects motion.

    It’s a bit pricey, but worth every penny, and I can’t think of a better option for fast target acquisition atop a grab-and-go pester.

        • Michael,

          Since acquiring a FWB 603 that’s dedicated to 10 meter shooting, I’ve scoped my FWB 300 and use it for light pesting (chipmunks and sparrows), mini-sniping (bugs) and plinking.

          The FWB 300 is a great airgun for offhand shooting and superbly accurate but once you loaded it you are committed to shooting. The trigger is (deliciously) light, there’s no safety or any way to make it safe to put down if the pest doesn’t give an opportunity to shoot before escaping.

          Hank

          • Hank, I have a empty oatmeal container with a hole cut into the lid. I filled it with rubber mulch, and it stands next to the leg of my shooting bench. If I ever need to discharge a loaded pellet gun, the barrel goes into the hole in the lid and the mulch catches the pellet. I also use it for blank shots with my CO2 guns which are really loud when fired without a pellet, and that quiets the report to a dull thud.

              • Thanks. I do 99% of my shooting in the evenings after everyone else goes to bed, so I was looking for a way to keep things quiet without having to get up from the shooting bench and shoot the rubber mulch pellet trap at point blank range, which just interrupts the rhythm of a shooting session. Oh this also was used a lot when testing the Crosman 362 and pumping one too many pumps for the test I was on. :o)

        • Michael,

          You’re the first. But the 300s is too big and heavy for what I want and it doesn’t have quite the power I think I need.

          BB

          • B.B. I went back a re-read some of your blogs about the Diana 35. And I wondered if your Diana Model 27S would be a good alternative. Does it have the front globe sight with the replaceable inserts? If yes, you may have replacement inserts for it somewhere from one of your other Dianas, or you can get replacement inserts from JGAirguns for about $6 each + S/H. If not, could you replace the front sight with the Weihrauch version that P.A. sells? I recall you were pleased with its accuracy out to 25 yards with a rear peep sight. I always envisioned that a front sight that looked like a bead on a post would be best for hunting/pesting and perhaps better if painted with a bright white or neon nail polish.

          • Tom,

            Heavy, no doubt. Even my “Jr.” 300s weighs about 10 pounds. (I shoot it from a patio table.) It does shoot at about 610 fps. and takes only about 8 pounds of effort to cock, however.

            Regarding its pesting capability, remember the fellow who put up a website documenting his rabbit and squirrel hunting with his FWB 300s? He would always shoot the pellet into the ear canal.

            Michael

            • Michael,
              I thought I remembered Robert Beeman (back in the good ol’ days) saying something to the effect that a scoped FW300 was one of his favorite rifles for squirrel hunting.
              I can’t find that exact quote online; yet I did find this interesting old piece where he does say, after mentioning that one should seek out one of the discontinued Beeman/Feinwerkbau Model 300S rifles, “I often use a match airgun for hunting, even plinking!”
              Here’s the link to the full piece (very interesting material):
              https://www.beemans.net/field%20use.htm
              Blessings to you,
              dave

    • Alan,

      I registered and then — nothing. I haven’t got the time to figure out how to contact the guy. If you will contact him for me I will buy it.

      BB

      • I sent him an IM telling him that you want to buy it. Hopefully he can reach out to you directly, but I did offer to be an intermediary if needed . . . I did include a link to this blog so that he can see (and maybe join) this conversation.

        Alan

  5. Just as well you got distracted on the Mockingbird — they, as most song birds, are Federally protected. House [English?] Sparrows are fair game [pun intended] since they are an introduced species, and there are a couple of other unprotected species. Similarly, many other birds are ‘protected’ by requiring hunting licenses and stamps. I got into airguns because House Sparrows were killing my Eastern Bluebird fledglings— this progressed to many years of Field Target at your old range in Damascus, MD.

  6. Birds and pretty much all local 4-legged critters are welcomed and left alone at FM Land; “poopguanas” not so much. HW30 is yet to be tested as a go-to “pester,” but at the reptile-engagement distances typically experienced around here, no doubt it will do fine. The longest shot taken at one was about 20 yards, the shortest about seven.

    Fortunately it seems FM’s face was engineered to fit most if not all stocks encountered so far, so he need not take up any offers of having it rearranged. 😉

    • “…so he need not take up any offers of having it rearranged.”
      Thanks, FM; that cracked me up!…the first laugh of the day…I needed that. 😉
      Up to 20 yards is a great “happy range” for your HW30.
      (That was my upper limit for my .177 version back in my squirrel hunting days.)
      Blessings to you,
      dave

  7. Very interesting, the D34 project! I have always liked the looks of the 34 stock. So slim and sexy.
    I just could be tempted to acquire one!
    For me, a Daisy 250 in .22 with open sights and old style stock will do starlings at 10yds with ease!
    Yup, y’all need a Daisy in your collection. Even if it’s made in Scotland by Milbro using war reparation technology.

  8. I’m looking for an accurate back-yard pester as y’all call it. 10-20 yds. Invasive birds. I have a Gamo Whisper Cat that is very good, but a little too obtrusive for my urban backyard. I’m arguing with myself on the Diana LP8 and Diana Airbug. I like the Bug as it would be easier for my wife and other ladies to use. I also like the magazine idea. Couldn’t find a review of the Bug here in the Blog, but a lot of buyers didn’t like the magazine and some don’t like the sights when you have older eyes (mine are circ. 1960’s). Most YouTuber’s instantly drop a scope on these, and I see very little info on the out-of-the-box sights. I’m planning to stick with .177 as my two Gamo’s are .177. Would you prefer the LP8 or the Airbug? Would you drop a scope on it right away?
    Thanx for your patience with a newbie.

    • I have Airbug and Chaser combo.
      Handgun shot at 10-20 yrds. are VERY hard.
      I would try the Chaser combo. Its got a rifle barrel and pistol barrel plus a shoulder stock. I use the rifle barrel and the stock.
      Don’t trust the fps. On the box.( They use very light pellets!).
      Very quiet backyard friendly. Plus very accurate with the right pellet.
      I have scope on hers and Williams aperture sight on mine.
      We don’t use the mags, just the single shot tray after some feeding problems. My two friends who have the same gun got aftermarket mags, no feeding problems.
      We love ’em.

      • I was intrigued by that combo. I figured the longer barrel would give higher velocity. What pellets do you use, out of curiosity? If I had the pistol, I would use a simple red dot with the smallest dot I could find, but I am also partial to peep sights. Thanks for sharing.

        • Hers like Air Arms Falcons.7.33gr.
          Mine really loves Rifle 8.33 round nose.
          Both Airbugs like the Falcons.
          The longer barrel does shoot faster.
          The stock shape allows my eye to get fairly close to the aperture sight.
          I’m a 59 model and weigh 5lbs less and have the same “Eyes over 30.”. As the late, great Dr. Beeman would say.

      • I would like more info on the aftermarket mags. I the mag that came with the gun, doesn’t rotate far enough, and getting pellet #1 into it is a chore. I got a Seneca from Pyramyd that doesn’t have that issue. I have feeding issues with the Airbug too. At first I blamed it on the mag, but even with the single tray, pellets don’t always load smoothly.
        PS: Looking for recommendations on a better sight.. red dot or other? Not looking for a $300 scope for this…

        • Greesmonky,
          I believe friends got Stormrider mags.
          Airbug,Chaser, Bandit, Dragonfly mk2 and Stormrider use same Mag.
          Check o-ring is in barrel at the breach. It’s a redish brown colour.
          I put a drop of silicon oil on it, helps.
          Scope is a Tasco 4×32 AO. Came with low rings. 50 bucks. No mil dots just crosshairs.
          Lightly greese or oil bolt contact area.
          2 Bugs and 2 Chasers all 4 were DIRTY Inside the barreld action. Barrels too. Cleaned them up and reoiled.
          That’s what I did. Your milage may vary.

  9. I never got peoples fascination with the RWS 34. I have has a couple myself and my brother has had a few. I find the 34 inferior to the HW95, R9, or any of the BSA Supersports. Of the bunch, the Supersport has always been my favorite.

    Another gun I love is the Beeman C1. To me, the C1 shoots better offhand than the others. I shoot with a high elbow and the straight wrist of the C1 fits me perfectly. The only thing I don’t like about the C1 is that the breech end of the barrel is oversized and you have to be careful when cocking not to let the pellet drop out.

    One more thought is that one of the auto loading springers would be handy for a back door gun. Not having to grab and load a pellet would make it quicker to get into action. The only one I have is an El Gamo Survival rifle with an over the barrel tubular magazine. This rifle works great but would be underpowered for the job.

    David Enoch

  10. Anyone know where I can get an extension tube to get a Williams or substitute aperture closer to the eye? I know someone sells adapters so that one can use a German or Anschutz aperture with a Williams Peep, but the Williams does not extend backwards from the end of the spring tube or receiver far enough to use a target aperture.

    • Roamin Greco,

      Maybe this: https://www.creedmoorsports.com/product/gehmann-rear-sight-anti-glare-tube/air-rifle-sights-apps

      Shot the SIG ASP20’s (.177 & .22) today off-hand at 40 yards for a fun active recovery and to keep the gas springs happy as well. Made me happy with both delivering under 2 MOA 5 shot groups. With the Biathlon sling on the .22 got it down to 1.6 MOA.
      Did 500 meter Ergometer row warm-up. Then 10 Single leg per side Romanian Dead Lifts in Bulgarian position with 30Lb dumbbell, 30 second BOSU Ball (flat side up) Mountain Climbers, and 10 low to high Planks on BOSU Ball (round side up) with 30 Lb plate balanced on back; for three rounds yesterday. Cool down was another 500 meter row on the Ergometer.
      It is a Total Core 50 minutes of beatdown but sure makes for better off hand stability with the SIG ASP20s.

      Keep working out hard if medically able.
      Trust me, It really pays off in your seventies.

      shootski

      • If I did that, I would be in a hospital. Shootski, you are incredible. Keep it up. I think my heart rate went up just from reading about your exercise regimen. You have inspired me to walk to the kitchen to get my coffee. Thanks.

        • Roamin Greco,

          Looks like the missing blogs are back.
          Hopefully that link gets you what you need…thread type and size may be an area of incompatibility.

          shootski

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