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Diana 27

Today Stephan Szlosze whose blog name is CptKlotz tells us about his new/old Diana 27. If you read the comments you know he recently received this. Let’s sit back and let him tell us about it.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me at blogger@pyramydair.com.

Take it away, Stephan.

My Diana 27
by CptKlotz

Diana 25
My new/old Diana 27

This report covers:

  • The story so far…
  • The Diana 27
  • Apples and Oranges
  • Dimensions and appearance
  • Design and build quality
  • Trigger
  • Shot cycle
  • Sights
  • Accuracy
  • Conclusion

The story so far…

A while ago, I reviewed the Diana Twenty-One FBB which I thought was “just OK“ and the Weihrauch HW30S which is more than twice the price but very close to perfection for my tastes.

I thought it was a shame that Diana didn’t have a product like that. All the premium rifles with T06 triggers are pretty hefty magnum guns that produce at least 20 joule/15 foot pounds of energy.

It wasn’t always like this, however…

The Diana 27

You might think the Weihrauch HW35 is a long-lived airgun and you wouldn’t be wrong. It has been around since the 1950s. It has nothing on the Diana 27, however, which was introduced back in 1910 and made until 1986. The trigger systems, stocks and sights have changed from time to time, but the basic system looks very similar in all iterations.

The 27 is not only a classic, it also happens to be the favourite airgun of a certain Godfather. Later models also have a pretty interesting trigger mechanism that is supposed to be very good. All of this made me curious and I couldn’t resist buying a 1967 27 on eGun.de.

The seller told me he had bought this rifle for his wife, who never happened to actually shoot it, so he sold it again. The owner before that had restored the stock and installed new seals and a new spring.

Apples and Oranges

If you want to review things, a point of reference is useful. The 27 was around DM 150 in 1972. Adjusted for inflation, that would make it a € 290 gun today. That’s close to what an HW30S costs right now, so that will be my comparison.

Given how much I like my still new HW30S, this is going to be tough for a 56 year old rifle but we will see…

Dimensions and appearance

Diana 27-vs-HW-30
The 27 is similar in size to the HW30S, but slimmer and longer.

Diana 27 stock
Diana 27 stock.

This gun has a plain beech stock with a nice grain to it. The butt of the stock has some horizontal grooves machined into it and a rubber button at the top to help with grip (which is surprisingly effective).

Diana 27 butt
Diana 27 butt.

While not the most ergonomic, it works fine for me and like the HW30S, it feels just fine when I shoulder it.

Stock up on Air Gun Ammo

Design and build quality

Diana 27-barrel-pivot
Diana 27 barrel pivot.

The 27 has a lot of obvious Diana DNA or rather other Diana guns have a lot of 27 DNA. Look at a current 34/35 and the shapes of the action, cocking lever and barrel look very similar, as do some of the available stock designs.

This Diana is 56 years old and has probably seen quite a bit of use. It is in remarkable shape all things considered. The finish isn’t as deep, rich and shiny as it probably was over half a century ago. Maybe it has just been worn or maybe it has been re-blued at some point. I can see no signs of rust.

The piston movement felt and sounded a little rough when cocking the gun, but then the spring looked pretty dry. I have added some moly grease and extra moly powder to the spring and cocking arm and things already seem to be improving.

The barrel lock is easy to open and close yet still feels tight and precise.

I believe this gun has received a synthetic piston seal at some point. I poured some silicone oil into the transfer port and it doesn’t seem that the piston seal soaked up a lot of it. So it is probably either synthetic or already very well-oiled.

Trigger

The Diana 27 has a quirky trigger design with three ball-bearings that lock the piston rod in place. BB has commented on how nice these triggers can be.

The spring for the trigger weight is not adjustable and stiffer compared to how I have adjusted my T06 and Rekord triggers. When I got the rifle, the second stage was fairly heavy but broke cleanly. I followed BB’s instructions and was able to adjust the second stage to a light but crisp letoff.

This trigger really is nice. Rekords and T06s may be a little nicer still, but the difference is not huge.

The information available seems to suggest that this trigger design was introduced in the 1950s when the Diana company resumed production of air rifles after WW II. That would make the trigger a contemporary of the Rekord trigger and much, much younger than the T06.

Shot cycle

This rifle was made in 1967 which is three years before the 7.5 joule limit was introduced in Germany. Neither 27s nor HW 30s are powerhouses and they may produce something like 9 or 10 joules with a full-power spring. It seems plausible that this 27 is in that power range as it is a bit harder to cock and seems to shoot a little faster than my 7.5 joule HW30S, too.

Both rifles feel “quick” due to having small pistons without a ton of travel.

I find the shot cycle of the 27 very pleasant without any vibration. Since it seems to be plenty powerful for what I do, I put a generous amount of moly grease and moly powder on the spring.

The rifle diesels slightly with every shot. You hardly notice it, though, unless you try to look through the barrel. The smell is hardly noticeable at all.

Sights

This 27 doesn’t have a scope rail. I don’t consider this a huge loss since I like shooting offhand with open sights. It will limit my ability to extract the maximum accuracy, though.

The open sights on the 27 are fairly high-quality:

Diana-27-rear-sight
Diana 27 rear sight.

The rear sight looks almost identical to the one on my Diana LP 5 G pistol. It just has a slimmer base since it is mounted on the barrel while on the LP5, it is mounted on the compression chamber. It is a micrometer sight that adjusts for windage and elevation. Like the one on the HW30, it has a selection of four different notches (square and U-shaped with different widths) which I like.

 Diana-27-front-sight
Diana 27 front sight.

The front sight is a simple globe with a pointed post. The resulting sight picture is pretty clear, but the “pointy” front-sight post makes it a little harder to judge whether the front sight is at the same height as the rear sight. The front sight looks rusty in the picture though it isn’t. It must be the lighting.

Accuracy

Even though my distance is only 10 meters, I can’t shoot as accurately with open sights as I can with a scope. To be able to get a somewhat fair comparison, I shot both the HW30S and the Diana 27 with open sights.

All the groups shown below are 10-shot groups shot from a bag rest.

Diana-27-HW30S-HN-Sport-group
This is the group of H&N Sport pellets I shot with my HW30S as a baseline. I am probably not the greatest shot with open sights, but I think it is pretty decent.


While I also tried Finale Match Heavy pellets, this group with the affordable H&N Sport pellets was among the smaller ones.

Diana 27 Qiang Yuan Olympic group
Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets produced this interesting group

 Diana 27 R10 group
The RWS R10 produced this group that I would consider the best of the bunch, especially if you exclude the outliers.

I wasn’t quite able to match the group I shot with the HW30S, so maybe the Weihrauch is a little bit more accurate. On the other hand, some of the Diana 27 groups have as many as 8 shots in a very tight hole with two outliers which might be blamed on sight errors or other mistakes.

While I can’t prove it, I have a hunch that the Diana is actually more accurate than I can shoot it with open sights.

Also, I haven’t opened the 27 yet, so we don’t know what the insides of the powerplant actually look like.

Conclusion

This is my oldest airgun yet and was an interesting thing to try. I can absolutely see why many people like this model. It is compact, lightweight, quiet and fairly easy to cock, so you can shoot it all day without tiring out. It has a pleasant shot cycle and a good trigger.

Shooting it has a simplicity to it since it just covers the basics and covers them well.

Do I like it as much as my HW30S? This is where things get a little tricky. These rifles are 56 years apart in age. The HW30S has more features and I like the ergonomics of the stock a little better (I know opinions on that vary). The HW30S feels a little smoother when cocking it and closing the barrel.

Still… The 27 holds its own amazingly well given both the age of the design and the age of this particular rifle. Yes, my HW30S is the better gun, but I still really enjoy the 27 both in relative and absolute terms. It is a joy to shoot and I would easily recommend it to people who like classics and can get one for a decent price.

So… how about it, GSG / Diana? I bet a new 27 with a T06 trigger would be one hell of a gun.

As for that accuracy thing… There might be a follow-up to this report. Stay tuned.

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.

32 thoughts on “Diana 27”

  1. Stephan,

    Thank you for this very interesting post! It is nice to see old beauty in action!
    Do you also think that these “old ones” have some spirit inside? That’s why you can’t tell directly HW30s is better.
    Form my experience the barrel pivot screw tend to not be tight as it should be to keep the barrel closed for sure. It is because the security bolt does not match in all position to keep it tight. I used some tricks to put some wire in between them to hold it tighter.

    • Tomek,

      if I understand “spirit” to mean “character” or “lasting quality”, I would agree.

      There are two components to this:

      1. I like quality and things that last a very long time. I think “denial to the trash” was the phrase you coined, right? This is a simple air rifle, but it is obviously high quality. Also, as long as coiled springs and leather or plastic seals can be manufactured, it should be possible to keep this thing going. I chose the “hard” comparison with the new HW30S for a reason: The 27 would walk all over something like the Twenty-One because it was made in an age when things were more expensive but also higher quality.

      2. I have a respect for smart designs that achieve a lot with little resources. It’s probably not the hardest thing in the world to build a US$ 4000 PCP match air rifle that is really accurate and ergonomic. Apart from the cost of purchase, it will require a lot of expensive maintenance. Compare that to an FWB300S which does a very similar thing with springs and mechanical components… It works almost as well, costs almost nothing to maintain and can also probably be kept in a working state almost indefinitely.
      I think the 27 is in a similar category.

      As for the accuracy, I’m not sure I’m ready to declare the HW30S the winner just yet. I know Diana guns can be very, very accurate and the barrel on this one seems fine. I guess I’ll have to open it up some time to see what is really going on in there.

      Stephan

      • Stephan,

        Exactly, the spirit is character and it has to be long lasting thing due to quality.
        Denial to the trash indeed. Simple things usually tend to last for ever 🙂
        What I meant with the barrel pivot bolt is, when it is not tight enough it may have influence on the accuracy. Some strange “out of one group” jumps are usually the symptom. Before you go to dismantle it completely you can try check the tightness there.

        • Tomek,

          I understand what you’re saying about the pivot bolt and I agree. I’ve seen it on other Diana guns. My impression is that this one is quite well-adjusted, though. When the rifle is cocked, the barrel will stay in position at any angle when I don’t hold it, yet it moves without much resistance.

          Stephan

  2. Thanks for the well-done review. It’s amazing to me that this vintage rifle is in such great shape. Was the target shooting done off-hand? Those are some excellent groups no matter how you shot; but if off-hand, you are very good at it. Looking forward to your further exploration of the accuracy.

  3. Stephan,

    Thank you so much for your take on this classic. What a beautiful specimen you have there. If for some very strange reason you decide it should go to a new home, I have a place here at RRHFWA for it.

  4. Stephan,

    Thanks for the your review of this fine old rifle!

    With classics like the Diana 27 being difficult to find here in Canada I’m more into modern airguns (love my R7) but I still have and shoot the 60 year old Slavia 618 that I bought as a teenager.

    Cheers!
    Hank

  5. Good report! Other than the dimensions and trigger, I feel the same way about my prewar Diana 25 that I got a couple of months ago, Great old gals! I did mount a scope to mine though. The recoil is so minimal that I used a quality epoxy to mount a pic rail. Holding up fine and reversible with a heat gun. Like you, I like it almost as much as my HW30s which is my favorite springer.

    Bob

  6. Stephan,
    A very nice blog, you gave us a fine objective overview on your sweet Diana 27, but the addition of your own subjective observations rounded the report out nicely. It was a good read. Congrats on the great find!
    Regards,
    Will

  7. Very well written piece.
    I have both a Diana 27 and a Beeman R7. I prefer the 27. I like the slim stock. I like that I can carry the 27 with my hand wrapped around the barrel and forestock at the balance point of the rifle. I can’t explain it, but that just feels right. My only complaint about the 27 is that when I shoot it the front of the trigger guard bangs against the back of my trigger finger. After a while, it starts to bother me.

    David Enoch

    • ” I like that I can carry the 27 with my hand wrapped around the barrel and forestock at the balance point of the rifle. I can’t explain it, but that just feels right.”

      David,
      I know EXACTLY what you mean!
      I’ve got a .177-caliber Haenel model 1 from Frank B with which I can do that.
      And I like it so much that I just got this .22-caliber Haenel model 1 from him as well.
      As you can see, it also passes your wraparound test…very cool. 😉
      Blessings to you,
      dave

  8. CptKlotz,

    Thank you Stephan for a well written and constructed Guest Blog.
    Although i am a PCP/Dark Side early adopter i can appreciate and regard quality. Given the newer Spring Powerplant guns replaced the early/older PCP powerplants on the basis of economics the Diana 27 was one of the airguns that allowed far more people to shoot which was and still is a good thing.

    Thank you again,

    shootski

  9. Captain K,

    Nice report! Seems like a fun little gun.
    At the end you say, “I would easily recommend it to people who like classics and can get one for a decent price.”

    And what would you consider that to be??

    -Yogi

    • Yogi,

      good question… I’m in Germany and don’t really know what US prices are like.

      I think I paid around € 140 for this, including a rifle bag. It might have gone a little higher in price because it precedes the 7.5 joule thing. Technically, I’m only allowed to shoot this devastating weapon on “official” shooting ranges, but I can own it without a permit 🙂

      Stephan

  10. Stephan, great report on a wonderful example of a Diana 27. I hope she gives you many years of enjoyment. Personally, for target shooting, I find the pointed front sight very hard to aim consistently. So on my Diana springers with that same front sight I have cut a piece of black electrical wire insulation to size and slipped it over the front sight blade so that what you see is a square post for a “6 o’clock hold.” Then I also experiment with the best place on the forestock to rest the rifle or to hold the rifle using the “artillery hold.” Add to that the search for the golden pellet, and you have many hours of shooting enjoyment.

    I have Winchester Models 422, 423, and 425 (which are Diana 22, 23, and 25), and a Diana 24J, among others. I am wondering if the 24 (and 26 and 28) essentially replaced the 25 and 27, and then was itself replaced with the “two forty.” But I agree with you that bringing back a quality Diana in that “HW 30S” class of springers would be nice. I would suggest adding the classic Diana globe sight with interchangeable inserts to go with the rear sight with the notch selector.

    But perhaps Diana has already determined that the market is not big enough for two HW30S class springers.

  11. CptKlotz,

    that’s some shooting !
    I expected to see bigger groups.
    My Diana 27s don’t shoot that well.
    Now I know, it’s me! 🙂

    Thank you for including those 7 airgun and 4 target card photos ! 🙂
    Would you include pictures of any markings on your Diana 27 in part 2 please? Thanks. 🙂

  12. I’ve owned quite a few 27s over the years, of several different variants. Gotta say, the butt-pimple 3-ball is my favorite. Just the perfect balance of handling, power, firing behavior, and trigger. Nothing else, before or since, has found that balance. Only gun that came close was its successor, the original narrow-tube Diana 28, which came with a scope rail. Later 28s came with the same comp tube as the 34, but were de-stroked. The original 28 is rare as hen’s teeth, and I had one for years, but stupidly sold it. Your 27 is actually the BEST of all the various versions. ENJOY!

  13. Stephan

    Count me in with the many readers who appreciate your report. I have more than a few German guns (both air and others) plus some with Lothar Walther barrels and love the quality. Will be fun to see how the comparison with the Weihrauch goes. My Diana 34 can compete with my HW30S evenly at 25 yards for accuracy.

    Deck

  14. CptKlotz / Stephan,

    Thanks for the your excellent review of this fine rifle. I share a preference for these type of rifles that – if modestly taken care off – will still be enjoyed by my grand-grand children. Assuming that the powers in charge at that time do not consider its ‘devastating power’ (you made me laugh) a menace to society.

    A couple of questions. Did you check (or clean) the barrel? Also, is it possible that the trigger is inconsistent leading to the flyers? I saw that in an old springer with caked dried lubricant.

    By the way, my favorite rifle is a HW-30S. Oh well . . . . Thanks again!

    Henry

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