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Ammo RidgeRunner’s Diana 34 Project: Part Six

RidgeRunner’s Diana 34 Project: Part Six

Today Reader RidgeRunner tells us about his Diana 34 breakbarrel that I tuned. From what he says, the rifle is performing well.

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

Take it away, RidgeRunner.

RidgeRunner’s Diana 34 Project: Part Six
by RidgeRunner

Diana 34 RR
RidgeRunner’s Diana 34

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

This report covers:

  • WOW!
  • The targets
  • Economy?
  • Lead free?
  • Like eating peanuts

WOW!

What can I say but WOW!  I think I have a new “favorite” air rifle.  I can shoot this thing all day and it is so accurate.  This thing will rival an HW30S with ease of cocking and accuracy with almost twice the power.

Before I get to the targets, let me say a few things.  I was shooting ten shots at ten yards at ¾ inch diameter price dots colored black.  Although the sights were quite sharp, these old, tired eyes were having trouble getting a good, clear image of the dots.  That opened my groups up some.

I rested the 34 directly on my bags, which are made of denim and filled with plastic beads.  The 34 will slide real easy on the denim and the beads will easily shift.  My trigger hand held the 34 as light as possible.  The trigger is real sweet.  I think it is a T01.

There will likely be a Part 7 with a scope mounted on this 34, shooting at 25 yards, although I do not anticipate a scope staying on this.  I think a decent front globe and a rear aperture will work nicely with this air rifle.  There might even end up being a Part 8.

There are a bunch of targets.  I told you this thing was easy to shoot.

The targets

Now to the targets. This is where you see the proof.

I started off with one of my favorites, the JSB Exact 8.44-grain.  I shot a 0.89-inch group, but if you throw away that on loner, nine of them were in 0.59-inches.  I told you I was blind.

RR34 JSB 8.44
The 34 likes the JSB Exact 8.44-grain dome. Ten are in 0.89-inches with nine in 0.59-inches at 10 yards.

Next, I switched over to the Barracuda Match 10.65-grain.  Ten were in 0.82-inches but eight were in 0.38-inches.

RR34 Baracuda Match
The Diana 34 put ten Baracuda Match pellets into 0.82-inches, but eight are in 0.38-inches

Next up was the RWS Superdome 8.3-grain.  It did 0.82 inch also with eight in 0.39-inches.

RR34 Superdome
Ten of the RWS Superdomes made a 0.82-inch group, with eight in 0.39-inches.

Economy?

For an economy pellet, I next switched over to the H&N Excite Hammer 7.87-grain.  It did not do too bad with a 0.85-inch group.  There were much better ones though.

RR34 Excite Hammer
Ten H&N Excite Hammer pellets made a 0.85-inch group at 10 yards.

I tried out the JSB Heavy 10.34-grain next.  It made a group that was 0.95-inches, but put nine of them are in 0.55-inches at 10 yards.

RR34 JSB Heavy
The Diana 34 put ten JSB Heavy pellets into 0.95-inches at 10 yards, with nine in 0.55-inches.

I pulled out some Crosman 7.9-grain pellets next.  These were the boxed ones that cannot be had anymore.  They made a 0.67-inch group at 10 yards.

RR34 Premier lite
Ten Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domes made a 0.67-inch group at 10 yards.

This next one was a real surprise for me as I have not had much luck with H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64-grain pellets since I got rid of my Gamo CFX.  These made a group of 0.41-inches.  These will most definitely have to be tried with a scope.

RR34 FTT 8.64
The 34 made a 0.41-inch group with ten H&N Field Target Trophy pellets.

Lead free?

Now, for all of those California Eco Warriors I thought I should try out some non lead pellets.

First up were the H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.71-grain.  At ten yards ten of them went into 0.63-inches.  Not too bad, really.

RR34 FTTG
Ten H&N Field Target Trophy Green pellets went into 0.63-inches at 10 yards.

The last pellet I shot was the H&N Barracuda Green 6.64 Grain. It put ten in .63-inches also.

RR34 Baracuda Green
Ten H&N Baracuda Green pellets made a 0.63-inch group, as well.

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Like eating peanuts

If you add all that up, that was ninety shots.  Not too bad for a shooting session with a sproinger.  Shooting this 34 is like eating a bag of peanuts, I could do it all day.

Yeah, there is most definitely going to have to be a Part 7.  I have to try this out with a scope at 25 yards.

68 thoughts on “RidgeRunner’s Diana 34 Project: Part Six”

  1. RR
    Thank you for your “efforts” to make today’s blog. Maybe it’s time to try that FWB diopter you told me about on this Diana, even if it needs a little more tightening. It might be a surprise, or maybe not so much.

    • I did try to install the FWB diopter on the 34. I could not tighten it enough and I am not willing to modify it to the point that it would. I have already mounted a Hawke 2-7×32 I had on it to try at 25 yards. It will likely end up with another Williams on it.

      • I have had Williams Sights slide down the ramp on my RWS/Diana springers. I fixed that with a piece of common black, steel strapping metal. I found the center and drilled a hole at one end that fit the end-of-ramp stop screw. I ground that end round and eased the resultant raw edge. I then located the Williams base, and cut off the strapping band about 1/2″ longer than the near end of the sight to the stop screw.

        I then too, snips and cut two cuts about a 1/4″ deep parallel to the long end but each in about 3/16″. The two outside cuts I bent up ninety degrees as stops to hit the rear of the Williams sight body. The 1/2″ wide middle was left flat and slid under the sight body.

        While the strapping allows some slight movement, it has enough resistance to stop the creep. You can cut the body to any length that works for you in terms of your resultant sight picture. If you screw up, the material is virtually free where people receive banded shipments.

        I use cold blue on the cut edges and give the rest of it a once-over due to usual scratches on the steel. After that, some Sheath/Barrier on it when one wipes down the metal after shooting keeps it nice.

        Unlike a scope stop, this thing doesn’t move. It isn’t adjustable, but if it is in your “sweet spot” who cares?

        • LFranke,

          This sounds like a very viable solution to not only the issue of the Williams peep movement, but also any issue you may have with scope creep. By varying the length of this, you can compensate for whatever eye relief is needed.

  2. RR,

    Nice review. I look forward to further installments. Don’t stop at 25yds either, if you got easier access to a 50yd range than BB.

    Surprising to hear you haven’t had much luck with H&N FTT. I’ve never had a poor performance from them in any decent air rifle.

    Are lead-free pellets popular over on the left coast?

    • Bob,

      My shooting range is measured out to 100 yards. I can shoot farther, but do not have distance posts any further.

      The FTT has been OK in many of the “old gals” around here, but the JSB Exact has more often done better. Each of these have their favorite and I try to keep those with them.

      As for the Left Coast, the governors and duly elected officials out that way desire to eliminate all lead projectiles from being used in their states. This is why you have been seeing the solid copper bullets and the recent proliferation of alloy pellets. There have actually been great strides made in the accuracy of these alloy pellets, but they still have a ways to go. These “old gals” still prefer soft lead.

      • RR
        Soft lead preference is the opposite of H&N FTTs, especially the oversized ones.
        No wonder these oldies like JSBs and the HW 90 likes the 5.54 FTTs. Just a small difference of power…

      • RR,

        Okay, let’s see how you get on at 25yds and 50yds, you might even end up doing 75yd and 100yd tests to let that old gal really stretch her legs!

        I guess folks on the Left Coast should be grateful they can still buy metal projectiles at all. In a few more years they will probably only be allowed pellets made from biodegradable recycled vegan cardboard.

  3. RidgeRunner,

    thanks for the blog and nice shooting.

    When I shot the Diana 27 for my report (https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2023/11/diana-27/), I also noticed that shooting for ultimate accuracy with open sights is *hard*. When shooting offhand, it’s actually not the worst thing because it somewhat softens the impact of my natural wobble. But when shooting from a rest, I’m not always 100% sure I’m exactly on target.

    May I ask how old your eyes are? Mine are 43 and I don’t need glasses yet.

    I suppose if you shoot the 34 with a scope, it may well turn out to be very accurate.

    I’m currently debating whether I should shoot the Diana 25D S some more or wrap it up. I’m getting good to very good results, but not yet HW30S territory.

    Stephan

    • Stephan,

      I would keep at the Diana, if for no other reason than you enjoy it. It may never equal the HW30. So.

      These old eyes are 67. They have looked over many a sight and through many a scope over the years.

      • RR,

        the 27 isn’t going anywhere. I really like it. I will also at some point have a look inside and do some maintenance if necessary.

        Also, not every gun needs to be the best at everything. That’s the point of having different ones I think 🙂

        Stephan

  4. RR,

    This is a good fire-starter blog! Thank you for ignition 🙂 D34 vs. HW30 it has to be hot. I think everything against HW30 will turn to a fire fast 🙂 You should now come back with one-hole accuracy targets like “ohhh this time I took it more seriously, here you go”. 🙂

    Like “eating a bag of peanuts” – this kind of shooting I know 🙂 and it is the best one.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if RR’s 34 can match the HW30S.

      I think my 31 can and the 25 DS is getting fairly close (and we don’t know the condition of the spring and piston seal yet).

      • Stephan,

        It may match the HW30S in accuracy, but the HW30S is smaller and lighter than the 34. This 34 also has more power. It is in UK hunting territory with a usable accuracy.

        Even if this becomes my “new favorite”, I do not see the HW30S going anywhere. 😉

    • tomek,

      Normally, a Diana 34 really would not be in the same class as an HW30. You and everyone else need to remember that this 34 has been tuned down quite a bit. A stock 34 is way too powerful for truly accurate shooting IMMHO. This is why I asked BB to calm it down some.

      Although the stock is kind of “plain Jane”, the parts that are metal are superb. It is also more adult size where the HW30 is far more compact and more suitable for the smaller, younger shooters. This 34 may even end up with a new dress. 😉

  5. I am so glad that you folks seemingly enjoyed this little blurb of mine. It encourages me to continue trying to share what little I have learned from my experiences. Just remember, you asked for it. 😉

    • RR,

      Sorry for the late comment, as usual I am catching up with this week’s blogs. I did want to let you know that I did enjoy the report and I do look forward for more.info on your experience with this great design. Very nice write up R.R.!

      My 74 years old eyes do not do well enough for small groups unassisted so I am interested to see what a scope will add to your experience with the D34..

      Best,
      Henry

      • Henry,

        I have a Hawke 2-7X32 mounted on it right now. If I get a calm day with no rain this weekend, I hope to get in some targets. I do believe this lady will not be a disappointment. I do like the idea of putting a peep on her for some fun shooting though.

  6. RidgeRunner,

    Impressive shooting, Sir!

    The one detuned springer, uh, sproinger I have is an older HW77 with what the seller described as an HW30 spring in it. Hmmm. Now I have greater incentive to put my basement range back together.

    Michael

      • RidgeRunner,

        ;^)

        Those old HW77s are nice shooters. Mine is pretty plain looking, but it is nice shooting. The weight of the cocking lever ahead of the action and the sweet Rekord trigger make for maximum smoothness for a sproinger. I imagine detuning one like mine is would be a simple matter. Most retailers don’t offer them now. If I recall correctly, they were the inspiration for the Air Arms TX200.

        Michael

        • Michael,

          I still see them for sale around about. Once they are broken in good, they do not really need to be detuned. They are nice shooters and not much more powerful than my Diana 34 is now. My old Gamo CFX would have been fantastic detuned a bit. Ah well, live and learn.

  7. RR

    Thanks for this much anticipated report.

    While every barrel is different my D 34 prefers JSB 10.34 and AA 10.34 pellets. Next best were the brown box Premiers in 7.9 and 10.3 grains separated by head diameter. My rifle can go head to head with my Weihrauch 30S and is only tuned down with TIAT. Cocking is much easier after thousands of shots than when new. The T06 trigger is almost as good as a Rekord.

    My 34 isn’t especially hold sensitive as POI isn’t affected much by hand or bag placement. However it delivers the very best groups when balanced directly on a narrow leather saddle shaped bag. Only about 3 inches of bag touches the rifle which likes to be rested on its balance point. I use a popular priced CP 20 power variable scope still available for under $100. This scope is good for casual target shooting and is not for quick target acquisition. This is a parallax error advantage because the eye is forced to be in the same place every shot. I have not messed with this scope ever. It stays on! I can be nuts about switching scopes, peeps, dots on everything I own. Just not this one.

    I predict you will get groups at 25 yards that will have you smiling.

    Deck

  8. Well done report RR, thanks! Looking forward to the next one. Have you tried the new Benjamin single die match grade pellets? I have been trying them recently and have gotten some of the smallest groups ever (for me) with the Diana Chaser with a scope at 10-meters.

      • The Benjamins were the only match grade pellets that I had here. And they do quite well in the Diana Chaser. They are a very tight fit in the Baikal 46-M pistol though. Thankfully, today I received the RWS pellets that you and BB like for the 46-M. I am not sure these are exactly what you suggested because the weight might be a little heavier. But they are close. And they fit the barrel of the pistol very well. I have only shot 5 pellets so far. And I think they are going to be the cat’s meow. Thanks!

  9. Well……….we’ve talked all around it but I can’t help but put a finer point on this important topic.

    It usually takes a lot of time and money for new airgun shooters to learn that buying a spring airgun for power or tuning a spring airgun for more power is very often a dead end road whose journey is filled with disappointment.

    The path to spring airgun nirvana is buying a powerful airgun and then detuning it. Better yet, send it to B.B. and he will do it for free (just kidding!)

    • Kevin,

      You bet you are kidding! 😉

      There is nothing special about BB Pelletier. Anything he can do anyone else can do also. BB writes about it so others will know what they have to do.

      BB

    • Kevin,

      I learned that lesson many moons ago. Since then I have always been a fan of lower powered sproingers. I even have my own spring compressor so that I may overhaul and/or tune my sproingers.

      I really enjoy reading of BB’s exploits in the repairing and tuning as it teaches me so much without all the painful experiences.

    • Kevin,

      Good point.

      I wonder what the sweet spot is for detuning a Diana 350 Magnum, that is to say the muzzle energy threshold above which accuracy begins to deteriorate.

      • You may never know unless you do it yourself. I suppose you could get a thinner spring or clip a few coils. However, the point of the 350 Magnum is power. Why detune it to get a long, big, heavy, plinker? For that, get a Diana Two Forty or 21.

  10. RR,

    thanks for taking the time out to do this blog. I suspect your groups are this wide and not circular due to fatigue as you progressed through your testing as well as a slightly different sight picture. That big black dot with nothing to concentrate on is really tough. Looking forward to the results with a scope but might I suggest a slightly different target that allows you to concentrate on the same spot every time?

    Fred formerly of the Peeples Demokratik Republik of NJ now happily in GA and freezing!

    • Fred,

      My typical target for scopes is an X. I can then use the scope and focus very keenly on the point the lines cross. Yes that dot was not the best target, but it works fairly well at short ranges with open sights.

      The truth is that my groups were tightening up as I learned the targets and the rifle.

  11. RidgeRunner and B.B.,

    This has been a fun and more importantly informative read for the Dark Sider.
    Looking forward to… The rest of the story…

    Thank you RidgeRunner for your efforts… withholding your BZ until you finish with at least a Part 6, LOL.

    Thank you!

    shootski

      • RidgeRunner,

        Ever since i came to these United States of America i have had digital issues! I learned to count with my digits using my Thumb as 1 and Index Finger as 2; and so forth.

        Well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

        When i went back to visit Austria i got two beers when i held up my Index Finger so it isn’t all bad having these digital issues ;^p
        Especially when you are thirsty.

        shootski

        • I have been known to use my thumb as one myself. It is nice to know that about the index finger though.

          Now, I know that if you want to flip someone off in the UK, you use the backwards “Peace” sign. How do you do such in Europe? Not that I would ever do such.

          • RidgeRunner,

            The bird is becoming more common. I do still practice my Italian which seems so much more FORCEFUL to me. Of course if you do bend your left elbow and strike it in the crook with your right hand you could find yourself in prison. So you need to massage the left arm’s bicep as if you have a cramp.

            In Greece you just show the palm of your hand like what we do here in the USA to get a car to stop. That will get a real reaction!

            We had a Cultural Training class before going overseas for duty on all the simple gestures that could get you in BIG trouble fast. Did it help?…maybe. Sailors just being Sailors!

            shootski

            • The elbow is one that is recognized here in the USA and so is the gesture with the thumb flipping out of the mouth, the palm gesture would probably be lost on most over here. Even the backward “Peace” sign is over many of these folks head.

              I like the American Eagle, ten times more powerful than the bird.

  12. RidgeRunner,
    Thank you for this excellent report and all the shooting you had to do for it.
    (Although, I suspect you enjoyed the shooting a bunch, and did not mind it at all!)
    You’re getting some great accuracy, and I’m sure scoping it will wring out some more.
    It looks like BB hit a real sweet spot with his tune on this rifle, and that’s great for you. 😉
    Wishing you much happy shooting with this gal,
    dave

  13. “RR enj?!” Who to blame for that? – WordPress or iPhone – couldn’t edit that. $&@#%!!

    Ok, here goes: RR, enjoyed this read almost as much as hanging with you at the NC airgun show. That is a handsome shooter you’ve got there. Never part with it.

    • FM,

      Glad to “hear” from you again. This is not going anywhere. Well, if I am offered an outrageous adoption fee, I might let her move out. You can bet it will be outrageous though.

      Hopefully we will both make the next show.

      • From your lips to God’s ears and hopefully FM’s mainspring does not give out before then. By the way, still have not found the required Roundtooit tool to mount a scope on your former Maximus and enjoy shooting it with googly eyes. Roundtooits are hard to come by this time of year at Casa FM. Wonder if Pyramyd carries them? 😀

    • Ridgerunner, I would have wanted to be the first to thank you for your guest blog, but life happens. I’m finally catching a break and can congratulate you on a great blog and a great rifle. I look forward to the next installment. To me, what those groups tell me is that while one pellet may end up being the best pellet, your rifle shoots most pellets pretty well, and mostly to the same point of impact, which is not only remarkable, but really convenient when you are out of the “golden” pellet.

      Taking a page from your book, in the unlikely event she would like to come visit the Northern Shore, please let me know.

  14. RidgeRunner,
    Yes, thank you for the guest blog, and good shooting.
    Like the Air Venturi Bronco, I let the original Diana 34 pass me by while I was thinking of something else. Congrats on getting yourself one and then letting BB fix it up and making a fine shooter out of it. Good move! Well, I’m officially very jealous now, but I’m glad that you got what you wanted. Looking forward to more. Have fun!
    Regards,
    Will

    • There are lots of 34s available at decent prices, that would certainly justify buying the tune kit. No need to be jealous, go get yourself one. Just try to avoid the versions with the non-adjustable triggers. Heck, there may be a few refurbished ones at P.A. just after the holidays.

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