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Accessories Diana 34 Easy Modular System (EMS) Synthetic: Part 6

Diana 34 Easy Modular System (EMS) Synthetic: Part 6

Diana 34 EMS
Diana 34 EMS with synthetic stock.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

This report covers:

  • History
  • More
  • Today
  • Mainspring compressor
  • Action apart
  • Remove the steel screw and bushing from the trigger
  • Some important things
  • What happened
  • Issue two
  • The deal
  • Finally
  • Why this is a big deal
  • More?

Today we go back three years to uncover a great idea that was poorly executed but now may have been made even better than imagined.

History

The Diana 34 EMS was showcased at the 2020 SHOT Show. Like the name says, it was supposed to be easy to convert calibers and powerplants because it was built as a modular system. It still says that on the description page of the Pyramyd AIR website.

That was the plan. But the plan was never realized — until today — possibly. I say possibly because what little exposure I have had to this new system so far looks promising, but I still have to test it.

First off, all that I will tell you about does not originate from Diana. That’s good because their current focus is not on the 34 EMS. We have lamented the lack of gas spring powerplant conversions and different barrels that were promised at the launch of the EMS.  Today that changes in front of your eyes, as I install a Vortek Diana 34EMS gas spring conversion kit in my .177-caliber Diana 34 EMS.

More

But wait, there’s more! I told you on Day Two of this year’s Pyramyd Air Cup that I shot a new gas piston from Vortek. I told you that I drilled a 3-inch white flower growing on the berm 35 yards away with the first shot from that rifle, shooting offhand! Was that skill or luck? Yes, it was definitely one of those two. Did I take a second shot? No. BB is old enough to have learned some things along the way. That rifle was a Weihrauch, but its gas spring was similar to this one.

Today

Today I will install a Vortek Diana 34 EMS gas spring conversion kit in my .177-caliber Diana 34 EMS. Before I started I shot the rifle a couple times to try to remember how it shot. As I recalled, the rifle was quick and smooth with just a small thump when it fired. Okay, let’s go!

Mainspring compressor

Step one was to remove the stock. Then the rifle was installed in the mainspring compressor. Like all recent (1980 to now) Diana breakbarrels, two pins hold the powerplant together. Put a little tension on the end cap and drift them out.

Diana 34 EMS mainspring compressor
The barreled action is in the mainspring compressor.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

Action apart

In less than two minutes the 34 EMS action was apart and the mainspring and trigger assembly were laying on my workbench.

Diana 34EMS spring trigger
In less than two minutes the powerplant was apart. This picture is telling because something is missing. I’ll cover that soon.

Remove the steel screw and bushing from the trigger

With the trigger out the next step is to remove the large Allen screw that holds a large steel bushing to the front of the trigger assembly. 

Diana 34EMS trigger screw
Remove the 5mm Allen screw that holds the steel bushing to the front of the trigger.

Diana 34EMS trigger screw out
The screw comes out to release the steel bushing.

Some important things

I was 5 minutes into the conversion and figured I could have the rifle back together and shooting in 10-12 minutes, start to finish. BUT — and this is a big one — look at the picture of the mainspring above. It’s missing something. It took me 30 minutes and a call to Tom Gore of Vortek on a Saturday to find out what it was.

Tom Gore — you specifically asked me to tell the readers how this conversion went, and like I just said, it’s a job that takes less than 15 minutes because you designed this kit and Diana designed the rifle to not require the piston to be removed. That was brilliant. BUT, Tom, you overlooked something that I’m sure is all-too-obvious to you, but to the great unwashed like me, is an obstacle. If what happened to me happens to someone else — problemo!

Your printed directions say to now insert the Vortek gas spring into the piston. Well, I couldn’t do that because the piston rod was in the way! When I asked you about that you said, “What piston rod?”

Then we had a 10 minute conversation about the piston rod that you thought wasn’t there. As we were talking and I was examining the 34 EMS in front of me (that you thought for a moment might have been an old-style Diana 34 — shame on you!) the rod fell out of the gun. YES, TOM — THAT PISTON ROD!

Diana 34EMS piston rod
The Diana 34 EMS piston rod in below the mainspring. Yes, folks, there is a piston rod inside the Diana 34 EMS piston. It isn’t attached to anything but it is there.

What happened

That rod is SUPPOSED to come out of the gun with the mainspring. But my rifle was factory greased heavily enough that it remained stuck inside the piston. It is not attached to the piston in any way, but mine was stuck inside by grease. It does need to come out because the Vortek gas spring installs in its place.

Diana 34EMS Vortek gas spring
The Vortek 34EMS gas spring. The small black cap on the right fits over the threads to hold the lock washer in place until installation.

Now all you do is screw the threads on the back of the Vortek gas spring into the corresponding threads inside the trigger assembly. And here comes issue number two

Issue two

I tried to screw the threads into the trigger assembly but was unsuccessful until I REALLY tried! Then I assembled the rifle and tested it. It wouldn’t cock! I disassembled the rifle again, looked at every step of the assembly, then put it together and tried again. It still wouldn’t cock.

I called Tom Gore a second time and asked whether the steel bushing in the front of the trigger assembly is supposed to remain there after the Allen screw comes out. Because if it is, I will need a special thin doglegged 9 mm open-end wrench to tighten the threads on the rear of the Vortek gas spring. With the bushing in place they were only caught by one and one-half threads in the trigger assembly. To this Tom responded, “The steel bushing? I’m not sure what you mean.” Another ten-minute conversation ensued with nothing resolved. So I hung up and disassembled the rifle a third time.

The deal

The deal is, when the original Diana corporation — not the guys who own the company today, the previous guys — designed the EMS, it was designed to be modular. That’s why the piston rod isn’t attached to the piston. It can come out and a gas spring similar to the one seen here but different in many important ways, Tom Gore assured me, can be installed in its place. The steel bushing that you see in the photo of the trigger above and out of the trigger below was designed to accept the gas spring Diana intended to make — but it was a gas spring that was never built. Gore has seen a prototype, but that’s as far as Diana took it. The Vortek gas spring uses a steel lock washer for that same job. Looky here.

Diana 34EMS Vortek spring installed
The Vortek gas spring uses JUST the lockwasher that comes with it. The steel bushing that Diana put in the trigger IS NOT REQUIRED.

And by the way, the Vortek gas spring is under one-quarter-inch of preload. You still need a mainspring compressor to assemble it in the powerplant because the unit is pressurized to 145 bar.

Finally

Okay, folks, my 34 EMS finally has the Vortek gas spring installed. What could have been and should have been a 10 to 12-minute job at best took 90 minutes and three phone conversations (I had to send Tom a photo of the completed job and get verification to be sure that big steel bushing wasn’t required) to complete. That being said, the rifle now cocks fine and shoots even smoother than it did with the steel spring, which was already very smooth. This kit is a BIG deal!

Why this is a big deal

Finally the EMS is what it was supposed to be — both easy to work on and modular. Vortek also plans to produce and sell replacement barrels for the EMS and Gore tells me they are dead-nuts accurate. Of course he does. We will test and determine. So — my .177 will also become a .22 that I will test for you, plus I will show you how the barrel swap is made. You 34 EMS owners can now have the rifle you thought you bought. And, there is more.

More?

Remember the Sig ASP20 breakbarrel rifle that Sig doesn’t support? Well, Elvis may have left the building, but Elvis Junior has arrived. If this rifle tests out we may have a breakbarrel that completely replaces the ASP20. We will know as this test progresses. Best of all, Vortek does all this with the blessings of Diana! So this one should stick around — especially when the new owners see what’s about to happen to the sales of this airgun!

46 thoughts on “Diana 34 Easy Modular System (EMS) Synthetic: Part 6”

  1. B.B.,

    ”…we may have a breakbarrel that completely replaces the ASP20…”

    Maybe.

    But i don’t think putting the VORTEK Gas Spring in the Diana EMS alone is going to make up for some of the other SUPERIOR build technology/methodology found in the SIG SSG ASP20.

    The EMS still will be hampered by the lack of a good/modern attachment point for scope rings at a minimum.

    Tom, you need to get over your apparent issues with SIG AIR and their business decisions.
    The limited number of airguns they built are going to be around for a long time and are well loved by most of the folks who own and have shot, continue to shoot, them regularly.

    Just my opinion as an owner.

    shootski

  2. Years back I picked up a dual caliber interchangeable barrel Beeman Bison, AKA Silver Kodiak, AKA, Sportsman RS2. It was promoted as being a .177 target rifle and .22 pest control rifle. It could shoot .177 at
    1,000 fps but I was not aware of any accuracy problems then. It’s a big rifle so I left it in .22.

    Now I believe there will be aiming problems after a barrel change when you have a scope mounted.
    It may be a way to go if you only plan on having one air rifle or perhaps on a trip away from home, but it is not going to be convenient.

    Otherwise, I look at interchangeability as options you decide on when you purchase it. More like a Chassis set up with possible changes available in the future if desired. We now know having a fixed power is not too compatible with different calibers unless its borderline for both, but that depends on the shooters desire.

  3. BB,

    I have a very nice Diana 34. 🙂 Perhaps the new owners should take a step back. Diana used to make some very fine airguns.

    I never bought into this EMS stuff. If someone gives me one, I might hang onto it but I seriously doubt it. I do not care for the stock or the glowy thingys. Once upon a time I played with gas stuff in my sproingers, but I myself am not convinced that is as long lasting as it needs to be. My curiousity is more towards variable and rebuildable gas sproings.

    P.S.
    Some important things
    … As were (we) were talking …

    • RR,

      Fixed the typo. Thanks.

      As for the EMS concept I miss the Diana 34, but if this one can be even better, I’m for it. If this gas spring delivers, and it feels like it can, and if the barrel swap works, I’m in!

      And remember — the 34 EMS comes to you with a coiled steel spring. The gas spring is an option.

      BB

      • BB,

        The wood stock might be alright. Get rid of those glowy thingys. The steel spring works. I do wish it had the rebuildable and variable gas spring. That would be a good option.

        I do envy Yogi for having that Diana 340 N-Tec. I would really like to have one of those in the Luxus version.

        You are really going to have to show me something to have me want to give up this 34 I now have.

  4. B.B.

    What a great series. Unfortunately some of the above posters do not realize all the corporate changes that Diana was going through when the EMS was first brought to market. Just like they do not realize the trouble that SIG was in in Germany when the ASP20 was introduced. That said,
    Glad you and Vortek are bringing out the full potential of the EMS. For people who have never shot a gas ram springer, they can shoot lovely. My Diana 340 N-tec is superb!
    The only issue that I do not see if you addressed in your Part 6 is whether the Diana resettable safety still is resettable?

    Looking forward to more reports on this important airgun that failed to be full supported by the manufacturer after initial production.

    -Yogi

    • Yogi,

      Yes, the safety is resettable. The trigger on this rifle is completely different that any we know from Diana. I wanted to wait until Part 7 to discuss it, as today’s report was long.

      BB

    • Yogi,

      Some of us can actually read the German/European Business intelligence/news in the Native Languages.
      The ASP20 had nothing to do with the Radical Antiwar types that instigated/investigated the German SIG company’s sales and transfers of arms.
      My personal feelings are that more bombs, bullets, mortars, rounds, and more, and more of everything need to be shipped to any number of countries…after all money makes the World go round, the World go…money, money, money! Sung to Lets go Brandon’s tune!

      shootski

      • shootski,

        Guess you did not read the German Constitution? Yes, the world has changed since then.
        The sale from USA SIG to Brazil was illegal.
        Yes Brandon go, go for four more years…

        -Y

        • Yogi,

          It was to Columbia. The German Constitution forbids selling weapons to countries in conflict outside of formal alliances such as OTAN/NATO.

          Even Bloomberg got it (the country) right in their screed blasting SIG CEO Cohen. Who was never actually convicted because it was German Government (Beamten) who messed up some of the paperwork. The largest growth in arms exports began during the Obama administration, continued during the Trump years, and grew even faster during the current administration.

          “It isn’t politics its the Economy ST_ _ _ _.”

          Sell, sell, sell…4 mo yrs….

          hth,

          shootski

  5. B.B.,

    Shameless Plug Alert:

    After reading Ian’s excellent report yesterday on warranty service and reading your above question, “Remember the Sig ASP20 breakbarrel rifle that Sig doesn’t support?” I commented (after Ian’s report, just now) about what I have called The Great Umawrecks experience, where their USA warranty service “serviced” my Walther LGV, of which you wrote, “This breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle is the buzziest air rifle B.B. Pelletier has ever examined!” And that was after Umawrecks returned the rifle to me. Ton Jones commented that if B.B. opened it up and fixed a major problem, Umarex would have egg on its face. B.B. served Umawrecks up a 3 egg omelette!

    Yes, this is a plug for B.B./Tom Gaylord’s series below. Please give these a read:

    https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2021/04/michaels-walther-lgv-part-1/

    https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2021/04/michaels-walther-lgv-part-2/

    https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2021/05/michaels-walther-lgv-part-3/

    I still own it, and it still is as smooth as right after B.B. fixed it.

    Michael

  6. Thanks BB!

    I always enjoy it when you go inside an airgun and share pictures. Lots to see even if I don’t have that particular model.

    The thought of being able to retro fit an adjustable gas-ram to a springer would be exciting for an armchair engineer like me – just imagine being able the fine tune a break barrel airgun the way you can a PCP! Yeah, you can trim&shim a spring to tune a springer but this would be way better! I could see doing all kinds of wonderful things with my HW50 if an adjustable gas-ram was available – hoping that happens!

    Hmmmm… would it still be right to call it a “springer” or should we call it “sproinger” or something different to identify the power plant?

    Cheers!
    Hank

  7. now for a flip of the script. is it possible to convert a gas piston rifle to use a spring piston? i’m curious because i’m quite interested in the discontinued crosman dpms classic m4 DCNP7SX, granted every time i look for a used one there’s not any to be had. it’s also too bad that they didn’t offer a .22. maybe i should just be happy with what i have and stop looking for things to buy. hey crosman- how ‘bout a re-release?

    • Springman3000,
      The one I have has a horrible amount of droop. It was exactly what I was looking for, a high-powered pellet shooting AR-15. You would think it would go over big being a replica of America’s favorite rifle. Perhaps they all did and it was discontinued?
      And then there is that pesky artillery hold discovery someone around here came up with that’s problematic with a pistol grip.
      Just dawned on me writing this. What if it was the scopes problem? And then there is the, what, two finger 45 grip. Perhaps I can combine that with the artillery hold?
      May need to dig that one out again. It was my first amazing synthetic composition replica that looked like real metal or at least a real AR-15.
      Come to think about it, perhaps too real and caused problems?

  8. BB

    Lots of us looking forward to your tests.

    Exciting to hear that Gore may in the future be able to service the ASP20.
    An ADJUSTABLE gas spring for it or most any affordable quality rifle would be the cat’s meow.

    I don’t get it that the EMS could replace the ASP20. In what ways?

    Deck

  9. This is a completely off topic post, but I believe the subject matter is near and dear to our airgunner hearts. Yes, a return to the ubiquitous chronograph wars. I recently saw that Garmin has entered the fray with it’s new Xero Chronograph. Lighter than an empty pellet tin, smaller than a deck of cards, measures the velocity of a speeding pellet, it’s a Super Chrono! BB, this new entry sounds better than the Labrador at the fraction of the price and size. Is it? I’d appreciate a thorough vetting of the Garmin Xero here on the Blog before going out and spending my hard earned dollars. What say you, my friends? Is this a new toy (tool to our wives) than is a must have? Orv.

    • Orv,

      Not just yet. The Xero C1 only starts registering at 20 yards from the muzzle. And it only records one velocity, so no ballistic coefficients.

      I have talked to Garmin and to their lead engineer about what airgunners need and they are looking into it.

      BB

      • BB: Thank you for being on top of this, you’ve probably saved me and others here on the Blog from disappoint and lots of money. When version #2 comes out perhaps it will have all the bells and whistles we all need. Orv.

  10. I am one who was really interested i. The EMS34 as an adult air rifle, but balked when I came to the understanding that not all the pieces and parts that make a modular rifle modular were not available. Perhaps in time an after market of parts will develop, led by Vortek’s gas spring. But the sights and stocks and the barrel shims are also important to the realization of the EMS’s potential. One could get a high and mid power gas or coil spring tuned for the various caliber barrels. Someone could develop a .20 and a .25 caliber barrel and have a spring of appropriate power. Or a more powerful spring for summer pesting and longer range target practice and a lower power spring for target practice in the basement in winter. This is perhaps where an adjustable gas spring may have a place, too.

    My prediction, the metal bushings will all gather together with Diana front and rear sights in the 5th dimension, with my missing left sock.

    • Roamin
      I at least got started shooting the Mag-Fire Ultra. Just wanted to bring it in closer to a target center. It was almost 3″ low and left at 10 yards using the scope. Could hardly see the target in setting sunlight without it.
      I was not shooting for accuracy. Hard to do off my back step handrail, just one shot per adjustment. The scope is a little high on the rifle so 10Y may not be a good distance to line up the shot and reticle anyway. But I’m on the way to breaking it in. I have no idea how many shots the previous owner put through it or what was done to refurbish it.
      One thing is for sure, it’s a lot easier to shoot than my 1250fps .22 Umarex Octane break barrel. That’s a magnum for sure. Might even call it an assault airgun. It mistreats you with an occasional smack to the cheek.
      Finding out how it likes to be shot and what pellets it prefers from scratch will take a lot of my time and may be a while before I eventually determine its true accuracy. There is a limitation on pellet size with the mag. But bigger ones can be inserted directly with a tweezer or just using the last shot space of the mag after it has rotated into place empty. A mag fed, reasonably powered, break barrel is growing on me. Hope it plays well.

  11. Hi, Tom!
    Original trigger bushing is strictly necessary for correct trigger operation! You should to get it back as soon as possible!
    Ignoring this advice will lead to spontaneous shots.
    I had to repair N-Tec guns many times after that. https://gnom256.narod.ru/obzori/leprosorium.html#diana340
    The specified pressure is much higher than the permissible one too.

    I know that you will want to ignore the advice of a person who does not speak English well. But it’s better to learn from the mistakes of others. 🙂
    As a last resort, you can consult with Diana’s manufacturer. But don’t believe the spring sellers!

    Best regards, Vitaliy

    • Vitaliy,

      I won’t ignore you.

      Vortek has made all their designs with the full knowledge and approval of the current engineers at Diana. They endorse his system.

      BB

      • Tom,
        Design of a T06 trigger mechanism contains not only an axial, but also a transverse component of the load. The trigger bushing interacts with inner surface of the piston and relieves the lateral load. This bushing appeared in the design not with 34-EMS, but in part of the first N-Tec in 2014 and served same function.
        I am very surprised that Vortek is taking such a risk.

        • gnom256,

          Tom Gore looked at the N-Tec gas spring Diana intended installing in the 34 EMS and determined that it wouldn’t work very well. He then designed a gas spring for the EMS, showed it to the Diana engineers and, according to Tom, they endorsed it and gave him their blessings to produce and sell it.

          BB

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