Diana 75/Beeman 400 recoilless target air rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 75
The Diana 75.

Let’s make lemonade
Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The sights
  • No clear inserts
  • The test
  • Sight in
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Vogel Match
  • Discussion
  • H&N Finale Match Heavy
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • RWS R10 Match Heavy
  • Something more
  • Discussion 2
  • Summary

Today we start testing the accuracy of the Diana 75/Beeman 400 target air rifle.

The sights

I first had to mount the rear sight and change the front sight post insert for an aperture. The Diana rear sight is straightforward, except this one has adjustment directions in English rather than German.  You simply adjust the knob in the direction you want the pellet to move. Simple! I had the rear sight on the rifle, positioned and clamped tight in about 15 seconds. But the front sight…!

Diana 75 rear sight
The Diana 75 rear sight is conventional except the adjustment markings are English and not German.

The front sight, on the other hand, is a real piece of work! I didn’t pay much attention to it until this morning, just before I shot the rifle. I knew I needed to switch inserts because it had a tapered post and I wanted an aperture. Wayne Johnson who sold me the rifle sent all the sight inserts in a small jar, along with some other stuff that I need time to research.

Diana 75 front sight
There’s a whole lotta magic inside this Diana 75 front sight.

Diana 75 sight inserts
The conventional sight inserts.

Diana 75 sight stuff
… and there was also this stuff. I think it’s an adjustable front sight aperture, but I need time to research it. The red tube appears to be a wrench for the sight.

No clear inserts

I had hoped to install a clear plastic front sight aperture today, but the ones I have don’t fit. At least I wasn’t able to get them to fit. So I used a 3.5mm steel aperture insert from the ones shown above. It works well so far.

The test

Today I’m just getting used to this new target rifle and finding out what sort of pellets it likes. I shot from a rest at 10 meters with the rifle rested directly on a sandbag. I shot 5 shots per group. 


There was no sight-in! Perhaps for the second time in more than a half century of shooting, the sights were on target from the get-go. That’s odd because I store this rifle in a case with the rear sight removed and today I also swapped the front sight insert. I felt lucky to just be on paper at 10 meters, and never expected to hit in the bull I aimed at! The pellet was not perfectly centered but since I’m testing a lot of different pellets I left the sights set where they were.

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

I chose RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets to sight in for no particular reason. When the first pellet landed in the black I decided to just finish the first group. Unfortunately it isn’t very small. Five pellets made a group that measures 0.526-inches between centers. Ugh!

Diana 75 Meisterkugeln group
The Diana 75 put 5 RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets in 0.526-inches at 10 meters. It is the largest group of the test. This group isn’t as big as it looks because there was some tearing of the target paper.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

The second pellet I tested was the RWS R10 Match Pistol wadcutter. Five of them went into 0.162-inches at 10 meters.

Diana 75 R10 Pistol group
That’s the stuff! Five R10 Match Pistol pellets went into 0.162-inches at 10 meters.

When I shot this group I wasn’t aware how small it is because of some paper tearing. This is the smallest group of today’s test.

Vogel Match

This was the pellet I hoped would do best because I just ordered 5,000 of them on a bulk buy at a fabulous low price. They come in different head sizes and the ones I tested today are nominally 4.50mm. But, yucky-poo, they grouped in 0.403-inches between centers! And paper tearing makes the group look larger than it is. These pellets weigh 8.3-grains nominally.

Diana 75 Vogel group
Five Vogel pellets with 4.50mm heads made two groups that measure 0.403-inches between centers.


Okay — I’m startin’ to figure this out. The heavy pellets are moving so slow that they are tearing the paper. I probably need to visit Neal Stepp to get this rifle put right again. And heavy pellets aren’t as accurate as the light ones.

Also I want to report that the 75 doesn’t come back at me when it fires, so I can put the rubber eye shield against my glasses for every shot. That’s a reminder to myself for next time. Let’s shoot some more.

H&N Finale Match Heavy

The next pellet I tried was the H&N Finale Match Heavy wadcutter. I still didn’t know about the rifle’s aversion to heavy pellets.  Five of these made a group that measures 0.259-inches between centers. That’s not too bad except the Diana 75 is a target rifle that should put them into a group of half that size.

Diana 75 Finale Heavy group
The Diana 75 put five H&N Finale Match Heavy pellets in 0.259-inches at 10 meters.

H&N Finale Match Light

The next pellet I tested was the H&N Finale Match Light. Given how well the Heavys did I expected this pellet to do well and it did. After I saw the group I thought this was the smallest group of the test, though after measuring I discovered it wasn’t. Five pellets are in 0.186-inches at 10 meters. Another trime!

Diana 75 Finale Light group
The Diana 75 put five H&N Finale Match Light pellets in 0.186-inches at 10 meters. It’s good enough for another trime!

RWS R10 Match Heavy

Next up were five RWS R10 Match Heavy pellets. Care to guess how they did? Given what we now know it was no surprise that five of them went into a group that measures 0.329-inches between centers.

Diana 75 R10 Heavy group
Five R10 Heavy pellets made this 0.329-inch group at 10 meters.

Something more

At this point I had not measured the groups and I thought that the H&N Finale Match Light pellets were the most accurate. So I adjusted the rear sight for them. When I did I discovered that I can’t hear or feel the clicks on this target sight, so I have to watch the numbers on the knobs. It’s the only way to know that you’ve made an adjustment. Based on where the first group landed I moved the rear sight up and to the right.

The second group I shot with the H&N  Finale Match Light pellets measures 0.351-inches between centers. I had hoped to do a lot better than that, so maybe I was starting to get tired. The group was higher than the last but still needed to go right.

Diana 75 Finale Light group2
The second group of Finale Light pellets measures 0.351-inches between centers.

I adjusted the sight a little more to the right for the next group. It already seemed high enough.

For the third and final group of Finale Match Light pellets I pulled out all the stops and concentrated as hard as I could. This time five pellets made a 0.272-inch group. It’s very horizontal and I realized I had come to the end of my test for this day.

Diana 75 Finale Light group3
The final group of Finale Match Light pellets is five in 0.272-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion 2

Well I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. Certainly at this point my FWB 300S is more accurate in my hands than this Diana 75. But the Diana is more pleasant to shoot because the action doesn’t move when it fires. It doesn’t come back into my glasses.

At this juncture I am pondering what comes next. Do I continue to shoot this rifle, try different pellets and see if I can do better, or do I get it back to speed, so to speak? I think most of you will want me to get it looked at.

It probably isn’t fair to put it up against my FWB when it’s not performing as it should. The FWB 300S has already shot several groups smaller than one-tenth-inch and it gets an average 658 f.p.s. with the R10 Pistol pellet, where this Diana only gets an average 543 f.p.s. at the present.


I still need to learn about that strange front sight setup that appears to be an adjustable-diameter aperture. I kinda want to hang onto the rifle long enough to write that up.

But not to worry — you’re going to see this Diana 75/Beeman 400 many more times in the future!

Diana 75/Beeman 400 recoilless target air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 75
The Diana 75.

Let’s make lemonade
Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Recoil
  • Velocity test
  • R10 Pistol
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • JSB Match Diabolo
  • Discharge noise
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

We will take a second look at the Diana model 75 sidelever recoilless target rifle that we have learned was sold as a Beeman model 400. You saw the sales receipt in Part 1 that clearly identifies this as a Beeman 400.

Today we will look at a few more things on the rifle and we will test the velocity. As many of you covet one of these old target rifles of the past, this should be an interesting report.


The first thing I will address is recoil, or in the case of this rifle, the lack of it. The Diana 75 was made at a time when a recoilless spring-piston air rifle was the height of technology. There were several ways to do it.

Feinwerkbau used a system of thin steel rails inlet into the stock of their 300-series target rifles that allowed the big heavy barreled action to slide one way when the pellet shot out the other. As long as the rifle is held fairly level this system works well, and a target shooter is always going to hold the rifle fairly level. The only thing the shooter feels is the rubber eye cup coming back into his shooting glasses, as the entire barreled action moves rearward by a fraction of an inch.

Anschütz used an oil-filled damping mechanism in their model 250 target rifle to counter the forward movement of the piston. It was subject to leaks and the most problematic of all the anti-recoil systems.

Weihrauch used a combination of weight and stock configuration, plus a smooth tune to counter recoil in their HW55 Custom Match that was the high-water mark of their spring-piston target rifles. The rifle weighs two pounds less than an FWB 300S, but a hollow forearm allows for the insertion of more than two pounds of lead weight.

An HW 55 won the gold medal at the European Championship in 1969. Like the proverbial tale of the last buggy-whip maker that made the finest buggy whips ever created, the HW 55 CM was the finest spring-piston 10-meter target air rifle Weihrauch ever produced. When the Custom Match hit the market in the 1970s, it came just after the summit of success. Little did they know at that time that there would be no more major championships for recoiling air rifles of any make. It was similar to the last gasp of the Offenhauser front-engine Indy cars when Ford got into Indy racing in 1963.

The HW55 CM was not a true recoilless spring-piston rifle, though when weighted and tuned correctly it came close. It reminded me very much of another recoiling target rifle that was nearly recoilless — the FWB 110! Instead of giving you a paragraph on that one I have linked to a special two-part report of the rarest airgun I have ever tested. That report says all I know about that rifle.

And I cannot overlook the Walther LGV. Like the HW55 CM, it is another recoiling target rifle that uses weight and a fine tune to cancel as much as possible. It also has a hollow forearm that allows the insertion of lead, and the ones I have examined have all had the lead poured in in its molten state so that all the space was taken.

And now the Diana 75. It has a Giss double counter-recoiling piston in which the rear piston cancels the movement of the front piston that has the seal to compress the air. John Whiscombe used a variation of this system where both pistons come together like the clapping of hands and instead of 6 foot-pounds that we see in target rifles they can generate as much as 30+ foot-pounds!

When an airgun with a Giss system like this Diana 75 fires there is no movement. All that is felt is a slight impulse through the stock or through the grips if it’s a pistol. This means that the target shooter can press his eye firmly against the rubber eyecup on the rear sight and feel nothing. Compared to the FWB 300 sight  that comes back at you, I like this one better.

Velocity test

Remember that Wayne Johnson who sold me the rifle had chronographed it before listing it on Gun Broker and found it was shooting slow.  It had been tuned by Dave Slade several years earlier and Wayne didn’t chronograph it when he got it back. He mentioned that fact prominently in his Gun Broker listing which is probably why no one had bid when I contacted him. When I approached him I acknowledged that I understood it was shooting slow, and he was happy to make a deal with me. So, I’m expecting the rifle to be a bit slow today.

R10 Pistol

The first pellet I’ll test is the 7-grain RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. Ten of them average 534 f.p.s. The low was 526 and the high was 543, so the spread was 17 f.p.s. That is a high spread and the velocity is slow for a Diana 75 with a 7-grain pellet, but it’s fast enough for an accuracy test. I don’t know if I will have the gun checked out or not yet. It depends on what I see with accuracy. I’m thinking I will leave it alone.

H&N Finale Match Light

The next pellet I tested was the 7.87-grain H&N Finale Match Light. Ten of them averaged 505 f.p.s. The low was 494 and the high was 509 f.p.s., so the spread for this pellet was 15 f.p.s.

JSB Match Diabolo

The last pellet I tested was the 8.3-grain JSB S100 Match Diabolo target pellet. Being the heaviest they were expected to shoot the slowest, which they did. Ten averaged 500 f.p.s. the spread went from a low of 489 to a high of 506 — a difference of 17 f.p.s.

Discharge noise

The 75 is quiet, like you would expect. There is no silencer, but the low power and long barrel play their part. Discharge sound recorded at 92.5 decibels.

Diana 75 discharge


This Diana 75 is a little slow and the spread is higher than I would like to see. But at 10 meters that probably won’t mean very much. You saw the 5-shot test target thast came with the rifle in Part One. That group measures 0.065-inches between centers. I doubt I can do as well, but let’s see what I can do. I plan to shoot a lot of different pellets in the accuracy test because this rifle is going in my estate!

Cocking effort

The sidelever cocks the rifle with 15 lbs. of effort as it retracts the sliding compression chamber, pushing back the piston. There is a fine ratchet in the cocking linkage, so if you let go of the sidelever it will stop instantly wherever it is. It will not return to the closed position until the rifle is cocked.

When the sliding compression chamber is all the way open you can see the blue seal that mates with the rear of the barrel. This material is what Diana now uses for their piston seals and some breech seals and it should be a lifetime material.

Diana 75 breech
This is the Diana 75 breech seal. I know it looks pink or magenta or some other color that doesn’t really exist, but it’s blue. Photoshop fought with me a long time with this! Remember — old BB is red/green colorblind! At any rate, it isn’t light brown and crumbling because Dave Slade replaced it.

Trigger pull

The two-stage trigger is set for a 3-ounce pull on stage one and it breaks at 7 ounces. It is as light as I want it to be.


In short, I like this Diana 75/Beeman 400 a lot! I believe I promised a shootout between this rifle and my FWB 300S that is currently the accuracy leaders at Casa Pelletier. If I didn’t I’m doing it now. The Feinwerkbau is extremely accurate, having put five pellets into a 0.078-inch group at 10 meters, so this rifle has some stiff competition ahead.

Diana 75/Beeman 400 recoilless target air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 75
The Diana 75.

Let’s make lemonade

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Refresh your memory
  • Wayne Johnson
  • The Diana 75/Beeman 400
  • Right-hand bias
  • History of the Diana 75
  • Giss contra-recoil mechanism
  • Sights
  • The wood
  • The metal
  • Summary

Today we begin our look at the Beeman 400 sidelever recoilless target air rifle that is really a Diana 75. I linked to the Making lemonade report because of the piston seals. That should be an issue I no longer need to explain.

Refresh your memory

This air rifle is the one I saw on Gun Broker and contacted Wayne Johnson, the seller, directly. I offered what I felt was a good price, plus the shipping he requested. I had never done that before and I was called a name for doing it, but I felt this was a special airgun and Wayne was a special owner. Here is exactly what I said to him on my first contact.

Diana 75 contact remarks

Wayne Johnson

Wayne and I hit it off right away. I would normally never publish the full name of anyone in this blog, unless that person was a personality or they were out there for some other reason. Wayne is the author of The FN49, The Last Elegant Old-World Military Rifle, expanded second edition, copyright 2019 by Wayne Johnson, published by Wet Dog Publications.

Diana 75 book
Wayne’s book is an excellent treatise on the development, production and oddities of the FN49 battle rifle.

I bought his book because the FN49 is a military rifle I always wanted to know more about. Now I do, thanks to Wayne.

Wayne is the kind of person you want to buy something from. From his listing I could tell that he is scrupulously honest, because on Gun Broker he listed every fault the rifle had — not that there were many! And, after he accepted my offer we conversed a little about his airgun.

Hi Tom,
I don’t think I need the proof of age – I imagine you are over 18 !

Yeah – I am pretty much a straight arrow on the auction stuff and no, I’m not insulted by the direct approach. After I had the gun serviced by David Slade I should have chronographed it to see what it did with the new seals. I was VERY disappointed when I test fired it yesterday and realized that it was shooting slow so I wanted to make sure that I pointed that out in the auction.  Anyway, as I mentioned before, I made this exception on cancelling the auction since I know it’s going to the right place. I did have 45 views on that auction in the first 12 hours along with 4 watchers so no telling where the auction might have gone but regardless, I like where the rifle is going.

I’ve attached to this email a scan of the original receipt that shows the purchase price from Beeman – I don’t know what info you include in your air gun write-ups but that may be of interest to some readers. I’ll include in the papers for the gun my original chrono data from 1984, when the gun was two years old (with 1500-1600 pellets fired) that shows it averaged 605 fps on two different range sessions.

If you think of it, after you complete and post your review of this rifle perhaps you could send me a link to that article.


First off, know that I emailed Wayne the link to this blog. This is something I have been wanting to do ever since I got the rifle.

I want today to be about the Diana 75 target rifle in general, but I will weave in things that are special about this particular rifle as I go. Just getting ready to take pictures last Thursday I discovered an “Easter Egg” gift that Wayne had packed under the foam of the hard case he sent the rifle in. It was an unopened tin of Beeman Silver Bear hollowpoint pellets that the note said were about 35 years old. Well, they will still be unopened at my estate sale, so watch for them!

The Diana 75/Beeman 400

Although this rifle was sold to Wayne as a Beeman 400, it is a Diana 75. We sometimes see the name RWS attached to Diana airguns in the U.S., but that is an importation thing. Diana makes the guns. Both Robert Beeman of Beeman Precision Airguns and the late Robert Law of Air Rifle Headquarters thought enough of the 75 to sell it. But Beeman did change at least the name he called it in his catalog, if not the actual markings on the airgun.


There are no Beeman markings on the rifle.

Beeman literature like this parts list, plus the purchase receipt, is the only way to tie the rifle to Beeman as a 400.

The 75 has a long production life, though it changed and evolved as time passed. The basic 75, which I believe this rifle to be, was produced from 1977 to 1983. Mine was made in March of 1981, according to the date code stamped into the spring tube. Other versions of the rifle lasted until the 1990s.

Diana 75 date code
This 75 was made in March of 1981.

Right-hand bias

My rifle was made for a right-handed shooter. How can I tell? Look at the buttstock and see if you can tell.

Diana-75- butt
Whaddaya think? Made for a righty?

As the years passed, manufactures would move to more adjustable stocks so they weren’t locked into right- or left-handed shooters. But the 75 was made at a time before such things were considered.

By the way, Diana did offer the rifle with left-hand stocks and the Blue Book of Airguns says to SUBTRACT 10 percent for one! That’s odd, because everyone else adds a small percentage for a southpaw stock. Gotta change that in the book next time. I already wrote a note in my bench copy of the Blue Book.

History of the Diana 75

The Diana 75 lies at the end of a long line of recoilless Diana target air rifles that began with the Diana model 60 in 1960. The 60 was a pretty basic breakbarrel target rifle which was okay for a few years, as its competitors were also breakbarrel — like the Weihrauch HW 55 and the Walther LG 55. But when rifles like the sidelever FWB model 110 came out and then quickly morphed into the recoilless model 150, shooters started wondering whether fixed barrels were somehow more potentially accurate since their barrels never moved. That’s a hard argument to ignore and the world moved on, though Diana did bring out two more refined breakbarrel target rifles — the 65 and the 66.

Editor’s note: I cannot locate Part 3, the accuracy test for the FWB 150. I’m pretty sure I did it, but with all the WordPress changes over the years it’s gotten misplaced.

When the 75 came out it represented the high-water mark for Diana spring-piston air rifles. It was a Diana 66 with a fixed barrel and a sidelever for cocking. It was fully capable of competing against the finest FWB 300S, which it did for several years before CO2 and finally PCP rifles pushed springers off the world stage completely.

The test rifle came with its original manual that includes a Diana test target in which five pellets have grouped in 0.065-inches at 10 meters. That will give my most-accurate FWB 300S a run for the money!

The test target that came with the Diana 75 is serial-numbered to the rifle. A group of five pellets are in 0.065-inches at 10 meters.

Giss contra-recoil mechanism

Probably the best-known feature of the 75 is its Giss contra-recoil mechanism that renders it recoilless. As the real piston with its seal moves forward to compress the air, an equally-weighted false piston moves in the opposite direction. Both pistons stop at the same instant, cancelling all felt recoil. This system works surprising well, though it does pose a problem for airgunsmiths.

When replacing the piston seal, which you now know must be done at least once, the rear false piston must be timed perfectly if the contra-recoil is to be maintained. Timing can be a touchy task, and a shooter will notice immediately if it’s off. So, it must be done perfectly. Dave Slade replaced the piston seal in this rifle and I can tell you that he nailed it.


Naturally the 75 comes with a fine set of adjustable target sights, and I’ll give you a better look at them in future reports. The front sight has replaceable inserts that are early 1980s vintage, which is to say a solid post or aperture. This one came with a post installed and the rest of the inserts in a box. I will replace it with a clear aperture that allows for more precise aiming as well as not shooting at the wrong bull. More on the sights when we get to accuracy.

The wood

Back when this rifle was new manufacturers were using walnut for their stocks. This one has a nice bit of figure in the butt. The remainder of the stock is straight grain except for the vertical pistol grip. It also has some figure which means the grain isn’t straight there, either. That’s desirable, because a 10-meter target rifle stock is very prone to break at the wrist where the wood is thinnest and also straight grain. Feinwerkbau even put vertical wooden posts into their grips on later rifles to strengthen this sensitive area.

The metal

I hope the pictures show a little of the deep polish and bluing on the metal parts. I had to lighten them to show details in things like the logo and the date code, so you don’t get the full appearance of the miles-deep polish. Only the barrel is intentionally matte, and that is to cut down reflections when sighting.


That’s your first look at this fine old target rifle. Wayne entrusted it to me to care for and that’s an obligation I both respect and intend honoring. Stay tuned for lots more fun.

How to cheat when you really want an airgun!

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Really want
  • Think as the world thinks
  • Do whatcha shouldn’t
  • For sale in shop
  • Scruples
  • Something else
  • Winchester 427
  • Too much money!
  • Two hours later
  • Summary

I’m going to cover a topic today that I never thought I would write. You can read the title, and that’s what it’s really about — how to cheat when you really want something! As I am writing this I am doing the very thing that I’m telling you.

Really want

Yesterday reader Ridgerunner posted a link to Gun Broker. I followed it and saw a beautiful Diana model 75 recoilless target rifle. The seller was scrupulously honest and had chronographed the rifle for his listing.

I have wanted to test a Diana 75 for you for many years, and this one looked ideal. Furthermore, it was offered by the original owner who said he had bought the rifle from Beeman Precision Airguns in July of 1982. He has the original receipt, a copy of which which he sent me! He knew for a fact that only 2,330 pellets have been shot through it. Guys — when somebody says things like that and has things like that, he is one of us! This was a rifle I wanted. Let me show you the listing.

Offered is a Right-Handed Diana 75 side-cocking, recoilless, spring-piston air rifle that was designed and sold for use in Olympic 10 Meter air rifle competitions. I purchased this rifle new in July 1982; at that time, this model was being imported and sold by Beeman Precision Airguns as the Beeman 400. This rifle is apparently a transitional model as while I purchased it from Beeman, there are no Beeman markings on the rifle and it is clearly marked as a made in Germany Diana 75 (see photos).

By documented count, this rifle has only had 2330 pellets through it since new, nearly all in the period between 1982 and 1993. The rifle then sat in the safe for more than 23 years without being used. In December 2016, I sent the rifle to noted airgun tech David Slade at Airgunwerkes for service and seal replacement (see scanned invoice). When the rifle was returned to me in February 2017, I fired two pellets through it to check function. It was not fired again until today (11-1-2020) when I put 25 pellets through it to check function again. The rifle sounded slow so I set up a chronograph and it looks like it is only getting about 425 fps with an 8 grain match pellet (it got 600 fps when it was brand new). I don’t know if that was the velocity it got immediately after seal replacement or whether having this rifle sit around without being used for 3 ½ years was not a good thing for the new seals. I had planned to start this auction at $700 but since the rifle is running slow, and another seal replacement could be necessary at some time in the future, I am lowering the starting bid to $500. Those of you that are into these old spring-piston guns know that seals are always an issue, especially in these complicated recoilless models.

Condition is as shown in the photos. The exterior finish is in excellent condition. There is some light soiling from normal use on the stippling of the pistol grip portion of the stock. The metal is in near perfect condition.

Mounted on the rifle are the original front and rear target sights. The front sight has interchageable inserts and all of the original inserts are included in the sale. The trigger is fully adjustable with the pull weight factory set at 150 grams (~5 oz); pull weight is adjustable from 100 to 400 grams (3.5 to 14 ounces). The trigger blade is adjustable for position and cant.

Included in the sale is everything that originally came with the rifle: all original papers and instructions including the factory test target, all tools, the front sight inserts and related tool, etc. (see photo). Also included is a loading tool (the item in the photo with the pocket clip), a .177 cal scoring aid, and some cleaning pellets.

So, we have for your consideration a very gently used Diana 75 competition air rifle, in excellent cosmetic condition, with a documented history, and offered by the original owner. The only negative is the slow velocity that may require seal replacement in the future (let your groups tell you when). This rifle would be a nice addition to a vintage air gun collection.

No FFL is required for this purchase but buyers must be 18 years of age or older if required in your jurisdiction; I will require a proof of age before shipping.

Shipping is $60.00, insured, to the lower 48 states. Actual cost to AK or HI. No international shipments. Shipment will be by UPS Ground. The rifle will be shipped in a new Plano hard case (see photo).

That was the listing I saw on Gun Broker, but the auction had 13 more days to run! What to do?

Think as the world thinks

In other words, wise up, be sharp (crafty, sly etc.). Fortunately I have been stymied several times recently in the online auction game by others who were smarter (craftier) than I. What did they do?

Do whatcha shouldn’t

WARNING — Some of you are about to get very angry when I tell you this! I know I got angry when what I am about to tell you happened to me. It happened not once but at least three successive times. Three times when I was patiently awaiting the end of an auction, it suddenly closed without warning the day before — or longer. No excuse was ever given, because when an item is no longer listed, it’s gone!

The first time it happened I suspected what had happened. The second time I was certain and the third time I figured this must be how online auctions are going these days, and I just didn’t get the memo. Somebody offered the seller enough money privately and he simply took the offer and cancelled the auction.

For sale in shop

I know what you are thinking — that the auction items were also for sale in the seller’s shop and somebody just walked in and bought them. Well, in a case like that what’s supposed to happen is — IF there have been no bids on the item and IF the seller has listed that the item is also for sale in his shop, then someone could legally walk in off the street and buy it. But IF there are bids that’s not supposed to happen. Only it did. To me. Three times! And none of those items were listed that way. So, I smelled a rat. It would be like telling an auctioneer that you will give him money on the side if he hammers an item you want (sells or ends the auction) when your bid is high. 

Is it unscrupulous? I think so. Is it illegal? I don’t know enough about auctions to answer that question. There may be rules I don’t know about that permit it to happen without the law being broken. All I know for sure is it does happen.

So, I did something I am not proud of. I contacted the seller with the following message.

Hello, My name is Tom Gaylord. I write the blog for Pyramyd Air. I would really enjoy testing this air rifle for my blog. https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/ Your starting price is very reasonable. And this gun has been resealed. The original seals all failed, so that is a big plus. I am offering you $750 plus $60 shipping right now. I pay by cashier’s check and I will pay immediately. I know this sounds underhanded but I have had several airguns slip away before the ending date of the auction, so I assume others are doing it. Thank you, Tom

What will he do? He sounds like a very honest person and I think what he should do is either ignore my message or contact me and tell me what I have proposed is against the rules. Or he may confirm that what I have suggested is acceptable but I haven’t offered enough money for the rifle. Or he may accept my offer, in which case I hope to have a very nice Diana 75 to test. I might even have to get it resealed, based on what he says in his listing. And guys — that listing is the kind of listing I like dealing with, because you know the seller is being honest. I would have shown you all the pictures, but there were too many. Just envision a like-new air rifle and you have the picture.


Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you because some of you are doing what I’m doing — looking for nice old airguns in the online auctions. You are following what you believe to be the rules, but sometimes when those “deals of a lifetime” come along, odd things happen and the auction goes away before you have a chance to bid. I think I have discovered what happens when that occurs and I’m trying to do something about it.

Something else

Okay, let’s change the subject. Every time I write about a Diana model 27 breakbarrel some of you get all gushy and say things you don’t mean. Things like, “If only I had known!” Well, brace yourselves because today is the day that you know!

I have a link on eBay to a Winchester 427 which is a Diana 27 pellet rifle. Just type in Winchester .22 pellet rifle and you’ll find it. The pictures are horrible, but I have told you what to do about that long ago. Let’s look.

Winchester 427

Here is the first photo in the listing on eBay:

Winchester 427 1
There is something that could be an airgun laying on some kind of background.

Winchester 427 2
By just removing the heavy darkness and brightening things up we see a nice-looking Winchester 427.

And here is a photo of the writing on the rifle.

Writing 427
I wonder what that is? It seems to be a Winchester?

And after some Photoshop cleanup.

Writing 427 2
Not much more I could do with this picture except it shows something pretty well. It shows deep bluing!

Winchester 427 barrel
Okay, here is the barrel.

Winchester 427 barrel 2
And this is what the barrel really looks like! See — it even has a front sight!

Too much money!

This is a Buy it Now sale, which means you just pay the price and it’s yours. The seller wants $255 for the rifle and $35 for shipping. That’s $290 to your door. Is that too much money? Yes — if you are one of the tire-kickers who will end up buying three Chinese breakbarrels over the period of two years to soothe yourself for not getting this one. No — if you are someone who genuinely wants a nice Diana 27. This is a Winchester 427, so it’s on the premium side of Diana 27s. Not like my Hy Score 807 that’s on the low side.

Have I ever seen these rifles cheaper? Of course. Is this one working perfectly? The only way to know that is to shoot it through your chronograph. Oh, wait — you don’t own a chronograph? Well, think about one.

Two hours later

In the two hours that I was writing this blog I was waiting to hear from the seller of the Diana 75/Beeman 400. Here is his reply:

Hello Tom,

I have never stopped a GunBroker auction before but made an exception this time as I know the rifle is going to a knowledgeable airgunner. I was concerned that someone not familiar with air guns would purchase it and then complain that it didn’t get 1000 fps with a hunting pellet.  Also, as an author myself ( https://www.fnbrowning.com/book-fn49-last-elegant-military-rif ), you get bonus points for your work on the blog.

So, I have cancelled the auction and accept your offer of $750 + $60 shipping = $810.  You can send the funds to:

his address

In addition to the material shown in the auction photos, I will also send you a copy of the original receipt, and some chronograph data from 1983 that may be of interest when you are writing up the gun.

Thanks for making the offer and I am VERY glad that the rifle is going to a good home.




What I told you today is the truth. It happened yesterday and some of you got to watch it. This approach does work and yes, the fact that it does makes me a little skittish. But you can see what I offered him, which I think is a fair offer. In scripture we are told to be wise like the world and that’s what I think I have done today.

Did I get the rifle for the absolute lowest price possible? Nope. I wanted Wayne to feel he got a fair shake, too. As I have said in the past, if saving money is all you’re after cut a coin slot in the top of your head.

By the way, I think my business is going to purchase Wayne’s book, too. I’m not doing it today because I don’t want to pressure him any more than I already have. But that book looks really interesting and I want it in my gun library.

The Benjamin Cayden: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Cayden
Benjamin Cayden sidelever repeater.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Accuracy
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Turned on the lights!
  • Air Arms 16-grain dome
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 5.53 mm heads
  • Air Arms 18-grain domes
  • JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
  • Discussion
  • Personal note
  • Summary

Crosman managers — call your people together (except those assembling, of course). Tell them you have a winner in the Benjamin Cayden!  What an air rifle! I like the sidelever. I like the magazine. I like that it gets lots of shots on a 3,000 psi fill. I guess I just like the Cayden. Today I will tell everybody more about what I like.


Today is the second accuracy test and I’m moving back to 25 yards. I also boosted the power up as high as it will go, because the Cayden uses air so sparingly.

The test

I’m shooting off a sandbag rest from 25 yards. I decided not to adjust the scope today, as long as the shots land reasonably close to where I’m aiming. I shot 10 shot groups with each of 4 different pellets.


I had not planned to sight in the rifle again because I didn’t think it was necessary. But the first two shots hit the target a inch and a quarter above the aim point. They were also loud. Then I remembered — the Cayden is the rifle on which I used the DonnyFL silencer. In fact I bought it for the Cayden! So I stopped shooting and installed the silencer. The next shot dropped by almost an inch and the following shot went through the same hole. That answered several questions in the first 4 shots.

First — the Cayden shoots just as well with the silencer installed — perhaps better. And second, the POI does change when the silencer is on. If I was a rich guy I would just leave it on the Cayden, but this isn’t my rifle. It has to go back with its factory muzzle brake, so I don’t need to be misplacing that! What I’m telling you is sight in your Cayden with the rifle set up the way you intend shooting it.

Turned on the lights!

Remember in Part 3 I told you that I am using what we discovered to be an obsolete UTG SWAT 4-16 scope? I told you that scope has an etched glass reticle. Well after the first two shots I turned on the reticle and it became much easier to see over the bulls! Etched-glass reticles do not illuminate the interior of the scope tube when they are on. Only the tiny crosshair at the center of the reticle lights up, and that’s perfect for precise aiming!

Air Arms 16-grain dome

The first pellet I tested was the Air Arms 16-grain dome that has no other name. I mention that because I am also testing a different Air Arms dome today. I only load 10 pellets into the 12-shot magazine, to keep my groups to 10 shots.

Ten shots went into a somewhat vertical 0.474-inch group at 25 yards. And I did shoot all 10 shots. I reloaded the magazine after the first two shots went high, so I could finish the group.

Cayden AA 16-grain group
The two shots above the group were shot with the factory muzzle brake on. Then I removed it and installed the DonnyFL silencer and shot the 10-shot group below. It measures 0.474-inches between centers.

H&N Baracuda Match with 5.53 mm heads

Next up was a pellet I didn’t shoot at 10 meters — the H&N Baracuda Match with 5.53 mm head. These are heavier, and since I was shooting on full power I figured they would be ones to try.

Ten shots went into 0.438-inches at 25 yards. They landed a little to the left, but still on the bull at which I was aiming. 

Cayden Baracuda Match 553 group
The Cayden put 10 H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 5.53 mm heads into a 0.438-inch group at 25 yards.

Air Arms 18-grain domes

Next up was another pellet I hadn’t tried in the Cayden yet — the Air Arms dome that weighs 18 grains. These proved to be phenomenal! Ten of them went into 0.284-inches at 25 yards. It was the best group of the test!

Cayden AA 18-grain group
Air Arms 18-grain domes were just the ticket! Ten of them went into 0.284-inches at 25 yards.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy

The last pellet I tested was the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy that weighs 18.13-grains. These did quite well, too. Ten of them went into 0.315-inches between centers at 25 yards.

Cayden JSB Exact Jumbo group
Ten JSB Exact Jumbo pellets went into 0.315-inches at 25 yards.


What is not to like? The trigger that I will admit isn’t as refined as a Marauder trigger, is still very good.  The sidelever works perfectly. The power is quite adjustable and the Cayden gets a lot of shots on a fill. I shot 42 full-power shots in this test and the manometer (onboard pressure gauge) still reads 2300 psi, meaning there is probably another full magazine of 12 shots — all on max power!

The Cayden is stable. It has no barrel issues (moving when bumped). It is attractive, with the Turkish walnut stock, and don’t forget that cheekpiece adjusts.

Personal note

I love my job, but some airguns are easier to write about and test than others. The Cayden was easy because it did everything Crosman said it would. That makes it so much easier for me. And, I like shooting accurate airguns!


I know it sounds like I’m finished, but I’m not. This rifle has earned its way into a 50-yard test! The problem is, there are some other airguns ahead of it and at this time of year getting a 50-yard range without a windstorm isn’t that easy. Still, I will push it up in the line because I want to test at least one more of the Benjamin Craftsman Collection — perhaps a .25-caliber Kratos. Wouldn’t that be fun?

The Benjamin Cayden: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Cayden
Benjamin Cayden sidelever repeater.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Today at 10 meters
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
  • Second group of Jumbo Heavys
  • Time to try the H&N Slug HP
  • Trigger
  • Air Arms 16-grain dome
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today I start testing the accuracy of the Benjamin Cayden repeating PCP. I read Part 3 of this series before starting the test where I see that I tested the velocity of the 23.1-grain H&N Slug HP. The one I tested was the 0.218-inch size and not the 0.217-inch one. I got the larger size to make certain they would fit most .22 caliber pellet gun bores. 

Today at 10 meters

Because of the slug, which is a solid pellet that looks like a bullet, I tested today at 10 meters. I have never had much success with solid pellets in the accuracy department. They don’t have the drag that diabolos have and they tend not to stabilize. I’ve also encountered loading issues, though we learned in Part 3 that the H&N Slug HP loads quite easily into the Cayden’s breech. I would normally begin testing a potentially accurate PCP like the Cayden at 25 yards, but I didn’t want those slugs going haywire inside my house.

The test

I shot at 10 meters off a bag rest. I scoped the Cayden with an apparently obsolete UTG 4-16 SWAT scope with an illuminated glass-etched reticle. But I never turned the illumination on. At $155 this scope is a real value, because the optics are so sharp and clear. Because of the Cayden’s 12-shot rotary magazine that sticks up above the receiver, I had to use 2-piece rings, and this scope comes with a nice set of 2-piece Weaver rings that fit the Picatinny rail on the rifle. It took just five minutes to mount the scope that was already perfectly installed in the rings.

Cayden scoped
The UTG 4-16 SWAT scope fit the Cayden well.

I shot 10-shot groups, and remember — I am only this close to the target because I’m not certain about one of the pellets I’m testing. I will back up and give you a more realistic 25-yard test in the next report.

I set the power of the rifle to around the three-quarters mark — mostly to stabilize those slugs if nothing else. That means today’s pellets are moving out at around 775-825 f.p.s.


I started the sight-in at 12 feet, and when the first shot struck about one inch below my aim point I knew I was done. When I move back to 10 meters the shot will climb about an inch. The first shot was a little to the left of center, so I made a small adjustment.

The second shot at 10 meters was also too far to the left, so I dialed in some more right correction to shoot my third shot. The third shot was just a little too far to the left and after another small correction the fourth shot was in the black. It wasn’t in the center which was good because with a scope this sharp I could put the crosshairs over the dot in the center of the bull. So I didn’t want to shoot it out.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy

The first 10-shot group was shot with JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy domes. The second pellet passed through the hole made by the first and so did pellet number three. I never saw the paper move! Talk about a one-hole group. After 5 shots I wanted to stop and move to another target, because the group was less than a tenth of an inch. However, shot 6 landed low and opened the group which after 10 shots measures 0.142-inches between centers. Remember that the distance is just 10 meters, but this is a great result! It earns my coveted gold dollar for comparison, which, at 14 mm, is the smallest American coin I own.

Cayden JSB Jumbo group
On the first group at 10 meters the Cayden put 10 JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets into a 0.142-inch group, center-to-center. For all groups that measure under 0.15-inches between centers I use a gold dollar for comparison.

Second group of Jumbo Heavys

I should have switched to a different pellet at this point but instead I shot a second 10-shot group of the JSB Jumbo Heavys. This time 10 shots went into 0.214-inches at the same 10 meters. That’s not that much larger, but it only rates the dime for comparison, because it’s over 0.20-inches. Remember — these are 10-shot groups, not 5!

Cayden JSB Jumbo group 2
The second ten-meter 10-shot group of JSB Exact Jumbo Heavys was a little larger — 0.214-inches between centers.

Time to try the H&N Slug HP

Now that I knew for certain the Cayden was accurate it was time to try the H&N Slug HP solid pellets. I knew right from the start they were not going to be as accurate when the second shot landed apart from the first. Ten Slug HPs made a 0.739-inch group at 10 meters. Not only did they open up, they also struck the bull in a different place than the JSBs.

Cayden H&N Slug HP
Not so good. Ten H&N HP solid pellets made a 0.739-inch group when shot at 10 meters from the Cayden.

I need to test the H&N HP pellets in other .22 rifles that are more powerful than the Cayden. Perhaps if they were driven at 1,000 f.p.s. they would spin fast enough to stabilize and become more accurate. That is something I hope to do soon, because these pellets do seem to load well, unlike all the other solid pellets I have tested. But for now let’s try another pellet we know to be accurate.


I must comment on how the trigger feels at this point. Accuracy tests always reveal  the trigger function better than just measurements because so much relies on the trigger when you are going for the best the rifle will do.

During this test I felt one tiny bit of creep in the stage two pull. It was consistent, and I quickly learned where it was, and that the trigger would release soon after it was encountered. That allowed me to keep the crosshairs on target to the best of my ability

Air Arms 16-grain dome

The last pellet I tested was the 16-grain Air Arms dome. I know JSB makes this pellet, but in other tests it has proven to be significantly different than the 15.89-grain JSB Exact dome. The Cayden put 10 of them into a 0.149-inch group at 10 meters. That’s good for a second gold dollar!

Cayden Air Arms group
The 10-shot group of Air Arms 16-grain domes measures 0.149-inches between centers — just small enough to qualify for the gold dollar!


Without question the Benjamin Cayden is very accurate! Now that I have sighted it in, the next test at 25 yards should tell us just how accurate it is. Next time I will shoot it at full power.


Several readers indicated they were interested in the Benjamin Cayden. They like the looks and how it operates. I haven’t tested it as much as I’m going to, but without a doubt the Cayden is a very accurate PCP.

The Benjamin Cayden: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. PelletierBenjamin Cayden
Benjamin Cayden sidelever repeater.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

Power adjustment — duh!
Today’s test
Shot count
The trigger
Test 2
H&N Baracuda
H&N Slug HP
Eun Jin domes
CCI Quiet discharge sound

I told you at the end of Part 2 that this report would be a continuation of the velocity test. The Benjamin Cayden has such good use of air and the power is adjustable, so more needs to be done to fully understand it. We have a lot to do so let’s get started.

Power adjustment — duh!

I told you about my trouble with the power adjustment knob. Well, in the manual it says to turn that knob to adjust power. There is no mention of the scale on the left side of the receiver that the knob is connected to, or the screw slot in its middle, nor is there any picture of it. I knew it was there of course, and also that it connects to the knob. But— DUH!

You guys raked me over the coals on that one and I deserved it. OF COURSE you can use a screwdriver in the slot on the left side until the knob gets easy enough to turn. I was so focused on the time I had to test the rifle and then write the blog that I wasn’t thinking clearly. That’s the sort of thing I should be telling you!

Cayden power adjust
A small screwdriver turns the power adjustment easily

Today’s test

I want to do a couple things today. First, I want to test the rifle on power that’s lower than maximum but still up there, to see how many shots we get on a fill. Last time I was adjusting power and reader Rk thought there would be a lot of shots on medium power. The problem is — what is medium power?

I didn’t try to find medium power What I did was test the rifle at a power level I thought was good, to see how many shots there were but also to see where the end of the power curve is, with respect to reservoir pressure.

Shot count

For this test I used the same JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellet that I used in Part 2. I filled the rifle to 3,000 psi and adjusted the power setting to one index mark below maximum.

Then I started shooting. As you will see, the first shot went out too fast for my liking, so I adjusted the power setting to almost the second notch down. You will see why I did that when you look at the numbers. I liked the velocity from the second adjustment so I left it there for this string. Let’s see!

https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Benjamin_Cayden_PCP_Air_Rifle/5158Cayden setting
This is the power setting for the test that follows, after the first shot.

1………….817 too fast — adjust power lower
24.………..765 2,600 psi remaining
27.………..770 fastest shot
48.………..761 2,250 psi remaining
60.………..743 2,000 psi remaining
73.………..727 slowest shot and the end of this test

There are a lot of ways to interpret these numbers. First, I think this entire string of 73 shots will work if your target is closer than 25 yards/23 meters. If it’s out past 35 yards/32 meters then I would go with your first shot at number 5 and your last shot at number 58. To get that on shot one you would have to fill the rifle a little lower than 3,000 psi — perhaps 2,900.

If you like what I selected (shots 5 to 58), that’s  53 shots that varied by no more than 24 f.p.s. If we take 760 as the average velocity for that string then this pellet is generating 23.25 foot-pounds at the muzzle for those 53 shots. Like I said, there are a lot of different ways to break this down. You may want a little more power, which probably means fewer shots, but this test shows the Cayden uses air very well. And, if you decide to go with PCPs — get a chronograph at some point!

The trigger

How does the Cayden trigger compare to a Marauder trigger? It is as light as a Marauder trigger is usually adjusted and, after the first 30 shots on the Cayden, all the creep in stage two disappears — HOWEVER! The trigger also had to “break in” today and the creep that was gone last time during the velocity test returned. It’s very minor and disappeared again after about another 30 shots, but it was there again. Yogi — you asked and I wanted you to know that. So maybe the Cayden trigger needs a lot more shots (hundreds?) before the trigger finally settles down.

The bottom line? The Marauder has the better trigger. It is very adjustable and once set remains where it is forever. That is my take on the Cayden trigger. But I will add that the Cayden trigger is ahead of the triggers of many PCPs in its price range. It is a good one.

Test 2

Okay, how heavy a pellet can the Cayden magazine handle? When pellets get heavy they grow longer and rotary magazines have their limits for pellet length. I will load some heavyweight .22-caliber pellets and see what happens. I will only shoot 5 shots, so all I will report is the average velocity. I am now shooting on high power.

This test is to determine how well these longer pellets feed in the magazine and also to see the maximum power potential of the rifle .

H&N Baracuda

H&N Baracuda pellets weigh 21.14 grains. They fit the Cayden magazine very well and they feed reliably. They averaged 787 f.p.s., which generates 29.08 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

H&N Slug HP

The H&N Slug HP is a new solid pellet/bullet and there is a wide variety of weights and sizes within the construct of that .22 caliber Slugs. I shot the 23-grain Slugs (that weighed 23.1 grains consistently) and are sized 0.218-inches. In truth they are shorter than the Baracuda pellets because they are solid. They fed easier than any pellet I have loaded into the Cayden magazine so far, and when they were pushed into the breech by the bolt I hardly felt them go in. I have to try more weights and sizes of these, as well as the JSB slugs that are now in stock!

Cayden H&N Slugs
The .23.1-grain H&N Slug HP pellets/bullets are covered with wax to keep them from oxidizing. Just load them and shoot them and leave them, as they are.

Slugs averaged 747 f.p.s. at the muzzle, which generates 28.63 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The velocity was also quite stable, so these are on my list for accuracy testing.

Eun Jin domes

These older Eun Jin domes are the heaviest pellets I tried and they filled the magazine all the way to the top. But they did fit and the clear top moved without hinderance.

These pellets weigh 29.5 grains, on average. The Cayden put them out at 664 f.p.s. and these were the most consistent pellet of the three tested. Velocity for 5 shots varied by just three f.p.s. They did chamber with a lot of force in required by the sidelever.

At the average velocity this pellet generated 28.89 foot-pounds at the muzzle. That tells me that the low 29 foot-pound range is about the top of where this Cayden wants to be, and JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies are a pellet that does it. The Cayden does allow for adjusting the hammer spring, but this rifle is doing so well I’m thinking I’ll not try it.

CCI Quiet discharge sound

Reader Bob from Oz asked me to try a CCI Quiet long rifle round, to see how it compares to the 108 dB of the non-silenced Cayden. The Quiet shoots a 40-grain lead bullet at 710 f.p.s.

I answered Bob too quickly and said I would try one, but then I discovered I don’t have any of them. And the United States has an ammunition shortage going on right now, so I don’t know when I can get any. But I do have a substitute that may be even quieter.

I have lots of CCI CB Shorts. They say they are low noise right on the package. They have very little gunpowder so they should be pretty quiet. I shot one from a Remington model 33 bolt-action rifle that has a 24-inch barrel. The sound meter was three feet to the left side of the muzzle, which is also where it was for the Cayden.

Cayden CCI CB Short
These CCI CB Shorts have got to be quieter than the CCI long rifle Quiet round!

hCayden CCI CB Short dischange
CB Shorts registered 112.3 dB on the C scale of my sound meter. That’s higher than the Cayden’s 108 dB level.


That’s my test so far. Next time I will test for accuracy, which should be interesting! This test is going so well that I’m thinking of asking to test testing another ofCrosman’s Craftsman collection. Whaddaya think?