The Diana model 50 underlever: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 50
Diana model 50 underlever.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sight in
  • RWS Superdomes
  • The trigger
  • RWS Supermags
  • Feel of firing|
  • RWS Hobbys
  • Why shoot only RWS pellets?
  • H&N Baracuda 4.50 mm head
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today I shoot the Diana model 50 underlever with sporting sights from 25 yards. Let’s see what she’ll do!

The test

I shot indoors from 25 yards off a sandbag rest. I used the artillery hold with the rifle rested on my off hand, about 8-9 inches forward of the triggerguard. The Diana 50 is an underlever, and that steel cocking mechanism makes it heavy up front, so this is the most comfortable way to stabilize it. I shot 10-shot groups at 10-meter pistol targets

Sight in

Because I moved the rear sight forward for this test, I had to sight in the rifle again. The first shot was from 12 feet and impacted at the top of my front sight, so I called it good and backed up to 25 yards. I knew the shots would hit higher from back there, but since the first shot hit at 6 o’clock on the bull and this was a pistol target, I reckoned there was plenty of room. read more


The Diana model 50 underlever: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 50
Diana model 50 underlever.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Move the rear sight
  • Rear sight move forward
  • Change the sight notch
  • Rear sight adjustability
  • Not finished
  • Some disassembly required
  • Three stock screws
  • Wait a minute!
  • Glue the stock
  • Dry mainspring
  • Assembly
  • Velocity check
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS Hobby
  • Cocking effort
  • Summary

To give you guys a break from the Crosman MAR177 today I started exploring the History of Airguns web page. Have you seen how the History of Airguns is laid out now? It’s now a simple timeline. Clicking on the dates brings up the past historical articles.

In checking to see whether they all made it to the timeline, I discovered this report from 2017, in which I mentioned wanting to shoot the rifle with an open rear sight. I never did that, so today is the day. I thought I’d just have to move the rear sight but you know how little projects sometimes expand? This one sure did! This will be the tale of what happened. read more


The Haenel 311 target rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Haenel 311
Haenel 311 target rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Qiang Yuan Training
  • Gamo Match
  • Adjust sights
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Haenel 311 target rifle. Let’s get started.

The test

I shot off a sandbag rest at 10 meters. I rested the rifle directly on the bag for the entire test. Only after the test was finished did I check back to my test done in 2011 and discover that I had used the artillery hold on the rifle at that time. So we will see a comparison today, when the rifle is rested directly on the bag.

I shot 5-shot groups so I could test more pellets. At the start I wasn’t too worried about being sighted in, but there came a point in the test when I did adjust the sights. I’ll tell you about it when we get there. read more


BSF S54 Match rifle: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSF S54
BSF S54 target rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

Part 3 read more


BSF S54 Match rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSF S54
BSF S54 target rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Something else
  • Rear sight has to come off
  • 1950s design
  • Assemble the rifle again
  • Install the peep sight
  • Ordered a new target front sight insert
  • Accuracy
  • The test
  • H&N Finale High Speed
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today will be another accuracy test of the BSF S54 Match rifle. But it’s a test with a twist. In Part 3 we learned which pellet does best in this rifle — the H&N Finale Match High Speed — a 7-grain wadcutter that is no longer being offered. I have received the current Finale Match Light target pellets, so I can start testing with them today, as well.

Something else

And, there is something else. A couple weeks back reader Kevin alerted me to the fact that the seller in Bulgaria from whom I bought the Diana peep sight also had a BSF peep sight for sale. He had it advertised for Anschütz, FWB and Walther, which is why I never noticed it. The price was reasonable and, as before, the shipping was free, so I ordered it. It’s here and I would like to show it to you.

BSF S54 peep left
The BSF S54 peep sight is simple and ruggedly built. The vertical adjustment knob that’s sticking up in this view has detents.

BSF S54 peep right
The horizontal adjustment knob is on the right side. There are no detents in that adjustment.

BSF S54 peep under
The bottom of the sight has a clamp on the front, which is on the right in this picture. The two screws control the clamping pressure. There is no positive stop for recoil, and this rifle doesn’t seem to need one.

This sight is definitely a throwback to the 1950s! It’s made from mostly steel parts except its base that’s aluminum. And there isn’t a scale or index mark on it anywhere. There is no way to record where the sight is set. You have to shoot the gun and note where it hits, then adjust from there. There are also no marks to indicate which way things move when the sight is adjusted! It’s a very non-target peep sight! But this S54 is a very non-target match rifle, so the sight is well-suited to it.

Rear sight has to come off

Since the rear sight is aligned with the front sight, it’s in the way of the sight line of the peep, and has to come off. Could I lower it all the way and be able to shoot over it? Sure, but when I tried it I could see the rear sight through the peep hole and that was disconcerting.

1950s design

Here’s the thing. To get the rear sight off the rifle it has to slide all the way up the barrel and off the muzzle. So, the front sight has to come off. And the cocking lever anchor has to come off, as well, because it’s in the way, too. All of these parts have to slide off the muzzle. read more


BSF S54 Match rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSF S54
BSF S54 target rifle.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • RWS Hobby
  • Resting on the sandbag
  • Artillery hold off hand extended
  • Discussion
  • Adjusted the rear sight
  • Falcon pellets
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • JSB Exact RS domes
  • H&N Finale Match High Speed target pellet
  • Something extra
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the BSF S54 Match rifle. Now, while this rifle is called a Match rifle and did come with a large aperture sight, it’s not a serious match rifle and never was. Sometimes I have guys ask me questions like, “Could it be used in a match?” and I have to answer, “Yes” but they don’t let me finish by saying, “… but it will never win!” You see, some guys are so enraptured by the design of the S54 Match (and that huge rear aperture!) that they want it to be a real match rifle. Other guys own one and don’t want to spend the money for something different. The bottom line is — The BSF S54 Match rifle is not for formal competition! I think you will see that today.

The test

I shot from 10 meters and used both the artillery hold and a sandbag rest. I will tell you which I did for each target.

The rear sight doesn’t adjust easily, plus the adjustments are coarse, so I only adjusted once and then stopped. I will tell you as we go.

I shot 5-shot groups for the most part. Because this is an underlever and also a taploader it takes a long time to get ready for each shot. I told myself if a pellet seemed to show promise I would shoot a 10-shot group, and that happened one time. Let’s get started.

RWS Hobby

I had tested the rifle in 2015, so I looked at those targets as a starting point. That test suggested two pellets that were good, so I selected one of them — the RWS Hobby. I shot this first target using the artillery hold with my off hand back by the triggerguard. Five pellets went into 0.673-inches at 10 meters — hardly a good group!

Hobby group 1
This first group of 5 RWS Hobbys was shot at 10 meters using the artillery hold, with the off hand back by the triggerguard. The group measures 0.673-inches between centers.

Okay, that wasn’t as good as I had hoped. Maybe the rifle wants to rest on the bag, so I tried that next. Same Hobby pellet was shot.

Resting on the sandbag

This time 5 Hobbys went into 0.702-inches at 10 meters They are close to the same place, but a little lower. From the looks of this group, resting on the sandbag is not the way to go.

Hobby group 2
Resting the rifle on the sandbag doesn’t seem to be right, either. Five Hobbys are in 0.702-inches between centers at 10 meters.

Artillery hold off hand extended

Still shooting Hobby pellets I tried another version of the artillery hold for the third group. My off hand is out by the rear of the cocking slot. This time the group was a little smaller, with 5 shots going into 0.539-inches at 10 meters. It’s still not a good group, though it is the best group of Hobbys so far. This is how I will shoot the rest of the test, unless I tell you otherwise.

Hobby group 3
When I held my off hand under the rear of the cocking slot things tightened just a little. Five Hobbys are in 0.539-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion

In 2015 I put five Hobbys into a 0.408-inch group at 10 meters. Today I’m struggling to group them in a tenth of an inch larger. I know I’m human, but this is more than I expected. However — I had a total retina detachment in my sighting eye since that first group. I have also had my natural lenses removed from both eyes during cataract surgery, and what’s in there now are man-made lenses. Maybe I’m doing the best I can. Or maybe this was just not my day. More groups might tell us.

Adjusted the rear sight

The first three groups were a little low, so I elevated the rear sight leaf. It goes up in steps and I added just one step this time.

Falcon pellets

The next group was shot with Falcon domed pellets from Air Arms. I shot with the artillery hold with my off hand at the back of the cocking slot. These 5 pellets went high above the bull, and in line with the center. Five pellets went into 0.71-inches at 10 meters. The group is vertical and not very good.

Falcon group
Five Falcon pellets went into 0.71-inches at 10 meters.

Well, raising the rear sight didn’t seem to help. So I put it back to where it was.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

I was really looking forward to trying Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets in the rifle, because in the velocity test they only had a spread of 6 f.p.s. I felt sure they would be accurate. But they weren’t. Five went into 0.792-inches at 10 meters — the largest group to this point in the test and ultimately the largest in the entire test. They also shot considerably lower, as you can see. But faster projectiles nearly always shoot lower than slower ones, due to the lack of recoil influence. They are out the barrel before the muzzle has a chance to rise. And I am still shooting with the artillery hold.

Sig group
Five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 0.792-inches at 10 meters. This is the largest group of the test. read more


BSF S54 Match rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BSF S54
BSF S54 target rifle.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • A little more of the BSF Story
  • Today
  • Front sight
  • BINK!
  • Velocity
  • Superpoints for the proof
  • Firing behavior
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

A little more of the BSF Story

Bayerische Sportwaffen Fabrik (BSF) was established in 1935. They made some airguns before WW II, but after the war is when they really got going. They were located in Erlangen, a town that’s about 15 kilometers from Nuremberg, but today is more like a suburb.

BSF airgun models ranged from youth guns to serious adult guns. Their lowest model was called the Junior that was a plain-Jane youth breakbarrel. Above that the Media came next. It shared a few parts with the Junior like the trigger but it was longer, heavier and more powerful. Think of them as the Diana 23/25.

BSF also made a pistol called the S20 that, at first sight, appears to be nothing more than a youth rifle with a shorter barrel, sitting in a one-piece pistol grip stock. But when we tested one several years ago we discovered that it is really quite well developed and tame to shoot.

The Wischo KG Wilsker Und Co sporting goods distributing and export company was also situated in Erlangen, and many BSF airguns left Germany under their Wischo brand name. In the U.S., BSF airguns were imported and sold by Air Rifle Headquarters and Beeman, sometimes acquiring an association with them in the process, though ARH sold them as Wischo models. In the literature that I have, the BSF name isn’t mentioned, though they did mention Bayerische and the city of Erlangen.

Moving up the food chain the model 20 rifle was next, followed by the models 30, 35, 45,50, 55, 60, 70 and 80. Models 55 through 80 are all based on the same powerplant but get upgrades as the numbers rise. There are several variations of most of these models that have different stocks, sights and accessories.

Comparing the S55 to Weihrauch airguns in the ARH catalog from 1979, the S55 retailed in the U.S. for $174.50, while the HW30S sold for $114.50 and the HW35 Standard and the FWB 124 Sport went for the same $174.50. The model 70 that had a more refined stock cost $209.50 in the same catalog — same as the FWB 124 Deluxe.

That only leaves the model S54 that I have told you was the high water mark for BSF. Reader Lain from the UK pointed me to John Walter’s first edition of The Airgun Book that was published in the U.S. in 1981, and it mentions four variations — a plain S54 sporter, the same sporter with a walnut stock, the Bayern and the S54 Match. He also mentioned a fifth variation called the Sport that was produced just before the company ceased doing business in the 1980s. That one was similar to the Bayern but had a deeper pistol grip and forearm and no checkering. This is the first I have heard of that model and I think they must be pretty rare in this country, if not in Europe. read more