by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
A history of airguns
This report covers:
- Diana 27S
- Ball bearing sear
- Parts interchange
This report is one I wanted to write months ago, but after all I wrote about reader Michael’s Winchester 427 and my own Diana 26 and Diana 35, I thought I had better let vintage Dianas rest for awhile.
I purchased this Diana 27S along with the Diana 26 and Diana 35 I have just mentioned from reader Carel of the Netherlands. He gave me a fantastic deal on three air rifles that are quite uncommon in the US. The 35 is the most common of the three, but Carel had a very early one that was different than the one many Americans have seen, so it was just as uncommon to me as the other two.
The Diana 35 I got from Carel is a very early one that we don’t often see in the U.S.
I was able to tune the 35 to be a smooth shooter and an easy cocker — something that you don’t see with run-of-the-mill Diana 35s (and Winchester 435s/Hy-Score 809s/Beeman 200s that are all the same rebranded models). That was a 6-part series that’s linked above.
And now we come to the subject air rifle — the .177-caliber Diana 27S. What is it? Well, there is very little written about this model so I’m going to expand your horizon just a tad. There are some subtle refinements on this scarce Diana model.
In the UK the German Diana is called the Original Diana, because the Milbro company of Scotland received the rights to produce and sell Diana airguns as war reparations following WWII. In the 1981 edition of The Airgun Book, author John Walter says the Original Diana 27S comes with “an automatic trigger-blocking safety”. I thought, “Oh, no — not one of those!” But don’t fret. He didn’t mean what you think.
What Walter meant was the 27S has an anti-beartrap device built into it, unlike the standard model 27 that you can close when it’s broken open by pulling the trigger (restrain the barrel when doing this!). There is no separate safety lever on the 27S. But the barrel has to be closed in order for the trigger to work, so Walter is correct in what he says, but the term anti-beartrap is used more commonly for this feature today. We will take a closer look at the parts that support this function when we go inside the rifle. Yes, we will be going inside!
The Diana 27S is a conventional breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle, but it differs from the 27 in a couple obvious ways. The triggerguard is very angular The forearm is also squared off and the end is cut on an angle instead of being rounded like the forearm end of a standard 27. The butt has a thin rubber pad that’s separated from the wood by a white line spacer. On a conventional model 27 there is just a red rubber button at the top of the wooden butt to help the rifle stand on its butt without slipping.
The Diana logo shows Diana dropping her bow for a rifle. As you can see, there are flecks of rust in the blue. Ballistol and 0000 steel wool will handle them.
The 27S has a whole butt pad, where the 27 just has a rubber button.
My .177-caliber 27S rifle weighs 6 pounds 10 oz., which is one pound one ounce heavier than my .22-caliber Diana 27 (Hy-Score 807). The .177 caliber adds a little weight because the barrel, having thicker walls, weighs a little more. Also the forearm of the stock is a trifle wider and the cocking slot is shorter because the two-piece cocking link is articulated and therefore doesn’t need the longer slot. More wood means more weight. In theory this makes the stock stiffer, which should help to reduce vibration a little, but in this day of
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