El Gamo David breakbarrel air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

El Gamo David
The El Gamo David is a lower-powered breakbarrel from the 1960s or’ 70s.

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • H&N Finale Match Heavy
  • Breech seal
  • Pick it out
  • Seal is out
  • What to do?
  • Cocking effort
  • Summary

Today we look at the El Gamo David breakbarrel rifle’s velocity. In Part One I predicted that, if the powerplant is in good shape, the David should be able to push an 8-grain pellet out at between 550 and 600 f.p.s. I have not chronographed a single shot yet, so I will find this out as you do. Let’s get right to it.

H&N Finale Match Heavy

The first pellet I tested was the 8.18-grain H&N Finale Match Heavy wadcutter. The tin says they weigh 8.18 grains. I weighed five and got this:

8.2 grains
8.3
8.3
8.1
8.1

Then I shot a string of 10. Before the string started I shot 2 pellets to “wake up” the powerplant. Then I shot the string and 10 pellets averaged 480 f.p.s. The low was 464 and the high was 487, so the spread was 23 f.p.s. That’s not a terrible spread for a springer, but I would always like to see it smaller. At the average velocity this pellet generated 4.2 foot-pounds. I had expected more like 5.5 foot-pounds. read more


What do you want?: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • So what?
  • The most important thing
  • What gives accuracy — the barrel
  • What gives accuracy — the trigger
  • Safety
  • What gives accuracy — the breech lock
  • Powerplant
  • Sights
  • My idea
  • Between the lines

This is the start of a series that I think will be quite different. The inspiration comes from the SpaceX company that has now successfully put two astronauts on the International Space Station. SpaceX has significantly reduced the cost to build rockets and launch payloads, making space exploration more affordable. Elon Musk determined that he could buy the materials to build a rocket for just three percent of what the Russians wanted for theirs. That was what put him in business.

So what?

What does any of that have to do with airguns? Everything, I think. Because it illustrates just how much can be accomplished when there is a plan and when the schedule is not artificial but is based on realistic forecasts. This report is not meant to criticize any company or person, but it will also not permit the hardening of attitudes that stifles progress. read more


Diana 23: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 23
Diana 23.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • RWS Hobby
  • Sights are off
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • RWS Superpoints
  • H&N Match Green
  • Discussion
  • Summary
  • One last thing

Today we look at the accuracy of Diana 23. I sure hope she’s accurate!

It took me half an hour to set up the range indoors, so I wanted to make this count.

The test

I shot the rifle from a sandbag rest at 10 meters. I used the artillery hold and did not test anything else. I rested the rifle on my off hand that was back almost touching the triggerguard. The stock is a little short to allow me to treat it like other adult rifles, so my off hand placement was the best I could do. I shot differing numbers of pellets at each target so I’ll address that when we get to it. read more


Diana 23: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Dioana 23
Diana 23.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • A stripper
  • The rifle
  • Two versions of the later rifle
  • Trigger
  • Breech seal and locking detent
  • Sights
  • Cocking
  • What is it good for?
  • Summary

This report should be titled, “By any other name” because the airgun I’m writing about doesn’t say Diana anywhere. It says Gecado, Mod. 23. I know it is a Diana because I have paid attention to Diana air rifles for the past four decades, or so. They can also be named Hy Score, Winchester, Peerless, Original, Milbro, RWS, Geco (of which Gecado is a derivative) and Beeman. And I bet there are more names I haven’t mentioned.

Dioana 23 markings
These are the principal markings on the rifle. There is no serial number, caliber or date of manufacture.

A stripper

Decades ago a new car that was basic and was priced as low as that model would go was called a stripper. Well, the Diana 23 is the stripper of Diana pellet rifles. In the photograph above the rifle appears to be the same size as a Diana 27, but when you see them together the difference becomes obvious. read more


Diana 27S: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 27S
Diana 27S.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Trepidation
  • Disassembly
  • Anti-beartrap mechanism
  • Pictures!
  • Secret washer
  • Remove the trigger?
  • The rest of the disassembly
  • Cleaning
  • Lubrication and assembly
  • Hit the wall
  • Frustration
  • The solution
  • The final solution
  • Denny was a pattern maker
  • The irony!
  • One more thing
  • Summary

Today I do something different. I show you a tuneup that is not complete. I do that because the monster has been vanquished and I will be able to get the Diana 27S back together to report on the performance after a cleaning and a lube tune. Here we go.

Trepidation

When I began this job a week ago I had trepidation because of the anti-beartrap mechanism Diana put in this model. I have stripped other springers with anti-beartraps before and I’ve always been successful, but their presence complicates the rest of the powerplant quite a bit — especially the trigger. read more


Diana 72 youth target rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Diana 72
Diana 72 is a youth target rifle from the late 20th century.

This report addresses:

• More on the trigger.
• Accuracy with various pellets.
• Why 5 shots?
• Accuracy with deep-seated pellets.
• Summary.

Today is accuracy day for the Diana model 72 target rifle. We had one extra report in this series, and that was on adjusting the trigger. I want to tell you some more of what I have learned about this trigger.

More on the trigger
During the accuracy test, the trigger failed to work two times. The first time I made a small adjustment and got it running again in a matter of a minute. The second time, however, I worked on it for 15 minutes without success. I finally read Part 3 of this report, to see where the two adjustment screws had been positioned when the trigger was working. The camera angle of that photo isn’t the best, so there was still some guesswork involved; but even then I couldn’t get the rifle to fire.

Then, I thought of something. I know this rifle has a very protective anti-beartrap mechanism, and I wonderd if it was a little too over-protective. So, I cocked the gun, again (it was still cocked and loaded from when the trigger had failed). I’ve had other spring-piston air rifles — most notably Weihrauchs and a few Dianas — that would seem to cock but wouldn’t quite go all the way. How many people have I talked through cocking their RWS Diana sidelevers because they had not pulled the lever all the way back, and the gun was stuck? Even my Whiscombe has done this often enough that I’m used to it.

When it happens to the 72, the rifle is cocked from the standpoint that the piston is back and the mainspring is compressed, but it also isn’t fully cocked in that the trigger isn’t in the right position to fire the gun. It’s a sort of limbo state that some spring rifles can get into. Think of it as a disagreement between the trigger and the anti-beartrap device, and the designers have allowed the anti-beartrap device to trump the trigger for safety reasons.

All you need to do when this happens is cock the rifle a second time, making sure that the cocking linkage goes all the way back. When I did this, the 72’s trigger began working immediately. So, if you ever get one of these rifles, keep this in mind.

Accuracy
I began this test not knowing where the sights were set. After all, this rifle had been through a complete rebuild, so those sights presumably came off. And the action has been out of the stock several times over the past 2 years. So, the gun needed to be sighted-in.

As a side note, the manufacturing date on the left rear of the spring tube is November 1989. That puts it near the end of the production cycle (1979-1993, according to the Blue Book of Airguns).

Sighting-in with H&N Finale Match Pistol
I started sighting-in with H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. The first shot was lined up with the center of the bull, but it was too low. It landed at 6 o’clock. Since the sights are target apertures front and rear, I was not using a 6 o’clock hold, but centering the bull in the front aperture.

The first sight-in shot was interesting, but the second was even more so, for it would tell me if this was an accurate rifle or not. It hit above the first shot, in the same line but the 2 holes didn’t quite touch. That was good but not what I had hoped for. I had hoped to see a single hole that had barely enlarged with the second round.

Shot 3, however, went into the same hole as shot 2, and shot 4 joined them. So, the rifle was probably accurate, after all. I clicked the elevation up two clicks and proceeded to the first record target.

Shooting for the record
The first 5 shots went into a group that measures 0.221 inches between centers. It’s a group you would love to see out of most sporting rifles but not impressive coming from a 10-meter rifle. Just to make sure it wasn’t me, I shot a second group with this same Finale Match Pistol pellet. As I shot, I could hear the voices of the newer readers, asking why I only shot 5 shots. So, on just this one target, I put 10 into the next group, which measures 0.269 inches. That’s encouragingly close to what just 5 shots did, so it renewed my enthusiasm.

H&N Finale Match Pistol target 1
Five H&N Finale Match pellets went into 0.221 inches at 10 meters.

H&N Finale Match Pistol target 2
Ten H&N Match Targets made this 0.269-inch group. This is not that much larger than the 5-shot group.

RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet
Next up was the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. Five of those made a group that measures 0.244 inches. It’s in the same range as the H&N Finale Match pellet, so no cigar.

RWS R10 Match Pistol target
Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets went into 0.244 inches.

RWS Hobby
After that, I decided to give the RWS Hobby wadcutter pellet a try. Who knows what they might do? Well, that was a good decision this time, because 5 of them went into 0.194 inches between centers — the smallest group so far.

RWS Hobby target
Five RWS Hobby pellets went into 0.194 inches at 10 meters. This is a good group.

At this point, I’d noticed that all the groups were landing off to the left. There’s no scope involved, so I can hit the center of the target and not destroy the aim point. I dialed in 3 clicks of right adjustment into the rear sight and continued the test. read more


Diana 72 youth target rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Diana 72
Diana 72 is a youth target rifle from the late 20th century.

This report addresses:

• Examining the Diana model 72 trigger.
• Two trigger adjustments.
• Caution — you may not want to do this!
• Trigger adjustment directions.
• Blog reader Mikeiniowa.

Today, we’re going to look at how to adjust the Diana model 72 trigger. I know this report is needed; because when I searched for information on the Diana model 72 target rifle, this blog was at the top of the list! I wish I had an owner’s manual for this little rifle, as I’m sure clear trigger adjustment instructions are in there. Lacking that, let’s first look at the trigger.

The Diana 72 trigger
As you’ve learned, the Diana model 72 youth rifle is just a model 6 target pistol in a rifle stock. Most things remained the same, but the trigger is one feature that had to change. People will tell you this rifle trigger is identical to the pistol trigger, but the presence of the long linkage from the trigger blade to the sear adds complexity the pistol trigger doesn’t have.

Diana 72 trigger left
Kind of surprising, no? What looks like the trigger is nothing but an isolated lever. Under the large hole in the flat plate several inches to the left is where the actual trigger lies. The arrow points to the trigger adjustment screws.

Diana 72 trigger right
On the right side of the trigger mechanism, we see the trigger linkage (the flat bar above the trigger blade that connects it to the trigger mechanism on the right). read more