The Diana 240 Classic Air Rifle. A Great Youth Gun and Plinker – Part Two.
Last time we reviewed the classic lines, quality workmanship and ballistic performance of Diana’s moderately powered 0.177 cal break barrel youth gun. I say youth gun with tongue in cheek because, in truth, the Diana 240 Classic air rifle is a perfect carbine sized plinker for adults seeking performance over power.
At just over 4 Ft/Lbs of muzzle energy, you won’t be heading into the forest with the intention of harvesting a bushytail or starling. But for those who are more interested in a gun which is quiet, fantastically easy to cock, and accurate with most pellets, this may be your gun.
With a high quality hardwood stock, excellent metal finish, and a target grade trigger, the Diana 240 Classic air rifle is just a JOY to shoot in your back yard range.
Last time we looked at Chronograph results for a number of lead pellets, and got a sense of down range performance using one of the more accurate pellets. Now it is time to review which pellets are most accurate in the Diana 240 Classic air rifle.
I chose my 12 shot target sequence to see which pellets would produce the best group average at 10 yards. I shoot three shot groups at a total of four Bulls and then computed an AVERAGE size for all four groups.
A secondary, but equally important goal was to see how the gun performs in the hands of a 10 year old junior rifleman. Logan Korson has been shooting air and rimfire rifles with open sights for 3 years, and father Spencer has been his coach. So I turned Logan’s gun orientation over to Spencer while I handled the camera.
While photographing Logan adjusting to the Diana 240 Classic air rifle, I made the following observations.
1 He had no problem adjusting to the size, weight and length of pull of the scoped Diana.
2 Logan just smiled approvingly when I asked his opinion of the trigger.
3 He quickly became comfortable with cocking and loading the Diana. At no time did I observe a breach of safety protocol.
4 Logan has been shooting with open sights, but adjusting to the Hawke scope was not a problem. Identifying pellet strikes on target after each shot helped instill confidence.
5 His target score- 37×50 with two bulls- made his father justifiably proud.
If pictures are worth a thousand words, I think Logan’s intensity and expressions will communicate how successfully the Diana 240 Classic, in concert with Spencer’s supervision, turned Logan on to break barrel air rifle shooting. He loved the gun and the scope, and didn’t want to quit.
So enjoy Logan’s photos, while I recount my personal shooting experience with this fun little gun.
The Diana 240 Classic air rifle Premium Bundle from Pyramyd Air includes a truly fantastic scope for the price. But I believe that young shooters should first learn to shoot a rifle using open sights before he or she transitions to a scope.
And I wanted readers to get a sense of how much performance, in terms of group size, they are sacrificing when they shoot the gun with the open sights.
So, I shot my first group using the fixed, hooded, fiber optic front sight and the windage and elevation adjustable fiber optic rear sight provided with the Diana 240 Classic air rifle. I chose RWS Meisterkugeln Pistol, 7.0 grain Wadcutters for this test.
Even my aging, bespectacled, cataract-challenged eyes were able to shoot a one-half inch average group size using the iron sights. Then I mounded the 2-7x32AO Hawke scope, got the cross hairs focused with the ocular lens adjustment, rotated the scope power setting to seven and turned the parallax setting until it read 30 Feet.
I was ready to fire off four, three shot groups at my 10 yard target on my basement range. Since the gun is a springer, I used what I would describe as a modified springer hold technique. I rested the forend on a soft blanket roll, and cradled the toe of the butt plate softly against my shoulder during the shot execution.
For those who are familiar with the propensity of break barrel air guns to shoot significantly below the line of sight before the scope mounts are shimmed, Diana has solved that problem with the Diana 240 Classic air rifle. There is NO barrel droop with my sample.
Keep in mind that the gun had never been fired before, and the only thing which had gone down the barrel before I started the test was a Umarex soft bronze brush and mop. In fairness to the performance of the gun, I should have seasoned the barrel with 500-1500 shots before I began the accuracy test. But I wanted to see what level of performance customers could expect the day Fed-X delivers their gun. Be assured your groups will tighten as you shoot additional pellets.
With the Hawke scope in place, the Diana 240 Classic air rifle shot an average group size of 0.38 inches with the RWS Meisterkugeln Pistol pellets. This proved that a good scope can be expected to improve your performance. But it also showed that the open sights supplied with this gun can deliver a very acceptable level of accuracy.
Only one pellet shot a group size averaging in excess of 0.5 inch, and unfortunately that is the ammunition most readily available to most shooters. And the best performing pellet was actually an afterthought!
I had finished the tests, then realized that I still had a partial tin of RWS Superdomes on the shelf. That turned out to be the best performing pellet, shooting an average group which was half that of the H & N Field Target Trophy. Point of reference: FTT pellets are, on average, one of the top performing premium pellets in most guns.
I wanted to see if some of my 3 shot, 4 target groups held up under repeat testing and I’m pleased to say that they did. I re-shot the H & N FTT test two more times, and the group sizes for these tests were, essentially, identical to the 0.49 inch group size reported on the Accuracy Table. I also re-shot the H&N Excite Econ pellets, and that group average was statistically identical to the first.
Most of you would not choose the 10.65 grain H&N Baracuda Match pellets for this moderately powered gun….but I tested it just for comparison. The 431 fps muzzle velocity and resulting rainbow trajectory was not inspiring. But for ranges of 10 yards or less, it might do a better job of bucking an outdoor cross wind. So, as my ancestors in Merry Old England would say, I decided to “give it a GO” !
As is my custom, I cleaned the barrel after the preceding test. After the first six shots with the Baracuda Match pellets (two bulls eyes), I was ready to abort the test. The group size was not inspiring.
But something prompted me to shoot a third group…
The group shrank precipitously. So I shot a fourth group – and then a 5 group and finally a 6 group. The last four groups (12 shots) averaged 0.33 inch. The second best average of the ten pellets tested.
For me, this is another reason to shoot smaller groups and average the results. Had I shot ten shots at the first bull, the group spread would have been at least as large as the first three pellets.
But by shooting repeated small groups, I was able to identify improved accuracy as the pellets seasoned the clean barrel.
Next time we’ll take a close look at the Hawke 2-7×32 AO scope packed with the Pyramyd Air Premium Bundle. It’s supported on line by the Fort Wayne,Indiana based company’s X-ACT ballistics program. I think you’ll like what we’ve discovered.
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Thanks to Spencer and Logan Korson for their help in the making of this story.