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Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

Overview
Testers

Stephen Archer

Caliber

.177

Model Number

DIA-1900001

Test Date

23 September, 2017

Serial Numbers

N/a

Source of Supply

Supplied by Pyramyd Air.

Condition

Pre-production model that had been previously used for demonstration.

We Like

The price!
Very small and light for a PCP air rifle.
Accurate with the right pellets.

We Don't Like

Low shot count.
Bolt handle too small.
That long, unsupported barrel.

HAM Rating
Value for Money
100%
Speed and Accuracy
80%
Trigger and Cocking Effort
80%
Comparison to Makers Claims
60%
Consistency
60%
Noise Level
60%
Sights
80%
Shootability
80%
Appearance and Finish
80%
Buying and Owning
70%
Hard Air Magazine Test Conclusions

At just under $200 plus scope, the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is definitely the new price/performance leader in the fast-growing low end PCP market!

This is a sweet-handling air rifle with PCP power and multi-shot magazine feed. The size and weight make it attractive for those who find most other PCP air rifles somewhat too long and heavy.

The Stormrider has plenty enough power for hunting small critters, plinking and target shooting. Just what most shooters want.

Downsides? There's not many. This small, light gun has a small, light air tube. This means relatively few shots per fill. The unregulated design means that the shooter needs to be aware of the shot curve. And we're concerned about the possibility for "wandering zero" when that long, exposed barrel takes a few knocks in use.

Overall, the Diana Stormrider is the new PCP air rifle to beat at $200. It earns a HAM Gold Award.

79%
HAM Rating
You have rated this
Full Review

VALUE FOR MONEY

One hundred per cent! The Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is in a class of its own right now in the airgun market. It’s a magazine-fed, bolt action PCP that’s selling for under $200.00.

The only competing PCPs with a similar price – the Beeman Chief and Benjamin Maximus – are single-load only. And no, we’re not forgetting the Benjamin Wildfire. But that’s really a plinker-grade gun that most potential Stormrider purchasers (and HAM) would not consider in the same way as a “serious” PCP air rifle.

As Diana’s International Sales Manager Tobias Schmidt explained to HAM recently, the Diana Stormrider PCP is the first product in Diana’s “Action Line”. This is a range of entry-level products which are manufactured in countries outside Germany. “Action Line” products are differentiated in this way from Diana’s “Performance Line” products, which continue to be manufactured in Germany.

The Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is supplied with one magazine, a single shot tray and a fill probe. There’s no scope bundled with the gun. This gives the owner the opportunity to select his/her own scope without feeling that they’re throwing away a bundled scope, even though that may be a poor 4 x 32 model as is found in the box with so many air rifles.

For testing, Hard Air Magazine fitted a Leapers UTG Bugbuster scope. This retails for about $98.00. So, the total price for the gun and scope – as tested – is under $300.00. Of course, you still need to add the cost of a hand pump or other filling device, as is the case with any PCP airgun.

Diana Stormrider Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

HAM Test Rating79%
Value For MoneyThe only magazine-fed, bolt action PCP air rifle for less than $200.
Best ForPlinking, target shooting, hunting small game.
Best Pellet TestedH&N Field Target Trophy
Street Price at Time of Test$199.99 + scope
Caliber Tested.177
RateAGun Score
Easy to Shoot
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle

SPEED AND ACCURACY

Muzzle Velocity for the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle tested by HAM peaked at 1068 FPS with the lightest Gamo Platinum PBA pellets. As expected, the highest Muzzle velocity with lead pellets was obtained with the 7.0 Grain RWS Hobby pellets. These gave 977 FPS.

PelletAverage Muzzle VelocityAverage Muzzle EnergyAccuracy
Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain1068.83 FPS11.92 Ft/LbsPoor.
H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain1036.61 FPS13.27 Ft/LbsGood
RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain977.23 FPS14.85 Ft/LbsGood.
Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain957.78 FPS16.10 Ft/LbsPoor.
JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain926.58 FPS16.09 Ft/LbsExcellent.
H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain938.79 FPS16.9 Ft/LbsExcellent. Best Tested.
H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain886.44 FPS18.59 Ft/LbsExcellent.

Typically, the Muzzle Energy of PCP air rifles rises with increasing pellet weight. The Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle follows this pattern, achieving an average of 18.59 Ft/Lbs over a 10-shot string with the heavy H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain pellets.

Accuracy of the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle tested by HAM was generally good or better with most of the standard HAM pellet suite. Unusually, the Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets showed pronounced vertical stringing down the target.

This was probably the result of the 80 FPS drop in Muzzle Velocity between the first and tenth shots, although this effect was nowhere near so pronounced with the other pellets tested.

When tested with 8.64 Grain H&N Field Target Trophy pellets at 25 Yards, the Stormrider gave an approximately half Inch CTC group. At least, excepting the one flyer for which the shooter takes responsibility!

Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
H&N Field Target Trophy .177 Cal, 8.64 Grains, Domed, 500ct
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
H&N Field Target Trophy Pellets .177 Cal 500 Ct

TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT

Trigger pull weight of the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle tested by HAM averaged 3 Lbs 1 Oz. The single stage trigger lets off quite predictably. It’s easy to tell when the Stormrider is about to fire.

That’s good, because – unusually – there’s no adjustment capability with the trigger at all. ‘It is as it is”. And, for the price point, it could be a whole lot worse.

The trigger blade itself is metal and quite comfortable.

There’s a manual, push across, safety. It’s positioned directly in front of the trigger and snaps on and off cleanly. When the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is “live” and ready to fire, there’s a red collar around the safety to warn of that fact.

Diana Stormrider Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

The Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle’s bolt action is light and easy to operate. As this is a cock on opening action, it’s harder to pull the bolt handle to the rear than it is to push forward. And it’s when pulling back that the bolt handle can feel somewhat small and difficult to grasp.

Forward action of the bolt is very light. Overall, the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle has a light and easy action, both when using the magazine or single shot tray.

 

COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS

The Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle tested by HAM performed more strongly than we expected. However, it did not meet the specs published on the Pyramyd website.

The maximum Muzzle Velocity recorded in HAM testing was an average of 1068 FPS for a ten-shot string with Gamo Platinum PBA pellets. The Pyramyd site gives 1050 FPS, but with lead pellets. The maximum we achieved was 977 FPS average with lead pellets.

For Muzzle Energy (knock down power), the maximum achieved in HAM testing was 18.59 Ft/Lbs.  The claim is for 20 Ft/Lbs for the Stormrider in .177 caliber.

The Pyramyd site also claims a trigger pull weight of about 3 Lbs. This corresponds very well to the HAM test average of 3 Lb 1 Oz.

Note that the Diana website does not yet include the Stormrider, so HAM is making comparison to the Pyramyd specifications for that reason.

Diana Stormrider Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

CONSISTENCY

Muzzle Velocity of the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is about what you would expect from an unregulated PCP air rifle.

In HAM testing the Muzzle Velocity peaked at around shot 10 and then began a long, fairly steady, descent as pressure was used. As you can see from the chart below, there’s a drop of about 6 – 10 FPS shot-on-shot after shot 10 with the .177 caliber Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle we tested.

Diana Stormrider Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

Of course this is as expected for any unregulated PCP. And so long as the shooter understands this, the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle can be shot without significant vertical stringing.

HAM’s advice would be to fill the gun back up to full pressure – 2,900 PSI – after every 20 shots. This will keep the Muzzle Velocity within about 40 FPS of the maximum, which most shooters would consider satisfactory for most shooting purposes.

It has to be said, however, that the overall Standard Deviation recorded in HAM testing was about the highest we can ever recall. The average Standard Deviation – the measure of shot-to-shot variability in Muzzle Velocity was 25.48 FPS. This is a large number and, again, requires the shooter to pay close attention to the shot curve of the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle in order to achieve best accuracy.

Trigger pull weight of the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle tested by HAM was 3 Lbs 1 Oz. Consistency of pull was good, ranging from minus 5 Oz to plus 7 Oz around that average figure. This is perfectly satisfactory trigger consistency for an air rifle in this price range.

 

NOISE LEVEL

The Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is fitted with a short suppressor around the front of the barrel. This makes the Stormrider quieter than an un-silenced air rifle of similar power. It’s certainly considerably quieter than the Beeman Chief or Benjamin Maximus, for example.

At this noise level, it may be considered – just – “backyard friendly” by many buyers. However, of course, the noise level is far greater than is found from a fully-shrouded (and much more expensive) air rifle like the Benjamin Marauder.

Diana Stormrider Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

 

SIGHTS AND SCOPE

The Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is supplied with regular open sights. These do not have fiber optic elements. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation using a flat blade screwdriver to make changes. This is attached to the top of the barrel band.

Both the breech and barrel band of the Stormrider are grooved with dovetail rails for mounting a scope using standard airgun rings. However, this is where things get interesting…

Due to the small size of the breech, it is necessary to remove the rear sight so that the barrel band can be used for the front scope ring. That is unless you fit a Leapers UTG Bugbuster scope to the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle with medium height airgun rings, as we did for this HAM test review.

Diana Stormrider Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

The Bugbuster scope fits the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle perfectly with the rear sight and magazine in place, as you can see from the photographs. And, no, the rear sight did notimpact the sight picture through the scope in any way!

Also, this Bugbuster scope is not too big and heavy. There’s a chance that fitting a big scope could make this compact, light air rifle top-heavy and over balance the handling.

The dovetail grooves on barrel band and front of the breech are likely to be the chosen locations for mounting scope rings for large scopes.

Fortunately, removal of the iron sights is very simple. The rear sight is removed using a common, flat blade screwdriver. The Front sight is removed by undoing a setscrew. You’ll need a small,  2 mm, Allen wrench to do this.

 

SHOOTABILITY

There’s no question, the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is pleasant to shoot.

This is, in part, due to the small size and weight of the gun, particularly when compared to many other PCP air rifles.Even with the UTG Bugbuster scope mounted, the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle tested by HAM weighted-in at just 5 Lbs 13 Oz.

The pull length is, however, full-sized at 14.25 inches.

There’s plenty of space under the scope for access to the removable magazine. Loading the single shot tray is also pretty easy unless you have very large fingers.

But one handing issue is that the bolt handle is really too short. Combined with the small diameter of the bolt handle knob, it’s not easy for the average hand to grasp.

Note to Diana: an oversize bolt handle would be a great improvement on the Stormrider!

Diana Stormrider Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

The .177 caliber Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle, as tested – has a 9-shot pellet magazine. (The .22 cal version holds 7 shots).

Like some FX magazines, this is loaded by rotating the top cover plate and then inserting the first pellet skirt first into the rear of the magazine. Remaining pellets are loaded nose-first as usual.

This method of loading is somewhat counter-intuitive to those familiar with the very common Benjamin Marauder magazines. However, a little practice soon makes it seem normal.

Both the magazine and single shot tray have a built-in magnet. This engages with a magnet in the breech of the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle when inserted correctly. It’s a simple, successful method of alignment that is not subject to wear with extended use – as can be the case with heavily-used magazines of the Marauder type.

 

APPEARANCE AND FINISH

Again we have to say it, the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is so small that it’s in a different league from most other “serious”air rifles. It looks quite long and thin, but is surprisingly compact and easy to point. The HAM team like the look of the Stormrider!

Finish of the metal parts is perfectly satisfactory for a sub-$200 air rifle. There’s no visible machining marks on the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle tested by HAM, blueing is OK and the breech looks to be powder-coated.

Diana Stormrider Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

Wood finish is also satisfactory. The wood itself is somewhat dull and there’s almost no figuring. And the “checkering” is really just simple lines scribed into the stock by machine. But it’s definitely good enough at this price point and there’s no actual defects anywhere in the gun.

The stock is finished with a solid, ribbed rubber buttpad that does its job and grips nicely into the shoulder.

 

BUYING AND OWNING

The Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is exclusively distributed in the USA by Air Venturi. This means that it’s readily available from Pyramyd Air, Airgun Depot and other Air Venturi dealers. However, you’re not likely to find it at your local big box sporting goods store.

Unlike most US-manufactured PCP air rifles, the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is charged by a push-in probe. This is simple and effective to operate.

The probe itself is unusual – and good – in that it has the profile of a standard 1/8-inch male quick disconnect machined into the other end. This makes it a direct fit into the female connector that’s inevitably found on the hoses attached to HPA tanks and pumps, without the need for an adapter.

 

Diana Stormrider Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

The probe simply pushes into the end of the pressure tube to fill to the maximum of 2,000 PSI.

Diana Stormrider Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

Unlike most other probe-filling systems, however, there is no cover for the filling hole in the end of the HPA tube of the Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle. This could allow dirt, dust and other junk to make its way into the gun when it is filled, causing potentially serious leaks in the valve.

It’s to be hoped that Diana, or Air Venturi, will come up with a suitable size plug or cap that can cover the filling hole, for peace-of-mind, if nothing else!

One other concern relates to the long, unsupported length of the barrel ahead of the barrel band. The barrel can visibly be flexed relative to the HPA tube with little effort. Maybe this semi-free-floating barrel design will work out well in long-term use, but it certainly appears somewhat flimsy. The HAM Team does have some concerns about possible long-term “wandering zero” issues in Stormriders that are not carefully treated, if this pre-production model is typical.

The Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle is supported by the usual 12-month warranty.  This will be fulfilled in the USA by Air Venturi.

As no instruction manual was available with this pre-production Diana Stormrider PCP air rifle, the HAM team cannot comment on this, as we normally do in our comprehensive test reviews.

TEST TARGETS

Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle Test Review .177 Caliber

BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Diana Stormrider PCP Air Rifle

This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.