Posts Tagged ‘air rifle reviews’

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

The Diana Outlaw is a sophisticated entrant in the mid range PCP air rifle market. Its good regulated shot count, pleasant side lever cocking and consistent trigger make the gun a strong performer. It looks good and feels good in the hand too.

At $499.99, the Diana Outlaw is priced between the rash of $300 PCPs and the more traditional $1,000-ish starting point for the premium brands. It’s available in .177, .22 and .25 calibers.

Probably the Benjamin Marauder is the gun to beat at the price. Compared to the Outlaw, the Marauder has a better trigger, is quieter and can’t be blank-fired with a magazine in place. But the Diana has a far more consistent regulated shot count, side lever action and more sophisticated looks.

This comparison to the Marauder means that the Diana Outlaw offers very good value for money. That’s always been the Marauder’s strong suit and the Outlaw clearly trades punches with the long-established champion in performance, value and quality. Here they are together.

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

The Diana Outlaw I tested was in .22 caliber. It achieved a maximum Muzzle Energy of 31.11 Ft/Lbs with the heavy, 21.14 Grain H&N Baracuda Match pellets.

The Baracudas also delivered excellent accuracy. At 25 Yards, the 10-shot test group was very respectable at about 0.3-Inches center-to-center using a scope at 9X magnification.

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

The Outlaw has a two-stage trigger. However, the first stage is considerably heavier than is normal and it feels rather more like a single stage trigger with a degree of creep. Sear release is predictable, however, and the overall effect quite pleasant. Pull weight averaged a comfortable 1 Lb 11 Oz.

It’s quite possible that the trigger would respond well to a little careful tuning. It is adjustable for pull length and sear engagement. Both adjustments are achieved by using hex wrenches inserted through appropriate holes in the trigger guard.

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

The Diana Outlaw has a manual trigger block safety. It’s actually in the trigger blade and has a side-to-side action. This safety has a red indicator for “off safe”. When engaged, the other side of the safety projects and prevents movement of the trigger by striking against the trigger guard itself.

This safety is simple to operate for a right-handed shooter. It’s less convenient for a left-hander, however, as a change of hold is required to operate by left-handers. It’s also too small for effective use in cold weather when wearing gloves.

The cocking lever works well and easily. It’s less slick than that of more expensive PCPs, but it’s definitely better than any bolt action I can think of.

The Outlaw has a regulated action. This produces a good, consistent Muzzle Velocity for 49 shots, as you can see from the graph below. From shot 50, pressure had fallen sufficiently that the regulator was no longer activated. The FPS then dropped steadily from shot-to-shot, as is expected.

This test was made using JSB-manufactured Daystate Rangemaster, 15.9 Grain pellets.

The cocking lever works well and easily. It’s less slick than that of more expensive PCPs, but it’s definitely better than any bolt action I can think of.

The Outlaw is supplied with a fully-shrouded barrel. This gives a fairly quiet report. It’s not “Marauder quiet”, however, it’s certainly backyard-friendly.

An interesting design feature is the series of tiny holes drilled in the rear of the shroud. Air can be felt exhausting from these holes whenever a shot is taken. It’s not a strong rush of air, but you can detect it with a hand in the right place.

As expected, the Outlaw is not fitted with any iron sights. In common with most higher-end air rifles, it’s not bundled with a scope either, thus leaving the choice of optics to the owner. I found the Aztec Emerald scopes to be a good partner for the Outlaw.

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

The top of the breech is grooved with standard airgun dovetails. The magazine does protrude above the top of the breech. However, there’s still sufficient clearance for the scope above the clip, even when using medium height rings.

One issue is that the magazine is loaded from the left side of the gun. This may cause issues with large diameter scope sidewheels, so the new owner should check this aspect before selecting a scope.

The magazine is of an interesting, quite complex design. Capacity is 13 pellets in .177 cal, 11 in .22 and 9 pellets in .25 caliber.

The cocking lever works well and easily. It’s less slick than that of more expensive PCPs, but it’s definitely better than any bolt action I can think of.

It’s easy to load without the need to hold back a sprung cover plate, as is often the case with other rotary magazines, due to an internal ratcheting system.

However, it does not block the action when all pellets are used and there’s no pellet counter. This means that it’s necessary to keep count of the shots fired to avoid a blank discharge.

The magazine slides easily and slickly into the breech, being retained in place by a magnet. There are flats on the side of the rotating pellet holder in the magazine. When a flat is in the vertical position for the second time,  it’s a visual  indication that the magazine is empty.

The Diana Outlaw is also fairly light. The weight of the sample I tested was 6 Lbs 10 Oz without scope. This compares to the 7 Lbs 5 Oz of a synthetic Marauder.

Machining finish is very good, with most metal parts having a uniform, black matt  finish.

The stock has a simple design with no unnecessary curves or shaping. Wood finish is generally good and smooth, with areas of  machine-made “checkering” on the forend and pistol grip to aid a good grip. The expected rubber buttpad seemed well-shaped and comfortable against the shoulder.

I found the Diana Outlaw very easy and comfortable to shoot. The stock design worked well for me, even though there is no adjustable buttpad or cheekpiece, as is common in more expensive PCP air rifles.

The Diana Outlaw uses a probe filling system to charge it with High Pressure Air. This probe has a standard “Foster” quick disconnect on the other end.

The Diana Outlaw - A Great Value PCP Air Rifle

This design enables it to be connected directly to the standard female quick disconnect fitting found on HPA tanks and pumps without the usual, annoying need for an additional adapter. This makes it quick and easy to use, particularly for owners with other PCPs having a standard male fill nipple.

The cover for the fill port is spring-loaded. It’s pulled forward to insert the fill probe, then released back after filling. This is a far better solution than the more common separate screw-thread or push-in cover for the fill port.

The cocking lever works well and easily. It’s less slick than that of more expensive PCPs, but it’s definitely better than any bolt action I can think of.

Now there’s no chance of losing or dropping the cover and the fill port itself is automatically protected from the possible ingress of dirt. This is a first-rate feature that we have not seen on other PCP air rifles.

As you can tell, I liked the Diana Outlaw a lot. I think you will too!

Weihrauch HW25L Rifle

The HW25L is light, handy, and lots of fun.

The other day I was running some errands when I saw one of those miniscule “Smart” cars. They are about half the length of a normal car, and every time I seen one, I can’t resist the urge to look underneath to see if there are feet pushing it – Fred Flintstone style – down the roadway.

When I got behind the Smart car, I found the owner had taken his or her visual statement to the max: the vanity plate said “2KYOOT.” Get it – too cute.

Well, I’ve gotta say my initial reaction to the Weihrauch HW25L was the same: 2KYOOT. I looked at the tiny air rifle inside the Weihrauch box and thought: “You’re kidding, right?” After all, I had been conditioned by years of cracking open HW boxes. Out of them come manly, stalwart air rifles, and here was this diminutive version of one. It was as if someone had gone to the Weihrauch factory and said I like everything about your air rifles, but I want one smaller and lighter, and the Weihrauch folks said, Okay, we’ll do it.

The result is a very nice small air rifle. The HW25 stretches just 37 inches from end to end, weighs only 4.4 lbs, and the length of pull is 13 inches.

The HW25 has a completely unadorned hardwood stock. At the aft end, you’ll find no butt pad, just a butt plate formed by the end of the wooden stock. There is the slight swell of a cheek piece for righthanded shooters, but lefties ought to be able to shoot this rifle equally well. The comb of the stock is very low, so even guys with wide cheek bones (like me) can get themselves in position behind the sights.

The pistol grip has no checkering, and ahead of that is the wide black trigger guard, inside of which you’ll find a rolled black sheet metal trigger. Moving forward, there is a screw under the forestock that helps to hold the action in place. At the end of the forestock is a short slot that allows room for the cocking linkage.

Moving forward again, you’ll find the breech and the 15.5 inch .177 caliber barrel. At the end of the barrel is the front sight, which houses a red fiber optic rod. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the breech block, on top of which sits the micro-adjustable rear sight, which is fitted with green fiber optics.

On top of the receiver, toward the back end, there is a dovetail for fitting a scope, but there are no holes for anti-recoil pins. At the very aft end of the receiver is a push-pull resettable safety.

To get the HW25L ready for shooting, grab the barrel near the muzzle and pull it down and back until it latches (I estimate this requires about 20 lbs of effort, and you hear a tiny bit of spring noise when cocking), insert a .177 pellet into the breech, and return the barrel to its original position. Take aim (put the red dot between the two green dots and put the sight picture on the target), push the safety forward to click it off, and squeeze the trigger. It takes about 1 lb of effort to pull the first stage out of the trigger, and at about 5.5 lbs, the shot goes down range.

Despite its small size, the HW25 doesn’t skimp on velocity. It will launch very light pellets at nearly 600 fps and 7.9 grain Crosman premiers at 487 fps average. I did not test the HW25 for ultimate accuracy, because I feared that, lacking anti-recoil holes in the receiver, a scope would slide backward off the dovetail and ruin the finish on this loaner rifle. I did try shooting at some silhouette targets (pigs, rams, turkeys, etc.) scaled for 10 yards, and found that I could hit what I was aiming at most of the time. I suspect the accuracy will prove to be comparable to the HW30S.

In the end, my “you’re kidding, right?” attitude toward the HW25L changed to one of solid admiration. It seems to be the nearly perfect rifle for an afternoon of plinking in the back yard. It’s light, easy to cock, and won’t wear you down in a day of shooting. Yet it has the power and the accuracy to defend the birdfeeder and eliminate pests in the garden at modest ranges. Best of all, it has Weihrauch quality built right into it.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott