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Thread: RWS/Diana 54 Airking- some observations/ramblings

  1. #1
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    RWS/Diana 54 Airking- some observations/ramblings

    Yet again I have been distracted along the way of my collecting journey and have stumbled upon one of the above guns.

    I already own a 56TH and that is one heck of a lump of machinery, and so I was pleasantly surprised by the relative (and I do emphasize that term) weight of the Airking in comparison with the 56. Its the same power plant, but the stock is more traditional sporter in comparison and I guess lighter. I found that I have changed my initial view that this would be a dedicated target/occasional gun only to the possibility that it could be easily pressed into a main full time hunting outfit. Having used a scoped HW80 for donkey years- I personally don't find the weight THAT bad- but can appreciate someone having previously only shot a medium weight springer or similar could baulk at the weight increase.

    This particular example is dated late 2000 and has the 01 trigger unit which although plastic, has a pretty good feel and action. Talking of action the gun is blued to a high standard and I much prefer the traditional finish over the 56TH. More by luck than design the beech stock is well figured and is pleasing. The height of the cheek piece is relatively high for a non scope dedicated gun- being picky you could say perhaps a whisker high for open sights and a whisker low for a scope. That said my eyes are not what they were and I have shot scoped guns out of necessity for many years now. I did notice that in contrast to my old c1988 Firebird 52 (which is cast metal), the adjustable front sight assembly on this is that hardened plastic. Not great but it will do. If I didnt want to keep things as is I think a sleeve with a small moderator built in ala Pro Sport would be the ticket here (hunting wise I mean).

    Now I've arrived at the unusual part. The gun is in .25 calibre. I vaguely recall that this was an available option on this model (possibly special order???). Not sure if this has always been the case (bearing in mind the year 2000 of manufacture), but I've heard from three different sources that there were not that many .25s came into the country. I have also heard that .20 was an option as well. Does anyone have some information that they can add to this? The firing cycle of the gun as any springer user who has one will attest is a little surreal when the shot is released and there is very little felt recoil. The gun feels dead. Though I haven't used the gun for any extended sessions (I've simply zeroed the scope), the accuracy seems more than acceptable. I have no experience of .25 calibre so have no knowledge if this is to be expected. For close to moderate range accuracy is very good with Bisley Superfield (I've heard these are no longer produced by H&N). So when my stock is exhausted I will be looking for a replacement and had considered the H&N FTTs in the 19gr range as opposed to Bisley SFs in the 24.5gr range. If anyone has some recommendations on this aspect please post here. The thump of these pellets landing downrange is quite satisfying and energy certainly looks to be there in abundance at moderate ranges as a crow found out after the gun was zeroed last week. I think any calibre would have done the job, but certainly the crow crumpled when hit with the Bisley.

    I'm not sure if the gun is entirely factory standard as the action appears very smooth and discharge sound quite moderate with no really twang (perhaps there wasn't such a shortage of lube at the factory in those days)?

    Anyone else have an Airking and like to share some thoughts? I'd certainly appreciate some input on pellet suggestions and very much on any knowledge on the fact this is gun is .25 calibre?

    Thanks all.

    Dave

  2. #2
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    A very interesting post Dave. I’ve never heard or seen of a .25 Airking 54.
    I have a few tins of .25 ammo lying about. Happy to send you a few samples FOC . Just drop me a PM.
    Last edited by Brickhill; 17-06-2018 at 08:30 AM.

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    Very interesting post, Dave. Really enjoyed reading it. I have heard of .25 cal 54's being available in New Zealand and Australia (I think) but never here. Not heard of any .20 cal 54s anywhere. I always thought Diana limited .20 to the old 45's.
    I've always thought a nicely scoped & bipod'd 54 would be a great gun. I've thought about getting one often but never have. The accuracy potential of the 54 must be very good indeed. I'd definitely give FTT's a go as they usually shoot very well in smaller bore Diana's.

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    Airking

    I too have one of these and a fine old thumper it is 😊

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldcurmudgeon View Post
    I too have one of these and a fine old thumper it is 😊
    Would that be in the elephant calibre?

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    A very interesting post. It is pleasing to read about high quality rifles other than HW and, in my (humble) opinion, Diana's Original 45 was one of the best air rifles ever made; it is unfortunate they did not upgrade and keep the model going. I rather became lost when they introduced so many alternatives, such as their range with thirty something or other - poor marketing in my view. Everyone had heard of the 45.

    There is presumably quite a curvature in the pellet flight on a .25 calibre. If sighted at 30 yds, there must surely be an enormous hold-under and hold-over at 20 yds and 40 yds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewM View Post
    A very interesting post. It is pleasing to read about high quality rifles other than HW and, in my (humble) opinion, Diana's Original 45 was one of the best air rifles ever made; it is unfortunate they did not upgrade and keep the model going. I rather became lost when they introduced so many alternatives, such as their range with thirty something or other - poor marketing in my view. Everyone had heard of the 45.

    There is presumably quite a curvature in the pellet flight on a .25 calibre. If sighted at 30 yds, there must surely be an enormous hold-under and hold-over at 20 yds and 40 yds.
    Thanks Andrew and all.
    Yes this 54 certainly has the right build quality and tolerances seem excellent. Like many factory production guns it could do with a spit n polish and relube- but as this is one of the better ones I've encountered of late I'm in no rush to have the gun apart.

    The trajectory is loopy as to be expected and its the reason I've robbed a Hawke MAP scope off one of the other guns onto this so I can get accustomed to some aim points at varying ranges. As has been mentioned in practically every .25 calibre thread likely ever posted here I intend to limit hunting range. To be honest I do so nowadays anyhow- irrespective of calibre. I havent done any hard and fast calculations on holdover/under Andrew. Just zeroed around the 20 yards and taken it from there. I did however step things up to the 30 yard mark last weekend and groups achieved were not disimilar to what I can achieve in other calibres (notwithstanding the large impact area) Its never going to be used out to 40 yards though. Ever. I'm happy for close in quarry- such as squirrel and crow for now. It would be good for rat too- but I rarely get the opportunity these days it would seem.

    Like you I greatly enjoy the look and feel of Dianas, but as you say a number of models are simply a play on a base model. The 34 for example crops up in a multitude of guises and I for one think that Diana could rationalise things on this front.

    The 45 is certainly an all time classic and here again Diana were one of the early (but not only) manufacturers to go off the beaten path and introduce a .20 calibre model. I think all the way back in those days a .25 model would have been a step too far for the times- but I'm sure would have been an equally worthy gun.

    Dave

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    Elephant calibre

    Yes it is 😊

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldcurmudgeon View Post
    Yes it is 😊
    What's the story behind that one mate? Date wise and its background (if you.dont.mind me asking)? Contrary to what I posted above this one is actually 04 2000.
    Would you know if yours was a special order or something? As I picked this one up in the Swansea area I think its at the very least been owned.local to that area for a time if not originally from there.
    Dave

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    Airking

    Mine was bought brand new and is dated as march 2005. It has the TO5 trigger unit and is a fabulous if weighty bit of kit.
    I also own a model 52 in said calibre and while it recoils it's still a fabulous machine 😊

  11. #11
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    Blackrider is offline It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got a Spring
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    Had a superb tuned .177 Cal. but sold it as I couldn't get on with the right handed cocking lever being a Southpaw.
    Great gun though !
    "When you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, get up and switch it on yourself" !

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    Airking

    Thanks for the replies both.
    Yes the cocking procedure is a little long winded but once zeroed I tend to hunt and therefore shot numbers reduce, and double check accuracy before a session so I guess I'm not putting the amount of shooting in with it that someone would at a club range.
    I'm very taken with the gun and I'm quite tickled it throws big lumps of lead downrange for practically no recoil. It almost feels wrong.
    I'm getting more used to the trajectory and gaining confidence but will still keep the range pretty short.
    I've tracked down the playground of one of the few remaining grey squirrels on my shoot and the clock is ticking for a can of whup ass to be opened up on him with this gun.
    It would be surreal taking my old Firebird 52 out for a session alongside this one and experience recoil from a very similar gun.
    Dave

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    Never heard of any Diana in .25. (or .20 for that matter). Dont know whether its original. But a dealer must be able to check that for you.
    Ive had several 54s. Mine had T05s. Dont like the T01 triggers at all.
    Im not really into sidecocking either. The sidelever makes it a tad off-balance too.
    Yes shooting is....weird. Really recoilless. Bút because of that, boring as well
    Theyre easy to shoot. But kill as many scopes as any other magnum.
    Last one I had was a laminate. Quite rare. But it had cocking problems from new and I lost my temper with it and sold it.
    The TX SR is very nice too, but I/we, can say everything (negative) about the 54, its the ONLY one of those 2 still in production.
    If I had to choose, Id choose the 54. With the T06 it has a better trigger. And of course it would be new.
    Id try in .25 especially JSB. As second Baracuda match. Third FTT.
    I only have 1 airgun preferring baracuda (a patriot), no airgun that prefers FTT and a lót that prefer JSB
    ATB,
    yana

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwtyger View Post
    Never heard of any Diana in .25. (or .20 for that matter).
    As well as the 1980s .20" 45, Diana definitely made the 48 and 52 in .25" from around 1994-2006.

    Never heard of a factory 54 in .25". I have seen one published reference to a .25" 56TH being available, but think that was an error by the authors (it isn't on Diana's website, for example).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackrider View Post
    Had a superb tuned .177 Cal. but sold it as I couldn't get on with the right handed cocking lever being a Southpaw.
    Great gun though !
    That does sound like the Krypton factor!!

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