Diana 340 N-Tec Premium Pro Compact
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- Last updated: 20/02/2017
Spent Theoben patents, as any self respecting enthusiast will be aware, are the reason for gas-ram powered airguns enjoying a period of unprecedented popularity. So the number of models fitted with a self-contained chamber of gas or air instead of a conventional mainspring continues to rise. Yet several manufacturers have been rather, how shall we say; notable by their absence! One such player, slow to get involved, has been the famous old German manufacturer, Mayer Grammelspacher, the company behind the Diana range; being satisfied up until now, producing their traditional spring-piston designs for the mass market. Well that’s all set to change, with the introduction of the 340 N-Tec- a landmark model that represents Diana’s very first foray into the murky world of gas-ram airgun technology.
And she’s a looker! OK; my test model with the ambidextrous standard beech sporter stock, isn’t quite as glamorous as the company’s special Anniversary edition, with its glossy finish walnut stock, that first caught my eye, but the same mouth-watering stock shape is used across the range. On show and on test here is the 340 N-Tec Premium Pro Compact model, which as you can see, sports matt finish metalwork, highly attractive beech timber, a quality trigger, and of course the super modern gas-ram internals. So let’s take a close look, and see whether it upholds the company’s proud tradition of quality and performance.
Let’s start with the stock, as it is such an eye-catching design- and at first glance, there’s no doubting the influence of recent BSA ideas, with that wonderfully graceful sweep across the forend. It’s highly practical too, with that sweep incorporating a hand-filling and flared lower section, effectively forming a finger support above. Panels of deep and highly unusual linear stippling are laser-cut in the usual places; the result is some serious grip exactly where it’s needed, along with added cosmetic appeal of course. The raked grip comes back to almost a full 90° and is sufficiently thinned out to allow for a comfortable hold by I would guess, all but the slightest of shooters. The forend is again graceful, and comfortable, and whilst I can’t help finding that bland, undefined cheek piece rather irritating, it does its job of head alignment well enough. Little to criticise where the soft and supportive butt pad is concerned either.
Diana are known for fairly upmarket fare overall, but if I’m honest, I was actually slightly underwhelmed on first seeing this 340 N-Tec, due mainly to the rather dull metalwork. Given their usual top class bluing, I suppose my brain was having trouble accepting the rather more practical bead-blasted exterior. Maybe I’m just too much of a traditionalist, as there’s no doubting the practicality of an anti-glare finish in a hunting scenario. A tiny blemish on the safety catch and a very slightly uneven breech block were a surprise from this manufacturer, and whilst I’m moaning, I’m not keen on the inclusion of a plastic trigger guard and cylinder end cap- hardly in keeping with this gun’s pedigree status.
OK; time to get down to business. First up, fitting a scope to the N-Tec is easy, given that raised and super precise 6” dovetail rail. I’d advise a one- piece mount on most recoiling guns, and gas-rams in particular, with their fast snappy actions, will really benefit. Diana fit a silencer/ muzzle weight to this model, which is just as well, given the super carbine length 11.5” barrel. It needs a good jolt to open the breech initially, and it’s at this point that the silencer doubles up, offering further leverage as a cocking aid. As for the actual stroke, it’s super smooth, but does require a fair bit of effort. Be confident in motion however, and the task is minimized.
Time to trip the action, and when it comes to triggers, Diana are past masters and rarely disappoint! Their T06 mechanism is fitted to the 340 N-Tec, which has to be considered an excellent unit, especially given the demands of a recoiling gun. The long blade features wide ridges, and this, coupled with a super light first stage and ultra crisp, fully adjustable release, is all very pleasing. So what’s it like to shoot? Well, as you would expect, there’s no spring resonance, given the gas-ram power plant, but don’t expect subtlety here, as there’s still plenty of recoil, and the action is pretty noisy, despite the fitted can at the muzzle. What does impress is the ultra quick snap as the contained chamber of gas expands, and the shot is away in milliseconds.
Handling wise, that well-shaped woodwork and fine balance combine to great effect, and there’s no doubting that superior Diana feel is here. Over an extended shooting session though, I found the cocking effort and overall weight, certainly act as a reminder of this gun’s adult status.
Over the chronograph, the Diana recorded some impressive figures, with just 9 fps total variation, over a 10-shot string, using Air Arms Diabolo Fields, and an average of 10.3 ft/lbs. Kaiser pellets showed a similar spread, and the power even jumped to 11.3ft/lbs. Accuracy-wise, over 25yards, the Diana posted creditable 15mm centre-to-centre clusters, yet it did reveal a possible case of barrel droop (an occasional problem with spring guns) and a compensating one piece mount proved just the job to achieve zero. Maybe just my model here, but worth noting nonetheless.
The 340 N-Tec still feels an upmarket offering, courtesy of that nicely finished and beautifully shaped stock. Value for money wise, it may come down to personal taste. I love the look and feel of that super stylish timber, but would I opt for a gas-ram? An honest opinion has to conclude that the 340’s internals just feel a bit jumpy when compared to a properly lubricated, spring-powered alternative from the Diana range. If however, you want to make a statement, then gas-rams such as the swish 340 N-Tec are seriously in vogue, and a radical alternative to traditional spring power! Offering as they do, maintenance-free shooting, and a super fast lock time.
You pays your money; you takes your choice as they say.
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