Diana Mauser K98
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- Last updated: 20/02/2017
I am not generally into military rifles but I do have an MP44 in .22lr, which is great fun for informal plinking and I have always had a passion for sniper rifles. The K98 is certainly one rifle that I respect and having converted one to a sniper version some years ago for deer stalking duties, the next logical step was to look at Diana’s new tribute to this iconic marque.
Diana have produced a very good copy of the original K98 as best they could visually, as an under lever design and conventional spring piston system. It also has a faithful copy of the military style stock, complete with bolt ring insert and sling attachment hole. You have provision for a scope too, via a ramped scope mount on top of the receiver.
Crikey, what you first notice is the weight! It’s not a light rifle and the original K98 was not either. It weighs in at 8lbs and a lot of that is from the stock. Made from beech, and not laminated like the later war K98s, it has the overall lines very well set out. The butt section is very familiar with the same blued metal butt pad; nicer on a low recoiling air rifle than it is on a 7.92mm, believe me.
There is the through stock sling swivel hole and replica slings can be bought quite easily; there is also the metal bolt disassembly ring.
The forend is pretty good as it has the two metal fixtures up front. One is the sling fitment ring that also holds the top woodwork and the in front of this is the metal band to secure forward wood section. On this, removing the two side stock screws and trigger guard releases the lower wood section; the top wood and forward section remain attached to the barrel.
It is finished in matt lacquer and despite the very long cut away for the under lever, is comfortable to hold and actually very well-balanced. The length of pull is quoted at 13-inches but poses no problems.
The overall length of the K98 is 44-inches, of which 18-inches is the barrel. It is nicely blued in a semi-matt finish and to make it look original has been sleeved to give a greater overall diameter. The muzzle is semirecessed by the outer sleeve and thus gives some protection.
Beneath is the underlever mechanism that has a nineinch cocking lever handle that pivots under the receiver/barrel union, to engage the piston compression chamber. This lever sticks out 4.25-inches of the forward metal band and simulates the bayonet fitment on the original K98 – nice. The open sights are not bad either. The foresight has a hooded cover and simple blade, with the rearsight sited as the original, half way down the barrel, here at the end of it. It is adjustable for windage via a small knurled wheel and elevation via a larger thumb wheel marked 1 to 0, i.e. 10.
The receiver is enormous and is 13.5-inches long and again nicely blued with a twoinch opening, un-blued, as the gun is cocked to reveal the end of barrel for pellet insertion. On top of the receiver is a raised ramp of six-inches, secured by three screws and has a 11mm dovetails for scope fitment.
The cocking lever drops three-inches before you feel resistance from the spring piston system. You then have a long arcing movement, as the spring compresses and you need to give it a final push to engage the trigger sears correctly. This opens the receiver loading port, which has a hollow base to allow dropped pellets to fall free and not gum up the system. You also have an anti bear trap device. A small button to the right side of the opening has to be depressed to allow the cocking lever to return to battery.
When you cock the Diana, a small safety catch pops out the back of the action, with a white and red dot showing, you are on safe. When the catch is pushed in to only show the red dot, the rifle is live and ready to fire. This and the anti bear trap device make for a safe rifle in inexperienced hands.
The trigger is a long, slim blade and has a two-stage pull to it. Both stages can be adjusted; there are two small screws set into the top face of the trigger blade. The top one can be adjusted to alter the length of the first pull. The second screw adjusts the second pull or travel; clockwise for a coarser adjustment and anticlockwise for a fine adjustment. To adjust the weight, a screw at the back of the trigger unit can be turned clockwise and the weight will increase, anti clockwise to lighten it. The first-stage range from 300g to 380g, with the weight range from 400g to 500g.
Firstly, being a K98 copy you have to scope it appropriately. I had a few old Zeiss scopes of that era and so fitted a period 1937 Zeiss Zeilsechs 6X power but on normal mounts to fit the rail. This old Zeiss has no windage adjustments, so was used for looks only until I could get a windage adjustable set. But in truth it was only twoinches off, so I compensated.
It really looks the part, is heavy but actually very wellbalanced.
The cocking is no problem, if a bit long. The spring though on firing is very noisy, a real twang on let off and quite a long lock time. Over the course of the test it did not sweeten, although as with all springers, the consistency did. If you remove the stock you can clearly see the spring and synthetic spring guide with a viewing hole for lubrication, I managed to apply some Abbey grease through the orifice, which certainly helped quieten things.
Pellet wise, well I tested the usual array of types, to ascertain over a chrono graph, which it preferred.
Velocities varied, as you would except from a springer with a variety of pellet designs and weight.
Accuracy is more crucial and the best were the FTTs at 0.65-inch for five shots at 25-yards with scope, which is very good when you think about it. Velocity was only 562fps for 10.2ft/lbs though.
The Air Arms Hunter upped the power to 10.7ft/ lbs energy and groups opened slightly to 0.75-inch.
Best power went to the Logun Penetrator with its 15.8-grain projectile, travelling at 562fps for 11.1ft/lbs and 0.95-inch 25-yard groups.
The Diana K98 was bit pellet fussy; more a matter of size in the bore, some being a bit slack but overall power hovered around the 10.5- to 11.0ft/ lbs energy, which is fine.
This Diana could do with a good tune to smooth it out and increase the power slightly, although consistency and accuracy was good. For people who are enthusiastic about replicas or re-enactments, then this Diana depiction of the K98 will certainly fit the bill. It is very well made and the price of £328 is about right in my book.
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