Racknload: Diana Mauser K98
Racknload gets all nostalgic with a modern, gas ram clone of a classic military bolt-action
If you love airguns and firearm replicas then I think you are going to love this one! The Mauser K98 under-lever gas-ram Air Rifle from Diana! This is one of those guns that just makes you grin just looking at it, let alone shooting it! So I’ll just give you a quick history lesson on the K98, just to get you up to speed on this famous military rifle.
The Karabiner 98 kurz (carbine 98 short, often abbreviated as Kar98k, K98, or K98k) is a bolt-action rifle chambered for the 7.92×57mm IS cartridge that was adopted on 21 June 1935 as the standard service rifle by the German Wehrmacht. It was one of the final developments in the long line of Mauser military rifles that started in the 19th century. Despite advances in machine guns and assault rifles it remained the main German service rifle until the end of the war in 1945. Millions were captured by the Soviets at the end of World War II and were widely distributed as military aid. The Karabiner 98k still continues to appear in conflicts across the world, as they have the dust blown off them during times of trouble.
This Airgun from Diana is not light weight, weighing in at just over 8 lbs, but, we don’t care about the weight with these good looks! Fairly long to at 44” with an 18” barrel but remember this is a full size replica!
A closer look starting from the stock then, it’s made from beech and it’s a pretty damn good copy of the K98’s, with a metal butt plate for added comfort! It even has the rear sling slot and it looks like the original sling would fit too. So if you wanted to really make this rifle look like the real thing, then I reckon that would be the first accessory that you would need to get your mitts on! Now, obviously this rifle is not a 100% replica of the K98, as it is after all an air rifle but you really have to hand it to Diana for keeping all the airgun cosmetics fairly subtle. Even the under-lever looks like the cleaning rod/bayonet lug on the original, though a bit fatter!
Anyway, back to that stock, pretty much fully ambidextrous with a nice fat pistol grip and then it just flows into the forend with the underside cut out for the under-lever and cocking of the rifle. The ‘top wood’ looks great between the rear sight and the fake barrel band, oh and by the way, the front sling attachment is located on the left-hand side of the barrel band, so like I said, you really do need to put a nice ‘original’ leather sling on it.
Beaten up better
All of the metal work is blued and has a good deep finish to it but to be honest you kind of want this rifle to be a little ‘beat up’ to make it look the part! The barrel is 18” long and obviously rifled, which brings us nicely to accuracy. I’ve got to say, it’s not bad at all! Using just the open iron sights I was getting around 1” groups at 30 yards with RWS Superdomes. I don’t think you can really argue with that for just irons!
Would I put a scope on it? Yes! But only one that would complement the rifle’s history, or in layman’s terms, nothing big, hi-tech or modern looking! The iron sights are good, though the rear is fully adjustable compared to the original V-notch, tangent type. The front unit is a post as opposed to a blade, but has an authentic looking steel protector.
The Diana is quite a heavy one to cock but you soon get the ‘knack’ of it rather than ‘knackered’ from doing it! Pull that under-lever all of the way down and back until it clicks and the anti-bear trap engages. Yep, it’s got a good ‘old anti-finger crushing device positioned rear right of the loading port that pushes down to disengage.
Load the pellet (.177 on this test gun) straight into the barrel via its HW97-type breech (which is a little fiddly with .177’s!). Then keeping hold of the under-lever, simply press the anti-bear trap button and take it back up to its original position under the barrel. You are then greeted with an automatic safety catch which is located at the back of the receiver/cylinder just above the pistol grip, nice spot for it if you ask me. It’s a plastic one with a red and white dot on it, so easy to see if it’s on or not. It just needs to be pushed forward and then you are hot and good to go!
Solid and straight
When cocking the rifle, you will notice that the linkages fitted to the under-lever seem very tough with no sideways movement at all. This is something I always look for when testing; this one passed! On the flip side though, the inside of the forend where the lever sits when closed was on this test rifle, a little rough, I know it’s not really seen but never the less, attention to detail and all that!
The trigger is 2- stage adjustable which is great on a rifle like this and on my trusty Lyman trigger pull gauge the Diana was breaking at just over 5lbs straight out of the box, not bad. A plastic trigger guard protects the metal blade and there are two holes at the bottom of it to gain access to the adjustment screws.
Now this little beauty is a bit of a ‘twanger’ to say the least! I thought to myself quite a bit of spring vibration and a fair bit of noise too. But after reading the manual and doing my research, it’s actually a gas-ram! Very surprising as even I was convinced it was a springer! Must just be bad vibes when it’s fired and it is a bit noisy, but hey-ho, you are not going to buy this rifle for hunting are you? Hopefully the rifle will settle in after a few thousand pellets though. Like I said earlier, you can bang a scope on it and worth doing if you can get one to suit the look of the K98. A dovetail rail is fitted, so you will have no problems there.
So the Diana Mauser K98 all in all is a very nice replica air rifle with a serious cool factor going with being a K98 look-a-like! And what’s more, it shoots pretty well too. But folks, I need to say this; don’t let me see you with this rifle and a modern looking scope fitted to it, I won’t be impressed! Safe shooting! – Rack.
|Name||Diana Mauser K98|
|Calibre||.177 and .22”|
|Scope rail||Y 11mm|
|Contact||Edgar Brothers, 01625 613177|
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