- 19 Comments
- Last updated: 27/01/2017
I think it fair to say, in times past, stocks fitted to virtually all Diana air rifles used to be big, robust pieces of beech wood – not lacking in practicality, but certainly they left a lot to be desired both ergonomically and cosmetically. Thankfully from the outset it’s obvious this ethos has certainly changed. I say this as not only is the 430 dressed in very stylish furniture but one look at the company’s catalogue clearly shows all of their mechanical action air rifles have had a stock check.
This fully ambidextrous beech wood stock boasts a well-defined medium height cheekpiece that allows you a comfortable head rest to attain a sight picture looking over the irons or through a scope, while a ventilated thick black rubber buttpad takes care of shoulder fit. The lengthy forend is relatively slim with a nicely rounded underside. Well-cut checkering has been applied on both sides of the rifle at the grip and forend – these grip aids are set in three stylishly curved and contoured panels.
The front foresight unit is the familiar plastic block that holds a rather thickset raised foresight blade while the lower section is designed to house and hold the relatively slim underlever. The all-metal rear sight unit is adjustable for windage and elevation by serrated edge numbered thumbwheels that shift the rearsight positively and offer a good degree of accurate adjustment at ranges out to 15 yards. It also offers two sighting options to line the foresight blade within – these being a ‘U’ or ‘V’ shape notch.
As the majority of hunters will scope up and discount the open sights from the off, the Diana 430 boasts quite a lengthy raised scope rail for securing optics. This metal rail not only has well-cut dovetails along either sides but also has ridging along the top section plus scope mount stud arrestor holes.
The under-lever is held under the fixed barrel by two relatively small sprung ball bearings that engage into holes drilled through the sides of the lower section of the foresight housing. When operating the under-lever it seems to come to a ‘natural’ stop at virtually 90-degrees from the horizontal. However, although the sliding breech cover has fully retracted into the action – you need to further pull the lever back approximately another 2½ inches to fully cock the rifle and engage the automatic trigger safety. This finger friendly yet quite quirky looking ‘safety bar’ will show a white dot when it’s fully engaged.
Even so, always maintain good shooting practice by keeping hold of the underlever before thumbing a pellet directly into the barrel easily accessed due to the generously sized breech loading bay. A nice feature is the underside of the stock at this position is cut away allowing a dropped fumbled pellet to fall through to the ground rather than potentially getting trapped in the loading bay. To return the under-lever to its original closed position you need to push down the locking mechanism catch, this is situated, on the right of the action set forward of the sliding breech mechanism. When this is depressed it disengages the anti-beartrap to allow the lever to be swung back to its original position where it locks up positively thanks to the pair of side position sprung stainless steel ball bearings. Incidentally, you’ll notice by the pictures, the release catch actually moves back with the sliding breech cover. In the closed position it’s seen forward of the cover, when the rifles cocked and the breech is open the catch moves to the rear of the now exposed breech loading area.
A change certainly worthy of praise is virtually across the board all Diana mechanical action air rifles are now fitted with a far more desirable twostage trigger mechanism known as the TO6. Previous to this, the trigger units were to be blunt quite crude in operation and appearance, on many Diana air rifles the trigger blade itself was little more than a straight plastic peg design. Thankfully this area of their rifles was addressed quite some time ago and the TO6 two-stage, fully adjustable trigger unit now has a nicely curved metal blade for control – the trigger can be adjusted for length of pull, travel and pull weight and as it came from the factory it tripped the sears crisp, clean and without a hint of creep.
The automatic safety is ideally positioned to be pushed in with the thumb of your shooting hand without having to adjust your hold at the grip when ready to take a shot. If disengaged and you hold off for any reason – it can be engaged again by simply re-cocking the rifle.
During testing I swapped and changed optics until finally settling on an MTC Optics 3 – 12 X 44 Mamba-lite in medium mounts. In test it proved to be a sensible pairing for handling and balance, but the rifles own inherent characteristics in this department showed it coped with both large and small optics. After setting a 25 yard zero, using H&N Field Target Trophy’s, the .22 calibre rifle proved capable of consistently producing sub one inch groupings out to 30 yards. Muzzle report was very acceptable for a springer of this type and recoil was far lower than expected. The stock design I feel helped quell the latter and combined with the trigger unit helped the rifle show its true accuracy potential.
After testing the 430 there’s little doubt in my mind that Diana has certainly upped their game when it comes to the overall presentation and performance of their mechanical action air rifles. As a matter of interest the 430 is also available in a Stutzen stock, aptly named the Stutzen 430. The Diana 430 is accurate, robustly built, handles well and is loaded with performance enhancing features.
CONTACT: Sportsmarketing (SMK) 01206 795 333 www.sportsmk.co.uk