Diana Model-27  

  RSS

Garvin2
(@garvin2)
Deputy Curator Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2135
20th December 2017 20:32  

Diana Model-27


Quote
Garvin2
(@garvin2)
Deputy Curator Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2135
20th December 2017 20:33  

Diana Model-27 - Scottish Milbro.

 

With thanks to Mike D for the words and pics:

This gun is a post-war model 27 made by Millard Brothers ("Milbro") in Scotland, on re-located German pre-war machinery. The action is a direct copy of the old German rifle, though the beech stock is more characteristically English in profile.

I acquired this gun with no finish on the stock, but as far as I can tell the originals had a plain clear finish with no stain. I cleaned it up a bit, but didn't try to make it TOO nice, and applied trusty old Tru-Oil.

The style of markings is quite different from the old German guns, with the logo bigger and the "British Made" line added. While this gun is in some ways not as well-made as its German predecessor, especially displaying a lot of unfinished milling marks, the metal polish and deep rich blueing are very English indeed.

The breech area allows further comparison to the details and workmanship of the pre-war DRP German gun. The screws and rear sight may actually be German-made parts, they certainly appear to be identical to the older gun from across the Channel.

Somewhat surprisingly, Milbro duplicated the fantastic pre-war adjustable 2-stage set-trigger mechanism on this gun. The adjuster screws again look identical to the older German gun, though the blade is only blued and not case-hardened.

Beech is really rather nice in its own right. Makes you wonder why so many makers insist on trying to make fake walnut out of it!


ReplyQuote
Garvin2
(@garvin2)
Deputy Curator Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2135
20th December 2017 20:34  

Diana Model-27 - First Version.

 

With thanks to Mike D for these words and pics:

While Milbro was busy making pre-war model 27's...Diana in Germany was re-designing the gun and re-tooling for renewed production in the early 1950's. The chief change was the greatly simplified (but still excellent) ball-sear trigger, though the powerplant, cocking links, and many other details were also changed.

Markings are much like the pre-war rifle, though the small "Made in Germany" line has replaced the Nazi-era DRP stamp.

When I first got this one, I was amazed at how many components appear to be exactly the same as the pre-war gun. That includes all the screws in this photo, as well as the complete receiver tube! Note the nifty fluted breech jaws are still present. The rear sight is also very similar, and in fact may be of pre-war manufacture, though the blade is wider than any DRP-era sights I have seen. The way the new parts are designed around these old ones is really remarkable.

The trigger blade on this gun is solid aluminum alloy, with both the adjuster and locking screw accessible through the trigger guard. Everything you see in this photo is quite different from the pre-war rifle.

The gun's stock is a similar profile shape to the pre-war 27, but modified for mass production on automated machinery with simplified, slab-sided contours, and in beech instead of walnut. That being said, the wood on this particular example has some really lovely, almost lace-like figuring.

27's of this era are among my favorites, combining a superb level of old-time workmanship and finish with the remarkably simple and sturdy modernized design of the post-war ball-sear rifles.


ReplyQuote
Garvin2
(@garvin2)
Deputy Curator Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2135
20th December 2017 20:35  

Diana Model-27 - Winchester 427.

 

With thanks to Mike D for these words and pics:

In the mid-1960's the model 27 was again revised and further simplified. The receiver tube was changed, the trigger changed to stamped metal, the breech latch changed from a wedge detent to a simple ball bearing, a simple spot-welded dovetail rail added to take a peep sight or light scope, and the lines of the stock altered as well.

Diana guns in this era were widely sold under many brand names, this one being a Winchester model 427 in .22 caliber. Winchester imported several models of the Diana line from about 1969 to 1975.

The revised stamped-steel trigger blade and exposed adjuster screws are not as elegant as the previous model in appearance, but work identically and are probably stronger.

Although some aesthetic items were cheapened, if anything Diana actually managed to improve the gun overall. The rear sight is now a large click-adjusting unit with an ingenious rotating blade giving four different notch shapes. The design of the breech chafing washers and tension adjustment bolt were greatly improved to allow finer adjustments. Note that the fluted breech jaws are now gone, but the breech block has been reshaped so that its top contour matches the receiver tube--still quite elegant in appearance.

The stock has lost its fore end finger grooves (a favorite detail of mine!), but has gained curvier, more ergonomic contours. Maybe a little homelier overall...but still a great all-round rifle. This iteration stayed in production until about 1976, and the number found today in great shooting shape is a testament to their quality.


ReplyQuote
Garvin2
(@garvin2)
Deputy Curator Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2135
20th December 2017 20:35  

Diana Model-27 - RWS Branded.

 

With thanks to Mike D for these words and pics:

This is the last version of the standard model 27, an RWS-marked one from the 1980's. Ironically it is the 27 I've had the longest--the first one I found after reading Ladd Fanta's famous article on the gun in the 1977 "Gun Digest."

Changes from previous models were rather minimal. Here's the RWS marking used by long-time Diana importer Dynamit Nobel in the US.

The breech had the cocking link pivot bolt and keeper screw replaced by a simple rivet. In contrast to the simplification seen elsewhere on the gun though, the complex, all-steel 20-piece rear sight that replaced the earlier plastic unit is a masterpiece of smoothness and precision. To my mind it's simply one of the best factory open rear sights ever made, and this is one of the few airguns that I keep the original open "irons" on.

The trigger area looks identical to the previous iteration of the 27.

Rather nicely-grained beech on this one, though I should note that the wood has been re-finished by me (bought the gun very cheap due to heavy water damage of the original wood finish).

The famous no-slip butt button is a signature detail of the late model 27!


ReplyQuote
Garvin2
(@garvin2)
Deputy Curator Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2135
20th December 2017 20:36  

Diana Model-27 - Transitional Model.

 

A very interesting illustrated article by Mike D here. He writes the following:

"I recently picked up this very interesting model 27. If one compares the "postwar first version" and "Winchester 427" posts above, its obvious that a major change in the guns design happened in the mid-1960's. But this rifle has features from both.

Whether this rifle represents the main production standard for a short period, or was simply an oddball run to use up spare parts, I dont know. But it seems apparent the big transition did not happen entirely at once.

Ive only seen a few of this variant over the years (there is a very nice one on Grant's site, if memory serves). I was happy to find it, and it's fascinating to examine it in detail.

The stamped, dovetail-mounted tangent-style rear sight and solid trigger (albeit the final plastic version), immediately catch the eye as holdovers from earlier model 27s. Otherwise, the action looks like the later guns, yet with a couple of details that seem to have quickly evolved even further.

The most noticeable new feature is the stock--the graceful and comfortable rounded contours of the newer guns have replaced the rather slab-sided first postwar wood. But note that the rifle still retains fore end finger grooves, and the famous red rubber "no-slip" button has yet to appear on the butt.

I have to say that for both styling and handling, this may be my very favorite of all model 27s. It's a delight to look at, and the ergonomic shape and finger grooves just seem to melt into your hands!

The early dovetailed, fixed-post front sight has been replaced by the later clamped-on, hooded type. The bare metal area is not standard of course, the previous owner turned the barrel down slightly to mount a muzzle weight.

The breech has the re-contoured jaws and breech block, ball-bearing latch, and greatly improved breech tensioning washers of the newer version. But the old-style rear sight, leather breech seal, and style of breech pivot bolt and its locking screw, are remnants of previous models.

The plastic trigger blade is the final style of the early solid blade. Note that it has only one adjuster screw (which, let's say one more time, functions solely to set the transition point between the first and second stages of the pull). Both earlier and later style 27's with metal trigger blades have an additional locking screw for the adjuster, but the plastic provided enough friction to make that superfluous. These plastic blades are notoriously weak by the way, especially after the passage of a few decades!

>

Another major improvement from the earlier guns was the addition of the spot-welded dovetail rail, for mounting a diopter sight or scope.

The only markings on the rifle are the famous Diana goddess logo, model designation, and small "MADE IN GERMANY" stamp. The breech is devoid of any markings. I would put the manufacture date at around 1966, but unusually, there is no serial or date stamp that I can find to confirm that.

All in all, a lovely and interesting--if slightly odd!--example of this classic air rifle.


ReplyQuote
Garvin2
(@garvin2)
Deputy Curator Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2135
20th December 2017 20:37  

Diana Model-27 - Gecado and Hy-Score Brands.

 

With thanks to Gordon for permission to use these pics of this interesting
early Hy-Score dating from around the mid-1950s. The crude peep fitted
to the rear of the tangent sight is not original to the rifle.


ReplyQuote
Garvin2
(@garvin2)
Deputy Curator Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2135
20th December 2017 20:38  

Diana Model-27 - Original Beeman.

 

With thanks to Scott for permission to use these pics.


ReplyQuote
Garvin2
(@garvin2)
Deputy Curator Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 2135
20th December 2017 20:44  

Diana Original Model-27 - Cutaway Display.

 

This rifle apparently supplied to the M&G UK distributor Frank Dyke & Co and photographed at an arms fair in 2012. I think it's the same gun as this one:

https://forum.vintageairgunsgallery.com/post-war-diana-air-rifles/diana-model-27-2/#post-2454

With thanks to John M for these excellent pics.


ReplyQuote
  
Working

Please Login or Register