Test: Diana P 1000 S and P 1000 TH Compressed Air Rifles

Diana, the goddess of hunting, was there from the start: Back in 1999, the engineers from the former Diana factory brought along an entirely new type of air rifle – the first Dianacompressed air rifle – to the inaugural German Field Target competitions during the VISIER Shooting Festival in Leipzig. The rifle drew a crowd of interested spectators and shooters, and those who wanted to were allowed to fire off a few pellets with it.

This remained the rifle’s first and only appearance - until the IWA in 2011, when the prototype of the Diana P 1000 made its debut. The two models used in testing involved one version with 7.5 joules and for that reason also the allowed silencer (Diana P 1000 S), and a second, which can only be acquired with a German firearms owner’s permit (WBK), that has a stylish thumbhole stock and puts out 16 joules of muzzle energy,. 

Air Rifle Diana P 1000 - Technical Specifications

Model:Diana P 1000 S "F"Diana P 1000 TH "WBK"
Price (UVP):1.099 Euro1.149 Euro
Caliber:4,5mm, 14 pellets4,5mm, 14 pellets
System:Repeater, compressed air 300 bar,
Walther steel tanks
Repeater, compressed air 300 bar,
Walther steel tanks
Total length:
1.130 mmwith silencer960 mm
Barrel length:
445 mm, rifled445 mm, rifled
3.880 g3.700 g

Design: Two-piece beech stock (TH version comes with thumbhole), punched grip surfaces. Rubber butt plate. 11 mm prism rails for mounting a telescopic sight or red dot device. Repeater lever on right for cylinder or single-shot magazine. Steel tank with manometer. Refill adapter  with exhaust screw. Automatic slide safety. Diana T06 trigger, adjustable. Delivered in carton. Silencers and thumbhole stock available separately for an additional charge of 50 euros.

But just one thing to start: Neither version has anything in common with the Diana model from 1999. Even the designers have changed since then.

While Diana has been manufacturing pressurized air weapons since 1890, so far these have all used a spring action system, save for a few compressed air models. The art of siphoning off compressed air from a tank a bit at a time for each shot is something that it took manufacturers like Anschutz, Feinwerkbau, Steyr and Walther (to name only a few alphabetically) a while to learn. As a result, these makers have a competitive advantage when it comes to the workings of pressure regulators and stop valves, which release compressed air when activated.

In the leisure sector where Diana markets the P 1000, competitor Weihrauch has a hot item in its HW 100. Available in a version that requires an owner’s permit and one that does not, and also with a cylinder mechanism - that's the kind of competition that the P 1000 is up against.

Air Rifle Diana P 1000 - the basics

The P 1000 consists of an action housing (largely) made of cast aluminum, onto which the front and rear shaft components are screwed. This makes production cheaper, since a larger single piece of beech wood is more expensive than two separate components. 

Diana P 1000 TH
Diana P 1000 TH: The Target Hunter version of the compressed air rifle with thumbhole buttstock.

Managing stock for the hunting version with thumbhole buttstock (Target Hunter, abbreviated as TH), which goes for a base price of 1149 euros (RRP), is facilitated through this simplified combination of components. These wood components, most likely from Italy, have been finely crafted; the laser-cut fish scale surfaces are flawless. At 365mm, the distance between the rubber recoil pad and the trigger blade is a little longer than usual (350 mm), but even shooters with shorter arms will manage just fine.

The buttstock has a special screw that can only be removed with a special tool – which is a good thing, since it means nobody is likely to bother with it simply out of curiosity.

The symmetrical cheek piece in (pseudo) Monte Carlo style works for right and left-handed shooters. The latter will probably have a little more trouble with the repeater lever that swings out to the right. But the cylinder axle that’s used to remove the cylinder by pulling back to the left is located on the left side of the housing, and the slide safety is easily accessible on the wrist of the stock.

But the cylinder axle that’s used to remove the cylinder by pulling back to the left is located on the left side of the housing, and the slide safety is easily accessible on the wrist of the stock. As is the case with Weihrauch and several other English vendors, the cylinder enclosed in a rubber ring holds 14 pellets. 

Since the "one size fits all" rule generally applied to soft lead projectiles does not always hold true, it’s necessary to carry out several tests to see, on the one hand, which pellet sits securely in the bore, and, on the other, that it doesn’t slip back and forth while firing (there's no rebound).

The initially inexplicable outliers produced with the otherwise perfectly sound JSB pellets suggest that the problem lies in incompatibilities of this nature.

Diana P 1000
Diana P 1000: On the left is the cylinder loaded with 14 pellets with visible sprocket, while the slide for the cylinder axle is to the right of the insertion slot

The cylinder, which is inserted on the left of the slotted housing, has 14 rounded troughs on the side facing the muzzle into which a spring-loaded ball engages after each additional rotation. On the other side, where the pellets are inserted, a sprocket is visible in which a cylinder pawl engages in the same manner as with a loaded revolver.

Diana P 1000
Diana P 1000 TH: A pivoting lever is used for cocking and repeating, shown here with single-shot slider inserted

Pivoting the cocking lever 90 degrees to the side moves the cylinder to the next position. A chamber with a marker is provided to double-check. The pellet feed worked smoothly during rapid reloading. But too deliberate or jerky reloading results in skipped chambers.

A slide is provided for a single  pellet. It’s inserted on the left and comes out on the right – where you can load one projectile at a time.

Diana P 1000 - the trigger

The trigger mechanism bears the company's internal designation, TO6, and has deservedly established a good reputation in the "better" Diana rifles. Three screws are used to adjust the distance and resistance of the take up and pull off, while the metal design makes for a solid and reliable appearance.

Diana P 1000 air rifle has more power - 300 instead of 200 bar

Diana P 1000 
Muzzle of the Diana P 1000 restricted (WBK) model with tank (left), and the silencer used on the unrestricted (F) version together with the filler

By using 300 bar steel tank supplied by Walther, Diana had no need to develop one of its own; the refill adapter equipped with a exhaust screw is an improvement over the original Walther.

In the F model, one charge lasts for more than one pellet can – and for about 200 shots in the 16-joule version (there are also stronger versions up to 40 Joule, mainly for export). Indeed, the VISIER fatigue test revealed just how good the releasing valve is, once muzzle velocities are included in a graph, as shown below.

Diana 1000
Diana P 1000 air rifle fatigue test curves: F model (above) shows very constant v0 at over 530 rounds; bottom: 200 rounds using the more powerful version shows significant fluctuations of the valve

While the unrestricted version produced exceptionally uniform pressure, the valve in the more powerful P 1000 TH was clearly unable to harness the power. Diana still has some compatibility problems in this regard, as Martin Zedler admitted over the phone.

Even so, it was this rifle, at 6.38 mm for ten rounds, that nevertheless managed to set the record in Olympic quality. 

The F version was close behind at an 7.0mm – but extreme outliers with both versions left the testers rather baffled. Because with one exception the muzzle velocities did not correspond with the "wild strays."

Diana P 1000 Air Rifle – target accuracy

The testers did not need a riflescope when test firing clamped guns at 10 meters, but they did during freehand shooting.

Diana-ZF 6-24x42 
The Diana-ZF 6-24x42 has a locking ring on the eyepiece for precision focusing. Below that is the slide safety

The two Diana riflescopes, the 3-9x40 (RRP 115 euros) and the 6-24x42 (195 euros), sit slenderly atop the rifles, but the mounting sockets made it difficult to set the eye relief properly from a shooting position. 

On the one hand, the wide slot for the cylinder prevents the easy shifting of the sockets, while, on the other, both scopes unfortunately provide a meager 4.5 cm eye relief. This means the shooter tends to get too close to the eyepiece, which can result in a black eye when using a spring-action rifle - though with the compressed air rifle everything turned out ok.

Test: Diana P 1000 S and P 1000 TH - Conclusion

The manufacturer developed the Diana P 1000 compressed air rifle 13 years after the first compressed air prototype and 122 years after the first spring-action air rifle. The premiere of the two P 1000 models in 2012 can be deemed a success. Even today – following acquisition by GSG, both models are still state-of-the-art. The suggested retail price is around 1100 euros for the P 1000 S and nearly 1150 euros for the P 1000 TH.


You can find additional information about the various P 1000 model air rifles on the Diana website

You can find more posts about products from German Sport Guns at all4shooters.com

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