Pay attention to your woodland, says Charlie. Mast is the key to where the squirrels are feeding
Airguns have been steadily gaining a following in the USA over the last few years, especially for small-game hunting. There are practical reasons; lower power and a low sound signature makes them ideal for hunting in more built-up areas, not to mention the low cost and availability of ammo. However, another motivation is less tangible; airguns are more challenging, more fun, and push you to be a better hunter, but there is a barrier for many new shooters in North America, the costs associated with the sport. As with almost any avocation, the enthusiast is often willing to pay a premium to outfit themselves well, but for someone who wants to test the waters, sticker shock can hit hard. We can buy a .22 rimfire rifle for about a third of the cost of most decent quality airguns and they are more accessible for many. So, we are not forced into airguns and have more options available than are found in other countries where airgunning is popular.
Yet, as I talk to those from the mainstream hunting community, I invariably hear these folks saying they’d like to have a go with an air rifle, and the more airgun hunters we have, the more our fish and game services will cater to this segment of the hunting fraternity, perhaps eventually giving us our own seasons, much like bowhunters. Even though I have some 40-50 air rifles in my collection, including some very high- end models, when I heard about the Diana Stormrider I was very interested. First, I’ve had good experience with the brand and own a couple Diana springers that are great rifles, and secondly, because the specifications and positioning of this rifle will help to make PCPs accessible.
My intent is not to provide an in- depth review, but I spent a couple of range sessions sighting in and familiarising myself with the rifle before taking it hunting. The Stormrider is a sleek, lightweight (approx. 6lb) rifle, dressed in a nice- quality hardwood stock with sharp machine- cut checquering. The bolt action is easy to cycle with a fairly good tactile response – a bit stiff, although it seems to be lightening up as I shoot it. The rifle ships with both a single-shot tray and a sevenshot magazine, in the .22 version I was sent. The smallish diameter air reservoir
The controls for this rifle are ergonomically positioned