Gun test: The Diana P1000 Evo 2 Combo
- Credit: Archant
The Ed discovers that there’s an awful lot to play with in a top-name, top-value combo
'll be honest; I wasn't actually aware that German gunsmiths Diana had recently upgraded their P1000 multi-shot pre-charged pneumatic sporter to the new Evo2 model, so after a quick call to UK importers, Edgar Brothers, I had one winging its way to me at the office.
All in one box
The sample sent to me was the complete combo outfit, costing £790, which includes the rifle, silencer, 14-shot magazine and a single-shot tray mag', to boot. Also included is one of Edgar Brothers' own brand 'OptiMate' 3-18 x 50 AOE scopes!
It has to be said that this a highly impressive package when you take it all out of the box, and I was rather pleased to see that the scope is in fact an IR model, which comes complete with battery.
Barrel and filling!
The big difference between the Evo2 and the original P1000 is the filling. Diana has included a quick-fill port into the underside of the stock, cleverly hidden beneath a small rubber stopper. With the original P1000 you had to remove the entire cylinder in order to fill it, so this latest addition is a major upgrade.
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The air cylinder on this new Evo2 is also a new design, being manufactured from lightweight aluminium with a max fill pressure of 200 Bar.
If I had one criticism about this rifle it would be the lack of barrel support. I know a lot of you reading this don't like them, but I did find that once I'd attached the supplied silencer it was mighty close to the air reservoir (about a millimetre), and on occasions when picking the rifle up or putting it down I could hear the 'tap' as the silencer knocked against the reservoir - the addition of a barrel band at the end of the barrel just before the silencer would prevent this.
The Minelli stock is quality beech wood and designed to look like that of a pump-action shotgun. Do I like it? Well yes, I do actually. It's very comfortable to hold, both with a traditional grip and whilst resting in your palm. The embossed stippling runs almost the entire length of the foregrip, and you can find it on the pistol grip too.
I've always loved thumbhole stocks and this one is no exception. The butt pad is also adjustable, which I found to be a great help to get the perfect fit.
Trigger and weight
The P1000 Evo2 features Diana's adjustable T06 precision trigger, which is two-stage and has a pull weight between 400 and 500g. Straight out of the box, I found it to my liking simply because the first stage of the pull is quite long. As always it boils down to personal preference, but that's the way I like it. I do a lot of my shooting off the pod, so being able to have that long pull before the release is ideal when I'm shooting rabbits - it's not so good for those 'quick' shots though.
So on to the weight of the rifle itself; what I will say is that the first two people I handed this rifle to said pretty much the same thing.
"Oooh, that feels nice. Isn't it heavy, though?"
Weighing in at 9.7lbs with the silencer and scope fitted, this isn't the lightest rifle on the market, but having those few extra pounds does have its advantages out in the field. Sometimes shooting a heavier set-up can make you shoot 'steadier', and by that I mean fewer wobbles, shakes, less sway and the like.
The extra weight doesn't affect the performance of this rifle in any way, though. In fact, it's extremely well balanced. The sweet spot can be found by resting the foregrip in the palm of your hand with the rifle mounted. For me, this was with my bent wrist about half an inch in front of the trigger guard - a position I often shoot in, from a bench or when standing.
It's also worth noting at this point that the safety switch is automatic and resets each time the rifle is cocked. It's a positive click when cocking, with a less intrusive click when pushing forward into the 'fire' position.
How many shots!
I didn't realise that as well as a single loading tray, the rotary magazine supplied holds 14 shots! I took an instant liking to this, especially when zeroing the scope and doing some general target practice. More shots means less loading and more time focusing on your shooting!
Diana has got around the bigger dimension issue by having the larger rotary magazine mounted in an offset position, rather than the traditional 'centred' mount. It's really secure and a doddle to insert, too. Simply cock the sidelever, push the mag' into place until you feel one of the depressions in the mag' click into the fixed bearing guide in the action, then slide the locking mechanism forward to lock it in place.
I'm always a little bit unsure when I open a box and there is a 'free' scope supplied. Often the quality of the optics provided are substandard and used merely to entice people to buy the 'combo', but this is not the case with the Evo2.
Inside the rifle box is another solid box containing an Edgar Brothers OptiMate 3-18 x 50 AOE scope and mounts.
This rather well-built scope features a standard mil dot illuminated reticle with a chunky rheostat. It's very simple to use and extremely effective. The rheostat provides ten different brightness settings - five with red and five with green illumination.
Underneath the dust caps you find chunky, positive adjustments for elevation and windage. Overall, I'm impressed with the quality of this scope, which after a bit of a search I discovered retails for over £120 on its own.
After just three hours of shooting this impressive rifle in my back garden, and on my good friend Roger's garden range, I was more than confident enough to take it out into the field in search of some rabbits.
After having some fun with paper targets and spinners set at varying distances in Roger's shooting gallery, we set off to one of his friend's stables, where they have had a serious problem with rabbits in two of the paddocks. If you've read my recent features in our sister title, Airgun World, you'll know that we've already taken in excess of 20 rabbits from this permission in just a couple of sessions, so our hopes were high.
Unfortunately for us, when we arrived they were in the process of moving one of the horses into the main paddock where we'd previously been shooting, plus their son was zooming up and down the adjoining field on his new motocross bike.
However, we sat it out until it got too dark to shoot, and at last light we began to see a few ears and white tails bobbing about in front of us. I quickly flicked on the illuminated reticle on the OptiMate scope and managed to drop two rabbits in quick succession before the last of the light left us - testament to the quality of the optics supplied and the general useability of this combo.
I really enjoyed shooting this rifle, and I was more than confident enough to take it out on a hunt after just a few hours of playing with it in my back garden. For those who have grown up with Diana rifles, this latest venture in into the world of PCPs is not going to disappoint - it's streets ahead of the original P1000 model, and now it's a real contender.
Model: Diana P1000 Evo 2 Combo
Type: Pre-charged, mutli-shot
Max fill pressure: 200 bar
Stock: Ambidextrous, Minelli two-piece, lacquered beech, thumbhole sporter
Trigger: Two-stage adjustable
Cailbres: .177 and .22
Overall length: 960mm
Barrel length: 455mm
Magazine capacity: 14 shots or single tray
Weight: 9.7lbs (with scope and silencer)
Shot capacity: .22, 80: .177, 60
Variation (10 shots): 11 fps
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