Part 1.- The creation of the working man
And this one just might be the case of one.
Let's start with some history:
Back in the days of the "Old DIANA" there were two projects that were supposed to launch DIANA into the world's circuits by making guns specific to a niche market that was, for historical reasons, a very vociferous one: the British market.
Of course the main limitation there is that rifles cannot exceed 12 ft-lbs, and most of DIANA's offerings were easily over that.
Do note the wording of the law: "Rifles cannot exceed 12 ft-lbs."
This, under proper English means that you can have a gun you THINK is legal because you have tested it with all the medium weight pellets that shoot reasonably good and it does not exceed 12 ft-lbs, but then some smart cop that "has your number" comes at you with light pellets.
¿The result? you guessed it: You have an appointment with Her Majesty's magistrates and a long, hard battle to demonstrate that you are not intent on mass destruction of the Empire's Subjects nor Institutions.
At some point in time, the UK industry, and some companies that export to that market, agreed to self-police and some PCP makers even installed Anti-Tamper devices so that they could not be blamed for "making it easy" on perps to break the law.
DIANA never agreed to that. Studies were conducted using anti-tamper shoulder screws instead of the pins that close the rear of the action and it was found to be prohibitive. Besides, the market for DIANA was (and still is, up to a point), outside the Britannic Majesty's Royal Domains.
So the next solution was to create a short version of some of the actions that could, in most honest cases, limit themselves to about 12 ft-lbs.
And so was born the 430 (as a short version of the 460); and the 280, a short version of the 34.
In essence they share the same piston body length, so you could say that the 430 is the underlever version of the 280, or that the 280 is the breakbarrel version of the 430. Historically speaking the 430 prototype was prior to the 280, though the 280 was commercially launched before. So, you take your pick.
We came across the 430 when the Stutzen model came into being.
We have always liked the Bergstutzen guns. Light and medium powered, they are ideal for mountain hunting. And so we supported the model.
Even though we warned all the users that the action was limited to about 12 ft-lbs, some decided to ignore the fact and then complain about the cocking effort needed. Yes it was a stout effort, but the guns were never designed to be all day plinking guns.
Fast forward a few years and we come to the present, where the model had been almost relegated because it was a fairly universal complaint that it took too much effort to get only 12 ft-lb back.
BUT, a few of the people at the plant, decided to do something about it, and they installed a long barrel with the 440 muzzle piece, and that allowed a longer lever.
The 430L was born out of the experience and knowledge of the working man. The guy at the plant that tests hundreds if, not thousands of rifles. The guy that puts those guns together.
No engineering degrees, no "Herr Doktor" titles. Just plain common sense trying to make something better.
And so we come to the current state of affairs.
Some were sold in Europe to good success, and at IWA 2018, Airguns of Arizona decided to place an order.
This is the run that we will be discussing here.
Part 2.- The gun
I placed the order on the last days of November, and it arrived today, December 5th. Yes, UPS ground is not the the fastest route, LOL!
I am not a fan of unboxing reviews, but this one merits it because it could explain why some shipments of this particular gun are being delayed.
Gun came "double boxed" but double boxed to a TIGHT degree. It took pushing with the legs another smaller box and pulling with all my strength on the outer box to get one box out of the other.
The ONLY reason I can think of is to protect the gun by preventing the dieseling that COULD occur using lighter pellets.
I have not checked zero, that will come at a later date. But it does point out to the fact the AoA is not shipping out boxes. It is actually doing some work to the guns, and possibly the packaging was provided by AoA because it is not the DIANA standard box, nor the new cases that will come online soon.
Another tell-tale aspect is that the serial number is not part of the box
The gun is a little longer than the "normal" 430:
Compare the length of the levers in the Stutzen (bottom) and the 430 L (top):
A different view possibly tells a better story:
Now, the measured difference in the lever lengths is of relatively little importance unless we get a meaningful result.
The fulcrum point of the levers is about ½" back from where the action screws are.
In this way, the leverage ratio of the original 430 is approximately : 13" : 3½" that is 3.7
In the case of the 430L the ratio is 15" : 3½" (the cast fulcrum piece has not changed), so that returns a ratio of 4.3
Assuming a compressed spring force of around 170 lbs, then the cocking force of the 430 would be about 45 lbs.
The cocking force needed for the 430L should be about 39½ lbs.
MEASURED values for the 430L can be seen here:
So, cocking force is reduced by 10%, will this be enough? I don't know. It all depends on the shooters.
For many, the underlever presents a more "ergonomic" way to cock a gun because they can use both arms pulling away and down from the body.
For me, there is still room for improvement, and that may come later in a special edition, but for now this is the offering.
Gun is not a lightweight (DIANA's never are, LOL!), weighing in at 9 # 13 oz with the scope and mounts provided in the combo.
My FT gun weighs in at around 16#, so to ME it is a lightweight gun, but better to let know our friends the weight and let them decide for themselves.
The "Premium" STYLE stock bears some analysis. In this picture the 430L is on top and it is compared to a 34k Premium.
As you can see, the 34k Premium has a much more "American Classic" flavour to it, straight MonteCarlo, and toe line, slender pistol grip, specially towards the front end, white spacer and slenderer forearm.
On the top, the 430L shows a more "Teutonic" appearance, with the "Ebern" (Boar) back that blends the Monte Carlo to the general curves of the stock, there is also a slight curve on the toe line.
The checkering is also more "restrained", being shorter and less "dynamic".
Minelli definitely knows what they are doing.
In the next picture, the 430 L Is on the bottom, and the 34k Premium is on top:
All in all I think it is an agreeable gun to hold, to cock and to shoot.
The fact that the prototype was cobbled together at the plant from existing parts, and then that prototype was refined to what we are seeing today is the most interesting aspect of the whole thing.
How will it shoot? Dunno.
The process of cleaning and shooting and cleaning and cleaning and shooting will start next week, and it is a long, tedious, and serious process.
Only after about 300 shots, and some serious work to the mounts, can we expect to get any reasonable indication of the performance potential of this carbine.
Stay tuned . . . ;-)
Keep well and shoot straight!