Written on: 11/09/2006 by Crimson Sky (1 review written)
Great Price/Power/Accuracy for the money. Excellent fit and finish, quality bluing on all metal parts. Wonderful balance, German Made.
Lack of recoil pad cheapens the overall look and can cause shoulder bruising after extended use. Lots of explosive dieseling before the manufacturers oils were finally dissipated. Plastic trigger although of a tough material, feels less than sturdy. Plastic safety and barrel end cap. Poor scope rail design. Powerful recoil destroys some scopes and scope mounts.
My RWS 34 Diana .22 caliber came packaged in a brown cardboard box with no padding other than some Styrofoam inserts. One would think that this finely crafted rifle would warrant better packaging. Initial inspection proved that it had arrived safely, with no mars, dings or scratches on the metal parts. Bluing was beautiful and nicely polished. A recoil pad is sorely needed on this model, even if the price is raised a few bucks. The stock was well made, although the finish on the Beech wood was bland and without character. The stock has a low luster, satin finish. The rifle shoulders nicely and has a decent heft and weight. This is an adult sized Springer, long and heavy.
After a quick inspection of the fit and finish I shot some rounds off. Explosive dieseling from the residual oils in the barrel caused the barrel to drop open when fired on several occasions without firing the round. There was plenty of smoke as well from the port. The rubber o-ring breach seal also fell out twice when this happened, and was quite disconcerting to say the least. I tightened the Phillips screw that serves as the breaking hinge pin, and this did not happen again. Be sure to tighten all bolts and screws before use. Firing a couple of dozen Beeman Kodiak Heavy pellets helped to remove oils inside the barrel.
This is a tough rifle to cock many times repeatedly, and I have very strong upper body muscles. This is not a great rifle for younger shooters, simply because of this. After about 800 rounds the rifle began to break in a little, getting slightly easier to cock. It gets really smooth after about 1000 rounds, giving the shooter confidence and accuracy. I noticed dark oils with very fine metal dust leaking from the barrel hinge after 1200 rounds, and attribute this to the natural breaking in period as metal parts mesh and settle in.
I had attached a BSA 3-12x40 Scope and a B-Square 17101 scope mount to the rifle initially, but these both were removed shortly after, as I'll explain why. The Diana 34 .22 is a very powerful Springer in its class. It will eat many scopes and mounts for breakfast, and come back for lunch. The recoil is pure living heck on any scope/mount combo you can throw at it.
The RWS line is notorious for poor scope rail design. Without a proper way to stop the mount/scope from creeping due to recoil is an unforgivable oversight in manufacturing and design. I had to hang the built in stop pin on the B-square adjustable mount in front of the rail on the chamber in order to prevent the mount from creeping. There is a small steel screw towards the rear of the scope rail, but this is not sufficient at all from preventing the mount from moving if backed up to it. It will most likely shear off that screw after a few shots.
The RWS Diana has a drooping barrel, meaning the rifle points down at the breaking hinge. This is not a defect or flaw in design, even fixed barrel rifles can have a degree of barrel droop. Adjustable mounts like the B-Square 17101 addresses this issue by allowing you to raise the rear of the scope, but in my opinion is a poor design with too many places for it to fail. Without an adjustable mount on the Diana 34, the elevation knob on your scope would not have enough degree of adjustment to compensate for the barrel droop. Raising the rear of the scope gives you maximum play up and down on the elevation knobs.
The B-Square 17101 scope mount shook loose after several rounds. I adjusted it, and tightened it for about an hour, and as soon as I thought I had it perfect, it shook loose again after 15 rounds. I'm a master craftsman, so proper installation was NOT an issue with this scope mount, and I'm not the first to complain about it. I will give the Beeman 5039 adjustable scope mount a try in the near future. The adjustable gimbal design of this mount was no match for the power of the Diana 34 recoil. I removed the scope and mount, and used the iron sights that came factory installed on the rifle.
What a pleasure! The iron sights proved to be extremely accurate at 30 yards, with groups of about 1.5 inches. Not bad for irons. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation with positive clicks. It is all metal construction, despite what one reviewer has said. Perhaps RWS changed out the plastic on this part after hearing complaints.
The Diana was most accurate with Diablo Sport wadcutters, and Beeman Crow Magnums. Beeman Field and Target pellets were also a pleasure to use with this rifle. I would recommend the following pellets for you to experiment with:
*H&N Diablo Sport Wadcutters
*Beeman Field and Target
At 30 yards the Crow magnums penetrated a steel coffee can and blasted out the opposite side. The power is simply amazing for a so called medium powered springer. I would imagine this would be a great rifle for small game in .22 caliber. I had a great time just plinking cans and homemade knockdown targets. The balance is terrific, and the feedback from the action and trigger is commendable. The automatic safety is a nice feature.
This is a great first rifle for anyone who can handle the cocking and weight-it's heavy, but this is because of the simple no-frills powerful design, in my opinion. The quality beats anything in its class, and I would never consider a Gamo or Chinese made rifle in the same price range. I look forward to upgrading to another fine RWS rifle in the future, possibly the 350 Magnum. Safe and Fun shooting!