RWS Diana 54 - Part 3
by B.B. Pelletier
Let's look at the accuracy of the Diana RWS 54, plus a few things I have learned from testing it.
I picked a bad day to test a pellet rifle. The wind was blowing 10-20 mph, so I had to shoot through it. There was no waiting for the wind to calm down; it never did! Therefore, the distance was reduced from the hoped-for 50 yards to a more conservative 35 yards. We know the rifle is shooting well (.22 Crosman Premiers at 800 f.p.s.), so it should be able to tough out these conditions.
I promised to show you this, so here it is. I used a B-Square AA 1-piece mount and hung the scope stop pin in front of the Diana scope rail. When the mount tries to back up, the pin prevents it. It's simple and it works. From the picture, you should be able to see why a 2-piece mount won't work.
The front of the Diana scope rail will be used to stop the mount from moving.
The mount extends past the rail on the receiver so the stop pin can be butted against the rail. It looks odd, but it works.
I used a Sightron SII 4-16x42 scope. Although expensive (over $670), this scope is very compact for its power. It's more the size of a 3-12x, so it doesn't hang over the rifle's loading port. That's an important feature for a sidelever or underlever, because a too-long scope can get in the way of easy loading.
Sightron SII is a compact 4-16x scope. It's pricey but very clear and bright.
I had sighted in the rifle before this day, so it was already pretty close to the mark. I had to crank the rear ring 2.5 turns higher than the front ring to compensate for a bad case of barrel droop. Without an adjustable mount, it would have been impossible to sight in this rifle.
I started with 15.8-grain JSB Exacts, because they're the most accurate pellet in 90 percent of the rifles I test. But the groups I got were disappointing. I was shooting off a sandbag rest and resting the stock directly on the bag - something you never do with a recoiling spring gun. I'd thought the recoil mechanism would compensate for the lack of the artillery hold, but 1" groups at 35 yards are hardly good for a German air rifle. So, I switched to the artillery hold, with my off hand resting on the bag. No improvement.
By this point, I was wondering what was wrong with the rifle, because a 48 or a 52 will group in half an inch at 35 yards all day long. Could it be the pellet? Just as a test, I loaded and shot some .22 Crosman Premiers. The group shrank to an unexpected 0.27" group! There was the accuracy I was looking for!
Shooting JSB Exacts, this was the best group.
Crosman Premiers tightened things up plenty!
Then, I tried shooting directly from the rest and it worked! The 54 doesn't require the technique of a typical spring air rifle. It shoots more like a PCP. After I learned that, I had fun with the gun. On a calm day, I'm sure I could push those groups out another 10 yards.
So, this has turned out to be a very good test. The RWS Diana 54 is easy to shoot, quite accurate, recoiless from the shooter's perspective, powerful and easy on the eye. It's in the same class as the TX200, which is the highest praise I can give.