RWS Diana 34 Panther – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


RWS 34 Panther is an all-black air rifle with a synthetic stock. The use of a non-Monte Carlo buttstock is a bold move, offset by the straight line of the stock (less drop).

For those of you buying a Diana rifle for the first time, you cannot compare what you receive to the guns that shipped a decade or more ago, but I can. I have owned more than one model 34 in both calibers, so I’ll make the comparison between those guns and this new RWS 34 Panther as I go. This one is a .177.

What’s new?
The Panther has a black synthetic stock that’s new. It’s shaped differently than the wood stocked Diana 34 that’s been made for so many years, and it felt a little heavier to me. Sure enough, the specifications on Pyramyd’s website indicate an extra quarter pound. That’s not much, except all the weight seems to be in the front of the gun. That makes the gun very stable to hold.

With the new stock, you get something no 34 ever had – checkering! Both the pistol grip and forearm are checkered with sharp diamonds to keep the rifle secure in your grip. In the past, you had to buy the upgraded model 36 to get checkering. There is no cheekpiece and the safety is in the center of the end cap, so this is truly an ambidextrous air rifle! The wood-stocked 34 is less so because it does have a cheekpiece on the left side of the butt.

Fiberoptic sights
The Panther also has TruGlo fiberoptic sights front and rear, which the wood-stocked model doesn’t have. If the light is too low to light up the front bead, the shape of the post is square, so it makes a perfect conventional front sight. The rear notch is also square and sized correctly for the front post.

T05 trigger
The Panther has the T05 trigger, which is found on most of Diana’s spring guns these days. That may not mean much to you, but as the owner of several older T01 triggers, let me tell you that the T05 is better. It’s crisper than the older model, but unfortunately it has a plastic trigger blade that offends some shooters. I like it better than the older stamped steel blade of the T01 that was too curved, in my opinion. This trigger is straight and feels much better when pulled. It doesn’t swing up as it comes back. I have lived with the use of plastic in firearms for so long that a plastic trigger in an airgun doesn’t bother me, but I know there are many who object to one.

The trigger is adjustable for the length of pull of the first stage, which determines where the second stage kicks in. The manual warns that too much adjustment will remove all the first stage, but some shooters really want that. The pull-weight and overtravel are not adjustable.

The safety is automatic and pops out at the rear when the rifle is cocked. It can be applied at any time and simply blocks the trigger from moving. No safety is 100 percent safe, though, and you should always hold the barrel with the cocking hand when loading to catch it if the sear should slip.

Warranty
After my little rant about Beeman’s cancelled lifetime warranty yesterday, I thought to check on the warranty for this gun. Mine came packed with a lifetime warranty card that was issued by RUAG Ammotec, who sold their RWS USA franchise to Umarex two years ago. So, I called and spoke to the Umarex USA repair center, and they told me that the warranty they offer is a limited lifetime with 18 months on the wearout parts such as seals and mainsprings.

There are some contradictory words in the owner’s manual about the warranty. It says the gun is warranted for two years. What’s happened is that Diana has published their own warranty in the manual and RUAG/Umarex has included a separate U.S. warranty card with the gun. In the U.S., the warranty is for a lifetime, except as noted.

General fit and finish
Everytime I pick up a new 34, I’m impressed by its overall quality. I have to say that this Panther is the best one of all. The steel parts are not highly polished, but they’re evenly finished and darkly colored. They are very attractive. The synthetic stock is smooth and even and the checkering is sharp, as noted. The stock is slender to favor a hunter or offhand shooter.

Barrel
The owner’s manual says not to use wire brushes in the barrel, but I’m going to disregard that and do my usual JB bore compound cleaning. I am not recommending that you do the same; I am simply avoiding the 500-1,000 shots at break-in to smooth out the bore for the best accuracy.

More on the Panther tomorrow.

53 Responses to “RWS Diana 34 Panther – Part 1”

  • Anonymous Says:

    The timing of this blog is great. I was just looking thru the search for .22′s between $150 and $200 in the 800+ fps. There seems to be a lot of good guns in this power/price point.

    It seems to tie in well with your blog yesterday on does “better” cost more. There are some fine guns for the money.

    I’m curious how the 34 will stack up against that group. Specifically the BAM B30 (Sidelever), Gamo CFX and the IZH-Baikal MP513. That’s a tough croud.

    And thanks for all your hard work in putting this blog together. You have a credibility I haven’t seen in any of the other airgun forums. I can’t wait to read your posts each morning.

    Squirrel Reaper

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Squirrel Reaper,

    I can tell you right now without testing that the Diana 34 is not capable of 800 f.p.s. with any but the absolute lightest of pellets and synthetics. It’s more of a 675 f.p.s. gun. http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2005/11/is-your-airgun-barrel-really-clean.htmlThat said, it still has enough power to do anything you might want.

    The BAM B30 hasn’t been available for close to a year now, so who can say how good it is? Be VERY careful placing an order for one, because there are unscrupulous dealers who will charge your credit card before informing you the gun is backordered.

    The CF-X and IZH 513 M are both available, thopugh I notice that the CF-X is temporarily out of stock. That’s not the same as the B30, which never seems to be shipped when the distributor say it will. Pyramyd gets new shipments of Gamos all the time.

    B.B.

  • Vince Says:

    So’s the .22 cal Hammerli Storm, which I suspect will prove to be more potent than the ’34. Also, I found my Storm to be easier to shoot reasonably well than my ’34, which proved to be far more hold sensitive.

    Very curious to see if you come to the same conclusion, BB…

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Vince,

    We shall see.

    B.B.

  • SquirrelKiller Says:

    Hello B.B.,

    I’ve got a question about lubricating the joints on my under-levers. I was looking around and saw a product called Beeman/FWB Joint Grease, but that $21+ price tag makes me ponder. Is it worth the money?

    I’ve got some Diver’s (silicone) grease to lubricate my o-rings on my PCP probes. Would I be ignorant to assume this would work well in the joints, or would there be too much buildup?

    I remember when I purchased my CFX’s and Diana’s they had a thick “white-ish” grease in strategic areas for friction that has disappated and not caused any build-up, and I’m wanting to find a similar substance.

    Or is there something else you would advise?

    Thanks again, as always…

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Squirrel,

    FWB joint grease has always been pricy. As far as I know it is just Lubriplate under the FWB name. Lubriplate has been around since the Second World War, where it was issued for lubricating the Garand. Therefore, use any good quality white lithium-based grease.

    Don’t use silicone grease. It has poor lubricating properties. It’s just for sealing.

    B.B.

  • scott298 Says:

    B.B.–I know you can increase the ft lbs of energy by using a heavier pellett-which one needs to do if shooting a rifle the goes 1000fps or some where in that ball park. Is it possible to build a rifle that has high energy yet has a slower muzzle velocity-in other words can a gun be built with a lot of knock down power and a lower velocity?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Scott,

    Of course. The Canadians have to deal with this because their laws restrict airgun velocity to 500 f.p.s. So they can shoot much heavier bullets at just under 500 f.p.s. It’s possible to generate over 1,000 f.p.s. this way. Read about it here:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2007/01/why-do-some-airguns-recoil-part-2.html

    B.B.

  • Vince Says:

    BB – what about a nylon barrel brush?

  • Anonymous Says:

    BB

    Thanks for keeping such a great blog, it’s very informative. Given the task of picking both a rifle and a pistol for under $150, what would you choose? They’ll be used for informal backyard plinking, no hunting or serious competition.

    Thanks
    Mike, NY

  • Vince Says:

    BB, how accurate is the Walther PPK/S CO2 blowback BB pistol? I had one a couple of years ago, and had trouble hitting a soda can at 15 feet. Was that probably the pistol, or was it just me?

  • Anonymous Says:

    Mike-NY,

    Crosman 1077AS (airsource) $97.99 + Crosman 1377C $55.95 = 153.94

    How good is that?

  • Anonymous Says:

    I am looking forward to the rest of the report on the this rifle as I am looking for something in this price range. I have been looking at the RWS 34 or maybe the Hammerli Storm. I am looking for a rifle that I can do general bird pest control and maybe the occasional rabbit or squirrel. Not sure if .177 cal is enough or I should go to .22 cal. I would like to stay under $300 for gun and scope/mounts. Would the Storm and RWS 34 be your choices, or should I be looking at something else as well?

    Thanks
    Wallz

  • Anonymous Says:

    Hi Mr. pelletier,
    Can you be more spesific about T05 trigger, please. How is the second stage actual weight & creep. Can it be modded ?

    thank in advance

  • Vince Says:

    As for the Crosman 1077 AirSource – is it my imagination, or is it actually MORE expensive to shoot airsource than regular Powerlets? It seems to work ou that way every time I calculate it. Plus, the Powerlets don’t booger up the looks (or hold?) of the gun…

    Also, I’m wondering if the 1077 is really a good plinking gun if one doesn’t need the power. Very awkward to use. The Beeman P17/Marksman 2004 might be better suited…

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Vince,

    A nylon brush is too soft for this job.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Mike,

    For a pistol I’d suggest the Crosman 1377 and the Marksman 2004. For a rifle, try the Benjamin 392 with open sights only.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Vince,

    At 15 feet I can keep most of my shots in the 10 ring on a large Shoot N C target. The 10 ring is about the size of a soda can. I’d say you should hit the can at least 75 percent of the time at that distance, once you know where the rifle is shooting.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Wallz,

    Unless you are a fantastic rifle shot already, I would not recommend a breakbarrel for game. There is a lot of technique involved in shooting well.

    The Gamo CF-X in .22 would be a good pick. and you should be able to scope it within your budget.

    Now, if you want to BECOME a terrific rifle shot, then a breakbarrel is perfect. They force the shooter to hold soft and to follow through. I always like .22 for game shooting because it packs a greater punch.

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    T05 trigger,

    The T05 is more unitized than the T01. It makes the rifle somewhat easier to disassemble.

    I’m sure there are tuners out there who are doing great things with the T05. Maybe some of our readers know who they are?

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Vince,

    I think you may be right about the economics of the AirSource catridge. Most shooters use them so they don’t have to reload powerlets all the time.

    I don’t quite understand what you are saying (asking?) about the 1077. In my opinion, it is the finest plinking air rifle on the market at any price.

    The pistols you mention are more suited to target practice, but they are also fine plinkers. Buy the 1077 if you want rapid fire. Get the pistols if you can put up with one shot at a time.

    B.B.

  • Vince Says:

    DOH! – in my second series of comments, I meant to say the 1377, not the 1077! The 1377 always struck me as being an awkward plinker, although it does feel good in the hand.

    I agree, a properly working 1077 is a lot of fun.

    Back to the 1077 – doesn’t the airsource cartridge interfere with holding the rifle?

  • Anonymous Says:

    vince,
    the reason why I suggested the crosman 1077 (rifle) and 1377C (pistol) to Mike-NY is BECAUSE of the extra power, and BECAUSE they are excellent plinkers.
    its been my experience that people start off plinking, then one day they want to start shooting birds, mice, or squirrls. with the right ammo and accuracy, a person would already have the capability with the two guns mentioned, without having to purchase another rifle later. i figured Mike might be wanting to stick to a budget and get the most BANG for his buck.
    i like yours and bb’s suggestion of the Marksman 2004 pistol, i forgot about that one.
    i also like bb’s suggestion of the Benjamin 392, I forgot about that one too. great choices,…then Mike would not need to purchase ANY CO2. only downside with the Benjamin 392 is that it is a single shot, which I don’t find much fun while plinking. the Crosman 1077 is a repeater, and I suggested the airsource version because its better to get the adapter up front with the rifle as a package (its cheaper that way), than wishing you would have ordered it later and have to pay additional shipping.
    just my humble opinion

    oh, and the 1377C pistol can be modified or upgraded if he chooses down the line

  • Anonymous Says:

    Crosman 1077 is great. Rapid/repeat fire pistol would be a more fun plinker. Its all up to whether a person wants to buy CO2.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Vince,

    The AirSource does make the light 1077 front-heavy. I don’t mind it, but I also have a regular 1077, so it’s no problem to switvh.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    i love the 1077 with the airsource. once i put the supplied black cover over the airsource canister, and with a nice scope mounted, it looks and feels like i have a tactical weapon in my hands. love this inexpensive little repeater. i just wish someone would pick up where Cooper-T left off, and create and airsource shut-off valve that could be attached.

  • Anonymous Says:

    marksman 2004 and crosman 1377c are both single shot pistols. between the two, i would go with 1377c. lots of available mods and makes a cool portable rifle with the right mods. but if you are only going to plink with a pistol, ever, go with a repeating pistol

  • Vince Says:

    BB – if a PPK can’t do any better than that at 15 feet… well, I’ve got gas blow-back airsoft pistols that shoot better!

    As for the guy looking for cheap plinkers… repeaters are fun, but I’m not so sure that, say, 50 shots out of a 1077 are any quicker than 50 shots out of a breakbarrel when you include reloading time. Of course, you can get multiple clips.

    So you might want to consider a lower-end breakbarrel as well. BB has nice things to say about the RM-200, and the Crosman Quest is also available in the same price range (or cheaper). Also there’s no CO2 to buy, an it sounds like this guy might be on a budget.

    A few more details will help – what sort of distances do you intend to shoot? Do you want to use a scope?

  • Anonymous Says:

    mike was trying to stay under $150 for both rifle and pistol…keep this in mind.

  • Vince Says:

    Standard Crosman 1077 – $60
    Quest/Phantom – $85
    Mendoza RM200 – $90

    1377 – $58
    Marksman 2004 – $45

    plus, there’s a slew of pistols (CO2, spring, BB and/or pellet) in the $60 range.

  • Mike Says:

    Wow, that got a lot of quick replies! I think I’ll go with the black standard 1077 and the 1377. Seems like a nice balance of speed/accuracy. I can’t seem to find any reliable sites that carry the 1377′s stock, is it discontinued or something?

  • Anonymous Says:

    mike, you might want to order the stock directly from crosman $19. I don’t know if they still do this, but they used to knock off 5% for ONLINE orders, not much but something.
    i do suggest you consider the airsource model, in order to get the adapter if you EVER think you might want it in the future. it more cost effective to get it as a combo with rifle.
    keep in mind you can still use 12gr co2 powerlets with the airsource model. the airsource adapter is just a switchable/convertible option. if nothing has changed the gun would come with one endplug used for 12gr powerlets, and one airsource/endplug adapter.
    just something to research and think about…

  • Anonymous Says:

    BETTER YET….if someone would produce a black refillable CO2 canister, with a shutoff, with airsource type threads, that could fit on the current airsource adapter and under the forearm (just like the current airsource bottle)…..they would make a mint.

    hint…hint…

  • roblarry2 Says:

    I have an old Benjamin 3120 .22 cal. It seems to only shoot round ball pellets, which is hard to find in 22 cal. Can you help, or can I resize the round chamber to accept the newer shaped pellets.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    roblarry,

    This very website sells .22 caliber round balls.

    No, the 3120 cannot be modified to accept a pellet, but why would you want to? Everyone else wants a repeating air rifle and this is it!

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    uh…bb…i go to pyramid,…select ammo,…then select .22 Round balls and this is what I see:

    “Recommendation for this model will be available on-line in the near future. Check with us soon.

    If you need your question answered immediately
    please call (888)262-4867(GUNS).

    Please hit the [Back] button of your browser.”

    Is this a “call in” only item….if so…the website should state this…

    thanks

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Yep, I see it too. It means thery are temporarily out. Should restock in a few weeks. Keep watching

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    do you know if their .22 roundballs are “homegrown”, or what brand are they normally?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    They come from H&N of Germany.

    Check with Sunshine Airguns. They have Lobo round balls in .22.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    bb,

    is there a difference in accuracy if you use lead round balls, or copper plated lead round balls? or will all round balls act the same?

    Dave

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Dave,

    All lead balls fly the same. The copper plating is to retard corrosion. Lead balls use a graphite coating for the same purpose, so they bare dirtier to handle.

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    do copper coated roundballs damage the barrel rifling?

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    No.

    B.B.

  • roblarry2 Says:

    Do anyone sale a reseal kit for the prowerline 880. I could not find one on the Daisy website. Also THANKS for helping me find the .22 cal round ball ammo for my Benjamin 3120

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    roblarry,

    I know Daisy has the parts for in-house repairs. I don’t know if they sell them as a kit.

    Call them.

    B.B.

  • roblarry2 Says:

    Is the Benjamin 3120 close to the Benjamin 392. Also can anyone tell me any information on the 3120 such as the number of pumps,fps, etc.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    The 3120 is a completely different gun than the 392. Both are .22 and that’s about it.

    You can pump the gun 10-12 times maximum or 4-5 times for plinking. You get just one shot per fill of air. Overfilling will lock down the exhaust valve, making the gun weak or inoperative.

    Always store this gun with two pumps of air in it.

    B.B.

  • roblarry2 Says:

    I am on a limited budget. I want to buy the best rifle for my needs(small pest rabbits, crow, squirrels, etc.)for under 150.00. I am looking at the Quest 800x, the Benjamin 593 and the Russian made IZH MP513M. What do you suggest? I love this site !!!
    Thanks
    roblarry

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    roblarry,

    Benjamin 593? That’s a new one.

    The quest 800 looks like a lot of airgun for the price. The 513M is a good gun, but you would have to buy a scope and mount on top of it.

    The Quest looks best.

    B.B.

  • roblarry2 Says:

    My bad. I missed typed. Its the 392.
    Thanks for the info.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I’m a bit surprised and highly dubious of the comment that the RWS34 in .177 cal isn’t capable of 1000FPS. Making a flat statement like that without doing any testing tends to detract from the credibility of the person posting it. From feed back and testing on other forums, the RWS34 most certainly IS capable of 1000FPS velocities. Yes, you have to use lighter bullets, but that holds true with ANY airgun. If you’re going to do a review, can you keep it strictly based on factual testing and not on personal opinions?

    Thanks,
    Dep

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Dep,

    What are you talking about? You didn’t even read the segment of the report where I tested THIS GUN through a chronograph! It did go faster that 1000 f.p.s.

    READ THE WHOLE REPORT:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2007/07/rws-diana-34-panther-part-4-final.html

    B.B.

  • Anonymous Says:

    That’s funny, I didn’t catch the part where you say “Oops…I screwed up and shouldn’t have posted an opinion before testing”.
    Not meaning to rag on you, but you should either delete or edit that initial comment, or people are going to be steered OFF the RWS 34before it even gets a chance to prove itself. If I hadn’t read other reviews posted on other websites, that would have been my reaction.

    Dep

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