Pro-Guide spring retainer system for RWS Diana rifles: Part 5 — The RWS Diana 34 Panther

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Today, I’ll test the Air Venturi Pro-Guide spring retainer in an RWS Diana 34 Panther – the same rifle that was used to test the new Leapers drooper base. This rifle has been broken in and used a lot in the time I’ve had it, so the powerplant should be ready to accept the new Pro-Guide system.

Installation
Installing the Pro Guide in the breakbarrel 34 was easier than installation in the RWS Diana 48 because there is no sidelever mechanism to remove. In fact, now that I’m familiar with how the T05 trigger comes apart, I find this action faster to strip than almost any other breakbarrel – even the easy Weihrauchs that have the screw-in end cap. I did not use any washers in this rifle – just the basic Pro Guide system as it comes.

Assembly is equally easy, though I must comment that the T05 trigger doesn’t want to cock after assembly. I had to really tug on the barrel to cock the rifle the first several times after putting it back together. Then, it settled in and became docile once more.

Though the spring tube of the 34 is a smaller diameter than the tube on the 48, the same Pro-Guide fits both rifles. It fits to the trigger instead of the inside diameter of the spring tube.

Firing behavior
The transformation was incredible! Not that the 34 vibrated before the Pro-Guide, but after it was installed, the gun just went “Thunk!” To a greater extent than the 48 we tested, this rifle accepted the Pro-Guide willingly and thankfully – which is to say the firing behavior rivals the best tune job you can imagine. Only the Gamo Whisper with the gas spring conversion is as dead-calm as this rifle with the Pro-Guide.

Velocity with Kodiaks
Before the Pro-Guide installation, this rifle averaged 820 f.p.s. with Beeman Kodiaks (they were H&N Baracudas, but the same pellet). With the Pro-Guide, the average was 825 f.p.s., so a slight increase. That’s 16.02 foot-pounds. The spread was 21 f.p.s., from 816 to 837.

Velocity with Premier Lites
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets averaged 919 f.p.s. with the factory spring and 936 f.p.s. with the Pro-Guide. There was one anomalous shot that went 952 f.p.s.; otherwise the average would have been lower in the 930s. The spread was 926 to 952, and the average energy was 15.37 foot-pounds.

Velocity with Hobbys
The average with RWS Hobby pellets was 1021 f.p.s. before and after the Pro-Guide was installed. The spread was from 1008 to 1031 f.p.s., and the muzzle energy was 16.21 foot-pounds.

My assessment
If you own an RWS Diana 34, get the Pro-Guide for your rifle the next time you need a tuneup. Or just get it now – I don’t think you’ll regret it. The firing behavior becomes so smooth and positive that it’s a different rifle. This is an option that is even worth installing on a brand new rifle if you want smooth operation.

48 thoughts on “Pro-Guide spring retainer system for RWS Diana rifles: Part 5 — The RWS Diana 34 Panther

  1. Way OT as usual.

    My .22 Crosman custom pistol was deliverd (to my in law’s house) yesterday.

    I ordered some .22 hollow point Premiers with it. What other pellets do you recommend I try?

    Cheers,

    B


  2. BB……
    OT, but has Crosman told you why they alloy their pellets?
    Is it so they can stand rougher handling or is there some other reason?
    I sure would like to see some soft cp’s to compare to these hard, barrel leading pellets they make now.
    I think some cph in .22 would be good….an alternative to Kodiaks.
    twotalon



  3. twotalon,

    Crosman never told me this, but because they sell a lot of repeaters, I think they use alloy instead of pure lead for the hardness. Less deformation in handling and through the gun’s mechanism.

    They may also be more uniform to swage, which is the forming process.

    B.B.


  4. BB, do you have any theories about the [relatively minor]trouble the trigger gave you?I always worry about mechanical symptoms that cure themselves…Frankb


  5. BB

    my stock 34 Panther seemingly goes “thunk,” with no vibration. Is the difference with the Pro-Guide something that needs to be tried to understand? Because I’m unable to ascertain the difference from your words.


  6. BB,
    Its good to see a product that works as advertised and focuses on one of the more critical areas of airgunning. From the previous technical descriptions, it seems like the system should last longer than a tune and is a pretty good deal, although I fear putting something in yourself doesn’t turn people on like dropping the name of who tuned their gun.


  7. B.B.

    Great product. I’ll keep it in mind if vibrations come up. BG_Farmer, I would pass up the name of a tuner any day for a low cost improvement for shooting behavior. But, I guess you’re giving up the lubrication which Bob Werner seemed to think was so important.

    B.B., you were right about the M1 sights. Looking sideways at the gun clearly showed the rear sight moving up and down. I also found microscopic numbers on the elevation knob that were mostly rubbed away which showed which way to turn. There seems to be a whole other dimension to this involving the loosening of some screw to calibrate the sights for different distances but I will leave that alone. Bob in CA, thanks for your reference to the movie. While hunting around on YouTube for old movies, I found one that seemed perfect, but the quality was so poor that when the camera zoomed in on the sights, the image dissolved in pixels. But I want to collect these old movies anyway for historical interest.

    B.B. I also discovered while disassembling the 1911 that the spring retainer makes a great projectile all by itself. It kept pinging the lamp overhead, the window, and shooting into piles of paper….

    Matt61



  8. Confused,

    Yes, this is something that must be experienced to understand. As I said in the report, the current 34 mechanism doesn’t vibrate very much, but it does vibrate some. How you hold the rifle will determine whether you can feel the vibration or not.

    There is a difference when the Pro Guide is installed, and I think it is a significant one.

    Bear in mind that each rifle is somewhat individual, and you may have a very good one. I always keep a good gun as it is, so that may be what you want to do, also.

    B.B.



  9. il Bruce,

    You'll want to try some .22 H&N wadcutters for sure.

    The first thing on your list should be to polish the trigger/sear contacts on a buffing wheel. 5 min. of effort will give you astonishing results. Re-crowning the bbl will also help some guns, too.

    Derrick


  10. BB, Derrick,

    Thanks for the recommendations.

    I opened the box at lunch and noticed the rear sight was in a bag not on the gun so my first task is to bet that sorted.

    I am timid about taking anything apart…

    I’ll shoot it as is for now. Sounds like a winter Sunday project.

    Ta,

    Bruce


  11. OT
    Seen the news in Canada today?
    Seems a 16yr old male student walked into his school in Regina, Saskatchewan and held an auditorium full of kids and teachers hostage for over an hour till the pricipal subdued him.
    Did it with a pellet pistol.
    I’ve already had one phone call today from one of my ‘friends’ suggesting I reconsider letting my son keep his Red Ryder.
    The nut-cases will come out of the wood-work for the next few days.
    Cowboy Dad


  12. Shadow Express Dude,

    The best way to reblue is with a hot blueing solution. That requires a large setup that you don’t want to get involved with. There are OSHA requirements for the disposal of the chemicals after use. And a basic setup, done right, costs several hundred dollars.

    So, is your real question is what can YOU do?

    B.B.



  13. Has anyone seen the great air rifle scene in “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”? If you haven’t, it’s probably worth it, – the movie illustrates the state of firearms in Britain where it seems only the serious criminal element seem able to attain them. That incident in Canada brought it to mind..

    Here’s a question out to the entire blog – “What is the LEGAL air rifle hunting status in your particular state? Pennsylvania is a definite NO in all catgories, with absolutely no exceptions. However a state game writer just plugged-in that he no longer uses a shotgun or .22 for rabbit or squirrel, favoring a pellet rifle… Someone mentioned you could use big-bore in Ohio for deer during the blackpowder season, as long as the gun met a certain foot pound of muzzle energy. In PA, there is a lot of ignorance and saying your using an air rifle conjures up the idea of stalking bunnies with a Red Ryder…


  14. Per NJ – as BB stated in a past Blog response, this State considers air rifles and pistols firearms. In NJ, I only know of bow and shotgun hunting allowed. No rifles. As for air rifles, I don’t know of any prohibition other than discharging a firearm in town, a special season for rabbits and squirrels and no shooting at squirrel nests. The law allows you to shoot vermin if they are destroying your property but then you have to be concerned with discharge of a firearm in town so no shooting rabbits and squirrels at the veggie garden in your backyard if you are in town (or don’t get caught).


  15. Starting this year RI is allowing air rifles for hunting for the first time.

    “14.10 Air gun rifles are permitted to hunt the following small mammals: gray squirrels, red squirrels, woodchucks, cottontail rabbits, and snowshoe hare provided that the air guns are a minimum of .177 caliber and not larger than .22; a minimum of 750 FPS velocity with pellets 7.5 grain or larger.”

    I’m not so keen on how they define the minimum power but it is a start. I certainly wouldn’t try to take a woodchuck with a 750 fps rifle.


  16. Bruce,

    At least they are trying to comprehend airgun ballistics! They must have had help to come up with that specification.

    I’d rather see it based on energy than velocity, but at least it’s a start.

    B.B.



  17. The woman who runs hunter education in RI, Mrs. Borsay, is very receptive to thoughtful input. She gave me the name of people to talk to when I enquired about air gun hunting. The prior prospectus was not clear at all.

    I didn’t get my act together enough to attend the open meeting but some folks were already working on making a case and convinced the DEM that air guns could be used responsibly for hunting.

    She remembered that I had asked about hunting and emailed me when the rules were changed. Mrs. Borsay is a hunter and trap shooter, I run into her from time to time at the state range. RI is fortunate to have a very good dept. of environmental management.


  18. Western PA,

    Ohio, your neighbor to the west:

    “Unless otherwise indicated, game may be taken with longbow, crossbow, or any caliber handgun, rifle, shotgun (10 gauge or smaller), or airgun. Be safe and choose the appropriate method for the species.

    It is unlawful to hunt deer or turkey with a longbow having a draw weight of less than 40 pounds, or with a crossbow having a draw weight of less than 75 pounds or more than 200 pounds.
    Poisoned or explosive arrows are unlawful.”

    You always want what you can’t have and for me, the restriction on “explosive arrows” is a bummmer.

    : )

    Volvo



  19. Volvo,

    You laugh, but the Farco air shotgun (actually CO2) that Davis Schwesinger of Air Rifle Specialists brought into the U.S. originally shot arrows tipped with lit dynamite to kill water buffalo when they wandered into a farmers field. And they also used them to dynamite fish.

    A stick of dynamite apparently brings a lot of fish to the surface.

    B.B.


  20. Hello BB and All,
    I saw this and thought of all the budding airgunsmiths here on the blog. I printed a copy and put it up in my shop. (hopefully my 15 year old will read it)
    At first I got a chuckle, and thought “that’s cute” but think about it! It applies to lots of things,of course mechanical devices and maybe to relationships too!!


  21. Parts should go together without forcing. Remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer. (1925 IBM Maintenance Manual)


  22. Volvo and B.B.

    My dad was born and raised in Alabama, part of a 9 child family farm. He told me stories of farm ponds that dried up in the summer to a mud hole, they would get in there and wrestle 60 pound catfish out, until one day one of them stuck his fist down a throat, because the damn thing was so slippery, and almost got their arm bitten off.. and a number of stabbings with spikes….so then they got mad and used dynamite to fish from then on.. it can even “send them half way home” for you if you place the charge just right.. They would have loved such a tool as a dynamite tipped arrow, but would have to had made it themselves, Papa kept dynamite for removing stumps, and he didn’t mind killin the catfish that hurt the workforce, but no other luxuries like “schoolin” or anything but the most needed.. they was poor folks..

    Wayne


  23. BB,

    Very good question. I have not had time to take the hunter ed class so no hunting for me this year. I’d like to see some hunters out there being good examples.

    I have had dear hunters shoot at the leaves over my head while mountain biking on state land. I have never seen anybody take a deer out of RI state land. What I have seen is dozens of shot up coffee cups and beer cans. No wonder people get a bad impression. Typical case of small majority messing up the rest of us.

    It can’t be easy on DEM. I have a friend who is a retired DEM cop. People can be awful in the woods.

    I have thanked Mrs. Borsay both personally and by email for her time and effort. Maybe another missive is in order. I’ll let here know that the air gun community applauds their efforts.

    Next year I hope to get trained and head out. More interested in showing up and representing than taking any game.

    BTW. Shot a few pellets through the new pistol. Nice gun but I need a lot of work. It should be a fun winter.

    Sheesh, another log winded post. Darn English majors.


  24. Shadow express dude,

    Refinishing the compression tube.
    I'll assume you've completely disassemble the gun. If you can't do that, you can't really get a nice result.

    First, go here:
    http://www.birchwoodcasey.com/sport/index.html

    The kit #13801 can be found in most sporting goods stores that sell hunting/gun related accessories.

    Read the booklet that comes with the kit. Now read it again. Especially the part about how long to leave the bluing liquid on the steel and how soon to rinse.
    To get good results, you must completely remove the damaged finish on the entire tube. Use the included rust & blue remover first. A lathe that you can spin and sand the tube on is not a bad idea either after you have chemically removed as much old finish as possible. Work the finish down to about 600 grit. Pay special attention to the cold water rinsing as it stops the bluing process. When in doubt, rinse some more. The finish will not be as durable as a hot blue. It must be kept wet with oil after you're done or you'll get flash rusting very quickly.

    Follow the directions. Stay off the internet and away from the guys claiming they get great results using a propane torch to heat the metal first. Maybe they do. This is your first attempt so follow the directions until you feel comfortable. Then you can experiment. It seems like every alloy of steel reacts slightly different to the chemicals in a bluing kit. Some steels blue easily, some it seems you have to try 3 different kinds of cold blue to find an acceptable finish.

    You can also take the compression tube and use an epoxy spray finish or even take it to a chrome plater. They'll remove the finish and you can have it hard chromed. The hard chrome is a nice, silver-grey finish. It looks good with blued steel. They don't have to chrome the inside of the tube.

    If you need more info just ask.

    Derrick.


  25. Thanks Derrick
    Derrick, do you think Perma Blue would do the trick? It just comes in a bottle,no kit.

    I just put a breech seal shim on the Storm Xt and RWS 34. I don’t have a cronie on hand (i lent it to a friend), but I must have gained a hundred fps in each. I also found an interesting trick. If the gun (wood stock that is unfinished on the inside like the storm xt) is gritty when cocking, put some aluminum tape on the bar that the roller slides on.
    Shadow express dude


  26. Shadow Man,

    The Perma Blue will do the trick, but you still need the Rust and Blue remover, so maybe the kit is more economical. The kit also comes with a very good degreaser. The metal has to be bare and CLEAN to get a good blue. (I’ve been unable to do decent area touch up, by the way.)

    Just be patient and work small areas at a time. When blending, it’s helpful to wet a piece of 0000 steel wool in Perma Blue and ever so gently rub the entire piece being extremely careful to not rub through the new finish. A Perma blue wetted rag can also work for this. The best results I’ve gotten have been using the liquid blue for no more than 20-30 seconds at a time–then much rinsing. Rushing to cover a large area at once is bound to bring disappointment, woe and misery. Usually in that order.

    Be patient and think of it as a science experiment. If this seems like a huge pain in the neck, it is. Don’t be afraid of a decent epoxy spray paint from Rustoleum or Krylon. They take a long time to really dry properly withour baking. It’s hard to do, but leave it alone for a week or better yet, two before reassembly. A local powder coater could also do a nice job for minimal money. Maybe 30 bucks or so–and it would be good to assemble without the wait. The compression tube on my IZH 46M is epoxy finished and looks better than new.

    Derrick






  27. Derrick,

    Yes, I think I know what you mean..
    But, there is probably a lot more people that would like to keep it to “JUST THE FACTS, LADY”, if anyone remembers Joe Friday.. and I’m probably the worst for wandering off course..
    I don’t know why it is hard, I have a lot of air guns to comment about, so it should be simple to stay on topic, but for some reason I keep slipping, so thanks for the reminders everyone..

    Wayne


  28. Derrick,

    By the way, thanks for the detail on the bluing repair, I was wondering how to do it as well. That was very clear and informative about the whole project and what you might get into..

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range.


  29. Wayne,

    No, he doesn’t have any point since you were contributing to a prior discussion and addressed your comments to Volvo and B.B. No one forced him to read your comment or stopped him from skipping on. It’s like the great writer Samuel Johnson said, “Critics are a tribe whom I scorn and kick at.”

    I thought your story was great Americana. Keep it coming.

    On the subject of bluing, I followed B.B.’s recommendation to look up Doug Turnbull Restorations, and according to their list of services, they can reblue my vintage Winchester 94. $150 fixes the gun! I’m starting to save up for it.

    Matt61


  30. Matt61,

    Wow, your right, thanks.. I don’t know the rules to the blog thing, but I’m trying to learn..

    I’ve been collecting some old ones too. I just got a Hy-Score from Belgium, it looks like it’s from the 1950s, another youth size rifle, the stock is slender and in great shape, cocking pressure is only 15 lbs maybe. I haven’t put it over the crony yet, but it sounds like about 500 or 600fps. I’ll take some photos of it and some others, and get them in the photo bucket, in a few days. I also won the Diana 45 for $185, that B.B. said was good deal at $250. (I think Volvo let me have it, he was bidding against me on the HW35L, that we both lost, but then I think he let me have the Diana.. He’s one of those nice guys too, like you and most of the guys out there)..
    Boy, aren’t we up late. It’s midnight and I’m on the west coast, you’re really up late..

    Thanks for the kind words from you and Derrick both..

    Wayne,




  31. It just came out. I may have heard it. I have no idea.

    I work with a lot of accountants and engineers. All very nice but the ones that shine are the ones that can see what the facts mean.

    I hope to book a flight out to check out your range some day.

    Ciao,

    B


  32. Wayne,

    I actually thought the HW35L might have issues. I bid on before looking closely at the pictures.

    Your CFX now belongs to Rich in Mich. He cut the barrel and made it a carbine, along with fixing my damage. At least I was able to re-assembly the rifle, and did not send him a box of parts. : )

    He said it is harsher shooting and not as powerful as the spring version – but wanted it for Winter Starling hunting. I’m guessing the gas ram works better in cold weather?

    As far as the Diana, I never cared for the looks of that one. Here is a purdy rifle:

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=110687263

    Volvo


  33. Volvo,

    That BSF 55 is a beaut, but it’s already beyond what the gun is worth. $300-350 is about it for these. They do show up at the airgun shows.

    I passed on a like-new model 70 ( a nicer version of the same rifle) that came with the original hang tag at Little Rock. It went for $299.

    I’m with you on the Diana 45, but recently I’ve learned that it is one of the nicest-shooting rifles Diana ever made. The non-boxy ones are tolerable in the look department, too.

    B.B.


  34. B.

    It would be so great to meet you, and all the rest of you great people.. wait a couple months, we are still in the setting up mode.. That quote should be on walls and in books.. It sure makes me feel good..
    Thanks

    Volvo,

    That is a beautiful walnut stock, I know people like figured wood, but the woodworker in me knows that the straight vertical grain like on that stock is way more stable and better quality wood..

    That is the first Whisco I’ve seen, I have wondered about them..
    I should probably go for it, but I just got an Air Arms S310 repeater, on another auction. It is 10 years old, but I got it from the original owner, for a great price. I didn’t even know they made a S310, I’m hoping it has a better magazine, than the new S410.. I also bought a BSA LoneStar in .22 cal, and the Diana 45, so that’s it for this week..

    I’m thinking that I’m going to put nice scopes on and show test groups with lots of photos, and sell off the newer low to mid priced springers, like the RWS94 and the Beeman 1000s and the like…and just have a selection of older classics like I’ve been collecting in the spring gun line..
    Everyone has the new stuff, and I can get that for people too, but I want to have a special niche.. “come shoot the classics” and the best Springers (TX200, HW-77 etc) and mostly PCPs…
    The benefit of the rifle range is that I can have a clean air supply at the ready.. and PCPs are for sure the easiest and most accurate to shoot. Our limited market research shows that most people would rather shoot a PCP if they have a choice.. and don’t have to deal with pumping.

    Thanks again for sharing the hot deals on the auctions… we should coordinate our bidding…

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range..




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