RWS Diana 34
by B.B Pelletier
A reader pointed out that I have never looked at the RWS Diana 34 before, so today I will rectify that. I have actually owned a couple of 34s over the years, and I've had both calibers. My time spent with other Diana guns is helpful as well, since things such as triggers and barrels are shared between models.
What IS a Diana 34?
The Diana 34 is an entry-level, German-made Diana breakbarrel spring-piston rifle. It's important that you know this rifle is made in Germany, because in recent years, RWS, like Beeman, has added guns to their lines made in Spain and now China. While the powerplants of guns from those countries might be as good as the lower-cost German guns, the barrels and triggers usually aren't.
Both calibers are good
The 34 comes in both .22 and .177, and, at the power level it achieves, it's good in both calibers. Though it is rated at 1,000 f.p.s. in .177, it actually achieves around 920-950 with light Hobby pellets and in the high 700s with heavier Beeman Kodiaks. That's when the gun is running right. In .22, you'll get velocities in the high 500s/low 600s with heavy pellets and the high 600s/low 700s with light pellets.
It's fairly easy to cock, at just over 30 lbs. of effort when broken in. The trigger is a two-stage adjustable model that can be adjusted for a crisp release. The stock is as plain as a wood stock can get, with just a raised cheekpiece and also a Monte Carlo profile to help scope users. The absence of a rubber buttpad means you must be careful when standing the rifle up on its butt.
The flagship of the Diana line
Diana designed the 34 to be an entry-level air rifle. At the time it was introduced, it had no raised cheekpiece or Monte Carlo profile. There was also a higher-priced model 36 that came with a rubber buttpad, front globe sight with replaceable inserts and a well-profiled stock with checkering. The model 38 was even nicer because it had all of those features plus a walnut stuck. The actions of all three rifles were identical. But, customers voted with their wallets, and only the 34 remains. For many years, it was Diana's best-selling model, and it may still be today.
The 34 has the same scope-mounting deficiencies that most other Diana guns have, in that there is NO way to anchor a scope mount! You have to use a one-piece scope mount and let the scope stop pin hang down in front of the 11mm dovetail ramp on the receiver, same as for all the Diana sidelevers. That means a portion of the scope mount will hang off the rail at the front, but it's the only safe way to stop the mount from moving under recoil.
A big airgun!
This is a large air rifle, whose dimensions are well-suited to full-grown adults. Don't think of it as a youth gun just because the price is so low. It's the kind of air rifle that can grow with you as time passes. You can start out with just the rifle by itself and shoot for years using the sights that come with it. When the time comes, investing in a tuneup is worth the trouble because both the accuracy and the trigger warrant it. For a scope, I would choose a Leapers 3-9x40mm with a red/green reticle.
One note to owners. If you feel a distinct bump when cocking the rifle toward the end of the stroke, it means the plastic mainspring guide has broken. You can continue to shoot your rifle without damaging it, but your velocity will be lower.
The 34 can do what any of the powerful breakbarrels can. In .22, it's a good hunting gun; in .177 you can use it for field target. It's worth adding a nice scope and shooting premium pellets such as Crosman Premiers (I recommend the 7.9-grain in .177 and the 14.3 grain in .22.) You can also try Beeman Kodiaks and JSB Exacts in both calibers. This rifle is somewhat sensitive to hold as well as hand placement under the forearm. I like putting my open palm under the start of the cocking slot.
I am sorry I didn't get around to this rifle before, but now I have, so it's time for all you owners to chime in and tell the readers what you think of your air rifle.