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Diana RWS 46 – a German underlever

by B.B. Pelletier

Let’s finish this week with something different. When you think of underlever spring rifles you probably think of a TX 200, an HW 77 or perhaps the Tech Force 99. How many of you have taken a good look at the Diana RWS 46?

The underlever moves very far back, decreasing the cocking effort.

Diana’s answer to the TX 200
Diana is the company that makes airguns for RWS. Over the years, and I mean going back before World War II, they have made some of the all-time classic spring-piston air rifles AND air pistols. I will report on many of them for you in the future, but today let’s look at their “world beater” model 46. It was developed SPECIFICALLY to go head-to-head against the British TX 200. That’s what Frank Turner, the president of Dynamit Nobel-RWS USA, told me when the model first came out. So, how does it stack up?

Fit and finish
Diana has always had a good fit and finish, but it’s never quite up to the standards of Weihrauch. Perhaps, it’s more in the BSA class. Since the 46 was targeted to go after the British TX, they went out of their way to make as crisp a rifle as they could. The lines are very clean and the cheekpiece is quite stylish and well-shaped – an area where other Dianas perhaps fall short. The stock has the typical Diana angularity, compared to the more rounded TX. It also shaves off about a pound of weight, making the 46 the lighter rifle.

The TX wins, hands down, when it comes to triggers. It has a copy of the German Rekord, while the Diana struggles with its own design. It’s good, but the trigger on the TX is superb!

Accuracy of the two rifles is very close. The TX might be better in one individual rifle, but the Diana 46 might be better another time. Both are splendidly accurate. The TX shoots a little more neutral, while the Diana needs a softer hold. In the end, both are very accurate.

The Diana RWS 46 wins with no contest. The TX requires a deep reach into a port, while the 46 opens up to give you perfect access to the breech. It’s as good as a breakbarrel!

Easy access to the breech is provided by the flip-up loading port.

I have to favor the TX on power, though the 46 is remarkably fast for as easy as it is to cock. The TX is quite a bit harder to cock, which is where the extra 25 to 50 f.p.s. (in .177) come from.

By this time, you’ve probably checked the prices for these two and found that the Diana RWS 46 is quite a bit less than the TX. Even if you go for the Hunting Carbine at $479, the TX is still $130 more than the 46. I can’t say if it’s worth the extra money – that’s for YOU to decide. But, I can tell you that I think most shooters would be happy with the 46. It does the job and won’t let you down. It’s a wonderful spring-piston rifle that happens to come at a really nice price.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

66 thoughts on “Diana RWS 46 – a German underlever”

  1. Appreciated the article. Can you do one on the model 54? You’ve mentioned the 52 in several of your articles, but I haven’t seen one on the 54. Is it worth the extra $$? What is the trigger like? I have a Gamo CFX – the trigger is….good training.

  2. Earl,

    The 52 is a completely different gun. It’s much more powerful and has a harsher firing behavior to go with that power.

    I like the 52, but it’s not a rifle to campare to the 46. In fact, the only rifle to compare a 52 to is a 48 in the samer caliber. I’ve tested the Chinese copies and I don’t think they measure up to the real Diana rifles.


  3. Ah, the 54! I was wondering how long it would be before someone asked about it.

    Well, in my opinion, the 54 is not the value that the 52 or 48 is. It isn’t recoilless; it uses the in-stock rails to allow the barrelled action to move without transferring the feeling to your shoulder – BUT it only works well when the rifle is fired on the level. If you shoot up into a tree, you feel nearly the full recoil.

    The vibration is still there in a 54. It can be tuned to reduce vibration, but so can the other two rifles.

    For my money, the 48 or 52 is the way to go. But that is just my opinion.


  4. I didn’t mention the trigger on the 54. Now I don’t have a lot of experience with this model, but I don’t think RWS triggers are as good as Weihrauch or TX triggers.

    They are many steps better than Gamo triggers, especially when the Gamo is new. But a Gamo trigger continues to improve with use and they can be quite nice after a while.


  5. Now for the 64 dollar question? Which Weilhrauch model would you choose to purchase if you eliminate price as a factor and exclude pneumatic. I dont know what a gas ram system is so you may include these models if one doesn’t have to purchase pumps, compressors or CO2.
    Earl Cox

  6. Earl,

    Bless your heart! You just created at least one and possibly more posts for me. I would rather answer somebody’s question than just invent something I think people might like.

    So watch for an explanation of gas ram airguns next week.

    Now before I can answer your question, please tell me how you want to use the gun. What will you do with it?

    Probably you want to do many things like most people, but is this to be an only airgun, a first adult airgun or do you have a problem with woodchucks living under the pool house foundation?

    Do you want me to make the choice from only Weihrauch, or can I diversify if I need to?


  7. I have a Model 46 and am VERY pleased with it. While not the fastest, it handles very well, target or field, and does everything well. Mine holds very consistant groups if the shooter does their part……..as far as loading, you can’t use a pell seater, but thats really just a nit pic. Recommend it to anyone.

  8. B.B.

    Since you are taking suggestions for future posts, perhaps this one might strike your fancy. Could you list in order what you would advise a new shooter to do to improve accuracy? In other words, what is/are the first steps to take from taking the rifle out of the box to ending up with a tack hammer at 50 yards. So many of your posts have good info about the subject, but a little guidence would be helpful to us newbies. It would be like an instruction guide for the new shooter and you could then search the original post (thanks to your extensive list of them) for futher clarification.. Just an idea. I know I have benefitted from your suggestions on zeroing a scope, how to mount a scope, hold etc. You could even break it down into catagories such as springer, and pcp. Thanks and keep the nuggets coming.


  9. Sorry I was unable to answer your question of clarification sooner but computer had phone line problems.
    AS you recall I was the one who asked what you would choose in the Weilhrauch line onitting price etc. Yes I own a crosman 22 100 sereise, a 52 RWS 22 and a Gamo Shadowmatic 177. I promise this is my last pellet rifle purchase, and yes you may diversify but I would still like and answer in the Weilhrauch line.
    Earl Cox

  10. BB. I gotta say thanx for the idea of the ultra high adjustable mounts for the talon. It took a little time to re-center, then mount/adjust the scope (tricky while maintaing level of both gun and scope) but the apparent parallax is MUCH MUCH less than with the scope adjustment maxed out for distance. Between that and just plain comfort of duplitacing my hold with the exrta height I am hitting those 110yd shots better than ever.

    Anyhow, no questions from me…just keep up the great work, thanx again.

  11. BB, I don’t want to put words in your mouth …but from reading your posts, it seems you don’t like the RWS 54. I just bought a used one in 0.177. I am having it tuned and I plan to shoot FT with it next year. I am going up against the TX 200 and HW 97. I’ll let you know how I do. I don’t have as much experience with airguns as you have, but I’ve shot the RWS 54 in 0.22 and 0.177, they can be tack drivers. I know the accuracy is there. I just hope I am up to the task in taking on these “TF” springers.

    Jim Poh in Sunnie Seattle

  12. Jim,

    I admit that I don’t care for the 54, primarily because the sledge recoil system has difficulty dealing with the power the gun produces.

    But I will keep an open mind. If you go against a TX 200, you are challenging one of the best in the world and I will be as interested as anyone to hear the outcome.


  13. I love my 54 for what it is… a bench shooter. I own several high end springers and a few PCP’s and the 54 does well as a bench shooter for me. I can get great groups out to 30 yards and decent groups out to 50 with it. CP’s and JSB Exacts seem to do best, with the JSB’s doing a bit better at 50 yards, with a little holdover due to weight.
    I wouldnt pick the 54 to carry around though. Unlike the TX, I dont find the heavy weight of the 54 to balance out well.
    The ‘no recoil’ of course is misleading… no FELT recoil is better. You still feel a jerk, enough to feel, for sure, but not so much as it makes the gun too hold sensitive.

  14. Now THAT’S a comment!

    You told the whole story, so we can understand it like you meant it. Given all you say, I can see why you like your Diana 54 now. I had a Whiscombe JW 75 that was similar – too heavy to carry, very hard to cock and you felt the firing impulse, despite the recoilless operation. But it did shoot well.



  15. I already have an airgun, i am quite pleased with it but i am looking for something with more power and better accuracy. Now i was considering the diana 48 (side cocking), but i dont understand how side cocking works and it seems very dangerous to me(fingers getting cut of). And what caliber would be best(I will be doing mostly target shooting and maybe a little pest control). And how bad is the recoil(I would like to feel some recoil but i wouldn’t like to be blown away, im only 16)?


  16. Tod,

    An RWS 48 sidelever has more safety features to prevent cutting off fingers than any airgun on the market. You probably want to get a .177, because the pellets are less expensive.

    The side lever works exactly the same as the underlever on an HW 97, only it is rotated 90 degrees to the right. The pivot point is at the rear of the gun, which looks a little different but actually provides so much mechanical advantage that the 48 cocks easily for its power.

    The recoil is very light on a 48. In fact, unless you get a Beeman Kodiak, there are no heavily recoilling airguns. That discounts big bores, of course.

    Enjoy your gun!


  17. BB

    Thank you so much, I think i’ll get a 48 in stead of an xbox 360 now.

    What do you mean by pivot point? And how does the loading work? Just pull back the lever to 90 degreed and then insert the pellet into the breach.


  18. Tod,

    A pivot point is the fulcrum of a lever. Look at the photo of the Diana 46 in this article and you will see where the underlever pivots – at the fulcrum.

    The 48 has a sliding compression chamber that retracts when the lever is pulled back. The breech it exposed when the chamber retracts and you load the pellet directly into the barrel.


  19. B.B.

    Thanks so much, so the breach is locked in the open position untile the shooter unlocks it.

    Another thing, will I be able to use a relatively cheap scope on this gun or will it break it? I have heard of people who broke there scopes with a diana 350 magnum.


  20. Tod,

    The 48 trigger will not snap. Yes it is a great value for the money.

    Now, as for the cheap scope; if that’s your plan, don’t buy the 48. Buy a Chinese rifle instead, they are much cheaper.

    Only buy a 48 if you want to shoot accurately. You don’t have to mount a scope at first. The open sights are fine. Save your money until you can afford a good scope.

    Buying a cheap scope ot cheap pellets for a fine air rifle is like buying regular gas for a Corvette.


  21. Thank you so much, you’re right i think. Great metafore with the corvette.

    I have on final question for you, in what price range is a scope suitable for this rifle?


  22. Tod,

    I just looked at the Pyramyd AIR website and saw a nice Leapers 3-9×50 scope for $79.99. It’s one of their new TS platform scopes, which means it’s tough enough for any airgun, plus this one has AO and an illuminated reticle.

    go to


    I tend to avoid BSA scopes in the same price range because they always seem dimmer than Leapers.

    Bushnell scopes are as bright as Leapers, but they cost about $100 more for the same features, and they don’t usually have all of the features that Leapers scopes have.


  23. From the looks of it on the website, the only difference with the Stutzen is the stock. I have no experience with the Stutzen, so I can’t say much more, except this. To accommodate the cocking lever, the Stutzen’s stock has to have a lot of wood removed. I don’t know about the 46, but with the BSA Stutzen, that allowed a lot of vibration. I didn’t care for it.


  24. Hello B.B.

    A few years ago I was in Wally World, browsing the Sporting Goods section, when my eye fell on the BB guns. I had a flashback to my youth and remembered what a good time I had building models and then blasting them to pieces with my Crosman M1 Carbine. (Man I wish I still had that gun!) Anyway I purchased a Crosman 664GT and have had a lot of fun plinking around with it. I even managed to bag a squirrel that had invaded a friend’s home. I decided a few months ago I’d like to upgrade to a true adult airgun, and have been researching them on the web. (In the process I came across your column and have enjoyed all your articles immensely.) I really wanted a Beeman R9 in .20 cal, but the budget just wasn’t there, so I’ve purchased a RWS Model 34 in .22 cal. I felt it was the best gun I could buy under $200 to suit my needs. Anyway one of the columns on the RWS 34 I read stated that Dynamit Nobel guns were notorious for barrel droop and they fixed it by installing a scope with a C-mount. My questions are:

    What is barrel droop?
    What is a C-mount?
    How does a C-mount fix barrel droop?
    And if you care to add any comments on the 34 as an entry level gun compared to Gamo (Spain), Beeman (China), etc.

    Thanks and keep up the good work…

  25. How about I do barrel droop for you on Monday’s posting?

    There’s Crosman M1 Carbine on one of the auction sites right now. I just posted the link to it in the comments on my blog about the M1.

    The C-Mount was a one-piece scope mount that somebody at RWS decided looked like the letter “C”. No mystery there! It is adjustable for droop, but it isn’t my choice for a number of reasons. How about I make that Tuesday’s posting?

    Here is my opinion of how the rifle you mentioned stack up:

    Beeman (Germany/ England)
    Tech Force (China)
    Beeman (China)


  26. Sounds good! Thanks for taking the time to address my questions.

    The order of rifles you list above is just about what I had come up with, but it’s nice to get it confirmed from a guy who at least knows one end of the rifle from the other.

    I’ll look forward to Monday’s and Tuesday’s postings. (I’m sure over time I’ll be able to give you plenty to write about!)

  27. Also… You mention in your post Beeman (Germany/England). I had read that some Beemans were made in England, but was never able to determine what models. Do you know?

  28. While looking up info on the 46 I ran across a model 46E. The site didn’t say much about it or even have a picture. I would have to assume it’s a dressed down version of the regular 46 since it was selling for less than $200. Do you know anything about this variation of the 46?

  29. BB,

    I ended up buying the 46E in .177 caliber. It’s a nice air rifle especially for the price. I believe it was a small number of new old stock still in the box rifles. The date on the receiver is 10 99 so it was in a warehouse sitting around unsold for a while. It has no checkering or cheek piece on either side. That’s alright with me since I’m a lefty anyhow (we always get the shaft lol). It’s still a darn nice rifle. I got a chance to test it with 10 different pellets. It seems to love the Beeman Kodiac match. They were the most consistant in velocity and accuracy. I took all the average velocities and weights of the different pellets and plugged them into the energy calculator. It seems this rifle produces about 10.3 to 11.75 ft/lbs of energy. Not bad but not quite the 15 to 16 a TX200 has.
    I finally figured out how to access the english version of the Diana website and saw they no longer make this version of the 46. They seem to have also discontinued the 48 in .20 caliber but seem to have kept the .25 caliber and expanded it to include the models 52 and 54. BTW the new 460 magnum coming out looks nice. I like Diana airguns a lot. They are pretty good quality and in the right price range.
    I don’t suppose you could do a blog on trigger adjustment for Diana rifles. These things have a heavy trigger pull. I was wondering if there was a way to adjust it safely to about 2 lbs or so. I experimented with it a little but like you said you could turn screws all day. The manual isn’t very helpful and says to only adjust the 1st stage which really does almost nothing with the heavy pull. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.


  30. Shawn,

    I’d have to read the manual to answer your question. I cannot seem to commit Diana trigger adjustments to memory.

    Lighter pellets will give you greater muzzle energy, but that’s a pretty big gap to overcome.


  31. …and the shortened version of Diana 46 named “Diana Stutzen” is one of the most beautiful airguns of the world!!!

    And it is available even in Poland with no licensing.

    Only the poor Israelis cannot have this kind of fun. As far as I know, the law in Israel bans all airguns! And I cannot give my older airguns to my Jewish friends! WHY?!

    by: some guy from Poland

  32. I have noticed what I believe may be a design flaw of the rws 46, and I would like your opinion. When you insert a pellet into the barrel, I notice the surrounding metal face of the breech exists at a slight angle, I assume so that the loading port can clear as it swings shut from above. Because of this angle, though, part of the pellets skirt always remains protruding into the breech. A very small portion, but enough so that when the loading port closes, it makes contact with this extending skirt area and deforms it slightly as it locks in place. This happens with every pellet I have tried, unless you get a peewee that slips down into the barrel. My question is, doesn’t this affect the accuracy of the pellet? I currently have no place to shoot beyond indoors at 10 meters, and I have had no problems with accuracy, but I assume that as distance increases, this deformation may have some real impact. I was wondering what you might tink of this?

    • As another owner of this rifle mentioned in a previous post, you can’t use a seating tool with this gun, since you can’t get it down into the loading port area. Again, the face of the breech where you insert the pellet exists at a significant angle (unlike a breakbarrel) and the folding loading port distorts the pellet skirt slightly when you close it. You can see this angled breech in the picture in your article above.

      I don’t know if this slight distortion affects the pellet’s accuracy, but as an owner of this gun myself, I do know it happens.

  33. B.B.,

    Im planning on puying an RWS 48, i saw at http://www.dianaairguns.com a catalogue that showed a RWS M-48A, which has an adjustable cheekpiece and some other diferent features. Do you know if they still make them?, if yes, where in the internet can I find one?

    Secondly, I have heard that the RWS 48 comes with a plastic trigger and i dont like the idea at all, specially because it is a high quality rifle and it couldnt have cost much. Is there any way to change the plastic trigger for a steel one?

    Finally, How usefull would a peep sight be in this rifle for shooting from 30 – 80 feet or even up to 50 yards?, would I need to change the front sight post for a hooded target-style or would it work well with the standard one, what peep sight do you recomend?

    Thank You


  34. Alex,

    I’m looking at the 2007 Disns catalog and there is no model 48A shown. However, it is shown on a German website, so I guess it’s coming.

    Plastic trigger? I suppose so. The T5 may have a plastic blade.

    The 48 is commonly used at 50 yards, so there should be no problem there as long as you use proper spring gun technique.

    A peep sight can be used out to 1000 yards, so 50 isn’t much of a challenge. Of course a scope will enable the shooter to aim with more precision.


  35. B.B,
    Thanks for the advice.
    I have one more question, I have been thinking of beeman’s sport apperture sight, is that a good peep sight for an RWS 48?, how would it work in conjunction with thw front sight post?



  36. Alex,

    Beeman’s sport aperture sight should work on a Diana rifle, but you have to match the rear sight to the height of the front sight. Otherwise you’ll never be able to get sighted in. I think the Beeman would work with the stock sight on the 48, because the gun uses open sights that are low, also.


  37. BB,

    Ive been lookong for a rifle, and i really like the tx200 and the rws 46. Could you tell me the advantages of each?
    Is it possible to put open sights on a tx200?
    If not what small, long range, distance adjustable scope do you recomend?

  38. It isn’t feasible to put open sights on a TX 200. Any of the Leapers scopes in your price range will be fine.

    The TX 200 is the most refined spring piston air rifle in the world. The only rifle that can beat it is a handmade Whiscombe that starts at $3,500, plus shipping and duty. The TX has smooth operation, a wonderful adjustable trigger, good power and beautiful fit and finish. It is also among the most accurate of all spring rifles made.

    The Diana 46 is a great rifle for the Diana line. It’s about as accurate as the TX 200, but not as smooth nor as well-finished. It has an average trigger that can be adjusted to a nice trigger pull, but not as nice as the TX. It has a flip-up transfer port that makes loading much easier than loading a TX.


  39. BB.

    Thanks for the advice, four more questions:
    What are the diferences between the tx200 and the carbine model?

    What do you recomend separate scope rings or a one-piece mount?

    Will I need an scope stop?

    What are some cheaper pellets that work best on this rifle, what do you tink of gamo pro magnun?


  40. The TX 200 is smooth. The Hunter Carbine is harsher. Has more of a jolt on firing.

    I always recommend two-piece rings whenever possible. They are more flexible for mounting positions.

    Yes you need a scope stop pin, because the TX has three holes to put it in.

    Gamo pellets will be fine, but Kodiaks and JSBs will be the most accurate in the TX.


  41. Hi B.B.

    I’ve been rangeing all over this Blog about the RWS 46 vs the TX200. I still can’t figure out about the 46 trigger. Is it just a plastic blade or is the whole trigger plastic? How can a plastic sear last very long…this doesn’t make sense to me on a $350 gun. I want my new gun to last 20 years/10,000 pellets +, and if the only way to do that is to buy the TX, so be it. Otherwise, fit, finish, ease of use, accuracy, esthetics, seem to be close given the price difference. But if the Diana won’t last as well without major maintenance, it isn’t worth the savings.

    Your thoughts?


  42. Jay,

    Only the trigger blade is plastic, and it’s a very nice one at that.

    Your are right, a plastic sear wouldn’t work at all. But the way this trigger works, the trigger blade simply presses on the steel parts that actually do the job.

    This trigger will last longer than you do. It will still work 100 years from now. Buy the rifle with confidence.


  43. Thanks BB,

    I also emailed Charliedatuna, and he said the same thing. I think I”ll put the price difference into one of his tunes after a while.

    I’d like to get your two cents on whether or not I can expect the RWS 46 in .22 to work OK at 4500 to 6000 feet out here in Idaho. I can accept the power loss by using lighter pellets, but am concerned about piston cushioning.

    Merry Christmas!


  44. OK B.B.

    Here’s the atmospheric physics:

    Sea level pressure Standard Atmophere = 29.92″ mercury at 59 Degrees = 14.7 psi.

    typical station pressure at 5200 feet = 24.8″ This is 29.92 less 17% = 12.2 psi

    typical station pressure at 6200 feet = 23.9″ This is 29.92 less 20% = 11.75 psi

    typical station pressure at 8000 feet = 22.4″ This is 29.92 less 25% = 11 psi

    IF the power loss in a springer is linear with atmospheric pressure loss at altitude, then these percentages are what I would expect, not as high as you were indicating. Therefore, I could expect about 15 to 20 % power loss at 5000 to 6000.

    I have not been able to find hard chrono data on this, so I’m just guessing at this point, but it may be close. Do you have any other sources for data or formulas that would shed more light on this? I imagine a lot of Western folks might be interested. Thanks.


  45. Jay,

    When I had The Airgun Letter, the tests were done for me by one of my readers who went from sea level to 8,500 feet. Above 6,500 feet, spring guns became very problematic. He used an RWS Diana 34. Here is the link to my post, but no hard data is given.


    I do have chrono data, and I suppose you want to see it, so I’ll do a special blog for you.


  46. B.B.

    I did see that article, thanks.

    I did the above post late at night and forgot to mention the effect of temperature. Standard Atmosphere at those altitudes would be quite cold, i.e. 44 at 4000, 41 at 5000, and 37 at 6000. At more normal shooting temps we will also have to calculate air density.

    I found a neat density calculator: http://www.digitaldutch.com/atmoscalc/

    Using this I got:
    sea level at 59 degrees = 29.92 ” mercury = 1.225 kg/cubic meter density

    4000 ft at 70 degrees = 25.84 ” mercury = 1.036 kg/cubic meter density ~ 16% loss

    5000 ft at 70 degrees = 24.90 ” mercury = 0.997 kg/cubic meter density ~ 19% loss

    6000 ft at 70 degrees = 23.98 ” mercury = 0.961 kg/cubic meter density ~ 21% loss

    7000 ft at 70 degrees = 23.09 ” mercury = 0.926 kg/cubic meter density ~ 24% loss

    Then we should take into account that the pellets will encounter less air resistance at the lower air densities, so maybe we should deduct 1 or 2 % from these numbers. What this means to me is that the pellets will carry more energy downrange so the impact energy at say 30 yds is not as low as the power loss would suggest. I’ll have to ask the next squirrel what he thinks!

    Hard Chrono data with temperatures and exactly the same gun and pellets is the only real answer to the power loss question, so I will look forward to a new blog after Christmas!

    I did find some altitude chrono data on the web, but no consistency as to the guns and pellets, so they were just scattered data points.


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