by B.B. Pelletier

The posting on the difference between the Webley Tempest and Hurricane pistols generated a little interest in another powerful spring pistol, the Diana P5 Magnum. I have tested this gun, so I’ll tell you what I know.

The P5 is the most recent in a long line of Diana spring pistols
The first Diana model 5 pistol was made in 1933 and, except for WWII, it has been made in one form or another ever since. The P5 Magnum was originally touted as the world’s first 700 f.p.s. spring pistol in a rare bit of RWS overzealous advertising. Veteran airgunners knew better and, sure enough, when the guns arrived, they were in the 550 f.p.s. region, just where Pyramyd Air shows them today. However, I did see one report where a P5 Magnum was tested with Skenco Hyper Velocity Type 1 pellets and got into the 630s.

It looks like the 5G pistol it replaced
There’s not much difference between the appearance of the Diana 5G and the newer P5 Magnum. The 5G could get an average of 450 f.p.s. with Hobby pellets; the P5 bettered that by about 100 f.p.s. In a spring-piston air pistol, that’s incredible! It got that boost by a longer piston stroke, which made this gun easier to cock than the 5G it replaced. The P5 Magnum is squarely in the Beeman P1 camp for power.

The P5 Magnum is a breakbarrel spring air pistol.

It’s a breakbarrel!
The picture should leave no doubt about the origin of the term breakbarrel. The P5 has a powerful mainspring, yet cocks easily for all the power it produces. The muzzle extension is to be thanked for most of that, because it provides a longer lever for force multiplication.

Very accurate!
The P5 shoots rings around both Webley pistols, for those who were looking for a comparison. It has near-rifle accuracy if you hold it loosely so the recoil and vibration patterns can repeat. Groups of less than 1/2″ are possible at 10 yards.

A BIG pistol
At 18″ long, the P5 is BIG. You can see that in the photos on the website. Everything is linear, so it’s going to use some room. It weighs 2.5 lbs., which isn’t heavy, and the sculpted grips make it feel even lighter. But it is definitely not a gun you carry concealed.

Great hunting sights!
The front and rear sights are fiber optic. They’re bright and quick to acquire. They are also marked very clearly for adjustment – something that’s lacking in a lot of handguns.

Good adjustable trigger and automatic safety
Diana pistols and rifles have had good adjustable triggers for decades, and the P5 carries on the tradition. Both the length of the first stage and the total pull weight can be adjusted and locked down. The safety is automatic and must be taken off each time before shooting. It’s a small metal tab in front of the trigger. Once you get used to it, it comes off quickly.

How does it compare to the Webley Tempest and Hurricane?
The P5 Magnum is larger than either Webley, more powerful and more accurate. It has a better trigger, too. The sights are better than those on the Tempest but not as nice as those on the Hurricane. Personally, I like the Hurricane for its size and handling. The accuracy isn’t all that important to me, because if I want accuracy with power I’ll shoot a P1. But, I must say, that the P5 Magnum is a great value. If you are looking for a powerful, accurate spring pistol, this one belongs on your short list!