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Diana P5 Magnum air pistol from RWS

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!

58 thoughts on “Diana P5 Magnum air pistol from RWS”

  1. Hi B.B.

    I own a P5 (my first airgun) and have been a bit disappointed.

    The rear sight elevation adjustment won’t go high enough. At 10 yards, holding at the bull’s 6 o’clock, my groups are consistently low. I tried loosening the two screws holding the rear sight, thinking I might try to shim it, but realized I was only going to round the screw heads. They wouldn’t budge. Suggestions?

    Secondly, the trigger was disappointing. I find the instructions on trigger adjustment confusing at best. I think they use different words to describe the same adjustment screws, but I’m not really sure….And I have spent a lot of time making adjustments w/o getting the results I want. The pull seems inconsistent and not very smooth. Maybe you help here too?

    That said, I shoot one-handed using your posted techniques for accuracy, with some success. I must say, the gun does shoot pretty accurately (for me)! On a good day, I can get about a 1.5″ group at 10 yards.


  2. Bill,

    I need to know what kind of pellet you’re using. I never had this problem with a P5. It shot dead-on for me. Try a dead-center hold. These are sporting sights and are not regulated for 6 o’clock. I would still like to know what kind of pellet you’re using. I would recommend a wadcutter, such as H&N Finale Match.

  3. B.B.,

    I don’t think it’s the pellets. I’ve tried RWS Super Dome 8.3 gr, Crosman Premier Domed 7.9 gr, and Premier Super Match 7.9 gr wadcutters. They all group about the same way–low.

    I could take your suggestion and hold dead center, but if the sights would adjust properly, I wouldn’t need to.

    Remember your comment about “aim small, shoot small”. With a 6 o’clock hold, I see the same sight picture each time. With a dead center hold, the front blade covers my aim point. How can that be accurate? I realize I’m stretching things to make my point, but maybe not much.

    Any recommendations on trigger adjustment or those lousy instructions?


  4. Thanks For the great comparison. I bought a P5 earlier this year and think its an excellent gun but I’ve never shot a Tempest or Hurricane. Guess I was hoping the other two didn’t completely overshadow it from a critical stand point. My only complaint was that the P5 required left hand grips be bought seperately at an additional cost of thirty dollars. I guess that’s something we lefties eventually get used to, though.

  5. Bill,

    The P5 has TruGlo sights. It is intended to put the red dot between the 2 green dots, and the pellet will land where the red dot is. That’s how this type of sight works. That’s why they don’t worry about the 6 o’clock hold with this sporting sight.

    As for the trigger adjustment, the only thing I can remember from RWS rifles is that one screw alone adjusts the trigger, while the other one locks down the adjustment when you’re finished. I would have to read the P5 instructions to be more specific. – B.B.

  6. Hey, I know that P1 from your past blog. Does it have a scope rail and does the p% have an available mount?

    thanks again for all the responces to help on these choices, tuning (n’ barrel cleaning now)and everthing else BB. Great blog.

  7. B.B.,

    I took my G5 to a gunsmith who noticed that the barrel was bent, apparently “from the factory.” Now, it shoots great with 6 o’clock hold and has plenty of adjustment.

    He also explained the trigger adjustment screws. Turns out there’s far more turns in the screws than effective adjustment ability. -Bill

  8. Stornger, dual power, 6″ shorter, scope rail, your nod toward accuracy…P1 it is. You get what you pay for. I do like the P5 styling It’ll have to come later.

    Thanks for the input.

  9. I am having a problem with my P5. It has been concerning the safety. Most of the time it will not disengage, and does not allow me to squeeze the trigger for my shot. I also have a problem where the cocking mechanism does not “latch” at the end of its travel, so therefore it goes through the motions of cocking, but actually doesn’t. Any ideas??

  10. P5 owner,

    Your pistol is displaying the classic symptoms of a misadjusted trigger. If you adjusted the trigger, it’s time to readjust it. Otherwise, it sounds like it has gotten out of adjustment on its own.

    Read the owner’s manual and follow the instructions for proper trigger adjustment. The one thing Diana guns do not like is to remove the first stage of the trigger pull. That’s when they act like your gun is.


  11. Hi BB-
    The following air pistol recently joined my collection.
    DIANAWERK RWS “BEEMAN’S 0RIGINAL” MODEL #5, .22 CALIBER AIR PISTOL. MADE IN GERMANY FOR BEEMAN PRECISION AIRGUNS. COMES IN ORIGINAL BOX WITH ALL BEEMAN PAPERWORK. The rarest Model 5 with the Beeman Markings. 99% Blue. Hard to find in this condition and with the box. Photographs were also included. date 04 77

    It barely coughs a pellet fifteen feet. I assume it needs seals. Where can I get them? Anyone know of a posting with instructions? If I choose not to install myself can any good air gunsmith carry out this task?


    Ray Ck

  12. Your Diana model 2 pistol was made by the Millard Brothers (Milbro) in Scotland after World War II (1955-1985). It is a Gat-type pistol that cocks by pushing in the barrel. The value ranges from $25 to $85 for a perfect gun in the box. That’s from Blue Book of Airguns 5th Edition.


  13. I have a Beeman P1 I’ve used for 15 years..great gun. I’m considering purchasing the Diana P5, as I’ve always liked it. How would the two guns compare? Would I be disappointed? Or, si there sufficient difference to make shooting both fun?

  14. B.B.

    In 1991 I purchased a model 5G. In the box with it was (and still is) a scope mount that goes in place of the rear sight. I’ve just begun to think about installing a red dot on the gun since my eyes are now having trouble with open sights.


  15. 1. Differences between the p1 and Diana p5

    Hold – p1 fine with my hand, p5 too large for my hand(need 2 hand hold);
    Noise – p1 too loud in door;
    Accuracy – both comparable
    Power – p1 a lot more
    Sight – both use red dot scopes, see below
    Price – p1 alot more
    Finish – comparable
    Grip – p5 allows less freedom; p1 fine with 1911 Hogue.

    2. Scope mount on Diana p5
    Glue a 10-22 scope mount on top with JB weld. Need to file off the top finish, rough up the surface. It stayed for a couple of hundred rounds then fell off. Re-surfaced and re-applied JB weld, let it settle for 3 days. Good as new, after another couple of hundred rounds now.

  16. anthony,

    First I’d like to thank those who posted answers to your question. They were more thorough than I would be.

    The only exception I would take to the answers given is I find the P5 magnum to be very close to the P1 in power. But that could be gust the guns I have seen.

    The P5 is more limited in how it can be held, but it is a wonderfully accurate pistol, just like the P1.


  17. I have about 30 airguns and none of them a springer. I thought it would be nice to try the Diana P5 for starters. So I found a great deal on a preowned one in like new condition. After getting used to the thwang kick, I started to adjust the sights, and ran out of travel due to the gun shooting down. I even had my son shoot the gun to assure myself that it wasn’t me.

    Well, when things are that far out, it is likely to be one thing. The dreaded bent barrel. I took off the muzzle brake, and put a straight edge along the barrel, and sure enough it was bent. It was an easy fix putting the barrel into one finger of a leather glove and lightly clamping in a wood vice. It took all of my weight against it, and checked it about 7 or 8 times, and finally, it became true. I reinstalled the brake, and beautiful groups with the sight cranked all of the way back down to a normal position.

    I imagine the gun could be cocked a million times without bending the barrel, so I suppose it was dropped one time as the muzzle brake does have a flat spot on it. It’s a fun gun to shoot, and it seems like you can go through pellets quite quickly with it. I think I’m going to like it!

  18. I like most aspects of the P5 except the automatic safety. It is difficult to get it in the “off” mode. One must use a lot of thumb or finger power to get it in the “fire” mode. Perhaps it is just my gun. I would like to read other remarks on this issue.

  19. My barrel was out of alighnment when i recieved it. it shoots well but i cannot imagine it will stay true with the barrel pointing slightly down. How should i fix this? A gunsmith or some other method?


  20. Hi B.B,

    I have a Diana Model 6 with grey plastic grips. Superb accuracy, easy to cock, but the fact remains that I am a leftie, an ideas on where I could locate a left handed stock for it? Please advise.


  21. I own a Daina Model 5 pistol, in the box with the instructions. I don’t know anything about the gun and have no idea it’s value or age. Can you help me?

  22. Rich,

    Okay, The model 5 was made with a wood grip from 1933 until around 1960. After that it is plastic.

    The plastic was light gray from 1960 until the early 1970s, when it changed to dark brown.

    The triggerguard was rounded until 1978, when it became more angular. That brings us up to the change to the current model.

    Value depends on NRA condition, but a model 5 that shoots is always worth $40 and an excellent one in the box from the 1970s is worth about $150-175.


  23. Mine has a wooden Handle, light brown, not dings or scratches. The back of the barrel area has a small spot of rust that could be rubbed out (back of the knob). instructions are very good and have been in an original clear bag. Box is a little worse for ewar but all there with the picture and name on the top. It has a leather holster that was with the gun. There is no indication that it will not shoot. There is a metal Round) continer of pellets with it. Where is the best place to sell? Thanks for your help so far.

  24. The P-1 is not, I repeat not as powerful as the mighty P-5. Look around the web especially at the Airgunexpo, Airgun Data Base and you will see real world fps ratings. Not manufacturers claims with a variety of pellets and tuned and non-tuned guns. My P-1 shoots Silver Bear pellets over 600 fps.

  25. Ooops, meant to say MY P5 shoots Silver Bear pellets over 600 fps NOT MY P1. MY P1 shoots the same pellet in the low to mid 500’s. Pellet for pellet MY P5 is at least 40-50 fps faster than MY P1.

  26. Beeman Silver Bears are barely heavier than the Hobbies @ 7.1 gr . and may have a better bore fit for the higher velocity. Beeman Lasers are way lighter than the Hobbies @ only 6.5 gr. In most of my guns the heavier Silver Bears actually have higher velocity then the Lasers but others have had different results. Try either of these pellets and see what fps. you get.

  27. Norbert,

    If the rear sight won’t go higher, take the front sight lower. You need a lower replacement front sight for your pistol, and it has to fit in the dovetail. I don’t know of any that are made for it and you’ll loose the fiberoptic in all likelihood.

    A simpler alternative is to use a different sight picture. Put the dot in the center of what you are shooting or above it.

    Because of parallax, there is no easy way to hit anything closer than about 30 feet with this pistol.


  28. Cory,

    First, it isn’t a weapon. That applies to firearms – not airguns.

    In most states, you cannot carry a firearm or anything that looks like a firearm in the open. All airsoft fields require that you carry all guns inside cases, so they are not visible. That guidance is pretty much the standard for safety when transporting non-firearms in public.

    A few states permit open carry of firearms. If you live in one of them, then yes, you can carry this pistol in the open.


  29. BB,
    Can you comment on the recall? I have one of the pisols from the range of recalled numbers but have not sent it in yet…should I? Can others comment on their experiences? Do you know what the reason for the gun malfunctioning is and how well the guns work after the fix?

  30. Is the problem with the crooked barrel happening to a lot of people. I just ordered my gun from a very reliable website. I hope I don’t have any problems with it.

  31. My P5 actually shot high and I could not get enough adjustment out of the rear elevation. I got
    sick of having to visual adjust and shoot low on everything. I decided to raise the front post by making a small form over the front site and used JB weld to fill the form. It works great and the gun is accurate. Good little squirrel gun and not as loud as my RWS 350.

  32. My Diana P5 shot left….tested 12 brand/types of pellets with it at 10 meter distances. So finally I stuck the barrel under a refrigerator and have the handgun resting on it's left side and lifted up. After several tries I got her "centered". Now most of my pellets can be shot centered without touching the windage screw.

  33. Anonymous,

    A clever was to fix your gun. You posted to a blog written in 2005. B.B. writes a Mon-Fri blog where a bunch
    of people share ideas and help each other solve problems relating to airguns of all types. Come join us at / and post your comment again. Looking fwd to seeing you there.

    Mr B.

  34. i own a 5g mag and im happy as hell. the sights sucked so i sent it to umerex and they mounted a scopr rail on it. i topped er off with a centerpoint red dot, leapers mounts(sandblasted and polished), and put a beeman uni. muzzle brake, (also sandblasted and polished with rubber o rings set into the grooves for grip and vibration damping.and had to shim a little more with a wrap or two of gorrilla tape around the barrel.) this gun rocks its dead on. at 20yds, and i can bust eggs all day long at that distance. im glad i got mine before they discontinued it and made the new model ugly. im glad i got it, ive had beman springers (r7-r9) before and both were great. this was my first pistol and rws, im glad i got it over the beman p1, but in the end, i paid about the same. the new version does come with a rail so thats a bonus.

  35. The Diana model 2 was produced both before and after WW II, but it is actually two different models. Before the war the gun has a stamped-steel grip. After the war it has a wooden grip.

    The pre-war gun is more valuable and is worth up to $125, according to the Blue Book. It was made from 1933 to 1940. The post war gun was made from 1955-1985 and tops out at $85.

    Both models are Gat-type guns that cock by pushing the barrel in.


  36. I own a Diana P5 magnum and I find it to be extremely accurate. It also chronographs about 50 fps faster than the Beeman P1.

    Both guns are extremely accurate, but I like the weight and balance of the P1 better. However I like the firing characteristics of the P5 better.

    Unlike others here I had no trouble adjusting the trigger to a very light pull following the instructions. Also I have absolutely no problems with the safety.

    From a rest this guns shoots aspirin sized groups at 10 meters. Once in a great while I get a group half the size of an aspirin.

    Off hand I get quarter sized groups or less all the time at 10 meters. Frequently the groups are nickel sized and once in a great while less than dime sized.

    The P5 seems easier to cock than the P1. For hunting I much prefer the P5. It is much easier for me to hit squirrels with it. Probably because of the fiber optic sights. Also for some reason, even though there is not a great difference in velocity, the P5 is much more reliable in the one shot kill category. Frequently all the P1 does is make them mad. Most shots with the P1 result in an instant kill. I suspect this has more to do with the fact the P1 sights are much more difficult to pick up in the woods.

    I seldom hunt with either gun any more because I find I must limit my shots to 20 yards or less for reliable kills.

    Over all I rate the RWS P5 magnum as an excellent spring powered pistol. Even better than the P1, which is high praise indeed. And far and away better than any other spring powered pistol I have owned or shot.

  37. I initially had a similar problem w/my new P5, after talking to RWS USA, now closed, I was advised to remove 1 or 2 of the shims behind the barrel O ring. I did and have not had a problem adjusting elevation since then, hope this helps!
    I could use help with a problem that has arisen since the gun was broken in. The longer I shoot, (trying to find the ultimate pellet), the stronger the gun seems to shoot, Higher!
    I'm shooting indoors @ 15 yds. froma bench rest, groups are great but consistently creep up?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  38. Meat,

    Shooting higher is not the symptom of shooting faster. It's usually the symptom of shooting slower. It is ALWAY a symptom of shooting slower with a firearm.

    Your gun may be slowing down.

    The pellet remains in the barrel a millisecond longer and is thus more affected by the recoil.


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