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Best pellets for the Diana RWS 52 & how to pick pellets for any springer

by B.B. Pelletier

On Friday, we received a comment with several questions that I’d like to address this week. The first concerns selecting the correct pellets for the Diana RWS 52. I’ll talk you through that and generalize for most springers – so you’ll be able to pick great pellets on your own. The comment we received included the following, “…could you offer an explanation as to why some pellets are seemingly more accurate than others? And I am using heavy weight pellets, could you comment on the value of using heavy vs lighter ones in this air rifle?

Heavy vs light pellets
In a spring gun, the piston travels all the way forward and comes to a stop before the pellet starts to move (that’s the way it’s supposed to work). If you use a very light or very loose-fitting pellet, the pellet can start to move before the piston stops. When the piston comes to a stop, it does so against a thin cushion of highly compressed air that separates it from the front of the compression chamber. That cushion protects the piston seal from impact damage. Sometimes, the piston will rebound off this high-pressure air cushion just as the pellet starts to move forward. If it bounces too far, it will lower the air pressure and rob the shot of potential power.

From the standpoint of efficiency only (accuracy not considered), the best pellet for a particular spring gun is one that starts to move at the moment the piston comes to a stop. That allows the piston to settle softly against the end of the compression chamber as the air pressure drops. Now, how do you determine which pellet that is?

You use a chronograph to determine which pellets give the greatest power in your gun. We’ve discussed this before, and you now know that spring guns favor lighter pellets (this is the reason why). Light pellets work better because they start moving sooner. Springers like that because they don’t have a large amount of compressed air to work with. Are only light pellets good for springers? NOT AT ALL!

You must consider accuracy!
Power without accuracy is a waste of time. The goal is to combine the best accuracy with the best power in a given gun. A short-stroke action like one of the RWS sidelevers tends to extract more power from the lightest pellets, while a long-stroke action like the Diana RWS 350 Magnum probably likes pellets in the medium-weight range. Try them also for accuracy to find the absolute best pellet. While 7.0-grain RWS Hobby pellets may give the most power in a .177 RWS 52, it may be that 10.5-grain Crosman Premiers are more accurate. Shoot the heavy Premiers and forget the 1.5 to 2 foot-pounds of greater power the Hobbys might deliver in that rifle.

Incidentally, a Diana RWS 52 in .177 is capable of sub-1″ five-shot groups at 50 yards. At 35 yards, a good shooter should be almost able to keep all his shots on a dime. That’s shooting on a calm day from a rest and resting the forearm on the flat of your open hand. Your trigger-finger hand does not hold the pistol grip any tighter than necessary, and the butt is not pulled into your shoulder. If there’s a scope level on the rifle, check it before each shot. If you grasp the rifle’s stock in any way, you can forget that level of accuracy.

Can the wrong pellet damage the rifle?
There isn’t much information on this subject, but I believe the wrong pellet can injure a spring rifle. I think shooting a pellet that is either too light or too loose is similar to dry-firing the gun. I know Gamo says their guns can take it, but I still do not like doing it. Very light/very loose pellets can also cause explosive detonations, and we are pretty sure they do damage the mainsprings. Diana RWS guns have very hard mainsprings (maybe a touch too hard), and they’re most susceptible to damage caused by detonations. I have fixed several Diana RWS guns that had one inch broken off at one or both ends of the spring. Those guns will keep right on shooting, but they show a distinct drop in velocity.

What about real heavy pellets?
Some people feel heavy pellets also damage mainsprings. I don’t believe this myself, but as I said, there isn’t much to go on. Another problem with pellets that are too heavy is that they don’t stabilize well enough for good accuracy at longer ranges (beyond 40 yards).

Do I have to test EVERY pellet to find a good one?
No! I addressed this on several occasions in past postings, but the best one is Best pellet of all? posted on August 19, 2005. Read that and also use the Bloglines search engine on this blog to look for other pellet postings. Testing every pellet is a waste of time and money, since many of them don’t work well in ANY airgun. I also have a rule of thumb that I follow: RWS airgun, RWS pellet. Do that for all manufacturers; it works a lot of the time.

Here is what I have not answered with this posting: Why some pellets are more accurate than others. I wish I knew the answer, but I don’t. I also don’t trust anyone who says they do. I do know that pellets that have been sorted by weight usually out-perform those that haven’t been, and JSB pellets are all hand-sorted. That’s why I believe JSBs are often the most accurate pellets.

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.

42 thoughts on “Best pellets for the Diana RWS 52 & how to pick pellets for any springer”

  1. My CFX loves Logun Penetrators.

    Even with the creepy gamo trigger, they still produce a ~.35″ c-t-c group at 20 yards.

    I’m seriously considering the purchase of a Charlie Da Tuna drop-in gtx trigger.

  2. I’ve had my CFX .177 for some 3 months now and have put various pellets through it.

    I was convinced that Gamo Pro Magnum worked well; RWS Super Hollow points points went all over the show; at 6.8grains its hardly suprising. RWS Supermags were good especially as they cut cleanly through paer targets allowing easy measurement of groups.

    I;’m now sold on H&N Silver points. Their physical appearance is very similar to Beeman Kodiaks as they have what appear to be additional “sealing rings”. They appear to be much bigger and presumably heavier as accuracy is much improved and consistent.i.e., bench rest delivers ragged hole results at 35 meters; they also have the penetration & apparent weight to drop small game.

    These Beeman Kodiaks pellets & JSB’s that are continually made mention of don’t appear to be available in Australia.

    Is anyone aware of a distributor or whether they are marketed under a different name for overseas markets as I’d like to try them.

    Any word on your review of the CFX ?




  4. When I asked the other day about the differeces between the 350 and the 48/52 the type of information I was after was included in this blog entry. Thanks.

    I’m left eye dominant and right handed and am looking for a gun that will allow me to cock, load and shoot quickly and that led to my inquiries of the differences between arms. Sorry if I wasn’t specific enough.

  5. I’ll be receiving my R9 (.177 cal) in a few days. I’ve done a bunch of reading here, on pellet selection, but I’m a little overwhelmed. Are there a few good starting point pellets I should try first? I suspect that the Kodiaks would be one to try. I’m also considering the JSB exact (8.4), RWS Meisterkugeln & maybe the RWS Superdomes. Any other suggestions would really be appreciated.

  6. New R9,

    The JSBs will be good in your rifle, as will Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets. The Kodiaks will be okay but might not group as well as the otjhers. I haven’t had much luck shooting RWS pellets in a Weihrauch airgun.


  7. No problem. Here we go…

    Is there a rule of thumb for selecting pellets for a rifle of a given power rating?

    I’m using the R9 for plinking, maybe some pest control, and some light target shooting. What pellet shapes would be recommended? In what weights? Can one pellet accomplish all of the above?

    The JSBs come in two weights. Which weight should I try and, more importantly, why?

    Are there certain pellets I should definitely avoid?

    Are there certain pellets I should definitely try?

    All of this is assuming a .177 R9.

    Hope I’m not asking too much at once.


  8. Larry,

    It’s not so much the power rating as the powerplant. I get the best results with the lighter pellets in spring guns, as a general rule.

    The JSB pellet is currently one of the favorites for field target, though I’m not qualified to say which weight is doing the best in springers. If I had to guess, I’d say the 8.4-grain would be a better choice for an R9.

    As for shapes, I like the domed pellet best of all. It seems more accurate at long distance and it seems to work well in more airguns.

    Avoid all “gimmick” pellets. Shoot JSBs, Premiers, Kodiaks (maybe), and Monday I’ll probably add one more to the list


  9. BB,
    Gimmick pellets being something akin to plastic jacketed or sabots? Or are you referring to something like the silver arrows?

    Everything else you mention seems to be around the 8gr range, with the exception of the Kodiak. Is there any advantage to shooting the heavier pellets?

    I hope you don’t feel like I’m wastig your time. I appreciate your input.


  10. Larry,

    On the gimmick pellets I was referring to the ones with BBs in their nose and stuff like that. The pellets with synthetic skirts are not gimmicky, but they don’t seem to be the most accurate in any gun, either.

    I always include the Koadik because in some spring guns it is very accurate. Beyond that, no advantage. Normally I stick to lighter pellets in a springer.


  11. For the first time I tried the Premier 10.5 in my .177 springer and to my surprise it shoots higher and more accurate and a tighter group. The 7.9’s shoot lower about 2 inches at 20 yards. Can this be explained? Does it mean that using the 10.5 has more efficient use of the power? Again, I was surprised!! F Nash

  12. F Nash,

    You just experienced the same thing that happens with heavier bullets in firearms. They remain in the barrel longer through the recoil cycle and so leave when the muzzle is elevated. Light pellets get out the muzzle faster and shoot lower.


  13. I was just reviewing you comments on pellet choice for the RWS 52. I love mine, but I have solidly hit some squirrels with Kidiaks ex heavies and they have run off. I have stayed away from light pellets but I may try some crow magnums with the hollow points or the Benj Discovery hollows.

    Also and more to the point of this post. I recently had to replace a Maccarri spring in my Shadow and the only thing I can say that may have caused it to break is shooting heavy pellets.
    Thanx for all of your info.

  14. Hey BB, Me again. To some extent I solved my problem with the sqs. I went for more head shots. I also started using Crow Mag pellets in my RWS 52 and they did the job.

    Another issue I am having is that I have a Gamo Shadow with accuracy problems. The Maccarri spring recently broke and I had Rich Mich relace it (it was his gun to begin with) and now it has great power. Rich has ascerted that heavy pellets will break a spring in the Shadow. Maybe?? Well now with all this new power I am wondering if a heavier pellet would settle down my shoots?? I mostly use CP Hollows 7.5 g(?). Today as a point of comparision I shot my Quest 1000 that Rich tuned with the CPH and it was right on. My Shadow has a hard time keeping shoots on a 4×4″ card @ 30 yds.
    I suppose it could be another problem but how about the heavier pellets?

  15. I have a diana 48 and I use JSB 15.8 grain pellets in it because I acheive seperior accuracy at 35 yards. Do you feel that this pellet is to heavy for this rifle, or should I be fine. I have been using them now for about 3 months, I just didn't want to experiece premature breakdown of the main-spring.

  16. Vincent,

    I'm jealous of your Diana 48 as that's one I'd like to have some day myself. Not owning one, I can't really answer your question. And, being that it's posted to a 4 year old blog, only a few folks will even know you posted it at all. Doh!

    For better results, post your question on today's blog posting, and I guarantee you'll get a number of answers. And quickly too! Heck, some of them might even be correct 😉

  17. Vincent,

    you can find the daily blogs (new ones Monday to Friday) at:


    I have an RWS 52, the only difference between our rifles is the stock. This is a magnum force air rifle great for hunting and field target. the heavy pellets, 15-18+ gr will be fine.

    We look forward to you joining our blog and contributing and asking questions. Off-Topic questions are welcome – always.

    Fred PRoNJ

  18. Vincent,

    Diana mainsprings are on the hard side and tend to break no matter what pellets are used. When they do break, it is unnoticeable, except the gun becomes easier to cock.

    I would never hesitate using the moist accurate pellet in any airgun. If I had to replace a spring, I would make sure the next one could stand the strain.


  19. I just ordered a 350 magnum with a leapers 3_ 12×44 accu shot swat scope, weaver scope mount . The gun is on back order so I may not have it till April. I’m adding to my collection of Diana my other is a 1998 model 36 that shoots very good, the 350 and scope sounds like a good setup can’t wait to get it and start shooting. Also all the reviews are very good on the 350, with all their is too choose from I think I made a good choice.

  20. BB im shooting my model 36 and putting shots In the bullseye at 30 yards, so I put my gun away go to shoot the next day and now the gun shoots off either up an left or down an right or what ever. IL recalibrate the scope to shoot dead on And I’m fine this happens often what’s the problem. Thanks Rich.

  21. BB thanks for your answer but I think I found the answer in one of your blogs about picking the rite pellet for a springer. It was what you said if you grasp the rifle.s stock in anyway, you can forget that leavel of accuracy. So I tried letting the stock just rest in the pom of my hand and the but of the gun just pulled up to my sholder, my accuracy seem to greatley improve. I have been shooting H-Ks and preimers and some of the premiers will just fall into the breach very loosely and fall right back out?. So I,ve ordered some JBS 10.34 GR and H_K match in 10.65 GR after reading about the JBS im thinking they might be a good choose for accuracy. Thanks again Rich.

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