by B.B. Pelletier

Part 2
Part 1

Drum roll, please. Today, we’ll look at the velocity and power of the RWS Diana 460 Magnum. I know this is a big deal for a lot of people, but I have to say that after seeing how accurate it is, I don’t really care what the power turns out to be. Oh, and by the way, I’m testing a .177. I should have told you that in the first installment.

First up – Beeman Kodiaks
The Beeman Kodiak 10.6-grain pellet was the most accurate in the test rifle. Not only that, but it left all the others in the dust. I didn’t test each and every pellet for velocity – just a few important ones. Kodiaks average 822 f.p.s., with a spread from 817 to 826. That works out to a muzzle energy of 15.91 foot-pounds.

Next – Gamo Raptors
Ah! The dreaded Gamo Raptor PBA pellet! RWS advertises a top velocity of 1350 f.p.s., and to get that, most testers would choose this pellet. I got an average of 1145, with a spread from 1136 to 1155. All Raptors went supersonic, of course. The muzzle energy for this 5-grain pellet is 14.56 foot-pounds. I HAD to test the Raptor because everyone expected it, but I wouldn’t recommend shooting it in this rifle. The velocity is too high for best accuracy.

Finally – Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
The Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellet is the “standard candle” of the airgunning world, to borrow a term from astronomers. It’s the pellet that everyone uses, so it’s the most likely to be in everyone’s cabinet. In this rifle, they averaged 945 f.p.s. with a spread from 940 to 946. Energy is 15.67 foot-pounds.

WHAT GIVES?
This performance is lower than expected based on the advertised velocities. I contacted Umarex USA and asked if this was correct for a 460 Magnum. They said it sounded low and said they’d get back to me, but that was several weeks ago and I’ve heard nothing. I spoke with a friend who owns a 460 Magnum and has taken scrupulous records of his velocities with various pellets. He actually owned two 460s, but the first one developed problems that caused it to be returned.

Where I get 822 f.p.s. with Kodiaks, he gets 881 with his current 460. To my 1145 f.p.s with Raptors, his first 460 posted 1225 (he hasn’t tested the current one, but the current gun is about a foot-pound more powerful than the first, so the Raptor velocity should be higher). Where my Premier 7.9-grain pellets go 945 f.p.s., his current gun averages 1050. Clearly, his rifle is more powerful than mine. His current gun was supposedly hand-selected by Umarex USA (according to what my friend said) after he returned the first 460, so I have to believe he is getting the performance the rifle is able to achieve. He is getting about three foot-pounds more energy than my test rifle, which I believe represents what a 460 should achieve.

Independent test from Pyramyd Air
I also contacted one of the technical reps at Pyramyd Air and asked him to test a new 460 Magnum for me. His results were Kodiaks averaging 905 f.p.s. with a string from 897 f.p.s. to 911. Raptors averaged 1285 f.p.s., with a range from 1269 to 1326. Two shots were clearly violent detonations at 1750 f.p.s. and 1849 f.p.s. Gamo’s Hunter Extreme has been trumped by these two final velocities, however they were detonations, just like Gamo uses to get 1600 f.p.s. This was a brand-new rifle right out of the box, and I would expect those velocities to settle back to around the level my friend has recorded.

If my conjecture is correct, the 460 Magnum has a bit more power than the 48/52/54 sidelever in .177. Perhaps in .22 it may develop even more power. If any of you have a .177 460, I’d appreciate hearing what kind of velocity you get with any of these three pellets.

Bottom line
The RWS Diana 460 Magnum is an exciting new spring-piston air rifle that has a lot going for it. Good looks, accuracy and reasonable power are all there. If you’re looking for a record-breaker, this isn’t it. If you want a fine air rifle, put this one on your list.