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Education / Training RWS Diana 460 Magnum in .22! – Part 1

RWS Diana 460 Magnum in .22! – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Many of you have been waiting for this report, so here we go. I trust the report I did on the .177 version of the RWS Diana 460 Magnum will suffice for the basics, so I’ll still give the vital stats but we won’t spend as much time looking at the gun.

With that first rifle, I thought I had a slow one compared to two other .177s a friend had. Mine was a 15.9 foot-pound gun, but my friend’s two guns got up over 18 foot-pounds, which probably more closely represents the average for this model in .177. Given roughly a 20 percent increase in power by moving up to .22 caliber, we would expect this rifle to pump out something like 21.5 foot-pounds.

I forgot what a large rifle the 460 is, but it’s certainly man-sized! A cocking effort of 47 lbs. reminds you of what’s in store. Although there’s a good kick, there’s very little vibration when the gun fires. That’s different than the .177, so maybe I will see more vibration when I shoot for accuracy, but thus far it’s been pretty smooth. This example weighs 8 lbs., 6 oz., very close to the weight of the .177. And, when I checked the .177’s cocking effort, it was an identical 47 lbs. Pretty consistent!

Velocity testing
Since velocity and power have been everyone’s chief concerns for the 460, I went to the trouble of weighing all the pellets I tested. Usually, the published weight will suffice, but pellets do vary in weight from manufacturing lot to lot, so please note that each of these pellets was actually weighed.

RWS Hobby pellets went an average of 897 f.p.s., which means the 11.9-grain pellets were pushing 21.27 foot-pounds at the muzzle. They fit the breech loosely. The extreme spread with 10 shots was 10 f.p.s.

Crosman Premiers were the next heaviest pellets, and the ones I used weighed 14.2 grains instead of the 14.3 they are supposed to weigh. They fit the breech snugly and averaged 807 f.p.s., for a muzzle energy of 20.54 foot-pounds. They had an extreme spread of 13 f.p.s.

Next came RWS Superpoints at 14.3 grains. Remember, I weighed all these pellets. The Superpoints fit the breech very loosely. They averaged 820 f.p.s. for a muzzle energy of 21.36 foot-pounds. Max variation in the string was 8 f.p.s.

RWS Super H-Points weighed 14.4 grains on my scale and went an average of 801 f.p.s. The extreme spread for 10 shots was an astounding 4 f.p.s. – better than what you can expect from most regulated PCPs. Energy is 20.52 foot-pounds.

JSB Exact domes weigh 15.8 grains and go an average of 777 f.p.s. with an extreme spread of 4 f.p.s. Again, this is astounding performance from a spring gun. They fit the breech very loose. Muzzle energy is 21.19 foot-pounds.

Finally, Beeman Kodiaks, at 21.5 grains were the heaviest pellets I tested. They averaged 585 f.p.s. and the extreme spread opened up to 19 f.p.s. That would be stellar for any other spring gun; but with the data from this test, Kodiaks are at the bottom of the list for velocity variation. Muzzle energy is 16.34 foot-pounds – which is way out of profile for this rifle and an indication that we’re seeing some piston bounce. This isn’t the pellet to shoot in my opinion.

This preliminary data indicates that the 460 magnum is just about as powerful as the 48/52/54 sidelevers but not quite as powerful as the 350 Magnum. This data also lines up well with the higher velocity of my friend’s .177, which put his rifle in the 18 foot-pound class, so the numbers I reported for my test rifle do seem slow for this model.

Of course, nobody buys an air rifle for its velocity, alone. That would be foolish, if accuracy and handling weren’t also taken into account. If you read the .177 review, you’ll see that this is an accurate rifle, and in .22 it has additional power to make a potentially great hunting rifle. Accuracy testing is next.

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.

49 thoughts on “RWS Diana 460 Magnum in .22! – Part 1”

  1. Hi BB, I have an R9. I have shot about 1000 to 1200 pellets through it. It is noisy when I cock it. Is there someplace where I should lube it? And with what?


    Mike T.

  2. BB, I just did the research and found your comments about “piston bounce” from a previous post. How about doing us all a favor and when you complete your review of the 460. in 22. cal., YOU give us your minimum/maximum pellet size recommendations.

  3. Hi BB. I have a SCUBA tank for filling my Talon SS. The tank has been being filled to about 3000 psi. What strategy should I use for filling my Talon tank. Fill it to 3000 and then continue filling it to whatever the SCUBA tank will give. Or start filling a lower number, such as 2500, and continue to fill to that level until the SCUBA tank no longer has the pressure available?


    Mike T.

  4. JW,

    When I review an airguns I give my pellet recommendations every time. I don’t just recopmmend weight ranges, I recommend the best pellets I found for it.

    However, I don’t test with all pellets, so my recommendations are just the starting point. You will know what works at least and perhaps what to avoid.


  5. Mike,

    About the noise you hear when cocking your R9, please describe it. Whether or not you need to lube the gun and where lube is needed hangs on the kind of noise you hear. The type of lube depends on where it’s going.

    As for the Talon SS tank – fill it all the way to 3000. You’ll probably be able to do that twice if you have an aluminum 80-cubic-foot tank. If you have more than 3,000 in the scuba tank, stop at 3000.

    You cannot fill another tank to a higher pressure than the pressure that’s in the tank being used to fill, so there is no concern of filling higher than 3000 from a 3000 psi tank..

    Then just fill as far as it will go as the scuba tank pressure declines, until your fill doesn’t give you many shots. That will be down around 2200 psi. Then it’s time to get the scuba tank refilled.


  6. B.B.

    So, this (460) is the gun I’ve heard so much about. Looks like a good one for hunters. I’m hoping that the BAM-B30 is that much further up in the queue. 🙂

    How many rounds can an air rifle barrel typically shoot before it’s worn out? I’m guessing that this is also the life span of the gun since you can replace other parts but the barreled action is the heart of it.


  7. B.B.

    Fantastic news about the airgun barrels. I was curious because I read that Marine sniper rifles have barrels changed after a few thousand rounds and that the barrels on some military weaponry get worn out after a single (prolonged) battle. I guess that must have to do with the gunpowder propellant and the larger caliber. This sport is so economical!


  8. Matt,

    Yes, gunpowder vaporizes barrel steel a little at a time. In hot centerfires like the .220 Swift, the barrel can be gone after just a thousand rounds. But airguns have no such action taking place. All they have is the effect of lead being scraped against steel if you use lead pellets. They are virtually indestructable with the best ammo.


  9. B.B.
    It looks like I am seeing the same type of pellet weight to FPE trend on my Diana 54 that you are seeing with the 460.
    EunJin 28.4gr 15.58 FPE
    Kodiak 21.1gr 18.07 FPE
    Crow Mag 18.2gr 20.90 FPE
    JSB Predator 16.5gr 22.30 FPE
    JSB Exact Jumbo 15.8gr 22.46 FPE
    Cros Premier 14.3gr 22.52 FPE
    RWS Hobby 11.9gr 22.51 FPE

    I guess that 7 FPE difference between the min and max means that a bunch of energy is being dumped backed into the spring when those EunJins are shot. Is that the reason I’ve heard some people say that heavy pellets can break springs, or is that more of a coincidence? Without holding your feet to the fire, in this particular case, do you think shooting the EunJins might be putting the spring or gun at risk? But, to be honest, they didn’t group worth a darn, so maybe it’s a moot point anyway.

    Part two of the question, and I can see you rolling your eyes at this one. In your R1 book (wonderful, BTW)you talk about heavier pellets working better with heavy pistons, specfically the example of Maccari’s .30 cal R1 that had the extra heavy tophat. I have some tungsten bar stock, which is 2.47 times heavier than steel (lead is 1.44 times as heavy as steel). If I made up some extra-heavy tophat washers, might I be able to make the 54 transfer more energy to the EunJins, or should I just drop that as a bad idea? I don’t want to make a $500 mistake. Maybe try experimenting on the B40 instead? LOL

    P.S. A .25 cal Condor sounds like a mean thing.

  10. BB,

    last time i got my aluminum scuba tank filled the guy at the shop went up to 3500 psi on a tank rated to 3000. And I’m sure its accurate (i watched the gauge climb on the pump myself). I wasn’t going to stop him. I want all the air i can get!

    The tank is about 15 years old but he did this when it had just come back from the testing.

    thought you would want to hear that! Isn’t there some law or some thing against such an overfill?


  11. B.B.
    Out of context, but has anyone out there purchased the modified 392, yet. Want to, but think I want to know if anyone thinks it is better than original 392.


    Bill D

  12. Sumo,
    Now don’t get the guy busted! Maybe he was just doing you a favor. LOL Had you hinted to him that it suuuuuurrrrre would be nice to have a few extra pounds in this tank?
    Not that I’m condoning anything like that. Sounds like it could be very dangerous. I don’t know.

  13. when I did a SCUBA class, they taught us how to fill a tank, and they said that’s how to do it, because the pressure fluctuates according to temperature, and the tanks aren’t going to burst with a 500 psi overfill. They said they had only had one tank ever burst its disc and that was one that had been filled in the winter and was out exposed to the sun that summer, so I think it’s perfectly ok to give a little bit of an overfill, because if the temperature drops on you, you still have 3000 psi.

  14. Pestbgone,

    I will go out on a limb and tell you to stop shooting heavier pellets in your 54. Go with the most accurate ones that give the best power, but if there’s a small difference, let accuracy rule.

    I do think piston bounce is why the energy is lower, and yes, that’s what the guys on the forums are saying – that piston bounce bends and break springs.

    As for the tungsten piston, I don’t think the benefit is worth the effort. Especially since there will be a new power source for your rifle within the next six months. It might be a fun exercise, although tungsten is a tough metal to machine, isn’t it?


  15. Sumo and Thomas L.,

    My old dive shop used to put in an additional 300 psi, which they said was to counter the heat of compression from the fill. They said the pressure would drop back to just over 3000 when it cooled.

    My current shop fills in the back and doesn’t show me the fill.


  16. Hmmm! New power source for RWS 54, a spring-piston airgun. The Whisper is spring-piston. Could this be a replacement power source for spring-piston airguns including the Whisper???? And does this make the Whisper almost silent?

    .22 multi-shot

  17. B.B.,
    Thanks. I will stop with the heavier pellets in the 54. They gave the gun a very different feel compared to the lighter pellets. The JSB Exact 15.8 is the most accurate, with the CP 14.3 and JSB Exact Express 14.3 a very close second. Best so far has been a 35 yd .390 c-to-c 5 shot group; once! I think I’ve got a real peach, if I can do my part. Thanks again for the recommendation on the purchase.

    The tungsten I have is a powered metal sintered bar used for balnce weights because of its density. It saws easily, but drilling requires just the right point geometry or the stuff burnishes over and progress stops. Turning is ok with carbide tools.

    NEW POWER SOURCE !!!!!! You are getting a perverse pleasure out of this, aren’t you.

  18. it was filled from about 2800 so the heat couldn’t be much of a factor. Along with the fact that it was filled from a compressor and not the big tanks they have.

    Maybe he had the regulator set to 4500 because he had just filled my carbon fiber tank and then he noticed just in time.


  19. Hi BB,
    Sorry to repost but i think my comment got lost in yesterdays jumble. I was wondering about the crosman seirra pro breakbarrel. It doesent seem crossman has too many breakbarrels to brag about, but this one seems different.(looks like a browning T bolt to me) Can you tell me anything about this gun or the overall quality of crosmans break barrels? thanks

    Nate in Mass

  20. Nate, FYI I’ll forward a “non BB” comment:

    The Sierra Pro, TAC-1 Extreme, Phantom, G1 Extreme, Storm XT, and Remington Summit are all based on the Crosman Quest breakbarrel built by BAM of China (the same people who make the B26, B30, and B40). This gun used to be known as the BAM B19 (before Crosman imported them), and was for quite a while one of the better guns out of China. The B19 itself was a copy of the Gamo design (not a clone, some parts do not interchange).

    The only real differences between models are things like the stock, sights, and accessories. In general the rifle is not made as well as the Gamo series that it’s based on, but in my limited experience they seem to be getting better. The QC can be a bit spotty, but Crosman customer support is quite good and they actually make many service parts (like springs, seals, and triggers) available to the general public. That’s something that Gamo does not do, and as a result there’s more than a few Gamo’s around with Crosman parts in them! Oddly enough, there is one tuner who reports that the Chinese Crosman springs actually last longer than the origin Gamo springs.

    The guns sometimes suffer from loose stock screws and breech pivot bolts, both of which are easily fixed by the owner. Also, the wood-stock models can have poorly cut clearance notches for the rear sight, which means the sight can hit the stock when the gun is cocked.

    The rear sights (on models that have them) are flimsy and have poor adjustments, but the sight picture is actually pretty good. Oddly enough the fiberoptic front sight blade is quite robust, far more so than the Gamo sight.

    Overall, they tend to be decent shooters – power is right in the Gamo Shadow/Big Cat/Whisper/etc. league, and accuracy (with tight screws!) is close enough that I can’t the difference. They are reasonably easy to shoot – not terribly heavy or hold sensitive. The triggers are similar to the Gamo design, but not as well made, and tend not to be as smooth.

    I’ve got 5 of them – a Phantom, 2 Quests (.177 and .22), a Sierra Pro, and another Quest that I detuned into a youth shooter with a lighter spring from Crosman (very easy to cock and still has good power).

  21. Hi BB,
    This .22 460 sounds like quite the gun! I can’t wait to see if the accuracy holds up to the /177 model. Might have to get me one of these too…

    New powerplant on the fifty-fo…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzz

    What were we talking about?!

    I’m still working on the break-in of my 513M Izh. So far I love it, but life keeps getting in the way of this serious business. My best groups so far are around .17″- .19″ ctc at 10 yards with RWS Meisters. About the same with JSB Exacts. The gun is pretty light and moves quite a bit when you shoot it, not to mention getting a workout to put 40 shots through it. I’m thinking of making a barrel extension to help relieve some of that effort.


  22. Vince,
    Thanks for the info. Could you recomend this gun for general shootting and alot of plinking? it lookes good to me. Could you possibly post some group sizes? I greatly appreciate your oppinion.

    Nate in Mass

  23. nate,

    the best pellets for my g1 extreme are cp lights, beeman crowmagnums, jsb predators, beeman fts, rws shp, gamo match, and gamo hunters…there obviously is a change in poi for all of these pellets, but they all gave dime sized groups at about 30 yrds. hope this helps.


  24. Nate,

    Vince is taking the lead on this one, but I was visiting Crosman two weeks ago and I had this rifle in my hands. The stock is beautiful! I can see why you are attracted to it.

    As you know, the Chinese are capable of good work, and I think Crosman works very close with them. So the Crosman breakbarrels are more likely to be good than many of their competitors.


  25. Vince,

    Thanks for your answer to Nate. I don’t own these guns, so you did what I couldn’t.

    Regarding the Gamo/Chinese connection, my sources tell me the powerplants are becoming so common that parts now interchange over a broad range of makes and models. This is good news for airgunners, because when there is an innovation, like the GRT-III trigger, for instance, it will fit many guns instead of just a few. It also means that designers are more likely to pick the common powerplants (Gamo CF-X, Whisper, etc), knowing their products will be widely applicable.


  26. BB
    I noticed that spring on my RWS 460 sounds like it vibrates when i use .22 kodiaks. i think the spring is bouncing in the chamber due to the amount of force required to push that heavy tight pellet out. the gun makes only a nice crack when i use lighter pellets like ram jets. should i quit using kodiaks?
    thanks. your blog is awsome.

  27. I tried those Crossman premier 14.3 pellets aND found the ones that would fit without forcing them to be very accurate at 15 yards. However at 25 yards your going to be lucky if you get a group smaller than 24 inches.

  28. I’ve found that the H&N .22 Baracuda Hunter Extreme 19.02 grains are EXTREMELY accurate. I don’t care about FPS. Or ft lbs, a squirrel or rabbit taking one of these in the brain pan is immediately out of the game. Now to find a scope that will last more than 100 rounds 😉

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