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.