by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Today, I’ll test the Air Venturi Pro-Guide spring retainer in an RWS Diana 34 Panther – the same rifle that was used to test the new Leapers drooper base. This rifle has been broken in and used a lot in the time I’ve had it, so the powerplant should be ready to accept the new Pro-Guide system.

Installation
Installing the Pro Guide in the breakbarrel 34 was easier than installation in the RWS Diana 48 because there is no sidelever mechanism to remove. In fact, now that I’m familiar with how the T05 trigger comes apart, I find this action faster to strip than almost any other breakbarrel – even the easy Weihrauchs that have the screw-in end cap. I did not use any washers in this rifle – just the basic Pro Guide system as it comes.

Assembly is equally easy, though I must comment that the T05 trigger doesn’t want to cock after assembly. I had to really tug on the barrel to cock the rifle the first several times after putting it back together. Then, it settled in and became docile once more.

Though the spring tube of the 34 is a smaller diameter than the tube on the 48, the same Pro-Guide fits both rifles. It fits to the trigger instead of the inside diameter of the spring tube.

Firing behavior
The transformation was incredible! Not that the 34 vibrated before the Pro-Guide, but after it was installed, the gun just went “Thunk!” To a greater extent than the 48 we tested, this rifle accepted the Pro-Guide willingly and thankfully – which is to say the firing behavior rivals the best tune job you can imagine. Only the Gamo Whisper with the gas spring conversion is as dead-calm as this rifle with the Pro-Guide.

Velocity with Kodiaks
Before the Pro-Guide installation, this rifle averaged 820 f.p.s. with Beeman Kodiaks (they were H&N Baracudas, but the same pellet). With the Pro-Guide, the average was 825 f.p.s., so a slight increase. That’s 16.02 foot-pounds. The spread was 21 f.p.s., from 816 to 837.

Velocity with Premier Lites
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets averaged 919 f.p.s. with the factory spring and 936 f.p.s. with the Pro-Guide. There was one anomalous shot that went 952 f.p.s.; otherwise the average would have been lower in the 930s. The spread was 926 to 952, and the average energy was 15.37 foot-pounds.

Velocity with Hobbys
The average with RWS Hobby pellets was 1021 f.p.s. before and after the Pro-Guide was installed. The spread was from 1008 to 1031 f.p.s., and the muzzle energy was 16.21 foot-pounds.

My assessment
If you own an RWS Diana 34, get the Pro-Guide for your rifle the next time you need a tuneup. Or just get it now – I don’t think you’ll regret it. The firing behavior becomes so smooth and positive that it’s a different rifle. This is an option that is even worth installing on a brand new rifle if you want smooth operation.