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Ammo RWS Diana model 54 recoilless rifle: Part 2

RWS Diana model 54 recoilless rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

The RWS Diana 54 recoilless air rifle, also called the Air King, is big, beautiful, powerful and accurate.

There’s certainly a lot of interest in this RWS Diana model 54 Air King rifle. We heard from many readers, including some surprises. We also saw a lot of interest among those who have considered buying the rifle but have not yet taken the plunge. Also, I heard a few disturbing things.

Light-duty barrel?
The first disturbing thing I heard was a question about whether the 54 really does have a “light-duty” barrel. Since I never raised that issue in this report I have to assume the reader read it on one of the forums. The RWS Diana 54 does not have a light-duty barrel, but I think I know where this comes from. The rifle has a metal jacket surrounding the barrel, and if it’s removed the true barrel does look out of proportion with the large proportions of the rest of the airgun. But it isn’t too thin for the job it’s asked to do. In fact, it’s a normal barrel diameter, but that fat metal jacket makes it appear thin in comparison. Since you don’t cock the rifle with the barrel, it’s plenty strong.

One tip Mac wants me to pass along to all of you is that the barrel jacket must be absolutely tight to have good accuracy. If it gets loose, accuracy goes away. When people fool with the front sight, the barrel jacket sometimes gets loose. The jacket on the test rifle is as tight as can be, so we should see some good groups.

Two-stage trigger?
This is another concern that was raised. Yes, the trigger is two-stage. Whether it’s a T01, a T05 or the new T06, when it finally comes out. They’re all two-stage triggers. But some owners don’t like two-stage triggers, so they adjust the first stage out. You can do that and if you do, what remains is just a single stage.

You need to read the trigger adjustment instructions in the manual for your rifle, or go online to the library of manuals on the Pyramyd AIR website. The trigger can be adjusted to be crisp and even, if you take the time to read the manual and follow the instructions.

Is the rifle too heavy?
The 54 is a large, heavy air rifle. It’s not the gun to tote around in the woods all day. It’s more of a take-it-to where-you-want-to-shoot gun. I have a lot of firearms in my collection that are like that. The M1 Garand isn’t a rifle to carry all day unless you have to, nor is the Ballard, nor my Remington Rolling Block. These are all too heavy to lug around, but when the time comes to hit the target, these are the best rifles to have. I think the 54 is like that, too.

Before you decide to buy a 54, think about how you intend using it. If you want tight groups at 50 yards, this is one of the best spring rifles you can buy. But if you want to shoot 500 rounds in a lazy afternoon, get an Air Venturi Bronco or a TF39 from Tech Force.

Bent cocking link?
Finally, here’s a complaint from a long time ago, but one that is still valid today. A reader wrote that the cocking link of his RWS Diana sidelever rifle (could have been a 48, 52 or 54) was bent when he got it. We went back and forth on this blog for days about it. A new link was ordered and I believe installed. All, for naught.

The cocking link is flexible and is supposed to be bent! Besides linking the sidelever to the sliding compression chamber, the link also acts as a spring that flexes when the lever is closed. It pops over center and maintains force to keep the sidelever pressed tight against the side of the rifle. In other words, it’s designed to look bent and to do exactly what it does. So, keep outa da mechanism! Just cock, load and shoot.

Cocking effort
Unlike the RWS Diana 48 sidelever, the 54 cocking mechanism has one additional function to accomplish. It has to lever the entire barreled action forward to set the rifle in position for recoilless operation. Whatever force that takes must be added to the regular cocking effort needed to make the gun ready to shoot. I found the test rifle cocked with 33 lbs. of force, which is exactly as advertised. Levering the action in the stock at the end of the cocking stroke dropped the effort back to 30 lbs., so in this case, the rifle doesn’t need any additional effort. You simply have to pull the lever back a little farther with this model.

Velocity with Premiers
The test rifle is a .22 caliber and Crosman Premiers averaged 827 f.p.s. for 10 shots. The velocity went from a low of 824 to a high of 833 f.p.s., so a total spread of 9 f.p.s. That’s tight for a springer. At the average velocity, this 14.3-grain pellet generates 21.72 foot pounds.

JSB Exact 14.3-grain pellets
The JSB Exact Jumbo Express pellet weighs 14.3 grains, also, but it’s pure lead, unlike the Premier. That usually means it’ll be faster, but in the test rifle that wasn’t the case. This pellet averaged 794 f.p.s. and the total spread was 22 f.p.s., from 781 to 803 f.p.s. The average velocity generated 20.02 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

RWS Hobbys
The last pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby. This is a light lead pellet that weighs 11.9 grains. Normally, the lighter pellets generate higher muzzle energy in spring guns and these averaged 872 f.p.s., with a spread of 9 f.p.s., ranging from 867 to 876 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generated 20.10 foot-pounds, so the norm didn’t hold this time. The heavier Premiers were also the most powerful pellets tried in the test rifle.

Overall observations
Thus far, this rifle is behaving very well on the test. It’s broken-in but not tuned in any way. What I got is also what you can expect from a rifle after it’s been broken in.

The firing behavior is buzzy, though recoilless. I would like to get rid of that buzz, but if I do it with lubricants I will lose about 2-3 foot-pounds. A better way would be to machine some tighter-fitting parts to eliminate the vibration. Since I don’t have the tools to do that, I’d have to pay to get it done. I don’t think I’m going to shoot this rifle enough to justify a professional tune. I’ll just put up with the buzz and let things remain where they are.

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.

85 thoughts on “RWS Diana model 54 recoilless rifle: Part 2”

  1. BB

    Regarding the cocking link

    I think I might remember that discussion. Most of it had to do with AlanL’s superhuman strength, combined with his hamfisted ways. 😉

    In all seriousness though, I think that the problem is when the cocking link is adjusted too long. This might make the sidelever snap tightly home, but it overstresses the cocking link and bends it. My Diana 52 has a cocking lever link that is straight as an arrow when the cocking lever is pulled away from the gun. When the lever is against the stock, there is very slight flex in that link to hold the lever against the action but nothing more. The key I think is adjusting the tension on that lever just so.

    I really enjoy my Diana 52. It is a wonderful air rifle.

    • BB , I own a Diana Air King 54 in .177 , and with the TO5 trigger. I find that if I push at the base of the rifle , just under the safety , the metal part of the rifle slides forward on the rails. It moves up to the forward position. This makes the rifle somewhat easier to cock , rather than the mechanism sliding up during the last of the cocking stroke. I have not seen this mentioned in any of the Md. 54 reviews. Is this peculiar to my particular rifle , or will they all do this ?

  2. Really nice looking rifle.Did you mean to say that you only shot two Premiers? Will you shoot it at 25 or 50 yards for the test? Very nice P1 groups yesterday BTW.I was at the hospital all day so I missed commenting.I’m working out the hold on a P1 with the Beeman carbine stock.It’s very different from shooting the pistol alone.

  3. B.B.

    I have two extra cocking rods for my 48, along with the spring/guide kit from PA as spares . All 3 rods (total) are straight. The one on the rifle looks bent at first glance, but it is the loose fitting plastic tube that covers the rod that is crooked.

    As far as buzz goes, my 48 pinged for a while, then started to develop a short buzz. When I took it apart and lubed it, I found that the spring was a bit crooked at one end. When I put it back together I must have put the spring in the opposite direction because the buzz stopped. This also worked on another rifle that was buzzing much worse.

    For NOT breaking the cocking rod… I found that you get used to the ratchet sound when cocking. If it sounds wrong (too short) then you are probably hung up on the last anti-beartrap notch and not cocked. This happens some times when the trigger mechanism sticks (dry catch plates). Carefully moving the cocking arm forward and backward will show you if you are hung up or not because the compression chamber will move a bit if cocked but not if you are not cocked and hung up on the beartrap.
    When closing the action, GENTLY press the anti-beartrap release and close the lever with only one or two fingers. If the rifle is not cocked, the anti-beartrap release will not press down. If you let up too much on the release during closing, the anti-beartrap will catch. Let off the cocking arm pressure and press on the release again before swinging the cocking arm down again. There should only be a bit of light force with one finger required to finish snapping the lever in place. NOTHING gets broken.


  4. I do like this rife . . .

    I think there is an error in the velocity test on the premiers – BB states the average was for “two” shots, with no other shot count given for the other pellets. I think that should be “ten” . . .

    Alan in MI

  5. Which guns would you like B.B. to test for the blog? The following guns are already on their way here:

    Dragon Claw with dual air reservoirs (.50
    Air Arms Pro-Sport (.177)
    BSA Comet (.177)
    Crosman Outdoorsman 2250XE (.22)
    Gamo Silent Stalker Whispter IGT (.22)
    Ruger LGR (.177)

    Our friend Mac is going to get these guns to test:

    Browning Gold (.22)
    Crosman Optimus (.177)

    Please reply to this comment so I can have a comprehensive list of all the guns you want tested.


        • Kevin,

          Okay, my friend, you just defined Friday’s blog. I was going to do a velocity test of the S70, but I will begin the look at the pogo-stick gun. It isn’t operational at this time, so the look will be mostly pictorial, plus what history I know.


          • B.B.,

            Great! You know how to build the suspense. I’ve tried to be patient but it’s been over a month since you gave a glimpse of this one of a kind airgun.


      • I will second Kevin’s request, and add another. I would like to see the cheap but powerful Walther (Hatsan) hunting springers tested again, especially in .25 cal. I’m interested in the the changes they’ve made to the triggers, stocks, barrel pivot bolt,and the SAS recoil reduction system they have now. All these things are different on the newer guns they offer. I would like to see Pyramyd carry the wood stocked versions of these guns as well.

    • Edith

      BB’s inbox getting a little light? Calling for requests is very tantalizing.


      Avanti 753
      Crosman Nitro Venom .22
      IZH MP-514K
      Falcon Prairie Sporter Combine
      FWB 500
      RWS 850 airmagnum
      Sam Yang Dragon Claw
      Sheridan Blue Streak by Edith Gaylord
      Slavia 631 (full 3 blog treatment)
      Tech Force TF67
      Webley Spectre


      AA Alpha Project
      Beeman P17 or P3

      • SL,

        When I put in the order the other day for those guns, I wondered which guns readers wanted tested. Then the “big” idea hit…we could ask them! What a novel idea 🙂 II’ll be asking this question pretty regularly from now on to make sure we stay on top of the guns that are meaningful & interesting to the blog readers.


    • B.B. & Edith,
      Please please test the Weihrauch HW35e. I know Pyramydair doesn’t offer it anymore, and that could be a problem. Maybe you’ll put in a good word for me, er us?

      • Jay in VA,

        I don’t know why they don’t sell the HW98, but it could be that sales weren’t sufficient for them to stock the gun. Why stock 10-20 rifles for years when that space can be taken up by stocking models that turn over in a month?


        • Edith, I’m sure you are right. Sales have to justify the stock, and those who are still carrying it are selling them for more than the ProSport. However, those who have them really seem to like them. It is the only sporter with a fully adjustable stock. Is it worth the money vs. the Air Arms or 77/97?

          • Jay in VA,

            The Beeman R11 was sold by Pyramyd AIR until recently. The HW98 was discontinued a long time ago. I’ve asked the purchasing department if they’ll be bringing in this model again.


  6. BB, I think all the GI’s from WWII and Korea would sure agree with you about the “fun” of carrying an M-1 ll day! Say, I just ran across an Diana 34 in like new condition that is part of an estate sale. It’s a .22 caliber. They just want an offer on the price, while I don’t really need it (or anything else) I may buy it if the price is really good. What would you pay?


    • Mike,

      I think a really good price for a nice 34 would be anything at or under $125.

      There is a problem with this. The 34 went through a series of transitions as time passed. In the beginning, it was a rough cob of a gun, while today it is far more refined. I’m talking about the inside parts more than anything. Most of the early ones have broken mainspring which make the gun smoother and lighter to cock.

      So plan on a rebuild if you get it.


    • My old man would have agreed on the “fun” part of carrying the Garand. He was so enthused with it that he never would own one after he left the service. Being stationed in a tropical environment probably had a lot to do with that. He did on the other hand, absolutely love the little M-1 carbine despite its puny cartridge.

    • Mike, I wouldn’t be fond of humping heavy equipment either for a long distance. However, I happen to know a Korean vet who was a Marine machine gunner who went into service right after the Chosin Reservoir. In addition to his machine gun equipment, he said that he also carried an M1 in his pack broken down which he would reassemble every night, and he said that he wouldn’t go without it. In after action reports, I’m also surprised at the high praise for the BAR which I think was about 15 pounds. I guess people are willing to pay the price for heavy firepower.

      On the subject of size and weight, the women Russian snipers have got me thinking. They did not seem to have difficulty with the Mosin Nagant which is about 9 pounds I think. And they also did not seem bothered by the safety which many have said takes a strong hand to operate. I was looking at the hands of Lyudmila Pavlichenko which she had folded in front of her in her video and while they are not bear paws, they are definitely not lily, princess hands either.

      I wonder how many women on average can operate the slide of a 1911. The women I’ve had try this on my pistol could not, and neither could my Dad for that matter. Edith? Is this a challenge? Although maybe with all your practice handling tennis racquets, this is no problem.


      • Matt61,

        I have the hands of someone on the goon squad!

        Tom & I used to play tennis before he got sick last year. I not only used a tennis racquet with the biggest grip I can find off the shelf, but I also wrapped it TWICE with special non-slip foam-core tape to make the grip even larger!

        Tom’s racket grip is smaller than mine.

        I have never been a delicate flower. That said, I don’t think strength is what’s hampering your female friends who can’t rack the slide. It’s all a matter of where you put your hands and which muscles you’re using as leverage.

        Case in point: We were at a field target match about 10-12 years ago. We had a hand pump. A friend who was well over 6 ft. tall, young, healthy, rather well muscled and quite fit, was given the chance to pump up a gun. Well, he broke out in a sweat, his face turned red and he had to stop well below 3000 psi (I think it was right around 2000). Then, the embarrassment came…Edith can pump her gun to 3000 psi before & DURING a benchrest match without sweating, without stress & strain, . Edith…shorter, smaller, older…and certainly not as well-muscled as a young lad. It’s all a matter of how you do it. I had the secret, which Tom taught me & that he tried to teach everyone who would listen. With a long enough lever, you can move the world. If you know the secret, you can rack a 1911 slide.

        So, maybe you should find a woman who can rack a 1911 slide and have her teach your friends how to do it, because she will know the secret for female shooters. I do not rack a slide the same way Tom does. And I do not place my hands in the same position or at the same angle as Tom does. As long as I can SAFELY accomplish the task, it doesn’t matter how my hands are placed.


      • Yes, the M-1 and BAR are heavy. But, they are also very, very effective. I have a friend that is a Korean War Vet. He said that when it got hot, they all wanted an M-1 Grand and hoped to have a BAR.


  7. B.B., wouldn’t want any part of a “light-duty” barrel myself. But that 54 is a hefty-looking gun for sure.

    Duskwight, that’s a slick-flying and looking plane. I have heard that forward swept wings like that create great maneuverability because they are inherently unstable but are also so hard to control that it takes a computer to do it (something that I’ve also heard about the F-16). So does the rc pilot have to take on this role? Beware of BananaHobby, have heard a lot of bad things about them.

    Regarding the walking robot, I wish they had not made the legs look so much like a cockroach along with that annoying buzzing sound. It is indeed creepy how lifelike the thing looks. Where will this end? One recalls Arnold in one of his Terminator movies describing the “geometric progression” of processing speed in computers culminating in some sort of sunburst of consciousness. It’s said that viruses with their complex behavior operate in this niche between life and not-life. It does make one wonder about just where is the dividing line between consciousness and the complexity of nerve networks. I bet the IMF president has been wondering about that very thing.

    I’ve read up a bit on metal fatigue. An impressive sounding paper says that this will be indicated by cracks on the surface of the metal; there was a discussion about how any piece of metal under stress will move more in its periphery than in the center which made some sense. Anyway, that’s good. It sounds like you generally won’t have a pristine looking piece of metal disintegrate from within; it will generally crack on its surface first. Any metallurgists know about this?

    I’m inching closer to the big moment for reloading. Anyone have suggestions for storing gunpowder and primers? The wisdom I’ve seen is that gunpowder should not be stored in a locked container (somewhat against intuition) because you don’t want to confine the expanding gases. Primers look like they will be the big problem since they can easily get lost and will explode when stepped on. The word is that they should also be stored behind 1 inch thick lumber. Any recommendations about this?


    • Matt61,
      I thought of two men in a horse costume ,one walking backwards, when I saw the robot. Where I worked they used to check rotors for cracks, the aluminum ones were checked with a dye penetrate that would show the cracks under black light, the steel ones were magna-fluxed, a current was passed through them which caused magnetic fields at the cracks then they were dusted with iron powder to show them up.
      The old 1919 A6 weighed around 30 lbs. without the tripod but you got a 45 pistol to go with it . On a 30 mile march you would trade off with the assistant gunner so you did not have to carry it the whole time.As for the carbine after a day pulling targets in the pits I lost a lot of respect for it,more keyholes than a locksmith convention. Maggies drawers were displayed a lot that day.

    • Matt,

      In fact forward swept wings are even more stable, especially on many “hard” regimes, because airflow slides towards the root, not otherwise (that’s the most simplistic explanation from Dad). This was first proposed and partly researched by Germans in late WWII, then by Soviets and later Americans got interested.
      The reason why forward-swept wings were not widely used is that they are very hard to make – wings are to withstand tremendous loads on transonic and supersonic, so triangular or trapezoid (most used today for supersonic) wings win technologically – they are lighter, stronger and cheaper having comparable performance, especially with vortex-generating LERX. And that outweighs most forward-swept designs. So S-47 (that’s a real name for this plane) is a technology demonstrator and test plane. It’s made to show “guys, we learned how to make light and strong f-swept surfaces using latest materials and engineering solutions”.
      Latest T-50 (a gen 5 Russian stealth figther) looks very much like US F-22, with all faults checked, a simple case of convergence, having same trapezoid wings with LERX and integral layout as any other same-purposed airplane.

      A computer-flying plane seems to be not F-16 (which is a very good and venerable normal flying machine) but that flying grand piano F-117, which has record-breaking low aerodynamic quality, due to the fact that all was thrown into stealth. It is so unstable and hard to control that human muscles and nerves are not quick enough to parry all its instabilities, so there comes a computer.


      • No modern fighter aircraft is passively aerodynamically stable. They are deliberately built unstable so that they will turn and maneuver exceedingly quickly. In consequence, none can be flown by a human alone; all are fly-by-wire computer controlled. The F-117 is surely an example of the breed, but so are the later MiGs, the F-22 and F-35, the Swedish Gripen and the Eurofighter. Wikipedia calls the F-16 a “relaxed stability” aircraft, also fly by wire. Here’s the quote:

        “Negative static stability

        The F-16 was the first production fighter aircraft intentionally designed to be slightly aerodynamically unstable.[42] This technique, called “relaxed static stability” (RSS), was incorporated to further enhance the aircraft’s maneuver performance. ”

        Transport aircraft are generally positively stable, even if modern ones are also fly-by-wire (See the control system of the Airbus series) to allow the computer to take over.

        Duskwight correctly notes that modern fighter aircraft designed for the same classes of missions tend to look nearly identical, no matter where they were designed. At last engineering has trumped artistry in a/c design. If it has to do “X”, it has to look like “Y”, period. No more Spits and Lightnings, Bf109, Zero, etc.

      • The trick with forward swept wings is getting them sturdy enough that the tips don’t flutter away — especially in the supersonic regime… Cf: the X-29

        If I recall, the F-16 went into service back when the Intel 4004 was it for digital processors (at least given lead time in the F-16 design; the 8008 and 8080 were just trickling out when the F-16 was in production).

        Though if one wants to cite aircraft that needed “computer” control… The SR-71 probably qualifies, though it would have been an analog control system. Engine thrust being such that a flame-out of one engine could cause severe yawing (leading to a spin if not countered by rudder input). So, circuits were added to apply counter-rudder when an engine went out. Purportedly, this counter-rudder application was so effective, pilots often reported it felt as if the /other/ engine had been the one to flame out.

    • Wulfraed,

      Your comment got caught by our spam filter. I’ve approved it & put you on the whitelist, which means you shouldn’t be caught up in our spam filter, again. Apparently, your posting has one of those words in it that’s used by one of the regular spammers. So, it held up your comment.


  8. I think the trigger comment was mine…

    My complaint was discovering that my m54 apparently had been delivered with the second stage screw so far in that there was no first stage (shows how little I’d shot the unit prior to three weeks ago, when I took it to the range to roughly sight in a fresh scope).

    I now have a very detectable 1st/2nd transition point, though can probably back the second stage out a bit more — at least I don’t have that 1/4-1/2 inch high pressure creep anymore. And I’ve managed to take out the spring slack too; 1st stage just touches when cocked — no “zero stage” of taking up the spring before 1st stage.

    Since I have difficulty believing the manufacturer ships them with 2nd stage only I’m hypothesizing the importer or dealer may have cranked them in to that state to reduce liability claims for accidental discharge (some neophyte might, if the 2nd stage were knife-edge sear, pull through the 1st stage, encounter the sudden 2nd stage force and think that’s the end of the pull and they have a malfunctioning trigger… they now release the trigger which moves forward on the spring, but leaves the sear on edge where a good bump could fire the weapon).

  9. B.B
    Thanks for writing this series. I’ve learned a couple of new things about my 54. One is that I have lost about 100 fps, gradually I believe. Probably a leak(s). Maybe the breech seal?

    Anybody lost velocity on their 54 and tracked it down?


    • Lloyd, in my experience RWS springs tend to relax even after their initial ‘set’. When I got my refurb 48 in .22 it was shooting CP’s at about 780fps. With a NEW spring the same gun – and after a dozen break-in shots – started shooting the same pellet at about 110fps higher. Over the course of a few hundred shots the velocity started creeping down again, and is now (I think) around 820 or so.

      My 52 (.177) does CPL’s at about 930. Definitely under par, but still more than potent enough for my uses. A new breech seal did nothing for it.

      • LLoyd, my RWS 350 had lost significant velocity and I took the whole thing apart and did a lube and examined the seal and spring and cleaned out the compression tube. It shot much nicer when back together but still had low velocity. Then I sprayed some silicon around the breech seal and was rewarded with a huge cloud of silicon particles. Check the breech seal first before doing anything else. My 52 and most RWS’s and even Crosmans take a #109 O ring.

        Fred PRoNJ

        • Your 52 takes a 109 O-ring? Are you sure? The mechanics of the breech seal on the sidelever Diana’s are a fair bit different than the breakbarrels.

          On a breakbarrel, the lockup is what compresses the seal, and the air pressure tries to blow it out. If the seal isn’t compressed sufficiently (as is not uncommon on the 34’s) that’s exactly what happens.

          On the sidelevers, however, the air pressure drives the cylinder forward and actually increases clamping pressure on the seal. So unless the seal is so compacted that the cylinder bottoms out on the metal breech first, or the seal is split, these are much less likely to leak.

          • Nope, my mistake, Vince. My 350 takes the 109 O ring, not my 52. The Crosman Nitro does take two 109 O rings to equal the large, white seal however. Sorry, Lloyd – bad info.

            Fred PRoNJ

          • Vince and Fred,
            Thanks for the tips. So if its a spring, nothing to do except get a new spring. For air leaks, might be able to make an improvement…if I can find it.

            Time to do some investigation.

    • Lost 100 fps on my 350 until I went with the Vortek kit, which got it back and has held it at 835 to 855 (with 14.3 CP Domes) over the course of 3,000 rounds. I think the metallurgy of some stock RWS springs is lacking.

  10. Just a note. The trigger adjustment on the Diana rifles with the T05 trigger consists of only one screw. This screw adjusts only the lenght of the first stage and not the weight of pull.

    • I’m not too thrilled with the description of the adjustments on the T01 either… What they describe as a “crisper” pull seemed to me to be the “long creepy second stage only” condition mine had been in… And the “softer” pull translates to a long first stage.

  11. Hello Tom and Edith!

    Nice to see you getting re-acquainted with the fine D-54.

    I have been using one in the FT circuit for the past year. With reasonably good results.

    This note is just to say Hi! and to point out a few differences between the T-05 and T-06 variations of the model that hopefully will save some friends some grief:

    1.- The T-06 variation uses a longer rail. The stop holes are also deeper. The UTG Dovetail to Weaver rail adapter will NOT work properly, as it abuts in the wrong place.
    2.- My favourite mount for this rifle in 1″ is the BKL 260 D-7 It does NOT need the scope stops to stay put and it is low enough to put in a good scope where it should be.
    3.- The new rear sight for this guns has indeed a small plate with two notches: Round and Square. The old 4 notch, spring loaded rear sight has been discontinued for some time.
    4.- The T-06 trigger is a much improved trigger over the T-05 or the T-01. The T-01 worked with three retaining steel balls, the T-05 used sliding plates, the T-06 uses a hook that is just as crisp as ANY other trigger in the airgun world when properly adjusted. It also will reset completely when a shot is aborted for a consistent and constant trigger pull.

    Now, on the Scope subject, my favourite scope is the Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12X40 AO DH/BDC mine has held zero (something NO other scope has been able to) for a year and about 10,000 rounds of JSB 13.7 grainers. Lesser scopes will not do justice to the rifle. When in doubt, get some peeps and shoot it at 20 yards. If you do better with the peeps than with the scope (any scope), then the scope is not holding zero.

    On the weight.- I carried while in service, an Steyr SSG, so the D54 is a breeze. Even for long walks and stalking. If you feel the weight is too much for you, look into a “Safari sling” from Cabela’s.

    On the Sledge adjustment: I have found that a rather tight setting is the best. You should NOT be able to return the rifle to “shot released” position by hand. The setting should be such that the rifle JUST releases from the ball-detente hold. This setting has allowed me to get absolutely the same POI from ALL positions (Standing, Kneeling and Sitting), something that is important in the FT circuit.

    I have found that a well tuned D-54 will usually yield about 24 ft-lbs in 00.22″ cal. and with my HMO piston, you can usually get 25. Vortek kits are a good addition, but an HMO piston is needed if you want to get into SD’s of 2 fps, which usually means extreme spreads of 6 fps.

    Lastly, in the proper hands and properly tuned the 54 CAN and WILL hold its own against most PCP’s under field conditions.

    Keep up the good work, and looking forward to read the other parts of this review!

    Un abrazo!


    • (Going to try an experiment here)

      I have found that a well tuned D-54 will usually yield about 24 ft-lbs in 00.22″ cal. and with my HMO piston, you can usually get 25. Vortek kits are a good addition, but an HMO piston is needed if you want to get into SD’s of 2 fps, which usually means extreme spreads of 6 fps.

      Which would seem to indicate that my old one is either still in break-in stage (I doubt I’ve fed 200 pellets through it in the time I’ve owned it — most of which was done a few weeks ago), or it needs a good tune job.

      My test runs (one pellet of each type over a chronograph — one pellet as the noise of hitting a steel .22 rated bullet trap in an apartment complex, especially at the short distance of 15 feet, was potentially a 911 call waiting to happen) seem to be in the 19-20ft-lb range. 18gr pellets being the borderline (out of three 18.2 gr, I had 19.9, 19.1, and 18.1 ft-lb results — but the extremes may just be normal variance).

      • Wulfraed, did you try any slightly lighter pellets? These spring guns usually generate their best energy with pellets on the lighter side (as opposed to PCP guns which like heavier pellets). Try the Crosman Premier dome 14.3 or similar weight JSB. Also, I believe the CP’s have a superior ballistic coefficient which translates into more retained energy at extended ranges.

        • did you try any slightly lighter pellets? These spring guns usually generate their best energy with pellets on the lighter side

          Take into account this is only one shot with each pellet, so there is the possibility that some of these could be out in the 5% probability area…

          {another experiment — table; apologies if this turns into crud}

          RWS Meisterkugeln14.0810.820.43
          RWS SuperPoint Extra14.5778.719.99
          RWS Super-H-Point14.5787.9/td>20.43
          Beeman Silver Sting15.8751.119.79
          Predate Poly-Tip17.2725.820.12
          Beeman Silver Arrow17.6704.319.38
          AirArms Field Plus18.2688.119.13
          JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy18.2701.719.90
          H&N Crow Magnum18.2669.918.13
          H&N Baracuda Match21.1618.717.93
          Gamo TS-2222.0561.115.38
          Eun Jin Round Nose28.5465.913.74

          I didn’t expect much from the last three, known to be too heavy. Of the three 18.2gr pellets, they either fit much differently into the bore, or illustrate the “expected” variation from shot to shot for the weight. 17gr and under appears firmly in the upper 19.x ft-lb range. The 18+ grain pellets were bought for the Condor (which, at power-level 8-0, tossed the Baracuda Match at over 1000fps, I’ve dialed it down to 5-0 and 950fps)

          • Okay — without “table”, just using space to separate things…

            Pellet Weight Velocity Energy
            RWS Meisterkugeln 14.0 810.8 20.43
            RWS SuperPoint Extra 14.5 778.7 19.99
            RWS Super-H-Point 14.5 787.9 20.43
            Beeman Silver Sting 15.8 751.1 19.79
            Predate Poly-Tip 17.2 725.8 20.12
            Beeman Silver Arrow 17.6 704.3 19.38
            AirArms Field Plus 18.2 688.1 19.13
            JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy 18.2 701.7 19.90
            H&N Crow Magnum 18.2 669.9 18.13
            H&N Baracuda Match 21.1 618.7 17.93
            Gamo TS-22 22.0 561.1 15.38
            Eun Jin Round Nose 28.5 465.9 13.74

            {and apologies to the hosts of this stuff}

  12. How you can fix the loose barrel jacket? Can I do it my self or should I contact the importer/manufacturer or seller? The gun is brand new and this is something i can’t tolerate.

      • I have already tried a Gamo 1-piece mount that almost slided off the rail after the first 10 shots which worried me a bit. Don’t you think 2-piece mounts would comparatively have less hold on the rails?
        As far as barrel droop is concerned, the rifle can be shimmed.
        Another question I wanted to ask is that what is a safety block for scope rails as given on the Diana website?

        Your advice would be greatly appreciated

        Abdul Wasay

        • The block is designed to be clamped to the dovetail near the rear of the receiver. The vertical set-screw is supposed to enter a hole in the top of the receiver keeping the block from sliding off.

          The rear scope ring/mount then abuts the rubber bumpers on the front of the block, adding a bit of cushion if the scope mounts start to slide.

        • Abdul,

          That safety block does not work on your rifle.

          You need a mount that won’t move under the recoil of the rifle. I recommend a BKL mount that holds to the base by clamping pressure, alone. Since I don’t know what scope you have I can’t recommend a model of mount, but they all work well.

          You might get the one-piece BKL that had droop built in, if the rings fit your scope.


  13. Hello B.B.
    I have a Diana 54 and I would like to get new mounts, I heard alot about the rws lock down mounts but they aren’t available in my country. Someone told me about Hawke mounts for which the link is given below;


    How to these compare with the lock down mounts? do you think I should get these or order the rws lock down mounts?

    Your advise would be greatly appreciated

    Best regards,

    • Bob,

      Neither of these mounts will lock down securely. Both use clamping pressure, alone, to hold, and only the BKL mounts have the ability to clamp securely.

      It’s a shame that you can’t order a set of UTG mounts for the 54 from Pyramyd AIR. They have a positive recoil shock shoulder that locks to the front of the rail to prevent the mount from moving under recoil.


      At any rate, clamping pressure, by itself, usually doesn’t work on a 54.


  14. BB,
    You mentioned that the front sight should not be remove because doing so may loosen the barrel jacket, thus accuracy suffers. If this is the case, how can I mount the RWS/Diana Front Sight Base and Globe Front Sight from Umarex USA, Part Number is 305321 ???

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