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Checking out a Diana RWS 34P: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Diana 34P
The Diana RWS 34P is a classic breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Big day!
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Group 1
  • Group 2
  • Group 3
  • Group 4
  • Group 5
  • Strain of the test
  • Group 6
  • This is it!
  • Evaluation so far
  • Tuneup next!

Big day!

Today is the big day! Today I test Geo791’s .22-caliber Diana RWS 34P air rifle to discover how accurate it is. I have been thinking about this test for a long time and have come to the conclusion that there is just one thing I want to know — how accurate is this rifle and is it consistent? That sounds like two things, but it’s really two parts of the same thing. Is this air rifle accurate enough to kill pests?

We have had many conversations on this blog about the level of accuracy needed for that purpose, but I said I wanted to see the rifle put 10 shots into a group that’s under an inch at 25 yards, when open sights are used. I don’t need to see that accuracy with many different pellets, either. If I were to go that route, this test could turn out to be a lifetime affair! I’ll let Geo791 do that, as the owner should.

I also don’t need to know why the rifle is inconsistent — if it turns out to be. I will check certain basic things such as stock screw tightness and pivot bolt tightness, but I’m not going to make a career out of this. The rifle is what it is, and today’s test will hopefully reveal that.

At the end of today’s test I will have to determine the next step for this test. This was always going to happen and now we have come to it. So, let’s get started.

The test

Since the criteria for acceptable accuracy is group size at 25 yards, I will start at that distance. I could start at 10 meters, but Diana 34Ps are fairly consistent in my experience, so I believe I’m safe starting at the longer distance. Maybe if this was a Chinese spring gun I had never seen before I would start at 10 meters, but I think I’m safe doing it this way. We’ll see.

The stock screws were all properly tight. And the pivot bolt was tight enough that the barrel remained in any position, after the rifle is cocked. George has taken good care of his rifle.

The rear sight is adjusted a quarter of the way over to the left, which means the rifle was shooting to the right for George. He told me he preferred using a scope, but when I asked him to, he also tried the open sights. There is also some elevation dialed in. Because of that, I will fire a shot at a closer distance, just to make sure I’m on the paper.

For the bulk of this test I will shoot off a sandbag rest at 25 yards, using the artillery hold. I will start with my off hand out by the cocking slot, for greatest stability, and I will adjust from there, if necessary.

A reader mentioned that his Diana 34 in .22 caliber likes heavier pellets. I don’t have a lot of recent experience with a 34 in .22 caliber, so I took his advice and selected a couple heavy pellets. I started with JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies that weigh 18.1 grains.


The first shot was from about 12-13 yards and the hole was centered on the bull, but two inches below. I took that as okay and went back to 25 yards. I cranked about 5 clicks of elevation into the rear sight and shot again. This shot was about a half-inch higher and off to the right a half-inch. I cranked in about 8 more clicks of elevation and shot again. This one was level with the bottom of the bull, but 1.5 inches off to the right of the centerline.

I adjusted the elevation 6 more clicks up and the windage 6 clicks to the left and shot again. This shot was in the black, just above the 10-ring. I was sighted-in and so this last sighting shot was also the first shot in my first 10-shot group.

Group 1

I was holding the rifle with an artillery hold with my off hand slid out far on the forearm. The 10 JSB pellets are in a group that measures 1.295-inches between centers. Here is where experience comes in. You see a vertical group that’s over an inch between centers. I see a cluster of 7 shots at the top that are 0.683-inches between centers. I am marking this pellet for further testing.

Diana 34P JSB group 1
Ten JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies in 1.295-inches, with the top 7 in 0.683-inches.

Group 2

For the second group, I slid my off hand to the middle of the 34P’s long cocking slot. This time 10 JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies went into 1.215-inches. Eight shots are in 0.611-inches. That screams accuracy to me. It also suggests that the hold isn’t quite right. Notice that the largest sub-group within each of these first two 10-shot groups is similar in size. Is that consistency? I think so.

Diana 34P JSB group 2
Ten JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies in 1.215-inches, with 8 in 0.611-inches.

Group 3

For this group my off hand was resting at the rear of the cocking slot, which on a 34P is very far back. This time 10 shots went into 1.119-inches between centers. The sub-group has only 6 shots in it, but see how tight it is! I won’t measure it since almost half the shots are outside it, but remember it. Also note that the point of impact has shifted to the left. All of this is due to the off hand resting about two inches behind where it was for the last group.

Diana 34P JSB group 3
Ten JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies in 1.119-inches.

Group 4

I decided to try a different pellet to see if that might tighten the groups even more. I went with the H&N Baracuda Match with a 5.53mm head. Ten of them made a 1.336-inch group that’s well-centered on the target. Seven of those pellets are in 0.565-inches in the center of the bull, which tells me this is another pellet to check further.

Diana 34P Baracuda group 4
Ten H&N Baracuda Match with 5.53mm heads in 1.336-inches. Seven are in 0.565-inches.

Group 5

I tried RWS Superdomes next. Ten of them made an open group that measures 1.458-inches between centers. Nothing in this group excites me, so I will move on.

Diana 34P Superdome group 5
Ten RWS Superdome pellets in 1.458-inches.

Strain of the test

At this point in the test I was getting tired. Not that shooting 53 shots with a Diana 34P is hard, but the level of concentration I had to maintain to shoot my best with open sights was exhausting. My blood sugar level had dropped too far and I was starting to shake. I had to stop and eat something to boost my blood sugar, so I rested for about 10 minutes. While I did I was able to reflect on the test results so far. They seemed to point to the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies being a good pellet to continue with and I had one more artillery hold to try — with my off hand back by the triggerguard.

Group 6

This group was shot with 10 JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets. My off hand was back, touching the front of the triggerguard. When I was finished I walked down to the trap, wondering what awaited me.

This is it!

What I saw was 10 shots in 0.76-inches! Now THAT is a group! Especially when it’s the sixth group I have shot with open sights at 25 yards!

Diana 34P JSB group 6
Ten JSB Exact Jumbo Heavies in 0.76-inches. This group proves the accuracy of the rifle that’s been trying all along!

Evaluation so far

George — your rifle is accurate. It is also consistent. We know that because open sights can’t wander the way an improperly mounted or adjusted scope can. So, the groups you see here are real — not variable because of a wandering reticle. They are not as tight as your rifle will shoot, I am sure, because I can aim more precisely with a good scope. But now we know the rifle is sound. That sets us up for Part 4, which will be a tune of your rifle with the Vortek kit.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am that things turned out this way. It’s always possible for any airgun to have a problem that has to be corrected before it will shoot like it is supposed to, and the 34P is such a simple rifle that I didn’t know what could possibly be wrong. But I don’t need to worry, because this rifle is exactly where it should be.

If this was a test of a brand new rifle I would now be praising its accuracy. Remember — these are 10-shot groups They are approximately 40 percent larger than 5-shot groups with the same rifle. And they were all shot start-to-finish — I didn’t just shoot a bunch of rounds and then draw a circle around the tightest 10.

I have wanted to do a test like this for two decades! I never know when someone tells me they are having accuracy problems whether it’s them, or the rifle, or the scope or even something else. When I worked at AirForce I took all the phone calls from customers about their new rifles that were inaccurate. Most of them were resolved in minutes over the phone. They were procedural things like over-pressurization, improper scope mounting and even using the wrong pellets. Every once in a while someone had “modified” their rifle and wondered why it wasn’t accurate. Then I had to become a detective over the phone. That took a lot longer, and sometimes they were unwilling to even admit they had done anything until I asked them to return the rifle. Then they would confess what they had done, because they knew I was going to see it eventually. Usually it was at the heart of the problem.

George — you don’t have that problem. This rifle is accurate.Your problem is more than likely a scope mounting issue and I have plans how to solve it. Diana breakbarrels have a lot of barrel droop, and the 34 is the poster-child of that condition. But I know it up front, so we don’t have to waste time finding it.

Tuneup next!

George also sent me batches of the three pellets he has been shooting in this rifle. I didn’t shoot them today, but when I get the rifle tuned and a scope mounted, I will shoot a group with each in the final accuracy test. The tuneup is next.

123 thoughts on “Checking out a Diana RWS 34P: Part 3”

    • Sean,

      I am a bit puzzled as well. If you look back at the Part 1 and down towards the bottom of the comments, Geo gave us all a quick recap of events. He mentions a RWS Droop Compensating Mount. That should correct droop enough and still keep the scope’s elevation knob well within it’s stable adjustment. Unless it needs (more) compensation?

      From what I gather, the hold method did factor in as well.

    • Sean,

      George was complaining of groups that were tight followed by groups that were loose. That’s indicative of a floating reticle, from a scope that’s been adjusted too high.

      The Diana 34 has the reputation of having a very droopy barrel, meaning it often shoots too low. Mine shoots 21 inches low at 20 yards. When that happens, a new airgunner will try to adjust the scope to compensate, resulting in a reticle adjusted too high and one that floats — giving the exact symptoms that George described.

      In other words, his problems were exactly what I would expect from a scoped Diana 34. I told him how to test for this. He tried what I suggested, but it did not solve his problem. That’s when I asked to test the rifle myself, because I wanted to see whether I was right or if George’s rifle really did have some kind of problem.


      • Well B.B. you know thousands of times better than I do, so you will be right. I just thought his variable groups might be a product of small groups and hold sensitive.

        I assume you told him to click a looong way down on his scope. That really should have worked.

        • Sean,

          That was exactly what I told him to do — dial the scope down a long way. He told me that he did and it didn’t help. Then I told him to try the open sights. He said he wasn’t comfortable with open sights but he said he did try them and got results that were no better.

          That perplexed me, so I asked to see the rifle.


          • So the key question is, “Did his dialing down move the point of impact significantly?”

            If the answer is, “Yes” then the reticle wasn’t floating anymore, and he had another accuracy problem.

  1. B.B.,

    Excellent report! I too am happy that things are showing up the way they are.

    Looking forwards to your installation of the Vortek kit and what, if anything, that it may do to the fps.

    I am most interested in your further thoughts on the scope/mount/droop compensation. I do hope that Geo sent the mount and scope that he was using. The mount seems adequate and the scope was a quality Hawke.

    Very exciting! Now,.. if you will excuse me,… I shall return to “holding my breath” for another week! 😉

    Good Day to you,.. and to all,… Chris

    • Chris,

      No, I asked George not to send his scope. I don’t need it to test this rifle. And I don’t have high regard for the Diana droop-compensating scope mount, either. After all, they built the rifle that mount is trying to correct. I’ve tested their other mounts in the past and they didn’t hold up. I only have time to use equipment that I know for certain works.

      I will show you what I do, step-by-step, as this report advances. That’s really why I am writing it. So, in the future, when someone else has this problem, I can point them to this report.


      • B.B.,

        Just a suggestion, but maybe state why the Diana mount is not suitable in your opinion and what Geo might consider as an alternative. Rings too, if applicable. (In one of the future reports,.. of course.) Having that one issue/topic out of the way would give Geo one less thing to figure out when he gets it back. Again, just a suggestion.


  2. Man! An interesting rifle and a custom tune to boot! I’m jealous!

    This is why the 34 has been Diana’s flagship model for so long and why BB has always recommended it as a first sproinger for an adult. This is also why so many companies have tried to make copies of it. Most usually fall short because they will try to shave costs here and there and usually end up with a sproinger that looks similar, but falls short in performance.

    • RR,

      You are right! I recommend Diana 34s for that very reason. And I was hoping George’s would be the same as all the other’s I’ve tested. That is why I recommend a TX 200 Mark III, an AirForce Talon SS and a Benjamin Discovery without question to new shooters who need something that works. Those are airguns I know work time after time, and the new person won’t go wrong using them.


  3. BB
    It’s good to see your sight has improved so much that it allows you to shoot opens accurately. Good report as well (as usual). Makes me want a 27 even more!

  4. Excellent report. I will be reading the rest of this series with great interest because I might try to install a vortek kit in my Mod 48 somewhere down the road. I thought the 18 grain JSB’s would be a little too heavy for a 34, but I guess not. I bet the JSB 15.89 grain and the H&N FTT 14.66 grain would do well too. The H&N’s are a little tighter than the JSB’s in my 48 but both work very well.

  5. BB

    This is for readers who have this rifle in .177 caliber.

    Have been looking forward to your report. My Diana 34 in .177 also has a preference for a hold somewhat similar to the one you found best. I have over time modified the artillery hold to overcome my shaking. My rifle rests on a sandbag and snugs against the trigger guard under the rifle’s balance point. It is almost as accurate as my HW30s. Using Crosman Premiers in the brown box it is equally accurate with 7.9 grain 4.53 mm or 4.54 mm measured head diameters. Their heaver pellet at 10.5 grains is just as accurate.

    I should mention that I applied Tune In A Tube which dampened vibration. I suspect the rifle is less hold sensitive than it was before TIAT.


    • Decksniper,

      I am thinking that the Vortek tune should remove all of the vibration, though I must mention this rifle doesn’t have very much to begin with. Boy — has Diana ever improved this model, over the years!


    • Decksniper
      Are you saying that you actually allow the rifle to rest directly on the bag. B.B. has instructed me to never allow the rifle to rest directly on the bag, but always rest it on my open hand which can be rested on the bag.
      I have tried it both ways and the POI changes substantially between the two methods. Don’t always have a bag to shoot from either unless you are only shooting from a bench. I have to rest my hand on an open door frame, or if I’m in the garage shooting sparrows from the bird feeder, I rest my on the roof rack of my SUV.

      • Geo791

        Yes, one contact point on a sandbag. I shoot from a deck corner which allows a sandbag on one rail and my trigger finger elbow on a perpendicular rail. My backyard allows a maximum of 30 meters but 10 meters is best for neighbor happiness. My Diana 34 is not that hold sensitive as long as it is consistent. POI definitely changes with different holds but accuracy is even. I have averaged .142 inches for 10 shot groups at 10 meters for the Diana on 19 occassions this year. I rotate among many airguns. This is with 9 different pellets, some better than others. My average for its favorite pellets is close to .10 inches. I resisted the temptation to count some 9 shot groups that were half that size. I have “familial tremor” which more than offsets the advantages the artillery hold may provide.


      • Geo791

        As a follow up to my first reply, I shot three 10 shot groups with my Diana 34 at 10 meters using pellets this rifle likes.
        1- Crosman Premier in brown box 10.5 grain 4.51 mm measured scored .104 inches.
        2- Crosman Premier in brown box 10.5 grain 4.50 mm measured scored .104 inches.
        3- Crosman Premier in brown box 10.5 grain 4.49 mm measured scored .213 inches. Nine pellets scored .120″
        I measured head diameter with a Pelletgage.

        I use the edge to edge system for scoring groups because I don’t know how to measure center to center if all pellets are in one round hole.


        • Decksniper,

          I am a bit confused,… nothing out of the ordinary mind you,…. but how do you shoot .177″ pellets and get .104 groups?

          On the measuring,… just measure the widest point, then, deduct the pellet diameter.

          • Chris
            I think what is happening is that Decksniper is shooting domed pellets and they are tearing through the paper and then some of the paper is closing back into the hole. If he would shoot wadcutters the hole would be clean and round. He’s shooting some nice groups in any case. I suggested he try moving back to 25 yards and shooting some groups. That would tell another story I’m sure.

            • Geo,

              Decksniper is right. Let’s say that he shot an out to out of .250″. Deduct the pellet diameter to give you a center to center and you would have .073″.

              My bad. I was not thinking fully prior to posting. 🙁

              • Oh, that’s correct…guess I wasn’t thinking it through either. I just can’t conceive groups like that based on what my results have been with my RWS 34 in .22 caliber.

                I concur with Decksniper that we consider you to be one of posters with expert knowledge regarding airguns and shooting. Thanks for always making positive and constructive comments to my posts and other posters too.

            • Geo791

              I have to think about the 25 yard test due to neighbors. It may be possible and fun for sure.

              I try my best to evaluate dome pellet tear marks vs wad cutter marks. I use different kinds of paper and backings but it still is difficult to attain absolute score results.


        • Decksniper
          Very impressive shooting. Now try backing up to 25 yards and shooting some groups. The difficulty factor is much higher and the little subtle variances start to really show up.

          I think that you may be measuring the hole in the paper which is smaller than the pellet due to the paper tearing and closing back in. Wadcutters leave a clean round hole but domed pellets tear through the paper. To measure ctc, just measure to the edges and subtract one pellet diameter.

          In your case your group is smaller than the head size of the pellet which is .177″. So that would suggest a hole in hole group…wow!

              • Chris

                I consider you one of the experts on this blog. Just keep posting when you get the urge. The rest of us look forward everyday to BB’s report and the reactions to his report.



                • Decksniper,

                  I use a mm scale when I want measure groups (C to C) and that is close enough for me. I do not break out the calipers to measure groups. So, I am a bit rusty on my thinking on properly measuring groups. Thank you for the kind words.

                  And,… giving credit where credit is due,…. Gunfun1 did kind of “take me under his wing” and push me pretty hard on thinking things through. Not like he had to push me too hard though. 😉 Ready and willing so to speak.

          • Geo791

            Neighbors were not outside. I managed two 10 shot groups at 25 yards using Bushnell range finder to get precise distance. Wind speed was 7-10 mph and gusty.

            Diana 34 and brown box Crosman Premier 10.5 grain 4.50 mm measured head diameter scored .589 inches.

            Next up was Crosman’s lighter weight 7.9 grain 4.53 mm also from their brown box. Not surprising it did not do as well scoring .823″.

            These scores are about what I expected considering the wind. Measuring groups was easy given the spread and holes were very sharp in the target paper I used.


            • Decksniper
              That just amazes me! I am very impressed with those groups. Tell me more…what scope and power are you using? Specifically, how are you holding the rifle. By that I mean are you holding tightly or loosely? Where are you placing your off hand, up near the cocking slot or back near the trigger guard? My RWS 34P is a .22 caliber. Maybe this rifle is more accurate in .177?

              You may have read some of my earlier posts regarding poor groups with my Diana. I’ve been battling this beast since spring of 2013 and have never come even close to your groups. Mine were always 1.5″ to 2.0″ with a least one or two flyers out of 10 at 25 yards. I mean real flyers, like where did that pellet land? Oh, it was about 2″ to 3″ from my POA. Now that is discouraging. I have tried every suggestion by B.B. and also ChrisUSA and Gunfun1. Nothing has ever helped and that is the reason B.B. proposed that I send him my rifle for a blog review. So far he has proven that the rifle IS accurate with the right pellet and hold. He shot a (10) shot group of .776″ with open sights even. I’m not holding much hope that I will ever achieve a group like that with the RWS 34. Better quit, I’m ranting again 🙂

              • Geo791

                I read BB’s report everyday first thing and have followed your Diana 34 story with interest. It gives BB the chance to cover lots of topics for readers plus he gets to test a newer 34 which he considers a best rifle in this price range.

                My hold is as I said earlier, directly on a sandbag. Before each shot I make sure the rifle is balanced on the bag when aimed at target without any help from me. A sandbag is firmer than many gun rests but the sand can be moved when you want to move it. Otherwise it stays the same shot after shot as long as you are aiming at one target. My rifle likes to have no contact with me. My right hand thumb and index finger are on the trigger and behind it on trigger guard. My left hand index finger and thumb are on top of those fingers and supply all the squeeze power. I learned the thumb finger squeeze from someone on this blog. I just modified it a bit. Hope this is not too confusing. To summarize, no part of my body is touching the rifle except one thumb and one index finger.

                I have hunted with firearms most of my 78 years and this hold is useless for hunting. It would also assure an unwanted baptism if using a scope with a 30-06.

                Target shooting with my airguns is different in that heavy rearward recoil is a non event. But the pellet stays in the barrel longer and its exit direction is affected by vibration (except PCP’s and some high quality medium velocity spring guns). My goal for many years is to attain the best accuracy possible with every gun I shoot. I reloaded firearms for years but now I “reload” airguns.

                I try to take the human variables out. There are enough others to keep me going.

                My refurbished Tech Force 3-9×32 AO scope (about $120) is mounted on a UTG droop adaptor and is set on highest magnification.

                PS: I warmed up the barrel with 5-6 pellets before scoring using a conventional hands on artillery hold. Group size was decent.

                Hope this helps!


                • Decksniper
                  Thanks for the detailed explanation of your hold. I forgot that you said you rest the rifle directly on the bag. That’s a unique way of squeezing the trigger. I don’t think I’ve heard that method before. I suppose that pinch method could work with the artillery hold also.
                  My rifle seems sensitive to the position of my thumb on the pistol grip.

                  I use my rifle for pesting sparrows and starlings so resting on the bag is not an option. The POI changes too much when resting on the bag. I am 70 years of age so I understand the need for a high magnification on the scope also. I use my scope on 9x and just leave it there. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  6. I am closely watching what Diana RWS Umarex, whatever you want to call them these days, is doing going forward. My 48 was made in Dec 2016 and it no longer comes with the large screw on the back of the scope rail. Also the rail now has 2 very deep stop pin holes. So it looks like the new owners are paying attention. Also, my 48 does not have the Diana logo (flowing gown) on the barrel, just RWS.

    • Ken,

      Yes, the new owners are changing things for the better.

      The models that were already in existence when the sale took place are still being exported and supported by RWS. The new models, like the 340 N-TEC, have the Diana name only. Obviously a shift in the business plan.


  7. Great report B.B!

    I really appreciate the way you are giving us your detailed thought process as you evaluate George’s rifle. I think this post will help many of your readers for years to come.

    Jim M.

  8. B.B.
    I am surprised and amazed at the groups you were able to achieve with my RWS 34P. I tried the JSB 18.1gr pellet about three years ago but never logged the results. They must not have worked for me because I never ordered any more of that grain. I noticed that you kept moving your offhand back a little each time. Did you then end up with it right in front of the trigger guard? I tired that hold and it felt very unbalanced and difficult to hold steady. I was very surprised also that you had NO flyers in any of your groups. That’s something I have never been able to achieve.

    Yes, I did run the scope elevation down 60 clicks as you suggested but my groups did not improve. The RWS one piece droop mount has only (2) socket head screws in each strap but the scope has never moved on me. I measured the difference from front to back and it was 0.8mm thinner at the front. When I first mounted the scope I don’t remember having to run the elevation adjustment up very much, but that was four years ago too.

    Your truely are an expert with this type of airgun as demonstrated. The last pellets I shot in the rifle were the 14.5gr SuperDomes. I shot (50) to reseason the barrel following the cleaning again with the JB Bore paste. Then I shot (2) 10 shot groups with open sights at 15 yards. The 1st groups was 1″ and the 2nd was 1.5″. So the sights were adjusted for that 14.5gr pellet. When you checked the FPS, the JSB RS was very slow and probably the JSB 18.1gr would be even slower. The JSB 18.1gr being much heavier also would be cause for having to move the POI up a lot.

    I guess from what you have demonstrated, that I am the source of the accuracy and consistency issue. I may never be able to duplicate your results with this RWS 34P springer. At least you have proven that the rifle is accurate and that the barrel is not defective. Thank you very much for all the effort you are putting into this blog. I really appreciate all that you have done and look forward the the upcoming Vortec tune kit install.

    • George, few of us could shoot your rifle with the level of concentration that B.B. did and get those little groups; that’s why he is “the man!” So don’t beat yourself up, because this report will prove interesting and informative for many people. I have owned scopes that were just “bad” (not just internal spring issues), and perhaps yours is one of them. It will be interesting to see what kind of groups B.B. is able to achieve with this rifle once he has a scope mounted in a way he believes is suitable. =D

      • Dave
        Thanks for the encouragement. The scope is a Hawke Sport HD 3-9x50AO with IR and the reticle is etched glass. This is $150+ scope and I believe it’s a quality scope. I guess it could be bad but the probability is very low. Hey, B.B. is a for real good marksman.

        • George,
          My Springer was putting pellet after pellet through the same hole at 10 yds with a cheap 4 X 32 scope.
          One day I mounted a 4 X 16 X 50 scope and it became a monster_ spewing pellets all over the place. It became an entirely different gun, unbalanced and unruly. Leapers have a nice 4 X 32 AO scope for $60 on the PA Web site. Switching to a smaller scope might be the answer to your problems. From my experience with springers, bigger is not always better_ they become increasingly more difficult to shoot accurately as the power level goes up.
          B.B. does this every day ( lucky guy ) and can put any scope on any gun and shoot it well because as someone said, ” he is the man”.
          Good luck on your quest. We are all rooting for yah.

          • Pete
            Thank you very much for your input. The sparrows I am trying to dispatch are 25-30 yards out from my back sliding door. They will try to take over the bluebird nesting boxes and attack them. I really need the higher power to get a good sight picture. My Hawke scope is a 3-9x50AO and I usually keep it right at 9x. Things appear pretty small for me at 4x, but I do appreciate your suggestion. We’ll have to wait and see what B.B. mounts on the RWS 34P.

          • Pete,

            That is interesting that a larger scope would affect accuracy. I do not believe that I have heard that before. Do not get me wrong, I do not doubt you,… it is just that I have never heard it stated before. Like the variance in holds and rests,.. maybe that is something else to consider. Handling I agree with,… a bigger scope can affect the balance (fr to rr) and the gun can become top heavy.

        • Oops, sorry not to have seen this sooner; yes, the Hawke is a quality scope, so the likelihood of it being bad is pretty low. Yes, B.B. is quite the marksman, and it will be interesting to see what he is able to wring out of your gun once it is tuned. =>

        • Actually, the probability is higher than you might think! I have a sick affinity for testing scopes with a little setup I call my “optics lab in a pocket” (even though it doesn’t really quite fit in my pocket). One problem I’ve been seeing lately is wobbly fast focus eyepieces. After you screw the eyepiece out to focus the reticle to your eye, these defective scope eyepieces can be easily moved and cocked side to side. This should not happen. The eyepiece should not wobble at all–even under moderate force trying to wiggle it with your fingers. Wobble will shift the reticle image around while you shoot or also shift your zero during handling (removing and replacing the rifle from a case, for example).

          I’ve found that inexpensive scopes (say anything with a street price under $500 or so) often exhibit mechanical deficiencies or defects that would keep many competent shooters and rifles from shooting their best! Personally, I’ve returned a good handful of my own cheap scopes to their manufacturers for warranty service over the past few years. Usually, what was returned to me under warranty functioned mechanically much better than what I sent back to the manufacturer, but not always.

          • Calinb,

            That is very interesting. I checked my 3 UTG’s and 1 Hawke and all 4 have some degree of that. This is a ((guest blog)) worthy topic in my opinion and would be even more so if you were to back it up with measurements/data/shooting/etc. Dead serious. Give it some thought.

            • It would be okay if the eyepiece returned to position perfectly every time when displaced (and I mean perfectly, to avoid a noticeable error) but they don’t! Sometimes they stay in one place for a while and then shift, suddenly shifting the point of impact (POI), and other times they’ll just “rattle around” making groups larger than they otherwise would be.

              If you secure your gun in a rest and center your eye behind the eyepiece (to preclude any parallax error), you can often see the reticle shift against a target when you wiggle the eyepiece. The natural vibrations of the gun or handling or even weather and temperature changes can induce eyepiece shifts, I think.

              I recently bought a Savage bolt action rifle combo with scope. They normally come zeroed and “on paper” right from the factory. This one wasn’t even close to on paper (unless we are taking about highway billboard paper)! It wouldn’t hold a zero either. The eyepiece was the root cause! I also had bad luck with a airgun scope with a floppy eyepiece. Like I said, these kinds of mechanical deficiencies are relatively common. I’ve roamed the isles of the SHOT show floor and examined dozens of scopes with my “optics lab in a pocket!”

              I was late to this episode of B.B.’s Diana RWS 34P blog. I’ll bring up the subject again sometime.


              • -Cal,

                Thank you for the reply. “optics lab in a pocket” is blog worthy in and of itself,… let alone any real world application to shooting. Again,… blog worthy. Just sayin’,…..

                While maybe a bit unsightly,… maybe something like a band clamp or a zip tie (with) some gripping material could steady the whole assembly so that it never moves (once adjusted). Just another idea since you seem to be so serious into this topic.

                • Actually, that reminds me of how I fixed my Savage rifle combo Weaver Kaspa scope in the middle of a big game hunt. I backed out the fast focus eyepiece about another 1/4 from my normal setting and I took some 1/4 wide Kapton (polyimide) tape and wrapped it around the eyepiece tube. I used just enough thickness (wraps) to keep the eyepiece from moving when I turned it back into the scope body. The tape wasn’t even visible, but I did return the scope for warranty service and the new scope didn’t have the problem. At SHOT and gun retailer gun racks, I’ve found several others that still do have the problem and I even spoke to the ATI rep at SHOT about it. Don’t know that our chat will make any difference, however.

                • I’d like to add that in an ideal world (an ideal “Cal’s world”), all errors in my shooting could be 100% attributed to me and never my hardware. In a next to ideal world, I would accept gun-induced error contributions too. However, I’m least likely to accept scope-induced errors. (Hence my sick affinity for testing scopes, which I mentioned.) Even though I, like most people, can shoot with most cheap scopes more accurately and consistently than iron sights, I often think about selling ALL my cheap scopes, and installing irons on all my underprivileged guns (those with less than $500 optics on them). In short, I don’t trust cheap scopes. With irons, at least I know that any inaccuracy lies with the gun or myself!

                  • Calinb,

                    Thank you for the “add-on”. You do however seem to be aware of something that the rest of us, may, or not, be aware of. That said,.. not many of us are likely to have 500$+ scopes, but,… I think that your insight is worth sharing for the higher knowledge and betterment of the airgun community. Just sayin’,…. 😉

                    • I had a good conversation with a Vortex rep at SHOT show a few years ago about mechanical “cheap scope” shortcomings. I think Vortex is a very honest company. In the end, he agreed that the only way to approach ensure an expensive scope level of mechanical performance with a cheap scope is to hand pick a cheap scope! Once again, I am talking about performance deficiencies that impact “regular” shooters every day. I’ve essentially started to hand-pick scopes for myself. I’ve returned seven cheap scopes under warranty to several different manufacturers and nearly all of them or their replacements cam back to me performing much better than the original. I’ve also returned something like four scopes to online retailers, having tested them and never even mounting them.

                      My optics lab in a pocket is based on a Leupold bore sighting product called the “Zero-Point.” It is no longer made. Whenever I show up in the Leupodld shot boot with it, inevitably someone says “don’t ever lose it!” Mel at Sniper Central, conducts extensive scope tests. I turned him on to this kind of testing and he’s using some other kind of bore sighter, I think. Either that or he finally found a used Zero-Point.

                      I’ve talked about my concerns and methods here in B.B.’s blog in the past. There’s some interest, but others just want to rely on live-fire results, which I think at best is expensive, time-consuming, and limited in what it can achieve. Perhaps I’ll write a blog someday and suggest a variety of methods to detect scope deficiencies (which can, in general, help most people to shoot better).

                      It’s funny, Everyone talks about image quality (the “glass”) but ignores mechanical performance. I understand this, because most people can easily see which scope image looks better or brighter. However, I can shoot even my crappiest image scopes just about as well as my most expensive and finest image scopes–except for about the first and last 5 minutes of legal hunting daylight, perhaps. Yeah–I can see the differences, but I mostly consider them to be cosmetic. It’s the same with my hunting binoculars, though for bird and wildlife watching, the aesthetics are more important to me in a bino than in a riflescope.


                • I also epoxy bedded a second scope in a BKL mount on my Walther LGV It solved the well-known BLK problem of not quite providing sufficient scope turret / elevation mechanism housing clearance for most scopes. I’ve also bedded another scope to a Diana non-drooper scope mount on my Diana 34. I was thrilled with the results of both projects. Bedding a scope can provide the benefits of:

                  1. Droop compensation.
                  2. Insufficient elevation range / loose erector mechanism correction.
                  3. Optical “centering” in general (if you believe in it ;)).
                  4. Scope tube fit and stress relief (like lapping rings).
                  5. Scope tube scratch protection.

                  All of the above can be achieved with the excellent, but expensive, Burris Pos-Align rings too, but lapping actually has a wider viable range of adjustment than Pos-Align system.

                  I’ve mentioned scope bedding here too. It’s another potential blog, but the process is just as technical and challenging as bedding a rifle stock (not a terribly challenging activity, as gunsmithing projects go, but you can ruin some nice hardware, if you do it poorly and that was B.B.’s main concern about the topic in the past).


                • Oops… I had to correct an error in this comment.

                  BEDDING actually has a wider viable range of adjustment than the Pos-Align system but I incorrectly typed lapping. Of course lapping rings provides no useful adjustment in where the scope is pointing!

                  Corrected here.

                  I also epoxy bedded a second scope in a BKL mount on my Walther LGV It solved the well-known BLK problem of not quite providing sufficient scope turret / elevation mechanism housing clearance for most scopes. I’ve also bedded another scope to a Diana non-drooper scope mount on my Diana 34. I was thrilled with the results of both projects. Bedding a scope can provide the benefits of:

                  1. Droop compensation.
                  2. Insufficient elevation range / loose erector mechanism correction.
                  3. Optical “centering” in general (if you believe in it ;)).
                  4. Scope tube fit and stress relief (like lapping rings).
                  5. Scope tube scratch protection.

                  All of the above can be achieved with the excellent, but expensive, Burris Pos-Align rings too, but bedding actually has a wider viable range of adjustment than Pos-Align system.

                  I’ve mentioned scope bedding here too. It’s another potential blog, but the process is just as technical and challenging as bedding a rifle stock (not a terribly challenging activity, as gunsmithing projects go, but you can ruin some nice hardware, if you do it poorly and that was B.B.’s main concern about the topic in the past).


                  • Cal,

                    Whatever you have to tell,.. and however you want to tell it,.. I believe you have something to tell,… Yes, it may sound/is complicated, but at the same time, it is food for thought. It is up to you. B.B.’s concern is something we must consider though.

                    Perhaps you are correct. B.B. too for that matter. For me,.. I like to explore all options.

        • Well if the accuracy didn’t change then a floating reticle wasn’t your problem in my opinion. There is a small to tiny possibility that it might still be the Hawke scope. My money says that now B.B. has found the best hold for your rifle your sparrows are doomed once you practice the artillery hold on the correct part of the stock.

    • George,

      Don’t be hard on yourself. The artillery hold is something that not everybody picks up in the beginning. I have seen people struggle with it for a long time, and then when I coach them personally they get it and miracles start happening. It’s all about learning to relax and to let the rifle recoil the way it wants to.

      At any rate, we know what is happening now and our next step is to tune your action. How nice is that?

      Don’t forget, I’m writing this blog series, but I will also write a feature article that will appear in Firearm News in September.


  9. B.B.,

    I seem to recall a while back you designed a droop-countering adapter to mount rings/scopes to. Then, it seemed it was either no longer available, and/or RWS changed their rifles so that it would not work on newer ones or something. What should a Diana owner with an older model do to counter the droop when they mount a scope?

    Thanks as always,


    • Michael,

      That base was produced by the tens of thousands. It is distinguished by a vertical flange on the front that I called the “recoil shock shoulder.” For some reason I could never get Leapers to pick up on that title. That flange hangs over the front of the old-style Diana base (not RWS, because Diana makes the guns). There is also a cutout at6 the rear that fits over the large-head screw.

      Diana changed their bases and Leapers had to change the drooper bases to fit the new design.


  10. B.B.,
    I have had questions about accuracy parameters in airguns since I began shooting about three years ago and today’s blog seems to be a good time to ask them since accuracy is a main topic. Also, I think many blog readers would be interested in reading your answers concerning these questions. I’m an elderly gentleman (77 yrs.) who likes target shooting both air pistols and air rifles using open sites only out to a distance never exceeding 25 yards. Mostly I shoot at 10 meters. I am fortunate to have collected several very fine current and vintage air pistols and rifles which are more accurate than I can ever hope to be but, when I shoot them, I can be sure that poor results are my own fault and not the gun’s. Here are my questions.
    First, shooting from a rested position at 10 meters, what is considered to be an a)excellent b)good c)fair grouping of ten shots using 1)a pistol 2)a rifle. I really don’t have this information and would very much like to
    get your extremely informed opinion so that I at least have some parameters to compare my own performance to.
    After much practice the very best I have managed with a rifle at 10 meters using open sights have been 0.25
    inch groups. I seem to be limited by my older eyes but there’s little to be done about that.
    Second and last, what would the above group measurements be shooting from a standing unsupported position (now that’s shooting).
    Almost everything I know about shooting air guns I have learned from reading your blogs, which I do religiously.
    Your writing style and wit are wonderful to read and bring great joy to all of your readers. Thank you so very much
    for your work! We all wish you good health and happiness in the future. Best regards, Frederick

  11. My Diana has barrel droop. But, I used shims made from Milk Jug plastic and they took care of the problem. The 4X UTG scope from Pyramyd AIR works just fine!


    • Big Iron,

      I use a cut piece of tooth paste tube. The plastic coating has a bit “grip” and the alum. core has some “squish”. .011″. Works good. Yup on the UTG’s.

  12. B.B.
    I am hoping that you chronograph the various pellets again after the tune. If you can determine the best pellet for my rifle it would sure save me from having to do a lot more experimentation with pellets. I’d like to put that to bed and just focus on the other variables that I can control. Lots of practice with a known good pellet. Some of my accuracy issues have stemmed from not knowing if the issue was the wrong pellet, or, the wrong hold, or both.

    • Geo,

      I looked back at my notes and ran across some information regarding correction of barrel droop and how much it takes. .025″ = 6″ correction, .0295 – 7, .035 – 10, .060 – 17.1,… at 30 yards. I would ask why BB may not like the mount you have, and what to recommend. That is a bummer, I know, but it will help insure that you do not have the elevation up to high. I prefer Weaver and Piccatinney sp? mounts. The mounts separate from the rings.

      I have 2, UTG, DN T06, one on the TX and the other on the LGU. That is a case of rifles that probably do (not) have any droop. But, that is also insurance the elevation never gets near the top.

      I do not see them listed anymore,… but the package says 10″ of upward compensation at 30 yards. I would measure one for you, but they are both mounted.

      Now you did say you cranked the elevation down and you saw no tightening of groups. Mmmm? Above someone asked,… Did the group move when you cranked it down? It should have. Did it? 16 clicks on a 1/4 MOA scope should have dropped it around 1″ (at 25 yards). 4 clicks at 100 would drop it 1″.

        • Geo,

          Well good. That at least tells for sure that the elevation was under pressure at that setting. The next question I would ponder is if it needs more than .008″ that you measured. Still, the group should have tightened up,.. if over elevation adjustment was the issue.

          • Chris
            The measurement was 0.8mm (.032″) thinner at the front on the droop mount. The mount is 4.732″ long, so .032″/4.732″ = .0006762468″ per inch, 25 yards = 900 inches so theoretically the compensation would be approximately 6.1″ at 25 yrds. Reality is that it would be a little more, or less I’m sure.

  13. George,

    IF the elevation where you shoot is significantly different than B.B.’s elevation of 712 feet above sea level then his best pellet in your gun may not be your best pellet in your gun.

      • Chris U
        Doesn’t air change at different sea levels?

        It’s got to make a difference in how well the pellet travels through the air.

        How much difference I don’t know.

        But still yet I think consistency of groups would not change. But more like point of impact location on the target.

        I don’t think that thinner or heavier air would change group size. But would only shift group location.

        • GF1,

          Overall, I would have to agree with you. I remember you and Buldawg having discussed that very topic. I do believe it was in regards to different chrony readings though.

          • Chris U
            Yep but kind of like BB and Geo791. We live at fairly similar sea levels. But our chrony readings were considerably different. As much as 100 fps.

            Makes me wonder if a little change in sea level affects things more than we think. Maybe that’s why our guns seem to need different hold overs on certain days compared to others.

            Now saying that I wish I could go around the country shooting the air guns I have now. You know kind of how I tryed all these different guns.

            Yea right. That won’t never happen. But it would be nice in more ways than one. 🙂

      • Chris,

        I’ve witnessed this first hand while shooting and I’ve witnessed from springer shooters that have shot next to both of my homes on my ranges. PCP’s aren’t affected. I’m talking hundreds of times with at least 100 springers.

        I have a home at 5,200 feet elevation and another at 9,500 feet elevation. Let me be clear. POI (Point of Impact) changes and group sizes are often larger. Preferred pellet is often different.

        Years ago, on another airgun forum, I had a lengthy discussion with many airgunners smarter than I am. The consensus to explain this phenomenon in that long thread was that thinner air (higher elevations) and drier air don’t allow springers to compress the same volume of air. Springers lose power. Magnum springers shooting heavy pellets typically show this phenomenon even more dramatically. The harshness of the firing cycle at my higher elevation is what most shooters notice first. The change in poi and their group sizes is what they notice next. Lighter pellets usually shoot better and become the preferred pellet at higher elevation. Not always but usually.

        • Kevin,

          Thank you very, very much for that explanation. I do believe that I seen that theorized here on the blog, but you are the first to ever confirm it, to my knowledge. That may be a first. The PCP and Springer thing does make quite a bit of sense. No further explanation required here.

          Thank you again, Chris

        • Kevin

          I’m 3 days late reading your comments about high elevation. My but how the variables do mount up! You say that PCP’s don’t care what the elevation is. The pressure gage tells you how much air pressure the gun has. Pnuematics without a pressure gage would behave similar to a spring gun I assume. Single pump target pnuematics like the 753 and multi pumps are affected by elevation. It may require 6 pumps instead of 4 or 5 on a multi pump gun to get the velocity attained at your first home.

          Thanks, this was an eye opener for me.


          • Decksniper,

            PCP’s with or without a pressure gauge are unaffected by altitude/elevation in my experience.

            You’re correct. MSP’s (Multi Stroke Pnuematics) and SSP’s (Single Stroke Pnuematics) are always affected by altitude/elevation. I remember adding an additional pump to my Walther LGR and Titan Mohawk just to keep the scopes close to zero at my higher elevation.

  14. I must have missed the background here since as long as I can remember, the Diana 34 was one of the foremost models. It has the smiling Tom Gaylord face in the PA catalogs and is even the first gun recommended for new shooters who want a spring gun. But I gather that this is a personal test of an individual rifle that has been having problems. A good excuse to shoot an old classic. 🙂

    No surprise about the results. My only question has to do with using open sights for a test. If I was going to hunt pests, I would not want to test my marksmanship but to put them away. It’s the way to get the job done and also humane for the animal. As one member of the Air Force said, “We don’t want [good enough]. We want to be the biggest gorilla in the sky.” But I could see using the open sights for a diagnostic purpose and to establish a baseline of accuracy that would be enhanced by a scope. Also, this may relate to Gunfun1’s thoughts on holdover with a scope. While a scope will give you better accuracy when sighted in, it is more susceptible to error when it is not sighted in or at an unknown distance where pests usually appear. So, maybe the iron sights are actually a realistic test after all.

    Sirinako, you asked why I wouldn’t want to be a politician. Well, the work is enormous, and you are certain to be villified no matter what you do, even by the people you are working for. Abraham Lincoln, recognized as the finest President and the Great Emancipator, suffered the severest criticism from Abolitionists and much of the North almost until the end of the Civil War. Those seem like great reasons not to work in politics. Now that I think about it, I suppose that other people’s opinion shouldn’t be the criteria for the value of one’s work. And I do believe that good work can be done in politics, even in our current state of affairs. But I guess everyone has different tolerances for criticism, and as Clint Eastwood says, a man’s got to know his limitations. Politics seems to me to resemble law enforcement in that you are constantly dealing with people at their worst. The police deal with criminals. Politicians work with people at their most selfish who are constantly maneuvering and bargaining to get everything they possibly can. Henry Adams, the famous historian and member of the Adams family from the Revolution, described politics as the “systematic organization of hatreds.”

    One wonders what keeps the politicians going. There was an interesting observation in a novel by Tom Wolfe called A Man in Full. One of the characters, a professional politician, says that as a group they are not devoted to causes or policies. What keeps them going day to day is seeing the deference given by their subordinates and “making ’em jump.” A depressing state of affairs.


    • Matt61
      You know what. I really think it more about how much we shoot a given gun and learn it be it open sights, scopes or whatever.

      And I still firmly believe that practice makes perfect. You have to do something repeatedly to get use to how it performs. It makes you see how it works. Then it’s up to you to learn how to make it do what you want.

      I have watched many videos and seen people shoot in true life without sights on a gun and repeatedly hit their target. And I’m not talking shot guns. I’m talking pellets and bullets.

      Once you know how your sighting location and position of the gun is and how it placed on a location towards the target. You should hit that spot constantly if your gun and your aim is consistent.

  15. BB
    A most wonderful report. It makes for a great tutorial on how to find the right hold for a spring gun. It makes me wonder if I have the hold for my break barrel right. I think so, well maybe, lets give it another try.

  16. FYI,

    Idefendm posted a reply on the weekend blog. (pellet pistols for self defense) Quite interesting and informative. Eye opening in fact. To be clear, a pellet pistol would (not) be my first choice for self defense, but he did share his view points from a very unique perspective. Worth a read in my opinion and hat’s off to him for responding.

    • Correction,… Idefendm posted on the THURSDAY 6/22 blog. My bad. BB,… we really to talk about an edit(able) version here on the blog,…… 😉

      Or,…. maybe I could just get right the first time around,… eh?

    • Chris USA,

      Like you, a pellet gun would not be my choice for self-defense. However they can be lethal. We had a sad event in a town near us a few years ago. Cousins, unsupervised and fooling around with a pellet gun, one shot the other in the chest. The pellet penetrated his chest and stopped the heart. Attempts to resuscitate were futile.

      I don’t have any detail regarding the airgun being used, but I do not treat them in any way differently than a firearm. I do have to keep reminding our daughters and family that an airgun not being a firearm does not make them any less demanding of careful handling.


      • Grandpa Dan,

        All a good reminder and all good advice. Most events around here involve people pointing one at law enforcement officer. Needless to say, that did not end well.

  17. Interesting results. I know what you mean about the level of concentration wearing you out — I’ve experienced that during accuracy testing too.

    Also illustrates why springers are my least favorite type of airgun. I’ve got a couple but they each have to be held differently, and held JUST RIGHT — another thing that requires exhausting concentration. You have got some mental stamina there, B.B.!

  18. BB
    It is sounding like you have a super ability.

    Sounds like no one will ever get a spring gun from the replys I read.

    Really it ain’t that hard to shoot a springer. Other than the super uber magnum springers.

    From just reading Hiveseekers reply. Maybe everybody is trying too hard instead of just resting the gun naturally and pull the trigger and see where the gun shoots.

    Then as you shoot see where the group’s fall. Tighten up the grip if they are going wide. Shoot and see what happens. Then loosen up your grip.

    Guns like to be held different. Shoot and see. And Maybe all that concentration is what’s killing things. Loosen up and let the gun do its thing. That’s how springers like to be shot. They make you relax your hold. They only need a little support to steady the gun.

    It’s hard to explain. But tense and over concentration and a long time aiming is probably not going to be good.

    • Thanks for your observations, Gunfun1. The guns in my case are a .22 Benjamin Trail NP2 and Crosman MTR77 with Nitro Piston. Started off with the artillery hold which just doesn’t work on these two. The Trail has some recoil and requires a very firm grip; slightly tighter or looser and shots start to stray. It requires more concentration to shoot than any of my other guns but does give me some very nice groups when I can stay “in the groove” and hold it consistently. The MTR77 (.177) has only mild recoil and is much easier to shoot, requiring only a moderately firm grip.

      I know there are smoother springers out there like the TX200 but I probably will not be acquiring another spring piston. After some time with my springers my Marauder and Armada seem that much more fantastic! I only have a hand pump but they are worth the pumping!

      • Hiveseeker
        Yep that’s what I was meaning. Every springer requires a little different hold. I bet even two of the same spring gun shot side by side may have some differences in the way they feel when shooting. Of course you would probably have to shoot them for a while to be able to start telling some difference.

        I still say best thing to do is shoot them. The more you shoot them the more you will see what they are about. 🙂

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