Diana 34 Easy Modular System (EMS) Synthetic: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana 34 EMS
Diana 34 EMS with synthetic stock.

This report covers:

  • Diana listened
  • 2020 SHOT Show Day 4
  • Variations
  • Trigger
  • Sights
  • The rifle
  • Firing behavior
  • Stock
  • Barrel swap and droop compensation
  • What comes with the rifle
  • What doesn’t come
  • Summary

Today we start our look at the Diana 34 EMS breakbarrel air rifle. The title of the first section will set the theme of today’s report.

Diana listened

I saw this rifle at the 2020 SHOT Show, but the Diana booth where it was, was unmanned every time I stopped there and the rifle was inside a glass case. It was in there because it was disassembled to show the features. Here is what I said.

2020 SHOT Show Day 4

Okay, several of you (RidgeRunner) keyed in on this before I was ready to report it. Diana has redesigned their popular model 34 breakbarrel, yet again. But this time the changes were large and noticeable. They call it their Easy Modular System (EMS). I’ll start with the elephant in the room — barrel alignment! Yes, sports fans, Diana has finally seen that barrel droop is not a good thing, and they give you the ability to adjust it out with shims. Please forgive the photo that follows, but they put everything inside a plexiglass case and photography is quite difficult!

Diana shims
Here you can see two of the redesigned Diana 34 features. The cocking link is now articulated and Diana  provides shims to adjust the barrel droop.

Besides the droop issue they have made the barrel changeable and threaded the muzzle with a silencer-friendly 1/2-inch by 20 UNF thread. The sights are also changeable. Better still, the rifle can be converted to a gas piston, if desired. Wow — it’s almost as though they know what we want!

Variations

The 34 EMS comes in both .177 and .22. I’m testing a .177. It also comes in either a conventional wood stock or a synthetic stock with a thumbhole. Personally I like the conventional stock best, but I ordered the thumbhole variation so I could report on it for you.

Trigger

The two-stage trigger is adjustable for the length of the first stage pull, the second stage let-off point and the trigger weight. As I fired the rifle a few times today I discovered that the trigger is set far too light as it came from the factory. There is also not a definite second stage stop point. The rifle fired before I was ready, and I don’t mean that in a good way. I will have to adjust the trigger to shoot this rifle safety.

The manual says to use a 1.5mm Allen wrench to adjust the trigger but the trigger on the test rifle has slotted screws in all three adjustment places. Thankfully I bought a set of long-bladed screwdrivers with small blades recently, because these screw are just slightly larger than the screws in eyeglass frames.

The trigger blade is nearly straight and I like the shape a lot. When I get the trigger adjusted for me I know I will be able to do some good work with this rifle.

Sights

The rifle comes with fiberoptic sights front and rear, but for those who don’t like them (which includes me) the front sight can be exchanged. The Diana manual says you can get a premium front sight (a globe with interchangeable inserts) from specialist dealers. Pyramyd Air comes to mind as the biggest specialist dealer in the world, but they do not yet have any information on the optional front sight.

Since the front sight can be removed, Diana gives you a way of knowing when the new sight is on the rifle straight. It involves two alignment bars. They even tell you how to align the sight in the owner’s manual. But the alignment bars are not included with the rifle, or at least my test rifle didn’t have them. I can guesstimate the sight alignment anyway, so nothing is lost, but be aware the bars are not included.

The Pyramyd website says that the rear sight can also be exchanged, but the manual doesn’t address it. The signage in the Diana booth said the same thing, so perhaps it will be at some point in the future, but at this time there is no telling.

But the rear sight did come with something I have never before seen. You can remove the fiberoptic rear sight blade and replace it with a non-fiberoptic one. Maybe this is what Diana means by a replacement?

Diana 34 rear sight blade
The non fiberoptic rear sight blade came in a plastic bag, but it’s now mounted on the rifle.

The rifle

The Diana 34 EMS is a spring-piston air rifle that cocks by breaking the barrel down. I will measure the effort to cock in Part 2, but I can already tell it’s over 30 pounds. The rifle is 46.3-inches long, so it’s a big one. And the synthetic stock is wide through the forearm, though the very vertical pistol grip is slimmer and fits my hand fine. The thumbhole stock is ambidextrous and doesn’t hinder the hands either way. I suppose if your hands are large it could get in the way, but normal hands will find that it works.

Firing behavior

Of course I have shot the rifle several times, just to get a feel for it. I can tell you that there is no vibration when it fires. I don’t see any reason why you would want to install an N340 gas piston unit, but Diana designed the EMS to accept it.

Stock

The synthetic stock is roughly textured in all the right places and it really works. The rifle does not slip in the hands. The flat and thin rubber butt pad is semi-soft and grippy. You can position the butt anywhere on your shoulder that you want. And the stock sounds and feels solid, which will be welcomed by many airgunners.

The 34 EMS synthetic weighs 7.85-pounds so it’s not a lightweight. You know you’re holding something!

Barrel swap and droop compensation

This is one area where the manual leaves you wondering. There is no mention of how the barrel is exchanged or how to use the barrel shims. In fact, if I didn’t get a picture of the shims at SHOT last year we wouldn’t even know what they look like.

What comes with the rifle

The rifle comes with the manual, the spare rear sight blade and a package of stickers the manual says can be pasted over the spring tube holes for the scope stop that you don’t use. That’s a solution to a problem I never heard of.

What doesn’t come

You don’t get the optional front sight, the alignment bars, the barrel shims or instructions on how to remove the barrel and use the shims. There are also no tools that come with the airgun.

Summary

The Diana 34 EMS is the next generation of the venerable Diana 34. The older design is no longer available. So this test will tell us how well the Diana 34 tradition has been maintained.

The new rifle appears to be powerful and seems to have a very nice trigger. I hope it is accurate, and with the Diana name on the airgun it seems quite likely that it is.

92 thoughts on “Diana 34 Easy Modular System (EMS) Synthetic: Part 1

  1. BB,

    Is it possible that the shims attach by a pair of screws to the underside of the air tube, just below the air discharge hole, at the point where the lock-up wedge would bare against the tube. If the shims are of differing thickness, perhaps using the thickest one would remove the most play at that point and ensure that the barrel will point upward to the greatest extent that it can. That seems like it would also be a trade off for extra effort to both get it locked up and released for loading the next round and could account for why they give you a choice, instead of just doing away with the droop by producing the gun with a tight lock up. I know you can’t say for certain, since the gun came sans all those bits as well as instructions, but you could peek under the discharge port to see if my guess is even close.

    Good Morning, Half


  2. B.B.,

    Many of us have been eagerly awaiting this report. Am looking forward to the rest of the series.

    That’s bizarre that Diana would omit the shims and instructions on how to change the barrel – 2 of the air rifles key features!


    • Bob,

      I saw the barrel change explained on a SHOT Show video. The breech face is a nut fitted up inside the barrel block. The end of the barrel is threaded for that nut. You basically screw nut from the barrel, pull it out of the block and reverse with the new barrel. They didn’t mention the barrel being keyed in any way, but one would think it would be required somewhere in the design.

      What I have been unable to find is info on how to adjust out the droop. The aforementioned video referred to it as something you may require in the future to make up for wear, but not how or where to use the shims. The guy giving the pitch also explained that not all things would be included or even available in all countries and markets due to concerns about legality.

      Not much out there to be found.

      Half



  3. B.B.

    Do you think that the trigger adjustment screws could be replaced by Stainless Steel Allen headed ones?

    I sure hope that Diana makes this gun available with a nice walnut Hogsback stock like the one on my 340 N-Tec Luxus. Nicest OEM stock I have ever seen!

    Who is the new importer of Diana?

    -Y




    • Yogi,

      I would love to see the 34 EMS available with a walnut stock of the same quality as the one the Diana 52 Superior had.

      Diana, if you are listening, please bring back the 52 Superior!


      • Not Bob,

        The hogsback walnut stock on the 340 N-tec line is the prettiest, most useful OEM stock I have ever seen.
        Why everybody does not equip them is beyond me. If only the same shape in plastic…

        -Y


        • Yogi: I totally agree with your opinion of the 340 N-Tech Tyrolian stock. It is the most comfortable “fit” of all the rifles I own. It falls naturally to the shoulder and cheek. The forestock seems natural for the rest on an open off hand. I have the 340 Luxus version and it is the prettiest rifle in the arms locker by far.

          Before I owned the 340, my ignorant prejudice was that the “swoopy” lines of the Tyrolian stock were a showy artifice of no practical value – real shooters liked their rifles more severe and linear. I must confess that I have been “converted” to the Tyrolian curves…


  4. BB,

    This new air rifle has some good points going for it, but there are a few “options” I would still like to see. Like Yogi, I would want that walnut Luxus stock. I myself would much rather see a synthetic stock shaped like the Luxus stock than this thing. Hole cover stickers? Rubber pluggy thingys would be better. I guess you just cannot make everybody happy.

    The non glowy thingy sight option is great. The ability to change barrels easily. Is it keyed by the way? Swapping out powerplants? Once again, to each his own. Who knows, it might even work well with this thing.

    I personally cannot see picking this thing up yet, but I can see some of the possibilities with it. If they bring it out with the aforementioned walnut Luxus stock and I can pick and choose the options I want, I would really want to see one of these move into RRHFWA.


    • I agree about not picking this new 34 up yet.

      It just seems to me that there is a very sloppy roll out of a new concept rifle based on one of RWS/Diana’s stable work horses, the Model 34. Germans are usually very precise in what they do and this roll out just seems haphazard to me.

      There has been more information in this post and associated blog than in all the releases to date. It just makes no sense to me that one would not have rolled this out with the bits and pieces of the system and some kind of brochure or post explaining the key points of the system.

      To me, and I’m a dedicated RWS/Diana shooter (the main part of my arms locker) this whole thing is kind of like the manufacturer advertising a new vehicle but not have an engine in it and being vague about major features of the machine. I just don’t get it! Why are we guessing about what should be broadcast selling points?

      Something is amiss here, and it likely ISN’T the rifle (based on my experience with RWS/Diana). Someone in marketing needs a talking to….



      • LeFranke,

        Something to remember is the company that produces it is not the same company that made the Dianas you are familiar with. They even slap the name Diana on things coming out of China. They do not care about the name except for the money they can make with it.

        Over the years Diana has had its ups and downs. I think we are beginning to see a down.


        • RR:
          Yes, hasn’t RWS/Diana been bought by a sizeable German sporting goods company? If memory serves, they also own UMAREX. I’m not really up to speed on the business convolutions; I shoot ’em I don’t sell ’em.

          The caveat emptor applies, even finally, to my favorite German mark. Cheaper iterations from the orient are finding their way into the Teutonic brand. Now, that is not necessarily a bad thing (remember that the Chinese have the capacity for intricate work), but I do note that their corner seems to be in the lower end or introductory models.

          Regardless of the ownership issues and place of manufacture, the new issue Model 34 roll out seems to me, at least, to be disjointed. They claim it to be modular but then nothing! One would think that the brass band would have be cued and interesting bits would be released to stir interest.

          Someone in marketing missed an opportunity to stir interest in something new in our airgun world. Or, more pedantically, maybe, given Covid, someone or someones were missing in action?


          • LFranke,

            If memory serves me correct, the rollout of the FX Impact was almost haphazard. You must keep in mind that they want to make money as fast as is possible AND the sale of the main thingy will give a better indication of how many of the accessories might be needed. If you do not sell many of the EMS, you will not likely need many of the “modular” pieces.

            The Chinese are capable, however there is also the profit margin to consider.


  5. BB-
    Errata- caption for first picture- EMO should be EMS.

    I will try the cartridge case spinning idea (from yesterday’s blog) later today and report back.



    • BB-

      Okay, I modified a tapered cone Cratex type polishing point to be a snug plug fit in the 22 case. Used a pair of chop sticks to stabilize the spinning case. Placed a drop of white (school) glue in the bottom of the case, inserted the plug point and spun it up to speed for a split second. Works well. Visual inspection from the case mouth shows good distribution. I now have to wait for the glue to dry. I’m going to mix some glue, flour and food coloring to make a paste and try that next. After everything dries, I’ll section the cases to check the result.

      BB- how would you describe the primer consistency after adding the liquid?


      • Paco,

        How about a pic of the chopsticks that stbilize the cartridge? I assume they are a fence — i.e. on both side of the case?

        The primer is a thick sludge when wet. It doesn’t pour out, but it does stick together in clumps. I am thinking I need to try two drops of acetone next time. Your second mixture sounds more like what I’m working with.

        I also think that I need to add a drop of fingernail polish on top of the primers, once they have dried. There was a video on You Tube that I can’t locate that said if you don’t do that the Sharpshooter compound will break apart and be unreliable.

        BB


        • BB-
          Chopsticks- a v-notch cut with a pocket knife in each stick, 1/2” from the end. A couple of rubber bands wrapped around the sticks for tension on the case. But…..
          Second try with the paste- I inserted the bit a little farther in the case and used a puddle of water on the countertop to reduce friction from the down force of the Dremel. Nudged the spinning case against the rubber sink mat. This worked better than the chopsticks. No wobble- brought the machine up to full speed- 32,000 rpm. I’m putting the chopsticks back in the odds and ends drawer. I’ll section the cases tomorrow after the glue dries. In the meantime I’m hunting for some kind of hypodermic needle device that will drive the primer down to the base. Very fiddly getting the paste down there with a toothpick.




              • Paco

                Why can’t the case be chucked up in a Jacobs chuck or a collet on a good drill press or Bridgeoort.

                I don’t understand the chopsticks.

                Just put the open end of the case in the collet or chuck and spin it.

                What am I missing?


                • You’re not missing anything. I wanted a simpler method of holding and spinning the case at a high speed. Jacob’s chuck or collets would work fine. It just the time involved in holding the work piece in the chuck and tightening, bring machine to speed and back to stop, loosen chuck, remove work piece, etc. I realize there are automated chucks to speed things along but they can be spendy. The Dremel, tightly fitted plug bit, a puddle of water to reduce friction and keep the case cool seems to be the ticket. After the primer is in the bottom of the case, I had about 3 seconds in putting the bit in the case, bringing it up to speed, back to stop, pull the case off the bit and setting it on the window sill to dry.


          • Pacoinohio,

            Take a look at some of the Aluminum cake/cookie decorating nozzles. One of those with a proper sized (tight fitting) dowel/metal plunger rod might work to injet a blob of primer.

            shootski



              • Gunfun1,

                Only to get the primer down to the base of the casing. Then it would need to be spun to the rim edge. It would need to be a very good fit and the rod would probably need to be much harder than the nozzle to avoid bore bypass leakage. They probably spin it with the injector (s) I would bet that is close to how the manufacturer’s do it in a multi-step process to speed it along.

                shootski


  6. B.B.,

    Thjs looks to be quite interesting, and it’s reassuring to guys like me that major makers like Diana are still investing in new springer designs. (Now if they would invest in more committed sales staff for their show booths!)

    Michael


  7. BB.

    I took a quick look at the specs and saw that this is a pretty hot rifle. Maybe too fast in .177 and at 950 fps, pushing the edge of the envelope in .22 caliber. Wondering why you chose to test the .177 caliber on a rifle that appears to be ideal for hunting/pesting.

    Maybe you can get a .22 barrel and show us how to swap it. I’d be curious to see how it would shoot with a pellet heavy enough to bring the velocity down to the high 800s.

    Looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Cheers!
    Hank



    • Hank,

      In a YouTube video, it may be the one I referenced near the the top of these comments, I heard a Diana rep allude to barrels in addition to the .177 and .22 caliber. Maybe the big powerplant is for a .25 barrel or they may be going for enough velocity to stabilize slugs as well, since there seems to be a huge interest in that aspect of shooting airguns.

      Half


  8. BB

    It’s no secret I am a big Diana 34 fan. It can compare nicely with any sporting break barrel springer for accuracy at 25 yards that I know of. There is one point about cocking effort I wish to make. The break in over a few thousand shots did wonders for reducing cocking effort on my rifle. No sound can be heard and so silky smooth.

    Should be a must series to follow. You have much experience with 34’s and will use it in comparing this rifle to previous versions.

    Deck



  9. B.B.,

    Interesting that so many critical parts and information is lacking for this re-designed Diana 34 to work. Obviously this undermines the backbone of the EMS marketing.

    According to the PA website, “an 11mm dovetails optics mount is also available for adding a scope”. Does this mean that without this part you can’t mount a scope on the rifle? Did/does the Diana 34 EMS come with the 11mm scope rail or do you have to buy it separately?

    The EMS system seems solid in theory but in practice it’s falling short. Early on I’m wondering if EMS stands for Easy Money Stripping from consumers.


    • Kevin,

      You wrote exactly what I was thinking when I read this blog. Seems like a very half arsed and clumsy attempt to convince us that this is something unique. I have no idea why someone would want to put a gas piston in an airgun either. Those things are horrible to shoot



      • Half,

        Thanks for the video link. Although I watched the video several times it’s unclear at 3:14 that those holes are stops or exist to mount an aftermarket dovetail accessory that PA refers to in their marketing. If the rail is designed for tip off rings how would an average airgunner use the holes for a stop pin? Would they intuitively know to purchase a separate stop block to keep their scope from moving on such a powerful break barrel?

        We’re going down a rabbit hole now but my main point in my original post is just underscored…don’t roll out a concept without the details of what parts come with it, what parts are available to prove the modularity, where can they be purchased and what do they cost?


        • Kevin,

          Maybe we aren’t talking about the same thing. When I say “tip off” I mean 3/8″ rings like one would use on a .22 rimfire rifle. There seems to be a very obvious dovetail milled into the top of that gun and I’m just assuming that it is 3/8″. I have dozens of pairs of cheap scope rings that have stop pins built right into the rings with no need for a stop block. They are accessed with the top half of the ring removed and screwed down with an Allen wrench. I’ve known about them and what they were for for a long time and don’t think anyone had to tell me what they were for. Have you not seen the rings I’m describing?

          I think you may be misreading PA’s ad copy. ” For greater flexibility than the different options for sights, an 11mm dovetails optics mount is also available for adding a scope.” It clearly states that the gun is equipped to take 11mm optic mounts, which is one of the ways that 3/8″ tip off rings are sometimes described. Some would argue that it is the more accurate way to describe airgun dovetails. It is also the 5th bullet point under “Description” and in “Specifications” it lists “11mm Dovetail” as the answer to the query, “Scopeable?”

          I think some of the concerns you express in the “rabbit hole” paragraph have been addressed already by PA. They tell you what it comes with. They have a whole Q and A section that will try to get the other questions answered.

          Half


        • Kevin,

          I went surfing for a users manual for the EMS and although I couldn’t find one, I did find a Diana 2020 catalog. Here are some screen shots I took that show the rail and list it as a feature.

          The rail



        • Kevin,

          In rereading BB’s report I see that he mentions that the stickers are for covering the unused Scope Stop Holes in the spring tube so that must be at least two of the holes in that video.

          Half




    • RidgeRunner,

      When you get those nice skins/sheets of Leather there are always scraps. Use a round punch to make a disk of the size target you want then punch a hole near the edge to hang it from. You can get fancy and also punch a hole in the center of the disk to shoot through! Two holes near the edge and two point hang will keep it from spinning. Dye the Leather disk any color you want!

      Hank will now do the same thing with scrap wood and a hole saw, LOL!

      shootski



        • RidgeRunner,

          You are in control of the disk size and the hole size in the center!
          I bet a good hide disk would just flip out of the way most times. You may not be worried about the clang or thump of hitting the target but lots of folks living in “sensitive” areas might go for the stealth QUIET target!

          shootski


          • shootski,

            You do have a point. With many of the ladies around here it is not likely to tear the disc up. But they also do not make much racket when they hit a steel disc either.

            As for myself, I could not possibly live in a “sensitive” area. Where I live, it is unusual if you do not here some gunfire during the day, or at night for that matter. Of course there are many cities that are like that also, but the targets are usually different. Here, my airguns are not even noticed.



      • Chris,

        Yeah, right.

        It was fun! I will have to try my hand at it some more. By the way, it took me several months to crank that out and several rewrites also. The first picture is Stephen Archer’s and he was kind enough to do a little bit of editing here and there.

        The main thing is that it was fun!


        • RR,

          I use the same dots. Maybe it was me that showed them first? Also, the ring binder paper reinforcement stickers. They come in colors too. Like you,I will color them black depending on what color I am sticking them on. The yellows do not show well on white paper.

          Chris



            • Paco,

              Assuming you can even buy black dot stickers, that would be fine. The dots are easily available in Walmart and office supply stores and come in either white,.. or colored as shown in RR’s report.

              Chris


              • Yes, black dots are right next to the white and colored. At least they were at the Office Depot before it closed. Avery is one brand. Say, you don’t suppose that’s why the closed the store do you? To keep us target-less? Anyway, they are available online in a variety of sizes on sheets and rolls.


          • Chris,

            The ring binder thingys that I tried did not stick so well. Maybe they were just old. I do not know where I came up with the dot thing. I have been using them for a loooooong time.


    • RR,

      Nice going, dude. Good text, good art work. All professional like!

      Have you ever tried gluing thin rubber or felt sheeting to the end of a wooden dowel? You can carefully trim it to the circular shape of the dowel and use it along with an inked pad to make a “Dot” ink stamp. Different sized rods will provide different sized targets. You could make a crosshair as well, I’d guess, for your scoped work. There may also be other materials that will work. I just stamp directly on the cardboard sometimes and other times I stamp printer paper. I have one of those refill kits for computer printer cartridges that I’ve never gotten around to using and I’m toying with the idea of getting extra empty ink pads and filling them with that ink.

      Now that I have an Air Javelin I will be amassing some empty 88 gram bottles and, thanks to you, I now know they are facing a very unpleasant retirement. LOL

      Half


      • Half,

        Go for it dude! That is a pretty good idea about making a stamp. Maybe you should put together something and have BB put it up here. Share that with everybody.

        As for the price dots, a bunch of them come in a nice, little, slim pack that tucks into the pocket of my sandbag bag with the Sharpie. I just stick them up as I need them. With the X’s, I do not need to be anywhere close to precise with them as I am shooting at the convergence. No straight edge, no protractor. Just a hand drawn X on the cardboard.

        Dig into your target making, write it up and send it to BB so he can put it out here for all of us to read.

        P.S. Get some orange spray paint. Those big buggas are great for long range shooting. 😉


    • That was a fun and useful read; going to use some of those suggestions for handgun practice with the 38T that just came back from “resurrection.” Have also stashed away cardboard sourced from my friend’s vending machine business for targeting and backstop purposes. FM likes repurposing, hates waste.



  10. BB,
    I’ve been interested in this new Diana concept for a while; now, time to learn the facts has finally arrived – Thank you, BB. Considering all those new features, this shall end up being a long, long review, I assume, but I am interested only in the accuracy test part of the report. With a price tag same as HW50S, it has to be extremely accurate to convince the ‘wolves’ of this niche market.
    Fish


  11. BB,

    Here is a photo from the 2020 Diana catalog showing a detail of the shim system. It seems to be sort of like I predicted. I’ll follow that with a pic that shows the two flat, notched squares with the caption calling them the ” Changeable Rear Sight”, so you called that right. After that will be a close up of the barrel change assembly shown in section.

    Half



  12. BB,
    Disappointed in this rifle!
    Is it more powerful than its ‘predecessor’?
    The only good reason why they have not simultaneously released all the advertised options I can discern it that the design is problematic. Maybe they have outsourced parts like they did years ago with barrels from China. That was a disaster which they corrected by reverting to barrels made in Germany. If this model is more powerful, they have dropped the ball on dumbing down the scope rail to cut slots! Quite a few modern air rifles are going to picatinny railing, even PCPs fcol! An adapter is not the answer as it would make the scope too high for a good cheek weld ( which is one of the problems with the original 34 when a droop compensation rail adapter is added)
    I agree with Hank on you testing the 177 too, but you have a way out on that by testing the 22 barrel, if it ever comes out .
    I don’t think that they have discontinued the work horse 34 though. Umarex still stock them.


    • Possibly, no one reads this few days old page anymore, but still, I would like to kindly ask you to try to order one of the older Dianas on Umarex website; they are all out of stock. I believe Umarex website will be updated soon, and they will be history…
      Let’s give a chance to the new 34. BB’s accuracy test will come to the bottom of all the concerns. If the new 34 is accurate, then all its modular aspirations will be welcome.


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