Pneumatic Pnews

Monday, January 02, 2006

RWS Diana 350 magnum

by Tex Force

Let me be the 400th person to wish you a Happy New Year!

This week I want to talk about a spring rifle that is about the best value going. Oh, it's not cheap, though Compasseco has put it on sale as I write this blog. That will change in time, but even at the full price, the RWS Diana 350 Magnum (5th rifle down on the page) is a classic air rifle that's tough to beat.

It's a BIG gun!
The length and size of this rifle puts it into the LARGE category. It's 45" long and well-proportioned for an adult. Yet, despite the size, the 350M is not at all heavy. At 8.2 lbs., it's lighter than a Beeman R1 (5th rifle down on the page), a rifle it trounces in the power category. Diana managed to somehow make the 350 easy to cock. At just 33 lbs. of force when fully broken-in, this monster cocks easier than the R1!

One of the three power kings!
There are only two other spring rifles sold in the U.S. that have this kind of power - the Gamo Hunter 1250 (3rd down on the page) and the Webley Patriot (which is also sold as the Beeman Kodiak - end of the page). Both those rifles are heavier than the 350 and quite a bit harder to cock. The Webley is also considerably more expensive.

With the right pellets, the 350 is a slammin' powerhouse. Beeman Kodiak pellets (bottom of the page) will get more than 21 foot-pounds out of the gun. If you want the best, try RWS Superpoints! (bottom of the page) For some strange reason, this rifle seems to love this pellet and will shoot it at almost 24.5 foot-pounds! That's hummin' along at 875 f.p.s., which is about as fast as you want to go for the best accuracy.

How is it to shoot?
Like most spring-piston air rifles, the 350 Magnum requires some technique to shoot well. You hold it with the lightest touch you can manage, so it can recoil as much as it wants to. It'll reward you with half-inch groups at 25 yards. Hold it tight, and the group size will double.

Open sights are all you need
The 350M comes with an incredible set of open sights. They're fully adjustable, and the front globe accepts different inserts, though none come with the gun. The rear sight features four different notch shapes, so you can tailor it to your liking. Of course, the adjustment knobs have crisp detents, so you know what's going on.

Which caliber to pick?
The 350M comes in both .177 and .22. You're going to get the highest velocity with .177 (a bad thing, if you exceed about 950 f.p.s.) and the most power from the .22 (a very good thing). If you do choose the .177, remember to order the heaviest pellets you can find to keep the velocity under about 950 f.p.s. Then, you'll have real power plus a flat trajectory, but you won't go supersonic and blow your pellets all over the place. In .22, the 350M can really shove the heavy lead, getting as much as 685 f.p.s. out of 21-grain Kodiaks. But, that 14.5-grain RWS Superpoint is definitely a pellet you'll want to try, because it's going downrange at just under 900 f.p.s. - perfect for long-range accuracy and deep penetration.

Should you mount a scope?
Every gun benefits from a scope simply because the aim point is more precise. For the 350M, I'd recommend a Tech Force Heavy Duty Hunting Scope (third down on the page) in 3-9X40mm. I would mount it in a pair of B-Square fixed 1" rings. I like the two-piece rings because they give you more flexibility where you mount the scope.

Finally - it's on sale!
The 350 Magnum is on sale as I post this blog. I don't know how long that will last, but there's never been a better time to buy one than now. If you're looking for a large, powerful spring rifle, this is one of the top three available. It's a deal!

5 Comments:

  • You mentioned that a shooter shopuld hold a spring piston gun lightly for best accuracy - but how about CO2 and pneumatics? Should they be held the same or would they benefit from a firm grip?

    By Blogger deputy154, at 11:34 AM, January 04, 2006  

  • deputy 154,

    I'm going to waffle on this answer. My experience shooting firearms has translated well into airguns. I think a firm hold doesn't hurt the accuracy of a pneumatic or gas gun, as long as there is a good follow-through.

    I shoot a 10-meter air postol, which is a target pistol capable of shooting five shots in less than a tenth of an inch at 33 feet. I'm not that good, but the gun is. It's powered by CO2, and I have used the same hold with pneumatic target pistols, so I know it works there, too.

    I grip the pistol with my middle finger pressing straight back so the gun comes into the web of my hand. All other fingers and my thumb are putting no pressure on the gun. That is a tight grip, but a modified one. I learned it from a Distinguished Pistol shooter who shot the M1911.

    So I don't think a firm grip (or hold, if we're talking about a rifle) is a problem with these airguns, as long as the follow-through is there.

    Tex

    By Anonymous Tex Force, at 12:17 PM, January 04, 2006  

  • I had some success with the pistol hold you described. I am right eye dominant, but I shoot pistols left-handed and long guns right handed. Anyway, I found if I let my middle, ring or little fingers touch the grip, I pull shots to the right. My coach taped thumbtacks to the grip of my gun to make me stop!!

    By Blogger deputy154, at 8:11 AM, January 05, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Rifles, at 7:59 PM, January 06, 2006  

  • deputy 154,

    Yep, a pull is what you get. I always pull to the left when I do it (I shoot right-handed).

    Tex

    By Blogger Tex Force, at 3:24 AM, January 07, 2006  

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