Hunting with an RWS Model 34

The Diana Model 34 with a scope attached.

The Diana Model 34 with a scope attached.

by: Randall Mitchell

The RWS Model 34 from Diana of Germany is one of the most sold spring-piston rifles known today. Many air gun enthusiasts have one of these fine air guns in their possession and use it for plinking and fun shooting. However, many individuals miss out on the hunting uses this fine example of German engineering brings to the table.

I have been shooting the RWS Model 34 for a number of years now, having owned one or two in the past. Air guns at my house tend to come and stay for awhile, then move on to another worthy owner who shows interest in it while I’m at the range or shooting with a group of friends. So when my new RWS showed up on the porch from Umarex, I decided to write a brief article on the hunting uses of the Model 34.

The RWS Model 34 leaning against a stump on my property, with a tin of Superdome pellets.

The RWS Model 34 leaning against a stump on my property, with a tin of Superdome pellets.

When you hunt with an air gun, you will find there are debates in the air gun world as to which caliber is best for different game. I consider the .22 the best all-around caliber if you are going to own just one air gun…but where’s the fun in that? As you hunt more often and learn the differences in the calibers and their effectiveness, you’ll find the ability of the shooter a bigger factor than the caliber of the air gun in question. The rifle I ordered was a .177 caliber, and I quickly opened up a tin of RWS Superdomes and began breaking in the gun.

I shoot a couple of hundred pellets through an air gun before worrying too much about velocity measurements and accuracy tests. New spring piston guns need a break-in period to allow the internal parts to start working smoothly together, so shooting a half-tin or more of pellets is a great way to allow those parts to mesh and start doing what they were designed to do at top efficiency. I also took a moment to run a swab or two down the barrel to remove the preservatives inside the barrel. With a clean bore and some ammo already sent down range, I was ready to do some hunting!

I own about 3 acres on the edge of town, with lots of old-growth trees filled with hollows. These hollows make excellent nesting sites for woodpeckers and bluebirds, two of my favorite birds to watch and enjoy. However, they are set upon by English sparrows and European starlings constantly, so I try to even the odds in the favor of the native species, and eliminate every sparrow and starling I can find. Stalking along the edge of my property, I was offered several shots at starlings and sparrows that were competing over hollows and cavities for nesting rights.

The first sparrow I caught was arguing with a relative of hers over who had the best roost on the bush they were in. The male sparrows were also hanging around, trying to catch the attention of the females. I shot the female first at 10 yards, and the rest flew up into a tree to figure out what was going on. At that point, a Superdome was sent precisely to one of the male sparrows, putting him down for the count. That’s a couple of English sparrows that won’t be arguing with my bluebirds this spring!

Next came the European starlings, airborne Vikings I call them. From the front porch, I harvested the first with an upward shot. When shooting up, be sure you can call your shots—shooting at elevated targets or targets lower than you can be tricky sometimes. You need to hold a little bit under what you might think for such shots. Starling #2 was a longer shot of about 30 yards as it was searching for food on the lawn. After the shot connected, the starlings just folded up and went to sleep..

The RWS 34 with four of the birds that it was able to take care of.

The RWS 34 with four of the birds that it was able to take care of.

The Superdome pellets from this pellet gun are both accurate and devastating on pests and small game as well. There is currently no open season for small game in Kentucky right now, so I had to limit my hunting to the avian pest species that you see in the picture. Each pest was a one-shot, one-kill example of the usefulness that the Model 34 can provide as a pest control tool and small game hunting rifle. But during the small game seasons, rabbits and squirrels fall to this combination quite often. In addition to my experience with the Model 34, I was at the local police chief’s office recently, talking about pigeon control. He showed me the tool he uses for quiet and efficient removal of feral pigeons. Want to guess what it was? Yep, an RWS Model 34 in .177 caliber. He likes to use head shots, and finds the air gun very accurate and up to the job.

Just how accurate is the Model 34? It’s funny you should ask. Now don’t think I’m crazy here, but unusual targets are a favorite of mine. I’ll sit 10 yards from a ripe fruit tree and pick off the wasps and yellow jackets that buzz around the tree if the rifle I am shooting is up to the task. So I want to show you a picture that you may or may not recognize right off.

While waiting for another starling to come winging into range, I noticed a large housefly sitting on a cardboard box that was about 5 yards away. He was just sitting there in the sun, and I just couldn’t resist! I placed the sights on the fly, and at 5 yards left nothing but what you see in the picture.

The remnants of the housefly.

The remnants of the housefly.

The remnants of the housefly.

Nothing but a splash left for any evidence that a fly ever sat there. Now that is accuracy! And that accuracy extends out to further ranges in proportion to the ability of the shooter. This is a well-made rifle that brings home the bacon when shooting pests and small game.

Click to view all available RWS 34 guns.  The link will show the following items:

  • RWS Model 34 with or without Scope, .22 or .177
  • RWS Model 34 P with or without Scope, .22 or .177
  • RWS Model 34 Pro Compact .177
  • RWS Model 34 Meisterschutze Pro

12 Spring Gun Shooting Tips for Accuracy

The RWS 34P Panther is a Spring Piston Air Rifle. Click image to learn more.

The RWS 34P Panther is a Spring Piston Air Rifle. Click image to learn more.

This article of shooting tips for improving your accuracy was originally written for RWS guns, but applies to all spring piston air guns.

  1. Be patient as you break in your new gun. Spring piston airguns typically require 500-1,000 shots to break in properly. Groups may be erratic for the first 100+ shots.
  2. DO NOT bench rest on ANY solid objects! NO part of the gun should rest on a rigid surface or object.
  3. Stabilize your shooting surface.  Utilize sand bags, pillows, or folded quilts as a shooting surface. This helps stabilize the gun so that you can verify the gun’s accuracy instead of the gun & shooter combined.
  4. Protect your gun barrel.  The gun barrel is NEVER to rest on any surface when shooting.
  5. Position the gun so that it is resting and pointing at a specific target point without being held. You can then ease into the shooting position without changing sight picture. By taking out as much of the “human factor” of holding the gun, your accuracy will most likely improve.
  6. SQUEEZE the trigger – pulling the trigger or jerking the trigger will result in terrible accuracy.
  7. Make sure to follow-through for every shot. Try not to blink when the gun fires and continue to focus on the precise point of aim.
  8. Always hold the gun “loosely” at the forearm and in the shoulder. Spring guns usually become inaccurate when held tightly.
  9. Use a consistent position & grip.  Changing your shooting position or grip can and will affect your point of impact.
  10. Become familiar with your rifle and your ammo.  Each rifle is individual and has its own characteristics. To achieve the best performance, you should try an RWS Pellet Sampler pack of pellets to see which ammo your gun shoots the most accurately.
  11. Don’t use junk ammo.  Use only high quality pellets in your rifle, such as the RWS line of pellets. They are much cleaner and manufactured to more exacting tolerances.
  12. Never dry fire a spring gun.  Dry firing your spring rifle can damage your gun.

Many competent air rifle fans are aware of these rules.  How many do you think consistently follow all of them?

 

Dieseling Air Rifles

by: Glenn and Danny

Editor’s Note: This articles comes directly from gunsmiths who work at Umarex USA.

The mainspring of a rifle that broke due to heavy dieseling.

The mainspring of a rifle that broke due to heavy dieseling.

Have you noticed smoke coming out of the barrel or breech of an air rifle or an unusually loud shot? Dieseling is the ignition of a fuel resulting from the heat generated by the compression of air in a cylinder. When the air within a spring-piston airgun’s receiver tube is compressed, the temperature of the air rises to a very high level, igniting the tiny oil droplets that lubricate the piston seal and walls of the compression chamber. Thus, a combustion and sometimes detonation can result.

Dieseling in an air rifle is natural due to the lubrication required for smooth operation, but too much lubrication can be damaging to your airgun, and may even result in injury to you or others. This is why we stress you follow the RWS recommended air rifle 1000 shot maintenance schedule (also see 100 shot schedule) and specified amount of lubrication for all of your air rifles.

A carbon mainspring with heavy buildup and damage caused by dieseling.

A carbon mainspring with heavy buildup and damage caused by dieseling.

The accompanying picture of a broken spring is an example of what may happen if you over-lubricate your air rifle. The excessive amounts of oil can detonate, creating a powerful force within the receiver tube that violently slams the piston into the spring. When conditions are right, or rather wrong in this case, the force can cause the internal spring to break, rendering the rifle unusable.

The same thing can happen if you use the wrong type of lubricant. You should avoid using petroleum-based lubricants in your air rifle. These lubes are more prone to combustion and some formulas are known to deteriorate the piston’s seal.

While a broken spring due to over-lubricating is one of the worst things you can do to your spring-piston rifle, excessive dieseling can also lead to tears in the piston seal, which will cause a decrease in power and consequently, the velocity.

Many of the air rifles we receive for repair have been over-lubricated. We’ve seen this so often that it’s immediately recognizable, be it the black build-up of carbon on the piston seal, a torn seal, or a broken mainspring. We’ve even seen situations where excess oil has seeped out of the chamber and onto the stock.

Dieseling can cause heavy damage to the inside of an airgun if it is not controlled for.

Dieseling can cause heavy damage to the inside of an airgun if it is not controlled.

Dieseling can cause heavy damage to the inside of an airgun if it is not controlled.

To avoid dieseling, be sure to use non-petroleum based lubricants, like RWS Chamber Lube and Spring Cylinder Oil. Then, only apply the amount as specified in the gun’s manual or in the RWS recommended air rifle 1000 shot maintenance schedule (also see 100 shot schedule).

If you have an air rifle that has been over-lubed, or lubed with petroleum-based oil, the best and safest thing you can do is to contact us at Umarex USA. Ship the gun to us un-cocked and unloaded with the Return Authorization number we’ve provided. We have the specific decompression equipment necessary to disassemble and clean your air rifle and we’ll send it back to you shooting like new.

How To Fix Scope Parallax Issues

All gun scopes, such as those made by RWS and Walther, can experience parallax issues.

All gun scopes, such as those made by RWS and Walther, can experience parallax issues.

by: Glenn and Danny

Editor’s Note: This articles comes directly from gunsmiths who work at Umarex USA.

Whenever we get into a discussion with someone about rifle scopes, inevitably the subject of parallax arises. Scope parallax confuses a lot of people, and there is a great deal of misunderstanding on the subject.

First things first; the term “parallax” is used to describe the difference in angles between objects that are seen up close and those seen far away. When you are driving and look at telephone poles pass by on the side of the road, those closest to your car seem to pass very fast, while the ones far away seem to go very slow. That difference is due to parallax.

The lens can focus the object in front of the reticle (in this case the retina of your eye) and cause parallax issues.

The lens can focus the object in front of the reticle (in this case the retina of your eye) and cause parallax issues.

In general, it is wise to keep the old phrase in mind, “The better you can see your sights and your target, the more accurately you will shoot.”  However, that phrase is only true as long as your sights are pointing in the same place from one shot to the next. Telescopic sights allow you to see much further distances, but they create new sighting problems with rifles that never were a problem in the old iron-sighting days.

A scope with parallax issues can wreak havoc on a person’s air rifle accuracy as well as sanity! We see this issue frustrate people to no end time and time again in our service and gunsmith departments. If you don’t know what’s going on and how to check for this problem then you could be wasting hours at the range trying to figure out what is causing the “accuracy” problem.

Many modern day airgun scopes have an adjustable objective (AO) feature, which is located at the forward end of the scope or the turret. There will be an adjustment ring with yardage numbers that can be rotated to coincide with the distance at which you are shooting.

If you are suspicious that there may be parallax issues with a scope then place the gun in a solid rest that totally supports the gun without you holding it. Place a target at a known distance and set the AO ring to coincide with that particular distance. Adjust the gun rest so that the crosshairs are centered on the bull’s-eye.

 

The AO yardage marks are visible on many scopes today.

The AO yardage marks are visible on many scopes today.

Adjust a gun while on a solid “hands free” rest to correct for parallax.

Now, move your head left and right about 1” in each direction. The crosshairs should remain centered on the bull’s-eye as you move your head left and right. If the crosshairs are wandering off the bull’s-eye then there is an issue with the parallax at that distance for that scope when you are shooting it.

It should be noted that distances marked on the scope are not necessarily written in stone. A person’s own optics of their eye comes in to play for a certain scope at a certain distance. Some scopes do not put markings on the scopes for this very reason, instead saying to use the test (above) to find the point of zero parallax error for each distance and then use a silver or white paint pen to mark the positions. If you do notice an issue with parallax on your gun, you can try rotating the AO incrementally to see if the parallax issue can be eliminated, and then noting the position that the AO is in for that distance. If you are unable to eliminate the parallax, then we suggest replacing the scope with another one.

Adjust a gun while on a solid "hands free" rest to correct for parallax.

Adjust a gun while on a solid “hands free” rest to correct for parallax.

The parallax issue is a critical one for hunters and target shooters. The crosshair remaining centered on the bull’s-eye when moving your head left and right is of utmost importance. The reason being…if you didn’t position your cheek at the exact same spot on the stock each time you are shooting then it would be like moving the rear sight, which of course changes your point of impact. By its very nature, parallax is more of an issue at close distances and becomes less of one the further out one aims. Because air rifles are usually aimed at much closer distances than firearms, parallax can be much more of an issue among air rifle shooters.

So, if you find yourself becoming increasingly frustrated with sighting in your rifle, look at parallax as an issue that might need to be eliminated.

 

 

 

Learn More about items mentioned in this article:

Pellet Selection for Rotary Mag Guns

Air pistols, such as the HK P30, use rotary magazines and require proper pellet selection to function well.

Air pistols, such as the HK P30, use rotary magazines and require proper pellet selection to function well.

by: Glenn and Danny

Editor’s Note: This articles comes directly from gunsmiths who work at Umarex USA.

When it comes to proper pellet selection for Umarex airguns that use rotary magazines, we time and time again see people choosing the wrong pellets. At best, a wrong pellet will shoot inaccurately, and at worst it can damage the magazine or gun itself.

We recommend that airguns utilizing a rotary style magazine not be loaded with pointed pellets. This is because pointed pellets are typically longer in length than other styles of pellets, and if they protrude from within the dimension of the magazine then it will likely result in the gun not cycling properly. This is because the end of the pellet can “catch” and cause the gun to cycle improperly. Pointed pellets can also damage the internal hand that rotates the magazine, which leads to future problems with the gun mechanism being able to rotate the magazine to the next chamber when you try to shoot.

The tips of pointed pellets can protrude from rotary magazines, causing damage.

In general, if the tip of the pellet is slightly protruding it can make contact with the internal gun surface and create resistance thus not allowing the proper rotation of the magazine. Besides the possibility of causing internal damage to the gun, this situation can result in misalignment of the pellet with the bore and a normal discharge cannot take place.

Umarex 8 Round Rotary Mags work in the HK P30.  Click this image to view the mag page.

Umarex 8 Round Rotary Mags work in the HK P30. Click this image to view the mag page.

If the internal rotating hand is damaged then it will require repair by one of our highly trained gunsmiths. If you have a gun that utilizes this style magazine and it does not seem to be functioning properly, you can check the rotary magazine to see if it has any damaged teeth, which would prove this to be the case. The gun may cycle for several shots and then fail to discharge properly. If one of these teeth gets distorted and the gun cycles to that particular spot on the magazine you will experience problems. That magazine must be discarded to avoid damage to your gun. A high quality, well fitting pellet such as RWS German made pellets are suggested for optimum performance. The RWS Meisterkugeln, RWS Hobby, and RWS Superdome are superior pellet options for Umarex Airguns.

For an overview of the different types of pellets, see the How To Choose an Airgun Pellet article. For a comparison of hunting pellets, see the article, “Best Airgun Pellets for Hunting.