RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact Air Rifle Test Review .177 Cal
2 March 2015
Supplied by Umarex USA.
Good solid bundle needs no upgrades to shoot well.
Fine T06 trigger.
Hard to cock.
VALUE FOR MONEY
At a Street Price of around $300, the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact is probably not an obvious choice. Its’ muzzle velocity is lower than that of many competitive spring/piston air rifles at this price point and it does not feature modern gas ram technology. There’s no silencer. And there’s no .22 caliber version for the greater knock down capability required to hunt larger critters.
What the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact does offer is excellent accuracy with most pellets, an unusual appearance and the strong perception of quality German engineering. Within it’s capabilities, it’s an excellent hunting air rifle.
For those making a purchase decision based on muzzle velocity, “bang for the buck” and latest technology, the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact air rifle is not a strong contender. But for those whose interest is in quality, accuracy and the ownership of something just a little different, it looks very attractive.
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Diana RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact
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Diana RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact air rifle
SPEED AND ACCURACY
The RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact Air Rifle clears the magic 1,000 FPS muzzle velocity hurdle with ease, with both lead free pallets and the 7.0 Grain RWS Hobby lead pellets. As is to be expected, muzzle velocity tails off when shooting heavier weight pellets, falling to 814 FPS with the heavy H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain pellets.
Muzzle energy (knock down power) for the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro is somewhat variable. It ranges from just 13.68 Ft/Lbs with the JSB Exact Diabalo pellets to 17.33 Ft/Lbs with H&N Field Target Trophy Green alloy pellets.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain||1179.44 FPS||14.50 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||1185.86 FPS||17.33 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain||1038.19 FPS||16.74 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain||939.18 FPS||15.46 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain||854.68 FPS||13.68 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||875.09 FPS||14.68 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best tested.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain||814.42 FPS||15.66 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
Accuracy is outstanding with 5 of the pellet types used for HAM test reviews. It’s very difficult to pick the winner between the accuracy obtained in this HAM test by Crosman Premier Hollow Points, H&N Field Target Trophy and H&N Baracuda Match pellets.
Although best accuracy in this test was obtained by the H&N Field Target Trophy pellets – just! – the outstanding accuracy of the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact air rifle tested by HAM with Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets was very significant. This is because the majority of airgun shooters simply go to Walmart and buy the pellets they see there.
As Crosman Premier Hollow Points are available at Walmart stores everywhere, the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact will probably mostly be shot with them. Fortunately, the results will be excellent.
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H&N Field Target Trophy .177 Cal, 8.64 Grains, Domed, 500ct
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
Trigger pull weight was very low on the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact tested by HAM. The average trigger pull weight was just 1 lb 6 oz.
Of course the RWS 34 series are fitted with the Diana T06 trigger, which is renowned for its excellent characteristics. This is a 2-stage trigger with a smooth, comfortable metal blade. HAM tester Paul Manktelow found the trigger of the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact tested by HAM to be quite smooth and – being a long-time RWS 34 owner himself – he expects it to improve further with use over the long term.
The safety is automatic. It’s disengaged by pushing the knob at the end of the compression chamber, as generations of RWS/Diana air rifles. As always, HAM testers prefer a manual safety, but this one is easy to operate, and doing so soon becomes second nature.
Cocking effort was heavy, as expected from the very short barrel. The HAM tests found the cocking effort to be quite stout, at 42 lbs. That confirms the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact as a specialized hunting airgun for pests, birds and some small game. The heavy cocking effort rules out an afternoon of happy plinking with this gun!
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Compared to the maker’s claims, the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact gives a mixed performance.
At an average of 1 lb 6 ozs, the trigger pull weight on the gun tested by HAM was far below the 3.3 lbs claimed by the manufacturer. That’s great as the trigger remained safe at that pull weight and displayed no tendency to go off unexpectedly.
Cocking effort is another matter…
Umarex USA shows a cocking effort for the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact of 33 lbs. Strangely, this is the same as that for the regular RWS 34 which, having a much longer barrel, would be expected to have a lower cocking effort. Maybe this is a mis-claim as the cocking effort recorded by HAM far exceeded the claim at 42 lbs.
The manufacturer’s specification for weight of the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact is 7.75 lbs – the same as the scopeless Model 34. Again, this is probably an error as the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact tested by HAM weighed-in at a surprisingly heavy 9lb 12 oz with the scope fitted.
A final disagreement between manufacturer’s claims and actual tested results concerned the recoil pad. This is described as being made of rubber. On the gun tested by HAM it was hard plastic instead. We would have much preferred the rubber buttpad promised in the specs!
Consistency is a strong suit for the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact!
Of the standard HAM test pellets, only the Gamo Raptor Platinum and RWS Hobby pellets gave less than excellent accuracy. This gives the HAM team the confidence to predict that most users will likely find great accuracy with their choice of pellets.
Standard Deviation – the measure of shot-to-shot variation in a string was outstandingly good, dropping to well under 3 fps with both H&N Field Target Trophy Green and JSB Exact Diabalo pellets. Overall, the average Standard Deviation for the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact tested by HAM was 9.21 fps. If the huge outlying figure for the Gamo Raptor Platinum pellets is omitted, the Standard Deviation for the remaining 6 pellet types drops to just 4.97 fps. This is great consistency!
Tested trigger pull weight was again very consistent, with only one outlier above 2 lbs, the remaining 6 pulls registering in the 1 lb 0 oz to 1 lb 8oz range.
Overall, consistency for the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact tested by HAM was excellent.
Noise level for the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact is about average for a spring/piston air rifle of this power level. Note that the large caring around the front of the barrel is NOT a silencer!
As with any air rifle of this power level, shooting lead free pellets with a muzzle velocity of over 1100 FPS may just break the sound barrier and cause a loud sonic boom. Sticking to heavier lead pellets removes this possibility and keeps the noise level down to manageable levels.
Below. This is NOT a sliencer!
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact is bundled with an RWS-branded 3-9 x 40AO scope and RWS one-piece “Lock Down Mount”. This is NOT a bundled scope and mount that you will want to replace immediately!
The 3-9 x 40AO scope focuses down to 10 yards and is a sharp, clear optic for the price. The scope turrets operate well and are supplied with covers so that they will not be moved accidentally when hunting in the field.
As a long-time “Model 34” owner, HAM tester Paul Manktelow has some valuable advice for those mounting the scope to the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact for the first time.
He says: “Note that the large-headed screw at the rear of the scope rail is NOT a scope stop. If you try to use it in that way, it will shear off. I removed that screw to mount the scope on this gun. (It doesn’t hold the rail to the compression tube) before installing the scope mount. Also, never try to remove the hex looking screws on the scope rail – those do hold the rail to the compression tube. They are peened over inside and are meant to never to be removed”.
The bundled RWS Lock Down Mount is a “drooper type” mount that counteracts the well-known tendency of RWS/Diana air rifles to exhibit barrel droop and shoot low. It’s a solid mount that provides good attachment of scope to rifle. Remember to use both scope stop screws provided in this mount and engage them precisely in the holes in the scope rail during installation. This will avoid scope creep under recoil.
Every time any of the HAM testers picked up the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact they were struck by how much heavier it feels than it looks. But that weight balances very well over the forward hand position taken when shooting, so it’s actually not a big issue when shooting.
The very short barrel makes the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact easy and quick to handle in the field – it has a carbine look and feel to it. But that same short barrel has the downside of making this a heavy gun to cock – which could be an issue if you plan to take many shots in one session.
The nice T06 trigger helps considerably with practical shooting accuracy. Accurate shooting is also aided by the excellent cheek weld to the ambidextrous stock obtained by the HAM testers when shooting. Before starting the review, we – or at least primarily Stephen Archer – felt that the scope looked to be mounted too high. But that was an incorrect conclusion. Scope positioning was just fine in practice!
Of course, as a high power spring/piston air rifle, the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact requires use of the light “Artillery Hold” to achieve best accuracy. As mastering this technique is not intuitive for many shooters – particularly those coming from a firearms background where a tight hold is normal – the Meisterschutze Pro Compact takes a relatively high RateAGun score of 8.9. This score qualifies it as “an enjoyable challenge” to shoot.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
The RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact is a fine-looking air rifle of elegant simplicity.
The stock is very simple in shape and finish, with no checkering or fancy shapes. This is “old school” design yet it still works well. The wood is fairly plain with excellent wood-to-metal fit. As observed elsewhere in this review, the HAM testers would prefer a rubber buttpad, instead of the hard plastic one fitted to the test gun.
Metal parts of the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact are given a matt black finish that more resembles Parkerizing than regular bluing. It’s a tough, practical finish that’s not given to making strong reflections – ideal for its hunting purpose.
Just a hint of cheapness is provided by the unfilled screw holes in the barrel that would be used to fit rear iron sights. This is the result of the obviously-sensible use of a standard part in manufacturing, but the HAM testers would fill them with setscrews in their own gun. (If you want to do this yourself, you’ll need a couple of Metric M3 setscrews).
The short barrel and oversize barrel weight/cocking grip give an attractive and unusual carbine appearance to the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact. It also emphasizes the length of the slender wood stock. This a break barrel air rifle that certainly stands out from the crowd in looks!
BUYING AND OWNING
As a “specialist” model, you’re unlikely to find the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact sold in your local big box sporting goods store. But it’s readily available online from a number of vendors.
The feeling of quality that you get from this air rifle is endorsed by the limited lifetime warranty provided by the US importers – Umarex USA Inc. Wear parts – such as seals and mainspring – are warrantied for 18 months.
Ensure that you benefit from this warranty by mailing the warranty certificate supplied with the gun to Umarex within 30 days of purchase – or register online. And note that – in the unlikely event that you do need to take up this warranty – you are responsible for the cost of shipping the gun to Umarex USA, together with a prepayment of $30.00 for return shipping to you.
The owners manual for the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact is a generic, English only, leaflet that conveys the basics of operation. It covers trigger adjustment in a basic manner, as does a separate leaflet from the Diana factory. Instructions for the scope are a very basic, generic leaflet that – among other things – advises that the scope be sighted-in at 100 yards range! That’s a small let-down compared to the overall quality of the buying and owning experience for the RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact .
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Diana RWS 34 Meisterschutze Pro Compact air rifle
This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.