HAM Exclusive! First Diana 34 EMS Test Review
Dec 12, 2020
Supplied by Diana
No barrel droop!
Easy to shoot.
Test gun trigger needs adjustment.
Bluing could be a little better.
Only a 2-year warranty.
VALUE FOR MONEY
This Diana 34 EMS test review covers the wood stock model that sells for $379.99. It’s $30.00 less if you go for the synthetic, black, thumbhole version.
It’s notable as the first “system” breakbarrel air rifle. Diana has promised future upgrade products that will allow a change of caliber – from .177 to .22 or vice versa. It will also be possible to substitute a gas ram powerplant for the test gun’s spring/piston system.
Then there’s the open sight flexibility that will be welcomed by many. Plus, Diana’s barrel droop elimination system squarely hits one of the big issues that – rightly or wrongly – exercise the minds of breakbarrel buyers. Now it’s gone!
Yes, it’s fair to say that none of these upgrades is currently available. And we do not know what the pricing might be. But the mere fact that Diana has opened the door to such feature flexibility with the 34 EMS makes it a quantum step forward for many breakbarrel afficionados. This is a value proposition that has not been seen before in this type of airgun.
As you read our Diana 34 EMS test review, we think that you’ll agree that there’s strong value for money in this new gun!
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Diana 34 EMS Break Barrel Air Rifle, Wood 0.177
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Diana 34 EMS .177 Cal Wood
SPEED AND ACCURACY
This Diana 34 EMS test review found that the gun performed well. In fact, it performed so well that HAM Tester Eric Brewer commented “I want to buy this gun” in his test notes. That’s strong praise indeed!
Muzzle Velocity peaked at 1,160 FPS with Predator GTO 5.5 Grain alloy pellets. The maximum velocity with lead was the 971 FPS that was achieved with 7.0 Grain RWS Hobby wadcutters.
As is normal with springers, the lightest, fastest pellets tended to give the highest Muzzle Energy results too. This, of course, is exactly the reverse of the power levels achieved by PCPs.
Overall, the results of this Diana 34 EMS test review show that the gun generates a healthy 15 plus Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy with the mid-weight domed lead pellets that will be its staple fodder for most owners.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|GTO Predator 5.5 Grain||1,160.29 FPS||16.45 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||1,128.73 FPS||15.74 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain||971.47 FPS||14.67 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain||931.39 FPS||15.22 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Exact Diabolo 8.44 Grain||900.51 FPS||15.20 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||892.84 FPS||15.30 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain||768.35 FPS||13.96 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
The accuracy achieved during this Diana 34 EMS test review surprised HAM Tester Eric Brewer. Using a trusty Leapers UTG 3-9 x 40AO scope at maximum magnification, together with H&N Baracuda Match pellets, Eric produced this 10-shot group…
… to put things in perspective, that’s a 10-shot group that’s well under the size of a Dime (the US 10 Cent coin) at 25 Yards. Great shooting Eric!
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
Being fitted with a T06 trigger, our expectations were high for this Diana 34 EMS test review. We weren’t disappointed…
The average trigger pull weight was just 1 Lb 2 Oz for the gun tested by HAM. Yes, that’s right – just 1 Lb 2 Oz! That’s a very light trigger pull straight out of the box and Eric loved it!
This is a two-stage trigger, however Eric noted that he couldn’t really feel the second stage. It felt more like a single stage trigger with a lot of slack take-up to him. When he buys the gun, his first job will be to adjust it…
As always, HAM tests the trigger exactly as supplied from the factory. However there’s Allen key adjustability for first stage travel, pull weight and sear engagement built-in to the T06 unit. So the knowledgeable airgunner has the option to make some changes, as required.
There’s an automatic safety fitted of typical Diana style fitted to the 34 EMS. This is engaged when the gun is cocked. The safety lever is centered at the rear of the compression tube and is thus easy to see and operate for both left- and right-handed shooters.
Cocking effort is surprisingly light for an air rifle of this power level. The gun supplied for this Diana 34 EMS test review required only 29 Lbs of force. There was also a remarkable uniformity to the cocking effort, with little of the extra resistance that’s often felt at the end of the cocking stroke in breakbarrels.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Studying the results of this Diana 34 EMS test review, it’s clear that the gun tested by HAM exceeded the manufacturer’s claims for performance.
In .177 caliber, Diana’s specs call for a maximum Muzzle Velocity of 890 FPS. While it’s not clear if this is for lead or alloy pellets, this much is clear. The gun reviewed here significantly exceeded this claim by producing 971 FPS with lead pellets and 1,160 FPS with alloys.
Likewise the maximum claimed Muzzle Energy for the 34 EMS in .177 caliber is 14.8 Ft/Lbs. Performance in this Diana 34 EMS test review shows a maximum Muzzle Energy of 16.45 Ft/Lbs. Not only that, but the test gun exceeded the manufacturer’s claims with 5 out of the 7 standard HAM test pellets.
The Diana 34 EMS tested by HAM delivered very good consistency. Trigger pull weight, for example, varied by only plus or minus 3 Oz either side of the average value. That’s a variation that’s pretty-well undetectable to the average human!
Accuracy was very good or better with all of the HAM standard test pellets, except one. In particular, domed lead pellets heavier than 7.9 Grains all gave excellent accuracy. Obviously HAM can’t test every possible pellet that’s available. However the chances are that it’s likely to perform well with other quality pellets, too.
The Standard Deviation (a measure of the variation between the fastest and slowest shots in a string) produced was also good – again with the exception of just one type of pellet.
So long as lead pellets were used, the subject of this Diana 34 EMS test review was reasonably quiet for a non-silenced airgun.
The shooter hears very little of the internal “twang and bang” that’s encountered when shooting many spring/piston air rifles. This gives a strong impression of good engineering and tight tolerances for the internal parts.
And – if backyard-friendliness is a top concern – the 34 EMS has a standard 1/2-Inch UNF thread machined in the end of the barrel. This makes it one of the very few breakbarrel air rifles that can be fitted with an aftermarket silencer if required and where legal.
However, the 1,100+ FPS performance of light, lead-free pellets in the .177 caliber model is never going to be quiet – whatever you do. This, of course, is true for ANY airgun, not only the 34 EMS.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
This is another strong suit for the 34 EMS.
For those springer shooters who want to use open sights, the rear sights have elevation and windage adjustment. The fiber optic-fitted rear sight plate can be replaced with a (included) non-fiber optic part. And then there will be an optional hooded front sight upgrade available that accepts interchangeable elements.
If the owner is a confirmed scope user, both front and rear sights are easily removed if desired.
For this Diana 34 EMS test review, the HAM Team mounted our Leapers UTG 3-9 x 40 AO scope using a Leapers one-piece medium height mount. The stop pin of the mount engaged perfectly into one of the appropriate holes in the top of the rifle’s compression tube – just as designed.
This gave a very nice, low mounting position for the scope with zero change in Point Of Impact during the course of our testing.
And there was no problem with sighting-in!
The barrel droop compensation system built-in to the 34 EMS certainly does its job. There was no need for an additional angled compensation mount (although Leapers makes a very nice product that offers this capability for “non EMS” 34 models). Also, we came nowhere near the end of the available travel in the scope’s elevation turret.
As became apparent during our Diana 34 EMS test review, shootability is a strong suit for this air rifle.
The gun is easy to cock, the classic stock design is simple yet comfortable and the trigger pleasant. In spite of the relatively light weight of 8 Lb 15 Oz, including mounted scope, the recoil was very manageable. As Eric Brewer commented in his test notes “There’s not much kick for a 1,000 FPS springer.”
The 3-9 x 40 scope balanced well on the 34 EMS and was not too long or heavy for comfortable use. As you can see below, the front bell had clearance between it and the compression tube. JUST!
Although some HAM Team members are not fans of automatic safeties, it has to be said that the safety fitted to the 34 EMS is simple, effective and easy-to-use. Being located just below the shooter’s eyeline, it’s easy to take a quick glance down to check if the safety is still engaged before pulling the trigger.
Of course, shootability was facilitated by the easy cocking and low trigger pull weight, too. HAM Tester Eric Brewer found that the 34 EMS was not very hold-sensitive either. All this is good!
This makes the 34 EMS suitable for extended plinking sessions as well as use for hunting and Field Target competition.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
With it’s simple, classic hardwood stock, the 34 EMS definitely appeals to the traditionalist shooter. But if you prefer a more aggressive, black synthetic thumbhole stock, Diana has that available too, as we saw above.
The subject of this Diana 34 EMS test review had a closely-grained wood stock with a smooth, uniform finish. The non-adjustable buttplate is a traditional, hard plastic part with a ribbed surface. It proved to give good contact with the shoulder and the mild recoil meant that there was no need for a ventilated, soft rubber part.
Overall finish of metal parts was good. However, during this Diana 34 EMS test review, Eric Brewer’s professional engineer’s eye did detect a few spots where he felt the bluing seemed a little thinner than he would have liked.
BUYING AND OWNING
As a new model, the Diana 34 EMS is just becoming available in US airgun dealers. It’s already in stock at Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot, for example. Once the supply chain is fully-filled, you can expect to find this model available at all retail outlets for Diana airguns.
The break in period for the 34 EMS tested by HAM was very short. As with any spring/piston air rifle, there was a little “dieseling” when the gun was first fired. However, this lasted for just 5 or 6 shots. The muzzle velocity then rapidly settled-down to consistent figures. This is indicative of high quality assembly – not too much oil or grease in the compression tube!
The dovetail rails and stop screw holes machined into the compression tube provide for solid scope mounting. They give the expectation of long-term worry-free scope use.
As is the Diana style, the 34 EMS is supplied with a very well-produced instruction book. This is well-printed in color on good-quality paper. It’s well-illustrated, clearly written and multi-lingual, with English, German, French and Spanish sections.
Manufacturer’s warranty is for 2 years. While this is less than the 3- or 5-years offered by other manufacturers, it’s obviously an improvement over the traditional 12-month warranty period.
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Diana 34 EMS Break Barrel Air Rifle, Wood 0.177
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Diana 34 EMS .177 Cal Wood
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.