It’s time to get back to my RWS 34 .177. In my opinion, every airgun hobbyist should own an RWS 34 at some point in their lives. I don’t know that you can truly call yourself an airgunner if you haven’t! But, that’s just my opinion. My RWS 34 .177 is through the break-in period and shooting very well. I can hit what I want up close with open sights, but I want to be able to stretch my shots out to 20 yards and more. For me that means that I’m going to need to scope this rifle. To do this, I need the right equipment for the job.RWS Airguns- Model 34 .177 Caliber T06 Air Rifle
It’s really all about the base
While the scope is the part that gets all the attention, we need to spend more time looking at how we are attaching it to the rifle. If that joint is not 100% secure and stable, I don’t care how “nice” your scope may be, you won’t have consistent accuracy. So, we need to make sure that whatever we are using to connect the two parts: rifle & scope, fit, match, and never move.
The RWS line of guns has a couple known “weaknesses” if you want to call them that. The 11mm rail has somewhat shallow stop pin holes and the rear screw, commonly used for a scope stop, just tends to shear off over time. In conjunction, the RWS 34 has been known to have what’s called “barrel droop.” I guess we should spend some time there before moving on.
Barrel droop sounds really bad!
First of all, barrel droop is not nearly as bad as it’s made out to be. There are some extreme cases which are pretty bad, but that is the very rare exception to the rule. First, let’s take a look at what it actually is. Barrel droop is simply a term used when a barrel points somewhat downward in relation to the receiver of the rifle. This is fairly common with breakbarrel airguns specifically, but I’ve also seen it with fixed barrel airguns as well.
Here’s something to consider. Guns have adjustable sights so that you can properly account for manufacturing inconsistencies and center the bore of your gun with however you are sighting it. This allows you to aim it and maintain a consistent, known, point of impact. Scopes have adjustable turrets for the same reason. You need to be able to align the sightline of the scope to the bore of the airgun. In other words, all guns have some sort of bore misalignment. That’s why you have adjustable sights and optics, to account for these variances. As long as they are not too far off-center, then it’s very easy to use the built in sighting adjustments to get you on target.
There are times when the downward misalignment is outside of what a normal scope and/or open sights can properly adjust for. This is where the term “barrel droop” comes in. It does not mean that the barrel is soft and droopy, it just means that it’s angled downward at a degree that can cause issues with sighting it at close range, i.e. 10 yards.
Adjusting for barrel droop, if you have it…
First of all, not all breakbarrel airguns have barrel droop. It’s easy to test for and even easier to correct. In the case of the RWS 34, there are products already on the shelves that address moderate barrel droop and work equally well if the rifle doesn’t have any to begin with. The two products that I use are the UTG Droop Compensator mount and the RWS Lockdown Mount. Both are slightly angled to compensate for a downward pointing barrel, but not so much as to cause any sighting issues if no barrel droop exists.1in RWS Lock Down One Piece Mount for 11mm (3/8″) Dovetail Rails
There are advantages to both products but I personally prefer the UTG droop compensator mount because it not only addresses the potential of barrel droop, but also scope stability as it converts the standard 11mm dovetail to a weaver rail. This allows me to use heavy duty mounts that lock into the grooves in the base and prevent any scope movement once installed. The base itself attaches to the receiver with heavy duty screws and dual stop pins specifically machined to match the RWS rails. In other words, this scope conversion base was specifically engineered to work with, and address, the various weaknesses I’ve been discussing in this article.Leapers Scope Mount Base, Fits RWS Diana 34, 36, 38, 45 & 350 Magnum, Compensates for Droop & Stops Scope Shift
The RWS Lockdown mount is also very rugged, but only has single straps to hold the scope. RWS has addressed early concerns by adding scope tape which seems to have resolved scopes moving in the mounts, but I prefer the weaver mount system so that is what I use nearly 90% of the time. Either system will work, however. Which you choose to implement is totally up to you.
Picking the scope & mounts
I could easily spend an entire month’s worth of articles on this subject alone, and it’s where I will start in the next part of this series. But, rather than repeat information I’ve previously written about, I’ll focus on why I choose the Hawke Optics Sport HD IR series scopes for the majority of my springers. It should be a good read so be sure to check back in a couple of days as we continue outfitting the RWS 34!