The RWS Model 48 and Vortex Crossfire II scope

Monday, October 29, 2012

From time to time the good folks at send me a care package of guns and other goodies that they think I might like to play with and test. Usually the package contains the latest offering from various airguns manufacturers.

Recently, though, the AoA gang surprised me by sending an air rifle that I had been aware of ever since I became interested in adult precision air rifles over a decade ago but had never seen or shot . . . the RWS Model 48.

Now that I have handled and shot an RWS 48, I must admit that I am really astonished that there isn’t more buzz about this air rifle on the online forums. It really is a very nice gun that performs quite well. More about that in a little while. First, let’s take a walk around the RWS Model 48.

The cocking lever is mounted on the right side of the receiver.

The RWS Model 48 is a sidelever single shot spring piston air rifle. Available in .177 or .22, it stretches 42 inches from end to end and weighs 8.5 lbs without a scope. At the extreme aft end of the 48 is a soft rubber recoil pad that is attached to the ambidextrous hardwood stock with a white plastic spacer. The stock is completely unadorned with any checkering, slots, grooves, or other decorations. The fit and finish is very pleasing to my eye, and with the exception of the cocking lever being mounted on the right side of the rifle, it looks like it could be shot equally well by right or left handed shooters.

The pistol grip has a moderate slope to it and forward of that is a black trigger guard that surrounds the black metal T06 trigger. Forward of that, the forestock is smooth and tapered. Underneath, toward the end, a large screw helps to secure the action in the stock. Forward of that is the barrel, at the end of which is a molded plastic muzzle brake that also serves as a mount for the blade-type front sight.

Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the receiver and a notch-type microadjustable rear sight. Behind that is the breech. A silver metal breech block slides back when the cocking lever is pulled back to allow loading of pellets. Further back is a dovetail for mounting a scope, and at the back end of the receiver is a push-pull safety. That’s it – the RWS Model 48 is simplicity itself.

Before you can return the cocking level to its original position, you have to press down this small metal tab on the left hand side of the breech.

To ready the Model 48 for shooting, grab the end of the side cocking lever (I usually prop the gun on my thigh with the muzzle pointed vertically) and pull it down and back until it latches (it takes just under 40 pounds of effort). Insert a pellet in the breech. At this point, the cocking lever is locked in the full back position to prevent the breech from inadvertently snapping forward and injuring your fingers. Before you can return the cocking level to its original position, you have to press down a small metal tab on the left hand side of the breech, otherwise you can’t close the breech.

Take aim at your target, ease the first stage out of the trigger (this takes about 1 lb. 8 oz. of pressure), and begin squeezing the second stage. At about 2 lb. 9 oz., the shot is goes down range.

The RWS Model 48 delivers a serious turn of speed, launching .177 JSB Exact RS 7.33 gr. pellets at 1058 fps average (18.22 foot-pounds of energy) and JSB Exact Heavy 10.34 gr. pellets at 853 fps average (16.7 foot-pounds).  The report is about what you would expect from a springer of this power: a WHACK that sounds a bit like someone hitting a board with a hammer.

The accuracy is also what you might expect from a springer of this power. From a rest, at 25 meters (27 yards), I put five JSB Exact pellets into a group that measured .875 inch edge to edge, or just under .7 inch center to center. That’s certainly good enough for defending the garden.

The Vortex Crossfire II 4-12 x 40 AO scope seems very solidly built and has a terrific warranty.

I tested the RWS Model 48 with the Vortex Crossfire II 4-12 x 40 AO scope aboard, and I’ve got to say that I continue to be impressed with these Vortex scopes. They are bright, clear, and appear to be very solidly built. The model I tested features the Dead-Hold BDC reticle, which provides multiple aiming points. Even more impressive than the construction and the reticle of this Vortex scope is the warranty: an unlimited, unconditional lifetime warranty through Vortex Optics. Clearly, the folks at Vortex believe their scopes can withstand whatever punishment we airgunners can dish out.

I mounted the Vortex using an RWS 1-inch Lock Down Mount that is specifically designed for RWS air rifles. It offers two anti-recoil pins, a very secure grip on the scope rail, and .025 inch elevation to compensate for the barrel deflection in RWS rifles. If you’re going to mount a scope on an RWS rifle, I highly recommend this mount.

In the end, I liked the combination of the RWS Model 48 and the Vortex Crossfire II scope. It’s a flat-shooting no-frills fixed-barrel combo that should provide years of shooting fun.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott


  1. Michael Allison says:


    I bought a model 52 a couple of years ago from AoA when they were clearing them out for some crazy price. Great gun, and it loves the JSB heavies that you are using.

    Your model 48 should be getting far better groups than .875 @ 27 yards. I have mine dialed in for 25 yards and get groups half that size w/those same pellets. I’m an average shooter at best, so I’m not bragging. Just saying that it is one of the more accurate rifles (air) that I own, something might not be quite right with yours. Keep in mind that my groups were shot indoors under ideal conditions.

    Love your blog, look forward to each one!

  2. MattC says:

    Nice review. I just recently re-discovered airguns after several adventures with airguns in my early teens (30 plus years ago).

    Would a RWS48 be an appropriate starter rifle for Field Target competition?

    1. MunichFT says:

      Hi Matt,

      I would say, the Diana 48 (sold under the label RWS in the US) is not a starter rifle for Field-Target, it’s a fantastic accurate gun for FT. As far as I know, there’s a complete US-Team that shoots only that kind of rifle in Field-Target Competition. I personally can highly recommend this Airgun, it’s very accurate due the fixed Barrel and the sidelever-cocking mechanism.

      Greetings from Germany

  3. deeozone says:

    I am recently getting back into shooting my RWS model 48. I have been looking at scope mounts for my 48. While looking at my 48 that I purchased over 8 years ago, it is missing the large screw on the mounting rail and am looking to replace this screw but I am unable to find the name of the screw or somewhere to purchase the screw any help on this matter would be much appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Contact the good folks at or at

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