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Definitive Guide to Hammerli 850

So often we get caught up in the numbers game of airgunning. We are always wanting to know what guns make the most feet per second or foot pound of energy. But in a world dominated by numbers and the ever present chase for power, there are still a few guns that really get back to the roots of airgunning. Guns that are just fun to shoot and that don?t try to see themselves as anything else. The Hammerli 850 Air Magnum CO2 rifle is just such a gun. The 850 is fun right down to its core and with a good quality barrel and fiber optic fixed sights these little guns are ready for backyard plinking right out of the box.
Detailed Review
The Hammerli 850 AirMagnum CO2 Air Rifle really represents what airgunning is all about. Sure, there have been many advances in air gun technology over the last few years and we are now doing things with air guns that were thought to be impossible before. When it comes down to it though, airguns are all about enjoying the sport of shooting, honing your skills, and then being able to share that knowledge so that others can experience the same. That makes the 850 Air Magnum a great candidate for anyone looking for an airgun that is a lot of fun, accurate, and fairly inexpensive to shoot.
The Basic Anatomy of an 850 AirMag
The Hammerli 850 features a polymer stock designed with ergonomics in mind. The ambidextrous Monte Carlo style cheek rest is comfortable for both left and right-handed shooters and narrows where it meets the pistol grip creating a palm swell that is really nice in hand. The grip angle lets you get your hand in just the right position to get a good even press on the trigger and helps a lot in keeping the gun stable when shooting from a rest. The length of pull is a little on the short side for some with longer arms but considering the 850 was designed so that anyone can shoot it, so it makes sense that it accommodated. This balanced approach makes it an incredible gun for youth shooters / smaller frame shooters without alienating everyone else. The construction of the stock is solid, though it may be a bit "plasticky" for some, we found it to be well suited for backyard shooting and packing around in the woods for some gunning fun.
The Hammerli does feature a 2 stage trigger, and though we would say that it's nothing to write home about, it is suitable enough for plinking and with some practice, consistent pulls can easily be achieved. The first stage is pretty long but very light, which makes staging the trigger easy, but the second stage has quite a bit of creep and a fairly spongy brake. Again, the 850 is a plinker not a competition gun, but we think that if the trigger was a bit on the crisper side then the 850 would be an absolute home run.
One of our favorite features of the 850 is the rotary magazines. Both the .177 and .22 are 8 shot magazines that are very easy to load with pellets as well as inserting into the rifle. The magazines use a rubber o-ring that holds the pellets in while loading so you don't have to worry about them falling out if you are carrying spare mags in your pocket.
To reload the rifle just simply open the bolt, slide the magazine release to the rear and remove the empty mag, insert a fresh one, close the mag release, and when you close the bolt the new mag will automatically index itself. The best part about the magazines though, the price. Extra magazines are sold in 2 packs and are very inexpensive so having a bunch on hand is easy. This is great if you are working with a young shooter as you can load up a bunch of magazines and spend more time shooting and less time loading.
The open sights of the 850 Air Mag are superb. Both the front and rear sight feature fiber optics that make picking up a good sight picture really easy. If you have a younger shooter that is still learning the basics or you are just a fan of open sights then the 850 is your gun. Even those who may have a hard time picking up standard notch and post sights should be able to easily pick up the super bright fiber optics of the 850. For those looking to push their shots out to longer yardages, a dovetail mount accommodates the sight of your choice
Accuracy, Shot Counts & Shot Performance
Plain and simple the Hammerli 850 Air Mag shoots lights out no matter what you send down the tube. Since the 850 is a plinker at heart we decided to test it out with some widely available and fairly inexpensive pellets. We were extremely happy with the result. We set up our target at 35 yards, figuring that would be a common "backyard" type distance. For our initial test we went with JSB Diabolo Match 7.33 gr and Crosman Domed 10.5 gr out of the cardboard bulk pack. At 35 yards both pellets shot extremely well, with 8 shot groups right at about an inch.
Honestly with a little better shooting rest and taking some more time we think we could have shrunk those groups a little. we decided to test some RWS Superdome 8.3 gr pellets just to see how they did though we weren't expecting as good as results since we've had problems with these pellets in other guns. But come to find out the Hammerli liked these just as much and it resulted in our best group. This is a great shooting gun that doesn't require high-end pellets to achieve superb accuracy!
Shooting the .177 gun over the chrony we got an average of about 650 fps. The Hammerli is more a target gun then it is a hunter but for small pests such as mice and other rodents it should handle them just fine. Like most CO2 guns if you are going to attempt any type of hunting with them you must be very judicious with shot placement to ensure that you humanely dispatch your quarry. And keep in mind cold weather will slow down the fps of the gun due to it being CO2 powered.
The 850 AirMag uses 88 gram CO2 cartridges which give you enough power to shoot just about all day long. Advertised shot counts are as high as 250 shots per cartridge, while that number was right on par for the .177 guns, we found that to be a bit high for the .22 caliber guns (we got around 190 usable shots). Either way these guns still have enough CO2 capacity to let your trigger finger get a real workout before having to change them out and add more gas.
You'll want to be sure to get plenty of CO2 for your 850 air rifle so that you can keep it running. We know that for many, finding 88g CO2 cartridges locally can sometimes be hard. Luckily, the 850 CO2 adapter allows you to run commonly available 12 gram CO2 cartridges. You may not get quite as many shots before having to add new cartridges, but being able to use plentiful 12 gram cylinders is a real plus!
As we mentioned before, magazines for the 850 are inexpensive and come in packs of 2. Trust us, you are going to want to pick up a few extras to keep handy. Load up a bunch and throw them in your pocket and you will be good for a whole day of shooting.
Since the Hammerli is about the best backyard plinker out there, you're going to want some fun targets to add to the experience. Airgun Depot has you covered with the Air Venturi line of targets. We really enjoyed the biathlon target as well as the Rat On A Stick field target style targets, but our favorite by far was the Wonder Wheel.
Shoot one of the targets on the Wonder Wheel and it will start spinning making the other 7 targets more challenging to hit. It's fun with 2 shooters or 1 and is a great way to bring some added fun to the backyard range. We have built a special package including the 850 Air Magnum, a Hawk 4x scope, and a Wonder Wheel that will keep you shooting for hours!
The 850 really has become one of our favorite guns. There is a reason we have 3 or 4 floating around in our office range. Simple, accurate and a whole lot of fun, the 850 Airmag is in our opinion the perfect backyard plinker! We welcome your comments and questions.
Ergonomic Design is comfortable for all shooters The 850 Airmag really is a pleasure to shoot, and with its generous palm swells, ambidextrous monte carlo stock, moderate length of pull, and lightweight; the 850 is a gun that the entire family can enjoy. It makes a great accuracy trainer for young shooters but is still enjoyable for mom or dad. The Hammerli is a gun that any shooter can feel comfortable with in hand.
The Perfect Pairing Peanut butter and chocolate, sand and surf, pen and paper, wisdom and age? some things are just meant to be paired together. Add to that list of perfect pairings the Hammerli 850 and the Air Venturi Wonder Wheel target. The Hammerli and Wheel if you will! If you have someone in your life that say's they "don't like to shoot", get them this combo and watch the conversion happen within minutes. And good luck trying to get a turn yourself.
Accuracy & Power The 850 is all about accuracy, and being that it is a CO2 gun, power does take a bit of a back seat with the Air Magnum. We test fired a .177 version at 35 yards indoors from a prone position and this little gun shot lights out with just about every pellet we ran through it. These guns are certainly accurate and perfect for all you "backyard sharpshooters". If you do your part the Hammerli 850 Air Mag will put pellets on target all day long.
Multi Shot Rotary Magazine The 850 Air Magnum features a super simple rotary magazine which when combined with its smooth bolt action makes for some really quick shooting. No springs to worry about winding or covers to fiddle with, just drop the pellets into the holes and you are off to the races. With both the .177 and the .22 you get 8 shots before you need to reload. One of the best parts about the magazines is the price, an extra 2 magazines is very affordable so you can pick up a bunch and shoot for long stretches without having to reload mags!
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