Hammerli Storm Elite: Part 1 A First Look

by B.B. Pelletier


Hammerli Storm Elite is a sharp-looking new breakbarrel with a synthetic stock and matte nickel finish.

When Umarex acquired the Hammerli name in 2006, the shooting world waited to see what would happen. Hammerli is a legendary Swiss maker of fine target arms. Though many of their models have actually been made in Switzerland, they have actually rebadged a lot of airguns. In fact, many airguns were made for them by the former East German firm of Haenel. But the quality has remained high no matter what factory was making the guns. Today, Umarex is applying the Hammerli name to new low- and mid-priced sporting airguns made by new companies. The Hammerli Storm Elite is such a gun.

Description
The Storm Elite is a conventional .177 breakbarrel rifle. It has a matte nickel finish with contrasting black sights, scope stop, triggerguard and trigger. The synthetic stock is colored to look like burl walnut and is fully ambidextrous. It has coarse pebbling on the pistol grip and forearm to facilitate a better grip. The stock is very thin and deep, which makes it easy for smaller hands to grasp. The pistol grip is similarly thin in cross section.

This is a light air rifle, weighing just 6.8 lbs. The long 19.5″ barrel provides plenty of leverage for cocking, which requires a force of only 32 lbs., with a spike at the very end to 35 lbs. It comes at a point where your arms are best positioned for strength, so it’s of no consequence. The barrel latch is a ball detent that’s smoother than a chisel. It seems to lock up fine.


Ball detent makes for smoother cocking.

Trigger and sights
The non-adjustable trigger is two-stage and breaks at a stiff and lawyerly 6 lbs. even. Cocking also sets the automatic safety, which is a square button descending from the front of the triggerguard. The gun is made with an anti-beartrap, so uncocking is not an option. Once cocked, you must load and shoot the rifle.

The sights are fiberoptic, but a little unusual. The front is a true bead sight and the rear notch is square, which makes no sense with a bead. Except with the fiberoptic dots on this rear sight, the front bead does form a center dot and is very usable.


Sights are fiberoptic and front is a true bead.

The rear sight is a fiberoptic square notch, as mentioned, in a nice, adjustable unit. The clicks are sharp and crisp for both windage and elevation, making this a sight you can use.

There’s also an 11mm dovetail cut in the top of the receiver tube, so scope mounting is possible. And Hammerli wisely gave us a built-in scope stop plate, so there is nothing to buy but scope and mounts. Undoubtedly, there will also be combos before long.

Velocity
I was curious about velocity because this is a new model from a Spanish maker – possibly Norica. With 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers, the brand new gun shot an average of 898 f.p.s. The velocity spread was quite low, and I would anticipate gaining an extra 10-20 f.p.s. after break-in. If 1000 f.p.s. is really that important, you can always get it with novelty lightweight pellets. But shoot regular lead pellets in the 7.8-10.5-grain range for accuracy. Because this is a springer, the lighter pellets will probably work best.

I noticed that the pellets were difficult to load because of a tight breech. That may turn out to boost accuracy.

Bottom line
At less than $200, the Hammerli Storm Elite is an affordable breakbarrel spring rifle. However, pricing it where they did, Hammerli is up against the stiffest competition of all the spring guns – a $200 .177 breakbarrel that shoots 1,000 f.p.s. Their plusses are a nice-looking synthetic stock, nickel finish, light weight and a very nice set of sights. On the minus side they have a too-stiff trigger that’s not adjustable.

This is Gamo Shadow territory and also CF-X, though the Storm Elite is positioned against the Shadow and a dozen or so other $200 breakbarrels. A trip to the range will show us what we need to know.

37 thoughts on “Hammerli Storm Elite: Part 1 A First Look

  1. Pardon me for saying so but, you seen one breakbarrel springer, you pretty much seen ‘em all. I’d like to see the Theoben gas ram system used in more guns and possibly, in more configurations.
    While I’m complaining, would someone please bring back a single action Colt copy revolver in co2 like the old Crosmans?



  2. Hello Mr. Pelletier
    I want to learn to shoot field target. I was thinking about getting a co2 talon with a 6-24×50 leapers scope. If I like it I can persue my intrest and upgrade to hi pressure air. I dont want to get involved with the extra cost of pumps or tanks right now. What do you think of this combo? Keep in mind im learning how to shoot not acctually competing yet. Also i read your review for the adapter and you mentioned how high the scope had to be. If i got the 12 oz tank instead of the 20oz tank could i get away with lower mounts? thanks
    Nate in MASS


  3. Nate,

    Since you are in Mass., you have to bear in mind that CO2 varies with the temperature. That’s why it isn’t used in field target. You can do it, but please note the limitations. Your long shots will be slightly off due to velocity variations. For practioce and to get started it is ideal.

    Also, you need a .177 caliber rifle. Of course that’s possible with the AirForce guns.

    The Leapers scope is perfect. I do think you can get by with lower mounts. I can do it, but I don’t because I’m aslwaqys switching my scope from gun to gun

    B.B..


  4. Thank you BB
    I thought co2 would be the best choice for me. No recoil, no pumping, and no expencive equiptment! also i love the number of shots. I dont think the tempature will effect me too greatly but thanks for the concern. I can fill the tank at my local paintball store. I still have a few questions. What hieght rings should i use? Can you recomend some? Finnaly about how many shots do you think i could get from a 12oz co2 tank? thanks so much
    Nate in MASS


  5. Nate,

    Go with medium height rings. Any brand will work, but Accushot seems to be the best bargain.

    I think you’ll get over 500 shots on a 12-ounce tank. Please count for me because nobody has done that yet.

    B.B.


  6. Thanks for the first look into Hammerli. I was considering buying a Hammerli Nova but was curious how it would perform compared to a Gamo CF-X since they are both fixed barrels.


  7. Gee, that’s a tough call. I’m sure I’ll get to the Nova eventually, but since the Hammerli rifles are made by several different manufacturers. it’s impossible to extrapolate between models.

    At the least I can say that fixed barrel rifles require less technique to shoot accurately than breakbarrels.

    Funny thing about the name. In Spanish, no va means no go, literally. Chevy learned that the hard way in South America. And this website is fully translated into Spanish!

    B.B.


  8. Hi again
    One last question. Any pellet recomendations for the co2 talon? I think you mentioned crossman premiers and jsb’s but is there anything else i should try?
    Nate in MASS



  9. ill bet the beeman trophy pellets will do pretty well, since the co2 talon shoots a little slower then the pre-charged one.

    Dave


  10. Hi BB, never shot a springer and have a chance to buy a like ney RWS46 in .22. I like the pop up loading port but am wondering if this is a hold sensitive gun. Never heard much about them, just looking for a nice general purpose plinker/pest gun. Thanks in advance for your advice, Steve


  11. Another question on the RWS46, will I have a problem with putting a scope on it or do you think the pop up breach would be blocked. Also what does this compare to powerwise. I like the underlever over the breakbarrel (just looks I guess -no real reason) but don’t want to get something thats known for trouble. I don’t want a real heavy magnum either. Wish I could find more info about this but I guess its no longer made. Thanks again, Steve


  12. Nate,

    If you go with .22 caliber, which is not appropriate for field target, then JSB Exacts will probably be the most accurate, followed by Premiers, followed by Kodiaks/Baracudas.

    If you go with .177 caliber, Kodiaks/Baracudas will rival JSBs. Premiers will also be very accurate in some guns.

    B.B.


  13. Steve,

    The 46 isn’t as hold sensitive as a breakbarrel, but you do have to use technique. You use a scope that isn’t so long that it interferes with the breech. There’s really a lot of room. I scoped mine with a Bushnell 6-18 Trophy.

    B.B.


  14. BB – I’d recently purchased a “plain” Storm in .22 cal, and you’re right – it looks to be a Norica gun. This appears to be the action that Shanghai copied when they made the “cheaper” version of the SS1000 for Beeman (Pyramidair doesn’t sell that one).

    After shooting it a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s an otherwise very decent rifle largely spoiled by that trigger. It’s not really a “two stage” – but rather a simple direct-sear with some spring-loaded slop built into it. That’s why it cannot be made adjustable, and I suspect that any attempts to lessen the friction in the system would likely make it unsafe.

    Many construction details are similar or the same between it and the AR1000, and I believe the barrel assemblies will interchange (the breach blocks are dimensionally identical).

    The one redeeming factor on this rifle is velocity – over 730 with CPHP’s.

    One more thing – I’d bet my eye teeth that this gun is identical to the Beeman GH1050….


  15. Clarification on my previous post – while some construction details are similar to the AR1000 (and the Norica-built Beeman GS1000), the trigger is ENTIRELY different. Night and day different. Very good vs. very bad different…


  16. Hi B.B.:

    Great that you post about these Hammerli guns. Such a highly reputed name and such low prices are arising a lot of doubts.

    BTW, you said that the pellets were difficult to load because of a tight breech, and that may turn out to boost accuracy. Can you describe that further? If one has a gun where the pellets have a tight travel for the first couple of inches in the barrel, might that be a factor for good accuracy? Why? (I thought that the effect was exactly the opposite…)

    Thanks!

    Rod.


  17. One thing I’ve found is that a “tight breach” can often be addressed with a very small triangular file. I use it very lightly to “break the edge” right where the barrel bore starts… I don’t know if I’m just getting rid of burs or what, but it makes it easier and smoother to insert the pellet. It also makes it less likely that I’m gonna deform the skirt as I do so.


  18. Vince or B.B.,

    I took a look at the manual for the Hammerli rifles.

    In reference to the safties on the Storm, Storm Elite, Razor, Nova, Quick, and Titan…the manual says once the rifle is put “off safe”, only the Razor and Titan can be put back “on safe”.

    Are you experiencing this to be true for your Storm models that the safety cannot be re-engaged?

    Thanks.


  19. Hi Vince:
    Yes I feel I’d like to do the same. I don’t like the pellet to enter so tight as the skirt sometimes gets deformed that way…. Just a little bit afraid of damaging the gun. Anyways, I’d like to know why and how a tight breach/barrel helps accuracy.
    Thanks,
    Rod.


  20. No, my Storm does not allow me to reset the safety.

    From what I’ve seen, Norica seems to have 2 trigger mechanisms on the “magnum” rifles that are imported to the US. The cheaper is the bogus “two stage non-adjustable” trigger that is nothing more than a direct-sear, as might be found on a $20 Chinese B1 or B2. On that one, the safety cannot be re-engaged.

    The other mechanism is a genuine (and very nice) 2-stage design (as on my Norica-built Beeman S1). That one lets you reset the safety.

    Shanghai of China makes Norica clones (real clones), and they copy the same two trigger mechanisms. On the 2 guns I have with the better trigger (one Norica and one Shanghai), the Chinese copy is indistiguishable from the Spanish original.

    It would appear, then, that the Razor and the Titan have the better triggers.


  21. Rod and Vince,

    I think using a triangular file is a very bad idea.

    Instead, gently use a Dremel tool’s conical stone, oiled and turned by hand, to relieve the burrs you find at the barrel breech. This will preserve bore entry concentricity.

    Follow this link, then scroll down till you see “kissed the crown” and you’ll get the idea.

    http://www.varmintal.com/ashot.htm

    Al was re-crowning his muzzle with a ball -You should use a small cone shaped stone on the breech.

    Go very slowly, and extensively test accuracy as you incrementally remove material. Remember that you can’t put metal back once its gone!

    I agree that a breech constriction is unlikely to help accuracy, however you must preserve sufficient tightness to hold the pellet in the breech, else its likely to simply fall forward out of the barrel.


  22. Rod,

    I hate it when I do that! I had a complete conversation with myself and you got the final answer. Can’t you read my mind?

    I based that comment on the FWB 124 which also has a very tight breech (tight barrel, actually) and is wonderfully accurate. It shouldn’t have slipped out – it was more of a thought than a fact.

    I will shoot it and we will all see together.

    B.B.


  23. Greetings B.B.

    I think you mistook my posting as being from Rod.

    I can understand that a tight barrel is accurate, but don’t expect a tight breech with a loose barrel will be.

    I’ve used the above described technique on my BSA Lightning XL with good results.

    I’ve always remained anonymous in previous posts, but have been responded to as momentum, twinmaster owner, lens coating, and perhaps others. Is there a way to contact you “off blog”?

    Randy



  24. Squirrel,

    The only way to reset the safety is the cock the gun again. Since the mainspring is already compressed, all you are doing is resetting the safety. Not a cool way to do it.

    B.B.



  25. Do not overlook the fact that if you touch any part of any airgun with any abrasive what-so-ever you will permanently and inextricable VOID THE MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY.

    DO NOT REMOVE BURRS FROM THE BREECH UNLESS YOU FULLY UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THE POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES


  26. BB, I imagine you’re right about the stone. I was using the triangular file in the hopes of catching any burs that might reside in the corners formed by the barrel bore and the rifling lands… where a stone might not be able to get to them.


  27. For the heck of it… I tried fitting the .22 cal barrel from my Hammerli Storm onto my AR1000, and – as I suspected – it was a perfect fit. Better in fact… where the original barrel actually pointed up a bit when locked, the Hammerli was straight.

    So I tossed a few shots over the chrony… with this barrel, it was spitting 14.3gr Premier HP’s in the upper 700′s to the low 800′s. Bu there was a bit of a spread, so I suspect that the gun must have been dieseling some even though the firing cycle was nice and quiet.

    Still, this has rekindled my interest in getting a .22 AR1000. It is at least as strong as the Storm (the powerplant dimensions are virtually identical at 26mm bore x 106mm stroke), but is much smoother to shoot and has the good trigger.


  28. Randy,

    Sorry for the mixup. I do 10-20 of these answer at a time, twice a day and I somethimes don’t get everything straight.

    I don’t have a way of contacting “off blog” unless you have a website. I like to answer most questions here because the answers help many other readers.

    B.B.


  29. I was looking over the comments and cannot find where you might have done reviews of red dot sights. As I’m waiting for the Leapers handgun scope, I thought a red dot would be something to try on my S&W 686. However, it would need to be something light, since the scope rail is just screwed into the gun, and, per your comments, it is probably just pot metal, certanily not steel. Any comments?

    Michael in Georgia


  30. Michael,

    The S&W 586 is not made to accept an optical sight as far as I know. You can always drill nd tap the frame or rib, but they are pot metal and will not hold threads for long.

    B.B.


  31. Hmm. The scope rail on top is pretty light and the laser I put on top of it seems to be holding pretty well. As I have worked with it, the laser seems to be pretty silly, though it has been interesting. I do have a Daisy red dot, but it’s not too good in dark light. The BSA red dots I looked at in Wal-Mart seem to be very much more clearer, but a bit on the heavy side (+- 5oz), which was why I was shying away from them. Their site seems to be down at the moment (can’t even ping it), but there were some others on the site that seem to be very much lighter. Are you going to review red dot sights? Also, I don’t think the web site mentions the weight of the pistol scopes that are on the site. The BSA scopes can be found on the BSAoptics web site and are 7.5 oz without the rings. Perhaps I’m just stuck at this point?
    Michael in Georgia


  32. Oh, BSA does have a lightweight red dot:
    http://www.bsaoptics.com/scope.aspx?product=91
    at 3.7 oz. so that might be the way to go. I know I can mount the scope on top of my Marksman 2004 (I put a rifle scope on it with amazing results, but uncomfortable with the short eye relief. Perhaps I’ll have to wait for a better pistol. I’m not thinking at this point of going with a PCP, especially since the P1 is still around and has lots of power and accuracy (just haven’t come up with the $ quite yet).
    Michael in Georgia
    BTW: I was a tech before I got this job teaching and I know how much it takes to keep up what you do All of the praises you receive in the comments from readers are *really* true!



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