Hammerli Pneuma - Part 3
by B.B. Pelletier
Today, we'll look at the accuracy of the Hammerli Pneuma, and I know from the comments there are several of you hanging around to hear what I have to say. Let me make it simple for you--buy the rifle. In my test that follows, I found the .177 Pneuma to be very accurate.
I did not follow my own plan of shooting enormous groups this time, because I was under time constraints to test a couple of different airguns and one .22 rimfire. The day was very nearly perfect, which was a blessing, because the past two times at this range I had to shoot in high wind. So, I made only five-shot groups on this day, so I could finish the testing for all the guns before the wind picked up.
I mounted a Leapers 3-9x50 scope (similar to this CenterPoint 3-9x50 with ill. reticle) in medium-high Weaver rings, despite all that people say about that being impossible. The Pneuma receiver is low for a PCP, so scopes with larger objective bells have trouble clearing the top of the barrel. In this case the scope barely clears the barrel, and you can feel it brush the barrel as the parallax ring is turned for adjustment, but it's the perfect height for my eye. I discovered that the Pneuma's thumbhole stock has a very high line, which helps elevate the eye to the scope.
Loading was okay but with the scope as low as I had it, I had to watch what I was doing. This is another good reason to use high rings.
The sidelever functioned smoothly every time. In fact, the entire rifle seemed to be dead-stone reliable. I say that because one of the other guns I was testing (the scope on it, actually) was giving me fits! It was so nice to have a gun that just did what it was supposed to that day.
I filled the reservoir to 200 bar, as we learned to do in Part 2 of this report. But I shot longer strings than the velocity numbers predicted that I should. What I mean is that the velocity numbers had indicated the gun really liked Beeman Kodiak pellets, but that lighter pellets started varying in velocity quicker. According to the numbers I recorded, there were fewer useful shots with lighter pellets. Well, on the 50-yard range that didn't turn out to be the case. Just when the pellets should have been dispersing wildly, they were grouping tighter than ever. So, I kept right on shooting down below 150 bar, and the good groups kept coming.
I expected Kodiaks to be accurate, and they did not disappoint. At 50 yards on this breathless day, I managed a best group of 0.734" for five shots and an average group size of less than one inch.
JSB 8.4 grain pellets
I didn't think a lighter pellet would do as well in this rifle, but that was incorrect. With JSB Exact 8.4-grain domed pellets, I shot three five-shot groups that went 0.736", 0.772" and 0.808". That's extremely consistent shooting. I have to report that those groups were not all centered in the same spot, so if I had combined them they would have been about 1.5" between centers. But, once again, I was shooting in a place on the power curve where the velocity numbers predicted the pellet strikes would shift.
The Pneuma shot without a problem. I found it easy to scope, easier to sight-in; and once it was sighted, it was a bullseye drill. Kodiaks deliver the best performance of both power and accuracy, making them well worth trying. But the word on the street is this rifle does well with almost anything.
The world now has another low-cost PCP with remarkable performance. The Pneuma is well worth a place on your short list of pellet rifles. It's a single-shot, which I will always prefer to a repeater, and it has the power needed for small-game hunting. I would buy the .22 for hunting and the .177 for general shooting and the occasional pest.