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Education / Training Hammerli 490 – Part 1 Another great youth rifle

Hammerli 490 – Part 1 Another great youth rifle

by B.B. Pelletier

January’s podcast is now up!

Now that I have this rifle in hand, there’s no doubt that the Hammerli 490 Express is a QB-18. That’s a good thing, because the 18 is a very nice youth-sized air rifle, and there aren’t enough of those around. The price is very reasonable for a gun of this size and quality. However, I’m getting ahead of myself. We have yet to test it.

Physical description
The 490 Express is a small rifle by adult standards, and a large one by youth standards. I rate it as a youth rifle because the weight is only 6 lbs., and the cocking effort is a mere 13 lbs. That is spectacularly light! The wood stock has a 13.5″ pull that further helps shooters of smaller stature.

Hammerli rates this rifle at 495 f.p.s., which is almost 200 f.p.s. less than the QB-18 I tested. A lighter mainspring could explain some of that power difference. The chronograph will tell us for sure in the next report.

The wood is stained dark reddish-brown and has a few small areas where the stain has accumulated, and I found only one small filled spot (pistol grip). That’s remarkable, too. A black rubber buttpad is ribbed on the end to keep the rifle from moving on your shoulder or when the gun is stood up in the corner.

The metal is polished to semi-gloss on the spring cylinder, and the barrel and base block are left as-machined. The markings are in attractive silver laser-cut letters.

The sights are a hooded post on a ramp in front and a square rear notch with click adjustments in both directions. They’re a combination of steel and synthetic. The adjustments are well-marked in both directions, but there’s no index scale to mark where you are.


Rear sight adjustments are clearly marked. Note the attractive markings on the spring cylinder.

The barrel is exceptionally long for a modern spring rifle. Almost 19″ from breech to muzzle, it no doubt accounts for the ease of cocking. It also means a lot of technique will be required to shoot well, because the pellet cannot begin to move in a spring gun before the vibration and part of the recoil is underway.

After the rifle is cocked, the barrel moves up and down freely. I’m used to a base block that holds the barrel in the last position it was placed, and this rifle seems loose to me. But, I’ll watch it as I go; and, if it seems the barrel pivot needs to be tightened, I’ll tell you. The chisel detent that holds the barrel closed is powerful and positive. There’s no slop when the barrel is closed.

Trigger and safety
The trigger blade and triggerguard are synthetic. There are no adjustments for the trigger. The blade is relatively straight with cross grooves to give your finger more traction. The trigger-pull is rough and creepy and breaks at variable weights, from 5 lbs., 4 ozs. to 6 lbs., 8 ozs. It feels as though it’ll break-in to something nicer in the 5+ lbs. region, but time will tell. Lots of room for some good gunsmithing.

The safety is automatic but can be taken off and the rifle uncocked by pulling the trigger while restraining the barrel. The safety button has to be pressed flush with the spring cylinder, which means it has to be a deliberate act. Unlike the TX200 MkIII or most Weihrauch-based spring rifles, the safety button on this rifle does not stand proud of the gun when it is on.


Safety button is flush against the mainspring cylinder when off. It only comes to the end of the stock cutout when engaged. Scope stop is simple but effective.

Scope mounting
There are 11mm scope grooves cut into the top of the spring cylinder, with a scope stop plate at the back end. The low recoil of the rifle and a lack of vibration means you can scope it with pretty much whatever you want. Chances are good the scope and rings will cost more than the rifle. I’ll scope the rifle, but the quality of the open sights will compel a test with them, as well. The 490 also comes in a gun/scope combo.

I can see that the barrel is dirty, so I’ll clean it with JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound before checking velocity or shooting for accuracy. I’ve already shot the rifle to check trigger-pull, though, and I can report that it’s very quiet. For those of you who are looking for a quiet air rifle, this is a good one!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

46 thoughts on “Hammerli 490 – Part 1 Another great youth rifle”

  1. How rumors start… when you looked at the TF49 for Compasseco, you mentioned that it had power somewhat comparable to the R7. Next thing you know, it’s popping up on the forums that the TF49/QB18is actually an R7 clone…

  2. Hey BB, this is a little off topic, but I was wondering if you could help me out.
    I just recently purchased a Daisy 747 target pistol and love the thing. Over the course of three days I put close to 500 pellets through it. My problem is that the pump constantly needs adjustment. Sometimes after only 10-20 shots. I did notice that the air pistol was nearly drenched with oil when I got it, and I did my best to get as much oil off of it as I could, but there was still a lot of oil left that I couldn’t get to. Do you think that the excessive oil could be causing it to need pump adjustment so much? I’m loathe to send it in because I’m having so much fun with it and the adjustment only takes a second or two.

    Thanks for your time.


  3. Al,

    Oil on the outside of the gun has no bearing on how it operates. The oil needs to be on the pump head. Is it?

    I think it is impossible to over-oil a 747. Something else must be at work. Are you certain you are following the correct piston head adjustment procedure? For example, the measurement has to be taken with the gun uncocked. If it is cocked, there is no way to take the measurement and get it right.


  4. BB

    I’m only measuring and adjusting the pump head when the pistol un-cocked. The oil was all on the inside, the o-ring was nearly dripping with it. It will stay adjusted for the 10-20 shots and then when I check it once more, the pump handle will show no resistance while closing it slowly. I have been adjusting it to have about 1 2/8″ of clearance.

    I’m going to send Daisy an email and ask them about it. It may sound silly, but I’m having so much fun shooting this in my house that I don’t want to send it back in.

    Thank you BB.


  5. BB, I’m gonna raise an issuethat has come up before with regards to the re-badged Shanghai airguns… when the gun is sold as an “Industry” brand gun (which is Shanghai’s own label), the price is often much lower (sometimes by half) than when it’s sold as a TF, Hammerli, etc. I wish I had a clue as to whether or not the “brand-name” variants really tend to be any better.

  6. BB, I have a scope zeroing question regarding multi pump rifles (I’m thinking the Benji 392). When zeroing, should one pump the rifle the maximum number of times, or should he or she instead use some intermediate number of pumps?


  7. hi BB,

    on a gamo cfx it is possible to load the pellet before cocking the gun. BUT, if i do that. Will I damage the gun by creating a vacuum when I then cock the gun with the pellet in place?

    greetings from holland,

  8. Hi Holland,

    John Whiscombe warns not to load before cocking his guns. I’m going to say it’s not a good idea for every spring gun, other than a conventional breakbarrel.

    Some air may get by the pellet but maybe one time you’ll really seal the bore well. Then you will have a vacuum in the compression chamber. It doesn’t need to be a perfect vacuum to do damage.


  9. BB,

    Thanks for getting this one started so fast. I’ve put about 400 shots through my H490 since Xmas and it is more likable every time I shoot it. FWIW, I agree with you on the barrel length — cutting off a few inches wouldn’t hurt anything that I can thing of, although so far it doesn’t seem to make it hard to shoot either. Alternately, my barrel came clean and the trigger is crisp, not creepy — I will agree with the pull being heavy though I’m not sensitive to it. I’m not mentioning any of this to argue, but because, like Vince, I’m curious about how much value the re-branders add to the Chinese rifles. When my rifle came dusty (i.e., not touched since boxed), but with a clean barrel, pretty close sights and a decent trigger, I thought that maybe “Hammerli” was making Shanghai go through some additional steps for QC. It does seem like they spec. a different spring, anyway…I’m very curious about the velocity.


  10. B.B.,

    I’m taking my R7 to an indoor range tonight where I can shoot it at a further distance than the short 10 meters that my garage allows. What do you think would roughly be the ideal shooting distance for the R7? I’d like to go in knowing at about what distance might be a good place to start with. What about the maximum distance roughly before you would guess that the pellet will start falling off?

    Thanks in advance!

  11. BB,

    I am enjoying long range airgun shooting but one thing i have noticed is that the pellet starts to drop so much. No matter the power of the gun between 30 – 40 fp. at 80 yards and more the pellet is dropping so much that i should make and adjustment every 2 yards or so. I guess thats the diablo affect because at 50 yards i don’t make any adjustments with a 30 yard site in. They will fall a bit low, but not much.

    I do half of my airgun hunting from a bench, so i always make the proper adjustment for a clean kill. I use the mill-dots, too, but its not the best. I have heard you say you limit yourself to 40 yards, but i don’t think you bench shoot your prey. I would limit myself to 41 yards off hand. JUST KIDN.


  12. BB. Boy do I feel better after your candid comment on 100 yrds. being a circus act for you!! ME TOO!!! Im maxxed out at 50, and that is a stretch!! When I can hit 3/4″ water bottle tops consistantly at 25-35 yrds. Im feeling REEL GOOD!! I guess if I lived where there were wide open spaces I would be more into long range practice, but in S.C. woods you are lucky to see 50 yrds.!! I read almost all reader reiews on guns (at PA.) and sometimes read some that are WAY exagerated, (Its obvious they are newbies, you can tell, Bless their hearts!!) If you ever have time you can read rev. on Cross. 2260SE (Drag.Slay. PA.)& see that I somehow stumbled thru 7 reviews!) ( Still learning computer but getting better!!) Like Jim Chapman says If I write about it ,, I like it! Thanks BB. Tim.

  13. B.B.

    Off the subject, but why are there only three guns in the “Tom’s Picks” section of the website? Reading your blog I have seen several rifles that you have recommended…are they just not up to the cut?


  14. BB,

    i wont refute that but i bet you could shoot circles around me at 40 offhand. Breath in breath out, up a foot down a foot. LOL I do however have bench shooting down to a science. Not that thats is very impressive, as all i do is strap the gun in and watch it go. As long as were having fun!

  15. Tim,

    Glad to hear it. When I try some shooting at 25 yards tonight I’ll definitely be keeping your comments in mind. If I manage to hit the black on an official 10 meter paper target with the irons at 25 yards, I’ll be feeling REAL GOOD too. 🙂

  16. B.B.

    That really caught my attention about the loading cocking sequence for spring guns. So, should I cock the IZH 61 before loading the clip? I’ve been doing the opposite. I hope to heaven I haven’t been doing the gun yet more damage….

    A New Year’s resolution just occurred to me to shoot off a million pellets in the next seven years or so. The next five years sounds like it would be pushing it.


  17. BB. Hate to be a pain, but where can I find your plans for spring commpresor?? Took apart my first springer today!! Cros. Quest w/ obvious broken main spring, ( could see it) Like we all were as “Little boys, taking things apart”!! Now I see said the blind man!!BOY WAS THAT FUN!! W/ my 100$ gift card will buy THE Mother of all Dremel sets! Alot of rough edges, burrs, ect! My Diana 460 goes to Charlie Da Tuna, My 54 is just fine! All my other China guns will become patients on MY OP. TABLE!! Mr. Maccari will be looking at caller id. soon & saying LORD ITS TIM AGAIN!! BB. I have been working w/ wood all my life & have restored many automobiles ( metal work) (mech., paint & body, fabricating custom car&bike parts So ill be SAFE!!) Spring comp. for auto front ends SCARE me, so I will not take AG. springs for granted! Update: 67 yr. old neighbor just called me, He Loves his new G1 extreeme , He got the possum that has been tearing up his garbage!! Thanks BB. Tim.

  18. Dragonslayer,

    Ever noticed how many user reviews shoot at “50 yards off the deck” or something to that effect…and how many backyards are lucky to have 50 feet clear and available (not to mention safe)? One of the Red Ryder reviews somewhere (may not be PA) talks about it falling off in accuracy past about 20 yards…maybe its just me, but neither one of my RR’s is a tack driver even at “just” 60 feet.

    It’s like the game we used to play as kids, where we shot match sticks and bottle tops with BB guns at “long range”…you only count the hits.

    Offhand shooting is more of the same — people who get one hole or .25″ groups offhand “all the time” at anything beyond the end of the barrel are suspect at best.

  19. TRC, BOY GOOD LUCK at 25 yrds. w/ open sights!! Those are TINY targets & I cant see them at that distance!!(OLD MAN YA KNOW!) You are obviously a young man w/ eyes to match!!Only open sight shooting Ill do is w/ Ben. Sher.397/392 out to about15 – 20yrds& that is only to hold a group like BB. says, Am. Quarter size for hunting!!And that is pushing it for me!! ( Of course I shoot my open sight pistols out to15 yrds w/ pretty good results) At my age I have really started to rely on SCOPES!! Wish you the best of luck w/ your R/7!! Again I will ask,,Do you have any asspirations of scoping it?? If not thats fine if your eyes are that good!! ( Cant wait till tom. to hear how your 25 yrd. open sight exp. went!!) Good shooting my friend!! SUMO: Kudos on bench rest shooting!!I too am a self proclaimed bench shooting GURU!! 75% of my (HUNTING??) is done from my B.Rest!! 90% paper punching,8% plincking man made objects,2% GAME!! (THAT DID NOT ADD UP ,BUT YOU GET THE PIC.)Even out in my woods I WILL FIND ATREE TO REST ON!! If i cant ill drop to akneeling pos. LAST RESORT,,FREEHAND! ( Althoug I was proud of self yesterday , left w/ no choice, had to freehand a SQ. & got him at about 25 yrds.!! I can now shoot most hold sensative springers from my rest ( MY RWS 54 LOVES IT- ( &I LOVE MY 54TOO!!!)You have high end PCPs. That LOVE a rest! (IM JELIOUS!!) On my best day at 30 yrds w/ my 54 w/ Night pro RWS scope All my shots can hit a nickel!! (IM FINE W/THAT!! THATS A SQ. HEAD!!) Maybee after I recover from holliday $$ and get my first pcp.& crank my scope up to OLD MAN 10x power Ill have some 50-100 yrd. groups to share w/you!!! KEEP ON SHOOTING MY FRIEND!!!!Tim!

  20. BG FARMER:You have me laughing soooo hard I cant think!! How about: Just got my Cros. 760, WOW!!At 10 pumps Im getting1/2 ” groups at 65 yrds.!! Crows at 80 yrds. NO PROBLEM! (MAYBE A SLIGHT EXAGERATION (BUT CLOSE to what I have read!!) Like my LATE father would say,,BLESS THIER HEARTS!! Dont get me wrong,,, my first gun was a Cros. 760 over 35 yrs. ago,,(Back when they had REAL WOOD & rifeled brls.) Pretty accurate, but please son!! Anyway, FARMER, lets KEEP IT REAL!!( Still LOL.) Tim.

  21. Tim,

    Doh! Something came up and I won’t be hitting the range tonight so my 25-yard experiment will have to wait. Bummer! This weekend maybe?

    And yeah, I do plan on scoping it at some point after I get it broken in and a bit of open-sight shooting under my belt (posted that before to ya in the comments from a couple of BB’s posts ago). It would almost seem like a crime not to scope a gun as accurate as the R7 and I’m looking forward to learning all about them! 😉

  22. BB,

    speaking of toms picks…

    the AA s410 carbine is a nifty gun. I Don’t own a AA s410 but have some experience with it, and for the money, unbeatable. You should consider it for your list, or at least one pcp.

    As i remember the childhood game it was 2 pumps only and no head shots or pellets, just bbs, LOL


  23. TRC,Sorry I missed your reply to me as AFIRMATIVE to scoping your R-7. Sorry Im new to computers &learning. Sometimes I have to also compete w/lower ranking family members for computer time!! Sorry about your prob. that kept you from shooting range!! Was really hoping to read tom. about a positive outing for you!!Teck. side of me must ask,,have you thus far formed any oppinion as to which pellets work best for you?? Want to trade your R-7 for a REALLY like new RWS DIANA 460 in 177 cal.?? JUST KIDDEN ?? (SERIOUSLY!!) Keep shootin my friend! Tim

  24. B.B./Blog Readers,
    I am wondering if “BSA Wolverine FT 16 gr. domed” pellets (cover says from Czech Republic) are the same .22 pellets as “Air Arms diabolo Field 1.037 grains.” They look exactly the same and weigh the same (90% of each tin weigh between 15.70-16.00 grains). They both shoot extremely accurately in my Rapid and my 850, better than any of the other 12 brands/types that I have tried. Thank you for your response. – Dr. G.

  25. Dragonslayer,

    You nailed it. I couldn’t resist a try, sorry:

    If all you can get out of that 760 is 1/2″ C-T-C at 65 yards, you better put a scope on it. I use mine with 10 pumps to put down black bears up to 100 yds. That’s the only time 100 yds. seems like a really short distance, by the way, but you still have to be careful and wait for a head shot. Hopefully, you’ve done most of the pumping before you left the house, since most of the time, one shot is all you can count on.

    Just in case an innocent reads this: none of it’s true.

  26. PA Bloggers: I am fairly new to co2 guns. I have a Daisy 008 and a crossman 1077. I think I herd BB say it was OK to leave the 1077 pressurized for a long time. Does Any body know how long is reasonable for either of the two guns that I own?

  27. dr.g

    spot on. And they are all made by jsb, and made by CZ. CZ also makes the s200 for air arms. Kinda like H&N makes the beeman pellets.

    A RAPID? NICE. i was thinking of getting one in .20 but opted for the .22 because the .177 and .22s come with anchuttz (if thats how you spell it) barrels and the 20s and 25 are luther walther. >>>>>>>>>>>>> In my rapid the kodiaks are the winner. Does yours prefer the JSB/BSA/CZ/Air Arms (all the same!) Over kodiaks??? What caliber???

    I would guess .20.


  28. Tim,

    The plans for mainspring compressors are in part 2 of how to tune a spring gun.


    I suggest you find all the parts by finding part 13, which has links to all the earlier parts. There is other stuff you need in there, as well.


  29. bg-farmer: Ok you win!! That is THE FUNNYEST THING I HAVE EVER read on this blog!!! Cant top the absurdity your latest Cros 760 report, BUT, I must Let you know ,, 760 is MAYBEE alittle on the lower power spectrum for Black Bear,,,When hunting game this size I prefer to step it up to serious magnum power from my Ben. Sher. 392 (22cal.)W/ 10/50 x 80mm. scope I like to zero at150yrds. so Im good to about 400 yrds. (took a bull elk in S.C. yesterday at 500 yrds. BUT I dont advise this IVE BEEN PRACTICING!!) Gotta stop now LOL. & BB. is going to kick me off!! Back to reality folks,, How far can you hit aamerican quarter reliably?? W/ modern springers ,I think most of us w/ some exp. would HONESTLY say 20,25,? 30 yrds.! Shure I can hit a quarter at 50 yrds. w/ my RWS Diana 75% of the time (from a bench rest) Hunting in the field at 50 yrds.,NO! Lets everyone look forward to a great new year of shooting AIRGUNS!!Sorry BB. Blaa Blaa! Tim in S.C.! AKA. Drag. Slay.

  30. Dragon,

    I tried hunting bear with my 760 one time and ended up finishing it off with the stock of the gun, then a rock, then a tomahawk. This is why i only hunt them with my hunter extreme. I has the “knock down power” for the job because its 1600 fps and thats about how fast a deer slug goes to it must be about as powerful. i retire my 760 for home defense. You really need the slug gun like power of the extreme for bears.

    500 yards! i shot mine at 20 yards???!!!


  31. BG-farmer; Ok Even I slipped alittle,, after I stopped LOL UNCONTROLIBLY!! My last comment on last post was alot like we have both been joking about! W/ my RWS 54 from bench rest on a perfect day, If Im doing my part and REALLY ON MY GAME, I can MAYBEE hit a quarter 3 out of 10 trys!! Of course other 7 will be CLOSE BY!!! As BB. said about 100 yrds. for him 50 is pretty mutch a circus act for me!! Anyway I do have A few beer cans always at 50 yrds & can say I can HONESTLY! hit them 90% of the time!! Ok BG FARMER I call aTRUCE!! Good shooting my friend Tim in S.C.!

  32. SUMO: I thouhgt Bg Farmer & myself had taken this to the pinacle of lauhfter, BUT WOW!! I use this blog for serious info & at times to MAYBEE help a newbie, I never thought I would find it such HILLARIOUS ENTERTAINMENT!! (Hey its all part of our continuing edducation!) (hey guys,, BB. is probly about to pull the plug on this “stand up comedy” ) Any one else like me venture to guess even though it goes against PA. & BB. rules, THEY ARE LOL. like us?? (Must admit this IS FUNNY STUFF!!) Sorry BB.!! Tim ! AKA Drag.Slay>

  33. Well, shyucks guys! Back a few munths ago, I saw myself a gofer. Realeyez this was no run ‘o the mill gofer. Lazers shot out of them thar beedy eyez and his teeth coulda chopped down a tree faster than a speedin’ beaver!

    Now then, I got myself out my trusty RWS 850 and snuck up on that critter. I got so close the smell of dirt from his fir filled my nostrals! I raized the rifle to my cheek and took aim. POW! It was like an atom bomb exploded!

    OK, ok, so I missed the critter! He hasn’t showed his face since and reeked havic in my yard!

    Shades of Caddyshack … (and probably propigatin’ fur spring)

    LOL …

  34. Sniper,

    Well, it’s obvious that you need to get that rear sight stabilized. When I tested the gun I used both the open sights and the scope and they both worked well.

    I shot half-inch groups at 21 yards. How does that compare to what you are seeing?

    What pellets are you using?

    Are you touching the rear sight before every shot?


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