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Education / Training Erma ELG-10 spring rifle

Erma ELG-10 spring rifle

by B.B. Pelletier

This report was requested by Western PA. If you know anything about vintage firearms, you know the name Erma means quality. Erma made a .22 semiautomatic trainer for the Egyptian Hakim 8mm service rifle around the same time (1954) Anschutz made the underlever single-shot .22 pellet trainer, and it was just as well made as the pellet rifle. The ELG-10 is the only pellet gun made by Erma, according to the Blue Book of Airguns, though I always thought they made some of the 98 Mauser insert trainers along with Hammerli.


Erma’s ELG-10 spring rifle has snazzy good looks and a solid build. It’s a classic.

The ELG-10 looks very solid and good when you first see one, yet your airgunner’s mind warns you to look for plastic and places to put the CO2. Is that due to too much exposure to the Daisy 1894? You won’t find any plastic in this Erma, and it uses a spring piston to power the pellet, so no CO2, either.

The rifle is carbine length at 37.75″ overall, but a weight of exactly 6 lbs. makes it feel exceptionally solid. Never does your hand touch anything but wood and metal.

Beeman brought the ELG-10 into this country in the 1980s. And they didn’t bring in very many of them, either, because the retail price of more than $300 had to compete with rifles such as the R1, which was new and novel at that time. When you find one at an airgun show, it’ll probably be in excellent condition with an asking price above $500. I owned two for several years, which is how I was able to do this report. For one new in the Beeman box, I paid $550 in the late 1990s; and the other I bought for $175 a few weeks later at a local gun store. I always felt the low price of the second one cancelled out the high price of the first gun, which is how it worked out when I sold them.

The finger lever cocks the mainspring but not exactly as you might imagine. Instead of just the lever moving, it’s the grab handle of a longer lever. The rifle cocks on both the opening and closing stroke, and instead of cutting the effort in half, this arrangement actually doubles the effort required. Not that the rifle is difficult to cock…it’s simply cumbersome. You aren’t going to cock this rifle while holding it to your shoulder and aiming.

Cocking the rifle slides a cylinder containing the piston to the rear. When the lever is returned to rest, the piston remains in place, similar to an RWS Diana 48 or a TX200. With the sliding cylinder in the rear, there is direct access to the breech for loading a single pellet. A ratchet catches the sliding cylinder while it is being cocked, and it’s one of the rifle’s several safeties.


Finger lever is just a grab handle for the longer cocking lever. Stroke cocks in both directions, which doesn’t make it any easier, contrary to popular belief.

Safeties everywhere!
The rifle cannot be uncocked, so it must be fired with a pellet every time it’s cocked. To shoot, the finger lever must be pulled up by the shooting hand, so that’s a second safety.

The manual safety is located in the place where a hammer would normally rest. Pushing it down and to the rear engages it, making the third safety.


What looks like a hammer is really the manual safety.

Velocity with .177 RWS Hobby pellets, it’s in the low 600s when the leather seal is properly lubricated. You’ll want to lube the piston regularly, as in every couple of months, at least.

The rifle has a hooded front sight and a rear that adjusts for elevation with the familiar stepped ramp. Some windage can be accommodated by drifting the rear sight in its dovetail. There’s also a short 11mm dovetail along the top of the receiver, where I mounted a Beeman SS3 short scope. It’s about 2/3 the length of the Bug Buster and perfect for the rifle’s small size.

Cleaning kit
The tube under the barrel that would hold cartridges in a firearm actually houses a small cleaning kit, consisting of a single-piece rod and a bore mop. The mop is wedged in the tube to prevent the rod from rattling around when the gun is carried.

Accuracy and firing behavior
The rifle has a sharp forward thrust followed by a short spring buzz when fired. Tuning would be a blessing, though I’m not aware of anyone tuning one. Accuracy is on par with a Diana model 27, which is to say 0.20″ groups of five pellets at 10 yards. Probably half-inch groups at 25 yards.

As I said, I had two and got rid of both of them. I saw one at the Roanoke airgun show last year, and I believe that the owner was asking $650. I would think $600 would be a good price to pay for an excellent one, and the price should drop if the finish is worn. You’ll have to be patient if you want one, because there are probably fewer than 100 in this country.

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.

34 thoughts on “Erma ELG-10 spring rifle”

  1. Hi, while searching online I came accross this blog post by you.

    It was exactly what I was looking for, and I noticed at the end that one mentioned that you might do a similar report on forearms and checkering.

    Didyou ever get around to doing these reports, I had a search but returned nothing, I would be hugely interested in these.

  2. Please help
    In todays post I got boxes with red X”s in them instead of pictures. This is a first on BB’s blog, but has happened on other forums and, based on the responses, I’m the only one having this problem. Could someone with more computer savy than I plaese tell me what I’m doing wrong Thanks JR

  3. .22 multi-shot,
    Your explanation sounds good-except-why do some people get the pictures, and we don’t? I know this is the case because the responses I read, say things like “great looking gun” or “where did you get that breech”. For that matter, if everyone today got red X’s instead of pictures, why am I and Gabriel the only ones asking about it? Sorry to all for this non-airgun topic but I am a visual person and I NEED MY PICTURES-lol.
    ps. Thanks .22 for the response— and BB,as always,very interesting post!! JR

  4. Jr Matt61,

    I’m having the same problem with the pictures.

    I believe it’s A problem with the server where they are stored (PyramydAir)

    I right clicked on the “X” And clicked on “view image”. I was then able to view the image.

    Hope this helps,

    BobC NJ

  5. Jr & Matt61,

    I did A little more checking and found something interesting.

    Checking months back to older blogs I found that the pictures were saved to the pyramydair server in the JPG format while the pictures in todays blog were saved in the TIFF format.

    Generally, images posted to the Webb are saved as JPG’s. They use much less bites then TIFF’s.

    For instance, the first picture is 3 MegaPixels (large). The picture in the shot show blog is only 17 KB.

    B.B. Could this be the problem?

    BobC NJ

  6. BB
    Thanks for the response however,that only increases my frustration and proves my point, as I am still getting boxes with red X’s
    Tried your suggestion but it didn’t work for me. But thanks for trying JR

  7. About the pictures. My IE is also showing the red X. Like other attempted the left click and show picture and that failed for me too.

    But… if you left click and select copy then go to MS Word and right click and select paste you’ll get the photo.

    Odd but it works. First photo is a very plain B&W picture of a lever action rifle with top discaharge. Second is same gun with lever fully cocked (which looks to be a very long pull).

    Third picture is of the safety switch and it does look look like rather odd hammer.

    Try the copy paste.

  8. Sumo,

    I have owned a lot of airguns, it’s true, but because I am not wealthy, I’ve had to sell some to buy others. That’s why I no longer own either of the Erma ELG-10s.

    I do enjoy dredging up old photos and reports I published in The Airgun Letter and Airgun Review, years ago. It makes me sound like I own a lot more guns than I really do, but over the years, I’ve had some nice ones.


  9. There is definitely something different. The image link in the HTML source today is something like “/blog//images/Erma-ELG-profile:right”, while previous days was something like “/blog//images/02-07-08-table-1.jpg”. If I type “/blog//images/Erma-ELG-profile:right” in for the browser address (URL), it brings up the picture in the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. The viewer shows the name as Erma-ELG-profile_right[1].tiff. I am assuming the problem for some of us is that our browser doesn’t have a known viewer for tiff pictures to show the pictures embedded in the web page.

    Thanks for the MS Word tip DB and the tiff info BobC!

    .22 multi-shot

  10. .22 multi-shot,
    You’re of course correct; any picture view that can view .tif files will work. You can even cut an paste to the your desktop if you like and then open the photo.

  11. BB,

    Its a really good-looking gun in an 1894 sort of way…for some reason, I couldn’t figure out what it looked like without the pictures — now the Daisy reference makes sense:).

  12. Hello B.B.,

    That is one beautiful rifle. I wish a manufacturer would embark on producing/re-producing something similar to that with updated parts. It would be my dream rifle in .22cal if it could reach 600fps with a medium weight 14-15gr pellet.

    I know there are the Walther CO2 Lever actions, but I don’t want to be restricted to CO2 use in the field, and they are all .177cal. Any springer like this would be the adult answer to a Daisy Red Ryder, etc., and probably spark alot a interest.

    A man can dream can’t he…

    Take care

  13. Thanks B.B!

    great piece on the Erma. That was a rifle that my father hedged on buying back when they were new – very surprising since he always wanted a Marlin 39A. Nostalgia is great.. but Squirrelkiller has the right idea with an updated model in .22. You didn’t exactly make it sound like a bad rifle.. despite it’s quirks. But that kind of engineering just gets past up nowadays for production simplicity and velocity.

  14. Hi, I would like to get more informations about the mentioned Hakim-training-rifle in .22 rimfire made by Erma. Model/name, availability etc.
    Regards, Michael

  15. Michael,

    My information about the .22 caliber trainer (.22 long rifle/lfb) comes from the 10th edition of Small Arms of the World, published by Stackpole Books and written by W.H.B. Smith and Joseph E. Smith. A photo of both the semiautomatic rimfire rifle and the air rifle is shown on page 614, and the text says the 10-shot rimfire rifle is made by Beretta. In the same paragraph, it also claims the pellet rifle is a .177, so it may be incorrect information about the manufacturer, as well.

    I did read an article in a 2007 Airgun World magazine about the German Falke rifle that appears to have an identical action to the Hakim.


  16. B.B.
    Many thanks for the info. Can I trouble you for info on how to lube this rifle? I don’t have a manual and want to be very sure about what I am doing.
    I thank you in advance!

  17. The only lube you need is silicone oil down the air transfer port. To see the port, cock the lever forward. Then look in the center of the sliding compression chamber. That hole is the port. Oil there. Three drops of silicone chamber oil every couple of months if you shoot a lot.


  18. I picked up one of these recently, shot 5 through the same hole in a piece of cardboard at 15 feet before I cleaned it (couldn't believe it, so I shot somewhere else just to make sure a pellet was coming out). Then I cleaned it thoroughly and shot 3 more times through the same hole (couldn't believe it again, so I shot somewhere elso just to make sure a pellet was coming out). No BS. It's a beautiful rifle and feels great. The manual says this about maintenance (google translation): "A separate maintenance manual is not required. There should be only according to use, clean the barrel, moving parts with an acid-and resin-free oil and shutter open with a few drops of oil of the air cylinders oiled so that the smoothness of the piston seal to obtain." The sentence structure is a little mixed up due to translation, but you get the picture. It will last past my kids lifetime.

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