What came before the 10-meter rifle? – Part 2 Zimmerstutzen

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

I’ll have more SHOT Show reports for you soon. I see that a lot of you are interested in the new models that are coming out. I can tell you now that Umarex USA, RWS USA and Crosman have some exciting new models. Beeman is also loaded with new airguns for the US market. I went to the Gamo booth several times, but no one was available to show me the new models. It appears that they have reskinned several guns with new names, and they have a new CO2 rifle. They were unable to give us a print catalog or technical specifications. As you know, Gamo was recently sold, and I think the company is still in a transition time.

More history
In the last report, I gave you a condensed history of the Zimmerstutzen rifle. The Golden Age was from about 1900 to 1914. During this time, all of the finest improvements were made. My rifle was made in Munich, but it features a Stiegele action. Stiegele was, perhaps, the most progressive of all makers during the Golden Age.


My Zimmerstutzen was made around 1910 and is not entirely a classic-style rifle. Mine has a Bavarian butt that drops lower than a traditional Swiss butt, and the cheekpiece is not as high and cupped. My rear sight has 8 different apertures to adjust for varying light conditions.
Zimmerstutzens today
WW I halted the production of the Zimmerstutzen rifle. After the war, a few more rifles were undoubtedly assembled from existing parts, but the manufacture of Zimmerstutzens changed at that time.

Instead of finely crafted and virtually handmade actions, the zimmers were made on single-shot rifle actions. The Flobert was popular but so was the bolt-action Mauser.

The product of zimmers continued past WWII and, in fact, is still active today. Even handguns have been created in 4mm caliber.


Two fired cartridges from my Zimmerstutzen. Note the scraping near the mouth of the cartridge on the left. My gun was chambered for 4.3mm short fixed ammo, but I had only 4.3mm longs, initially. Also, note the large impression of the firing pin. Since the cartridge is powered by the primer, it’s mandatory that the ignition be positive.
In the 1960s, target air rifles began challenging zimmers as accurate shooters. By the time the FWB 150 came out, the Zimmerstutzen could no longer compete. My own rifle was capable of placing 5 shots in a group about 0.10″ at 10 meters. That’s good, but not up to today’s standard, which is about 0.04″ t0 0.06″ at that distance.

Zimmerstutzens are not dead, however. Shooting them is now a sport of collectors and history buffs. RWS has continued the manufacture of Zimmerstuzen ammo, and shooters all over the world rely on them to keep their old rifles running. Sadly, here in America many zimmers have been converted to fire .22 short ammo. This was probably done because the owner was unaware that 4mm ammo was available.

Do you want one?
Several of you indicated that you would like to buy a vintage zimmer. When I started writing about them in the late 1990s, zimmers were available for $500-800. There has been a surge of interest that has raised the price up to the level of $1200-2000. But, they’re still under-valued in my opinion. The only way to find a zimmer is to start looking. I’ve turned down 3 or 4 in the past 3 years, but people sought me out because they knew I was interested in them.

Do you want more?
I’ve written lengthy articles about Zimmerstutzens, but I don’t know if they’re anything that most airgunners want to read. I can cover most of their aspects or answer questions; but, because this is an airgun blog, I really want to hear from the readers before I do more on this subject. Remember, the purpose of this report was just to show you the predecessor to the 10-meter rifle.

21 thoughts on “What came before the 10-meter rifle? – Part 2 Zimmerstutzen”

  1. I like the fact that you are showing the roots of the sport. I find all this very interesting. Thanks BB.

    PS. I can’t wait to hear about all the new stuff from the SHOT show.

    Al in CT

  2. Hi BB,
    Very interesting series on the Zimmerstutzen. Ive learned alot. I would definetly be interested in more articles. I think you need to keep the blog diverse. If you like witing about it, we like reading about it.

    Nate in Mass

  3. Great Info BB
    I think a person needs to know where they have come from before they can decide where they are going. Just my Thoughts

    Any way what new air or spring pistols are ariving on the market this year. I am interested in something that will be adiquate for rats and other small game as well as casual target shooting.
    22cal is prefered.

    Thank you and enjoy your vacation/busines trip.

  4. B.B.,

    Another question on the UTG Tactedge 4×40 scope. I bought two from Pyramyd, and I mounted one on my .30-06 and the other on my .22LR (gonna keep my RWS 48 open sights). Do you find that you can’t lock the turrets down to keep them from turning? The manual indicates that you can, but it ain’t happening on either scope. The turrets turn fairly easily, and I’m concerned they will lose adjustment or move when bumped/handled. The only thing I can figure to do is to remove the turret cap fixing bolt, lift off the turret, set it back down so that “0” is on the reference line, and always ensure that it’s on “0” before firing.

    Also, I got the .30-06 boresighted last night at the gun shop, and the windage turret had to be unscrewed so much to bring the POI to the left that it was almost backed out of the scope save for a few threads.

    Any thoughts?

  5. B.B.

    I could hear more on the zimmer, but I’m really interested in the 10 meter rifles.

    It looks like my 1077 has sprung a leak. Sometimes, very faint wisps of CO2 come drifting back to the butt. It’s not serious enough for me to send it back for repairs, but I’m wondering if this is likely to get worse like the leak in the dike or if there is a quick fix. Is this where I put a few drops of pellgunoil down bore and stand the rifle up?


  6. BB – For what it’s worth, I’m fascinated by virtually anything that shoots a projectile. Quick question: does anyone know of an online list of airgun barrel diameters?

  7. BB,

    More on ZS’s is fine by me, especially more specifics on how and where the matches were run, and who the shooters tended to be (both in Europe and in the US). Probably that all fits into the early history of 10M AR.

    Whatever you got from the SHOT show: Marlin centerfires, Remington wood rasp vent ribs, new AR’s. The Shutze looks excellent, but I bet the Feuerkrafte are noticed more by a wide margin:(.

  8. .30/06.

    No comment on the turrets not locking. That’s a feature I never use.

    As for the scope being off to the side, try reversing your mounts. The mounting base on the rifle isn’t cut square to the bore or the mounts are not cut true when that happens. Also try swapping front and rear rings.


  9. BB,
    I was considering a walther cp88. Is there anything the umarex is offering that will compete with that pistol. (I’m mostly reffering to the guns that have the metal 8 shot clips)

  10. MCA,

    I don’t think Pyramyd Air will be restocking Weihrauch rifles after the ones in stock are sold. They will continue to stock Beeman airguns, and they are looking at importing Weihrauch 25 rifles through Beeman, but no more Weihrauch rifles directly from Germany.


  11. Yesterday you wrote that airforce has OKed nitro in their guns. Two questions:

    Are there temperature related issues for nitro like there are for CO2?

    What is the relative velocity of nitro compared to air or CO2? I would think that it is similar to air because it is an atom and not a larger molecule like CO2.

    Scott T.

  12. Ok, but I though that it existed as an N2 molecule. Either way, it is quite a bit smaller than CO2 and since it comprised the majority of our atmosphere, I assuming it has similar velocity to HP air.

    -Scott T.

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