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Ammo Hammerli 100 Free Pistol: Part Five

Hammerli 100 Free Pistol: Part Five

Hammerli 100
Hammerli model 100 free pistol.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • CCI .22 Long
  • CCI .22 Long CB
  • Eley Target
  • Discussion
  • Why do you care?
  • Extraction
  • Trigger
  • Summary

Today we shoot the .22 cartridges that we discovered in Part 4 will fit the chamber of the Hammerli Free Pistol. This will be an interesting look at how a Free Pistol functions.

The test

I shot three targets with 10 shots at each. I shot at 20 yards on an indoor range, so there was no wind to contend with. There was another issue with aiming that I’ll discuss in a moment when we get to it.

I was standing for every shot because that’s a requirement of the indoor range I was using. I rested the bottom of the pistol grip on the top end of a vertical sandbag for stability.

Hammerli range
At the indoor range I shot the Hammerli Free Pistol off a vertical sandbag rest.

CCI .22 Long

First to be tested was the CCI .22 Long cartridge. This one has a 29-grain bullet that goes out of a rifle muzzle at 1,215 f.p.s. That’s probably about 1050 f.p.s. in this pistol. When I shot them my target was swinging from left to right and the bull I shot at was moving from side to side 4-5 inches. That meant I had to time the shot to when the bull was centered. That’s what I meant when I said there was no wind but there was an aiming issue.

Hammerli target downrange
The target at 20 yards was swinging 4 to 5 inches, left and right.

Oddly, the group was great side-to-side, but it was very vertical. Ten shots went into a group that measures 2.659-inches between centers at 20 yards. Five of them are in 0.538-inches and that group is almost centered in the bullseye. I think that group best represents what this pistol can do with this cartridge — especially since I was sniping at a moving target! I will accept that.

Hammerli group 1
Ten shots are in 2.659-inches between centers at 20 yards with 5 in 0.538-inches.

CCI .22 Long CB

Next up was the CCI .22 Long CB cartridge. This one has a 29-grain bullet that’s supposed to go out a rifle muzzle at 710 f.p.s. Since there is a minuscule amount of powder in the cartridge and the priming is what generates most of the velocity, I think the bullet goes out almost as fast from the Hammerli 100. It’s perhaps 700 f.p.s.?

The target paper was still swinging side-to-side but it had slowed to 3-4-inches by this point. Once again I got a vertical group. That’s because I was having difficulty aligning the sights while standing slightly bent over with the pistol resting on the sandbag.

This time the bullet climbed higher on the target. This group measures 1.707-inches between centers and once again there are five shots in a group that measures 0.439-inches between centers. And I think that smaller group represents the real accuracy potential for this cartridge in this pistol. And by the end of this group the target was swinging left-and-right by only an inch or so.

Hammerli group 2
Ten .22 CB Longs went into 1.707-inches at 20 yards, with five in 0.439-inches. 

Eley Target

The final 10 shots were with Eley Target .22 long rifle ammo. This cartridge shoots a 40-grain lead bullet out a rifle barrel at 1090 f.p.s. In thius pistol it’s probably more like 1000 f.p.s., give or take 25 f.p.s.

The target was not swinging at all for this group. Ten bullets went into 1.566-inches with 7 in 0.821-inches. These 7 were centered well in the bull vertically but strung out horizontally just a little.

Hammerli group 3
This time with the target not moving ten Eley Target rounds made a 1.566-inch group at 20 yards with 7 in 0.821-inches.

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This test did not bring out a cartridge that was clearly better than the others. I think this pistol is too accurate for that. I need to shoot it at 50 yards with the target stationary.  I do think this test shows the potential accuracy of the pistol. It seems remarkable that .22 longs would be just as accurate as target ammunition, but when the target doesn’t move and when I can sit comfortably while aiming I think some cartridges might stand out from others.

What I did learn was these three cartridges are all accurate in this pistol, plus all three chambered easily. In fact they chambered so well that I also tried to chamber CCI Standard Speed .22 LR cartridges. Like before, these would not chamber. So this pistol is picky about what it likes. I can live with that.

Why do you care?

Today’s report shows that firearms are just as affected by their ammo as pellet guns. In this case it may not be accuracy as much as the ability to chamber a certain round.

I am writing this series because when this pistol was made back in the early 1950s it was deemed the most accurate pistol in the world. You may remember that this particular model won gold, silver and bronze at both the 1948 and 1952 Olympic games.

Hammerli 100 inscriptions
The Hammerli 100 swept the medals at the 1948 and 1952 Olympic games.

Today there are air pistols that do just as well at 10 meters as these Free Pistols do at 50 meters. Free Pistol is no longer an Olympic sport, but it is still competed at the world cup level.


The pistol does not eject the cartridge when you open the breech. It slides the cartridge rim back far enough to get a fingernail underneath to extract it.

Hammerli extraction
The empty cartridge extracts this far. Pull it out with a fingernail.


I have the two-stage trigger set to fire with 2.12-ounces/ 60 grams of pressure. That’s light for a pistol trigger but it is manageable. You can see that from my first two targets that were swinging from side-to-side. I knew when the trigger would break. I actually like this trigger a lot. I have to pull it with my middle finger as the Hammerli’s grip is slightly too large for my hand, but as you can see — that did not present a problem. And no, I will not modify the grips. In my opinion that would be like giving the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel a second coat of paint.

Hammerli bullets
The Hammerli 100 free pistol is a winner!


Today I searched for .22 rounds that would fit in my Hammerli 100 Free Pistol and also be accurate. I found three. I do need to test the pistol at longer range, which I will do if it doesn’t sell at the Shilen Rifles swap meet coming up on Saturday, March 23.

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.

31 thoughts on “Hammerli 100 Free Pistol: Part Five”

  1. Wow, that’s still outstanding groups for sniping at a swinging target, it shows your timing is still good.

    Besides a lot of the public indoor pistol ranges I have been into do not have adequate lighting for the type of shooting that pistol was designed for.

    Instead of a public range, I would say visit John at AirForce and use what I called the 800 lb Gorilla as the rest. (For the readers, It’s a steel table they strap airguns into for testing. And it weights about 800 lbs.)

    It would be neat to see what the full accuracy potential of that pistol could be.


  2. Tom,

    Outstanding shots considering the circumstances, even if you were shooting it standing and supported. That target was also oscillating up and down along with the side to side movement. I’ve had experience with similar set ups and they take a while to settle down especially if the target is not firmly backed against a stop.

    Get well soon. I hope that they can use a minimally invasive procedure to get rid of the stone.


  3. B.B.

    I do not understand how a target can swing when you are shooting at an indoor range?
    What made it swing?

    P.S. I hope you are feeling better? I believe most readers are more concerned about your health than the next blog…

          • B.B.

            I have shot at ranges with the motorized target setters. The targets should not swing for more than 15 seconds, 15 minutes-what is that Action Pistol? Somebody need to talk to the range master and get it fixed or fired!!!


            • Yogi,

              Look beyond the target card at the backer board notice something? I haven’t shot at a commercial range that uses USED cardboard boxes for that. If that isn’t enough look at the condition of the ceiling baffles…not painted in ages. The target carrier is running on a single wire loop pully system.
              This is not even close to a your average range not to mention”Guntryclub” ranges.

              They have ventilation if the wind blows just right!


      • BB

        Our range uses one inch strips of old tire tubes (likely bought new as most tires don’t use them anymore)clipped to the bottom corners, long enough to have about six inches dragging on the floor. They help in damping any movement due to ventilation or vibration from the carrier wires.

        Cheap fix.

        Nice shooting, by the way. You seem to do well with moving targets.


  4. Love those CCI CB long cartridges , they have been hard to come by for the last ten years or so. I used to employ a Remington mod 41 Targetmaster with CCI CB Longs for armadillo patrol now a .25 caliber Umarex Origin fills the roll just fine and with a moderator it is just a little quieter.

  5. Thanks for the report. That’s some nice shooting under the challenging conditions. That is such a beautiful and cool pistol. Someone just might purchase it at the show! For what it is worth, I tried some of the CCI .22 Long CB ammo in my Savage B22 left hand rifle. I clocked it at 739.6 fps just a few inches from the muzzle. I hope you are feeling better and get well soon!

  6. B.B. Pelletier,

    why not offer to sell this Hämmerli 100 on the condition that actual ownership is transferred after a reasonable time to finish it’s series of blog reviews? If I were permitted to use such a handgun, that is how I would make the purchase. 🙂

    As for the Sistine Chapel:
    I wonder where you placed your index finger,

    whether the – I think you call the low horizontal wooden ridge a palm shelf – bottom hand clamp can be removed, and finally,

    it looks as if the trigger finger would touch, not the curved blade but, a little screw- or bolt head?

    • Hihihi, having held that pistol personally, you don’t hold it, you wear it like a tailor made glove and it holds you.

      I would love to own that pistol, but I also know I could never do it justice in the shooter part of the accuracy department.


      • 45Bravo,

        I agree. That ergonomical grip reminds me of the pistol grips used in fencing. Equally as weird/ ugly looking, but they’re so natural to hold, it kinda feels easy. Besides, they give such a strong hold that allows the user to fence with authority! 🙂

        The other, more appropriate, comparison I can make, is, my wooden grip target pistol. For my mole-like shovels I had to remove it’s low hand-clamping bracket and then rasp the grip to a more fitting shape.

        I was a bit apprehensive about wrecking it and so, I spent hours removing a bit here and a little there, then holding it to feel which bits were still uncomfortable, and back to making a little more sawdust… safe but sloow progress: maddening !!! 🙁

        pictured below, the wooden grips on the pistol I am now happy to hold. 🙂

        • hihihi,

          So you shoot it without the hand clamping bracket? Doesn’t that mean you have to put more strength in your grip which contributes to wobble?


          • Siraniko,

            yes, I shoot the pistol without the hand clamp/ palm shelf and yes, my active grip possibly adds wobble.
            Imagine being able to separate one’s various body wobbles and control them individually in such a way that they cancel each other? 🙂

            I re-installed the clamp for the picture below. It’s on the lowest possible setting. As it kinda hooks under my hand a little, the pistol feels less nose heavy, ie more balanced.

            However, as my lower hand also rests on top of the clamp, I can’t get all of my palm onto the grip. Besides, my little finger feels left out and a bit sad! 🙂

            • hihihi,

              Since there is no top shelf that I can see on the right hand grip panel the grips are clearly too small for your hands. Since you don’t appear to be going for formal ten meter pistol shooting investing in a custom pair of grips is moot. Enjoy your pistol. I know I would.


              • Siraniko,

                yes, because I succeeded in my reshaping experiment, I didn’t need to enact plan B, ie to buy a new “custom pair of grips”!
                Maybe one day I will, who knows… ?

                Thanks for your kind thoughts about formal competition shooting, however, I have never felt an urge to increase the number of official losers. 🙂

                What kind of handgun of yours do you enjoy shooting?

                • hihihi,

                  I used to shoot a local copy of a FWB(?) CO2 10 meter pistol. Considering that I was sharing it with my brother I could not get the grip to fit me the way I really wanted it. If I’m lucky I will be able to purchase a Beeman P3 and resume pistol shooting. Who knows? I might use the equivalent of Bondo to sculp the grip to my liking.


  7. This was a fun read. The other day at the indoor range with friend Shootin’ Magoo, we were experiencing the same “oscillating target” experience but the targets seemed to settle down in about 5 minutes or so. Thank you for today’s entry, given your health challenges – take care of yourself and take it easy. Not easy to take it easy sometimes. FM knows from personal experience.

  8. BB,
    Not meaning to give advice where none is needed but if you’re planning on displaying that pistol for sale at a gun show, let me expand.
    Put a price on it that is so high that you cannot feel bad about selling it. That way if it’s sold you can say “I could not possibly have refused that amount.” Or “For what I was paid, I could afford to buy a better one.”
    Seller’s remorse is something that I am quite familiar with.
    Stay well.

      • Siraniko,
        My thought was to point out that he should set the price high enough that if the second person that walked by his table would buy it, he wouldn’t feel too put out.
        (Unasked for advice, worth every penny paid for it.)

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