Hammerli is a storied name in the world of competitive shooting, and the collaboration with the long established Norica has made a line of spring piston airguns available to the North American market. In this review we’ll take a look at the Razor, which I was loaned (thanks Airgun Depot!) to evaluate.
The Iberian Connection
The Spanish manufacturer Norica has been building airguns since the early 1900’s, but has not established the strong brand recognition of that other Spanish airgunning presence. The Hammerli company was founded in Austria in the mid 1800’s and has developed an outstanding reputation in the firearm world the quality and precision of their guns and components, especially in the world of competitive shooting. While they have carried a couple of precharged pneumatic competition air rifles and pistols over the years, they have never had a spring piston design in their product portfolio before. So the idea of a product that fills that niche (a low cost high quality spring piston plinker/hunter) such as those offered by Norica, which could leverage the Hammerli brand cache makes a lot of sense. The proviso though isthat the quality of the gun has to live up to the name.
For the last few months I have been shooting a couple of the break barrel Hammerli guns; the Storm and the Razor, to see how they performed. In this review I will focus on the Razor, but before discussing the gun letâ€™s define the appropriate context. These guns are positioned in price and performance to fit the entry â€“ mid level segment of the market place. They are meant to provide accuracy and power for the mainstream airgunning activities of plinking and small game hunting/pest control.
The Hammerli Razor that I received to test is a .22 caliber model. I received the companies Storm model at the same time, but I’ll focus on the Razor as I liked this gun better in terms of the fit, finish and the performance. It’s also a step up in price from the Storm, retailing at about $275.00, which is a $120.00 more than the Storm. The Razor’s stock is a dark stained vaporized beech that has a checkered pistol grip and forestock and is equipped with a rubber buttpad. The cheekpeice is well shaped and offers good sight alignment, though it is not ambidextrous. This is a full sized rifle with an overall length of 45 inches and a 19 inch barrel, weighing in at 7.5 lb. The receiver is grooved for an 11mm scope mount, and the gun comes standard with fiber optic sights, the front is hooded and the back adjustable. I mounted a Leapers 3-9 x 40 variable scope for testing, and thought this would be a good low cost sighting system for a budget minded buyer.
After shooting the gun for awhile using six or seven different brands of pellets, I ended up with the RWS Superdomes as the pellet of choice, followed by the JSB Exacts as the second place winner in the accuracy department. The Superdomes were averaging around 725 fps, delivering around 16 fpe (foot pounds energy), plenty of power for pest control and small game hunting. With a cocking effort of around 35-38 lbs of force, it isn’t unpleasant to use for an extended shooting session. The cocking was a little rough, but started to smooth out after a period of time. I found the rifle to be a pretty solid shooter, not twangy as you find with many of the less expensive springers, and I’ve enjoyed hunting and plinking with it. One feature of the Razor that I did not like so much was the safety; first it is the type that is situated just in front of the trigger inside of the guard, which many people like though I’ve never cared for personally. I have to admit that the ergonomics are not bad; I’ve just never liked it as much as some other configurations. But the thing I don’t like on any gun is an automatic safety which is deployed when the gun is cocked, finding this inconvenient while hunting.
The Razor features an adjustable trigger made of molded plastic, as is the trigger guard. . I measured the trigger pull at just under 5 lb, there was some creep but the break was crisp. I tried to adjust the trigger but didn’t find that I could improve it much, still it was serviceable. Interestingly I went back through the user manual that came with the gun and couldn’t find anything on the trigger adjustments. I ran through quite a few different pellets before finding the ones that shot the best overall.
I tried Gamo Hunters, Gamo Targets, JSB Exacts, RWS Superdomes, RWS Hollowpoints, Beeman Kodiaks and Ramjets. The Superdomes and Exacts came out on top, with my best 5-shot group being covered by a dime at 20 yards, it took me awhile to get this group, but I finally got it. My key criteria for this type of gun was met though, I was able to consistently drop a pellet into the kill zone of a squirrel a thirty yards. I think that shooters who buy the Razor are going to be using it primarily for plinking, pest control, and small game hunting and will find the accuracy up to the job.
I took Rifle out in the squirrel woods on a few hunts, and found that the Razor coupled with the Superdome pellets was a good combination. I cleanly dispatched a number of squirrels out to 35 yards, finding both the accuracy and power up to the job. I was not as critical of the trigger in the field as I’d been in the evaluation; between the adrenaline flowing through my body and the gloves on my hand the trigger weight was not an issue for me.
I think that the Razor offers solid performance and a good build quality at a reasonable price; and they are in the same class of equivalent Gamo and Tech Force guns, better than many of the rebadged guns sold by the big retailers, and less expensive but not at the same level with respect to fit and finish when compared to the premium brands such as Air Arms, BSA, Weihrauch, and RWS. You need to decide what you’re looking for with respect to intended application, performance, aesthetic appeal, and what you want to pay. If you’re looking for solid performance at a fairly low price point, the Hammerli guns warrant a consideration.