Richard Saunders on CO2 rifles

Hammerli 850 Air Magnum

RRP: £329.99 including scope
A comprehensive and capable package

A long with the Crosman 2250 XL Buntline, the Hammerli 850 Air Magnum is a CO2 rifle doubling up as both garden plinker and tool for short to medium range pest control.

At 1040mm long, it’s a full-size rifle, although since it’s lacking a heavy air cylinder or bottle, it weighs a svelte 2.6kg un-scoped. The 850 Air Magnum is the cheapest of the rifles on test, coming with a set of accessories, including a Walther 3-9×40 scope, a silencer, bipod, tin of pellets and a packet of targets.

Umarex claims power levels approaching the legal limit from a single 88g CO2 canister. However, although it wasn’t a hot day when I put the test rifle over the chrono, it was hardly freezing either, and the best I could manage was 10.4 ft-lb, still more than acceptable.

In terms of shot count, I was able to get between 80 and 100 before having to change the CO2 canister. As with many rifles using the 88g canister, you can buy a converter to use 12g capsules instead.

The black plastic stock is well-proportioned, featuring a ventilated rubber butt pad and chequering on the pistol grip and forend. The front of the stock pulls off to house the CO2 canister, and is fitted with a short Picatinny rail for the bipod.

The two-stage trigger is plastic and adjustable. There is a little play, but it’s adequate, making groups of less than an inch at 20 metres easy to achieve.

The 850 Air Magnum has a  ½ inch UNF thread for the supplied silencer, found by removing the screw-cap on the end of the 600mm barrel. There are good quality fibre optic open sights – a fixed red front sight and a green rear sight that needs a screwdriver to adjust windage and elevation. The Walther scope complements the rifle perfectly.

The eight-shot rotary magazine is simple to use – just push the pellets into the holes, and then slot it into place from the left after pulling back on a thumb catch.

The bolt action is nice and solid, if a little stiff out of the box, and automatically sets a safety button at the back of the action. To fire, you need to thumb a small vertical catch down before pushing the button forward.

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