I like the sidelever action on the Pneuma. It reminds me a bit of the Fortner action that is used so often on Biathlon rifles: pull back to load, push forward to close the breech. Simple, direct, easy, and I found it very easy to use when the gun is on benchrests.
To test the Pneuma for accuracy, I mounted a huge 6-24 x 56 mil-dot scope on 11mm mounts. My digital trigger gauge tells me it take about 1 lb to take the first stage out of the Pneuma’s trigger. At about 5 lbs pressure, the second stage trips, and the shot goes down range. The Pneuma manual says that the trigger is adjustable for trigger travel and trigger pull. I did not attempt to adjust the trigger travel, but I did attempt to lighten the trigger pull. This requires undoing the two screws that hold the trigger guard so that you can access a small screw immediately behind the trigger. Unfortunately, no amount of adjustment seems to have any effect. The trigger sear always seems to trip at around 5 lbs. I queried the folks at UmarexUSA about this, and the factory told them that the trigger should be adjustable down to about 3 pounds. Maybe it was simply a problem with my sample, but I couldn’t detect any adjustability. Nevertheless, as we’ll see, the trigger did not interfere with accurate shooting.
When the shot does go off, though, the Pneuma drives pellets with authority and with a report that is likely to attract the attention of neighbors, although not nearly as raucous as some of the big Korean hunting air rifles I have shot. The .177 Pneuma was pushing Crosman Premier Heavy (10.5 gr) pellets through the chronograph at 988 fps average. That’s 22.7 footpounds of energy. At 50 yards, I was able to put five Crosman Premier Heavy pellets into a group that measured just .61 inches CTC.
I tried JSB heavy pellets, Dynamic TM-1 pellets, and Beeman Kodiaks. All of them flirted with 1,000 fps or faster, and all of them produced much wider groups than the Crosman Premier Heavies. I don’t know if that is because those pellets weren’t a good match for the Pneuma barrel or if the pellets were simply going too fast for accurate shooting.
I am not an airgun engineer, but my guess is that the Pneuma is wasting a lot of air and could benefit from some tuning that would make it more efficient and probably quiet it down a bit. The .22 version gets about 20 shots between 825-875 fps before the velocity really starts to drop, and the .177 version gets 30 shots per fill.
My take on the Pneuma is that it is a worthy entry-level air varminter. It has the power and the accuracy to clobber vermin at 50 yards and beyond. If I were selecting my first air varminter with a close eye on my checkbook, I’d make sure the Hammerli Pneuma was on my short list.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
- Jock Elliott