All posts by Albert Smith

Hammerli 850 AirMagnum Review

Hammerli 850 AirMagnum Review

Let’s take a look at one of my all time favourite air rifles. Let’s review the Hammerli 850 AirMagnum. The German made Hammerli, or Hämmerli if you speak umlaut, is a legendary rifle among air´-gunners, for precision and build quality. Some of you guys like to buy American made guns, but in all honesty, the US can not compete with the nation that invented precision mechanics. BMW, Mercedes, Leupold etc etc, all German brands, all outstanding. So why not go for a German airgun if quality is what you require.

People have been converting the Hammerli 850 AirMagnum since the day it was first released. Custom stocks, bulk CO2 etc, the Hammerli 850 AirMagnum can be modified to your heart’s content, and the market for aftermarket parts and customization is very big indeed.

The stock is made of a material called Zytel ™. This is a composite thermoplastic, nylon combined with fiberglass from Dupont, and it is outstanding in lightness and durability. The stock has a Monte Carlo shape, with an oversized cheek rest, which makes for a very comfortable stock indeed.
The speed of the Hammerli 850 AirMagnum is not the highest. The bullet travels with about 650 – 750 fps depending on your pellet. Relying on sub-sonic speed is a trade-off, you lose some punch, but for compensation you get less recoil, more precision, and less noise. Since it’s a .22 it is still powerful enough to put down pests such as rats and birds.

You pop in an 88 gram bottle of CO2 and it lasts you well over 200 rounds before the pressure drops. Those 200¬+ pellets hit the target accurately every time, and you will notice when the pressure diminishes and the precision suffers. I suggest you keep track of how many times you’ve fired it, because you don’t want to shoot rodents and lose precision during the hunt. Kill-shots is what you want, wounding a rat in your barn could be messy.
The diabolo bullets are loaded in an 8 pellet capacity rotary clip, somewhat like a revolver. So it’s a semi automatic air rifle really. Follow up bullets can be shot very quickly. Buy some more clips, and it basically works like a speed loader. Very nice feature. There’s a 2 step trigger on the 850 AirMagnum that can be adjusted to your liking.

All the reviews of the Hammerli 850 AirMagnum online indicate that the clientele are very happy with it. You can look but you will not find anyone that dislikes it. So to conclude the Hammerli 850 AirMagnum review, we advise you to get it. It costs about $100 more than similar air rifles of a lesser quality, but this is a great air rifle. It is totally worth the tiny extra expenditure. For pest control, for introducing younger shooters to this hobby and for backyard plinking, this is the ideal choice.

Umarex Steel Force Review

Umarex Steel Force Review ( Air Rifle)

This is a co2 rifle from the well known German company Umarex. Now apart from the Walther Lever Action that is also from Umarex that we have reviewed elsewhere on this site, we don’t usually
review plinker real-gun lookalikes here on Air Rifle Reviews. The reason for that is that we focus on the more practical side of airguns, and we define practical as A. precision B. power and C. useability, either as target shooters or vermin killers. But variety is the spice of life they say, so we decided to review the Umarex Steel Force. This is a fun-gun, a co2 rifle that looks a lot like an M4 carbine. It really looks a lot like a real
assault rifle, so it’s not the kind of thing you want to play around with in public areas. You could suffer death-by-cop, and wouldn’t that be a really bad ending to a nice day of shooting. The Umarex Steel Force is Not really useable for much else than to play around with, buy you can sure have a lot of fun with this little baby.

This rifle is mainly plastic with a few steel parts. It is not a cheap kind of plastic though. It actually is a really solid build, which translates into a weight of impressive 4.5 pounds. I think that Umarex decision to assemble these rifles in Japan instead of China contributes to this feel of quality. In my opinion, a German/Japanese product will always be a better product than a German/Chinese one. The rifle is powered by two co2 cartridges that are inserted into what would be the magazine on a regular m4 carbine. These two cartridges will last you about 200 bullets, so you can really go through cartridges like hot cakes during a day of shooting. There is an airsoft version available of the Umarex Steel Force as well, but this one shoots proper heavy .177 or 4.5 mm steel bb’s. These are heavy enough that they together with the 430 fps speed of the rifle, pack quite a punch. The rifle has a 300 round reservoir for the bb’s.

The Umarex Steel Force bristles with Picatinny rails, so you could attach scopes, nightsights, laser pointers, anything you want basically. Try an underslung grenade launcher if you live in a place where those are allowed. Jokes aside, the customization ability due to these rails are almost endless.

The stock is telescopic, as it should be, which is a nice touch. It is not detachable though, which is no big deal in my opinion.

Umarex Steel Force has a selector that is switchable between safety, single fire and semi auto six round burst. I do love semi-auto and auto fire on air rifles. They did not make them like that when I was a kid.

As we already mentioned, heavy bb’s and 430fps brings a decent punch, but of course this is not for hunting. The precision is decent, with bullets landing within a 2inch radius at 30 feet. So this is not the kind of rifle you want to shoot vermin with, unless it is cornered and at very close range. I see the “use” for the Umarex Steel Force as a leisure rifle only. use it yourself, and use it with your kids. Could be a way of teaching kids of a young age proper gun safety, and they would probably regard it as an ideal birthday or christmas present. A a fun-gun it is a massive hit. The sales figures indicate this, cause it is indeed selling well. The upsides are obvious. It looks real, it is built properly by air rifle world leaders Umarex. And… the price is very decent indeed. It only costs about $100 at Amazon, so it really is a lot of fun for the money.

RWS Diana 34 Review

RWS Diana 34 Review

For the purpose of this review, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane. The first air rifle that I ever owned, was a Diana 25. A true classic air rifle that has been around since the 1940’s. I loved that gun. Very impressive build quality, and it lasted forever, without any care whatsoever. The machinery, the stock, the look and feel, everything was outstanding. So when it comes to the RWS 34, also known as RWS Diana 34, I am very prone to write a good review, just out of sentimentality. Just lucky that I don’t need to lie in order to write a good review, cause the RWS34 really is a very nice break barrel air rifle.

As you would expect, it is a single shot air rifle, available in .177 and .22 calibers. This rifle has been around for decades. It has always been a good rifle and with constant improvements to the classic formula, it has turned into an excellent air rifle.There are other variants available as well, The RWS Diana 34P, where the P stands for Panther, which for some reason indicates that it has a synthetic stock.  . There is also the Diana RWS34 Meisterschutze (master shooter) Pro Compact, which indicates a shorter rifle. The rifle tested in this review is the regular RWS Diana 34, which is the “regular” RWS Diana 34, with a beech stock.

Starting off with the stock, it is wonderful to touch and behold. Made from smooth beech wood of a very high finish. The stock is ambidextrous, so south paws need not worry. This rifle will fit you nicely.

Latter day RWS Diana 34 has the new and improved T06 trigger. This trigger is one of the best triggers in the air gun world. It is very light, only about 1.5 lbs trigger pull is needed. It is adjustable to your liking though, so you can have it any way you want. As you’d expect, the trigger assembly is all metal. No plastic here.

To get the most out of my brand new RWS Diana 34 I had to do some adjustments. My rifle was very stiff to cock, right out of the box. I assumed it would loosen up after a while but after a couple of hundred rounds it was still acting the same way. Some chamber lube inside, and some silicone spray on the spring, got me the result I wanted. Now it is acting just like a first rate German made airgun should. I would have preferred if it had been very smooth from the start. Other people don’t seem to have this problem with their brand new RWS Diana 34, so I am thinking this might have been a problem with my specific purchase.

RWS Diana 34 Review 3RWS Diana 34 Review 4

This is a very powerful rifle that recoils both back and forward. This could get your aim off unless you hold it properly. It will take some time to get the right shooting position to achieve truly excellent groups. This powerful recoil also means that you need to tighten it down after a couple of hundred shots. I suggest using some Loctite here to make sure you don’t need to tighten it again for a while.

As for precision, half inch groups at 25 yards were a breeze with a decent scope. Excellent precision is what you’d expect from a Diana and that is what I got.

So to finish off this test of the Diana RWS 34, I could not recommend it more. For what you pay, it is unbeatable. As someone else on the web wrote “it’s a European made rifle at a Chinese price”. It is a rifle for adults, or for teens that you want to educate on the way to handling “real” guns. The tightening of the bolts and the need for an exact grip indicates this. It is quite heavy at 7.5 pounds and quite big at 45″, this all increases the “real” gun feel. Recommended usage is for plinking and small game, for the plinking, get any caliber, for the small game, get the .22. This is a rifle that will serve you well for decades, just as any Diana owner can attest to.

Gamo Air Rifle Comparison Table



ProductCaliberOur notesFPSScopeStockOur reviewInfo link
Gamo Whisper Fusion.177IGT Inert gas tech. Silencer.1300 FPS3-9×40Synthetic. Adjustable cheekpad. Gamo Air Rifle Comparison Table 5
Gamo Whisper Fusion Pro.177Silencer.1400 FPS3-9×40Synthetic.ReviewClick here
Gamo Whisper Fusion Pro.22Silencer. Powerful.1000 FPS3-9×40 AOSynthetic. Click here
Gamo Whisper Fusion Maxima.177Silencer.1200 FPS3-9×40Imitation wood. Click here
Gamo Whisper Fusion Maxima.22Silencer. IGT Inert gas tech.975 FPS3-9×40Imitation wood. Click here
Gamo Whisper Silent Cat.177Silencer.1200 FPS4×32Synthetic. Skeleton. Click here
Gamo Whisper CFR.177Silencer. Fixed barrel.1100 FPS3-9×40Synthetic. Adjustable cheekpad Click here
Gamo G2.177Stabilizer. Fiber optic sights.1275 FPS4×32Synthetic. Adjustable cheekpad. Click here
Gamo G2.22Stabilizer. Fiber optic sights.975 FPS4×32Synthetic. Adjustable cheekpad. Click here
Gamo Whisper Hunter.177Silencer.1250 FPS3-9×40Synthetic. Click here
Gamo Raptor.177Stabilizer. Silencer.1275 FPS4×32Synthetic. Click here
Gamo Buckmasters Squirrel Terminator.177Stabilizer. Silencer. Hunting specialization.1275 FPS4×32Synthetic. Click here
Gamo Bone Collector Bull Whisper.177IGT Inert gas tech.1300 FPS4×32Synthetic. Green. Click here
Gamo Bone Collector Bull Whisper.22IGT Inert gas tech.975 FPS4×32Synthetic. Green.ReviewClick here
Gamo MRA Hunting Showstopper.177Shawn Michaels edition.1400 FPS4×32Synthetic. Click here
Gamo Mach1 Pigman.177Technologically advanced rifle.1420 FPS3-9×40Synthetic. Pistol-grip. Click here
Gamo Mach1 Pigman.22Technologically advanced rifle.1020 FPS3-9×40Synthetic. Pistol-grip. Click here
Gamo Varmint Stalker.177Silencer.1250 FPS4×32Synthetic. Click here
Gamo Silent Stalker.177Silencer.1300 FPS4×32Synthetic. Click here
Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper.177Silencer.1300 FPS3-9×40Synthetic. Skeleton. Click here
Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper.22Silencer.975 FPS3-9×40Synthetic. Skeleton. Click here
Gamo Varmint Hunter HP.177Laser. Flashlight.1400 FPS4×32Synthetic. Green. Click here
Gamo Varmint Hunter.177Laser. Flashlight.1250 FPS4×32Synthetic.ReviewClick here
Gamo CAMO Rocket.177Camouflage1300 FPS4×32Synthetic. Camo. Click here
Gamo Bull Whisper Extreme.177Silencer. Powerful rifle.1400 FPS3-9×40Synthetic. Click here
Gamo Hunter Extreme SE.177Very powerful rifle.1650 FPS3-9×50 illuminatedBeechwood. Monte Carlo. Click here
Gamo Big Cat.22Powerful low-price rifle. Pest control.950 FPS4×32Synthetic. Click here
Gamo Big Cat 1250.177low-price rifle. Hunting specialization.1250 FPS4×32Synthetic.ReviewClick here
Gamo Big Cat.25Large caliber. Low price.800 FPS4×32Synthetic. Click here
Gamo Big Cat Hunter.177Low price. No scope. Hunting specialization.1250 FPSN/AImitation wood. Click here
Gamo Big Cat Hunter 4×32.177Low price. Hunting specialization.1250 FPS4×32Imitation wood. Click here
Gamo Big Cat Hunter 4×32.22Low price. Hunting specialization.950 FPS4×32Imitation wood. Click here
Gamo Big Cat DX.177 1250 FPS4×32Synthetic. Click here
Gamo PCP Coyote Multishot.177Pre-charged pneumatic PCP. 10 pellet clip.1000 FPSN/ABeechwood Click here
Gamo PCP Coyote Multishot.22Pre-charged pneumatic PCP. 10 pellet clip.1000 FPSN/ABeechwood Click here
Gamo Recon Whisper.177Youth rifle. Light.575 FPS4×20Synthetic. Skeletal. Click here
Gamo Recon G2 Whisper.177Youth rifle. Green dot sights.750 FPSN/ASynthetic. Pistol grip. Click here
Gamo G-Force Cat.177Assault rifle look.750 FPSN/ASynthetic. Tactical. Click here
Gamo ACCU177.177Heavy duty.1250 FPS4×32Synthetic. Click here

Benjamin Trail NP XL 725 Review

Benjamin Trail NP XL 725 Review

I haven’t been handling that many .25 caliber rifles, mainly because I like my rifles loud and fast, and… because, .177 was what I used to shoot when I was a kid. I bet the manufacturers have done research on sentimentality for the “bb-gun days” when it comes to air rifle purchases. People tend to stay with the brands that they liked in the old days, so that means German made .177’s have a special place in my heart. So I decided to test some .25 caliber air rifles to see if I could change my perception, and it was indeed a revelation. I am no longer focused on FPS and look more at impact power. And for pest control, of course impact power equals lethality, and I do like to keep my backyard vermin free.

What is new about the Trail 725 XL apart from other Crosman break barrel rifles is that A. it’s a .25 and B. It is powered by Crosman’s Nitro Piston. The Nitro Piston works by storing its energy in a gas filled container instead of a conventional spring. The result is a rifle that is more silent, more powerful, and more accurate, as well as gives you a very smooth cocking motion This sort of boils it down. Although I could spend hundreds of words more on the Crosman Nitro Piston, for the purpose of this article, all you need to keep in mind is that it makes your rifle quieter, more powerful, and gives you more precision. All good.

This is a large rifle. All of 48 inches long and close to 9lbs in weight. For some people this might be too big, for others it’s a selling point. I belong to the latter category. It makes the rifle feel like a rifle for mature users. Which in fact it is.

It has a very nice soft rubber butt stock at the end of the ambidextrous wooden stock. A stock that is equipped with a very cool looking thumb-grip. There’s a sling attachment at the very end of the stock as well at the very top, so that adds to the carryability. The long stock has a nice chequering at the top, which is a nice tough. The two-stage trigger has a decent triggerpull of approximately 5lbs. It is pretty much a standard Crosman trigger. Unfortunately the trigger guard is plastic, which makes me think more positively about the German guns I used to know and love, but I decided not to make a big issue of it.

This air rifle kit comes complete with a centre-point 3-9x40mm rifle scope that attaches to a Weawer rail. It is quite a decent scope, but if for some reason you don’t like kit scopes, then feel free to switch it out. For my vermin control purposes it does the trick.

As I previously mentioned, I use this rifle for vermin control and for that it is very suitable. You can easily put all pellets into a half inch circle at 25 yards, or in the kill-zones of a large bird at 50 yards. No problem.

So all in all, good, pretty rifle, that comes at a decent price, and is so far serving me very nicely for the purposes I bought it for. You have a range of Benjamin XL 725 variants available over at, for example, Amazon. Wood stocks or synthetic stocks as well as all the usual calibers, .177 .22 and .25.