Okay, without a doubt the biggest news this year for Umarex USA is the Hammer Carbine. Funny that a carbine is big news, considering that this new PCP is both shorter and lighter than the original Hammer .50 caliber rifle. So is that all there is to the story? Well, no, not at all.
The story, for me at least, begins on the range. The range, for trigger-activated devices, is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where you can get a feel for how something will perform and how you interface with the rifle. This past January in the Nevada desert, myself and many other people got our first opportunity to shoot the new Hammer Carbine. So, yes, the Hammer Carbine is shorter, but it’s not just this convenient fact that makes this new PCP so special. The barrel is threaded and topped off with a threaded barrel nut. Now, a consumer can easily attach a sound dampener or just use the rifle like it is, with about a 9 inch shorter platform. Now mechanically, the Hammer Carbine is very much the same as the original Hammer. Loading the magazine, working straight pull bolt action, and operating the safeties is all familiar territory for anyone who’s had any experience with the Hammer.
But is it really the same? A careful observer will note that the Hammer Carbine is missing a foregrip. This is because the bottle is completely different on the Carbine. This has been done to accommodate a much larger bottle, some 35 cubic inches. This bigger bottle mounts in the receiver lower than the original bottle. What this really means is the Hammer Carbine, while sharing mechanics with the Hammer, is really quite different in how it is put together. This 35 cubic inch bottle pressurizes at 4,400 PSI. What this means for the shooter is 4 full power shots.
I was able to step back and witness this when Noor Sabbah, The Dollar Sportsman, and Ben Pierson visited our tent early on in the day and held an impromptu shooting competition. These gentlemen agreed upon the hostage silhouette at the 80-yard mark from the bench. The “hostage” part of the target was a 4-inch spinner that appeared over the shoulder of the silhouette. The first round had both Ben and Noor hitting the spinner with authority. In the second round, Noor held off just a little too much and missed while Ben smacked the blue spinner dead center.
Throughout the day, besides the accuracy, we noticed that our supply of bandages was getting low. No less than six-shooters were “scoped” by the optic mounted on the hard-hitting Hammer Carbine. Anecdotal, I know, but good evidence of the respect due to big-bore PCPs!
Later on in the day as the attendees, wearied of the incessant 30 mph wind and airish temperatures, were making themselves scarce at the various booths. I thought this was a good chance to squeeze the trigger on the Hammer Carbine myself. We were flinging 350-grain SLA slugs down the desert range and had enjoyed the slap of the Action Targets* steel the whole day. Settling down behind the Hammer Carbine is a very familiar feeling, indeed the whole shooting experience is very familiar. Familiar, also, is the slow but deceptively firm recoil impulse. I was able to put 4 rounds downrange and must say that this big bore lead slinger is all that and a bag of chips. In this case, less is more. In making this one design change, shortening and topping the barrel with a proper barrel nut, the Hammer Carbine is a hit. But adding the bigger tank and revised magazine is only the icing on the cake. For me, I’m a fan of shorter rifles– my favorite rifle being Marlin’s 1895G .45-70. This compact style of rifle is essential for hunting in the tight woods and thickets common in the Ozark mountains. My desire for a Hammer Carbine, should I fight off you guys and take one home myself, is to simply use the rifle as it is configured from the factory– no muzzle device. I’ll top it off with a 4-16 Axeon scope that I have put back for the occasion and call it good. I can’t wait to get in the woods with this hard-hitting, high-performing carbine.
Want to check out the original Hammer? Go here: HAMMER TIME!