The Umarex Hammer is a .50 caliber hunting airgun that brings a lot to the table. Before we get too deep into this article, let’s address the elephant in the room. Is the Hammer the “most powerful” big bore airgun on the market? No, it’s not, at least not any longer. Is it the most practical? We think so. There’s a lot more to the makeup of an effective hunting airgun than just power. It’s an important factor, and the Hammer produces more than enough energy to get the job done, but you also need ease of use, accuracy, and portability. In these critical areas, the Hammer takes the advantage over the other big-bore airguns on the market.
600+ FPE is more than enough.
Over the last several years, the recent advancements in airgun power have been staggering. It was not long ago when 200 foot-pounds were considered “a lot” of energy and sufficient for hunting all manner of big game. However, the industry changed when airguns broke the 400+ foot-pound mark, followed by states mandating what’s legal for taking big game animals in their related states. These factors and the reality that bigger and faster is usually seen as “better” has led to the current airgun arms race. It’s an unfortunate turn that has brought more confusion to the industry than successful hunting products.
We’ll try and explain it this way. If you plan to hunt deer, say at 50 to 75 yards shooting out of a blind, what is the “right” firearm for the job? Here are your choices: .22LR, .17HMR, .270, 30/30, .308, 30-06, 700 nitro. The fact is that any of the above can “kill” a deer with the right shot placement. Some choices like the .22LR and the .17HMR may not be legal to use, so they are immediately off the table. The .270 is a hunter’s favorite, as are the 30/30, .308, and 30-06. The 700 Nitro will certainly do the job, but it’s what any seasoned hunter would call “overkill.” The Umarex Hammer sits around the 30-06 level in the airgun world. It’s suitable for deer and other soft-skinned game and very effective for hogs and other game that need more power. It’s not the 700 Nitro and doesn’t need to be.
How Big Bore Airguns Make Their Power
The Umarex Hammer is really a marvel of engineering. So many internal components needed to be created from scratch to achieve consistent power in such a compact and easy-to-use platform. To better understand the Hammers’ impressive engineering, let’s explore how airguns make their power.
Every big bore airgun essentially has a few primary components that make up its firing system. There’s the reservoir that holds the air under pressure, the valve that releases the air into the barrel, and the barrel that sends the projectile downrange. To get the most power, manufacturers turn all of the above up to 11. They have a lot of volume under tremendous pressure. They have a traditional “knock open” valve that’s hit as hard as possible to open long enough to allow a large amount of pressurized air into the barrel and then a very long barrel. The length of the barrel is important as the longer the bullet stays in the barrel and pressure is allowed to continue to build up behind it, the faster it will go and the more energy it will generate. Many of these style big bore airguns weigh over 10 pounds before you add an optic. They are also over 50” long much of the time. They make a lot of power but do so at the expense of usability and portability. Umarex wanted the Hammer to be different.
What Sets the Hammer Above the Crowd?
The Hammer is a “normal” sized airgun weighing 8.5 pounds with an overall length of 43.75”. It utilizes a regulated 4500 psi carbon fiber reservoir and patented valve. Most big bore airguns are not regulated, and their point of impact shifts with each shot. Because the Hammer is regulated, hunters get two consistent shots with no change in the point of impact on a target. The barrel is chambered for .510 and is German-made.
The gap continues to widen when you consider that most big-bore airguns are single shot. The Hammer uses a two-shot magazine which is also the breach. Combined with the auto-advancing, easy cocking system, the Hammer was the first multi-shot big bore pushing power levels up to over 700 foot-pounds. As a result, hunters have two full power, consistently accurate shots on tap with the Hammer. Using 320 grain Nielson Specialty Ammo, we consistently got around 955 FPS and 648.21 FPE with our first shot. The second shot would usually drop about 40 FPS delivering 595.04 FPE, give or take a little. But, this did not impact our accuracy at 50 yards. Connecting shooters to all this power is the exceptional trigger that breaks at under 2 pounds.
Lastly, Umarex wrapped the Hammer in a very ergonomically friendly stock, complete with M-LOK rails for accessories. As a result, the weight and balance are suitable for bench shooting, stalking, stand hunting, etc. As a total package, the Hammer is the ideal big game, big bore, hunting airgun.
Let’s talk operation, power, and accuracy.
If there’s a challenge with the Hammer, it will be filling the carbon fiber bottle to 4500 PSI. Fortunately, Umarex has developed the ReadyAir personal compressor that can handle the task. Once topped off, you’re essentially ready to load the magazine and start shooting.
The two-shot magazine holds .510 caliber rounds. There are many options on the market ranging in weight and shape. The lighter rounds will go faster, producing less power, whereas the heavier rounds will go slower but deliver more energy.
The magazine slides into the breach from the left side of the receiver. There’s a dovetail groove to orient the magazine correctly and a baseplate safety that’s engaged when you insert the magazine.
There are two additional safeties on the Hammer. There’s a locking bolt on the top of the buttstock and a traditional trigger safety. The cocking bolt is located on the right side of the receiver. Shooters will immediately notice that it takes very little effort to cock and cycle the Hammer. The magazine will auto-index to the next shot in the mag as you cycle the rifle.
Depending on what ammo you choose, you’ll be generating between 500 and 700+ foot-pounds of energy with hunting accuracy out to 100 yards. There is a fair amount of recoil and noise with the Hammer. The recoil is not sharp or unmanageable; it’s more like a solid push rather than a sharp hit. The report of the Hammer is such that if you are bench shooting, you’ll want to use ear protection. It’s not as loud as a firearm, but it is loud.
For our tests, we are using 320-grain slugs from Nielson Specialty Ammo. They generate close to 650 foot-pounds and deliver consistent 50-yard hunting accuracy. The slugs are a deep hollowpoint round that’s effective on deer and other big game animals.
Time to Wrap It Up
The Umarex Hammer is a unique product for hunters. It delivers industry-leading performance and overall useability that’s unrivaled by other products currently on the market. The two-shot, auto-indexing system combined with the regulated output ensures consistent accuracy and power on target. If you are a hunter looking for an airgun to expand your hunting options, then the Hammer needs to be at the top of your list. For more information, please visit www.umarexusa.com