Top Value Guns
Tim Finley tests the new Hammerli Seeker 800, which comes complete with Enfield scope and mounts
There are many starter rifles out there for the new shooter. Armex came up with the Seeker kit some years ago, and this is the latest edition. It’s a breakbarrelled, spring-powered air rifle, made in China for Hammerli and is based on their 800 model. Break-barrel, spring rifles are perfect for new shooters to learn the basics and this newer Seeker kit comes complete with an Enfield scope and mounts.
The .22 calibre blued steel barrel on the Hammerli 800 is 15.5mm in diameter, with the end of the barrel threaded ½” UNF male, a major step forward over the old Seeker which had an adapter that slipped over the end of the barrel to be held with a single, small Allen stud. I love this upgrade because you can now fit either a muzzle brake or a short moderator – I tried both and preferred a muzzle brake. If you don’t want to fit either, I would get hold of a thread protector, which are readily available. The breech has a black ‘O’ ring to seal it, and a ball-bearing detent catch. The lock-up is good with very little movement of the barrel in the jaws.
I ran the rifle over the chronograph, and with 14.3grain RWS Superdomes it gave 592 fps, which equates to 11.3 ft. lbs. This was with the moderator off initially.
The scope rail is 11.5mm wide, and a full 127mm long, so there’s plenty of room to fit most scopes. It also has a factory-fitted scope arrestor plate over the back of the rail, and I know from experience that a break-barrel, springpowered, recoiling air rifle often needs a system to arrest the movement of the scope backwards on the rail. This recoil stop will definitely earn its keep.
On testing the rifle’s trigger pull and overall operation, I found it was exceptionally good for a rifle in such a price bracket. With my electronic trigger gauge, the pull weight was only 1.17kg, which believe you me, is light for a spring rifle. The safety catch is a black plastic, pop-out rod in the centre of the end cap, which comes out automatically on cocking, to reveal an ‘S’ on each side of the rod. Press it in to set to ‘fire’, or if you are not ready, you can get hold of the rod and manually pull it back out to set to ‘safe’, and it can then be pressed back in when you are ready to shoot, of course.
The only small safety issue I found was that the rifle does not have an anti-bear trap device, so, as ever, keep hold of the barrel at all times when loading and cocking. They very cleverly include a bright yellow tag, held in the closed breech, which details how to cock and load the gun; a responsible touch for any manufacturer. I actually like to be able to de-cock the rifle myself if I need to, and never shoot any spring rifle without a pellet in the barrel because that can damage the piston head.
The kit come with an Enfield scope, 3 x 9 magnification, that
“length of pull is long enough for an adult shooter, although the cheek piece could be a little higher”
has a 40mm fixed objective lens and a 30/30 reticle. The image is bright and clear, and the adjusters have ¼-inch click values at 100 yards, via coin-slot windage and elevation adjustment turrets. All in all the scope is spot on for a new shooter because they can wind the magnification right down to 3x and lower magnification is always handy when you’re starting out in this sport and your hold is on the ‘wobbly’ side of steady.
The plain wooden stock is ambidextrous and there are pressed-in grip panels on either side of the pistol grip and fore end, which has a curved profile end, and the rear stock has a rubber butt pad. I found the stock comfortable. The length of pull is long enough for an adult shooter, although the cheek piece could be a little higher because the gun is made for optical sight use. It’s nicely finished, too. The barrel is not too long and the 800 handles well. From the classic, field target sitting position it shot a 25.8mm, five-shot group with the .22 RWS Superdomes at 30m. The trigger is light for a springer – even with a bit of sear creep it is still very predictable in use.
For airgunners on a budget of less than £200, you get a rifle, scope and mounts, plus the barrel is already threaded for a moderator or muzzle brake, and that’s real value for money in my book.
Thanks to Della and all at Armex Ltd for all their help in the production of this article. I
Above: Good balance, full power and commendable accuracy come as standard with the Seeker.
Below: The Seeker is a heck of an outfit for £180!
Below: The supplied 3-9 x 40 scope has click-stop adjusters. Below: The safety catch is perfectly positioned at the rear of the action end block.
Below: Not the most ‘grippy’ grip in the world but it does the job. Below: The Seeker’s scope won’t shift, thanks to that recoil-arrestor plate.
Below Left: Various muzzle-tip options. Below Right: It was good to find a two-stage adjustable trigger.
Above: The Seeker’s sprung-ball detent provides secure and consistent barrel lock-up.