Hämmerli Cadet Air Rifle - Single & Repeater
Hämmerli Cadet Air Rifle - Single & Repeater.
With many thanks to Mark for these pics of his amazing collection.
In a post on the American Vintage Airgun Forum (reproduced with his permission), Mark said this:
Single 1965 -1969
For me the Cadet and Cadet Mehrlader (Repeater) are the most Interesting of the gas powered Hammerli rifles. Despite their size and lack of weight they are a joy to shoot and with their rifled barrels accurate enough for the open sights that they are fitted with.
Described in J Walter The Airgun Book (blue book) as a "derivative of the Junior rifle". I completely disagree with that comment as they have nothing in common, apart from the ‘Hammerli’ name. The action and valves are actually based on the ‘Sparkler‘ pistol, also used on the ‘Prinz’ pistol that was made in 1967
Both rifles can take the larger 12grm powerlet or use the 8 grm with an adaptor.
Both models use a bolt action that both cocks the action and opens the breech bolt on the Single shot. The throw is short and easy to operate, so would have been suitable for a youth. On the Single you load a single pellet into the loading slot and close the bolt. The rifle is now ready to shoot, there is no safety fitted to these models. The triggers are two stage with a nice length first stage and a very predictable second stage. On firing the bolt moves forward about 3mm, seating the pellet and allowing the gas to propel the pellet up the barrel. The accuracy of the Single Nr: 2612 I used in testing was more than adequate, producing good power and accuracy shot freehand over 6yds.
The Repeater that I used for the same test had not been serviced and was shooting erratically, unleashing big clouds of gas on some shots, so the grouping suffered. Once serviced I will repeat the test and see how well they can group.
The Cadet Single was made from 1965 - 1969 and the Cadet Mehrlader (Repeater) for just 1 year 1968-1969. All rifles are made from steel and the stocks are all stained beech.The barrels are all rifled and nicely crowned.
However all is not as simple as it first seems!
All of the Cadets – Singles x 4 and Repeaters x 3 featured here came to me as part of a larger collection last February and have stayed just as they arrived for almost a year. Over the last week I have been looking at them in detail and observed some marked differences.
Cadet Single Nr 1290 – Length 93cm – fixed rear sight and no hood to the front that is dovetailed like the rear. Weight 1980grms ungassed. Marked Hammerli ‘Cadet’ on breech
Cadet Repeater – Marked Mod 6 Nr 001 no other markings on the rifle that I can find. It is of course a Hammerli and I assume a prototype. It too has a fixed rear sight and dovetailed open front sight. Length 93cm and weight 2100grms ungassed. It uses a similar removable magazine albeit with a lesser capacity than the production models that hold 80 lead balls. ( Gamo ball feeds perfectly) This rifle also came with a nifty end cap that is fixed for use with 8grm powerlets and has a button on the end that allows you to release any gas that may still be in the rifle after shooting it. I have seen one of these before fitted to a ‘Rapid’ pistol, although it did not have the same length spacer unit.
Cadet Single Nr 3589 Stamped - 'Made in India' - Licence Hammerli _ National Rifles. Apart from the front and rear sight it is built exactly the same as the other rifles. I have never before come across a Hammerli made under licence, least of all in India. If any other Hammerli collector can shed some light on this the please do so. It has a different rear sight to the others, but is the standard length of the production models at 120 cm and 2100grms in weight.
Cadet Repeater Nr 2715 has a different pattern adjustable rear sight and additional screws in the action; its serial number is also stamped into the top of the receiver rather than the normal Hammerli practice of in the side of the action near the loading ports. Other than those minor changes is near identical to the other Repeater model Nr 3115
None of the ‘Merhlader’ rifles is marked as such and only 1 of the single shots is marked ‘Cadet’ Nr 1290 which also happens to be the shorter length single shot rifle.
In the Hammerli brochure of it’s ‘CO2’ air rifles and pistols (see picture) it shows both the single shot and the repeater as being the same length and the single having the straight comb stock and fixed rear and dovetailed open front. The repeater in the diagram has the dropped comb and hooded front sight with what looks like the same rear sight as Nr 2715
The ‘Cadet’ brochure ( see picture) dated marked 1965 shows the single shot model identical to Nr 1290 and with dimensions of 935mm long weight 2kg and states it will give 50 shots from a
8grm powerlet and 70 from 12grms.
I can only speculate based on the few examples that I have been able to examine that the longer (adult size) length rifles came later in the short life of the model production. None of the examples I have seen are marked ‘Cadet’ anywhere on the rifle. I have not seen an owner’s handbook for the ‘Merhlader’, so as it was only produced for a year did one ever make it from the printers?
Did Hammerli look at subcontracting out the production to India or did some entrepreneur in India approach Hammerli with a view to producing the rifles for its home market under licence. I know nothing about the market for CO2 rifles in India in the mid 60s so it must remain a mystery at this moment.
None of the Cadets that came in the collection appeared to have seen much use, some marks to the stocks appear to have been made in storage or shipping, all had the Hammerli bulk fill adaptor fitted leading me to think that these came from the factory to the previous owner, who I know had family links to the factory.
If you have read all of the above – ‘Thank You’ for your time, I hope you enjoy the pictures of these fascinating CO2 rifles."