Besides being the continent's premier Hämmerli dealer, Larry Carter is also one of our best shooters, a man who has broken scores of records over the years. His tips for care of the Hammerli 208s are excellent and are recommended for any fine .22 target pistol. Many thanks to Larry for contributing this article.


In my opinion, while over-cleaning can do more damage than good, proper cleaning and maintenance can give your 208 a long and trouble-free life. The most important area to keep clean is the chamber. These guns obtain phenomenal accuracy, in part, because of their tight chamber dimensions. If the chamber is allowed to build up an accumulation of carbon or lead, feeding, extraction, ejection and worse problems can occur. The method of cleaning that I prefer is to bend a bore brush into an "L" shape with the short leg being only as long as a spent case. This will allow you to clean the chamber without getting the brush into the rifling. Insert it into the chamber and rotate back and forth to loosen any carbon or lead that may be stuck to the walls. Follow this with a "Q-Tip" to get this debris out of the gun before putting a patch through the bore.

I never use a metal brush in the bore. The bore should come clean with, at most, a nylon brush and some cleaner. NEVER clean from the muzzle. The crown of the barrel is immensely important to accuracy. A small nick or scrape that cannot be seen with the naked eye can open groups threefold or more. Take the time to disassemble the slide from the frame and do it from the breech. You'll be glad you did. A pull-through device made with nylon "weedwacker" string works good for a quick patch through the bore, but a thorough cleaning requires a jag from the breech end.

A toothbrush and "Q-Tips" work well to clean the area of the feed ramp, ejector and slide face between matches. (Be careful in the area of the slide stop, not to snag the small hair spring with a brush.) DO NOT IMMERSE THE FRAME OR WASH IT WITH SOLVENT SPRAYS. The sear and hammer are specially lubed at the factory for extended life of these parts. If you wash the lube off, you may feel no difference, but these parts will wear very quickly and they are not cheap. The frame should only be immersed during a complete teardown of the pistol by a qualified gunsmith. Relubing of the sear and hammer is not possible without removing them from the frame. Regarding oiling, do not drop oil on the gun from the bottle. Instead put a drop on a "Q-Tip" and wipe onto the areas of contact between the frame and slide. Too much lube attracts more contaminants and holds them there to wear your pistol. The lube is not intended to augment function, but to prevent wear. MORE IS NOT BETTER!

Often forgotten in the cleaning regimen, magazines play an important role in the functioning of your Hammerli. Some of the by-products of combustion in a blowback action wind up in the magazines. This debris, added to the bullet lube that comes off inside the mags, can make them sluggish or cause them to stick in the process of feeding the next cartridge. After disassembly, use a nylon bore brush in 44-45 cal. to free up the crud. Finish with a good rinse in solvent followed by some light oil (again using a "Q-Tip) finishes the job. If you have an older gun or many rounds fired, check the track where the follower button rides for chatter marks. These will give problems sooner or later and should be replaced. (The metal housing is available separately).


If you drop a round on the ground, no matter how clean you think it is, throw it away. A microscopic piece of dirt passing through the bore at 1000 feet per second can do serious damage

The spring for the trigger bar is supposed to have a slight twist. Don't straighten it.

Be careful with magazine bases. They are designed to blow off in the event of a cartridge rupture and are more fragile than you might think.

If you change ammo, clean the chamber. Ammo with a shorter bullet may leave lead in the front of the chamber, creating an obstruction to ammo with a longer bullet. In some guns this can cause the gun to fire out of battery resulting in a case separation.

Watch for wear on the recoil spring. With time, the sides of the spring will wear flat, weakening the spring. This is usually visible to the naked eye.

Don't try to remove all slack when adjusting the trigger. Some slack is required for the trigger bar to reset between shots.

Likewise, do not take all of the over-travel out of the trigger. This will allow the sear to drag the hammer as it falls, shortening it's life.

Dry fire only with a plastic plug in the chamber.

Be careful of the rear sight mounting screw. It has a large head, but the screw is very small and can be twisted off if tightened too aggressively.

PHONE: (207) 772-0998
FAX (207) 772-0628