Hammerli 208


On this page:


In competition








Factory options:

Manuals, Cleaning and Maintenance:


Field Stripping the 208:

Stripping and cleaning the magazines:

Cleaning and Maintenance:

Things to look out for:

Frame cracking


Light firing-pin strike

Inoperative slide stop after last shot

Burring of the slot of the screw that holds the rear sight assembly to the frame

Troubleshooting and Fixes:

Lost spring and detent ball for the rear sight

Other references:



picture loadingHistory:


The 208 was first produced for sale in 1966


The Hammerli 208 is a descendant of the Walther Olympia.  In the period immediately after WWII, when Walther was forbidden to manufacture firearms the Olympia was produced under license by Hammerli.  Apart from the rear sight mounting and the grip angle, the lineage from the Walther Olympia to the Hammerli 208 is obvious.


The Hammerli company taken over by Walther in 20??; as from 1993 Walther has been part of the Umarex Group


In competition

·         The existing (May 2009) World Record for ISSF 25M Standard Pistol of 584 was set by Erich  Buljung (USA), 20.08.1983 at the PanAmerican Games, Caracas (VEN) using a Hammerli 208

·         The previous World Record for ISSF 25M Standard Pistol was held by a shooter using a Hammerli 208

·         Although the design is over 40 years old, 208 pistols are still used by some shooters in the 25M Womens Pistol event at ISSF World Cups and Continental Championships










1966 to 19??



19?? to 19??

Redesigned trigger guard and adjustable trigger



19?? To 19??



19?? To 19??



19?? To 19??

The 215 is in effect the 208 without the polished exterior finish of the 208; the 215 has a blued, sandblasted finish.



Factory options:


·         Barrel weights: attach to a dovetail under the barrel: 80, 200 & 300g

·         Front sight widths: 1.8 – 4.0mm widths, 7 – 9mm heights

·         Rear sight notch widths: blank and a range from 1.8 – 2.8mm



Manuals, Cleaning and Maintenance:



·         Factory manual for 208 and 215 as PDF -  index>> – type in ‘Hammerli’ - don’t bother trying to directly download any of the PDF files; it usually will not work, but right click and ‘save as’ on the individual PDF link does work

·         10P files 208s>>


Field Stripping the 208:


In addition to the factory information, the guide on Pilkington’s site is as good as it gets (208s>>  – hint: print this out, laminate it and add it to your gun box):

·         The fixing screw (#1 200 020) holding the rear sight block to the frame

o    is not aligned parallel to the bore of the pistol, it is angled ‘up’ at right angles to the sloping rear of the frame – adjust the screwdriver angle to suit

o    Always use the correct size screwdriver to remove this screw: i.e. properly sharpened with no wear, full width to fit the slot for slot length and width

o    A light tap on the screw driver handle will normally enable the screw to start for removal


Stripping and cleaning the magazines:

1.     Wear eye protection!

2.     Ensure the magazine is empty

3.     Remove the base

§  Depress the plate pin with a suitable object and slide the magazine base forward to clear the plate pin – caution: the follower spring can fly out when the base is removed from the magazine body

§  Fully remove the base from the magazine body

4.     Remove the follower spring

5.     Remove the follower

§  Slide the follower down the magazine body to the point where the cross-pin lines up with the circular relief in the right-side slot.

§  Remove the cross-pin.  Do not force the cross-pin to remove it: you should be able to remove it with your fingers

§  Remove the follower from the magazine body

6.     Clean the parts

§  The metal parts can be cleaned by using the usual firearms cleaning products (though I prefer using an ultrasonic cleaning bath – ST)

§  The plastic base should only be cleaned with warm water and soap (while the plastic used is tough and serviceable, they can be over 40 years old and exposure to detergents should be avoided – some of those older plastics do not withstand polar liquids well))

7.     Thoroughly dry the components

8.     Inspect the magazine parts for wear (see  Magazines, below)

9.     Lightly oil the metal parts (your usual gun oil), including:

§  the follower spring and

§  the inside of the magazine body

10.  Reassembly is the reverse of steps 1 – 5

§  Ensure that the follower spring is the correct way round

§  Check that the plate pin fully ‘locks in’ to the plastic base


The ‘extra’ screw on some variants:


http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8493/8259808100_7e85a70a86.jpgFrom TargetTalk http://targettalk.org/viewtopic.php?t=38221


One of the things I noticed is that the trigger was just over 3 lbs, around 3.25. Since I plan on using this for Bullseye and ISSF matches, I'd like to get it down to 2.2lbs. Looking at the instructions on Pilkguns I tried to adjust the screw in the trigger, but that seemed to have no real impact on trigger weight. I know they made several types of triggers for the 208, and I also see that mine has a screw on the left side of the frame above the trigger (see the screw w/red dot in pic). Does that have an impact on trigger weight, or is there something else I should be looking at? Any info would be great, thanks!




The side screw really is just a coarse adjustment for the trigger pull weight, which can be used as a quick change device if desired (and was the reason it was added). The "correct" position is with the red dot on the screw aligned with the dot on the frame. However, it also needs to be at the current number of turns to be at the right weight, and the screw on the trigger needs to be correct.


The best option might be to turn it one complete turn at a time (with red dots aligned at the end) until the trigger pull is in the desired range, and then use the screw on the trigger as the fine adjustment. It is hard to tell from the picture if the matching dot on the screw is there or gone. If gone, just use the groove on the screw as the guide or alignment mark.


When making changes, don't forget which direction you are turning it, and how many turns. That way, if you've gone in the wrong directly, you can at least return to where you are now. With a trigger pull at about 1500 grams+, it sounds like it either has been rotated the 1360 gram setting and then another turn (if the red dots are aligned .... 1360 grams is 3.0 lbs), or there is another problem with the trigger.


The high trigger pull may also be due to insufficient or improper lubrication, and not due to a problem with the adjuster.



Cleaning and Maintenance:

This is Ed Hall’s excellent ‘Cleaning and Adjustments for the Hammerli 208s’ which first appeared in USAF National Pistol Team April 2000 Newsletter>> is reproduced with Ed’s permission


During the Dixie Matches held in Florida in March 2000, Mr. Larry Carter of Larry’s Guns spent some time with the Air Force National Pistol Team members discussing the care and cleaning of the Hammerli 208s. He described both basic and detailed cleaning and maintenance as well as adjustments to the trigger. The detailed cleaning/care involves punching out pins and disassembling the internal parts. This should not be done solely from notes, and is only necessary on a semi-annual or annual basis, depending on how much shooting is done. Therefore, detailed notes will not be covered in this document.


1/         Mr. Carter emphasized that NO chemicals or cleaners should be used for any portion of the cleaning of the 208s pistol. He further emphasized that oil must NOT be allowed into the hammer/sear region as this will wash away the special ‘Moly’ lubrication, which will cause sear wear. The detailed care may be necessary if any contaminants enter the hammer/sear region or if the first stage of the trigger starts feeling as though it drags. Basic cleaning should be done after each match. For cleaning, the materials/lubricants used were:

a. One specially formed brass brush. This brush is used to clean the chamber. It is made by bending a .25 caliber bore brush at a right angle so that the tip length matches the length of an empty .22 case.

b. One M16 style cleaning brush (toothbrush style with smaller brush at end of handle).

c. Cotton swabs to use for cleaning and for lubrication.

d. .22 caliber patches.

e. Cleaning cloth. A mechanic's cloth is recommended.

f. Nylon cord such as weed-eater line or similar. This will be used to PULL cleaning patches through the bore. Prepare one end of the cord by melting it so that it clears the bore but will hold on to patches. Form the other end into a point that will easily pierce the .22 caliber patches.

g. CLP type lubricant.

h. Molybdenum (Moly) grease which does NOT contain graphite.


2/         Steps involved in cleaning the 208s:

a. Disassemble the pistol far enough to remove the slide (see Field Stripping the 208:).

b. Remove the grips.

c. Remove the trigger bar spring and the bar itself. Note that the spring is supposed to be bent to the side. Do NOT attempt to straighten it. Additionally, the curve should be circular. If the spring is flat or the curved area has a flat section on top, replace the spring.

d. If there is a buildup of debris under the ejector, carefully remove the recoil spring by pushing in on the end with a small flat blade screwdriver and turning so that the post clears the slot in the frame. Do NOT point the spring toward your face as you remove it, as it is under pressure and could easily fly out of the frame. After the spring is removed, lift the ejector out of the frame.

e. Clean the frame using the M16 style brush. Be VERY careful not to dislodge or bend the slide stop spring. Use a cloth around the brush for the magazine well. LEAVE the hammer area alone. It should not need cleaning.

f. Clean chamber using cotton swabs first. Next use the specially formed .25 caliber brass brush by inserting it into the chamber and twisting back and forth several times.

g. Place a patch on the nylon cord and pull it through the bore threading the cord from the chamber though to the muzzle. A patch should be sufficient, however if a brush must be used, do the following: Place the empty rod carefully through the bore from muzzle to chamber first. Next screw the brush onto the rod. Finally, PULL the brush through the bore from chamber to muzzle. Repeat patch procedure. NEVER push a brush through the barrel in either direction.

h. If the crown needs cleaning, use the cloth only. Note that if the dirt pattern is clearly visible, it should show close to perfect symmetry.

i. Clean the ejector and recoil spring assembly.

j. Place the ejector into the frame and the spring assembly into its slot. When setting the spring, start with the post pointing toward the barrel, push to just before the slot, turn the post to engage the slot and lock it into place. Note: Wear marks will be visible on the spring. When the wear approaches one-quarter of the diameter of the wire, replace the spring.

k. Dampen a cotton swab with CLP. Paint a light film of oil under the area where the trigger bar will rest.

l. Place a small amount of Moly lube on three places on the trigger bar: the hole which engages the trigger; the post which contacts the slide; and the hook which engages the sear.

m. Place trigger bar in frame and then put spring in place with the ends pointing toward the muzzle. Ensure that the spring is in the slot on the trigger bar, not under the bar.

n. Using an oil-dampened swab, lightly swipe sides of frame and center inside of slide where hammer rides.

o. Place grips on frame.

p. Place slide on frame.

q. Place rear sight on frame. Mr. Carter said that the rear sight should always be placed back on the pistol to prevent the slide from dragging across the hand while firing.

Note that NO chemicals were used for any portion of the cleaning and that only a very light application of oil was used. Do NOT over-oil.


4. Mr. Carter also discussed the following trigger adjustments (208s):

a. Initial Slack - The pistol has to have a small amount of initial slack to ensure re-engagement of the disconnector with the sear. To check this slack, with the grips removed, observe the contact point between the disconnector and the sear. Using the screw on the front of the trigger assembly, adjust to obtain a slight movement between the disconnector and the sear when the trigger is moved.

b. Trigger Stop - The trigger must have a slight movement between sear hammer disengagement and the stop. This will prevent the sear from riding on the hammer surface while the hammer falls. If this adjustment is too close, the sear will wear and need to be replaced. To adjust this, turn the allen screw in the frame ahead of the trigger assembly to ensure that the sear does not drag on the hammer as the hammer is rotated through its arc.

c. First Stage Weight - Use the screw behind the trigger to adjust the first stage weight.

d. Trigger Length - The positioning of the trigger will affect the weight and the length of pull. Therefore, adjust the placement before setting the trigger pull. Do NOT over-tighten the locking screw! Minimal force is needed.

e. Second Stage Adjustment - There are two concentric screws to adjust the second stage. The outer screw will adjust roll; in will increase roll and out will decrease roll. Do NOT back completely out. If backed out too far loss of second stage and damage to the sear will result. If the outer screw is to be adjusted, first turn the inner allen screw inward, out of the way. After the outer screw is adjusted, the inner one can be used to set the weight; normally at two pounds.

Ed Hall



Things to look out for:


Frame cracking



·         closely inspect the rear lips where they meet the backstrap for cracking and or peening from the .22 rims "popping" upward into place

·         inspect the front edge of the left rear lip for peening due to the empty cases ejecting off this point instead of the ejector

·          look for chatter marks in the follower cross-pin tracks on either side of the magazine

o    I first noticed this when I had disassembled my magazines for refinishing – the ‘chatter marks’ coincide with the position of the cross-pin when the magazine has 1, 2, 3 or 4 rounds remaining in the magazine.

o    This condition is not peculiar to the Hammerli 208; my (very much used) GSP-H shows the same type of ‘wear’ pattern on the magazines, and is probably typical of most semi-automatics after many thousands of rounds.

o    The judicious use of a small sharpening stone will remove any raised edge from the chatter marks.



Light firing-pin strike

·         The most usual cause of a light firing pin strike is dirt and crud (see Cleaning and Maintenance: above)

o    A dirty chamber  can prevent the cartridge being fully inserted into chamber – some of the hammer inertia is taken up by driving the cartridge forward rather than being expended in the deformation of the chamber rim by the firing pin, reducing the firing pin’s inertia

o    Dirt/crud around the hammer, or improper  lubrication of the hammer mechanism

o    Dirt/crud around the firing pin chamber – some of the hammer inertia is taken up by the added drag of the firing pin/firing pin spring inside the firing pin support block (1 202 050) , reducing the firing pin’s inertia

·         Less common, but very frustrating

o    Improperly fitted grips can cause rubbing of the hammer spring against the grip – unlikely with the factory grips, but possible with aftermarket and/or modified grips

o    Broken firing pin – while a breakage of the firing pin body is very unusual, there have been incidences of the nose of the firing pin chipping – new firing pins are still available

o    Modification of the firing pin nose by people thinking they can ‘improve’ on the factory design – new firing pins are still available



Inoperative slide stop after last shot

·         The ingenious (euphemism for peculiar?) design of the slide-stop fastening can lead to the two screwed parts (1 201 440 & 1 201 450) occasionally coming loose, to the stage where the magazine cross-pin does not engage the slide stop after the last shot – judicious application of a medium thread-locking medium after thorough cleaning of these parts will usually fix the problem



Burring of the slot of the screw that holds the rear sight assembly to the frame

Not the worst thing, but can be distracting to the sight picture

·         Usually caused by using an incorrect screwdriver when removing the screw

o    For minor burring, some touch-up blue

o    For major burring, replace


Troubleshooting and ‘Fixes’:


Lost spring and detent ball for the rear sight

(how this happens)

The spring (1 203 100) and detent ball (1 203 110) that give the ‘clicks’ for elevation are housed in the elevation screw (1 203 120) without any retention mechanism – if the screw is removed from the sight, both these small parts have a natural tendency to disappear, never to be seen again; screw (1 203 120) screw base (1 203 130) and sight spring (1 203 140) parts are a bit bigger and can usually be found…

Replacements for the detent spring (1 203 100) and detent ball (1 203 110) can be found without too much trouble:

·         The spring from a ‘short’ car tyre valve works a treat as a replacement for  #1 203 100, and

·         a suitably-sized small ball bearing ball will replace #1 203 110: however, the pin from a short car tyre valve cut to an overall length of xxxx mm can be shaped to a near-point and used as detent.

Reassembly is straightforward (if fiddly for the ham-fisted):

·         Raise the sight leaf to about 90°,

·         Insert the sight spring onto the sight with the legs down and the 180° bend to the rear of the pistol

·         Slide the screw base into its slot and over the sight spring legs – a small amount of any stiff grease on the screw base will keep these part located for the next steps

·         Lower the sight leaf onto the sight base

·         Using the blade of a small screwdriver, centralise the screw base under the hole in the sight leaf

Now comes the fiddly bits…

·         Insert the detent spring and ball into the elevation screw

·         With the sight leaf lowered down to contact the sight spring, insert the screw assembly into its hole on the sight leaf

o    With the screw started into the hole in the sight leaf, but with the hole for the detent spring and detent still clear

o    Insert the detent spring and detent

o    Insert the completed screw assembly fully into the hole in the sight leaf

·         Screw the screw assembly home – if all the parts are still in the screw, you will feel the clicks as you wind it in: if you don’t feel these clicks the ball and/or spring have fallen out…

How these parts get lost:

There are really only two causes:

·         Over-adjustment (i.e. up) of the sight elevation.  There are only about 5 complete turns from base of the elevation screw before it comes out of the screw base: being spring-loaded, the sight leaf then jumps up and the adjusting screw ‘pops out’ – with no retention, the detent ball and spring then pop out of the adjusting screw (usually, never to be seen again).
If you are working at the top of the adjustment range of the sight (i.e. more than 4½ complete turns from base) to achieve your desired area aim, a lower front sight is advised.

·         People taking the sight apart without knowing how easy it is for the various small parts to pop out and disappear


Other references: