August 12, 2020
By James Tarr
Hammerli is a name in firearms that is perhaps more famous around the world than it is in the United States. A Swiss manufacturer of mostly air rifle and rimfire Olympic-style competition firearms dating back to 1863, Hammerli is now part of the Carl Walther group of companies. Recently, Hammerli introduced something completely new: the TAC R1 22 C, an AR-15 style .22 rimfire, the first product in its new Defense line.
Sporting a 16.1-inch barrel, the .22 Long Rifle TAC R1 22 C looks just like an AR-15, with most of the same controls. It feels similar to a standard AR-15 as well, with a comparable weight: five pounds, 12 ounces with an empty magazine in place.
The barrel has a medium contour and is tipped with a birdcage flash hider attached via common 1/2x28 threads, so you can attach a muzzle device if you like.
The upper and lower receivers are both aluminum, as is the free-float lightweight 13-inch handguard. The handguard features M-Lok attachment slots at three, six and nine o’clock.
A Picatinny rail runs atop the handguard and upper receiver, and the rifle comes standard with polymer flip-up sights. QD sling swivel sockets are positioned at the rear of the handguard on either side.
The rifle is supplied with one 20-round magazine that was easy to load. Ten- and 30-round magazines are also available.
The “C” in the model name stands for carbine, but according to Walther, the company currently has no plans to build a rifle-length TAC R1 22. You’ll also see markings that indicate the rifle is made in Germany by Umarex. Umarex is also part of the Carl Walther group of companies and, just like Hammerli, specializes in air rifles and rimfires.
This rifle has a five-position adjustable buttstock with a rubber buttpad and QD sling swivel sockets on either side. The trigger guard is oversize and all one piece with the lower receiver, and the pistol grip is polymer and has some good texturing on it.
While it looks like it has standard AR controls, some of them function differently. The safety can be engaged whether or not the hammer is cocked. The bolt does lock back on an empty magazine, but the bolt stop is just for show. To release the bolt after you’ve reloaded, you’ll have to work the charging handle, which retracts less than two inches due to the shortness of the .22 LR cartridge.
One of the neat features of this rifle is the adjustable gas system. There is a huge range of bullet weights and velocities to be found in .22 ammo, and the TAC R1 22 allows you to tweak your rifle if it isn’t cycling properly with ammo you’d like to use.
To adjust it, pop out the rear receiver pin—note that it’s not captive as a traditional AR receiver pin is—and right below the charging handle inside the lower receiver you’ll see a hex-head screw you can turn to adjust the gas. I used a variety of different ammo in my testing and never had to adjust the screw, but it’s nice to know you can.
When it came time to put rounds downrange, I had a lot of .22 ammo on hand, and I got some more excellent stuff from Lapua, as I was expecting any gun made by Hammerli to be very accurate. And I think the barrel is very accurate. I found it completely reliable as well.
However, here’s the bad news. The trigger had a crisp break, but it breaks at 8.5 pounds. And while that’s within the pull-weight spec range of 6.6 to 9.9 pounds, for a company known for making Olympic-grade firearms with trigger pulls measured in ounces, this was, to put it kindly, unexpected. Also, it will not take a standard AR trigger group, in case you’re hoping to swap it out.
With a suggested retail price of $349, the Tac R1 22 is by far the least expensive Hammerli rifle available—most of its air rifle offerings are more than $1,000. This Hammerli rimfire is priced $100 less than the base model S&W M&P 15-22, which I would consider the rifle’s most direct competitor.
While the company is aiming at a low price point, if you put the Hammerli name instead of Umarex on the receiver, people are going to expect a trigger pull better than this. It was a struggle of biblical proportions (perhaps I exaggerate) to try to pull that trigger without shaking the gun everywhere.
I wish the trigger pull wasn’t nearing double digits. And I wish the bolt release worked, but the bolt does lock back on an empty magazine. Other than those two concerns, I really liked this rifle and had a lot of fun shooting it.
Hammerli TAC R1 22 C Specs
- Type: Semiauto rimfire
- Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
- Capacity: 20-round magazine supplied; 10- and 30-round mags available
- Barrel: 16.1 in.; birdcage flash hider; threaded 1/2x28
- Overall Length: 32.7–35.8 in.
- Weight: 5 lb., 12 oz.
- Receiver: Aluminum
- Furniture: 5-position adjustable stock, Hammerli pistol grip, aluminum free-float M-Lok handguard
- Trigger: 8.5 lb. pull (measured)
- Sights: Flip-up polymer
- Price: $349
- Manufacturer: Hammerli, HammerliArms.com
Hammerli TAC R1 22 C Accuracy Results