Hakim air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Hakim
Hakim is a large, heavy military trainer made in the 1950s by Anschütz. This one is uncharacteristically beautiful.

This report covers:

• Hatsan 250XT TAC BOSS failed!
• History of the Hakim trainer
• Description of the rifle
• My own experience

Hatsan 250XT TAC BOSS failed
The Hatsan 250XT TAC-BOSS BB pistol failed to fire when I began the velocity test. The BBs refuse to leave the gun, and the trigger jams after one shot. I played with it for some time before pulling the plug. I’m sending this one back to Pyramyd Air, and I’ll ask for a replacement. I do plan on finishing this test when the new pistol arrives.

Hakim history
This failure catches me short today, so I’ll start reporting on the Hakim air rifle trainer made by Anschütz. The Hakim air rifle trainer is one of two trainers used by the Egyptian army to train soldiers to fire their 8mm Hakim battle rifle — a variation of the Swedish Ljungman semiautomatic rifle from World War II. The Egyptian Hakim was made after the war on the same machinery that made the Ljungman, and with the startup help of Swedish advisors. What’s known today as the “poor man’s Garand” and the “Egyptian Garand” lasted only for a few years before being replaced by more appropriate battle rifles. While it’s a fine design, the tolerances are so tight that it was ill-suited to field operations in a desert climate.

To train their soldiers with less expensive ammunition, the Egyptians had two different trainers. One was a semiautomatic .22 rimfire made for them by Beretta. It held 10 shots and looked similar to the 8mm Hakim rifle. The other was the air rifle we’ll start looking at today.

The Egyptians decided to let Anschütz turn their underlever sporting air rifle into a trainer for the Hakim. The result is a single-shot underlever spring rifle in .22 caliber. They contracted for them in 1954, and the model was 1955, I believe. I say “believe” because all the markings on the rifles are Arabic, and I cannot read them.

In the 1990s, the Egyptian government decided to divest themselves of their Hakim air rifle trainers, and many of them came to the United States. Navy Arms sold them for $65 each if you bought 4 at one time. I did and got two rifles that worked (after a fashion) right away and two that were rebuilt into working rifles. All these rifles were filled with sand (no kidding!) and several of them had numerous pellets and small nails embedded in their synthetic piston seals. [Note from Edith: I've written about this period of our lives before. It was as if the Exxon Valdez had somehow visited the Sahara desert and then docked in our house. Plus, the grease had an odor that permeated every room and slapped you in the face the minute you walked in the front door. Compared to that stench, the odor of Hoppes No. 9 smells like Chanel No. 5!]

Description of the rifle
The rifle is very large, at 44-3/4 inches overall and over 10 pounds in weight. The one I’m testing for you here weighs 10 lbs., 7 oz., but that will vary with the density of the wood — and there’s a LOT of wood on a Hakim! The length of pull is 13-1/4 inches, and the barrel is 19 inches in length.

Speaking of the wood, Edith always says that Hakims look like they’ve been drug behind a truck over a gravel road, then set on fire and put out with an axe — or something like that. [Note from Edith: And I was being kind when I said that. Tailings from a lumberyard look better!] I’ll admit that most of them don’t look very nice. That’s because they’re the worst kind of club guns — they’re army club guns! In other words, they never belonged to anyone, so everyone treated them poorly. We see the same thing in club-owned target rifles all the time.

The metal parts are Parkerized with a gray phosphate finish. Only the rear sight blade and the buttplate are blued steel. The rifle has sling swivels front and rear but no lug for mounting a bayonet. Other air rifle trainers such as the Czech VZ35 do mount bayonets, but I guess this one was getting too heavy as it was.

The front sight blade has a removable hood, and the rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation. The curious triangular projection that stands up from the rear of the receiver has no known purpose but is supposed to simulate the triangular shape of the sliding bolt cover on a Hakim firearm. That bolt cover on the firearm has a wire loop that’s used to pull the cover back to retract the bolt when cocking the rifle.

Thingy
This thing on the Hakim air rifle has no known purpose beyond cosmetics. On the firearm, the triangular bolt cover has wire loops on either side to assist in cocking the bolt.

Front sight
This front sight blade has been flipped upside-down in its base and painted orange for better visibility. The hood snaps off.

The air rifle is an underlever that’s based on the BSA Airsporter of 1947. And you’re going to notice a more than passing resemblance to the Falke model 90 I showed you. When the underlever comes down to cock the rifle, it automatically rotates the loading tap to receive a pellet. The tap handle sticks up on the left side to alert the shooter to the tap’s status.

Hakim cocked
Pull the underlever down to cock the rifle. The loading tap opens automatically when this is done.

Tap closed
When the loading tap is closed, the lever lies against the left side of the stock.

Tao open
When the tap lever is up, the tap is open to accept a pellet. Load it nose first, then close the tap to align the chamber with the barrel and air transfer port.

One of the strange markings on Hakim trainers is the flaming skull located above the loading tap. I’ve been told that’s an insignia of a national guard or reserve-type unit in the Egyptian army, but I have no way of knowing if that’s correct. It’s found on all Hakim airgun trainers.

Death head
The flaming death head is a military insignia.

All Hakim air rifles are .22 caliber. They’ve been reported as .177 caliber in several places, but none have been found in that caliber to my knowledge. In all, Anschütz made and delivered 2800 air rifles to the buyer.

My own experience
I bought my first Hakim from a newspaper ad in the late 1980s — before I started writing about airguns. It was surprisingly accurate at 10 meters; so when I saw the Navy Arms ad in Shotgun News, I bought 4 more. Over the years, I have bought others to fix up and sell, and I guess I’ve owned about 15 of them by this time. [Note from Edith: I remember when Tom reluctantly sold his first Hakim. I think it was to a man in Arizona. The minute the deal was done, you could see seller's remorse on Tom's face. Some time after that, he was able to buy back the gun. You cannot imagine how happy he was when that Hakim returned to it's rightful home. I'm surprised he didn't ask me to throw a party. He said he'd never get rid of it, but I'm pretty sure he did.]

The rifle I have now is not only the nicest-looking Hakim trainer I’ve ever owned, it’s also one of the two nicest examples I have even seen, and that is out of about 200 rifles. The other nice one was refinished with a lustrous blue, and its military stock had no marks on it. My current rifle still has the military finish on all the metal parts, but the wood has been built from the ground up by a master craftsman. The dimensions seem to replicate the military wood stock exactly. It’s made from beautiful walnut with attractive grain, and whoever did the work got it right.

I bought this rifle at the Findlay show earlier this year. I found the beautiful stock to be irresistible, and I have absolutely no idea how the rifle performs. As of this moment, I’ve never shot it! That’s no great risk, though, because there isn’t much I can’t do to one of these.

The trigger is finely adjustable. What’s adjusted is the sear contact area, so you want to err on the side of safe operation when you adjust it. With a little care, you can get a wonderful 2-stage pull.

I’ve seen most Hakims shoot 14.5-grain RWS Superpoint pellets in the high 400s to the low 500s. After a rebuild, they’ll usually get as high as 550 f.p.s. I owned one that would do 650 f.p.s., but it wasn’t pleasant to shoot.

When I shot them years ago, I was shooting only 5-shot groups; and a good Hakim will put all 5 shots into a quarter-inch at 10 meters. I’ve owned a couple that were not as accurate for one reason or another, but the majority of them are quite accurate.

One nice thing about Hakims is how easy they are to cock. The underlever is quite long, and the cocking linkage is efficient; plus, the rifle’s mainspring is weak. In spite of the rifle’s weight, it can be shot comfortably all day long.

This is a very special airgun. It has the quality most people say they want but not the power that we’ve come to expect. It was purpose-built to be a target shooter to teach the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship. Ten years after this rifle was issued by the Egyptian army, the United States Air Force would buy hundreds of Crosman model 120 bolt-action rifles to do essentially the same thing. What do you think of these programs?

61 thoughts on “Hakim air rifle: Part 1

  1. I like the rifle. It has a rustic look. at over 10 pounds it would make a very good marksmanship trainer,but I don’t see myself lugging it around looking for any game it may have the power to take down. a trainer in .22 only? They must’a been getting a break on .22 pellets! With this gun being in the heavy category and coming with weak springs I’m sure there are some hard hitting ones that destitute tuners have had to liquidate. Good trigger,target sights,no finger-nipping breech& that flaming skull!I might just snatch one up if it were around $100 as soon as I can find my extra money.Definitely a curiosity and an accurate one at that!
    Too bad the Hatsan went belly up,I’m gonna peek!
    Reb



  2. I could swear I just left a comment on this rifle,singing praise this curious relic of time gone by and how a rifle of this size and weight with a weak power plant screams for modification in the power department.No worries about fingers getting nipped,good trigger,target sights and that flaming skull.I don’t see it so it mustn’t have happened.My bad. It’s past my bedtime.must be the medication kickin’ in.
    Too bad about the Hatty! I peeked. All metal,60 HOT shots per cartridgeThat thing sounds loud! It’s also very accurate judging from the shooting I saw! I eagerly await your review of this appealing BB gun
    Reb


    • Once you wake up take note that BB said he had one that was apparently modified to shoot hot and that it was not pleasant to shoot. Very likely it became hard to cock, had a harsh shooting cycle and the trigger pull was horrible. You cannot just slap a heavier spring in a sproinger and get more power out. Been there, done that, it was a disaster. You also have to consider volume, stroke, transfer port, yadda, yadda, yadda.


      • RidgeRunner,

        You are so right. I installed a Titan Ox spring in my Haenel 303 and while it did pick up a decent amount of velocity, it was much harder to cock and the was a lot less pleasant to shoot. Back to an OEM spring!

        Paul in Liberty County



        • I have two Hakims, both extremely accurate, even directly on a bag. Medium-light weight two-stage triggers. SWEET. (But heavy or not, these are not for hunting.) I have seen many for sale online that are missing sight components or have lots of wear, so if I bought another, I’d insist on holding it and shooting it first.

          One is unmolested and has a VERY smooth shot. A modest bang, a slight jump, no vibration, and a satisfying SMACK as the RWS pellet hits the target. (For the Hakims I always use RWS “Super” series pellets for their soft lead and wide thin skirts — something I learned right here years ago from B.B.)

          The other one somebody hot-rodded. It is just as accurate, and the firing behavior is similar, but there is a slight twang and vibration the other does not have. As I cannot hear the pellet’s impact with this one, I know it is shooting harder than the other. Cocking seems about the same for both rifles.

          Another note, very short length-of-pull.

          Michael


  3. Edith

    Is it possible Tom’s reluctant seller routine is part of his ‘tarantula dance’? He is a sly devil.



      • Edith,

        If Tom is anything like me, he decides to part with a gun he hasn’t shot in ages, but something happens when he gets it out and makes sure it’s in condition to sell or trade. If he’s like me, he begins to remember, and it is an emotional as well as intellectual memory, why he liked it so much in the first place. Ah, that’s the feel, the look, the smell, the whatever, that made me want it way back when I acquired it. Hmmm. I’d forgotten about that. Do I really need to part with this one?

        That drives my wife absolutely nuts.

        Michael



  4. “Channel No. 5″?! Edith, you’ve been had. It’s supposed to be “Chanel No.5″! That scoundrel you call a husband has obviously been buying you cheap name brand knock-offs, probably to fund that silly gun collection of his. You need to check your entire perfume collection immed–


  5. BB, I just had to forcibly take my iPad away from the wife. She was typing furiously and seemed upset. I think she was at the blog site but don’t think she was able to post anything before I got it.


  6. I have not had the pleasure of messing with either brand of pistols much, but looking at the offerings at PA I might not agree with you. Crosman does indeed offer a much larger selection of top shelf air pistols though. They also offer a lot of cheap stuff.



    • dj mack,

      Welcome to the blog!

      You may not have seen it, but we have said several times that we intend testing the new FWB Sport rifle when it becomes available. We also plan on testing the new Walther underlever.

      B.B.


  7. The reason it’s so accurate at 10m is because it’s so long – the pellet doesn’t leave the muzzle until halfway downrange. I used to work with a Palestinian that could read Arabic, and the flames around the skull are indeed Arabic calligraphy, saying something like “national guard.” My Hakim also likes Superpoints. It didn’t come equipped with sand or nails, but there were a couple of pellets smooshed inside the compression chamber. The transfer port is bore-sized, and the tap seals so well that the piston draws a slight vacuum when it’s cocked. I suppose if you flipped the tap down too quickly it could suck the pellet backwards. I always load the gun horizontally, and I just crack the tap enough to hear a “hiss” before I put it all the way down.


  8. This may be a crazy question.

    But is there a place to mount a scope? And will the gun stretch out to 30 or 40 yards?

    Oh and I like these old guns you come up with. And even more that they are military guns.

    You might of said. But did the firearm version weigh that much also?


  9. Now that is what I call a beautiful well made air rifle. If these were available today I’d be doing whatever it takes to own one of those. Forget the Klondike bar. I’d happily be ashamed of myself fr something like this.


  10. B.B.,

    In keeping with your wish list editorials of the past…

    I am wishing for the following:

    A lightweight carbine built around a 10 meter competition pistol. (Think FWB Picolo with a stock and a Weaver base for a 1X scope, red dot, or laser.

    I’m just saying.

    JGC


    • It’s not in the Picolo’s class, but for us po’ folks you’re almost describing a Crosman 2400 KT with the Lothar-Walther barrel… I don’t believe another carbine can beat it for accuracy in this price range ($150 or so depending on options). Only has 11mm rails but with no recoil you don’t really need the Weaver.


  11. Hey B.B.,

    Just to let you know–there are various smart phone apps that translate easily. You take a picture of the word, line, or paragraph and it is translated to English (or another language). My phone came with one, but I deleted it as it took up space and I didn’t have use for it.

    I love the features on this rifle, plus it’s beautiful to my eye.

    Can you tell me why the underlever and tap loader design are not used more often? Are they complex or more expensive, or is it just convention to make a break barrel?



      • As for taploaders, some folks believe they invite inaccuracy because the pellet is aligned with the breech by a mechanism, not placed directly into the beech by the shooter’s thumb or a bolt probe.

        That must be why no one has ever made an accurate revolver!

        Michael


        • Michael,

          There are revolvers that are stunningly accurate, but as you imply, all their cylinders are aligned by hand. I have three Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector revolvers from the 1930s that not only have each chamber aligned with the forcing cone of the barrel, they also have polished chambers so extraction is always easy.

          If you ask nicely, I will show them off sometime! ;)

          B.B.


          • B.B.,

            I was merely being facetious. I assume many revolvers are indeed quite accurate. And the two taploading air rifles in my collection, the Hakim and the Diana Model 50, are among my most accurate springers.

            Michael


  12. BB-don’t mean to ask a question about a different subject, but here it goes. I’ve read how spring guns need to be held as loose as possible for the best results. That got me thinking of having something like gel pads on the fore of the stock, grip and perhaps shoulder. What do you think?


    • Al,

      I’m not BB, but….

      Ask anything on any day’s blog. “We don’t have no stinkin’ boundaries! (badges…) We don’t need no stinkin’ boundaries!” (badges…) Well, at least if it’s clean and not just trolling, we pretty much talk anything from airguns to zoology here…

      Gel pads might work ok if you get them positioned just right. All that the artillery hold does is to allow the gun to move and resonate the same each shot. Moving your hand around changes the harmonics and how the gun will move. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse depending on hand position and grip strength.

      Maybe you can pick up some gel sheet and try attaching it to your gun and report back on what you find, good or bad!

      /Dave



  13. Nice wood on that stock! I love the tough looks of old military guns!

    As for an airgun trainer, I have to wonder how today’s kids going into the service look at them. “Kid’s guns”…. Why are we playing with kid’s guns when we could be playing with those M4′s from the other rack?!?

    We here have the maturity to see the value of mastering a springer to develop marksmanship, but most of us are older. Maybe today’s kids have the maturity too and I just don’t give them enough credit, but from my viewpoint it seems that most don’t.

    /Dave



  14. In at least two previous lives I must have been killed on the battlefield with guns that bear a striking resemblance to the Swedish Ljungman, Garand, etc. because they just leave me cold.

    An unwritten rule among men is that you never criticize his dog, his gun or his wife (in that order) so I’m going to stop here. Carry on.

    kevin



  15. B.B., I love that Hakim rifle! I wish so bad Daisy would take their 1903 Drill Rifle and make it to where it could shoot. Even if just bbs. I love the old gun look. A old black power looking rifle would be neat too. I’m not sure they are still being made, but I love the Diana 430 Stutzen rifle. It reminds me of an old type hunting rifle/trainer. I see PA still has 4 in stock, but it’s out of my range. Thanks for the report, Bradly


  16. Hm, that reminds me of my friend’s report that she used old military rifles converted to airguns in JROTC. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? That Hakim is sharp-looking. Looks like a Springfield.

    Matt61


  17. BB and Edith, very cool old school air rifle and like Bradley I love the Diana Stutzen’s and all that wood. Thanks for a walk down your memory lane and a glimpse into air rifles of the past. Keep the story’s coming there always interesting and a good read, same with all the commenters of course. I always keep an eye out and a little extra cash available just in case I find a collectible of some kind. Anybody seen any Beeman Millennium/Centennial’s around!?


  18. BB, you asked our opinion about these military air rifles. Well, I know that the Brazilian Army had a number of air rifles made by Amadeo Rossi some time back in the 1980s that were based on their “Dione” spring-piston break-barrel commercial models. They were patterned after the FN-FAL, then our standard infantry battle rifle, including a faux 20-shot magazine, and a stock with a pistol grip similar to the FAL. The standard commercial model had conventional open sights mounted on the barrel, but the military trainer had peep-sights mounted on the receiver to simulate the arrangement on the FAL. The air rifle even had the folding carrying handle (useless, in my opinion).
    Rossi could not sell these to civilians, so they released a similar model, with a pistol grip stock but with the usual barrel-mounted open sights. The “civilian” model had no faux magazine and was considerably lighter than the military model, that approached the weight of the FAL.
    I currently do not have any one of these rifles in my possession, military or civilian model, but if I find one, I might give it a try. I know for sure they will not break records for accuracy or velocity, but they shoot straight enough for a plinking session, or to train recruits who may never seen a firearm in their lives before.
    I think that, before the advent of Airsoft, these military air rifles made a lot of sense. You could teach the fundamentals of firearms safety and manipulation without the cost of real ammo. Also, you would need so much space as required by a full-power military rifle. Given that airsoft replicas are much closer in terms of controls, safety levers and all that, I think they are better trainers.
    But I have to admit that for a recruit the difference between shooting an air rifle and the real thing must have been quite a shock!



    • Faraz,

      Welcome to the blog and thank you for that translation.

      We know for a fact that these guns were all made in 1954 and ’55. It was a military contract that ended at that time.

      I think that must be the serial number of this rifle. There were approximately 2800 Hakims made.

      B.B.



  19. Sorry for the mistake, glad to be of help. But actually your blogs are a goldmine of information.

    I posted some more translation in part 2 of your blog.


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