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Education / Training The Hakim air rifle – part 1

The Hakim air rifle – part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

There’s a new article and video about
a big bore match and another article about
the Gamo Varmint Hunter Plus, Paul Capello has another great video. It’s about the RWS 34 Panther.

While reading the classified ads in the Baltimore Sun one day in the 1980s, I stumbled across a listing for a strange military-looking pellet rifle with Arabic writing on the action. The ad said it was large, heavy and very accurate. Terms that wake me up when they describe an airgun. The guy wanted $150, so I called and arranged to see it. It turned out to be an air rifle I had never seen before…and one I just had to have. That was my introduction to the Hakim .22 caliber underlever rifle.

After World War II, armies around the world were scrambling to modernize, while cutting their budgets at the same time. Countries that had used obsolete technology during the war were seeking to replace their outdated equipment with the most modern designs that had been proven in the war.

The M1 Garand was the golden boy of that war, and every country was seeking their own version of it. Egypt had adopted an 8mm semiautomatic variation of a Swedish rifle, the Ljungman, that they called the Hakim. In fact, it has been called the “poor man’s Garand” (though today they sell for almost as much as the U.S. rifle). Training ammo was expensive, so the Egyptians did something remarkable. They turned to Anschutz in Germany and had them turn one of their sporting air rifles into a trainer for the Egyptian army. The Hakim pellet rifle was thus born in 1954. A total of about 2,800 rifles were produced, all in .22 caliber, despite W.H.B. Smith’s reference in Small Arms of the World saying they were .177s. If a .177 version exists, I haven’t run across it yet. The Egyptians also contracted with Beretta for a 10-shot semiauto .22 rimfire rifle trainer for the same purpose.

The Egyptian Hakim battle rifle has been called the “poor man’s Garand.” Based on a Swedish design, it wasn’t well-suited to desert conditions, but it’s marvelously accurate and fun to shoot.

The Egyptian Hakim pellet rifle is a large, rugged military trainer that attempted to mimic the service rifle. This is one of the very few examples I’ve seen in very good condition. It has painted markings that I think are unit markings.

Physical description
The Hakim is a large air rifle, weighing over 10 lbs. and stretching 45″ overall. It’s an underlever spring-piston rifle that loads through a tap. The tap opens automatically when the rifle is cocked and is closed by the shooter after a pellet is dropped in nose-first. Above the tap, a grinning flaming skull adds Middle Eastern ambiance. The rifle has a hooded front blade and a fully adjustable rear sight with reference mark on the horizontal adjustment. A sling can be attached, but it has to remain slack to give clearance for the underlever.

Looking straight down on the loading tap, we see the grinning, flaming skull. Nice!

The underlever is hidden in the bottom of the forearm. This is at full extension (cocked). Just in front of the rear sight you can see the loading tap lever has flipped up, and the tap is now open.

There’s a strange trapezoidal metal projection on top of the stock that has twin wire loops – one on each side. The top is cut out for sighting purposes. This protrusion has been the subject of much debate over the years, but the smart money says it’s just a way of mimicking the cocking knob on the Hakim firearm. Some owners have removed this protrusion which hasn’t yet hurt the value of their guns, but one day it will.

No one knows for sure what that strange protrusion is, but most people think it’s there to resemble the cocking knob of an 8mm Hakim.

I’ve owned about 15 Hakims to date. I’ve worked on perhaps 20 more and seen another 50 at airgun shows. When airgun shows began in the U.S. in 1991, an average Hakim was bringing $75. I bought several for $50 in those days. Today, the same rifles bring $200-250, and the price creeps up just a bit every year. They are quite undervalued at present – probably because 98 percent of all that survive are now here in the U.S.

Navy Arms imported them for years in the 1980s and ’90s, and I got four of the last rifles they sold, at $65 each. Those guns ranged from about good to poor, but all had to be disassembled and cleaned before they worked right. Sometimes a gun couldn’t be fixed and became a parts gun to restore others. The number of guns is lower now than when Anschutz made them, and the average condition is about NRA good, which is nowhere near the good most of us mean when describing anything. A really nice one might get up as high as NRA very good, but I’ve only seen one or two that nice.

Best pellet
Unlike firearms, an air rifle in good condition usually has an excellent bore, because airgun barrels don’t wear out. As ugly as a rifle may look on the outside, it can still be a tackdriver at close range. The best pellet I every found for a Hakim is the RWS Superpoint, and don’t even THINK of shooting any Crosman pellets in them! They’re too small and too hard to seal the bore effectively, and the gun will react harshly to their use.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

54 thoughts on “The Hakim air rifle – part 1”

  1. On a different topic – I took delivery of a Ruger AirHawk yesterday (didn’t get it from pyramyd, since pyramyd doesn’t ship to NJ). It’s a mixed bag…

    It is an attempt to mimic the RWS 34, and although some parts do interchange (seals, probably the spring, maybe the trigger) it’s not dimensionally identical. BAM seems to do that when they “copy” a rifle (as opposed to ShangHai, who really makes their rifles more identical to the originals).

    Long story short – the trigger is a passable copy of the T05, the wood and metal finish are not up to Diana standards (although quite good enough for the price), and it uses an articulated cocking link similar to that found on the RWS350. I like that sort of link, it reduces side-loading on the piston when cocking.

    Unfortunately the velocity was very low… and it turns out that the guts of the gun were pretty rough. It took a LOT of deburring inside the compression tube before I could reassemble it without probable seal damage (I installed a new seal).

    Jury’s still out on velocity and accuracy, but I’m (obviously) hoping that it works out. If it does, this might be a way of getting a Diana-esque rifle for less than a Crosman Quest…

  2. B.B.

    How interesting. I had always wondered about the Hakim name which I’ve heard often. Curious that the Egyptian M1 did not work in the desert. I understand that the Garand worked as well there as everywhere else.

    It might be interesting to blog air rifles that were developed as trainers for armies. The Chinese and East Europeans have them don’t they? I suppose the U.S. army does not. (“Fire it off, boys, it’s on the taxpayer,” said my Dad’s DI in 1960.) Some of these military trainers have developed into good sporters haven’t they?


  3. B.B.This is tough to talk about but we”re about the same age so I”m sure you’ll understand as you’ve talked about this before.I have a Benj-392 and for short range pest control I always preferred open sights.Now if I stay on target more than a few seconds everything starts to blur and I loose the sight picture. Had the eyes checked and their OK.I don’t like peeps and I don’t think it would make much difference.I know how you feel about scopes on Benj’s and I’ve tried them,but I havent tried the low power mount on the front of the barrel ‘scout style.What do you think.Gettin old is a B;’,.Sorry this is long brother.

  4. Matt61,

    The American military has used airguns extensively. A special version of the Crosman 160 was made up for the Air Force. I had one that came in a box with a Federal Stock Number on the end flap.

    In World War II the Army Air Corps used numerous BB machine guns and guns that shot larger projectiles for both aerial and ground-to-air machine gun training.

    Then there was Vietnam, where the U.S. Army used thousands of Daisy BB guns to teach instinct shooting.


  5. Brother,

    If you have to get a scope, that’s all there is to it.

    I recommend the Air Venturi mount to goes over the breech, because it is more rigid than other mounts.

    I also recommend the Leapers UTG 4X40 scope:



  6. BB,

    I think those are not “flames” beside the skull. I have seen those as arabic calligraphy during my service in the Persian Gulf. Very artistic form of writing in arabic.

    Thanks for the blog.


  7. B.B.,
    Thanks for the report and video on the bigbore shoot!! It looked like a lot of fun with some darn good shooting to boot! Certainly nice of Eric Henderson to organize and host such an event.

    Was the, “Look Ma, no sights!,” the 20mm behemoth? Do you have a weight on that thing? And the bullet, maybe 900gr?

    Your pics showed them shooting prone, sitting, offhand, and a mono-pod. No benchrests for these guys?

    Were the bullets (not diablo pellets, right?) they were shooting all cast lead from standard pistol or blackpowder molds?

    Sorry for all the questions, but this really has my interest.

  8. Pestbgone,

    The 20mm behemoth (Look Ma, no sights!) was shooting a bullet (about .787 cal.) of near 700 grains weight. I don’t know the weight of the rifle, but it isn’t too heavy because it’s mostly air.

    This was a silhouette shoot, so there is no benchrest. Silhouette is a hunting simulation, so conditions are as natural as possible.

    As far as I know, everyone shot cast bullets. There were now diabolo-style pellets being used. Many of these guys cast their own bullets, which is what I do.

    If this is of real interest, I can blog my Quackenbush 457 LA, which many competitors used in that shoot.


  9. B.B.,
    Thanks for the answers, and I would definitely like to see a blog on the your Q 457 when you have the time.
    Interesting on the bullets for long range. I noticed that Lyman makes molds for what they call shotgun sabot slugs which look exactly like diablo pellets, including the hollow skirt. I guess they would be limited to 100 yds or less.
    20 ga., 350 gr. 2654120
    12 ga., 525 gr 2654112

    This whole idea of getting firearm power out of an airgun is requiring me to make a paradigm shift. Very intriguing.
    And a new safety awareness, too. No, I didn’t have an accident, LOL, but this is serious power.

  10. BB
    I just watched the big bore video again (thanks for that). I was surprised at how quickly I heard the pellet hit after the shot. If they were out at 100–200 yds. then the velocities must be way up there. Any idea what they are? One other note. As a novice airgunner I love watching Paul’s video each month, mostly just to observe someone else handling and fireing an airgun (my friends don’t share my interest). HOWEVER, even Paul admits he has learned from you,and I’ll bet everyone on this site would be exicited to watch THE MAIN MAN in action. Any thoughts? JR.

  11. Hi BB,

    I’d also be very interested in a blog on your Quackenbush 457 LA. That Castleman 9mm really looks interesting too if you can get it away from its owner. Or maybe have him do it if you can’t. And the Quackenbush .50 cal pistol Looks intriguing too (OK, ok… I’ll quit there…) Might be nice to have a big bore blog series if you are up to it!

    I’d also be very (read- ‘Extremely’) interested in (As JR suggests) seeing you shoot on one of these videos too! Maybe sort of a “how to” approach on the artillery hold. As if you were teaching one of us in person. A picture is worth a thousand words, so a movie with a thousand frames must be worth a million.

    Thanks again, BB, for al the interesting stuff you bring to us!

  12. Hi B.B. A thanks for the big bore info. I too would like to see some more. Looks like some simularity with black powder shooting. Heavy slow moving projectiles. Should be some good info already out there, i.e., bullet shapes, weights, rate of twist, etc. For Brother, my 392 has a Beeman 2×20 scope and Crosman 459MT-2Pc Base mounts. Can shoot 8 round wedding ring sized groups with 8 pumps and Crosman Premiers. The 392 is easier for me to pump w/o the scope on the receiver.

  13. Hi BB

    Very interesting when I was watching Paul Capello’s video on a new Panther out of the box and the figures of FPS was exactly same as mine shooting somewhere in the
    650+-fps and I can not help but to just smile ear to ear that my Panther now shoots in the 750+-
    because of the simple I called it the VINCE magic,of course you know what I’m talking about. By the way it does 800s with rws hobbys.


  14. The “flames” around the skull may or may not be Arabic calligraphy. The stylized Arabic writing can become pretty exotic at times, so it’s possible. On the other hand it might just be flames. Still, it’s pretty special!

    Changing topics… In going through my small collection of arms, I found an old favorite, but I don’t know a lot about it. It’s a “Powerline 722” probably by Daisy, but it doesn’t say that in the stamping. It was purchased new in the mid-80’s, and has not been modified. It lacks quite a bit in power, as you can easily track a pellet from muzzle to target.

    Can you provide any other info on this little gun? It’s fun to shoot, and the low energy keeps it safe for a small back yard (it will hardly penetrate boths walls of a soda can!).


  15. Hey B.B.

    We all know you have quite a collection of air guns, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard how many guns you actually have. How many air rifles (and pistols I guess) do you have?

    Just curious, Kyle.

  16. Hank,

    By the Vince magic you mean shimming the breech seal, don’t you? Vince is doing a guest blog about that for us.

    I’m glad you like the Paul Capello videos. Aren’t they great?. Paul is a blog reader, too.


  17. DaveK,

    Your Daisy 722 pistol is a .22-caliber version of the much more famous 717. Here is a report on that gun:


    There is a pump head adjustment procedure in that blog report that will increase the power of your pistol, though they were never very hot.

    The 722 was made from 1981 to 1996, but they never sold well because of the caliber. Target pistols are supposed to be .177, only.


  18. /Dave,

    I never tested the HW 57, so no comment on how it shoots, though as a Weihrauch I would imagine quite well. The loading gate it uses limits the length of pellets that can be loaded.

    The trigger is a Rekord, which is the most famous airgun trigger ever made. There should be no complaints.



  19. Hi Tom,

    2 or 3 weeks ago I came across what Vince said what he did to his Panther that improved it’s performance. Go look for Vince comments as he can describe more clearly why and how to or wait for as BB said that Vince is going to do a guest blog on the subject.
    To me, My Panther is now an ideal
    .22 hunting springer, accuracy + the ideal power. By the way,I also have a hunting pistol, it’s my 46M
    and at 10 meters +-, it can not miss the eye or ear of the squirrer


  20. Henry,

    That mount has a Weaver base, according to the manual. Install the B-Square 17021 11mm to Weaver adapter on the Talon SS, and the scope will fit to that.



  21. I liked this article very much and found it very informative.

    and by the way, those flames around the skull are not really flames ! these are words in Arabic “Al haras Al watani” or National Gard.
    unfortunatly, the photos showing the other markings are not close enough to read


  22. B.B.
    I have an Hakim air rifle and i want to take it appart.
    Is the spring compressed when it isn't cocked?
    I see you have worked on these.
    Any info.will be greatly appreccated.
    Mike Guzzetti

  23. Hi B.B.,

    I purchased a Hakim a few years ago and it came without a front sight. Do you still have any parts guns that might include a usable front sight? I have never even tried to shoot the gun because I wanted to get the sight first. Any help would be much appreciated. Chrismico at Yahoo.com


  24. Chris,

    B.B. has been in the hospital since March 29 and cannot answer your question.

    Also, you posted your comment on a blog that's 2 years old. Come join us on the current blog, which has changed location and has a new look.


  25. Edith,

    Thank you. I knew this was an older blog, but saw that a new comment still got answered, so took a chance. As anticipated, the question was detected within hours of posting it.

    I know Tom is in the hospital because I follow the PAR, and I hope he will be back to 100% as soon as possible.

    Thought the Hakim report might be a more appropriate place to pose this type of question, rather than the daily blog. Is it possible that you can pass this question along to Tom? I have looked for the Hakim front sight but have not had any luck. If there are parts guns available, it's possible that the part needed is laying around. Thank you.



  26. hello, I've just taken my Harkim .22 apart, the piston seal needed replacing, but in taking it apart I took apart the trigger assembly, how does it go back together again?

  27. Bagpiper,

    Taking triggers apart is not recommended, even the simpler ones like Hakim trigger. I can't offer any assistance, because of the dozen or so Hakims I have owned, I never disassembled a trigger.

    We did a report on the Falke 90 that is a cope cousin to the Hakim. Maybe bit would help to see that trigger.

    Look here:


    Good luck!


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