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Education / Training The Hakim air rifle – Part 2

The Hakim air rifle – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

In Part 1, we looked at the outside of the Hakim. Today, I’ll go inside, plus give you performance numbers and tell you how to repair a bad piston seal. But first, I must thank Bob from Oz who sent me a link to an article from a 2007 issue of Airgun World magazine. It was about the German Falke 90 air rifle. When I printed it out and looked at the details, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Here was the spitting image of the Hakim in a sporter style. That article was based in part on the Blue Book of Airguns, so the information has been under my eyes for many years! But there’s even more.

The author, Tim Saunders, remarks how closely the Falke 90 copied the BSA Airsporter – a rifle I’ve never seen but will search for now. Because Saunders, who couldn’t take apart the Falke 90 he examined, was able to describe the rather strange piston to a T, I gather he is correct in assuming the Falke 90 copies the inside of the BSA Airsporter, and, what’s more, the Anschutz Hakim. That article filled in a lot of blanks for me, because it extended the history of the Hakim from 1954 back to 1948, when the first Airsporter was made. If you would like to read the article, here are the pages:

Page 1
Page 2

Like I mentioned in Part 1, I’ve owned a lot of Hakims over the years. So, I’ve had a chance to examine guns in all states of tune – from weak to hot-rodded. In fact, the rifle shown in part one is the fastest Hakim I’ve ever tested. It shot RWS Superpoints at 650 f.p.s. – way faster than ever intended by the manufacturer. It was also the only Hakim I’ve ever owned that fired harshly. Another person tuned that rifle and was clearly going for speed above all else.

A good Hakim will push a Superpoint out the muzzle at 500-550 f.p.s. An average one will go 475, and the dogs will shoot at 450 and below. The hottest one I ever tuned myself went 615 f.p.s. and was still as smooth as any other Hakim – which is to say incredibly smooth.

A Hakim is not far behind a good 10-meter rifle for accuracy at 10 meters. It’s a one-hole gun for sure, and groups of 0.10″ are common.

Although it has a synthetic parachute piston seal, the Hakim needs lots of oil. Yes, this 1954 rifle has a synthetic seal. Most of the ones I’ve examined are still working well, but a couple had nails and pellets impacted in the seal. That tore the seal rim, so the seal had to be replaced. I’m going to show you how that’s done today, and a modern RWS Diana parachute seal can be sized down to fit and function fine. You can read about that in the report on Spring piston seals.

This shows a Hakim piston (left) and a disassembled piston assembly.

Here’s the detail that shows how the piston goes together. The dark fiber washer at the bottom of the conical piston head backs the piston seal, not shown here. An RWS Diana piston seal is a good replacement for the original Hakim, though the outside diameter will have to be reduced to fit.

Blue Diana piston seal is a good replacement for the original Hakim seal.

If there’s an easier air rifle to disassemble, I sure don’t know about it. That said, I offer this caveat: Do NOT disassemble an airgun unless you are an airgunsmith. Mainsprings are under pressure and can cause serious injury or death. There are many parts to be detatched, but everything is straightforward with no surprises. Uncock the rifle and remove the action from the stock. That means removing the normal triggerguard screw plus a screw that runs sideways through the rifle. Some stock hardware will also have to come off, and the upper handguard separated from the stock.

With the action out of the stock, unscrew the slotted bushing in front of the trigger and the large screw deep in the hole that’s left when the bushing is removed. Drift the one pin out of the end cap, and the trigger group will separate from the end cap that holds the sear. Be careful not to lose the thin hairspring that rests between the trigger and sear.

A strap that holds the cocking link to the spring tube is removed with two screws. Once this strap is removed, just slide the linkage forward to disconnect it from the piston and the linkage with trigger assembly will separate from the spring tube.

The end cap can now be safely unscrewed from the spring tube without the use of a mainspring compressor, because there’s very little pre-tensioning of the mainspring. Only the hot-rodded rifle mentioned earlier had any reserve tension when the end cap came out, and even that was only a half-inch. A stock Hakim spring will be completely relaxed when the end cap comes off. With the end cap off, the mainspring comes out, followed by the piston. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to disassemble a Hakim this far, once you’ve done it a few times.

The cocking linkage and trigger assembly separates from the spring tube. Now the end cap can be unscrewed.

The endcap simply unscrews from the spring tube. Then, the mainspring and piston come out. The thing hanging down under the endcap is the sear.

Lubricate and reassemble
The guns straight from Egypt were filthy with dried grease and sand. They took a lot of cleaning and care. But you probably won’t encounter one of them today. Simply remove all the grease, then apply moly to the side of the piston seal and burnish some more moly inside the compression chamber. You’re going to oil this gun frequently anyway, so the moly may not even be necessary. I lube the mainspring with white lithium grease to not slow the spring in any way. Hakims don’t vibrate, as a rule – the exception being the hot-rodded rifle mentioned earlier. Reassemble the rifle and start enjoying it!

In the next report, I’ll give you some Hakim tips.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

41 thoughts on “The Hakim air rifle – Part 2”

  1. B.B.

    That’s very impressive accuracy; sounds like quite a rifle.

    If I ever had the temptation to disassemble and airgun, your comment about the mainspring has cured me.


  2. Hey bb,

    I got a new scope yesterday (Leupold vx-III). It has a 30-mm tube and 40-mm objective lens. I normally get mil dot reticles but this time it was not an option so i got these “varmint hunter” reticles that are calibrated for firearms but I’m sure i can makes use of them. Im going to put it on the airwolf and then put the burris on one of my rapids. The Leupold came optically centered! I did not need to do ANY adjusting. Is this normal? Do scopes always come optically centered? I don’t optically center scopes often, and the ones that i have were taken from other guns (i had adjusted them before).

  3. B.B. –

    Quick question: What tools/techniques do you use to accurately reduce the outside diameter of the seal without ruining it?

    Thanks for a remarkably informative blog. I’m still working my way through old posts, learning as I go!

  4. Phil,

    I use sandpaper in my hand to grind down the diameter of the seal. It takes longer than a hand drill (chuck the piston rod up and hold the sandpaper in your other hand) but I get the fit exactly where I want it. If the fit needs to be taken down a lot, I’ll use a hand drill.

    I use 180-grit for this job. You don’t want a perfectly smooth surface, because oil cannot adhere as well.

    Be careful not to round the top and bottom of the seal. Keep the sides perfectly straight.


  5. B.B. –

    Thanks for the info. Wow – 180 grit is far coarser than I suspected for this work. I was guessing something like 300+ grit automotive style wet-or-dry paper, or something similar.

    Thanks again for your insights!


  6. B.B.

    A question. After Herculean labors over six days of spooning sand into my deluxe Beeman sandbags and even pounding the sand through the straw with a cleaning rod when it got stuck (dry sand is definitely better), I finally have the things filled! The question is how much is enough. The directions talk about dropping the sandbags on the ground, pounding them, and working with pliers to make sure you can get every last grain in there. I can still find a few areas that are not completely taut. Do the bags need to be filled to bursting?

    Also (now that I think of it), the rear bag goes under the butt so that the stock still contacts your shoulder directly, right? I seem to remember you writing somewhere that you could set things up so that the only part of the rifle that you touch is the trigger.

    100 yard range, here I come this Saturday….

    henry, congratulations on your Leupold scope. I understand that these are really the class act for scopes.


  7. BB,
    The dire warning on spring dangers makes me wonder if you have done or know of any studies on balancing preload against piston weight and stroke. I’ve got a secret clunk project (secret as in I haven’t written it up yet) going on right now that has made me question whether anything more than minimal preload is beneficial if piston weight and stroke are appropriate.

  8. bb,

    Ill say! They saved me a few hours! Thanks for the information, as always!


    there are a bunch of great optics out there. I have many scopes from Swarovski, Zeiss, Burris, and Leupold. They are all wonderful, but Swarovski is number one – but you would have to be nuts to put one on an airgun.

  9. BG_Farmer,

    I haven’t done any such experiments, but others may have. My one power-related experiment with springers was to test the effects of different-sized air transfer ports. It’s one of the chapters in my R1 book.


  10. BB,

    Quick question that you or one of the readers will know. I need to get a friend a new mainspring for his Gamo Viper rifle (not the smoothbore)–which Maccari spring kit is he looking for? I can’t get the rifle to examine for a week or so and I’d like to just have the spring on hand…

  11. With regards to the Maccarri kit – there is none. He lists 2 springs (not a whole kit) that will work in a Gamo – the R9/Tarantula (which is not a good fit on the stock guide) and the E3650. The latter spring has 35 coils of .120 wire – that MIGHT be a problem with the stock top-hat. The gun might not cock without shaving the top-hat down some.

    There is one guy who sells tune kits (spring w. a matched tophat and guide), and if BB gives me permission I’ll post his info.

    There’s always the Crosman option – a Crosman Quest spring and tophat will cost you about $13 including shipping and (in my experience) work fine in Gamo’s.

  12. Thanks Vince!!

    I called Crosman earlier today for a spring, actually I wanted 3 or 4, but they are out for about a month or so. Gamo won’t a spring, so Maccari it is. I can build a guide so no issue there. Thank you VERY much for your info. I knew one of you guys could help.
    Will order that Maccari right now.


    About the piston seal for the Hakim, wouldn’t making a leather seal also be a viable option as the gun only fires in the mid 500 fps range?


  13. Dear BB, I’m in a bind here. I was shooting my Sierra today, and then when I went to cock it, it made a funny crack sound. With every shot after that, the power went down hill. I’ve talked to the “certified” crosman service centers, only to find out that I’d have to send it to the manufacturer. One of them did say I should contact/ and would have better results, Pyramyd AIR. So I called them and they said that it was passed the thirty day period on refunds. I told her I didn’t want a refund, but that I only wanted it fixed. Again I got the thirty day “line”. Well I clicked on the ‘customer satisfaction’ link and it stated that PA would honor the year long manufacturers warranty, (except on certain guns and air softs). Mine’s a Crosman, and the link clearly states that PA is an “authorized service center” for my rifle, which is a Crosman. So here I am with a broke gun and can’t seem to find anyone to fix it. I’ve never dry fired it (like the manual says not to do), and I’ve even got it upside down fearing that maybe the little bit of marvel oil I used on the break hinge may have gotten into the chamber. Any suggestions??? Thomas

  14. Thomas,

    When my Crosman 1077 tanked and then sprung a gas leak, I sent it on two separate occasions to Crosman at their New York address listed on their website. Each time it was sent back inside of a month and worked fine. All I needed was to call in advance and include a copy of the PA invoice to show that I had purchased the gun within a year. Since you will have to send your gun somewhere for repair anyway, the Crosman home base is not a bad option. I didn’t like waiting for my gun, but it wasn’t the end of the world either.


  15. henry

    That’s pretty intense. I’ve never heard of Swarovski before. And you own several of them???

    I don’t expect to ever have a need for one of these, but it would be fascinating to look through one just to see what the big deal is. I suppose the effect could not be captured in a photograph or video.


  16. BB,
    Thanks for the response — I found a few things on forum searches, but nothing comprehensive. My first “tune” (not the H490 –it doesn’t need it– and not by choice) went much better than I had expected, but I hate not being able to explain what happened.

  17. Dear Matt61, Thanks for your input. I’m not sure of the life expectancy on springers, but I have put a lot of lead through it. Everyday after work since I got it!! Of course after a little more investigation, I’ve come to find out that my loving 10 year old daughter decided to “clean” it for daddy. After breaking a house hold rule (don’t touch my guns!!!), I’ve also learned that she broke a few rules in the Crosman manual too. So how am I to explain that to Crosman? Kind of like being on the road, catching the “crabs” from sleeping in a cheap hotel bed (dirty sheets) and trying to explain that to your old lady when you get home?!?!?!?! I suppose acts of love from a child with good intentions can drive a man insane!!!! I bought her a Daisy Buck for her birthday this past Sunday, so I know she was just trying to show a little gratitude. She’s a Great kid, so I can’t nor won’t be too angry,….just had to re-itterate the house rules again!!! On the bright side, she is a good shot. Pinned her first bull’s-eye target on her bedroom wall,….next to the Hanna Montana poster!!!! Also, I still have my “0035” Marksman, and old reliable 397 to pass the time. Hope the good folks at Crosman won’t give me too much hassle! I just want it fixed. Best wishes, Thomas

  18. Matt61, I might get in trouble for saying this but the mainspring (in the uncocked position) really isn’t that bad to remove on many springers… especially if you make or use a spring compressor.

    For example – the preload on a Gamo (CFX, Shadow, etc.) is about 2″ for about 60-65 pounds of force. This certainly calls for due caution, but that’s not an unmanageable amount of pressure. There are other guns that are more, but I don’t think I’ve seen any that were more than about 100lbs.

  19. henry

    Anything Russian has my attention. I wish I could have read the Spanish text. I thought that the bullpup configuration was not especially accurate. Maybe that doesn’t apply to airguns.

    Thomas, that crabs scenario would be a tough one. I’m glad that you’re not hard on your girl who sounds like a real gem. This will be the sort of thing to laugh about one day. In the meantime, like henry said, I would give Crosman a try although I guess they’re off the hook with the warranty. They were nice to deal with.

    vince, I sort of pictured the spring jumping out of the rifle and tearing through flesh. Still, I’ll leave the disassembly to you technical wizzes.


  20. Good day BB. I am based in Cape Town South Africa and would greatly appreciate your advise. I aqm in the process of purchasing a HW90 but require it in 5mm. the local gun shop only has it in 4.5mm and have sugested that I purchase this gun and then fit a new 5mm barrel. The reasoning behind this is that the new rifles comming into the country are now double the price of the gun that is curently in stock at the shop. In adeditionto this is takes forever for new rifles to arrive here once ordered from Germany. My question is: In your opinion is it ok to do this? The barrel will be fitted new by a qualified gunsmith?

    Thanking you for your assitance and a great blog. Rgds.

  21. Greetings, BB.

    How does that little pin in the piston assembly of a Hakim come out?

    My seal (assuming it’s original) looks pretty good. Can I trust the pliability of a 50 year-old seal?

    I get 1.100″ for the compression tube also. Piston = 1.090″ and fiber washer = 1.087″

  22. BB,

    The pin came out just as you said. On closer inspection, there are indeed cracks in the seal, so I’ll go with the Diana seal.

    Another question: There is a hole in the handguard just under the barrel band. Why? Or was this just to fasten the piece to a jig during manufacture?


  23. And boy were they successful at making the gun heavier!

    No, this is on the handguard, on top of the barrel. The hole is in the center/top of the barrel band channel, about 1/4″ dia. on top and 1/8″ nearest the barrel. Just like a countersunk screw hole, but both the barrel and barrel band are solid metal at that point.

    My serial number is 004xx (I also had to get the markings translated). Maybe to hold the wood in a jig? Maybe a locating pin that was abandoned by number 004xx? Just curious.


  24. B.B. –

    Another question for you. The screw at the front of the trigger guard threads into a “nut,” which in turn threads into the trigger block. There is a compressed imprint of that nut on the wood of the stock.

    Is that nut designed to be adjustable so as to bridge the gap between wood and metal, or should it be screwed all the way in? And if it is to bridge that gap, is it simply screwed out, or am I missing some spacing washers?


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