Hakim air rifle: Part 6
by Tom Gaylord, the Godfather of Airguns™
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Hakim is a large, heavy military trainer made in the 1950s by Anschütz.
This report covers:
• A very complex air rifle
• Let’s get to it — removing the stock
• Barreled action out
• Call Otho!
• What was wrong?
• Wow — that’s a lot of work!
• What I found
Today, we’ll take apart the Hakim air rifle and see exactly how this rifle is put together. As you’ll remember or gather from reading the past posts, this Hakim is in very good condition, but it’s also very buzzy when it fires. I wanted to find out why that is and to correct it if I can.
A very complex air rifle
The last report was almost a month and a half ago. The reasons for that are many. First, the Ft. Worth airgun show took up a lot of my time in the interim. But more than that, a Hakim is fairly complex, and they don’t come apart as easily as many spring-piston air rifles. It isn’t that they are difficult to take apart. On the contrary, they’re very straightforward. But where some guns come apart in 9 steps, a Hakim seems to take 39 steps. Those numbers are just made up for illustration, but the comparative complexity is true. You’ll see that today.
Let’s get to it — removing the stock
The first step is always to ensure that the airgun is not cocked or loaded. Since a Hakim can be loaded through the tap independent of cocking, this involves checking both conditions separately. Next, the stock has to be removed. The Hakim stock is in 2 pieces, the main stock and the upper handguard. To remove the upper handguard, the nose cap has to come off first. That’s the metal cap out at the end of the rifle that holds the upper handguard to the forearm of the main stock.
The nose cap is held in place by a spring-loaded keeper. Push it in with a screwdriver tip and ease the cap forward.
Next, the metal band that holds the rear of the upper handguard to the forearm has to be loosened and slipped off the gun. This band also holds the front sling swivel and is a bit tricky to install, again, because of the spring tension that keeps the legs apart where the bolt goes through.
Remove the bolt that holds the metal band together and then slip the band off the stock.
Next, you have to remove a crossbolt that runs through the stock. Many military rifles have such a bolt, but it’s strange to see one on an airgun!
Remove the crossbolt from the side of the stock.
You aren’t finished, yet. It’s time to remove the two triggerguard screws. Unlike many spring-piston air rifles, both of these screws hold the barreled action in the stock. Both have to come out. There’s no special order to this, so I removed the rear one first.
Removing the rear triggerguard screw.
Then, I removed the front triggerguard screw. This screw is anchored in a special threaded boss that serves a couple purposes you’ll see in a moment. When this screw is out, the triggerguard and triggerguard plate lift out of the stock. Now, the barreled action comes out of the stock, but not until you unlock the underlever because the end of the lever needs to be slid back a couple inches into the stock’s cocking. If you don’t do this, the stock will crack at the point that latch tries to force its way through the slot.
Barreled action out
Now that the barreled action is out of the stock, you can begin the disassembly of the action. The first step is to separate the underlever mechanism and trigger unit (they’re one assembly) from the action.
The barreled action is out of the stock. Now, to remove the underlever and trigger mechanism.
This is where I encountered a problem that added a week to this job. The first step is to remove what appears to be a large screw that’s just forward of the trigger. It’s actually a threaded bushing that does 2 things. It acts as a locking screw for the real screw that holds the underlever and trigger assembly to the action, plus it has a threaded hole in its center for the front triggerguard screw.
The trigger assembly and the underlever are held to the action by a screw in a post in front of the trigger. There are actually 2 screws in that post that must be removed. The top one is both a locking screw and a screw anchor for the front triggerguard screw.
On the left is the threaded bushing that is both an anchor for the front triggerguard screw and also the locking screw for the real screw that holds the trigger/undelever assembly to the spring tube.
This screw usually easily comes out of the Hakim, but this one wasn’t budging. I tried an impact screwdriver and broke the bit. Then I soaked the bushing in Kroil (a penetrating oil) for 2 days and still nothing. Then I soaked it in carburetor cleaner for another 2 days on the advice of someone I know. Still nothing.
It seemed like the last person inside the gun might have epoxied the bushing in for some reason, so that bond had to be broken. I tried heating both the screw and the post red hot (at different times) with a torch, but nothing moved. I would go out to the garage where the action lay several times each day and try to move the threaded bushing, but nothing was moving.
Finally in desperation I did what Edith assured me always works — call my buddy Otho. Otho was an airframe and powerplant mechanic for the U.S. Army and afterwards for general aviation for many years. He has overcome mechanical problems of all kinds over the years. And he had a suggestion for this one. We needed to put heavy downward pressure on the screwdriver whose bit fit the slot exactly, and then turn the bit with a long lever.
So, we chucked the barreled action in a vice on my drill press table and inserted a lathe center in my drill press. Otho had a special screwdriver blade that has a center hole in the end of the handle, and he ground the bit to fit the screw slot exactly. Then, I pressed down on the screwdriver with the drill press while he turned the screwdriver bit with an 18-inch crescent wrench. The screw broke free immediately, but remained so tight that we had to keep this technique up until the bushing was almost out of the hole.
I am bearing down on the screwdriver blade with the drill press spindle while Otho turns the screw with an 18-inch Crescent wrench.
What was wrong?
I wondered why this bushing was so tight in the hole, and an examination of the threads revealed the reason. It was stripped! This appears not to be the correct bushing for a Hakim air rifle. It appears to have been made by a machinist — possibly a gunsmith — and the threads are not correct for the hole.
The threads on the bushing are completely stripped. No wonder it was so hard to turn!
From other indications I’ll mention, I can tell that whoever was inside this air rifle did not know how to tune a spring-piston airgun. He was probably a machinist or perhaps a gunsmith. His work was good — other than this bushing — but there’s a complete lack of understanding of airgun lubrication.
The bushing is threaded incorrectly — and most likely is the closest American inch-pattern thread size rather than a metric size. It turns out that the bushing uses a non-standard metric thread that’s finer than a screw this size would normally have. Whomever did the work probably got as close as he could with an American die and then said he wasn’t ever going to take the gun apart again, so it didn’t matter if it wasn’t an exact fit. It wasn’t going to come apart!
Miraculously, the threads in the post that this bushing screwed into are in perfect condition. So they’re made from much better steel than the bushing was, which is a miracle in my favor. With the bushing out, the disassembly could resume and proceed on schedule — after an extra week of downtime.
Beneath the bushing lies the real screw that holds the trigger/underlever assembly to the action. It was also tight. Once loosened, it came right out as it should.
The real screw is beneath the threaded bushing. Once the bushing is removed, this screw can come out. Then, after a few more steps, the underlever and trigger mechanism can be separated from the action.
With both screws out, the underlever assembly is almost ready to separate from the spring tube.
Once the screw is out, the underlever mechanism is nearly loose, but still held to the gun by a guide, which has to come off, and one crosspin. Two more screws and the guide comes off the gun. Now, there’s just that crosspin to remove.
Remove both screws (one on each side) to remove the underlever guide.
When the guide comes off, the underlever and trigger mechanism can almost be separated from the action.
One last step is to drive out the pin that holds the trigger mechanism to the action. There are 2 crosspins in the end cap, and the rear one is the one that has to come out. The front one is for the sear and doesn’t hold the trigger to the action. Once the pin is out, the mechanism is free to be separated. To separate the underlever assembly from the action, you have to slide it forward until the flared end of the cocking link reaches a cutout in the spring tube and can be removed.
The rear pin must come out for the trigger mechanism to be free of the action. The front pin holds the sear and can stay where it is, unless you want to see the sear for some reason.
With the pin out, the underlever and trigger mechanism can be separated from the action/spring tube. I removed both pins because I wanted to look at the sear.
Wow — that’s a lot of work!
Like I said earlier, the Hakim is a complex air rifle. There are a lot of steps to disassembly, but now we’re at the point where things go quickly. With the underlever and trigger mechanism off the gun, the end cap can be unscrewed from the spring tube. If the mainspring is the correct one, all tension will relax just as the end cap reaches the end of its threads. No mainspring compressor is needed for this rifle when the correct mainspring is used. This rifle had what looks like a brand-new Hakim mainspring.
When the end cap comes off the gun, the mainspring can be pulled out of the tube. And the piston can be slid out of the spring tube, completing the teardown. The rifle is now disassembled as far as it needs to be for a gun cleaning and lubrication.
After unscrewing the end cap (the sear is still inside the cap) the mainspring comes right out.
The piston can now be slid out of the gun.
What I found
Every critical part in this rifle appeared brand-new and in perfect condition. And every part was also bone-dry. This is why I know that the person inside the gun last knew nothing about spring-piston airguns. The rifle cannot hope to function when all its moving parts are so dry.
In the next report, I’ll describe everything I saw inside the gun and what I did about it. I’ll also tell you what I did to the gun to fix the situation, and how it all worked out. I’m not trying to tease you by stalling. This report has simply grown too large.