Hakim — Egypt’s pellet rifle trainer was better than the firearm: Part 2
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Hakim is Egypt’s air rifle trainer for their 8mm battle rifle.
This report covers:
- My first Hakim
- Navy Arms
- Little Rock
- You won’t believe this one!
- More Hakims
- Parts and pogosticks
- Even more Hakims
- One last rifle
Today we look at the performance of the Hakim trainer. I don’t know exactly how many of these I have owned. I lost count years ago at 15. I’ve seen them in all states of tune, from barely functioning to red hot and everything in-between. So let’s start there.
My first Hakim
My first rifle was purchased from a newspaper ad in the late 1980s. It was advertised as an Anschütz training rifle and I had no idea what it was. When I saw it, though, I knew I had to have it. Here was a full-stocked underlever training rifle with an automatic loading tap. And it was in .22 caliber. I hoped it would shoot.
Well, shoot it did! After experimenting with many different .22 caliber pellets I finally settled on RWS Superpoints as the ideal pellets because of the accuracy. The Hakim is a taploader and that means the air blast hits the base of the pellet while its sitting in the loading tap. A thin soft skirt is needed if the pellet is to expand to seal off the air behind it. The Superpoint has the thinnest softest skirt of any pellet I know, and it worked wonderfully in my new/old air rifle.
The .22-caliber RWS Superpoint has a thin soft skirt that conforms well to a loading tap.
I was surprised when the first five pellets went into the same hole at 10 meters. But I soon learned that was normal for a Hakim.
My next 4 Hakims came from Navy Arms. They cost me $60 each and came packaged loosely in a large cardboard box. I was shocked at how dirty they were. The outsides were covered with fine sand and the insides were gunked with it. This was the first time I learned that the name of the airgun was Hakim. One by one I disassembled each rifle and cleaned out the old sand and grease. Every one of these rifles had smashed pellets and finishing nails embedded in the synthetic piston seal, but that seal was so tough that not one of them was damaged by the abuse.
All of the Navy Arms rifles were in the high 400 f.p.s. region with Superpoints. My first Hakim was about 515 f.p.s. with thee same pellet, so that was where I thought the power was supposed to be. The mainsprings in the Navy rifles were all shorter than the spring in my original rifle, plus a couple springs were canted. There were no replacement parts for any of these rifles then or now. So if you wanted a new mainspring it had to come from something else.
I replaced a couple springs in the Navy rifles that were the worst and got them up to the 550 f.p.s. region. That taught me that it was possible for the rifle to shoot a little faster than I imagined.
A couple years later I bought two Hakims at the Little Rock show, and one of them was supposed to be very fast. It was extremely difficult to cock, so the mainspring was all wrong, but sure enough, when I chrongraphed it it was pushing Superdomes out at over 650 f.p.s. But the rifle buzzed horribly and recoiled uncharacteristically. This was a Hakim in name, only. The tune had gone too far. So let’s mark that as the high-water mark for a a Hakim — 650 f.p.s. with Superpoints, as long as you could disregard everything that’s good about the rifle.
I installed a different mainspring in this rifle and dropped it back to 575 f.p.s. It was still the fastest Hakim I had ever seen, only now it was pleasant to cock and easy to shoot. I don’t know why some people only go for the fastest a gun will shoot, to the detriment of everything else. This rifle has so much to offer, as long as it is kept within a reasonable range.
You won’t believe this one!
I also had people give me their personal rifles to test. Each of them thought they had achieved the Holy Grail of airguns and wanted my stamp of approval. Most of those rifles were also tuned to shoot too fast and performed like the rifle I just described. I never saw one that was tuned to my liking.
Over the years more and more Hakims came my way. I got a reputation for tuning them and people came to me with their basket cases. This was when I discovered that an RWS piston seal can be trimmed down to make a perfect replacement for the nearly indestructible Hakim seal.
Parts and pogosticks
People would send me the parts to their broken Hakims, thinking I was the best place for them. I wound up with a small pile of stocks and parts that I eventually gave to one of our readers — Vince. Vince was able to build a couple rifles from the pile of parts I sent him. He doesn’t read the blog anymore, but he did get a lot of pleasure from rebuilding those rifles. As an aside, I also gave the pogostick rifle to Vince, who wanted to get it to function. If anyone could do it, I figured it would be him. He tried for the longest time before deciding it was a hopeless case.
Even more Hakims
As more time passed I acquired even more Hakims. Now, however, I was getting picky with what I would accept. I’d seen so many in horrible shape that I only wanted the very best ones. So that was what I got. The prices were increasing steadily and what had once been a $75 airgun at best was now fetching $250-300 easily. Some crazy people were pushing the envelope and asking as much as $500 for rough examples.
I wrote a 3-part report on the Hakim back in April of 2008, where I showed the inside of the gun for the first time. I was keeping a promise to an Airgun Letter reader. I had promised to show it in the newsletter, but never got around to it and this reader owned my first Hakim, so the connection was special.
One last rifle
Then came a day when I sold what I thought would be my last rifle. I figured I knew enough about Hakims and didn’t need to play with them anymore. And for several years after that things were fine. But in 2014 while I was at the Findlay airgun show a Hakim in a beautiful walnut stock walked up and I negotiated hard for it. This one was beautiful, where the others had either been plain or even wrecks.
I got that rifle and even Edith, who thought all Hakims were ugly, admitted this one was beautiful. So I did a special 7-part report on it for you readers. I tuned the rifle so you could see the insides in even greater detail than in my earlier report and I think things turned out well. According to my test figures my “tune” added nothing to the rifle’s performance and even subtracted a tiny amount. And this rifle now sits at just less than 500 f.p.s. with Superpoints, so it’s right there with the rest of them.
Is this the absolute last Hakim trainer I will own? Who knows? I know that I still have an attraction for the rifle that doesn’t seem to want to go away, so perhaps the final chapter hasn’t yet been written.
Next time I will show you how accurate this rifle can be.