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Old April 8, 2013, 10:09 PM   #1
Nick S.
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Hawken or Kentucky-more accurate?

Haven't been able to find a Hawken new or used in 50 cal but a local gun store is selling a Kentucky, Traditions, in 50 cal for $372.24. It has a 2 piece walnut stock. Which one would be more accurate?
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Old April 8, 2013, 10:17 PM   #2
michael t
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I would get Ky Myself I have both and i just like the Ky
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Old April 9, 2013, 04:21 AM   #3
Hawg Haggen
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The Traditions is made in Spain. They usually shoot pretty good tho. If was me I'd go with what they call a Hawken.
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Old April 9, 2013, 06:36 AM   #4
Doc Hoy
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Nick...

As far as accuracy is concerned I have no dog in the fight.

I have owned two of those Kentucky (?) rifles from Traditions.

They shot okay but I have a coupla quarrels about them.

1. As I recall they have a fixed rear sight. Windage adjustment is made by tapping the sight.

2. I don't like the fact that they call it a "Kentucky" rifle. In the end the name of the piece is Tradition's business and none of my own. I understand completely why they call it a "Kentucky Rifle" and I understand why it has a two piece stock. But the term "Kentucky Rifle." is accepted as refering to a rifle that has certain features, many of which are absent in this rifle. About all you can say for this Traditions version is that if you were fifty yards away from it and someone told you it was a Kentucky rifle, your only response could be, "Well, it could be." I am surprised to learn that the stock is walnut. Both of mine and every one I have seen since have been maple.

Finally 372.00 sound pretty high. New kit at Bass Proshop is 300.00 even. And they are probably high in price.
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Last edited by Doc Hoy; April 9, 2013 at 06:49 AM.
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Old April 9, 2013, 08:17 AM   #5
bedbugbilly
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I really don't see how you can classify which is more accurate - a Hawken or a Kentucky. Accuracy depends on the person shooting it.

Some production rifles may work better than others due to quality of parts and of course there can be a difference in rifling quality as well. The trick is that whatever rifle you get . . . shoot it a lot and see what load works best for you and become familiar with where it shoots.

Doc refers to the non adjustable sight. Some folks like an adjustable sight and that is fine. An adjustable sight may limit you at times as far as shooting in a "fixed sights" only math. If you are fore of a "tradionlist" - the majority of originals had fixed sights. You learned where they shot through lots of practice and in working various loads up for them.

I've owned both Hawken style and long rifles - I built a custom Hawken in .54 many years ago and it was very accurate - had fixed sights and again, you learned how it shot and also where to aim for various distances. I also built a number of long rifles - but they were in smaller calibers - ie. .36, .40 and .45. They were also accurate. However, many things come in to play with a BP rifle - try shooting a .54 as opposed to say a .36 on a day with a strong cross wind and you will see the differences in the drift and drop due to the wind.

There is nothing wrong with a production rifle of either style as opposed to a custom built rifle either - the only possible difference will be in the quality of parts as i previously mentioned. The "style" of the rifle is really a personal preference. I sold quite a few of my rifles a number of years ago but to be honest, I enjoyed all of them - they were as accurate as I was - no more, no less. I kept my H & A .36 under hammer that I bought from Deer Creek quite a few years ago for around $270. It's fun to shoot and is very accurate - but not as accurate as it once was due to my eyesight - not the rifle. I've shot in matches against fellows shooting the old H & A underhammers that used to be sold through Popular Mechanics years ago who could outshoot custom gunmakers shooting their rifles that cost thousands of dollars. The key is practice, practice and then some more practice.
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Old April 9, 2013, 04:42 PM   #6
Nick S.
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Thanks guys. I was a little concerned on why it would have a 2 piece stock. I'll keep waiting for a Hawken made in USA which was my first choice anyway.
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Old April 9, 2013, 05:00 PM   #7
Hawg Haggen
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They make the two piece stock because a lot of these rifles are sold as kits and it will fit in a smaller box that way.
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Old April 9, 2013, 06:51 PM   #8
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I would also agree with the others as to whats more accurate . Its really going to depend on you and how much time you spend learning the gun .


The 2 piece stock shouldn’t be an issue . There were original long rifles with 2 piece stocks . Yes they joined alittle differently then traditions and CVA do and did and they for the most part joined in alittle different location
Traditions also makes a one piece stock model , but they call it a Pennsylvania if I recall correctly.

The factory model IMO is way to chunky and could use for a good slim down . If you chose to build the kit , slim it down and she will look rather nice.
I have rebuilt several for folks and one would be very surprised at how much wood can come off .

Over all the ones I have owned were good shooters . The flintlock was somewhat troublesome but the rifle still shot well
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Old April 10, 2013, 06:28 AM   #9
4V50 Gary
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Accuracy begins with the barrel.
Fitting of stock is secondary to the barrel.

Each ball must be weighed and kept in a container marked for that weight.
Consistent patch thickness.
Consistent powder charge.
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Old April 10, 2013, 06:55 AM   #10
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Charlie

Agree.

To me it is a real stretch to call it a Kentucky Rifle. It is a good bit like a used car dealer, selling a Taurus and calling it a Z4. It borders on misrepresentation and relies upon some level of ignorance in a high percentage of the members of the market place.

My purchase of the first of two which I owned was a result of just such ignorance. It was the first BP long arm I ever bought and I bought it because it was cheap. It was a .45 cal and I had a passing awareness that most original Kys were of a smaller caliber and had a longer barrel. So I knew going in that it was not all that close to the description of a Kentucky rifle.

But once I got it (It was mail ordered while I was stationed in Hawaii in about 1975) and opened the box, I realized the full spectrum of compromises that Jukar/CVA had made to the marketability of the piece.

I put it together. I shot it a lot. I liked it. I don't shoot ML long arms any longer. But if I did I would stay away from that rifle in favor of a Hawken, Mountain, Plainsman or similar in 50 cal.

The second one I owned was given to me along with a Lyman Hawken style (Don't remember the actual model) in about 1979. It was given to me loaded as was the Hawken.
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Old April 10, 2013, 09:09 AM   #11
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Curious that so many are taking exception to the use of 'Kentucky' in the name of that rifle, but nobody's concerned about the use of 'Hawken', which is surely just as egregious.
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Old April 10, 2013, 01:33 PM   #12
Captchee
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Quote:
Curious that so many are taking exception to the use of 'Kentucky' in the name of that rifle, but nobody's concerned about the use of 'Hawken', which is surely just as egregious.
very true

Calling something a Hawkens has become a generic term for a half stock , much the same as calling a rifle Kentucky or Pennsylvania is for a full stock .
Frankly unless someone knows the differences between makers , they probably wont know the difference anyway
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Old April 10, 2013, 01:39 PM   #13
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Which one would be more accurate? (Kentucky or Hawken ?)
OP you never mentioned what your intentions for your new rifle are to be? (hunting / targeting paper?) As far as accuracy concerns. Most box rifles offer reasonable accuracy. I guess in preferences-es. That falls to one's tastes in design. I myself have tried to be practical in my purchases.
For primarily hunting purposes. I'm concerned about weight and ease to my shoulder. So the Hawken model appeals to me, although I do not like their crescent shaped stocks. As far as paper targeting and some distant steel pinging. Where weight and the necessity to get a shot off quickly doesn't apply so much. I like the idea of being able to (Swagger a Kentucky long barrel) around knowing not many where I do most of my target shooting have one. (a real impressive conversation piece it would be amongst us traditionalists) But which ever rifle you choose OP. All's good.

S/S
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Old April 10, 2013, 01:56 PM   #14
Captchee
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To be honest . IMO a long rifle that’s properly built is far better in the pull then even a proper Plains style rifle . Just depends on what ones used to .
They are also for the most part far better balanced and a whole lot nicer to carry .
But then truthfully eather can be bult nose heavy , neutral or negatively balanced
Even the swing of a proper long rifle is very nice . Though frankly in all my years I have not really found a need for that , but for a few occasions.
As to the cresant butt plates . Neither style rifle has to have that . The both can range from flat to even deeper cresants then whats commonly seen on today production guns
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Old April 10, 2013, 02:19 PM   #15
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Perhaps I am unfair in singling out Traditions, CVA and Jukar..

...for my criticism.

Certainly it is difficult to charactize what is now generally referred to as a Hawken rifle as having much similarity with all of the rifles made by the Hawken brothers. There are so many different descriptions of rifles they made that you could point to a rifle that is closer in appearance to an authentic Kentucky rifle and it might have been made by the Hawkens.

But we, in the twentieth and twenty first century have (IMO) embraced a definition of the Hawken which matches fairly closely (admittedly not exactly) to the rifles which they made in about the middle of their years for use in the western plains and the mountains. Fairly big bore. Half stock. Abbreviated patchbox. Octagon barrel that is 30 inches or longer. Set trigger. Other similarities exist but admittedly the differences may be more pronounced than I am allowing. I do acknowledge that there are plenty of things out there that are called Hawken which require a great deal of imagination to make the connection.

And so we have the original definition of a Hawken which is quite varied. We also have our present definition of a Hawken which is a little more narrowly focused but with a real connection to only a small number of the originals. In effect the present market has created a new definition. Perhaps forty or fifty years ago, when TC introduced their Hawken Rifle, a different curmudgeon was criticizing them as I am now criticizing Traditions.

On the other hand the present marketplace has not amended the definition of the Kentucky long rifle. Nor have any of the importers or vendors been able to successfully propose a second, more recent definition to the extent that has occured with the Hawken. Not one which the marketplace has been willing to accept. The term "Kentucky rifle" is relatively specific in the mental picture it creates. The specimen from Jukar is Kentucky rifle in name. But informed buyers don't buy it for the name, they buy it for the price.

This is just an alternate point of view, an opinion driven more by emotion and less by knowledge. I stick to it, though. I do believe it is more than just half stock versus full stock. When I opened the box of my first Kentucky (CVA) kit I was disappointed. But when I first looked at the TC Hawken Kit, I was pleasantly surprized.

I think the present day rifles we know as Hawken have a historical prototype which is closer than the present day Traditions Kentucky is to its namesake.
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Old April 10, 2013, 03:43 PM   #16
Captchee
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i would have to disagree Doc , very little of the modern , named hawklens have very little to do with actual Hawkens rifles . any similarities are rather remote and rather a stretch to consider .
now on the other hand if we say plains rifle , then we can find some similarities rifles , but again rather generic .
Frankly I don’t see anything wrong with that .
There is however some rather close production versions the Lyman GPR and the older CVA mountain , Browning and Remington models.. But even they are only close .
What IMO really muddies the water is the accepted Idea of a what a Hawkens made rifle was . Today all to many folks see a ½ stock rifle and they say hawkens . But the truth of the mater is that a vast majority are not Hawkens rifles

When it comes to the , Jukar ,CVA and traditions Kentucky’s . Imo their production version is rather lacking . I think that’s a given . However I also do not think that those same rifles in kit form were meant to simply be screwed together . However that’s how a lot , if not most were done .
However if one spend just alittle more time , they can have something somewhat more suitable .
that’s not to say they will get the fine lines of a properly made long rifle . But its will be much better .

Here is an example . Here is a CVA that a person put together back in the 1970’s .


now after taking near 1/4 inch off of everything . actually giving the rifle some lock mortises, defining the wrist area along with adding a late patch box , this is what comes out of it





To give folks some idea of just how much has been taken off , and you can see I could have even gone more, here is a photo of the joiner plate


So this brings us to the subject of what is a Kentucky . Is it Derick , Hains , Trimmel, Baun, Dimmrick …. for that mater any number of the long rifles made by the Hawkens brothers fathers or grandfathers ???/
All of which are different . Not to mention , what if we add in the later Leman full stocks .

So will a CVA , Traditions , Jukar , which are all much the same , ever be something near as wonderful as the originals made by the folks I previously mentioned . A resounding NO .
But are the ment to be ??? No I don’t think so . At least no more then a TC hawkens is ment to be anything like a true Hawkens rifle .
But they fit a market for people who want an entry level piece . Those who are looking for a truer reproduction wouldn’t consider such a rifle to begin with . The authenticity just isn’t there .

Now throw into the mix those of us that make and sell both accurate reproductions as well as fantasy guns .
Here is a J Baum that I just finished for a lady over in Oregon .
Would this be a Kentucky long rifle ?
I built it and would say NO .
the lines are there . the barrel profile is also documented to be used by J Baum . but the decoration is nothing like the original .



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Old April 10, 2013, 09:53 PM   #17
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Wow capchee, that is a true work of art.
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Old April 11, 2013, 05:15 AM   #18
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Wow capchee, that is a true work of art

Capchee makes some beautiful guns.
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Old April 11, 2013, 06:28 AM   #19
Captchee
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Thank you gentleman for the kind words .

I must apologize to Doc however .
After re reading his post this morning , I believe I miss read it yesterday .
After re -reading it this morning , I think we are on much the same track of thought .
If I had gotten the same understanding yesterday , I would have posted the photos .
Im new here so I don’t know if we are aloud to post links to topics on other web sites . So if anyone is interested in re shaping their CVA or Traditions or is building one of their kit rifles , contact me by PM and ill send you a link to a tutorial I did on re shaping the CVA , Jukar and Traditions Kentucky’s .

Past all that , when it comes to accuracy .
I would recommend getting the rifle you like and then learning what it likes to eat . In the process you will learn what you need to do to keep the gun consistent and reliable .
Both do have shortcomings. However they are mostly in the lock and sometimes ignition/ flash channels . Those can be over come
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Old April 11, 2013, 07:57 AM   #20
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Captchee

I arrived at the same conclusion after reading your post. We are essentially on the same page. I have captured some photos which I will post later which illustrate my opinion for those who may still be confused about my point. What I am saying is in no way profound.

Second point is this:

Your craftsmanship is awesome.

You have seen that I like posting photos of my projects which chronical the progress. I enjoy this stuff immensely and I am proud of the learning which attaches to the doing of the projects.

But your work, as robhof said is art taken to the ultimate level. On a golf course I would be lucky to be your caddy.

I would love to see a sequence of photos with descriptions of just one of the projects you do our have done.

And,

No.....The Oregander's rifle is not a Kentucky. (IMHO)
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Old April 11, 2013, 06:43 PM   #21
Captchee
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If I removed the decoration , which is a mix of European influence . It would be a Kentucky as defined by Dillon in his writings .
Your will also find the J Baum rifle in shumways rifles of colonial America

One of the issues we face though is that often people say Kentucky and Pennsylvania as one and the same . They in fact are not. What makes them different is the different schools of the time .
Different makers to include the Hawkens brothers rifles , can be traced to those original schools .
Take the Hawkens Brothers . They were simply makers NOT a school unique in and of itself .
Their line IMO comes from Bedford county as do many other makers . that’s why so many of these ½ stocks look the same .
At the same time , this style of rifle can be traced even earlier in the European sporting rifles .

So our long rifles evolved from those original schools . Hence earlier long rifles have a more flat butt , which facilitated shooting from the shoulder . Later rifles often carry the cresant butt plates which is meant to be shot from the arm / off the shoulder. Many things changed . but it is accepted that a Kentucky rifle is really nothing more then a generic term for long full stock rifle with no concern for given schools .
Kinda like someone saying ; I have a Trade gun .
To wich we would have to say ; Cool what type of trade guns . Is it a NW gun , an early English , ,is it a type G , type D ………..
All are still trade guns . But all are different
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Old April 12, 2013, 08:12 PM   #22
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whether it is or it isn't, you guys do phenomenal work! I always enjoy seeing your craftsmanship. I wish I had just a smidgen of ya'lls talent!
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Old April 12, 2013, 09:37 PM   #23
Nick S.
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Old Betsy?

So what kind was Davy Crockett's rifle at the Alamo?
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Old April 13, 2013, 07:02 AM   #24
Captchee
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depends on which one . there is If i recall 3 or 4 know to still exist
only one is of more southern design . the other two , of the top of my head , are early Lancaster style rifles .
then there is a 1/2 stock if i recall correctly
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Old April 13, 2013, 06:04 PM   #25
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robhof

To get a little off topic, there's also the Tennessee rifle, which looks like a Kentucky done all in iron. I've seen a few originals around this area and several copies. Some have pewter sideplates, but most are iron all around and some are quite ornate, while many were plain and functional. Very few had nose caps, the ones that did had pewter. I've seen both flint and percussion models. Besides the noted masters of the time, there were many back yard gun makers that made from functional to ornate rifles. Living in Ky I thought I'd be Ky rifle heaven, but most that I've seen have been in museums in other states.
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