The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Black Powder and Cowboy Action Shooting

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 23, 2023, 08:48 AM   #1
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
New Project: Hawken

I was going through junk collected over the years, some inherited, and I came across a percussion lock and a set trigger. The lock is new, the L&R upgrade for CVA and Traditions version of the Hawken. Can't let that go to waste, so I ordered a half stock and barrel from TOTW plus a "late Hawken" buttplate. There is a trigger guard, too, but it doesn't look much like the Hawkens used. So, more parts to order. Experience tells me inletting the lock and buttplate will keep me out of the bars for quite awhile. The barrel is .58, on the high side, but I already have a Chambers flintlock in that bore. Why change?

This is #4 on my project list, but life's short.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old February 23, 2023, 11:00 AM   #2
Schlitz 45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 14, 2018
Location: Colorado
Posts: 384
I love a good BP project & haven’t done one for a while. I’ve built 4 Hawken rifles all in .54 & have sold 3 of them after being offered more than I thought they were worth but I’d never factored my time plus the silver, turquoise, & MOP inlays that I embellished them with to make them my own. Please post some photos of your progress as you get into it & good luck.
Schlitz 45 is offline  
Old February 23, 2023, 02:36 PM   #3
stagpanther
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2014
Posts: 11,731
Quote:
the silver, turquoise, & MOP inlays that I embellished them with to make them my own.
That sounds awesome--any pictures if you're willing to share?
__________________
"Everyone speaks gun."--Robert O'Neill
I am NOT an expert--I do not have any formal experience or certification in firearms use or testing; use any information I post at your own risk!
stagpanther is offline  
Old February 23, 2023, 04:38 PM   #4
armoredman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2007
Location: Arizona
Posts: 5,295
A buddy of mine gets my brass shavings from the power trimmer and melts them down to do inlays on muzzleloader stocks.
Looking forward to the finished product!
armoredman is offline  
Old February 23, 2023, 05:08 PM   #5
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 16,188
.58 is not on the high side for a Hawken. .50 is a tad small for one. If I was building one I would find every book I could on original Hawken rifles and follow them as close as I could. At the very least I wouldn't use any brass on it and it would have two barrel keys. I actually did that on the one I had built. I had it done with the correct slanted breech and dolls head tang. The barrel is a tad short at 31 inches but not unheard of.

Hawg is offline  
Old February 23, 2023, 08:07 PM   #6
Pahoo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 16, 2006
Location: IOWA
Posts: 8,783
Great Adventure !!!

Quote:
Experience tells me inletting the lock and buttplate will keep me out of the bars for quite awhile.
Great project on both efforts. I've only put together four kits and rebuild a number of these. None from scratch. Currently working on redoing a Patriot as the previous owner, took too many short-cuts. .....

The best advice I ever got on building one; Was to be patient with yourself and the project. ...

Enjoy and;
Be Safe !!!
__________________
'Fundamental truths' are easy to recognize because they are verified daily through simple observation and thus, require no testing.
Pahoo is offline  
Old February 23, 2023, 08:10 PM   #7
Schlitz 45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 14, 2018
Location: Colorado
Posts: 384
The Hawkens had silver wire mountain inlays, turquoise lakes, & black & white pearl animals-no photos available of them. My most recent BP project has abalone & MOP inlays along with a very cool finish on the barrel, a couple photos


& the Hawken’s companion Lyman Plains pistol in .54


I left my current Hawken rifle pretty plain as I needed it finished for a hunt, something I may revisit at some point.
Schlitz 45 is offline  
Old February 23, 2023, 09:34 PM   #8
stagpanther
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2014
Posts: 11,731
Very cool! Thanks for posting.
__________________
"Everyone speaks gun."--Robert O'Neill
I am NOT an expert--I do not have any formal experience or certification in firearms use or testing; use any information I post at your own risk!
stagpanther is offline  
Old February 26, 2023, 05:27 PM   #9
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
Oh, it's fun! Stock is backordered, but that's OK. I have ordered Hawken Rifles: The Mountain Man's Choice, but I should clarify. This will be "Bill's Plains Rifle" based on Hawken architecture. I will make no claim to authenticity. I hope it looks good and shoots better. But it won't be a Hawken. I'm having enough trouble warming up to this new fangled caplock.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old March 3, 2023, 12:58 PM   #10
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
Ah, TOTW is quoting 90 days for the stock. Meanwhile I am gathering parts and studying. Baird's book is out of print but available (for a price). Worth it, though. I didn't know how much I didn't know about the Hawken brothers and their rifles. I'm used to working with brass furniture, but Hawg is correct: all Hawkens were iron mounted.

This may fall in the "famous last words" category, but I think this will be easier than the flintlocks I've done. These rifles are so well designed: hell for stout but very straightforward.

I will leave the barrel at 36", no reason to shorten it, but people did just that back in the day. Bore diameter apparently was customer specified and varied quite a bit. They also wore out and recut a lot of barrels. Baird's description of Mariano Modena's rifle (Colorado Historical Museum) sounds like the proverbial 100 year old axe.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old March 4, 2023, 06:41 PM   #11
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 16,188
When I had mine built I wanted a longer barrel but the man that built it said he had a NOS Douglas barrel for an early CVA Mountain rifle. For the price he quoted I couldn't say no. The barrel was originally 33 inches but he cut the drum breech off and installed a Hawken slanted snail breech so it came out at 31 inches. I figured on changing it out later on but it just shoots too good.
Hawg is offline  
Old December 10, 2023, 03:13 PM   #12
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
Well, it took a lot longer than 90 days, but I did eventually receive the stock. Got started a couple months ago, fitting the patent breech to the barrel and inletting the tang and barrel (precut channel, but purposely a bit small). Starting the lock. I got a video by Herman House that is very helpful, but it does humble me to watch how smooth and accurate he is with a chisel. So far, no difference from the flintlocks I've done, although I don't have to drill a funky angled hole for the rear lock screw (and there's only one).

I need to compliment TOTW. It took awhile, but the stock is a nice piece of wood and pretty well sanded to start. Expect periodic reports.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old January 16, 2024, 01:27 PM   #13
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
Too dang cold in the garage, but am working the lock mortise and filed the top of the lock plate to clear the snail. I take back what I said about being easier than a flintlock. Just different.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old February 1, 2024, 10:42 AM   #14
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
Lock is nice and snug. Now for the trigger. Long inlet, but that's one of the characteristics that gives these rifles their strength. Then the moment of truth: Did I align everything correctly? Well, no going back now.

Rereading Baird, I found that my rifle is a decade past the mountain man era. It has a slant breech, not seen on Hawken rifles until 1850. But, if it looks half decent and shoots true, I'll be happy.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old February 1, 2024, 12:51 PM   #15
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 16,188
Quote:
Originally Posted by ligonierbill View Post
Rereading Baird, I found that my rifle is a decade past the mountain man era. It has a slant breech, not seen on Hawken rifles until 1850. But, if it looks half decent and shoots true, I'll be happy.
A decade past the fur trade but there were still mountain men. Mine has a slanted breech.
Hawg is offline  
Old February 1, 2024, 01:53 PM   #16
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
You are correct, of course. I understand that the price of beaver actually recovered somewhat after 1840. But the era of big companies and rendezvous was over. And the slant breech is a great design. Almost done with my trigger plate mortise, and it looks like everything lines up. Cock strikes the nipple in perfect alignment.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old February 6, 2024, 01:56 PM   #17
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
No more set triggers for me

Finished my trigger inlet. Snaps the lock, and I know it's authentic, but set triggers are a PITA. All (now 3) of my rifles have them, but a nice pinned simple trigger is so much easier. My two smoothbores with these don't feel crude. I will grant that the mechanism is elegant, but I am not sure much advantage is gained. (End of rant.)

Time to dust off the drill press for the lock bolt (only one with a Hawken) and the two tang-to-trigger plate bolts. Great structural integrity there. Starting to look like a rifle.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old February 6, 2024, 10:26 PM   #18
4V50 Gary
Staff
 
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 21,829
Woodfill has the newest book on the Hawkens rifles and he recently had an article on them in Muzzle Blasts magazine.
__________________
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
4V50 Gary is offline  
Old February 7, 2024, 05:15 AM   #19
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
Saw Muzzle Blasts; I will check out the book.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old February 24, 2024, 01:27 PM   #20
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
Lock and trigger plate bolts drilled and tapped. Put it together and snapped a cap. Installed the buttplate, and today finished the barrel keys. Only the nose cap and first ramrod pipe to fit to the stock. Then new adventures installing barrel staples (genius design) and soldering the barrel rib and front ramrod pipes. A couple dovetails for the sights (done this before) and I will be ready for finishing. Also new adventures there: aqua fortis to darken the stock and rust bluing the barrel. I was thinking of doing a real case hardening of the iron furniture, but I can't justify a $1,200 heat treat furnace for the use it will get. So I'm trying some Steel F/X gel from a guy in St. George, UT. So far, so good.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old February 25, 2024, 09:52 AM   #21
Schlitz 45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 14, 2018
Location: Colorado
Posts: 384
Be sure to do some experimenting with the different FX products if you’re applying it yourself to get an idea of what to expect. I bought the small kit with all 7 gels & found I only needed 3 of them for my projects-Blue Halo, Flame FX, & Blue Black. After applying it should be sealed ASAP to preserve the look or it will turn to rust, I went with a satin clear coat for low maintenance rather than having to keep applying wax that works too.
Here’s a sample of one of my experiments

Last edited by Schlitz 45; February 25, 2024 at 09:57 AM.
Schlitz 45 is offline  
Old February 25, 2024, 10:28 AM   #22
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
Thanks. That helps.
ligonierbill is offline  
Old March 12, 2024, 03:35 PM   #23
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
Have all the furniture inlet. Barrel is next. Need to get those staples aligned, which seems pretty straightforward. Then the rib and ramrod pipes, which I intend to solder. Should be fine, but a big surface like the rib is something I've not done before. I'd rather do that than drill more holes in the barrel, however.
Meanwhile, I'll get the stock sanded and attack my next first: aqua fortis. There's not a lot of figure in this stock, but I want to darken it. Again, straightforward. Rust bluing the barrel. The big challenge there is convincing my wife that boiling water in a chicken feeder trough on her stove is a normal thing. Too much fun!
ligonierbill is offline  
Old March 13, 2024, 11:26 AM   #24
eastbank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2008
Location: pa.
Posts: 2,450
in a trade years ago i got a tc big boar caplock in .58 caliber in ex condition, but it had a single trigger from hell, fast forward a friend had a ex condition stock from a tc .54 renagade with double triggers with it, a deal was made for the big boar stock trade and a few dollars his way. the .58 rifle with a reciever peep sight now shoots three shots touching at 65 yards from a bench rest with .570 RB,s and 80 grains of fff.
eastbank is offline  
Old March 19, 2024, 12:36 PM   #25
ligonierbill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 20, 2007
Posts: 2,447
Installed those barrel staples. I get nervous drilling into a barrel, but no problem, just adjusted the stop on the drill press. Had to go 7/64 to get the staples to seat. I was concerned about horizontal alignment, but that was no problem. Vertical alignment, though, not so good. I inlet my keys just a touch too low. Fixable, of course, and the escutcheons will cover most or all of the repair. But I feel like a real amateur...oh yeah, I am an amateur. A more humble one this morning.

BTW, I have two projects following this: Chambers "English Pistol" kit and a true "from scratch" Jäger. The pistol does not require anything I've not done before, but I can't get cocky. They sent me a beautiful piece of maple that I must not mess up. (This pistol got restocked in the Colonies.) The Jäger will be my last, I think. For the first time, I will cut the barrel channel and drill the ramrod hole. I'm modeling it after one written up by George Shumway in Muzzle Blasts and published in a collection of his articles. That rifle was made in Kronach in 1722. For me, the significance is that Kronach is only 30 km east of Coburg, where my paternal grandfather came from. It was a duchy before WWI, and my legend is this will be a rifle for the duke's gamekeeper. Not too worried about the barrel and ramrod, but even a gamekeeper's rifle would have been engraved. I'm no engraver! But to do this right, I must learn.

Learning keeps you young!
ligonierbill is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:38 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2021 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Page generated in 0.06959 seconds with 11 queries