First ever high-end kit rifle.

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Shiloh1944

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Here is my first ever high-end rifle kit build. It is a TOTW Kit Carson Hawken kit that I bought from an individual on this site. It was a kit he ordered and decided not to build so I purchased it from him. After receiving it and looking it over I thought maybe I had jumped off the deep end. When I got into proceeding with the build there were times I was certain I had gotten in over my head, but I stuck with it. I made a few mistakes along the way but thankfully was able to correct them. My difficulty with working on a kit like this is compounded because I have a serious equilibrium problem and when it comes to tedious tasks my head begins to feel like the steel ball in a pin ball machine bouncing in all directions. I must quit for awhile until everything calms down before proceeding. Not trying to make excuses that’s just the way it is.

Many years ago, like over 30, I built two TC Hawken rifle kits, one percussion and one flintlock. The first one was a very early TC kit and was more difficult than their later kits were, but they neither one came close to this kit. I also recently did one of those old simple CVA Kentucky rifle kits that was given to me by a friend. After I started this kit, I read on TOTW’s website that the half stock Hawken rifle should never be your first kit to do, but instead should be about your third kit to attempt and I don’t think they meant TC and CVA kits. Too late, I had already started and now that I have done it, I am ready to see if I can find a flintlock kit to do. Hopefully a Hawken full stock flintlock. We shall see.
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Shiloh1944

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Thanks PluggedNickel for you kind remarks. It certainly was a challenge for me but I enjoyed doing it.

I took it to the range and after several shots from 50 yards I realized it was shooting low. I filed on the rear sight some to dress it up because it originally looked a little ragged and probably filed too much. Now I am going to have to find a taller rear sight or add some to the base of the one that is on it. Just not sure I can add enough and keep it looking right. I would get the long adjustable sight TOTW sells for the Hawken kit but the dovetail on it is slightly smaller that the sight that is now on the rifle.
 

Moleman

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Great job! It's hard to comprehend the amount of work that goes into a kit until you build one and you built it well.
 

DOUBLEDEUCE 1

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Shiloh, I’ll go out on a limb here for you... Send me that dang rifle, and I’ll sight it in for you. It might take a while. And, you may as well toss in that short starter you have in the picture below the rifle. :cool:

Seriously, if you can, put a piece of masking tape over the back of the front sight. Make one or two black horizontal lines across the tape, below the top of the sight. Use those lines for sighting and see where you are hitting. You might be able to lower the front sight instead of having to change the rear sight.
 

Brokennock

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Looks good. Leave the sights alone for now. Do some more load development, off the bench, then if still low take a tiny bit at a time off the top of the front sight. File, or stone, then shoot, file/stone then shoot. 3 shot groups should be sufficient between filing/stoning. Go slow, make sure you have the best load combo you can get, it is easier to adjust while it is shooting low than for if it is shooting high.
 

Shiloh1944

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I like the bison horn.
Ames, I did the powder horn from a kit as well.

Shiloh, I’ll go out on a limb here for you... Send me that dang rifle, and I’ll sight it in for you. It might take a while. And, you may as well toss in that short starter you have in the picture below the rifle. :cool:

Seriously, if you can, put a piece of masking tape over the back of the front sight. Make one or two black horizontal lines across the tape, below the top of the sight. Use those lines for sighting and see where you are hitting. You might be able to lower the front sight instead of having to change the rear sight.
DOUBLEDEUCE, thanks for the advise about the masking tape. I will give that a try.
 

Shiloh1944

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Brokennock, all my previous shooting at the range with the rifle was off the bench. When I figured out where to hold I stapled a 3" square dark green card about 12"-14" directly over the bulls eye on my target so I would have an object to focus on. I fired 6 shots. In the photo the 3 shots furthest left of center were fired first and I did a slight adjustment to the front sight and other 3 shots, the one about 1 1/2" above the bulls eye, the one in the bulls eye, and the one slightly out of the bulls eye are my final 3 shots.

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DOUBLEDEUCE 1

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Shiloh,
If you haven’t already, I would shoot the rifle from a sand bag rest while sighting it in. That would eliminate many of the human variables. It will also give a more accurate picture of the rifle’s capabilities. :cool:
 

Shiloh1944

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Shiloh,
If you haven’t already, I would shoot the rifle from a sand bag rest while sighting it in. That would eliminate many of the human variables. It will also give a more accurate picture of the rifle’s capabilities. :cool:
DOUBLEDEUCE, as I stated to Brokennock above all my shooting of the rifle while at the range was off the bench using sand bags. Instead of trying to remember where I was holding the sights during each shot I stapled a 3" square dark colored piece of cardboard about 12"-14" directly above the bullseye on my target and that way I had something to concentrate and sight on each time I fired a shot. The six shots in the photo on the target in my previous post I explained. My old eyes or not yet having the right load combo may explain the shots being scattered a bit. I believe the rifle will shoot. I just need to get my sight situation resolved and work on my load combination a bit.

I think I may order the adjustable Hawken rifle sight from TOTW and shim the dovetail slot so it will fit my barrel. That seems to be my best option in order to maintain period correctness and insure it doesn't look "jury rigged".
 
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Shiloh1944

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Front sights are usually made too high to allow for sighting in. File the sight lower to raise POI.
Pete G, I understand and will the next trip to the range. I just don't want to have to file it so low it doesn't look good. I have other production Hawken rifles and the front sight on the rifle I did isn't any taller than the ones on my Pedersoli and Uberti Hawken rifles. I will, however, file it down some if need be.
 

Eric Krewson

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It is the easiest to file down the front sight if you are shooting low, they all come too tall for this reason. I tend to only adjust my windage with the rear sight.
 

Shiloh1944

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I believe I have my sight situation pretty much remedied. I went to the range yesterday after raising my rear sight by about 3/16” by soldering another sight base on to my rear sight. I set my target at the 75yd. berm and loaded the rifle with 70grs. of BP, a .535 Hornady round ball, and a .015 patch. I fired three shots sighting six o’clock on the target bull and all my shots were low, one on paper and the other two just off the paper. I upped my powder measure to 80grs. and fired three more shots and those are the two holes in the left quadrant and the one hole in the lower quadrant. I then upped my powder charge to 90grs., drifted my rear sight slightly right, and fired three more shots and they are the three holes all touching the red bull.

There was a silhouette target that had been used by someone previously using a small caliber rifle at the 100-yard berm and I decided to shoot at it. I fired four shots at it. The first shot was a little high and just out of the silhouette and the next three shots were slightly high but all in the silhouette chest area. The silhouette was a solid charcoal gray color and a little difficult to settle in on an exact spot with iron sights and old eyes.

All in all, though, I believe the rifle will shoot and better than this shooter is capable.
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Darkhorse

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That's a really nice rifle Shiloh 1944. However, there is a better way to get that rifle shooting it's best. At 25 yards your rifle, off a bench should shoot 3 shots into one ragged hole. At 50 yards it should still shoot that one ragged hole. I would stop worrying about the sights and focus on patch thickness, lubes and powder charge until you get those groups really down tight. If your eyes are old like mine then maybe shoot for one inch groups. Once you find you best loads then you can dial in the sights. Learn to make a front sight. Then make one higher and leave the height of the rear alone. For elevation file down the front sight and juggle your powder charge. Tap the rear sight in it's dovetail to adjust windage.
 
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