First flintlock rifle, my highly customized Investarm 50 cal Hawken rifle.

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This started as a standard Investarm Bridger Hawken type rifle sold by Cabelas. I bought on Gun Broker around June or July of this year. I have shot it with the original lock in the original condition. I have since then done a lot of work to it. I did like the rifle however it is ahistorical. Though half stock Hawken rifles existed they were always percussion and the sights it has on the rear from the factory are very modern screw adjustable sights which I wasn't crazy about. I bought this rifle to do many things. I bought it for target shooting, possibly hunting some day, and for my pirate group I belong to. Yes I know such a flintlock rifle would not of be used by a pirate. However I checked with the guy who runs my group and he said as long as it looks close enough and is safe it's fine. Still I thought I could do better and after searching I found the first American Service Rifle from the War of 1812, the Harper Ferry 1803 Rifle. I knew I couldn't get it exactly like the 1803 as that rifle had a longer barrel but in essence it was very similar being a half stock flintlock rifle. First mod was the sling, it's five pieces of leather stitched together. I originally had one of those brass thimbles on there that had the mount for a sling swivel which I used. I then did reading and I believe it was on this forum that using that swivel mounted on the upper thimble is a bad idea because it's reliant on the 3.5mm screws holding it down. So I instead used a piece of leather wrapped and tied around the barrel.

Second mod was an L&R lock. The original action is okay but I really like the leaf springs on the L&R replacement lock. Also the half cock position on L&R locks is brilliant. It sits back farther than any production lock I've seen from Traditions, Pedersoli, or Investarms. The frizzen also has a roller it runs on which make sit far smoother. I cold blued it using super blue and spent some time sanding down the plate before hand. After that at some point I scratched up the original barrel under lug. I tried bluing it except it couldn't be blued. That is because the original barrel underlug that Investarm put on the rifle was aluminum lol! I tried two types of aluminum blackening, it looked gray. I saw a Thompson center barrel underlug for a TC Hawken on ebay and bought it. Turns out the TC Hawken steel barrel underlug was the exact hole locations as the Investarms and was about a 1/8th inch too long in the back. So I filed it down slightly and rebuled it where I had to shorten it. I also had to enlarge the holes for the 3.5mm screws just ever so slightly. The blued steel thimbles are also Thompson center on this rifle. I was pretty happy with it for a while but I was still not crazy about the rear sights.


I saw someone post or talk about the replacement fixed sights on this forum for T/C Hawken rifle from The Gun Works. I figured since the barrel rib and thimbles from the TC Hawken fit the Investarm near perfectly the rear sights would. Turns out it did fit perfectly! I had to cut the v notch on the sights myself. I also cut off the buck horns on the side, they looked like giant bat wings. I think it looks better without them. It came with three hole locations. The middle one for my rifle wasn't necessary so I used a carbon steel rivet and riveted it in the middle hole then belt sanded the bottom. I hot blued it and used gorilla weld glue to hide gaps as it doesn't quite mate perfectly flat with the barrel. It's maybe half a millimeter off or so. I did shoot it at that point with the new rear sights. Before I took it shooting I realized the front sight needed to be ground down to match the new rear sight so I put it on my 1x30 belt sander and ground it down then rebuled it. It shot just a little low and right at 25 yards. Maybe an inch or so. Since then I added a brass toe plate that I custom cut myself and shaped. The stock had a small crack on the bottom. I did glue it with Titebond III and used a brass wood screw to hold it but, I was still concerned. So the Toe plate was made to reinforce it and it looks better and more like an 1803 Harper Ferry Rifle with it. I did actually slightly crack it as I had to adjust, ehm with a hammer, the butt stock plate to meet with the toe plate. I then realized I was being dumb and took the butt stock plate off the rifle and used my anvil to shape it properly. I fixed the small crack with Titebond III. Now as far as the nose plate I used brass rivets to cover up the old holes for the screws then drilled 1/16 holes through them to use 1/16 solid pins. After that I took it off, cut it with a Dremel. Then I cut the wood carefully to match. I did think over what I wanted to do as an entry thimble. I actually did by one from Track of the Wolf but decided to just glue 7/16th brass tubing instead. I was nervous about removing too much wood from the fore-end and making the stock weak. It is walnut after all, not maple. Yes the brass pipe isn't as pretty as a true enter thimble would be but I was nervous about cutting it up and installing an actual pinned thimble. It's solid in there and isn't moving. It's glued in with Gorilla weld. It's like JB Weld but better. I haven't shot it yet with the new toe plate and revised nose plate with entry thimble. It did take some grinding with a Dremel narrow sanding bit on the inside of the entry thimble to get the ram rod to pass through smoothly each time. Either way it works now. It's not an 'exact' copy of anything but it looks much more believable as an early 1800s half stock flintlock rifle. No it's not a replica of the Harper Ferry but, I like it and it shoots good. I need to shoot it more.
 

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burlesontom

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I like what you did. I wish you could post better pictures of the sights mods you did. I have three of the Investarms rifles and the only thing I don't like about them is the goofy patch box they have on them that always identifies them as "Cabela's Hawkens". I would like it better if they had no patch box at all. One of mine isn't even sold by Cabelas and still has the same patch box. But it did come with a 1/60 twist barrel like my GPR but with a 6 groove barrel instead of a 5 groove barrel.
 
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I can take more pictures later. I thought of replacing the patch box with a Harper ferry 1803 style but the darn circle cut out is too wide. It's not worth the effort. It is a historical patchbox but it's a bit later 1830s or so.
 
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Nice gun! Did the new lock require much fitting?
You do need to gouge out quite a bit. I used a 3/8 drill bit on a drill press after I marked where the side plate needed to fit. The action screw and vent hole line up with the action. You do need to carefully remove a fair of wood though. I also used feeler gauges to measure the gap between the pan and the vent hole. I had to sand the backside of the lock plate or backside of the pan on one side to reduce the gap.
 

M. De Land

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This started as a standard Investarm Bridger Hawken type rifle sold by Cabelas. I bought on Gun Broker around June or July of this year. I have shot it with the original lock in the original condition. I have since then done a lot of work to it. I did like the rifle however it is ahistorical. Though half stock Hawken rifles existed they were always percussion and the sights it has on the rear from the factory are very modern screw adjustable sights which I wasn't crazy about. I bought this rifle to do many things. I bought it for target shooting, possibly hunting some day, and for my pirate group I belong to. Yes I know such a flintlock rifle would not of be used by a pirate. However I checked with the guy who runs my group and he said as long as it looks close enough and is safe it's fine. Still I thought I could do better and after searching I found the first American Service Rifle from the War of 1812, the Harper Ferry 1803 Rifle. I knew I couldn't get it exactly like the 1803 as that rifle had a longer barrel but in essence it was very similar being a half stock flintlock rifle. First mod was the sling, it's five pieces of leather stitched together. I originally had one of those brass thimbles on there that had the mount for a sling swivel which I used. I then did reading and I believe it was on this forum that using that swivel mounted on the upper thimble is a bad idea because it's reliant on the 3.5mm screws holding it down. So I instead used a piece of leather wrapped and tied around the barrel.

Second mod was an L&R lock. The original action is okay but I really like the leaf springs on the L&R replacement lock. Also the half cock position on L&R locks is brilliant. It sits back farther than any production lock I've seen from Traditions, Pedersoli, or Investarms. The frizzen also has a roller it runs on which make sit far smoother. I cold blued it using super blue and spent some time sanding down the plate before hand. After that at some point I scratched up the original barrel under lug. I tried bluing it except it couldn't be blued. That is because the original barrel underlug that Investarm put on the rifle was aluminum lol! I tried two types of aluminum blackening, it looked gray. I saw a Thompson center barrel underlug for a TC Hawken on ebay and bought it. Turns out the TC Hawken steel barrel underlug was the exact hole locations as the Investarms and was about a 1/8th inch too long in the back. So I filed it down slightly and rebuled it where I had to shorten it. I also had to enlarge the holes for the 3.5mm screws just ever so slightly. The blued steel thimbles are also Thompson center on this rifle. I was pretty happy with it for a while but I was still not crazy about the rear sights.


I saw someone post or talk about the replacement fixed sights on this forum for T/C Hawken rifle from The Gun Works. I figured since the barrel rib and thimbles from the TC Hawken fit the Investarm near perfectly the rear sights would. Turns out it did fit perfectly! I had to cut the v notch on the sights myself. I also cut off the buck horns on the side, they looked like giant bat wings. I think it looks better without them. It came with three hole locations. The middle one for my rifle wasn't necessary so I used a carbon steel rivet and riveted it in the middle hole then belt sanded the bottom. I hot blued it and used gorilla weld glue to hide gaps as it doesn't quite mate perfectly flat with the barrel. It's maybe half a millimeter off or so. I did shoot it at that point with the new rear sights. Before I took it shooting I realized the front sight needed to be ground down to match the new rear sight so I put it on my 1x30 belt sander and ground it down then rebuled it. It shot just a little low and right at 25 yards. Maybe an inch or so. Since then I added a brass toe plate that I custom cut myself and shaped. The stock had a small crack on the bottom. I did glue it with Titebond III and used a brass wood screw to hold it but, I was still concerned. So the Toe plate was made to reinforce it and it looks better and more like an 1803 Harper Ferry Rifle with it. I did actually slightly crack it as I had to adjust, ehm with a hammer, the butt stock plate to meet with the toe plate. I then realized I was being dumb and took the butt stock plate off the rifle and used my anvil to shape it properly. I fixed the small crack with Titebond III. Now as far as the nose plate I used brass rivets to cover up the old holes for the screws then drilled 1/16 holes through them to use 1/16 solid pins. After that I took it off, cut it with a Dremel. Then I cut the wood carefully to match. I did think over what I wanted to do as an entry thimble. I actually did by one from Track of the Wolf but decided to just glue 7/16th brass tubing instead. I was nervous about removing too much wood from the fore-end and making the stock weak. It is walnut after all, not maple. Yes the brass pipe isn't as pretty as a true enter thimble would be but I was nervous about cutting it up and installing an actual pinned thimble. It's solid in there and isn't moving. It's glued in with Gorilla weld. It's like JB Weld but better. I haven't shot it yet with the new toe plate and revised nose plate with entry thimble. It did take some grinding with a Dremel narrow sanding bit on the inside of the entry thimble to get the ram rod to pass through smoothly each time. Either way it works now. It's not an 'exact' copy of anything but it looks much more believable as an early 1800s half stock flintlock rifle. No it's not a replica of the Harper Ferry but, I like it and it shoots good. I need to shoot it more.
The whole point is to make a gun that "YOU" like to look at an shoot so good on yah. I would caution one point, the leather sling wrapped around the barrel will take the finish off in jig time ! I'd use a clevis and pin through the under rib next to a mount screw.
 
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The whole point is to make a gun that "YOU" like to look at an shoot so good on yah. I would caution one point, the leather sling wrapped around the barrel will take the finish off in jig time ! I'd use a clevis and pin through the under rib next to a mount screw.
I know what you mean. The barrel rib is held on by four tiny m 3.5 screws. I don't want to put pressure on the threaded portion of the barrel that the screws screw into. A little bit of acetone and cold blue every once in a while isn't so bad.
 

M. De Land

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I know what you mean. The barrel rib is held on by four tiny m 3.5 screws. I don't want to put pressure on the threaded portion of the barrel that the screws screw into. A little bit of acetone and cold blue every once in a while isn't so bad.
If the the threads length into your barrel is as long as the screw bodies width and they fit correctly you couldn't pull them out with your pickup truck ! That's an exaggeration but the point is they are more than strong enough to hold the front end of the sling. If worried then drill and tap another on the other side of your attachment clevis.
 
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If the the threads length into your barrel is as long as the screw bodies width and they fit correctly you couldn't pull them out with your pickup truck ! That's an exaggeration but the point is they are more than strong enough to hold the front end of the sling. If worried then drill and tap another on the other side of your attachment clevis.
Track of the wolf sells front sling swivels that could work. I originally had the brass ramrod thimble where the rear brass thimble had a front sling swivel attachment on the bottom of the brass thimble. I remember reading here about people wearing put the threads in the barrel from using the brass thimble as an attachment point.

Now what you are suggesting is similar but doesn't put the strain on one threaded screw hole. Your idea would balance the strain on two threaded screw holes which would be stronger. Yes having the leather swivel wrapped around the barrel could cause rust if you don't keep the rifle clean, I agree. It's simple and just tied on with leather lace for fast removal and installation.
 
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