Hawken kit

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pacherokee54

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Who today, in the opinions of those more knowledgeable members, makes the best, most historically correct accurate Hawken available today. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Well .... there is a need to be careful with this. There is a great deal of variation in original Hawken rifles. We have come to accept the most pictured Hawken style as the 'original' but that is misleading. You can do some research then decide what you think most nearly fits your perception. The research is fun and will lead you down a few rabbit trails.. Polecat [P.S. Here is one that does not fit our usual perception]
 

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My Question first would be to ask what you can budget for the rifle?
There are a number of kits or rifles you might outright purchase.
If you are strictly wanting a historical Hawken and can pay a
premium then start with the Hawken Shop. "Vaino" and Dale Lilly
above would be the great advisers--Vaino's Rifle speaks for itself.
Money determines a lot of things in life. I contacted the Hawken Shop
a good while back, and it was quite an education. For me, I wanted a lower
price-point, so I went for an Investarms kit which fit what I wanted-
under $800 for everything including strap and materials to build-out
as I wanted. Those kits have dried up and are gone. But it would no
way equal the Premium level kits. I am a hunter who wants a traditional
looker for the woods--but Historical perfection comes second.
If you are out to buy a Historical Replica, you will pay more, for
one built, but get a lot more too.
 
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I am no expert on Hawkens but I have several variations: Austin & Halleck, Allen's Santa Fe Hawken [Uberti] , Log Cabin Shop [also Uberti], Lyman Great Plains, etc. I also noticed there is a Green River Rifle Works model over on Gun Broker. All of those are reasonably copied from originals but if you want authentic in the most accepted style, and can afford it, you can't beat The Hawken Shop. Polecat
 
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Don Stith kits are really nice. Don't know what they cost these days.
Mine is 50 cal with a tapered barrel, nice maple stock, great components throughout. It's about 20 yrs old now but the best Hawken I have.
 
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Who today, in the opinions of those more knowledgeable members, makes the best, most historically correct accurate Hawken available today. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
The Hawken Shop is one source you should look at. They even mark the barrels Hawken. I looked up their site, finished guns seem to be around 3 grand, with wood upgrades, etc. (I have not dealt with them.
 

Bighorserider

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On the Hawkin shop website I think they have pictures from their old print catalog. It has pictures of a number of Hawkins. Some of them don't look anything like what we think of as a Hawkin rifle.
 
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Don Stith sells parts sets. The stocks were a problem for me. I ended up starting over and building from a plank. Others have had better luck. Don has had health issues, I do not know if he is still in business. The Hawken Shop in Washington state answers the phone. They wanted $1400 last time checked. They only sell 54 caliber barrels.

"Hawken" covers a lot of ground. The Jim Bridger style plains rifle was only one product they made. It was not a factory, it was a shop that made rifles one at a time. There was lots of variations. Saying a rifle must be exactly like this or that to be an authentic Hawken is not so.
 

pacherokee54

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Last week I was looking through some posts on here and BigAl52 had a picture of his John Bergman Hawken. I have always wanted one of his muzzleloaders ever since I read an article on him in a Dixie Gunworks Blackpowder annual from the 1980's. I can't imagine what one would cost nowadays, but dang I'd love one.
I'm trying to sell off some of my firearms to raise some money. I am a member of the TCA and have mainly Contenders that I wish I'd started collecting years ago. I also have a TC Hawken 50 cal with a Green River barrel, a Renegade 54 cal, both Flintlocks, and a unfired Treehawk 50 cal. But after seeing Big Al's Bergman Hawken, I really want something special like that.
 

Coinneach

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My Question first would be to ask what you can budget for the rifle?
There are a number of kits or rifles you might outright purchase.
If you are strictly wanting a historical Hawken and can pay a
premium then start with the Hawken Shop. "Vaino" and Dale Lilly
above would be the great advisers--Vaino's Rifle speaks for itself.
Money determines a lot of things in life. I contacted the Hawken Shop
a good while back, and it was quite an education. For me, I wanted a lower
price-point, so I went for an Investarms kit which fit what I wanted-
under $800 for everything including strap and materials to build-out
as I wanted. Those kits have dried up and are gone. But it would no
way equal the Premium level kits. I am a hunter who wants a traditional
looker for the woods--but Historical perfection comes second.
If you are out to buy a Historical Replica, you will pay more, for
one built, but get a lot more too.
Agreed, if one has the strength of willpower to bide his time and salt the dollars away, then its the ol motto of "All things come to he who waits".
 

Vaino

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My Hawken was built from a Pecatonica parts set. Has a 1" bbl X 32" lg in ,54 cal ...it weighs 9 lbs , has a sling and it's comfortable carrying all day.....partly using the sling.

If I was to build another Hawken for elk, it would have a .54 tapered bbl X 35" lg {1" breech and 7/8" at the muzzle}. It would have DSTs but the rear or setting trigger would be blocked.....a Hawken should have a DST to look like a Hawken. A .54 PRB is quite sufficient for elk and have never failed to find the elk I've shot. Considered a .58 but the trajectory is too high.

It would have a sling and the front attachment would be a simple frame made from a coat hanger and is retained by a groove in the rib. The rear attachment is a modern, swivel type riveted to a .100 thick toeplate.

The rear sight would have a square notch w/ plenty of "daylight" w/ the front sight when the gun is aimed. The front sight blade would be .100 wide w/ a sterling silver , angled face insert soldered in { excellent light gathering}.

Naturally, all the hardware is browned steel. The weight would be close to 9 lbs but the balance would be excellent. Shown is a LHed S. Hawken w/ all the features stated is this post. The "new" hawken would have a duller stock finish....I gave the customer what he wanted.....Fred
HawkenCombL.jpg
 

plmeek

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I believe the better Hawken kits have been mentioned. Just to enumerate,

  • The Hawken Shop Hawken Kit
  • Track of the Wolf Jim Bridger Kit
  • Don Stith Hawken Kits
Before I go into detail discussing each of these kits, it's worth mentioning that a Hawken rifle, no matter whose kit it is, is a challenging rifle to build. The fitting of the hooked breech, inletting the long tang, fitting the lock to the snail, and attaching the underrib and ramrod thimbles are not easy operations to do.

The Hawken Shop Hawken Kit
The Hawken Shop in Oak Harbor, WA continues to offer the Hawken kit that Art Ressel developed when he owned the company in St. Louis. Ressel copied actual Hawken parts from rifles in his collection thereby producing one of, if not, the most authentic contemporary Hawken kits. An experienced gun maker with a good knowledge of the characteristics of Hawken rifles can make a beautiful and authentic Hawken rifle from this kit.

Here are a couple of Hawken Shop Hawken rifles. The top one is mine and was likely built by Keith Neubauer for Art Ressel to sell in his store. Neubauer was a professional gunsmith and antique restoration expert in St. Louis. The bottom rifle belongs to a friend and was assembled from a Hawken Shop kit by an unknown gunmaker.

IMG_2646_low res.jpg

IMG_2647_low res.jpg


Another cool aspect of the Hawken Shop rifle is that the breech plug snail can be left as cast to resemble the snail on a few original Hawken rifles (bottom rifle) or can be modified into the typical shaped snail seen on most late S. Hawken rifles (top rifle).
IMG_2651_low res.jpg


The Hawken Shop kit comes with a tapered 1⅛" to 1" barrel which reduces weight and helps balance.

The drawback to the Hawken Shop kit is price.


Track of the Wolf Jim Bridger Kit

The Track of the Wolf Jim Bridger Kit can be turned into a finished rifle like Mulebrain pictured above. This kit basically duplicates the old GRRW late S. Hawken rifles they produced after 1976. We collectors call this the "Bridger" pattern GRRW Hawken.

S Hawken Rifle.jpg


It isn't an exact copy of the original Bridger Hawken in the Montana Historical Society, but it is close.

Track's website isn't showing this kit as I write this. I don't know if this is a glitch or if they are having trouble getting component parts for it. I noticed the pre-carve stock is on backorder as well as the Ron Long designed percussion Hawken lock and Long's Hawken triggers from R.E. Davis, now owned by Log Cabin Shop. I've heard from other sources that Log Cabin Shop is having difficulty finding someone to assemble the locks and triggers. Pretty much all the other parts are shown as "In Stock" on Track's website, so until Log Cabin Shop gets the lock business up and running again, this kit may not be an option.

In the 1970s, people seemed to prefer the GRRW Hawken rifles with 1⅛" straight octagon barrels even though they offered a tapered barrel option. That heavy barrel makes a Hawken rifle that weighs around 12 lbs. depending on length. Fortunately, Track offered their kit with a tapered barrel like The Hawken Shop which I highly recommend.

Besides what is hoped is a temporary disruption in parts supply, another issue with this kit is the current Jim Bridger's Hawken 1-1/8" breech & tang. The original molds were developed by Ron Long in the mid-1970s. Something has happened to change the angle the tang comes off the standing breech. Herb Troester has discussed this issue in some old threads. This image illustrates the difference between the standing breech and tang when Ron Long still owned the business (on the right) and one from Track more recently (on the left).

IMG_4624_low res.jpg


Herb found that using the tang as is results in a hump in the stock right behind the breech. His solution is to heat the tang where the arrow points to red hot and bend it to the right relative to the picture above. This cannot be bent cold, but requires glowing red. Herb said he broke the tang off on two standing breeches because he didn't get them hot enough before attempting to bend. The tang may need to be straightened some further down is length to fit the stock's wrist properly, but this can be done cold.


Don Stith Hawken Kits

I saw that Don Stith posted today on another forum. He listed his phone number and invited people to call him, so I assume he's able and willing to conduct some business. Stith has a number of different models of Hawken rifle parts sets. They range from pre-1840 J&S Hawken to late S Hawken to full stock Hawken to Hawken squirrel rifles. Some of Stith's parts are proprietary and can't be sourced from anyone else. Other parts are commercial parts. Unfortunately, among these are the Ron Long/RE Davis/Log Cabin Shop Hawken lock and triggers. Stith also uses the Ron Long designed 1⅛" breech & tang from Track with the issue described above on all his rifles that call for that size breech.

I've got a J&S Hawken parts set from Stith that I haven't built yet. I also have a .40 caliber Hawken squirrel rifle that was built by John Bergmann from Stith's parts that I really like.

IMG_1513_1800.jpg



Don't Procrastinate!

Time is not on our side. The suppliers to our hobby are mostly mom & pop businesses. Many were started in the 1970s or earlier by people that are getting old and/or developing health problems. Pete Allen had been supplying a large number of brass and steel castings for all types of component parts from trigger guards to butt plates to breech plugs to lock parts. More than a quarter of the locks listed on RE Davis's old website were made from parts cast by Pete Allen and are no longer available. Pete Allen hasn't run his foundry for a number of years now. The old North Star West closed their business a few years ago ending the legacy of Northwest trade guns started by Curly Gostomski in the 70s. There are other examples.

The options for "the best, most historically correct accurate Hawken" are diminishing.
 
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I believe the better Hawken kits have been mentioned. Just to enumerate,

  • The Hawken Shop Hawken Kit
  • Track of the Wolf Jim Bridger Kit
  • Don Stith Hawken Kits
Before I go into detail discussing each of these kits, it's worth mentioning that a Hawken rifle, no matter whose kit it is, is a challenging rifle to build. The fitting of the hooked breech, inletting the long tang, fitting the lock to the snail, and attaching the underrib and ramrod thimbles are not easy operations to do.

The Hawken Shop Hawken Kit
The Hawken Shop in Oak Harbor, WA continues to offer the Hawken kit that Art Ressel developed when he owned the company in St. Louis. Ressel copied actual Hawken parts from rifles in his collection thereby producing one of, if not, the most authentic contemporary Hawken kits. An experienced gun maker with a good knowledge of the characteristics of Hawken rifles can make a beautiful and authentic Hawken rifle from this kit.

Here are a couple of Hawken Shop Hawken rifles. The top one is mine and was likely built by Keith Neubauer for Art Ressel to sell in his store. Neubauer was a professional gunsmith and antique restoration expert in St. Louis. The bottom rifle belongs to a friend and was assembled from a Hawken Shop kit by an unknown gunmaker.

View attachment 109834
View attachment 109835

Another cool aspect of the Hawken Shop rifle is that the breech plug snail can be left as cast to resemble the snail on a few original Hawken rifles (bottom rifle) or can be modified into the typical shaped snail seen on most late S. Hawken rifles (top rifle).
View attachment 109837

The Hawken Shop kit comes with a tapered 1⅛" to 1" barrel which reduces weight and helps balance.

The drawback to the Hawken Shop kit is price.


Track of the Wolf Jim Bridger Kit

The Track of the Wolf Jim Bridger Kit can be turned into a finished rifle like Mulebrain pictured above. This kit basically duplicates the old GRRW late S. Hawken rifles they produced after 1976. We collectors call this the "Bridger" pattern GRRW Hawken.

View attachment 109839

It isn't an exact copy of the original Bridger Hawken in the Montana Historical Society, but it is close.

Track's website isn't showing this kit as I write this. I don't know if this is a glitch or if they are having trouble getting component parts for it. I noticed the pre-carve stock is on backorder as well as the Ron Long designed percussion Hawken lock and Long's Hawken triggers from R.E. Davis, now owned by Log Cabin Shop. I've heard from other sources that Log Cabin Shop is having difficulty finding someone to assemble the locks and triggers. Pretty much all the other parts are shown as "In Stock" on Track's website, so until Log Cabin Shop gets the lock business up and running again, this kit may not be an option.

In the 1970s, people seemed to prefer the GRRW Hawken rifles with 1⅛" straight octagon barrels even though they offered a tapered barrel option. That heavy barrel makes a Hawken rifle that weighs around 12 lbs. depending on length. Fortunately, Track offered their kit with a tapered barrel like The Hawken Shop which I highly recommend.

Besides what is hoped is a temporary disruption in parts supply, another issue with this kit is the current Jim Bridger's Hawken 1-1/8" breech & tang. The original molds were developed by Ron Long in the mid-1970s. Something has happened to change the angle the tang comes off the standing breech. Herb Troester has discussed this issue in some old threads. This image illustrates the difference between the standing breech and tang when Ron Long still owned the business (on the right) and one from Track more recently (on the left).

View attachment 109847

Herb found that using the tang as is results in a hump in the stock right behind the breech. His solution is to heat the tang where the arrow points to red hot and bend it to the right relative to the picture above. This cannot be bent cold, but requires glowing red. Herb said he broke the tang off on two standing breeches because he didn't get them hot enough before attempting to bend. The tang may need to be straightened some further down is length to fit the stock's wrist properly, but this can be done cold.


Don Stith Hawken Kits

I saw that Don Stith posted today on another forum. He listed his phone number and invited people to call him, so I assume he's able and willing to conduct some business. Stith has a number of different models of Hawken rifle parts sets. They range from pre-1840 J&S Hawken to late S Hawken to full stock Hawken to Hawken squirrel rifles. Some of Stith's parts are proprietary and can't be sourced from anyone else. Other parts are commercial parts. Unfortunately, among these are the Ron Long/RE Davis/Log Cabin Shop Hawken lock and triggers. Stith also uses the Ron Long designed 1⅛" breech & tang from Track with the issue described above on all his rifles that call for that size breech.

I've got a J&S Hawken parts set from Stith that I haven't built yet. I also have a .40 caliber Hawken squirrel rifle that was built by John Bergmann from Stith's parts that I really like.

View attachment 109871


Don't Procrastinate!

Time is not on our side. The suppliers to our hobby are mostly mom & pop businesses. Many were started in the 1970s or earlier by people that are getting old and/or developing health problems. Pete Allen had been supplying a large number of brass and steel castings for all types of component parts from trigger guards to butt plates to breech plugs to lock parts. More than a quarter of the locks listed on RE Davis's old website were made from parts cast by Pete Allen and are no longer available. Pete Allen hasn't run his foundry for a number of years now. The old North Star West closed their business a few years ago ending the legacy of Northwest trade guns started by Curly Gostomski in the 70s. There are other examples.

The options for "the best, most historically correct accurate Hawken" are diminishing.
And that is a shame. Dale
 

Coinneach

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My Hawken was built from a Pecatonica parts set. Has a 1" bbl X 32" lg in ,54 cal ...it weighs 9 lbs , has a sling and it's comfortable carrying all day.....partly using the sling.

If I was to build another Hawken for elk, it would have a .54 tapered bbl X 35" lg {1" breech and 7/8" at the muzzle}. It would have DSTs but the rear or setting trigger would be blocked.....a Hawken should have a DST to look like a Hawken. A .54 PRB is quite sufficient for elk and have never failed to find the elk I've shot. Considered a .58 but the trajectory is too high.

It would have a sling and the front attachment would be a simple frame made from a coat hanger and is retained by a groove in the rib. The rear attachment is a modern, swivel type riveted to a .100 thick toeplate.

The rear sight would have a square notch w/ plenty of "daylight" w/ the front sight when the gun is aimed. The front sight blade would be .100 wide w/ a sterling silver , angled face insert soldered in { excellent light gathering}.

Naturally, all the hardware is browned steel. The weight would be close to 9 lbs but the balance would be excellent. Shown is a LHed S. Hawken w/ all the features stated is this post. The "new" hawken would have a duller stock finish....I gave the customer what he wanted.....Fred View attachment 109732
Thats pretty much how I'd go too.
 

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