Kentucky Rifle compared to Hawken Rifle

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Art Caputo

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I started with Hawken style percussion rifles about 50 years ago and evolved to the Kentucky/Colonial style Flintlocks. While I can currently shoot both equally wel, it took(and still does) require more attention to “follow-through with the flintlocks. I personally don’t feel cleaning time and energy is much different between the two. My Hawkens are shorter in overall length but the weight is a few pounds more at 10-11 pounds compared to 7-8 pounds for my flintlocks, making the latter easier for me to handle and shoot. For me, hunting with a muzzle loader, is all about the historical context.and ambiance. Living in New England, and hunting the heavily wooded areas, carrying a my flintlocks seems more fitting. While the two are different styles, I‘m equally fond of the appearance of both.
 

mountainman_53223

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I have been shooting a Hawken rifle for over 20 years, but lately I have been thinking I would like to buy a Kentucky Rifle. The problem is that I don’t know anyone that has one that I could shoot so that I could decide if I would like it. I would like to have a .50 cal since my Hawken is also that caliber. I know there are a lot of people on this forum who shoot both. Could y’all tell which one of the rifles you prefer and why. I would appreciate your input before buying one.

Thanks,
Stan
I have been shooting a Hawken rifle for over 20 years, but lately I have been thinking I would like to buy a Kentucky Rifle. The problem is that I don’t know anyone that has one that I could shoot so that I could decide if I would like it. I would like to have a .50 cal since my Hawken is also that caliber. I know there are a lot of people on this forum who shoot both. Could y’all tell which one of the rifles you prefer and why. I would appreciate your input before buying one.

Thanks,
Stan
Take the Penn in flint. Goes with almost all time periods, tends to be prettier, you can have different stock shapes, and once you go flint you never go back!
 

Stan flanery

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Thank you all for your input, you have given me lots think about. At some point I’m sure this will end with a purchase.
Stan
 

Two Feathers

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Hey Stan:
Good to see you posting. I have my Frankenflint PA long rifle in .45 cal. and I can tell you it's a nightmare to clean, FOR ME. The barrel is pinned on so it takes about an hour to disassemble and reassemble, plus I have to be very careful when I reinstall the pins so as not to bend them or worse. If the pin "Drifts" you can blow out the stock wood on the opposite side. I'd rather just leave the barrel on, but then I dribble cleaner in between the barrel and stock, NOT good!! I just basically just stopped shooting it. At some point I hope to get a Hook breech Hawken style in Squirrel cal. That'll be a dream to clean. I had a TC Hawken flint in .50 cal. back in the mid 70's. A pure pleasure to clean, and I could clean that one thoroughly!
I doubt that this will help, but these are just my thought on the subject.
Stay safe buddy.
God bless:
Two Feathers
 

RB POWELL

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Generally, form follows function. Beauty came in a distant second when these rifles could mean life or death, or food on the table. Long rifles are beautiful IMO. Hawkens have a utilitarian, though pleasing look. Both types work best where & what they were designed for. Make sense?
 

deerstalkert

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personally i think Flinters look more historic mainly because they were around longer. i have a matchlock that to me the flinters follow closely. i have tried for years, no , decades, actually more then half a century to get used to the pan flash and just can't do it! if anybody has a trick to that i would forever be in their debt. until that miracle happens i will just love and fondle and pet my cap locks. been thinking of building a long rifle in caplock to get the look of a long flinter.
 

Kansas Jake

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The is really no trick I know of with a flinter other than concentrating on your sights and target. It helps if you have a fast lock and good trigger. The other thing is that old bugaboo of follow through. Keeping the gun on target after pulling the trigger. I have an especially hard time with that. I tend to relax after pulling the trigger and drop the shot.
 

Flinty Scot

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Don't dismiss the idea of a flintlock just because you've not tried one.
I drank that koolaid early but, imnsho, a Kentucky really should be a flint for the optimal experience.
Try to find someone who'll let you try theirs. If you explain why, I'm pretty sure they'll be more than happy to - and then talk about it for hours.
 

52Bore

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Get a longrifle of same or better quality than your Hawken.
PA/KY will have brass hardware compared to E.TN that is steel - like your Hawken. Kibler So.Mountain would be a good addition.
 

Stan flanery

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I hear people complain about having to clean their muzzle loader. I actually enjoy the cleaning process. Crazy huh.
 

tenngun

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I find it all part of the shooting experience. Mlare nothing but trouble. One shot, a minute to load, smoke, gunk. There ain’t nothing good about them except how much fun they are to shoot. Load,clean, check on after you’ve cleaned it it’s all part of the experience and it’s all fun.
 

FishDFly

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Seems folks are always wanting to use gender when talking about their rifles. To me Hawken rifles should be referred to as "he" as they are masculine. Long rifles should be referred to as "she" as they are feminine.

I have to go with masculine rifles.
 

grey8833

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Have both. A Bridger Hawken and a Chambers York. Like comparing an M1 to a Ferrari. Want a tough, heavy, big balls (that just comes out wrong) chunk gun - go Hawken. Want a slim, elegant, perfectly balanced, off hand gun, go longrifle.

Different optimal designs for different circumstances.
 

tenngun

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Have both. A Bridger Hawken and a Chambers York. Like comparing an M1 to a Ferrari. Want a tough, heavy, big balls (that just comes out wrong) chunk gun - go Hawken. Want a slim, elegant, perfectly balanced, off hand gun, go longrifle.

Different optimal designs for different circumstances.
In that vein of thought I think we should look at early rifles. Revolutionary and pre revolution rifles were bulkier. Butts and wrist were thicker. Like plains guns these boy used them in rough conditions.
When things on the frontier settled down and rifleman slept In a bed in a house at night, and town or a trading post was someplace you might see every Saturday guns got lighter and mire dainty.
On the plains far from support the boys needed tough. So a Hawken has a lot more in common with early rifle.
When the west was pretty well settled Breechloaders came in style, and there were some big boys, but most folk returned to light and dainty.
Butts of my early Lancaster and my SMR
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Tom A Hawk

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I suggest there is no need to pick and choose. Simply enjoy them both...or rather, them all. I started out with a .45 TC percussion Hawken ( due to Jeremiah Johnson ). Then after several years of handgun hunting with unmentionables, reacquired the BP bug. My first build was a half stock percussion Hawken and the next three were full stock flintlocks. Along the way I also acquired a Lyman flint Great Plains rifle an Austin Halleck Halfstock flint and a custom .36 Tennessee full stock flint. They each have their unique aspects and all are great fun.
 

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