Metal finish on Original Hawken Guns

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galamb

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Yes, I rust blue all my barrels unless I leave them in the white, using LMF.

I took a piece of 4" PVC pipe 4 feet long and cut it (almost) in half lengthwise (so a little more than half a circle of "trough") and then glued on end caps at each end.

When the barrel is ready for the water bath I suspend it (piece of string through the bore) so it's off the bottom of the trough by at least half an inch and then then fill up the (trough) with boiling "distilled" water (get it from the auto parts store for a couple bucks a gallon).

I have heard of others using plain tap water, but I'm on a well and we have lot's of minerals in the water, so not sure what it would come out like. Figure the barrel is "minimally" a couple hundred bucks, I can spring for a gallon or so of distilled water.

The result is a very deep blue (more black really).

Some guys/gals plug the bore of the barrel with a cork (or the like) before submerging in the boiling water - I have never bothered and have found no ill effects (you clean it with hot water anyhow and the LMF is pretty inert by the time you are submerging).
 

MacRob46

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The bluing on my 1905 Winchester 1894 has turned into a very dark black with hints of brown where it has not turned loose from the metal. That is what 109 years will do so imagine what effect of the additional 50 years or so of wear and exposure will be. What the antique Hawken barrel and hardware looks like now has no bearing on what it looked like when it was brand new.
 

Grenadier1758

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Smollett said:
Were original Hawken rifles generally browned, blued or left in the white?

Thanks, Smollett
I took a look at a couple of S. Hawken stamped rifles the other night. One was a squirrel rifle and the other was a plains rifle. It was plain that the barrels were blued. According to the owner, the answer comes down to it depending on the wishes of the customer. Most were rust blued, some were browned and a few were in the white. Locks were lightly case hardened as well as the trigger guards.

One final note. There just aren't any Hawken St. Louis flintlocks. There are a couple of guns that appear to be conversions from flint to percussion.
 

nchawkeye

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Smollett said:
My posting in this section wasn't suggestive; I just wasn't thinking...

My apologies for raising an eyebrow or two.

Smollett
No problem, there were flintlock rifles made by the Hawken boys...

They just might not have been made in St Louis....
:rotf:
 

crockett

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Thanks on the scalded water blue. And distilled water. I think I'll test it out on some scrap metal- opens up a whole new world.
On the Original Hawken. I think whenever possible the original finishes, etc. should always be done. The whole thing to me on muzzle loading is to use firearms that are as close to the originals as possible. If we try to "Improve" a muzzle loader with different triggers, sights, etc.- we may end up with a better shooting firearm but have we not defeated the whole idea of using original weapons?
So...I've sure made a lot of pc errors over the years. I have some "Mountain" rifles with browned hardware and barrel and since they aren't really Hawken rifles it doesn't matter but somewhere in the future is doing a real copy of a Hawken and it just seems that all the details and finishes ought to be as close to original as possible since that is the whole point of all this.
 

galamb

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Well, if you are trying to go "as correct" as possible you will need a barrel with 7 groves, right hand twist, slightly rounded rifling (I have a bunch of notes on the rifling machine they used which was examined quite extensively back in the 60's while in possession of the historic society).

Their rifling was described as 10 to 14 "papers" deep.

I have discussed this with a few of the more learned Hawken experts and there is no definitive answer as to "how thick was a paper shim back in the day", but the general though was it was probably close to a "thou", so "deeper" rifling is probably closer to what it would have been originally.

So, for all my yapping here, currently you would be looking at a barrel either from Rice or FCI, both use 7 groove round as standard practice - others may be able to cut that way for you (??).

If you are looking for other (stats) etc there are a couple/few of us here that spend way too much time obsessing over original Hawken rifles - and although we don't always agree with each other, between us we do have quite a pile of information :grin:
 

dgracia

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A quick question to you all about your rust bluing process - Are you plugging the vent and the muzzle or just letting water get inside it?

Reason I ask is that I pickled a barrel a number of years ago with the help of a friend who evidently learned about the process from Hershel House. The process includes boiling the barrel in a bleach/water solution that is incredibly corrosive and also generates poisonous fumes. So you have to do it outside and there is no room for error. We had to plug both the touch hole and the muzzle to make sure none of the mixture made it inside the barrel as that would ruin the barrel. I'm presuming the distilled water doesn't pose such a problem?

By the way, the pickling turned out great. Result was a barrel that looked 50-yrs old or more. Had a sort of gray patina finish to it (like worn out bluing) with tiny pits in it. Key to getting the tiny pits was to get a full rolling boil all along the trough we heated the barrel in. Since my friend was a blacksmith, he fabricated everything we needed to do it right. Was pretty scary seeing the bleach/water solution turn very rusty red immediately upon immersing the barrel, but it came out great.

Twisted_1in66 :thumbsup:
 

Zonie

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Bleach in any form, hot or cold will attack steel leaving it pitted and rusted.
This has nothing to do with boiling a barrel in distilled water to convert the brown rust to its black form. (The brown ferrous oxide is converted to black ferro-ferric oxide).

When converting the rust, I plug the bore and touch hole, not so much for keeping the water out of the bore but more for keeping any oil that might be in the bore from getting out into the water.
If oil does get out of the bore into the water it will be absorbed by the rust on the outside of the barrel and will stop the conversion.
 

M. De Land

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I do a fair amount of rust bluing and am currently using Brownell's "Hold" inside the barrel and then hard wood plugging it.
The Hold is a product that is swabbed or sprayed on clean metal to protect it from oxidizing if it can't be blued immediately after preparing the surface.
I have also used Shellac which was common among the old timers but getting it out of the barrel after words was difficult and it to caused some miner pitting. So far the Hold has been working perfectly for me with rust bluing or browning.
First I completely clean the barrel inside and out with brake cleaner or acetone and wipe dry.
I then swab the bore interior with Hold and the barrel plugs get a soak of it too. When both are dry I use a rawhide mallet to drive in the plugs and the barrel is ready to be rust blued and boiled.
I leave about 1.5 inches of plug extending out of both ends of the barrel for handles.
 

crockett

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I've just been browning so far so plugging the barrel hasn't been much of an issue but I use a wood dowel that I let protrude out beyond the muzzle about 4" so I have a "handle" on the barrel, that and holding the breech plug keeps gloved fingers of the barrel.
 

crockett

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On the Flintlock Hawken rifles. I'm no expert but from what I understand there were some flintlock "Kentucky" type rifles made by one of the Hawkens in Ohio prior to moving to St. Louis but once they started making the heavy plains/mountain type rifles, I think they were all percussion lock. There are a couple of the Hawken plains/mountain rifles with a plain drum and the lock plate looks to have originally been flint and converted. Does that means there were flintlock Hawken plains/mountain rifles? I'm not sure. I don't know if the lock plates were stamped by Hawken or of some other make.
 

tenngun

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Jake started producing his first rifles at about the same time caps were invented. His dad made flintlock southern rifles, and Jake's guns duffently showed southern influence. After Sam came to work with him they produced plains guns and light fancy small guns that had a lot of Ohio Michigan style influence. Hawkins , at least jake must have made flintlocks, or confined his business to repairs and alterations. However any flint remade would not be a ' plains gun.' Any flintlock hawkin made would have been pre plains gun. Cap guns were comming in to style by the time the first plain gun was built.
 

shootrj2003

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Make a steam tube it costs a little initially but you dont need distilled water and you also have. Steam when you need to seam dents or make wood bend.or even do wallpaper.i bought a Weber wallpaper steamer .Steam power young man !(It's gonna move the world!)Or take ya right up the Missouri...
 

shootrj2003

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The one in the pic is a ,maybe,150 -170 year old Hawken,with that in mind ,how many men ( or women!-close one there!) In appro.say,1840,Carried and owned a 170 year old Hawken?point being ,one should probably aim for a finish that is under the stock not on that barrel,while actively carried it was probably much nicer looking,might have taken a lump or two,but probably closer to a rust blued Hawken like we might buy and /or carry today,or like a well worn Lyman.
 

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