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| | |-+  Hawken Rifle by T. K. Dawson
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Author Topic: Hawken Rifle by T. K. Dawson  (Read 7027 times)
hawknknife
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« on: May 22, 2012, 06:33:33 PM »

Gentlemen,
with the postings as of late on the subject of Hawken rifles, the name TK Dawson has been frequently mentioned. I want to post these pictures of a big rifle that Tom built in 1968. It is a .54 cal 36 inch tapered barrel.  It is engraved on the bottom flat of the barrel in the forearm "Thomas K. Dawson, Jan. 31, 1968 #75 Barrel by Bill Large"  The rifle weighs just under 12 lbs.

Dawson's name is stamped inside the lockplate and some of you may know better than me but I think he made the lock and triggers.  There is an old simulated brass strip repair on the wrist similar to the original Hoffman & Campbell Hawken that Dawson owned.

This rifle is pictured four times in John D. Baird's book, "Fifteen Years in the Hawken Lode."  I have owned this rifle for a number of years and have yet to burn any powder in it.

Thanks for lookin'
Carl
www.hawknknife.com
hawknknife@hotmail.com


























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rich pierce
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 06:51:24 PM »

That's a dandy, looks real, has lots of character, and appears to be a near bench copy.  I'd rather not see the name engraved on the barrel but I understand the intent at the time was not to fool anyone but rather build one like Sam did.
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St. Louis, Missouri
Bob Roller
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 11:33:40 PM »

I am glad to see an example of Tom Dawson's work here for all to see. We were friends for many years and how well do I remember the night in March of 1989 that his son in law called me and told me that Tom had a fatal heart attack that morning. Getting to the rifle. Tom did make that lock and showed it to me before he built the gun.Notice the intense and dedicated inletting of that lock,no shingle hatchets or termites there. The triggers are mine and so is the rear sight. Tom had a big influence on a lot of us and his contempt for junk was a fierce as his dedication to quality work. I think those triggers are shown in Baird's first book on Hawken rifles along with a Bill Large barrel.These were special triggers and I think I made perhaps 4 sets of them. Tom's brother in law may still have a set made in 1966 or thereabout.
You have a valueable rifle and certainly one to be proud of.
Could you send those pictures to me at<wvgzr@webtv,net>?? I would like to put them in a dedicated folder.

Bob Roller
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Bob Roller
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 11:51:05 PM »

At one time,Tom Dawson had the original barrel stamp that marked "S.Hawken St Louis" on the barrels.

Bob Roller
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Jim B ( no, another one)
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 10:32:09 AM »

Thanks for posting such detailed pics of this rifle.  Its great to see some work from the earlier days of the ML resurgence.   Its easy to see how Mr. Dawsons work would have influenced anyone who paid attention.  Mr. Roller, your description of 'intense and dedicated inletting' is very accurate.  Great work!

I do have a couple of questions about a couple of details of this gun that someone may be able to answer.

1.  The nipple appears to be recessed into the hammer further than most percussion guns I've seen, and I don't think the nipple is shortened(if anything, it appears longer).  Was this something found on the original this was based on?  Looks like it would really contain any cap shrapnel (crapnel?).

2.  The ramrod has 3 grooves that look like they could be for indicating 'loaded', or perhaps different loads?  Also, there appears to be a small hole near the end of the ramrod.  Would this have been for purchase, or grip, while maybe using a ball puller, or...?

Thanks
Jimb
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Saw a bumper sticker the other day.  "Impolite?...Bakatcha!"  I want one
hawknknife
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2012, 11:57:18 AM »

Jim, Yes, there is a deep recess on the face of the hammer, it allows the hammer to go down to the shoulder of the nipple.  Maybe Mr. Roller can answer the question as I don't know if Mr. Dawson made the hammer as well as the lock.
   
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Ray Nelson
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2012, 12:58:57 PM »

Thanks for posting the pictures of such a prized rifle. T. K.'s craftmanship and guns by others like him very much influenced me during the 70's. I've pretty much worn out John Baird's Hawken Rifle books and article's over the past 40 some years which showed and explained the details of original hawken rifles.
 
Like Mr. Roller, I appreciate the memories seeing a gun like yours bring back.

By the way Mr. Roller's locks and triggers are second to none. I had the chance years ago to examine his quality efforts and they are indeed proudly mentioned by these gun owners as the very best components to be had in their firearms.

Sincerely,

Ray


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Bob Roller
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2012, 01:10:45 PM »

Yes,Tom Dawson did make that lock and I made the triggers and the rear sight. I still have that sight sketch Tom sent me to work by.
The deep hammer cup has a reason for being. It enshrouds the nipple and in case of a burst cap.the rubbish will follow the path of least resistance and exit out the slot in the front of the hammer. This feature was not uncommon on high end American target rifles like the N.Whitmore made for General Grant after the Civil War.
I hope this answers your question.

Bob Roller
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Jim B ( no, another one)
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2012, 05:48:14 PM »

Thank you Mr. Roller.  I knew the reason for the recess, it's just the first time I've seen, or noticed, one so deep as to allow the hammer to rest on the shoulder of the nipple.  Another interesting detail.  Thanks again. 
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Saw a bumper sticker the other day.  "Impolite?...Bakatcha!"  I want one
Bill Ridout
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 09:20:24 PM »

Dang, Carl. You have a prize there for sure. Thanks for sharing with us.
Bill
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If the noise does not improve upon the silence, then let the silence prevail.
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Hungry Horse
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2012, 12:04:04 PM »

Bob;

  I have been asked by the widow of an old friend to help her evaluate the parts her late husband had saved up for a Hawken project. The long bar triggers are yours. What is the current value of these beautiful triggers.

                        Hungry Horse
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Bob Roller
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2012, 01:16:56 PM »

If the triggers are like the ones shown on the
Dawson rifle or in Baird's first book,about $125 in today's weak currency.If they are the regualar style,about $60-65.

Bob Roller
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Hungry Horse
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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2012, 05:37:04 PM »

I think they are the standard triggers. I don't have them here to examine. But, I don't recall them having a straight front trigger, or a curl. Thanks Bob. It is a pleasure to handle parts that don't make one think "is there some way to make this junk work" I applaud your craftsmanship.

                            Hungry Horse
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TKsdaughter
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2013, 06:56:10 PM »

My father made this gun and I remember it very well. I also remember the original that he copied it from. I saw a post by Bob Roller whom I remember as well . I'd like to catch up with him. My son had followed in his Grandfathers footsteps and is also an accomplished gun maker. He  makes long rifles entirely all handmade from welding and forging the barrels to making the triggers and locks.
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Clowdis
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2013, 08:54:46 PM »

In the 6th and 7th photos down it looks like the wrist really was broken at some time and the repairs aren't just for looks. Still, overall a great rifle. I envy the owner!
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Don Stith
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2013, 12:33:50 PM »

Bob can confirm if my observation is true. I believe if the original he worked from had a crack or repair, then Dawson's copy would at least have the appearance of the same flaw or repair. I have been fortunate to own some of them including a nice Kentucky rifle. For sure the ones I have had included those kind of details.
 The only exception I know of is on his copy of the Peterson rifle. If you look at the picture in Baird there is one stud missing from the upper side of the capbox. For some reason Dawson put both of them in his copy
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Mike Brooks
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« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2013, 07:10:05 PM »

I have seen some really great  Dawson guns over the years, he was a really great earlyish revival builder.
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IKE
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« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2013, 09:03:39 AM »

I hunted on his farm back in the 1970s. I got to see a lot of his work and he helped me get a start building guns.
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Eitnier Rifles
Iron Mounted Southern Guns
JTR
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« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2013, 03:18:26 PM »

I'm curious. It's a modern gun and looks like it's been banged around a bit, so why not shoot it?
John
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John Robbins
hawknknife
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« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2013, 12:46:35 PM »

The only reason I have not shot the rifle is that I feel it is pretty valuable and the lock is a handmade one and if by some chance something were to break, I could have trouble repairing it....
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2013, 07:41:54 PM »

Shooting that rifle won't hurt it one bit.  But not cleaning it properly will.  I've never been able to understand collecting contemporary guns without firing them.  That's what they'[re for...not investment to make money.  But to each his own...
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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Ray Nelson
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« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2013, 08:44:50 PM »

Taylor,

I agree whole heartedly!

Ray
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JDK
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« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2013, 08:56:55 PM »

Hawknknife,

If you want to shoot it shoot it without fear!  If .... and it's a big "IF".... something were to go wrong with the lock there are many competent 'smiths who can repair it.  They repair original hand made work all of the time.

Enjoy it!  J.D.
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J.D. Kerstetter
hornturner
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« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2013, 09:55:12 AM »

Tom Dawson was a friend of my father's.  One time when I was probably in my teens he visited our home and had his copies of a Hawken rifle and the Edward Marshall or "Indian Walk" rifle with him.  I was really impressed with the fact that the Marshall rifle had every nick, dent and even cracks in the wood that the original had.  It was that visit that created the spark that got me interested in building rifles. When I did get started doing that about 12 or 14 years later, Tom was very gracious in allowing my father to bring me out to his farm near Marshfield, IN.  I got to see his shop, he was very patient and helpful in his critique of my work which all served to make me want to do the next one even better.  A few years later, I visited him again with the same results.  Got to see a couple of original Kentuckys and some exquisite English quality work he was doing on flintlock double rifles.  He truly mentored me and was a great influence.

I well remember that day in March of 1989 when his wife called to tell my dad that Tom had passed away.  I happened to be visiting my parents at that time was very saddened to lose the person I considered to be my first mentor.

Art DeCamp
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SleepyHillBarrels
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« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2013, 04:26:36 AM »

Bob
Is this the same rifle we saw at friendship with Bill that had the repair on the stock from
the get go. seems like there was a man that said it was a original Hawken at the time.
But he was being led on by Bill and his wit .I have Toms letter to Bill with the drawings for
the hook breach that he ordered with a barrel and it looks like the one on this rifle. Did bill
make some changes on his breach plugs for Tom or did tom get bill to make the first ones
to start with. The letter was dated Aug 17 1959. Tom copied it from one of the many
Hawken's he studied he asked bill if he could keep it true to the drawing.

     Jim
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