Bob, thanks for your comments. I always value them. Okabow, thanks for your sharing about stained varnishes. That is a whole new world to learn, but I don't think I'm going there. Taylor, those original Hawkens do have a very tight fit of the plug to the barrel. I tried to improve mine, and complained about it to Carl Walker and Doc White, but they dismissed it as, you did the best you did. You can see my tutorial on fitting this plug in the Tutorial section, page 2, "Fitting a Hawken Breech Plug by Hand". (I also repositioned those underlugs and refitted 1/2" ID rod pipes and filled the rear sight slot with a piece of a Green River barrel I cut off, and made a new sight slot at the location of the original). KLMoors, I have shot this rifle and I think it will pile them all into one hole at 50 yards. I shot it at Jim's Easter Peep Shoot, and should have won that except I rushed some shots. (Of course, 3 or 4 others could say the same thing!) Was surprised that I could hold this 10 3/4 pound rifle, but the short length of pull (13 3/8") makes it easier to hold. The building got to be fun when it was nearly done. Any minor flaw that would fit in with honest wear could stay. I put 8 coats of LMtnForge browning on the barrel. which is still some streaked. Would have put another 3 or 4 coats on, but the way it is, it looks old and worn. And I want to shoot it a lot. The more honest wear it has on it, the better I will like it. Will do some shooting soon, testing black powders for comparison.