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| | |-+  Jim Bridger Hawken in Helena Museum
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Author Topic: Jim Bridger Hawken in Helena Museum  (Read 2394 times)
Herb
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« on: September 22, 2013, 08:02:11 PM »

On September 9 I met with Museum Technician Vic Reiman, the firearms specialist at the Montana Historical Society at Helena, Montana.  He allowed me to closely inspect Jim Bridger's Hawken.  I took photos comparing it to the copy I built, and careful measurements that I need to build an accurate copy. I think he was astonished at how close my copy was, and really paid attention to which rifle was left on the table when I cased mine!  I now know where I need to make minor cosmetic changes to my stock coloring and wear and metal wear to more closely copy the original.  In turn, I gave him details about the rifle from its stay at the Green River Rifle Works, plus a copy of the 51 measurements we took of the rifle.




My 1 1/8" GRRW barrel was only 31 inches long compared to Jim's 33 inches.  This changed my whole forend.

Bridger's front sight was broken off.   You can enlarge this photo by hitting control and the plus sign, and you will see how jagged it is.  It was .2" high compared to .335 to the top of the rear notch, with a 24 7/8" sight radius.  The tapered ramrod is a replacement, not original to this rifle.  It is too short and too small for the 1/2" entry pipe.

Why is there no crown to the muzzles of these Hawkens?





The main difference I noted between the two rifles is that the butt plate return on my rifle is only 1.5" but Jim's is 2.4".  If I ever build another copy, I'll solder an extension on my return.  His lock is 5 inches long, but mine is 4.85", nothing to do about that.  Also the double set triggers are spaced differently, nothing to do about that, either.  I have more photos, but that is enough for now.
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Herb
KLMoors
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2013, 08:46:29 PM »

Oh man, how cool is that!   Great job all around.

If you ever decide to publish all of your notes, measurements, photos, etc., put me on the list.

Thanks for the story and pics.
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mountainman70
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2013, 09:18:58 PM »

Here I am,getting a good start on long,slim rifles,and here you go flashing a Hawken in front of me!!have you no shame?You build a fine Hawken,my friend.It is good to see such good pics of Bridgers finally.I am getting the Sam and Jake itch again.I does like em rite smart.Put me down for a copy of the notes.Best regards,Dave
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fullcircle
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2013, 09:38:57 PM »

That's a great job ! Close enough to make the museum nervous,nuf said.hah.Great work and great looking gun.
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smylee grouch
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2013, 10:06:47 PM »

Herb, did Bridgers gun have a tappered barrel ?
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Herb
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2013, 12:18:15 AM »

No.  The 33 3/4" barrel, to the back of the snail break, measures 1.185" just ahead of the snail and 1.12" at the muzzle.  That is .065 difference, the thickness of a new penny.  But only about .032 per side, the thickness of a couple of shooting patches.  Carl Walker at the GRRW said the barrel was not tapered and that you could make that much difference with a file.
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Herb
little joe
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2013, 05:57:38 AM »

Is the nose cap babbit or what material is used?
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oldarcher
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2013, 06:53:01 AM »

Great information, thank you for the information. I would love to have a copy of your notes and access to the pictures that you took. Can you provide the photo address?
You really did a great job!!!
Thanks
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Don Getz
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2013, 08:43:30 AM »

Herb.....great job.  You have taken it as far as you need to.    One could look at it and admire it, and they will never really
have the opportunity to compare them side by side.   I would be curious as to how much it weighs.   My fourth gun was a
hawken which I built for a friend back in 1977, my first year in the barrel business........Don
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rickevans
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2013, 09:54:24 AM »

Wow...nice work.
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Herb
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2013, 10:56:41 AM »

Thanks, all.  Little Joe- Greg Roberts at the GRRW when he inspected the rifle  in November, 1975 and traced the outline and took measurements and made notes, said "cast iron nosecap".  The one I used is a cast steel 1 1/8" from Muzzleloader Builders Supply, order number 29400, a match.  Doc White said the nose cap had been silver plated, which wore off, OR was case hardened.  The butt plate, lock and plug and tang were, too, also the trigger guard.
Oldarcher, I'll post the rest of the photos here.  If you need a direct copy, I can E-mail to you.  I have my photos on Photobucket but don't know how to do a photo address.
Don- Greg Roberts' notes said 11 1/4 pounds.  My barrel was 2.25" shorter and so my rifle weighs 10 pounds 12 ounces.  Though heavy, with that short 13.25" LOP, I can shoot it offhand, some.
The commercial parts I used to build my rifle were the correct ones, with slight differences in lock length and trigger spacing as noted.  The butt plate return was not long enough, but the BP was a match, with the inside corner filed square.  The 3.8" toe plate is not matched by Track's 4 1/8" long #TP-TC-H-I, but I did not have a picture of it from GRRW.  My photo above shows it.  It is riveted to the butt plate, and Carl Walker told me they took the two off together.  If anyone wants it, I can list the parts and stains I used.  I can also post the 60 some dimensions I have for the original rifle.  Just a matter of knowing how to get it posted on here.
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Herb
D. Taylor Sapergia
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2013, 11:48:35 AM »

Herb, this may be the most detailed published study of a Hawken rifle, and we owe you a big thank you.  Your attention to detail is commendable, and your own rifle is a great tribute to this original rifle.  Your observation about the triggers is astute - the original's are a little closer together, but it appears to me too, that the bow of the guard is a little longer as well.  When I scaled the photos for my own recent build, I found that the commercial guard was about 1/8" shorter than my drawing.  There is plenty of metal in the commercial casting, so I heated it red and stretched my guard with a cross peen hammer.  Thanks too for the tip on the nose piece.  I have had difficulty finding ones that are correct.
I eagerly await more pictures and info - dimensions would be a great boon.
thanks again...Taylor
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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Herb
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2013, 05:47:23 PM »

I had a colored 8x10" photo of the Bridger rifle that Dave Boender took, and on a photocopier enlarged that to full size based on our available 4.85" Jim Bridger lock.  Trouble is, the Jim Bridger lock is actually 5 inches, so my scale was three percent too small.  If the top photo was enlarged that much more, about 1/8", my trigger guard would almost exactly match the original length.  The original may have had the top back of the loop straightened a little, allowing the triggers to set a little more back in the bow.  The rear loop is smaller and straightened out.

Jim's triggers may not be set in this photo, I did not check that in the museum.
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Herb
D. Taylor Sapergia
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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2013, 07:10:36 PM »

Great photos Herb.  I agree that the forward part of the original trigger guard bow is a little longer than the current commercial offerings.  I also think that the original's triggers are a bit closer together...the back triggers bar is a little shorter by maybe 1/16" - 3/32" which makes a little more room in front of the forward trigger.  Of course, I may be all wet too....just trying to understand the nuances of the Bridger rifle.

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D. Taylor Sapergia
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2013, 01:29:41 PM »

Herb, can you give me the contact info for Muzzleloader Builder's Supply...my info is redundant.

Taylor
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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Dphariss
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« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2013, 02:33:52 PM »

Taylor

mbssales@hotmail.com

This is ML Builder Supplies.

Dan
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anj4de
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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2013, 02:53:08 PM »

Hello Herb,

thanks a lot for this super report! It's really great to see and almost feel an original Hawken that close. When it comes to me building one mid term this post will be my guideline!

thanks a lot
Uwe
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Bob Roller
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« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2013, 06:04:17 PM »

Taylor,
I talked to Terri Jo today at MB Builders Supply. The phone is 1-208-397-3008.

Bob Roller
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2013, 06:18:33 PM »

Thanks guys!  I have a nice catalogue, but it's prior to the turn-over.
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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Herb
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« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2013, 12:08:53 AM »

Thanks for the responses.  I have been to MBS at Aberdeen, Idaho and like doing business with Ryan and Terri Jo.  Here are some more pictures.  The rib rivets are at the very ends of the underrib, which has a narrow curve.  Spacing is muzzle, 3.85" back, 9.5" and 19 1/8", at the very end.  Rod pipes are .520" ID, rolled from sheet iron..

The buttplate is riveted to the toeplate.


The keys enter from the left, are pinned, and the ends are slotted.


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Herb
Herb
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« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2013, 10:05:42 AM »

Here are some more.  Note the color cased plug and tang, whatever color the barrel was originally.


I did not have a color photo of the left side to guide my wear coloring.

The tapered ramrod is .500 at the front and .270 inside the stock and too short.  It would fall out of the thimbles or break in use and is not the one Jim Bridger used.


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Herb
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