Author Topic: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates  (Read 2354 times)

Online Iktomi

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #50 on: May 16, 2018, 08:35:38 PM »
There has to be something wrong with the way you are mounting the rifle.  My Hawken rifle is a .62 cal. with the pointy Bridger butt plate.  I shoot balls @ 350 gr. over 127 gr. of FFg GOEX all day long, and don't even get a yellow blush.  I did have the unhappy occasion to shoot prone over a chunk with such a rifle in 1975, but have never done it since...that was brutal.  But offhand, no problem.
Bench shooting:  I only fire enough shots off a bench to test for group size and adjust sights to centre.  After that, I sight in offhand.
Alacran:  nice rifles.

 The issue was the gawdawful benches at this particular range. Very low table and seats too far back. All poured concrete and non adjustable. As I noted earlier, I had not been to this range in many years, and l was not well set up for bench shooting as I did not know that offhand rifle shooting was no longer allowed on the rifle range. I had my cross sticks for both standing and sitting which I was planning on using, but no go there so I had to improvise a rest that wasn't tall enough, coupled with the distance between the seat and the bench I had to lean waaaayyyy forward to shoot. Very awkward. They allow offhand shooting with BP rifles on the pistol range, but the yardage is only 25 yards.
Rick Tatum
Santa Rosa, CA

Online Iktomi

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #51 on: May 16, 2018, 08:45:13 PM »
Man, this thread is startin’ to look like the slow learners department. I had a light Navy Arms shotgun years ago that beat my cheek black, and blue, at a BP trap shoot, once. The key word here is “ONCE”. I sold it the next day, to a guy who’s physiology allowed him to shoot it without getting marked up.

  Hungry Horse

 If I kept doing this repeatedly I might be a slow learner, but I haven't, and I'm not :)
Rick Tatum
Santa Rosa, CA

Offline Darkhorse

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #52 on: May 16, 2018, 10:04:30 PM »
I got careless once working up loads for my .54 Haines for an upcoming Elk Hunt. Didn't go as I didn't get drawn. But I was shooting off cross sticks controlling the forestock with a couple of fingers. I had worked up to 110 grains of 2fg with no problems. Then I neglected to control that forend with my fingers. At the shot the muzzle came up and the butt slammed into my shoulder. My cheek hurt immediately and my shoulder stung. I shot 4 more times, each one hurting worse. A few hours later the cheek was swollen and the shoulder was bruised.
I still hunt with that rifle, it was my fault, not the rifles. Only thing I did was switch to 3f and just kept on shooting.
American horses of Arabian descent.

Offline alacran

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2018, 10:54:09 PM »
Thank you Taylor.
Every time I build a Hawken I get cured of the desire to build another one. However I've been gathering parts and I'm getting the itch to start one more.

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #54 on: May 17, 2018, 12:41:58 AM »
I have that same problem.  I built almost two hundred Hawqken rifles working for a gunsmith in the late 70's, and swore I'd never build another one.  But over the recent years, I've re-kindled the love affair, and have built another half dozen.  And I have the parts collected for another one for myself.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline Spentprimer

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #55 on: May 17, 2018, 02:10:46 AM »
Somewhere in the 15-20 years ago time frame one of my shooting/hunting buddies and I were eating pizza at his office after closing time and just chewing the fat like we regularly did on Friday evenings.  Then he slide open the top drawer of his desk and pulled out what looked to me to be a cap lock from a CVA rifle.  It is then when he asked, "What do you suppose we aught to do about this?"  Well, with a print of a large elephant behind his office chair, a safari under his belt in 1980 and both of us having enjoyed the writing of F.C. Selous and his treks about the bush of Africa there really was only one answer, "Selous' 4 gauge."  His ears immediately perked up and the plotting began.  After three weeks of Friday night pizza after hours at the law office the design was beginning to take shape as were the technical requirements and testing procedure once it was finished.  We were really hoping we would not get killed or maimed during the process, as neither of us knew what the contained vessel pressures of four ounces of black powder where in a 1 inch bore when we started this project.  Thankfully, I knew someone that did.



A number of enlarged photocopies of the picture above each one making the picture bigger as well as written descriptions from his books created a pattern of what we thought Selous' elephant gun looked like.  The barrel was 1 inch i.d. ¼ inch wall stainless steel seamless tubing that I no longer remember the specs. of other than what has already been stated.  A breech plug was fashioned on a friends lathe and the barrel and breech plug was taken to a welder for him to work his magic on.  Before doing any carving the barrel had a small hole drilled where we would place some cannon fuse.  The barrel was lashed to a two inch thick plank that was lashed onto several large concrete block with the breech resting against a red elm plank which was placed against the exterior barn wall.  The proof load we used was half a pound of black powder and half a pound of shot.  The fuse was lit and quick trip to the other side of the barn ensued.  I have since read somewhere that the proof test should be normal load times four for black powder.  We found an old Herter's 4 ounce spherical sinker mould that when cast we would cut the loop off of.  If we patched it there was a snug fit in the smooth bore barrel.  The stock was carved by my friend and when it was done it did indeed look like Selous' 4 gauge elephant gun.

We both took our turns shooting it with the 4 ounce round ball and 4 ounce of black powder.  At 6'4" and 350+ pound I am not the runt of the litter.  Now I have shot a number of heavy recoiling guns and as much as I thought I was prepared for was I thought a 4 gauge elephant gun would bring to the table I can tell you, in reality, I was not!  If my friend had not been standing behind me and unbeknownst to me at the time, with his arms extended ready to catch me when the gun went BANG!  I would have been on the ground.  My left hand totally separated from the forearm.  If zero degrees is straight ahead and 180 degrees is behind me the barrel was close to 120 degrees and luckily I still had a hold on the wrist of this 23 pound monster!  Having fired it three times that day I can honestly say that level of recoil did leave a mark that lasted more than a couple of days.  I was younger then and I am fairly certain I might have healed better then than now.  And while I do know where the gun currently resides and hope to have some photos to share before the summer is up.  I will heft it up to my shoulder, think of my shooting buddies that have gone to that happy hunting ground we all hope to find one day and I will think about the day I shot a 4 gauge elephant gun like Selous used to whack elephants with a hundred and some years ago, while I wonder what my friends are asking Selous.

As a footnote: I am proud to say that since the elephant gun was built I can only conclude that it scared all the elephants out of our county as none have been seen here since.

Offline Daryl

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #56 on: May 17, 2018, 04:14:32 AM »
That is a good story, if the readers do not read too closely & run the numbers.

The writer of that story was out to lunch, imho.  A 4oz ball weighs 1,750gr., if & only if they were actually 1.052" in diameter, which is 4 bore. 

16 drams is the normal full load for a 4-bore, whether ctg. or ML, with most chaps not loading over 12 drams - which is 327.6gr. powder.  16 drams is 436.8gr. powder.

4 ounces is 1,750gr. which is 64 drams (27.3gr. is 1 dram), 1 ounce is 437.5gr. Why in the world would anyone shoot 4 ounces of powder out of anything but a 2" or3" cannon on wheels?

With a 4 bore round ball, 12 drams of powder developed enough recoil over 200 pounds to break W.W. Greener's recoil machine, which bottomed at 200 pounds.

This story says they shot  5.3 TIMES more powder than a load that developed well over 200 pounds of recoil? 

Sorry - I cannot believe that.

Good story though.  F. Selous used a shortened Dutch 4 bore fowler at that time.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 04:17:14 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline Spentprimer

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #57 on: May 17, 2018, 07:52:29 AM »
That is a good story, if the readers do not read too closely & run the numbers.

The writer of that story was out to lunch, imho.  A 4oz ball weighs 1,750gr., if & only if they were actually 1.052" in diameter, which is 4 bore. 

16 drams is the normal full load for a 4-bore, whether ctg. or ML, with most chaps not loading over 12 drams - which is 327.6gr. powder.  16 drams is 436.8gr. powder.

4 ounces is 1,750gr. which is 64 drams (27.3gr. is 1 dram), 1 ounce is 437.5gr. Why in the world would anyone shoot 4 ounces of powder out of anything but a 2" or3" cannon on wheels?

With a 4 bore round ball, 12 drams of powder developed enough recoil over 200 pounds to break W.W. Greener's recoil machine, which bottomed at 200 pounds.

This story says they shot  5.3 TIMES more powder than a load that developed well over 200 pounds of recoil? 

Sorry - I cannot believe that.

Good story though.  F. Selous used a shortened Dutch 4 bore fowler at that time.

Daryl-I will give you the actual weight of a 4 ounce round ball.  Frankly we did not weigh the thing as none of us had a scale with 1/10 of a grain divisions that went over 500 grains.  And I vaguely remember the bore diameter being 1.005 and 3/10ths taken with an inside micrometer.  We took the mould makers word that it was a 4 ounce ball as per the marking on the mould and we did cut off the mounting loop.

As for the powder it was measured by volume in a 100 grain measure of the two piece collapsible type widely available at the time.  I am sure you know the one I mean.

As to why we would put that much powder into the bore: We did not know any better at the time.  The Internet had not really gotten to this locale yet.  Very few places had it, unlike now where a politician can be "fact" checked before they finish their sentence via a smart phone from Kathmandu.

Frankly, many things that some of us have done are undoubted dangerous.  I have always liked fast cars, motorcycles, airplanes, .22 caliber rifles, high voltage rf amplifiers and double barreled shotguns.  What you call too much gun powder today, in those days, to us, seemed like another day of taking risks.  Some people get bored if there is not life or death on the line when they play.  Sometimes you play and get acdf surgery and sometimes you don't.

As it is Daryl, we did indeed put a quarter pound of black powder measured by volume in the 1 inch plus bore and what we thought to be a 1/4 pound lead ball, cap the monster and let 'er rip.  My buddy was 6'10" and while we never discussed weight he did mention I would need a couple 50 pound bags of dog food strapped around my waist to even be close.  So, if you are bored and need something to do over the summer and your health insurance is paid up, you could print the above photo and enlarge it a few times, then get a 1" i.d seamless stainless steel tube, maybe a cheap lock off of ebay (I am pretty sure you won't wear it out although it may break) or maybe you have one in the top drawer that you are not exactly sure what to do with and a chunk of red elm and have one of your own carved out in no time.  Then you can give it a go yourself.  Heck, start with that 12 drams you mentioned if you like and are unsure.

In the meantime, I will work on getting some photographs of the monster.


Offline rollingb

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #58 on: May 17, 2018, 04:54:11 PM »
Only sissies shoot 4 bores,.... I'm gonna build me a 1 bore, I figger I can get about 25 shots out of a case of powder.  :P
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Offline Clark B

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #59 on: May 17, 2018, 05:38:41 PM »
I have that same problem.  I built almost two hundred Hawqken rifles working for a gunsmith in the late 70's, and swore I'd never build another one.  But over the recent years, I've re-kindled the love affair, and have built another half dozen.  And I have the parts collected for another one for myself.

Oh I pray it's another one of your follow along builds ;D
Psalms 144

Offline Daryl

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #60 on: May 17, 2018, 08:33:43 PM »
Here's the math.  To figure out what 1/4 pound weighs, simply divide 7000 (the # of grains in a pound) by 4 and you get a what a 1/4 pound weighs in grains weight - thus 1/4 # is 1,750gr. weight - that is what a 1/4 pound ball weighs, and that is what a 1/4 pound of powder weighs.

A pound (7,000gr.) contains 16 ounces. There are 437.5gr. in an ounce as well. 4 x 437.5gr. is 1,750grs. which is 1/4 pound.

1750gr. divided by 27.3gr. (1-dram) = 64.10 drams.

I have ZERO intention of shooting any gun with a seamless tubing barrel.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #61 on: May 18, 2018, 04:02:43 AM »
Gosh, 1700+ grains of powder in a 1 inch bore would be a pretty long powder column. Count me skeptical. A quarter pound of each, powder/ball would be half pound of ejecta.

Online Iktomi

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #62 on: May 18, 2018, 05:27:17 PM »
 About the only thing I can say about the ginormous dino slayer muzzleloader is "cool story bro" :)
Rick Tatum
Santa Rosa, CA

Offline Spentprimer

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #63 on: May 18, 2018, 06:18:33 PM »
Gosh, 1700+ grains of powder in a 1 inch bore would be a pretty long powder column. Count me skeptical. A quarter pound of each, powder/ball would be half pound of ejecta.

I can understand your skepticism, as had I not seen it done as well as been the subject of it's abuse three times I would be as well.

With a few years of learning under our belt along with the kind folks here on the forum doing some math that at the time we didn't even consider (we were younger then and maybe more foolish, but I am sure it is too early to know for sure) I can't help but think that perhaps half the powder blew out the muzzle, which might explain the enormous fireball visible in daylight that accompanied the big bang.

I am trying to arrange a time when the owner of the monster and I can get together for a few photos.  He lives out of town and his next trip home to visit relatives we will be getting together.  Not certain as to when it will be, but, hoping before the end of summer.

If it were mine I would invite you fellas over for a range session.  At this stage in life I have a desire to shoot it again ... but, not the willingness.  Been there, done that.

Offline Nessmuck

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #64 on: May 21, 2018, 12:18:48 AM »
Looks like you’ll be shooting off hand now....

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #65 on: May 21, 2018, 01:11:39 AM »
I can see the add for that 1 bore now. “ 1 bore big game rifle, like new, shot once, and dropped once, small scratches, and a little blood on it, cheap, make offer will deliver after I get out of the hospital.

  Hungry Horse

Online Iktomi

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #66 on: May 21, 2018, 03:55:24 AM »
Looks like you’ll be shooting off hand now....

  I made a set of quick and dirty short sticks. Might be able to get out to the range Wed or Thurs and see how they work for me.
Rick Tatum
Santa Rosa, CA

Offline heelerau

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #67 on: May 25, 2018, 04:20:58 PM »
I have said before those Victorian Nimrods were hard men. I have often wondered at the crescent  but plate, and feel it might have been ergonomically a backward step. I find my early style rifles with the flat  but plates handle so much faster and are more comfortable to shoot than the later style in the bigger bores. I have a .72 bore gun of English make that is in fact quite pleasant to shoot with 4 1/2 drams of fg and a patched ball.
Keep yor  hoss well shod an' yor powdah dry !

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #68 on: May 25, 2018, 07:41:50 PM »
I agree with you Heelerau, but the English style gun IMHO has a better stock cut for big bores. The right amount of drop,cast and pitch along with the flat butt make it a better choice.

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #69 on: May 27, 2018, 12:34:57 AM »
I agree with you Heelerau, but the English style gun IMHO has a better stock cut for big bores. The right amount of drop,cast and pitch along with the flat butt make it a better choice.

Which raise the question as to WHY the Hawken brothers opted for the harder to install crescent.
Bob Roller

Offline Joe S.

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #70 on: May 27, 2018, 01:37:48 AM »
Perhaps they built a mans gun 8)

Offline heelerau

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Re: $@#! Hawkens and their %$@! butt plates
« Reply #71 on: May 27, 2018, 02:10:27 AM »
I wonder if the later rifles did not have the double taper barrels, and the crescent but plate  sort of locked the rifle in place when  off hand shooting?  I have pondered this when shouldering a couple of rifles I have with the later style but plate and straight sided barrels.  Your left hand holds the rifle at just behind the point of balance and the hook under the but plate  stops the rifle from tipping down. 

Cheers

Gordon
Keep yor  hoss well shod an' yor powdah dry !