Author Topic: .54 Hawken, first shots  (Read 852 times)

Offline Craig Wilcox

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.54 Hawken, first shots
« on: May 20, 2019, 04:48:36 PM »
Well, yesterday afternoon, I finished that CVA Hawken kit rifle.  Stock is of beech, and was a pain to work with.  Put some Lancaster Maple stain, one sealer and two top coats of Chambers oil.  Actually looks pretty good.  I apologize for no pictures, but my digital camera decided it was time to give up the ghost.  RIP.

After checking everything over, and cleaning the barrel well, I loaded her up and tried to take a few shots.  Popped a couple of caps first.  The double set triggers don't function correctly - too much distance for the trigger blade to move before it trips the sear.  Wil try to tackle that later today.

For a load, I opted for 80 gr FFg, .530 ball, .014 linen lubed with buffalo tallow and a bit of bear oil.  Was VERY hard to start (need to cone that muzzle), but then it slid smoothly down the barrel.

Fired THREE caps, without result!  Took it back to the shop, took out the bolster screw and dribbled in a bit of powder.  Then tried again - with very satisfactory results!  I reckon while cleaning the barrel - all sorts of manufacturing junk in there! - I missed cleaning out the bolster.

Fired 10 rounds at a blaze on a pine stump, at about 40 yards.  All hit the target, and most (8) were within 2" of the center of the mark.

I'll try adding some metal to the top of the trigger leaf, and see if that helps.

Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline Daryl

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2019, 08:14:28 PM »
Cone if you want, but it is amazing how easy a rounded smooth crown will load and
certainly easier than the 2 coned muzzles I've tried.


Daryl

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

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2019, 09:06:38 PM »
Thanks, Daryl.  I do have a thumb, well, two of them, in fact, and lots of abrasive papers and films.  i'll bet it is a lot easier than coning.
You can sure tell the difference between this .54 and my older Pedersoli .45 "Kentucky".  Sure fun to shoot!
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline msellers

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2019, 09:11:42 PM »
Craig,

On my CVA flinlock I had a similar issue withthe set triggers and a snagging feeling. I was able to adjust this some by changing the screw stop depth adjustment on the tumbler/ sear engagement when I removed the lock.  Took me a little experimenting to get it acceptable.  But was a simple fix before I dove in to deep.

Mike

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2019, 10:03:55 PM »
I was surprised to see that little screw adjustment on the sear back when I started on this kit.  But, alas, there is still the 1/4" travel of the trigger top to meet the sear release lever.  Don't know if I want to try bending the sear bar down to meet the trigger.  I already have had to cut off 3/16" off the short arm of the "L" to allow the lock to set down in the inlet.  It was poking hard into the wood there, projecting way past center stock.

I'll figure something out.  That DST works well outside the rifle, it is just the long, long reach to get to the sear bar.  Somewhere more than 1/4".  I do have lots of various thicknesses of sheet metal, mostly 4130.  I no longer have the means to braze or weld, but can and do silver solder things together.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline msellers

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2019, 10:12:36 PM »
Craig,

I don't have a welder anymore either. I have one of the small mapp gas oxy torches and it will suprise you what you can braze with it. Been working on some pipes and horn repair ring with it. So far so good. Might be worth a look for small size and usability.
Mike

Offline Daryl

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2019, 04:06:35 AM »
Mikes post about Map with Oxygen would be really fast.

A small part like the trigger bar can easily have a piece of steel silver brazed (we just call it silver soldering) to it. A propane torch will provide
 enough heat, especially if it has a map-gas torch head on the tank. Of course, map-gas is fine by itself for hard-silver soldering small parts.
Silver brazing, hard silver soldering, high-temp silver soldering and in Canada, just Silver Soldering all mean the same thing.
We were "silver soldering" as Dad taught us long before the low temp silver solder came out.
Then, in the 80's or 90's lead free low temp solder came on the market which had a very small amount of silver in it. That, we call low temp silver soldering
and that would likely work too.
Daryl

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

Offline Daryl

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2019, 04:11:16 AM »
Craig - I think the picture I posted was one of Dave Crysali's muzzle crowning tool job on a rifle he built - simple cut, no wrist action with thumb and abrasives.
Daryl

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

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2019, 05:09:46 PM »
I have MAPP, Propane, and Butane torches, one of them will do the job.  I do miss my oxy/acetylene rig.  Welded a couple airplane fuselages with it.  Had a TIG for a short time, it was to expensive for the little use it got.
I think I mentioned that the CVA kit came with two barrels, a .54, 1" across the flats, and a .50, 15/16" ACF.  Guess which one they cut the barrel channel for, and which tang they supplied!  Had a lot of scraping to do to get the .54 barrel in.  And the 15/16" tang, well, I guess it is short 1/32" on each side.
I did order a 15/16" tang from TOW, for the .50 barrel.  And I am determined to put a flint lock on it - prob the Late English lock.  But the barrel is going to be 1" shorter than it is now.
CVA, in their little booklet, says Do Not Try to Remove the Breech Plug.  Well, they say that because the percussion bolster goes into the threads, and it all has to match up for the sparks to reach the powder charge.  And there is almost no way to clean out that cavity.
I took out the bolster from the barrel, then simply unscrewed the breech plug and tang.  The threads are some Spanish weird thing, neither normal metric nor our inch system.  So I will remove that 1" from the breech, and fit the proper 15/16" breech plug.

I was working on the .50 barrel last night, and discovered that the rear side dovetail cut was actually crooked in the front part of the cut.  I do recall that once I discovered a similar situation, and cut a piece of steel to fit the dovetail, then made a new one where I wanted to rear sight to be.

BTW, does anyone ever put decorative carving or silver wire on a Plains-type flintlock?  Sure like to add that if it's been done before.

And thanks for all the input - this old brain hasn't stopped learning yet, and I have a great crew of instructors here.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline longcruise

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2019, 07:33:26 PM »
Quote
Thanks, Daryl.  I do have a thumb, well, two of them, in fact........

Heck, I have ten thumbs and did this easily. 
Mike Lee

Offline EC121

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2019, 01:27:48 AM »
While the nipple is out, run a pipe cleaner in the drum.  Then after oiling the bore, stand the rifle on its muzzle overnight.  The extra oil will be on the paper towel instead of the drum.

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2019, 04:27:19 PM »
EC - TY.  On the .50 barrel, I wanted to take that percussion bolster off, so I filed a couple flats on it and unscrewed it.  I do not know why CVA installed a bolster/percussion barrel without some means of removing it.  I plan to put a flint lock on it, Early English, so cutting that 1" off the barrel would be done anyway.

Of course, cutting the bbl means I have to re-breech, but that is just a time-consuming job, nothing too difficult.  I will make a "plainsman" type rifle of sorts with the .50 - have to get a lot of parts!

I presume the "EC121" refers to a nice old airplane.  First "flew" a C-121 enroute to the Philippines, 1956.  It was just before my 11th birthday.  The pilot laughed when I rocked the wings, then climbed 100', then resumed altitude.  Didn't become a pilot until later in life.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline Daryl

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2019, 07:42:03 PM »
Chris, setting the barrel back in inch will also change the wedge location (new dovetail), shortening the under-rib, etc.
Daryl

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

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2019, 02:45:19 PM »
Daryl, I have to make a new stock for the .50 barrel anyway.

A bigger problem is that the set trigger did not work when installed.  The trigger would not set, and though it fires using the front trigger, the trigger would move 3/8" before tripping the sear.

I did a lot of measuring, and silver soldered a 5/32" piece on top of the trigger blade.  It still would not set, but now only moved 3/26".  So I have now soldered on a piece 7/32", and will file for the final fit.  I think I was lucky that I had some 4130 the same thickness as the trigger blade - .062.  I am using low temp silver solder paste from Rio Grande, works pretty good as long as the mating surfaces are clean and flat.

Thinking of just making a new rifle entirely.  Walnut stock, 36" .50 cal, 15/16".  I would mix the hardware a bit between steel and brass, make it kind of homey. I have a great set of Roller triggers begging to be used.

Appreciate all the good words from my fellow ML friends.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline Daryl

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2019, 06:40:47 PM »
Best wishes.  Have at it!
Daryl

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

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2019, 05:03:37 PM »
Quote
Thanks, Daryl.  I do have a thumb, well, two of them, in fact........

Heck, I have ten thumbs and did this easily.

It must be tough picking your nose.
Pete

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: .54 Hawken, first shots
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2019, 05:08:28 PM »
It is indeed!  I think that is why the "cotton picking nose picker" was invented.
Got that Hawken .54 shooting good now.  I did learn to put a smaller cotton cleaning patch on a patch holder, cleans out that silly hole in the breech plug.  I also made the percussion barrel removeable by filing a flat on each side of it.  Amazing how much trash accumulates in those two holes, but that is why I am now building a FLINT Hawken.  Nice flat face to the plug!
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.