Author Topic: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one  (Read 10914 times)

Offline Herb

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A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« on: September 28, 2013, 05:54:35 AM »
I say new because likely no one has seen this one before.  It is in storage at the Montana Historical Museum and Vic Reiman showed it to me.  You Hawken experts will say "That's not a Hawken!" and although I am in no way an expert, it is not like anything I've seen, except there is another like it on the Buffalo Bill Historical Center website.  This one had about a 38" barrel.  The triggerguard is a little like Track's London style fowler, #TG-Fowl-L-I.

Unusual breech plug.

The long toe plate has a patch box release button.

The patch box has a flower engraved on it (hit Control + to enlarge).  The butt plate is 4.5" tall, has a 3" return and a 1.07" belly.  Nothing like it in Track's catalog.

Unusual cheek piece and hump in comb line.

What is the inlay for, not an apparent repair.

Long entry pipe.  Keys enter from right, ends not notched.

A longer dovetail than on the Bridger Hawken.

Muzzle, relieved for ease of loading.

The owner didn't like buckhorn sights, filed the horns off.

Unusual J&S. Hawken stamp.  Appears to have been double-struck and misaligned.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2013, 01:16:33 AM by Herb »
Herb

Offline Dphariss

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Re: A New Montana Hawken
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2013, 06:41:44 AM »
There is a drawing of this rifle in Bairds 15 years in the Hawken lode. But its drawn with a square tailed lock.
This is the rifle Ed Webber copied for reproduction by the Italians some years after "Hawken Lode" was published. The broken lock moulding and the patchbox are the identifiers. 

I asked about this rifle a couple of years ago. I generally visit the Museum when I travel to the VA Medical Center so did not have time to find anyone who knew anything and the one I did talk told me he had never seen it and it might be out at one of the other Museums down the Missouri.

I am glad you were able to smoke it out, its a fine example of a J&S. I consider it to be more important than the Bridger Hawken since this rifle is a decade or 2 older.  It has a TG virtually identical to the Petersen rifle.
I was afraid it was mouldering away in some storeroom or was over someone's fireplace somewhere....

Dan
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Offline Herb

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Re: A New Montana Hawken
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2013, 06:05:05 PM »
The Museum's firearms specialist is Vic Reiman, Museum Technician, phone (406) 444-0609.  E-mail is vreiman@mt.gov.  Museum web site is   montanahistoricalsociety.org.
Herb

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: A New Montana Hawken
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2013, 06:43:54 PM »
What a wonderful web site with truly benevolent contributors like Herb!  this is a real treat herb, for those of us who have no opportunity to see these great old guns.  I selfishly save and horde all these images.
D. Taylor Sapergia
www.sapergia.blogspot.com

Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Online smylee grouch

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Re: A New Montana Hawken
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2013, 06:49:44 PM »
I wonder if alot of those early Hawken rifles hade the slight roman nose combline. The breech area looks to be of an early style also.

Offline Herb

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Re: A New Montana Hawken
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2013, 07:55:21 PM »
Here is Vic Reiman.  He was really helpful.  I think he would appreciate any information on these Hawkens from you knowledgeable people on this forum, such as Dan's comments on  the drawing of that Hawken from Baird's book.
Herb

Offline Herb

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Re: A New Montana Hawken
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2013, 08:21:01 PM »
Here is another Hawken in Kalispell, at the Museum of Central School.  Gil Jordan is the director, phone (406)-756-8381.  history@yourmuseum.org.  He gave me permission to photograph this rifle, but was busy so I couildn't ask him to take it out of the case.  I don't know whether it is a J&S or a Sam Hawken, but with that square nose cap, probably a J&S.








Herb

Offline redheart

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2013, 05:24:09 AM »
Hey Herb,

This Hawken sure looks like a Green River Rifle Works Hawken to me.
Is that possible?


Offline Herb

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2013, 06:36:30 AM »
You are smarter than the average bear.  Phil Meek, who collects GRRW rifles, wrote the museum director to ask for the markings on it, also convinced that it is a GRRW rifle.  The director wrote back that the only markings on it were on the lock, where it is stamped J&S.Hawken.  He said it was on loan and is convinced that it is a St. Louis Hawken.  GRRW had that exact lock, and I wound up with one of them.  Since it likely is a copy of an original, that proves nothing.  I thought the light color was odd.  GRRW used acid stains early on, and some of them faded.  I restained a fullstock Hawken for a friend that Neill Fields, who worked at GRRW, built in later years.  It was about 4 or 5 years old, had never been out in the sun, and faded until the wood looked like white pine.  In experimenting how to restain it, I used Fiebings dark brown leather dye in the barrel channel, and it went right through the finish.  So that is how I restained it, about 4 or 5 years ago, and it is still as dark as when I did it.  Here is that same lock in a rifle I built, with Cherry Corner triggers.  I replaced them with Ron Long triggers, because I had to rebuild them and couldn't trust them.

Phil thought it had been a GRRW kit, where the barrel has no markings.  It is very well built.  I think Sharon rifle company was in Kalispell, so there were some good rifle builders there.  Next Friday I'm having a chioppino (Mediterranean seafood stew) and wine party for 12 friends, including 3 from GRRW.  I'll hook my camera up to the TV and show these images on the screen and see what they have to say about this rifle and then report back to you.  By the way, I also had that same square nose cap but didn't use it.  Redheart, I am sending you some GRRW info by E-mail.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 06:40:58 AM by Herb »
Herb

Online smylee grouch

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2013, 06:53:33 AM »
The snail on the one in the museum looks different than the GRRW guns I have seen. Maybe its because the pic was through the glass case though.

Offline redheart

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2013, 07:42:58 AM »
Herb,
You did a great job on the GRRW Hawken that you built.
It's a nice collectors item in it's own right.
I'm thankful and looking foreward to getting the GRRW info.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2013, 08:10:40 AM »
In the photo with the repro Hawken every firearm there except the Sharps appears to be recent manufacture, Navy Arms Rolling block with an octagonal barrel and a barrel band, a musket with way too clean hardware and another ML that is also obviously recent.
The Sharps is probably a Meacham conversion by the look of the action and barrel contour. This means its  a sporting rifle built from a percussion carbinem or rifle action and buttstock by a third party surely after Sharps was out of business and after the Buffalo were virtually all gone. Most have very deep "Henry" type rifling, a poorly shaped forend and a variant barrel "tulip". This rifle shows all three characteristics.
Dan
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2013, 04:18:22 PM »
Herb,
That lock is the William Morgan lock and I have made a bunch of them but used my own mechanism
with no cast parts. I still have some plates and hammers I can make into locks if anyone is interested.
The set triggers with the deeply curved front trigger look more like something European than 1850
America.

Bob Roller

Offline Old Ford2

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2013, 04:25:40 PM »
Hi,
What were the nose caps made of.
Pewter??
Thank you.
Fred
Never surrender, always take a few with you.
Let the Lord pick the good from the bad!

Offline Herb

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2013, 05:46:08 PM »
Fred, the nose cap is steel, with a cap soldered on the front end.  If I can find mine, I'll post a photo.
Herb

Offline KLMoors

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2013, 06:04:28 PM »
Herb, in your experience are all  of the rear sights on Hawken's installed with some upset steel around the dovetails?

It is hard to tell from the photo, but is there any 'upset" barrel steel around the rear sight on the suspect "Hawken".  It doesn't look like it. Maybe that is meaningless, but it jumped out at me when I went back and looked.

Great stuff, Thanks!

Ken

Offline Herb

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2013, 10:59:49 PM »
Ken, I mostly know stuff from photos of Hawkens, and they don't show the rear sight dovetail.  I have seen several dozen originals, some at Jim Gordon's museum,  but never paid attention.  Here is the Bridger Hawken from GRRW's photo in November, 1975.
Herb

Offline Dphariss

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2013, 04:13:41 PM »
Using the term "all" in connection with original rifle making is a mistake. However, I would say that the chisel made dovetail was "correct". If the file cut dovetail is incorrect I could not say. Nor would I say that all Hawkens have the chisel raised dovetail.
The shop, under new management was still making Hawken rifles at a time when machine tools were becoming increasingly necessary to the Gunsmith.

Dan
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Offline Roger B

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2013, 02:13:44 AM »
The lock in question was also sold by Palmetto Armory.  I had one on my first Hawken and it ticked along fine for nearly 40 years.
Roger B.
Never underestimate the sheer destructive power of a minimally skilled, but highly motivated man with tools.

Offline Herb

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2013, 07:05:49 AM »
I showed these photos to Neill Fields and Carney Pace, who worked at the GRRW.  Neill said there was no way to tell if the Kaiispell Hawken was orginal or a GRRW kit without handling it.  I was not able to do that.  Neill said it looked like a Hawken, but so do the GRRW rifles.  He did not see anything obviously wrong with it.
Herb

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2013, 06:22:50 PM »
 In my book its a replica. I just don't see anything that isn't straight out of the box aftermarket available. Look at the other gun. There are several parts that would be either hard to find, or unusual on a "Classic" Hawken.
 I am a board member on the local "Friends of the Museum" board of directors. In my experience there are precious few curators that can tell a flintlock, from a percussion, much less a aged replica from an original.

                    Hungry Horse

Offline Herb

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Re: A New Montana Hawken-and a second one
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2013, 02:28:57 AM »
I just sent these photos to Carl Walker, gunsmith from the old GRRW.  He said he is 99% sure it is a GRRW Hawken and 100% sure that he made it.  He commented on the square nose cap.  Said they had a form to make the round part and then soldered a filler to the front.  Also, the keys are thick.  GRRW made their keys, at least early on, from 1/8" x 1/4" steel.  This rifle has thick keys.  He said the originals are thinner than this.  Greg Roberts' tracing of the Bridger rifle at GRRW in November 1975 said "keys are slotted, .075 thick x 11/32" wide".  Carl said these early rifles did not have markings, but then Blue Jacket helped Carl make his cartouche, with which he marked rifles he made.  Other workers there also then marked theirs.
Herb