Navy Arms 58 cal Hawken Hunter


June 6, 2006, 12:16 PM
I was wondering if anyone out there has any information on this rifle. Navy Arms has been zero help and I am having a hard time finding any information in any books. The best I have found is some advertisement in the late 70's rifleman mag. Some of the question that I have are. What is the twist ratio and some possible load configs. Thanks

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June 6, 2006, 01:22 PM
Never heard of a .58 cal Hawken, just .50 & .54 cals. There are .58 cal Rifled muskets, Springfield, Enfield, and 1863 Remington Zouave in .58 cal. But that's all I can tell ya.

June 6, 2006, 04:00 PM
Thompson is the only Hawken i know anything about in 58 cal . they have a 1 in 48 twist barrel so they will shoot round ball or bullets well . check your barrel for stampings as to what twist rifleing you have ... or if you have a cleaning jag fit a tight patch on it and let it run the groves of the rifleing and you can measure for what twist your barrel has .

June 6, 2006, 04:41 PM
The rifle you are speaking of might have been called Hurricane or the Hurricane Hunter...I remember reading about a trip to Africa when they killed a big male lion with one, penetrating both shoulders:what: It was back in the early eighties:evil:

June 6, 2006, 04:45 PM
They kilt more than a Lion!!! That article is in the Lyman Black Power Handbook. I just read it (for the 3rd time) a couple of weeks ago. Seem to recall, they used a HUGE bullet and a hefty powder charge to boot.

June 12, 2006, 07:54 PM
I believe the hurricane only came in a 50 and 54 cal? I did find this rifle in a reloading book over the weekend.
It has a 26" barrel with a 1:60 twist with ultra fine grooves something .006.
I have been shooting 470 grn Lee modern mines with about 70 grns of 2f. At 25 yrds it will shoot a tight group and looks to have potental at 100 yrd. But needs a little more juice to make it.
My new question is: Has anyone used this syle of slug before and what has been your experience? This seems to be a thin skirted slug and not for sure what the max load is before it starts to self-destruct.
Any suggestion?
Thanks for your responses.

October 2, 2006, 12:35 AM
I had a 58 caliber hawken rifle once about 15 years ago when I first got married.Cabelas used to have a traditional hawkens, and a hunter hawkens in 58 caliber .Most hunters went to 50 ,or 54 calibers ,thats why its hard to find 58 calibers muzzleloader from companies . Most follow what caliber people bay most of.

Smilin Jack
November 8, 2006, 06:32 PM

I own one of those Navy Arms Hawken Hunter rifles. The facts: 58 cal, 28 inch barrel, 1:60 inch twist made for slugs.
It shoots RB pretty well at 50gr to 70gr with THICK patches. It shoots slugs very well. I shoot 120gr of Goex FFFg powder. Yes, Navy Arms proofed it for 200gr of FFFg behind a Lyman 577611 cast from soft lead. I use the 120gr of FFFg and it is sighted for 2" hi at 100 yds. At 150 yds it's 2" low. At 50 yds, its 4" high. I'm leaving this Friday for a week of elk hunting in the Santiam unit of Oregon, near my house. It hits hard and keeps three shots (bench shooting) in a softball sized group if I do my part.
I load the rifle by snapping a few caps, pouring in the measured powder, knocking wood to get powder into the drum, seating a felt wad on the powder and seating the greased slug last. The slug is base greased and groove greased with TC bore butter. The rifle requires musket caps. I've had the rifle since 1974. I have peep sights, cus my old eyes can't see iron sights too well.
Smilin Jack

November 14, 2006, 01:11 PM
I to have a 58 cal hawler hunter and Navy arms lost the lock and hammer assy. It is my favorite gun. I purchased a black power pistol that has the same lock but it is a flint lock. Does anyone have info as to how I can get a replacement lock? In my younger days I shot my hunter with a mini ball and 200 grains of 3fg. the recommended mini ball is a shilo steak buster. My only marking is serial #3500. I am sure it was made in Italy.

November 16, 2006, 01:18 PM
I am still trying and have been for 9 years to find a lock for my 58 cal navy arms Hunter. The pistol that I purchased that has a flint loct that fits the Hawken is a Hopkins and Allen. They made replacement locks that fit several of their pistols and rifles. Does anyone have a contact to get a lock like this?

Interesting info; the Lion that was shot with the Hawken lost both of it's shoulders and the head tracker could put his fist through the hole. The Lion landed from a leap to find he had no legs. I believe the lion was shot using a 625 grain Shilo steak buster ahead of 220 grains of ffg. Thanks.

Smilin Jack
November 23, 2006, 03:00 PM

You might try Dixie gun works for a lock for your Navy Arms Hawken Hunter. A good blackpowder gunsmith probably could modify a lock or make one from scratch.

Check on the web for The Gunworks, in Springfield, OR. They make blackpowder rifles and barrells from scratch. I've had them do work for me and it turned out great. (I have the 58 Navy Arms rifle and a 50 cal Lyman Great Plains. They put peep sights on both cus I can't see iron sights any more.)

I went hunting last earlier this month (November 2006) with my 58 cal Navy Arms Hawken Hunter caplock and bagged a medium sized cow elk. Only had to pack it down hill about 1.5 miles to the truck. It took three trips and we were really tired. We need some young guys to help.

The Lyman minnie (577611 at 540 gr with 120 gr of 3FFF) worked great- hit it in the front of the chest and came out under the tail and kept going. It was about a 50 yard shot.

Got 201 lbs of meat hanging at the butcher, after sharing the tenderloins, neck meat and ribs with South Paw that helped me pack. I was hunting in the McKenzie unit about 4000 ft elevation.

Smilin Jack
November 24, 2006, 02:31 AM

I decided to not trust my old memory and get the Lyman Black Powder Handbook out and check the facts on the Navy Arms Hawken Hunter. Copyrighted 1975 by Lyman Products.
Facts Lyman book gives:
58 cal. 26" barrel twist=1/60" Designed to handle the heaviest loads safely and accurately. Page 130 in this book lists loads up to 190 grs of 2FF with the 577611 Lyman bullet @ 530 grs using Crisco for lube. I've had the best luck with TC Bore butter, as it doesn't melt in warm weather like Crisco.

Lyman book describes Val Forgett, owner of Navy Arms as shooting 180gr of 3FFF behind the 610 gr minnie (Lyman 577611) They got consistent 4.5" groups at 100 yards. See page 20 in this book for the entire six page story. They got elephants, hippos, wildebeest, sable, cape buffalo, lions, antelope, zebra, wildebeast, hartebeeste, bushbuck, duiker, impalla and others with the 58 cal big rifle.

I've attached another picture of my elk from last week's hunting trip.

later, Smilin Jack

Smilin Jack
November 24, 2006, 01:09 PM
Hey, jgvarno, I found this on the Navy Arms website. See below. Maybe you can get a lock from them now? The price seems a lot, as I paid about $70 for my kit back in the 70's. I got it direct from Navy Arms by mail. The kit was hard work to finish, and I had the barrel hot blued. It still looks good after all these years. I do give the stock another oil finish coat after hunting season each year with Birchwood Casey. Still the same 4 oz bottle keeps lasting.

I spent yesterday morning in the shop, welding etc, repairing my truck tire chains. They were showing lots of wear and broken chains. I got parts from an old set of chains laying out by the shop.

Smilin Jack

Copied the below info from Navy Arms website.

The most famous single shot muzzle loading rifle Navy Arms has ever built, the Buffalo Hunter, is back in production. This .58 caliber muzzle loading rifle was used by Navy Arms founder, Val Forgett, Sr., to take the African “Big Five” (Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion, and Leopard). Mr. Forgett was the first man in 100 years to accomplish this and was honored by Safari Club International in 1986 for this.

Based on the civil War era Zouave rifle, the Buffalo Hunter has a shortened forend and checkered wrist for fast handling. Other features include a color case-hardened lock and hammer and brass patchbox perfect for storing caps and small tools. The Buffalo Hunter has taken the largest, most dangerous animals on Earth, ensuring any hunter will have ‘enough gun' for any encounter in the woods.
Mod. No. VBH058 - $691.00

November 29, 2006, 10:41 PM
Thanks for the information guys. Very helpful.

Smilin Jack:
I have read the article and I in the process of purchasing a the #577611 mould.

Thanks again.

Smilin Jack
November 30, 2006, 10:30 PM
Super_D, I've had my minnie mold since about 1975 and cast some each year before hunting season. They will take as much powder as I can stand to shoot, but found 120gr of 3FFF works well and burns pretty clean.

South Paw, my hunting partner, does hobby blacksmithing, so his married son (Doc) comes over to help, and we have a production line of casting. South Paw melts lead on his forge in a 30 lb pot that we ladle into my 10 lb electric furnace. I cast with 3 or 4 moulds of different calibers. This keeps the molds from getting too hot. They have a few seconds to rest with a hot slug inside, waiting for Doc to knock the sprues off and dump the slugs into the correct tray, lined with a towel. We usually do 54 slugs, 36 RB, 58 RB, 50 RB and .358 slugs. Sometimes South Paw will get out his 30 slug mold - 150 RN (for 30-30 & 30-06). We just make an evening of it, and usually are good for the year. South Paw has an outdoor work bench next to the forge with a roof to keep the rain away.

I put a picture of my 50cal Lyman target, shooting 350gr TC Maxi hunter slugs in a RB barrel. It works, but the lighter 275gr slugs don't. Go figure. Many guys said it wouldn't work at all.

I'm attaching a photo of my very small powder flask I made from 1" copper pipe and soldered copper sheet on the ends and soldered a .250" copper pipe for the spout. The 1" pipe is 4" long, so the whole thing fits nicely in my small camera bag that serves as a minnie possibles bag for hunting. It has powder, slugs, extra nipple, musket caps, nipple wrench, 1 oz. of Break Free oil, and patches. Don't forget the safety pin for a nipple pick. Small bag, so it fits under rain gear and won't get in the way.
Smilin Jack

August 13, 2010, 08:31 PM
The Navy Arms "Hawken Hunter" was a pet project of Mr. Val Forgett, the late founder of the company. It was designed to use Minie type bullets with huge powder charges, and was personally used by Mr. Forgett to take elephant, cape buffalo, hippo and other large game in Africa.
The power charge used was 175 gr. 3FG, with a 610 gr. minie bullet.
I got this information from an old book titled "Shooting the Muzzleloaders", by R.A. Schindler published in 1975.
The list price at the time was $195.00!

Smilin Jack
August 26, 2010, 12:31 AM
Hey, that seems to be a similar article to the one in my Lyman Black Powder Bible from 1975 or so... too lazy to walk to the book shelf.

I hunt elk each year with my 58 cal Navy Arms Hawken Hunter. It's a darn good shooter, but kinda heavy. If I remember right, it's about 1 1/4" wide and 26" long barrel, and yep, it does seem a little front heavy.

I also have a Lyman Great Plains caplock in 50 cal that I hunt deer with. Got a nice 3 point (western count-we only count one antler) near the top of a snow covered mountain. It was odd... the elk had all gone down out of the mountains and were in peoples yards and cow pastures. When we asked for hunting access, they said "what elk?", so we went back on public land in the mountains and each got our buck in the snow.

Mine was about 100 yards or more and Southpaw's buck was about 80 yards. Nice weather (rain/snow mix that was deep enough to drag the bottom of my F-250 4x4) to hunt in so we could find some tracks.

Southpaw and I both drew our deer and elk muzzle loader tags again (it's a lottery thing to get the muzzle loader tags), so we're getting excited. The deer season has four different hunts spread around the state, and the elk is one week in late November in the snowy mountains.

Two years ago I had a cougar crouching behind a bush ready to leap on me. By the time the rifle was cocked and aimed, he wasn't there anymore, but flying thru the air off to my right. Southpaw said, "no, I ain't going in that thick crap after the cougar... it's time to head back to camp and get a beer". That's what we did, as it was almost dark anyway. My knees were kind of weak for a few minutes after seeing that cougar move SO FAST.


August 29, 2010, 07:29 PM
The idea to make a line of Hawken style rifles started in about 1968 after Thompson introduced theirs. There were two sizes. A 45 cal and 50 cal that had a 15/16" barrel and the hunter that had a 1 1/8" Oct barrel. Almost all of the parts were made in Union City NJ - Except the locks, hammers and triggerguards. They came from David Pedersoli in Italy. The lock was the same as the Kentucky Percussion Rifles that Navy Arms imported. The hammer was a unique part that was investment cast. The hammer was installed on the rough finished rifle and it was twisted to line up with the nipple. Hopefully you can locate a Pedersoli Kentucky lock and Dixie may have a hammer that you can "force fit". The rifling twist was optimized to use the standard Lyman Minnie (575gr ?) and the heavier blunt nose 600gr.

December 17, 2010, 10:49 AM
I ran across this topic and though I might add some pics from an old 1977 Navy Arms catalog showing the hunters. See below. I have been looking for a Shiloh Stake Buster mould for 58 caliber, so far with no luck.

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