T/C Hawkin un-authentic?


Norton Commando
April 12, 2011, 07:23 PM
The T/C Hawken has been looked down upon by some members of this forum for not being very authentic looking. In my mind its form is relatively close to the family of Hawkens from days gone by. The name Hawken I'm told is a label for a particular style of muzzle loading carbine and the style can vary a bit from gun to gun.

Well, thoughts about what an "authentic" Hawken should look like inspired me to go up in my attic to retrieve the T/C Hawken that I built from a kit some 32 years ago. Heck in my mind, it's still a good looking gun and wanted to post some pictures to see what ya'll think; criticism is welcome.





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April 12, 2011, 07:44 PM
I love 'em. I have two of the cheaper Traditions [one in flint, one in percussion] nowadays, but My Dad and I both had a TC, back in the day. The main detraction from being authentic, IMHO, is the addition of a Millit type adjustable rear sight.This can actually be a big plus, or a big minus, depending on Black Powder hunting laws in your area. I understand that some States want only ''primitive'' sights, and I'm not sure if the highly adjustable Millit type would qualify, or if they are just trying to eliminate scopes.

April 12, 2011, 08:02 PM
That's a great looking rifle and must have required a lot of effort for it to come out that nice.
The TC Hawkin is a .45?
Some of the NMLRA clubs and their official matches won't allow an adjustable rear sight to be used in competition. But informally the local clubs will often say that they're okay as long as it's not adjusted during a match. They basically just want to make sure that everyone is shooting with open sights, but every club is different.
They usually don't approve of peep sights either.

Jim Watson
April 12, 2011, 08:23 PM
Real St Louis Hawkens (see spelling) seldom had brass fittings. They were also usually longer and heavier than a Modern American is willing to hump in the woods. I understand the Lyman Great Plains is a closer copy than the TC. Although the TC is well made and a great shooter.

April 12, 2011, 08:31 PM
If you want to be a purist, go find an antique.

In the meantime, the T/C Hawkens I have seen have been great shooters and I would rather have a great shooter than a nit-pickers delight that might not shoot as well. It's all in how you look at things. I like to look on the fun side of things. :D

The Doc is out now. :cool:

Norton Commando
April 12, 2011, 08:36 PM
Hi there Jim, thanks for the spelling correction! I corrected all but the title; I can't seem to make any changes to it. And yes, I guess the brass would be a modern touch, but not totally off-base.

And thanks BHP and Arcticap for the comments about the sights. I have to agree; they don't look at all authentic. My Hawken is a 50 caliber by the way.

I've been thinking about purchasing a flint-type rifle in the long gun style, say a Kentucky rifle in 45 caliber. But they sure have gone up in price from when I bought my Hawken. Oh well, maybe one day...


April 12, 2011, 09:04 PM
Here is a reproduction of the Medina Hawken. It is unique in that Mariano Medina, a Mexican trapper, went back to St Louis in 1833 and had Jake make him a fancy rifle while he was there. It is the only one I have seen with a fancy patch box.

The copy shown in the picture is so close that if a nail head is worn off on the original, it is worn off on mine.

The maker made paper tracings of the belly pan and stars made out of Mexican pesos on the stock inletted by Mariano later back in Colorado etc to make it as exact as possible.

I have compared the original and mine side by side and they are pretty much the same.
This thing makes a modern day Hawken feel like a M-1 carbine after carrying if for a day or two in the mountains.

As mentioned the Lyman Great Plains rifle is a good representation of the old plains rifles. This is not meant to take anything away from the TC's they are great reliable hunting rifles.

April 12, 2011, 09:09 PM
My main competition rifle is a TC Hawken. Course it has a custom made
barrel. is a 45 Flint. Has won many a match. Shot a 50 XXX at Friendship
in the cross sticks matches back around 1991.


Norton Commando
April 12, 2011, 09:14 PM
Thanks for the picture of your Hawken Iggy; it's certainly a beautiful piece. I didn't realize that Hawkens had two barrel wedges? And the patch box reminds me of a Kentucky style flintlock.

May I ask how the tiger-stripe was added to the ram rod? Was it stained on the rod by wrapping with a rope saturated with pitch, or other?


Norton Commando
April 12, 2011, 09:17 PM
And another nice looking T/C kwhi... Congratulations on your 50 XXX!

April 12, 2011, 09:22 PM
The T/C Hawken is a great rifle. I have won more matches with my T/C than my custom guns ('course, I was shootin' a bit more then). A great hunting rifle, fine with round ball at shorter ranges and lighter loads, and a good bullet launcher. I still have the one I built from a kit 25 years ago, and don't ever plan to willingly turn loose of it.


Authentic it is not. Sorry. From the innerds (coil spring lock, shallow fast twist rifling) to the outer appearance (straight stock, curly trigger guard, adjustable sight, squared off entry pipe thing), it doesn't really match an original very much at all. The originals often had heavier barrels, the stocks had much more drop, sights were not adjustable, and the locks were flat rather than coil-spring driven. The Lyman Great Plains is much closer to the styling of the original - in fact, it is a remarkably faithful reproduction. And custom half and full stock Hawkens are not that expensive as guns go, there are a lot of them out there.

All that said, I'll repeat that the T/C looks good, and it is a great rifle. Often available today for $200 used, they are a great value and a great rifle to start BP shooting with, or keep shooting BP with. I have had friends that "Trade Gunned" them, with tacks, steel furniture, and some rawhide and made them downright authentic looking. But pick your pleasure, they are great guns.

Oh, by the way...if you get turned on by building a custom Hawken, like using a parts set from Track of the Wolf - remember this: t'ain't no beginner gun. The long tang, trigger guard, and half-stock complexity make it a gun for a more experience builder. Trust me...I ignored the sage advice to that effect, and even though the gun turned out ok it was a nail biter and a vocabulary exerciser.....

April 12, 2011, 10:04 PM
The most authentic J&S Hawken replicas are made by Don Stith according to many Hawken historians.

April 12, 2011, 10:14 PM
May I ask how the tiger-stripe was added to the ram rod? Was it stained on the rod by wrapping with a rope saturated with pitch, or other?

I broke the original. The replacement was rotated over a butane torch and scorched a bit and then sanded to get rid of the carbon deposit.

April 12, 2011, 11:18 PM
TC Hawken looks nothing like a real pre-1840's Hawken.

Phantom Captain
April 13, 2011, 12:36 AM
Here's my authentic patterned Hawken my late father built. It's one of my prized posessions and probably one of the most accurate rifles I own. He was really proud of this one.

I'm pretty sure he got his pattern from Don Stith and he did a bunch of research too before deciding which type he wanted to make. He used the book, which I have now, The Hawken Rifle: It's Place in History by Charles E. Hanson, Jr. Great book by the way.

It's a .54 caliber Douglas barrel and a Davis lock. I forget who made the double set triggers but I'm pretty sure he got them from Dixie. The stock is curly maple with an aqua fortis finish. No brass (except the front sight), all iron and steel furniture. Two wedge pins and a hook breach. Plus it has the authentic buckhorn sights. It's a beaut to say the least. His blood is in the wood and it really is a part of him that I feel close to everytime I shoot it. It's pretty much priceless to me.


Here you can see the inlays for the wedge pins.






Trigger guard



Cheek piece


I just took these on the kitchen floor, at night, the top two with a flash and the others without. I'll try to take some better pics tomorrow in the daylight. These aren't really doing it justice.

April 13, 2011, 08:56 AM
That is one fine lookin' rifle. Your Dad got it right. You can be proud of that one and pass it down for generations to come.

Prairie Dawg
April 13, 2011, 06:22 PM
Actually, it is much closer in appearance to rifles made in New England.
When I read Ned Roberts book, the Muzzle Loading Cap Lock Rifle, I was amazed to see where the T/C Hawken's design features came from.

45-70 Ranger
April 13, 2011, 06:47 PM
It has coil springs. Brass hardware. BIG adjustable sights. And is not representive of a true Hawken, but.......IT sure as Heck NOT an inline! Not that I have anything against that style of weapon;), (I'm just playin' a bit here with that one!) but all in all, the T/C is kinda in a class all it's own I think.

I have one that I built over 30 years ago. Browned the steel rather than blued it, as all I ever saw were blue. Wanted something different. And it is a great shooter. Is it "Authentic"? Of course not! Is is similar to the spirit of sidelock black powder rifles? I believe it is.

I believe that there is a place for all weapons and like the revolvers from Italy, they may not be "Exact copies" down to the last tiny detail, but are close enough to make us all happy. I support the spirit of the sport rather than the very expensive purists line. (Note: When I was heavy into BPCR's I had an original Sharps, and two original Trapdoors. They're gone now, but that is another story) So if one has a copy of a true Hawken, I'm happy as a lark. If one has a T/C Hawken and they like it, I'm still just as happy...Even if ya got an inline and you like it, great! I won't ever say anything to another that would be looked upon as anything other than "Go have fun with your weapons of choice and be safe."


April 13, 2011, 07:23 PM
My dad has an early mountain rifle. Don't remember if it was made by Hawken or not. I do remember that it is full stock, apparently not too common on that rifle style, has an ungodly heavy .45 (IIRC) caliber barrel, a good bit of drop at the butt, a smallish, highly curved crescent buttplate, a small patch/cap box, and double set triggers.
It has silver trim.
The last time I looked at it, the hammer wouldn't stay cocked. I think the trigger needs to be adjusted.
It's friggin heavy. It's also beautiful in the way only an old front stuffer can be.
He bought it from a woman scorned. She caught her husband fooling around with his secretary and divorced him. She got it in the divorce and sold it to my dad for a very reasonable price, just to get back at the husband.
I still think it was dirty as hell of her to do that, no matter how much I liked the gun.

I have a TC Renegade. It has iron furniture and no patch box. I've thought about adding an iron Hawken patchbox from DGW. It has nice double set triggers, too. Not as nice as the double set trigger on my DGW Tennessee Mountain Rifle flintlock, but still very nice.

April 13, 2011, 07:34 PM
The biggest whitetail I have taken to date is a 9-pointer that fell to a TC Hawken in .54 caliber. I will keep it awhile.

Nice work on that kit Pard!!

April 13, 2011, 08:08 PM
I have 4 custom built Hawkin's...Bob Roller Locks too...So.......shoot what you can afford and Enjoy It.....that's all that counts.

April 13, 2011, 08:12 PM
Nice loking gun, I have a T/C New Englander round barrel carbine, Much easier in a tree ; )

April 13, 2011, 08:44 PM
Phantom Captain, that is a beautiful Hawken! A a wonderful way to remember your father. I love to shoot my Dad's old guns. He never made any for me, but left a few behind.

Norton Commando
April 13, 2011, 08:45 PM
Thanks for all the feedback guys. And thanks there Captain for sharing your father's Hawken with us; that Tiger Stripe wood is gorgeous!


April 13, 2011, 08:56 PM
I believe that I may be responsible for the T/C Hawken authenticity comment from another thread.

First, let me say that my rifle is a T/C Hawken .54. It is very accurate, and I killed my biggest buck with it. I like the rifle very much, and wish I had one in .45 cal......However...

The blue barrel/case hardened lock doesn't seem right to me. I think a plum brown finish looks more authentic.
The micrometer click adj rear sight doesn't seem fitting for the 1800's
The brass furniture was rare on a 'real' Hawken.

My comment was intended to compliment Phantom Captain on the rifle that his father built. As much as I like my T/C Hawken....I like his better....because it looks like an original.

April 13, 2011, 09:39 PM
doesn't matter if it's authentic or not. that's what i got me interested in black powder all those years ago. sold it to a friend, built a renegade from a kit. been shooting for 35 years or so. it's a fine rifle

April 13, 2011, 10:04 PM
You might want to take a look at the Track of the Wolf site if you are considering building an accurate flintlock.

Put a drool rag on your keyboard first.;)


Phantom Captain
April 13, 2011, 11:36 PM
Thanks a bunch everyone. Means a bunch to me to see my Dad's work appreciated. He really outdid himself on this one.

Oh and don't get me wrong either, I'm not picking on anyone else's rifle by a long shot. I think that whatever it is that gets one into traditional black powder shooting and keeping that tradition alive is a great thing. We can't all have original or custom made rifles. At least the sidelocks and T/C repros aren't inlines! (Wink to .45-70 Ranger!) Indeed, I shoot plenty of BP through my repro Civil War muskets and cap and ball pistols as it is. I'm just lucky to have had a Dad who got me into it all so young and was talented enough and passionate enough to leave me some of the rifles he made out of pure love for them. So good on everyone doing the traditional thing however they go about it.

I really do completely love my Hawken though. 80 grains of 2f and a patched .530 ball will do the job! And quite well at that too. It's incredibly accurate either from the double sets or the barrel or a combination of all of it together. It gets plenty of love and plenty of range time for sure. And no, it's not and never will be for sale! ;)

When Dad passed away I had the three rifles he made leaned up against his casket for the wake. I also sprinkled black powder in with him and put a few lead balls in his hands. I know he would have liked that. Miss you dearly Pop!

April 16, 2011, 07:56 PM
I just got a T/C Hawken .50 that a friend bought back in the 1980s, and which has been hanging on his wall unfired ever since. Now that his wife has redecorated, it's in my hands, and I'm looking forward to actually using it for its intended purpose. :)

April 16, 2011, 08:08 PM
I really like that copy of the original, very nice. I have a Uberti Sante Fe in 50 cal, and it is quite a bit heavier than some of the TC's I have handled. When I was in the service in CO, I visited some local museams and saw some oringinals along with all the neat accesories and horns they had.

April 16, 2011, 09:04 PM
I can't comment on the period correctness of the blued barrel of the TC sidelocks. I like the way they look. I like a good brown, just not as much as a nice blue.
I would love to use my dad's old rifle for it's intended purpose. I'm just not too crazy about limbering that timber. It's heavy. Plus, if it got damaged, I'd feel awful. Not that I'm paranoid about the value. Dollar value is only important if you're going to sell it, and I wouldn't sell it unless absolutely necessary. It's just a very nice piece of American history.
However, I wouldn't even begin to know who to take it to in order to get it checked out.
If they damaged it through accident or incompetence, or if they're unscrupulous and sold it/swapped it for a piece of junk, I'm out one very valuable, very nice old rifle.
Plus, it's something that belongs to my dad. Sadly, some day it will be one of the few things I have to remember him by.

Plus, the TC seems to be stout like a Ruger. Then there's the fact of how much (little) money I have invested in that Renegade. I paid about $125.00 for it and it is in like new condition. Plus, it's a lefty. I'm a lefty, so it's a perfect match.

April 17, 2011, 12:17 PM
Warren Center said that the TC Hawken was a scaled-up version of an antique small game rifle made by a New England builder. The "Hawken" name was settled upon because it was marketable, and wasn't copyrighted. There was no effort made to make a Hawken replica a la Lyman's Great Plains rifle.

I have a TC Hawken that I built from a kit over 30 years ago. I did some mods to the stock (cut off the Monte Carlo cheekpiece) and the brass (cut the finger hook from the triggerguard, "Hawkenized" the nose cap, took some of the hook out of the buttplate) and browned the barrel, all with the intention of making the rifle more user-friendly and a little less TC-like. It has a Green Mountain barrel now, but is all original otherwise and has treated me right in competition and in the field.

When I bought my kit from Bowhunters Discount Warehouse, I paid the lordly sum of $108, delivered. Assembled rifles went for around $190.

Norton Commando
April 17, 2011, 04:59 PM
Hey there AJumbo, thanks for the history on the T/C Hawkin; it makes sense.

I bought mine as a kit in 1979 from Carter's Country here in Houston, Texas. I can't remember exactly what it cost, but $100 seems about right. I was super impressed with the quality of the components and even more impressed with the shooting accuracy.

April 18, 2011, 10:42 PM
Either Log Cabin shop or Don Eads (can't remember which) used to sell a set of Hawken-style iron furniture for T/C rifles. I put a set on a friend's Renegade and ended up with the rifle Jake and Sam SHOULD have built- a compact, saddle-length rifle with great toughness and accuracy. Don't know if it'd pass muster at rendezvous, but it sure was slick.

Pecatonica River sells replacement stocks for the Hawken, all pre-inletted and ready to finish. If I needed new wood, I'd get a cherrywood stock from them and be lovin' life.

April 19, 2011, 07:14 AM
The T/C is a good rifle, just not a copy of the Hawken. If they had named it Mountain rifle or something, it would not have sold as well. But it was well made and some were accurate on the target range and all were accurate enough for hunting.

This mountain rifle was assembled in the 70s using parts I got from WEs Kindig at the Log Cabin Shop.


If I were to build another one, I would change it a bit.

April 20, 2011, 10:46 AM
The T/C is a well made front loader and a lot more advanced than the old handmade Hawken rifles. The sights etc as mentioned are giveaways to the lack of authenticity but make them better shooters.

April 20, 2011, 03:28 PM
HC? PC? No, probably not, but IMO TC's Renegade/Hawken with the 1" barrel platform is one of the best production ML rifles made. Many black powder enthusiasts cut their teeth and whetted their passion for smoke thanks to TC. They're as accurate as you're willing to make one and aftermarket parts, barrels, precarved stocks are readily available, allowing even a novice to tailor it to suit. Their warranty has also proven unbeatable to me.

I picked up an old 50 Renegade for $40, added a 54 rifled barrel and a 62 smoothbore barrel(20 guage). That lets me hunt most anything in North America at black powder ranges.

I'm now in the process of restocking with a Pecatonica River Grade 3 curly maple precarve. Went to a Bridger buttplate, steel furniture, and an aged steel look on my barrels. The precarve gave me a little more of the true Hawken look, LOP and drop. Add a few handrubbed coats of tung oil and that tiger stripe just pops out at you.

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