Hawken Opinions & Help Wanted


Foto Joe
April 17, 2012, 12:00 PM
I'm gettin' ready to expand my reality a bit here. A few months ago 45-70 Ranger handed me his Hawken 54 cal. He had this goofy grin on his kisser as he did it and as soon as I pulled the set trigger then touched her off I understood the reason for the grin.:what:

My knowledge level is based on 19th century and early 20th century Colt's pattern guns not rifles so I need some help here.

So....I've done a little research regarding Hawken kits. I'm wanting a kit simply because this is going to be "mine" in every way. My skill level is moderate but I'm not expert in any way, but keep in mind my wife has two observations regarding my skills.

#1 I'm an anal retentive perfectionist and...

#2 She calls me a "Jack of all trades, master of what interests me at the moment".

Having shared her opinion of me I'll say that I'm not afraid of a little hand fitting.

My reasoning for this Hawken is simply put: For Fun, it won't be used to hunt, nor will it be used for any sort of re-enactment or competition. It will be fed patched round balls and if I can find some, Minnie Balls but it will never have a sabot dropped down the barrel. That said, I'd like the twist to be primarily for round balls but capable of minnie's. I'd also like an adjustable sight system on it, hopefully somewhat period correct. At least one that somebody would have adapted to it sometime in the 1800's. I can accept a barrel length of somewhere between 28" & 32", crowned would be nice.

My limited research has shown me that I can spend way too much money on this if I wanted to, I don't. Although a maple stock would be beautiful.

So...I'd like some opinions regarding different Hawken kits that range in price from $300-$500. Furniture can be iron (steel) or brass, traditionally I believe they sported iron.

Several months ago I did find a Hawken kit somewhere that had been pre-fitted which was kind of a plus but I can't remember where I saw it nor find it again.

So...post your ideas for me, give me some thoughts and of course your opinions. Any help will be appreciated and we'll see where this little project takes me to.


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April 17, 2012, 12:09 PM
they sell/make some hawkens with stainless barrels and black plastic furniture also.stainless bbl easier to clean t/c flintlock

Foto Joe
April 17, 2012, 12:35 PM
Although I'm not going to stand on historical accuracy, I'm not a fan of stainless for this particular project. As far as plastic is concerned, no offense but it ain't gonna happen.

I should have also mentioned that I want a cap-lock, I'm way too lazy for a rock-lock gun.

April 17, 2012, 12:54 PM
just puttin the info out there so ya can make an informed decision.i myself prefer stainless because i hate chasing rust.just remember on nipple/barrel plug,use anti seize compound.

knight kp1 50cal
ruger old army

April 17, 2012, 01:58 PM
Mines not stainless but nickel I like it even has fiber optic sights.


April 17, 2012, 03:53 PM
Well, you can get one of the common kits from TC, Lyman, and Traditions and such, but I think you are wanting something a little bit more individual. Go to the Log Cabin Shop, order the print catalog. They will do the hard part of inleting the lock, barrel chanel and ram rod chanel if you tell them the barrel and lock you want. With care in building you will end up with a gun that others will envy. Might cost a bit more, but you don't have to buy it all at once.

April 17, 2012, 04:59 PM
Give a look at the Lyman Great Plains Rifle - it is somewhat more "historically correct" apprearing than the TC Hawken, comes with both primitive and adjustable rear sights, and should, if correctly assembled, shot PRB's into a big cloverleaf at 50 yards. Usually priced a little better than the TC product also.

April 17, 2012, 08:22 PM
Give a look at the Lyman Great Plains Rifle - it is somewhat more "historically correct" apprearing than the TC Hawken, comes with both primitive and adjustable rear sights, and should, if correctly assembled, shot PRB's into a big cloverleaf at 50 yards. Usually priced a little better than the TC product also

What he said. Poor man's custom rifle.

April 17, 2012, 08:49 PM
First of all, let's use the term 'plains style rifle' rather than Hawken. A true Hawken kit will cost a couple thousand and while they're very much worth it, that's not what you want.

That said, I'm going to recommend the Lyman Great Plains. Available in flint or caplock, .50 or .54 cal. 31" 1:60 octagonal straight barrel. Very accurate. Stock is walnut, not maple, and the 1:60 twist is pretty much a roundball design. However, you can get a Hunter barrel that will drop in and it has the 1:48 compromise twist. Also, a drop in maple stock in any grade up to super premium can be had from Pecatonica Rifle Supply, so there are options if you are stuck on either requirement. Open iron sights are stock but you can get excellent peep sights from Lyman that fit the tang screws. Prices are on the order of $381 at Midsouth Shooting Supply: http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/department.asp?dept=MUZZLELOADERS&dept2=RIFLE

I built the .54 flintlock and found it quite friendly to my average skills and equipment. I have about 80-90 hours in it. There are a couple of 'challenges' to overcome (the tang screw hole in the stock wasn't quite right, and the escutcheon screws are worthless) but the major items like barrel, lock, buttplate, front cap, barrel tenons, etc. all fit perfectly. I did invest in some scrapers expecting to need them, and I learned to use them on this build even though they weren't necessary.

This is the OEM walnut stock and barrel. I used Laurel Mountain browning solution on the metal parts. The wood is finished with Herter's French Red and Tru-Oil.






April 17, 2012, 11:45 PM
Several months ago I did find a Hawken kit somewhere that had been pre-fitted which was kind of a plus but I can't remember where I saw it nor find it again.

It may have been a Cabela's Hawken kit which is made by Investarms.
They have not been listed on the Cabela's website for a while now and may have been discontinued.
They use to cost about $319 when on sale with a regular price of about $349.


J.T. Gerrity
April 22, 2012, 11:16 AM
I vote for the GPR as well. As mentioned, more authentic looking than the "Hawkens" kit and a great shooter. Lots of different locks and barrels available for it, too. You Will Not Be Sorry if you order one. :)

Nice looking piece, Mykeal.

April 22, 2012, 02:22 PM
Joe, your wife's #2 observation sounds like me.
I love my TC Renegade, but my DGW Tennessee Mountain Rifle has a better trigger.
Both are double set, double phase.

Foto Joe
April 24, 2012, 11:15 AM
Alrighty then....

Those of you who have responded to this post are about to contribute to the delinquency of a Colt's pattern revolver shooter.

I've been searching and reading on the suggestions posted above and I think that I've narrowed it down. My first reaction was to dig into the Lyman Great Plains instructions and I was really close to pulling the trigger on the GP rifle, then....

I went to Pecatonica Rifle Supply and started looking there, oh boy!! Different graded stocks and from the looks of things that will be the route I take but I've got a couple of questions first:

Have any of you actually build one from Pecatonica Rifle Supply before and if so how was your experience with them?

Can somebody explain to this Colt revolver shooter what an optional "Davis" trigger is?

I haven't verified this with a phone call yet but I think that Pecatonica uses "iron" furniture, i.e. trigger guard and butt plate. I like that simply because it's different than most of what you see out there, (I've been called eccentric before). I'm still on the fence regarding the grade of wood though. The price difference between grade #4 and #5 maple is negligible. I'm leaning more towards #4 simply because I think it might have more "character" but I haven't locked myself in on it yet.

Anyway, if anybody has any other thoughts or ideas, possibly an answer to my questions above I'd love to hear them.


April 24, 2012, 11:54 AM
R. E. Davis is the name of a quality reproduction lock and trigger manufacturer which offers many different items to builders of authentic styled reproduction guns including both double and single set triggers. It's probably a quality option that's being offered to be able to get the exact style that you want. And Davis triggers are also available in kit form for those who want to complete the work themselves.



April 24, 2012, 03:51 PM
What arcticap said.

Lyman Great Plains owners often suggest replacing the OEM Investarms double set trigger with the Davis Deerstalker, which is also a double set design. It's a 99% drop-in replacement (I had to trim the inletting a bit). They're quite different in form but very similar in operation, at least to me. The Davis cost me $40 and I'm frankly on the fence as to whether it was worth it. It is a better trigger (crisper break), but not a great deal better. So, I've installed it on one of my GPR's but not the other. Decisions, decisions.

Speaking of decisions - #4 vs #5? That's a personal thing. Boxers or briefs? Unfortunately, you probably won't ever know the answer unless you buy and finish both first. Which, incidentally, means you can't make the wrong decision to put a positive spin on it.

I've never purchased from Pecatonica River myself. I know two people who have, and both are satisfied customers. In addition, the internet opinion I'm aware of is universally positive.

Foto Joe
April 24, 2012, 07:56 PM
Unfortunately I waited too long this afternoon to give Pecatonica a call with a couple of questions. As far as grade #4 versus #5 wood is concerned I'll probably go with the grade #5 if they've got it. This is after all going to be basically my "gun of the year". Last year I kind of cheated on the gun of the year thing but it seems that my wife has forgotten about the stainless S&W 1911 Government I found in Montana and only remembers the de-farb project on my Fake Navy.

She gave me the go ahead yesterday afternoon on this one while we were having adult beverages at a local watering hole but this morning when I non-chalantly mentioned that the price was going to come in at around $800 her reaction was not as positive. But, being a woman of her word she'll be fine with the addition to our family. Besides she's already shot one that belonged to 45-70 Ranger so she has an idea what I'm doing, although this is going to be a pretty high end version.

Now, if I can only find the time that is going to be necessary to do the work on this thing between earning fun tickets and getting at least an acceptable amount of my honey-do chores done.

Thanks for your help guys, I'll make sure and keep THR up to date on the progress of the "Gun of the Year".

April 24, 2012, 07:59 PM
I'm looking forward to it.

My 'Gun Of The Year' this year will probably go the other way: building a custom 1911.

BE Wild Willy
April 26, 2012, 12:40 AM
Are you sure that you want to go .54 cal.? If it's going to be a plinker, a .50 is much more efficient, and easier to acquire components. A .45 cal. would also be a fine choice for a fun gun, even more efficient, although components aren't so abundant as the .50.

Foto Joe
April 28, 2012, 03:00 PM
Although hunting is something that the critters are better at than me, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that a suicidal antelope or mule deer might one day wind up on the menu because of this gun.

Also the 54 caliber was probably the most common for the Hawken rifle. It would kinda be like having a Henry in 45 Colt.

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