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Original Hawken rifles

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Shawnee, May 22, 2008.

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  1. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

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    Were the original Hawken rifles made mostly in .50 caliber ?

    Anyone know what the velocity/energy stats are on the original Hawken .50 caliber loads ?

    What was their "effective range" considered to be ?


    Thanks All !

    :cool:
     
  2. Voodoochile

    Voodoochile Member

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    Hawken rifles were mostly .54caliber "popular" but were also in .36, .38, .40, .50, .56, & .58 caliber with barrel lengths from 30 inch to 39 inch & brass, iron or silver inlays.

    I could not tell you exactly what the velocity of the rifle was but being that they were produced mostly during the time where PRB "patched Round Ball" was the normal bullet I would say that the effective range was less than 150 yards & mostly under 100 yards depending on the caliber, powder charge, & game in which it was employed to take.
     
  3. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    Contemporary accounts considered them to be effective to about 350 yards.

    Since we have come into the age of improved, modern high velocity guns, and "hunting" in the sport sense is the standard, we consider the effective range to be less. They didnt have benefit of gun magazines and such, so they just went out and shot a lot. 350 yards was a long shot, but not unrealistic to one accustomed to daily use.


    Since we don't have sense enough to listen, we shoot pistols to 300+ yards around these parts. Hits on 18" plates at 300 yards is a long shot, but not unrealistic to one used to regular shooting of this type. Same general idea.
     
  4. Voodoochile

    Voodoochile Member

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    You are right in both the comment on the pistol shots & shooting the Hawken shooting at 350 yards, I was basing my information on todays recomended maximum range & not historical fact "sorry was late & I was too tired to look some stuff up."
     
  5. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    John D Baird's book: Hawken Rifles the Mountian Man's Choice indicates .50 caliber was the most often found rifle until the mountian man's trade moved to buffalo hunting after the 1840's or so when the .53, .54,.56 and .58 cals became more common. He attributes this to the need for longer shots at larger scarce/wary game and better access to re-supply.
    1/48" rifling that was common in Hawken rifles was commonly used with from 80-120 grains of ff black and a PRB depending on the game sought.
    Baird makes no mention of adjustable sights on any Hawken he studied so I'd expect it took a man of great familiarity with his gun to hit what he was shooting at over 150 yds or so.
     
  6. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    "sorry was late & I was too tired to look some stuff up."

    No need to be sorry,...it wasn't bad advice. I apologise if my comment sounded uppity, didnt mean it to be. I was quite a fan of the Hawkens in years past, reading everything I could find about them. I was a bit surprised that they shot them at those ranges, but after moving to the west, and shooting various guns at longer than "normal" ranges, I can see how it can be done by someone intimately familiar with them. Much as the Pennsylvania rifles were knocking off British Officers in the Revolutionary War in practiced hands at 300 yards (also generally without adjustable sights I believe), those plains and mountain boys sure could shoot those plains rifles.


    I've laid hands on a Colts 3rd Dragoon that I plan on working on the 300 yard plate with. With a 50 gr charge it makes a very satisying thunderous echo off the surounding hills.
     
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