I was thinking about original Hawken rifles and was wondering how well was the fit and finish on these guns.
Hey Red, I'd say the Hawken's fit and finish was excellent. You can get a pretty good look at some of the Hawken rifles including Kit Carson's last rifle in the books from James Gordon. In his Great Gunmakers for the Early West, volume 3, 40 pages are devoted to Hawken rifles. Excellent photos show color images in great detail, including the inletting of the locks and tangs. The Hawken rifles were famous in their own time and that serves as tremendous testimony too. In the ledgers and journals of the Old West, the Hawken rifles are just about the only muzzleloading rifles that were mentioned by name. Shoot sharp, Mike
As Mike said fit and finish was excellent.
Having seen several original Hawken Rifles from various makers, who worked in their shop I can say that when you mentally take away 100 odd years of wear and tear that yes as a rule the fit and finish was excellent.
A rifle made by Sam & Jake or Tristam Campbell, Willian Watt , J.P. Gemmer , Christian Hoffman , or William S. Hawken is still a Hawken but with slight differences in look, fit and finish.
Also a Hawken made say about 1838 will have differences in fit and finish than one made in 1860.
I tend to think of the Hawken Mountain rifle , as opposed to their rifles for the local trade , much like a semi-custom rifle , Like a Cooper or Dakota is thought of today.
Baird"s two books on the Hawken rifle are worth a look at for the pictures as well as the one Mike mentioned.
AndyThis message has been edited. Last edited by: andy*,
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Thanks for the reply guys. Everyone have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
I asked several of the old gunsmiths from Green River Rifle Works in Roosevelt UT about the Kit Carson, Jim Bridger and Medina Hawken's they had on loan years ago. Carl Walker told me they completely torn down the Bridger gun, pulled the breech plug and to their surprise about the first 6 inches of rifling was a mess (the lands and the grooves went together) The rifling process was a mess when done. Those that looked at this figured back then was no different than today, if there was a problem and not visible to the customer - sell it $$$ time is money. Hanson showed me early guns with similar issues and he figured the same as the GRRW boys. What we read and what we see once in a while don't always match.
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