the new toy

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
I popped for a Hawken Rifle in .50 for elk this year, and we've had the first trip out to the range. For those who aren't familiar with Hawkens, they were made beginning around 1815 in St.Louis, and some-not all, by any stretch-of the famous mountain men carried them. Men like Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, and Joe Meek had Hawkens. Designed as a long range plains rifle, they were highly prized and extremely accurate. Mine's no different. And before you all call bullshit, remember that the Pedersoli Gibbs .451 is accurate out past one THOUSAND yards, with a dose of Schutzen black powder.

That's3 shots in virtually one hole, near 6 o`clock. The distance isn't great, only 25 yards with open sights, but these rifles will reach out over 400 yards with pretty much the same accuracy. Patched round ball, 1 in 66inch twist, 100gr of Schutzen German black powder. For the last shot, I raised the rear sight a smidgen, and you can see the results just below the bull. A little more tweaking with the three types of powder I have, Goex, Schutzen and Swiss, and it should be shooting like that out to about 185-200 yards.

I hope these photos come out! Don't know to access photobucket yet, but I might try it next. Keep your fingers crossed!

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
Looks like minute-of-elk to me, Alex. Next, a set of buckskins & you're set (plus you can wear them while tending your hives . . . ). That Pedersoli Gibbs has me intrigued.
That's all I ask for Jim--a really stupid elk! Here's the Pedersoli link. I'd like to have one, but it's a little too pricey for my budget right now.

I have two Pedersolis, and they're both superbly made and finished. One's my southern mountain rifle .45 flint, and the other's a 20bore hammergun. Love them both!

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
Who made your Hawken, Alex? I looked at the Pedersoli on BA . . . sweet AND spendy! Pretty quick twist, tho. I went the other route; just finished a CZ75B polished stainless overhaul. Stripped it down to the frame, polished all machined edges, added a trigger, springs & sear kit from Cajun Gunworks, removed the firing pin block & converted it to single-action only. Sweet & accurate 9mm now. Also added a piece of traction tape to the front of the grip to enhance control. I've looked for a Pedersoli Billy Dixon Sharps for years; someday I might even find the one I want, lol.
Geez, Alex, I didn't know you smoked black powder. I apprenticed with a guy in Fayetteville, NC for a couple of years. Everything, locks, stocks and barrels were made in house. I did a lot of the stock work for him, inletting barrels, patch boxes, wire inlays and such. I did manage to build a couple of nice rifles when I worked there. Unfortunately, ex-wife number two sold them while I was on an FTX in Turkey.

Had a guy walk into the shop with a cartridge rifle to be repaired one day. The boss chased him out with a bowie knife. He was a flint guy from the word go, though he would accept an order for a percussion cap rifle if the price was right.

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
The Hawken's a Lyman repro from Track of the Wolf, and they have both right and left-hand models. My Southern Mountain Rifle's flint also, but the first smokepole was another plains rifle from CVA in kit form, almost 30 years ago, now I think about it!

Jim, thanks for the PM with the CZ! Guess we both should break out the tuxedos and see about the martinis...:D

Ron, I would have loved to see those guns. Track has in the past had some inlay examples, but I draw the line at ten grand for a Berks County or a Lehigh Valley! Black powder gunsmiths are among the best in the world, in my opinion! My lock time's a little long, compared to the Mountain gun, so I may want to fiddle with the diameter of the touchhole insert. Works well with 4f, but I'd rather not have to carry two horns with me. The other works fine with 2f.

You know what I'd really be interested in though, is a British Whitworth Civil War sniper. They outshot the Enfield by about 3 to 1, and were on target at 2,000yds. Hex-shaped twist inside the barrel as opposed to rifling, and shooting a .451 hexagonal bullet. Pedersoli makes a repro, but the barrel comes from Parker Hale. That .451 is a 500gr bullet, long and slender, and the original Whitworths had a 1 in 20 twist. What a rifle to show up with at a modern long range competition!


Active Member
I've had two hawken reproductions to date and both have been a blast to shoot. You are so right that some, not all carried the Hawken. I was surprised to find out during my research of the original rifles that the stories that most of the mountain men carried a Hawken was largly a myth. At the height of the fur trade, the Hawken brothers were only producing roughly 200 rifles a year, and a good portion of those, were shipped elsewhere.

Sent from my little square phone thingy...

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
So true, Mark! The Hawken sales records show only a few true "mountain men" carried them, and I question the timing involved in the appellation "mountain men". Jim Bridger had one, as did Kit Carson, but Bridger bought his in 1843 according to the sales records, and the last "rondy-vous" was in 1840. If-and here's the issue-you associate mountain men with an active fur trade, then they had turned to other pursuits by the end of the trade, and I wouldn't call them "mountain men" but scouts at that point. Guess it's semantics!

The bottom line is, they were made to be long-range open country rifles: plains rifles.


Active Member
I have a .50 Hawken copy, Thompson centre Arms action and a green River barrel . It has dropped deer out to about 200 yards, patched round ball and 90 grains of common black powder. No fancy names just the pound can that I bought in the late seventies.

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
it's probably Goex, Psycho. Good powder, that! My Hawken really likes it, but I'm at 110grains, give or take a "finger imprint" on the powder measure.


Active Member
That green River barrel did not like those heavy loads, spread the shots around too much. 90 keeps them pretty tight, plus my rotator is happier.:D Probably going to have to sell my 30-06 and get something with less recoil.:(
I've a early '90s .54 cal Cabela's italian made hawken from my mom. I built it, finished it, had it blued by a gunsmith. 100 gr. Pyrodex or black, patched round ball, as accurate out to whatever distance I can see as I can make it. It's put plenty of venison in the freezer, and has enough punch for elk. I've not much interest in in-lines or modern "muzzleloaders"..never could get this one to toss a minie ball or conical at all well, and the ball does just fine. Great fun.