Another impulse purchase, this was acquired at a store in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, during my road trip in May 2007. It's the first blackpowder long gun I've owned. In .54 caliber, thus far I've used .530" round ball; I believe the rifling twist is 1:48". As of this writing, late May 2007, I've only started working with it but my first session put four of five shots in less than 2", centered on point-of-aim, at 50 yards from the bench. Most likely, load development and more care in loading will improve this performance.
This is not a true reproduction of an original Hawken, but the styling is similar. Made by Armi Sport in Italy, it features a 29" barrel, a step-adjustable rear sight which can be drifted for windage, a color-case-hardened lockplate from which much of the color has been blasted off by cap flames, no patchbox, and a plastic buttplate largely concealed by the period-style sling. At present the ramrod needs replacement, as it is missing the protective cap on the storage end and is not threaded for cleaning tips. The trigger is pretty good and the rear sight is a buckhorn style, allowing quick aiming for different distances without adjustment. The front sight is plain steel with a bead cross-section. My current load is a .530" round ball with a .015" lubed patch over 60gr by volume 2F black powder, but that won't last; I have thinner patches which I hope will speed the loading process, and I'll be increasing the powder charge and trying different powders, and possibly different projectiles. At 60gr with round ball there's not much recoil.
UPDATE, late 2007: In recent months I've been experimenting with cast Minié bullets from a Lee mold donated by a reader. Unfortunately my first experiments were with a hard alloy which I thought was pure lead but wasn't, and accuracy sucked - though the rifle can cut cloverleafs at 25yds when I go back to patched round ball. I melted down some other roundball and made some pure-lead Miniés but haven't tested them yet. Keeping the rifle, anyway. More work with it this spring when the weather sucks less.
UPDATE, 9 February 2008: Ohhh yeah, I'm keeping it. See journal entry for range report.
Return to Jeffersonian's Page