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 GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist

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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 23rd 2017, 4:41 pm

Bear Claw wrote:
Buck does GRRW.CA do custom (changes if needed from the norm)?

1). Do you think the TOW LH kit is accurate? Will it make an accurate rifle up to GR standards?
2). Why did they offer a LH kit? Is there any record of a LH Hawken being made?
3). What was the barrel length of the original Carson Hawken?

Yes the GRRW.CA smiths will work with you with any concerns, bottom line your the customer and above all they want you to be happy with your build.

We have an old friend that hangs out with the smiths (he's older than us) and will drive you freekin' nuts when you talk about the Kit Carson Hawken. He has schematics of the original rifle CORRECTION - NEVER AT GRRW. He was a student of Greg Roberts (office manager of GGRW), they held classes for those interested in building Hawken rifles.

Herb Troester is on several blogs talking about what to do to make a TOTW Carson kit correct. He is a student of this rifle and has learned his lessons well.  Read this letter he sent me about this gun.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----Original Message-----
To: Buck Conner grrw.ca@gmail.com
From: herbt 
herbt@easilink.com
Sent: Sun, Feb 28, 2016 1:37 pm
Subject: Re: GRRW.CA 02.27.2016 Update on the firearm project.

I am impressed with your web site and how fast you did all this. I saw your Leman at Carl Walker's last Wednesday. 


I do have some comments about your thoughts on Kit Carson rifle parts. You show Track of the Wolf's parts set and blueprint. This drawing is a fantasy rifle bearing no relation to the actual Kit Carson rifle, if that is important to anyone.
 
1). wrong entry pipe - the correct entry pipe is BP-Hawk-TE-7-I.
 
2). wrong buttplate - correct butt plate is the Jim Bridger, and it has a 13 1/4" LOP and not 14 5/8". 
 
3). The Bridger rifle and the Carson are basically twins, except the Carson barrel is about two inches shorter and tapered, the length being 31 1/8" ahead of the snail. I base my knowledge on the drawing of the Bridger that Greg Roberts made of it when they had it at GRRW in 1975, and 23 B&W photos he took, which Carl Walker has. Also color photos that Dave Boender took. And my actual measurements made of the Bridger in the museum at Helena. The length of the Carson barrel comes from the americanlongrifles web site, where someone else actually measured it, Don Stith. None of the measurements of TOTW's Carson rifle are correct, except for the lock and trigger guard.

4). I took Jim Gordon's book with its color photos of the Carson rifle and had a photo shop here enlarge it to life size, based on the 31 1/8" barrel. Thus I am able to lay the parts on the photo and see if they match, or how they differ. I have not asked Jim Gordon's permission to do this, so don't put these photos on your web site. I plan to write him and ask if he could make life size photos of some of the best known Hawkens, from which actual measurements can be made and correct parts chosen or modified to be correct.


Do not put these photos on the GRRW.CA web site

Thus I can tell you the correct lock for both is the Davis Jim Bridger lock.
 
The trigger guard is Track's TG-Hawk-L-B-I or Muzzleloader Builders Supply 14820, which does not have the stud threaded.
 
Ron Long trigger TR-PA-20, and not L&R 1300.
 
Butt Plate is Jim Bridger BP-Hawk-JB-I, but modified. This is done by filing the sides and bottom of the return back to the edge of the flat, with a square corner at the return. Also, take the taper out of the bottom of the return.
 
Correct entry pipe for both is RP-Hawk-TE-7-I. Rod pipes are 1/2" inside diameter on the Bridger.
 
My Bridger copy is based on the GRRW shop info for the Carson rifle. The GRRW 1 1/8" straight barrel I have I got used from Neill Fields, (someone started to build with it and quit) and it was cut to 31" ahead of the snail, so I had to change my forend for this 2" shorter barrel. That just happens to almost exactly match the Carson rifle.
 
MBS has a 1 1/8" cast nose cap, perfect for the 1 1/8" Bridger, Track does not. But the taper at the cap makes the barrel of the Carson about 1 1/16" there, so the cap has to be squeezed or welded a little smaller to fit. Or buy MBS 1" cast and file it open, which is what I do.

I have about 50 measurements of each rifle, copied from Greg Roberts' drawings or the actual Bridger rifle, and from the full scale photo of the Carson. I can share these with your builders if they want them.

 
I am not looking to build, but am working on two Carson rifles right now. Had Carl Walker saw out the stock and route the barrel channel and drill the ram rod hole for them. (Doc White has his copy of the Bridger stock, copied from the original and cut to within 1/16" inch accuracy.)

I will send you photos of the full size enlargement of the Carson rifle with details, and my Jim Bridger copy for comparison.

 
Herb



"Carson full sized enlargement showing 13 ¼”; LOP and buttplate height of 4.4 inches and Track''s Bridger buttplate, which needs to be filed back to match the Carson."


 
"Track's Kit Carson plan showing ridiculous 14 5/8”; LOP. A fantasy rifle. My Bridger rifle for comparison."


 "Full size photo of Carson rifle and my Jim Bridger copy."



"Carson rifle and my Bridger copy"


 
"Carson rifle and my Bridger"



"Don't think this went through before. Carson and my Bridger."


"closeup of Carson photo and Track's Bridger buttplate."
----------------------------------------------------------------

Pete this is probably more information than you wanted, this shows the research these old gunsmith's have put into their firearms they are building.  


Buck

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 23rd 2017, 5:12 pm

I asked about any left hand Hawken to several collectors, GRRW built several of them in the day. For original LH Hawkens I only found a few references, but no pictures Pete.

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 23rd 2017, 5:24 pm

Yes, I know Herb from another forum i'm not on anymore and lately on American Rifleman. We've been talking about the TOW kit.
 I told him Carson was small and so is Herb and a 13'1/4" LOP won't come close to working for me. My normal LOP is 14 1/2". So, some things I can't copy if I want the gun to be comfortable.

What i'm still not clear on is if Hawken ever made a LH gun and what is the length of the barrel on the Carson gun. Herb seems to think the Carson and Bridger gun are the same. The Carson guns barrel is not the length of the gun Herb built. That's easy to see without measuring it.

I wondering why TOW settled on 36" for the barrel? Colerain would have made them any length. Why not 33 1/2" that we know the Bridger gun had if both the Bridger and Carson guns are the same?

I'll figure it out.

edit...You snuck in a post while I was typing. Ok, some hope on the LH guns. Someone on American Rifleman said he saw a LH Hawken full stock. So, I don't feel so bad building a LH gun.

Thanks Buck.

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 23rd 2017, 6:29 pm

Someone should invite Herb here! I loved that old man when I was on that American muzzleloader forum. I however did not like some of the mods on there so I deleted my account.

Would be great to hear from Herb again.
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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 23rd 2017, 8:07 pm

@FrontierGander wrote:
Someone should invite Herb here! I loved that old man when I was on that American muzzleloader forum. I however did not like some of the mods on there so I deleted my account.

Would be great to hear from Herb again.

I agree, he's as ornery as Pete, can piss you off with his attitude so he would fit. Slap fight I'll contact him Jon,

Buck

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 7:31 am

Jon.......He was on Claude's forum when I was there. We had some good battles. Yesterday on American I read all his posts. He does know his Hawkens, but he's so picky if you don't do it his way your gun is garbage. He did say to build the TOW kit, but it wouldn't be accurate. (according to his standards)

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 9:28 am

Wow. He has strong opinions... 

Nope. He would not fit in here. We are all so shy... LaughingLaughingLaughing

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 9:49 am

From what I remember he doesn't like to be challenged on anything he says. He's convinced a 14 1/2" LOP won't fit anybody. Even though I say it fits me perfect.

CVA sells tons of guns and the Accura has a 14 1/2" LOP. Everybody seems to love the Accura MR, because of the way it fits. Herb thinks anything over a 13 1/4" LOP is too long. Maybe for him it is.

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 10:25 am

LOL at rendezvous I mentioned have a 14 1/2" lop and one guy made me take form and he measured my lop. 14 1/2 on the money as I stated!
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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 11:23 am

Bear Claw wrote:
Jon.......He was on Claude's forum when I was there. We had some good battles. Yesterday on American I read all his posts. He does know his Hawkens, but he's so picky if you don't do it his way your gun is garbage. He did say to build the TOW kit, but it wouldn't be accurate. (according to his standards)

I'm looking through my notes from Herb, he had given me a list of the different suppliers that parts could be gotten from to build a very good copy of the Carson rifle. GRRW.CA does use other suppliers than just TOTW, some of the pieces that Track handles are not what the smith's want, example - wood.

Yes, Herb can be picky, he has that old teacher attitude that Pete and myself grew up under (ruler in hand crap). He can drive you crazy if you don't do as he suggests. [ I'll tell you a fun story about him later ].

He can be "picky", "pissey" or a "turd" you'll enjoy Herb. The more you listen to him the more you understand - he's about building a rifles to the exact specs of the original one your copying, that's him. 

I tried to tell him most folks don't have the resources or want to invest that much time and $$$ for a smith to do as he suggests. According to Carl Walker (Herb's good friend) GRRW/GRRW.CA gunsmith, you could build several Hawken's while a Herb spec rifle was being built.


I'll contact him today, if your talkin' Hawken, he will come ......

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 11:31 am

He's in my American Rifleman thread about the TOW kit. He gave me the number of past posts he made about it and I ended up reading all his post. A million of them. 

I actually, like the old coot and understand him. If you talk to him he'll know me through that thread. He doesn't remember me from the other forum as I used a different name on that one. I'm not sure he pays much attention to anybody else's post anyway. He just wants to post his stuff. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 11:33 am

Another one in Utah? What was in the water in Roosevelt... 
That is a nice looking rifle.

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 11:35 am

Bear Claw wrote:
He's in my American Rifleman thread about the TOW kit. He gave me the number of past posts he made about it and I ended up reading all his post. A million of them. 

I actually, like the old coot and understand him. If you talk to him he'll know me through that thread. He doesn't remember me from the other forum as I used a different name on that one. I'm not sure he pays much attention to anybody else's post anyway. He just wants to post his stuff. Smile
 
I just contacted Herb and asked as Jon had mentioned getting him to come here if he would. We'll see if he will.   Slap fight

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 11:38 am

Ok, now i'm confused. Look at this sight Buck. Scroll down to the part about kit's Hawken. The picture is obviously a long barrel. Yet, it says his gun was a .54 cal and 31" long. Something is wrong.

http://www.kitcarsonmuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CourierSpring2014-sm.pdf

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 11:51 am

Ok, I found a picture of the real Carson Hawken. It does look like it has a shorter 31" barrel. Not sure why TOW uses a 36" barrel in their kit with no other option. 31" would be a lot easier on my back and i'd still have an authentic Hawken.



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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 12:02 pm

More info. A Carson kit by Don Stith. Look at the barrel and you'll see he says 31" as the original. I'm just about convinced to build a 31" Kit Carson Hawken. I'm reading a Carson book now. We'll see if any more info on his guns is in it. I always wanted a Bridger Hawken, but considering my age and crappy back. I'm happy with a Carson version. It will be much more pleasant to shoot and hunt with.


http://donstith.com/kit_carson.html

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 12:08 pm

More. Look close and you can see it's 31" on the yardstick.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tsjcroostersnatchers/sets/72157623758126706/

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 12:13 pm

Last one and i'm finally convinced.

http://www.hawkenrifles.com/kit.shtml

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 12:54 pm

Bear Claw wrote:
Ok, now i'm confused. Look at this sight Buck. Scroll down to the part about kit's Hawken. The picture is obviously a long barrel. Yet, it says his gun was a .54 cal and 31" long. Something is wrong.

http://www.kitcarsonmuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CourierSpring2014-sm.pdf


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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 12:59 pm

Bear Claw wrote:
Last one and i'm finally convinced.

http://www.hawkenrifles.com/kit.shtml

The real is in Jim Gordon's collection. MADE A MISTAKE ITS IN THE MONTEZUMA LODGE IN SANTE FE.

Herb has been down to Jim's place in New Mexico, taken pictures and measurements of his rifles. Then really studied all the parts and pieces - comparing each suppliers wares to the original items. He knows as much as anyone on this rifle, no bull, period.

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 3:42 pm

All i'm talking about is the barrel length Buck. Not the rest of the gun. I see too many guys saying the original Carson was 31". It's not hard to see the real gun and copy that part. Even Herb agrees 31" is correct.

So, I ask again. Why is TOW kit a 36" barrel? Not even close and I have to go to the trouble of cutting it to 31".

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 4:25 pm

Bear Claw wrote:
All i'm talking about is the barrel length Buck. Not the rest of the gun. I see too many guys saying the original Carson was 31". It's not hard to see the real gun and copy that part. Even Herb agrees 31" is correct.

So, I ask again. Why is TOW kit a 36" barrel? Not even close and I have to go to the trouble of cutting it to 31".

Because that's the length these barrel makers supply the barrel blanks in, nothing to do with the gun being built. knucklehead

I was at Carl Walkers a few weeks ago and he has probably a dozen pieces of barrels from 6 inches to 4 inches in length (cut off barrels) of Hawken rifles built in his scrap metal barrel.

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 24th 2017, 4:36 pm

Colerain would supply the barrels to TOW in 31" length.  Why not make the kit accurate? 

They aren't blank barrels. The muzzle is finished and so is the breech end. Then they could make the under rib the correct length too. They advertise it as a Kit Carson kit. What part of it is Kit Carson? It's the same as the Bridger gun which also has the wrong length barrel.

It's not like the kit is cheap. Knucklehead.

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 25th 2017, 5:50 pm

Heard back from Herb, he has too many irons in the fire to be on here, but is willing to help those with questions on the Hawken guns. That's very nice of him to offer.  Here's his reply to this conversation on Hawken's and their guns, several of us he has corrected our remarks. 


I stand corrected Herb, thank you.
______________________________________________________________________

It was OK to share this information.  I did get Jim Gordon's permission to copy his photos to help anyone who wanted the help.
 
Comment by Bear Claw (he says he wants an authentic Hawken). 'Herb built a Bridger 1/8" to 1' 33" and it was over 10  pounds'.

I said I had a GRRW barrel that was 31" long, 1 1/8 straight, and my copy weighed 10 pounds 8 ounces, IRC.  The original Bridger I measured at Helena, MT as 33 3/4" from snail to muzzle, and it was 1.185 wide ahead of the snail and 1.12 at the muzzle.

I scaled Liver Eating Johnson's rifle from Gordon's book.  If the lock is 5" long, the barrel is 31.75" and the trigger reach is 13.37", and Johnson was 6' 4" tall (it is in one of my AMLR posts) and weighed 270 pounds.


Connor said the Kit Carson Hawken was at GRRW.  No, they never had it, they had the Bridger rifle for about four years (IIRC) and I handled it there in 1978.

Bear Claw refers to American Rifleman, but the name of the site is americanlongrifles.com.  He said 'Herb seems to think the Carson and Bridger guns are the same.'  No, I said the Bridger had a barrel over two
inches longer but otherwise they were near twins.  Though I have not yet personally handled and measured the Carson rifle, one reference (Galamb) says it measures 1.129 ahead of the snail and 1.065 at the muzzle.  I don't
know where he got this.  And the Bridger barrel is not tapered, Carl Walker said you could make that much difference with a file.

Frontier Gander- Thanks.  It is nice to be loved, or even appreciated.  I freely share what I know that will help others, and so do many more on the AMLR forum, but it is uncommon for the original poster to come back and say thanks for the effort.

Bear Claw- I have assembled the most accurate measurements and details and even photos of these Hawkens and freely share them.  If you want the most authentic Hawken you can have built, as you wrote, I have shared what I know.  If somebody just wants a generic Track of the Wolf Hawken, that's fine.  'He's convinced a 14 1/2" LOP won't fit anybody'.  Never did I say that.  But probably 90 out of 100 people would shoot a shorter LOP better and most of those will be uncomfortable with such a long trigger reach. Hell, even Daisy Red Ryder BB guns have a 13 7/8" LOP for little boys- and you know how they hold the gun.

Conner- The real (Carson?) is in Jim Gordon's collection'.  No- it is in the Montezuma Lodge at Sante Fe.  I have been to Gordon's museum but have not yet handled the original Carson rifle.  I have carefully handled,
measured and photographed the Bridger rifle in Helena and a  Hawken  in Cheyenne and the "Robidoux" Hawken in Lincoln.

It takes a lot of time, photography and effort to post on forums, and I doubt I could contribute much to yours.  I have my hands full building a rifle for my antelope hunt this September.  It will be a Hawken fullstock caplock (because I like that shape) with a 13 1/4" LOP, but a .50 caliber 32" Rice Jaeger (swamped) barrel.  I will not call it a Hawken, but a plains rifle.  I will post about this on AMLR in time.  If any of your members want information I have or advice, they can E-mail me.   I have no interest in building for others.  Best wishes to all.  Herb

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PostSubject: Re: GRRW.CA - Kit Carson Rifle Revist   June 25th 2017, 6:22 pm

Interesting.

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