Hawken Rifles

Hawken Rifles

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Hawken Rifles seen on the Denny Ducet Channel – as requested by some. The one my dad is using (opening shot) he has had since before I was born. It is a very well made, authentic in design percussion fired Ithaca/Navy Hawken Rifle in .54 caliber. See Below:

Ithaca Hawken – Ithaca Gun Co.

“GRRW’s success prompted others to enter the market. Green River Forge was the first with a replica of a Northwest trade gun in 1974. Sharon Rifle Barrel Co. soon followed, first with muzzleloader barrels in 1974, then a Hawken kit in 1976. Ithaca Gun Co. decided to enter the black powder gun market, purchased Cherry Corners Mfg. Co. in 1976, and began producing the Ithaca Hawken at the beginning of 1977. Mountain Arms, later to become Ozark Mountain Arms, was next to enter the market in 1977 with a copy of a copy of one of the Hawken rifles in Art Ressel’s collection. Art Ressel had opened The Hawken Shop a few years earlier as a muzzleloader store, but it wasn’t until 1977 that he began offering parts for a Hawken rifle that were cast from originals in his collection. The Italian company, A. Uberti & Co., and Leonard Allen’s Western Arms Corp worked together to bring to market the Santa Fe Hawken rifle in 1979. Uberti’s Hawken was clearly the most successful, selling as many as 10,000 finished rifles and kits, and lasting into the early 2000’s.

The Ithaca Hawken was the first mass produced rifle called a “Hawken” that actually looked like a Hawken rifle. Ithaca used all the component parts that Cherry Corners had developed including the lock, breech & tang, triggers, guard, and butt plate. Ithaca designed their own stock that was shaped and inlet by Reinhart Fajen while the 1″ x 32″ barrels were supplied by Douglas[1].

A lot of custom Hawken rifles in the 1970’s were being built with German silver barrel key escutcheons and nose cap or poured pewter nose cap. Ithaca chose to duplicate this look with German silver for the barrel key escutcheons, but interestingly chose to use an aluminum alloy for the nose cap.

The Ithaca/Navy Arms Hawken was built entirely in the U.S. using the same tooling, dies, parts and specifications that Ithaca had used. The only difference between these early Ithaca/Navy Arms Hawken rifles and the Ithaca Hawken rifles was the barrel markings.

Sometime in the 1980’s, Navy Arms stop building the rifle in the U.S. and started importing Uberti’s Hawken rifle from Italy, but continued to market it and stamp the barrels as the Ithaca/Navy Arms Hawken rifle. They eventually dropped it from their catalog in the late 1990’s.

Navy Arms put serial numbers on their kit rifles, and I suspect Ithaca did, too. The Navy Arms/Ithaca kit barrel with SN 2564 is shown below along with the the barrels from the two Ithaca Hawken rifles, SN’s H-225 and H-254. Note that Ithaca used an “H” prefix and also stamped a “G” on the bottom flat of the barrel. Not sure what the significance of the “G” is unless it might be an inspection mark.

The truth is that the Ithaca Hawken is not an exact copy of any particular Hawken rifle. Bud Brown developed the component parts over a number of years from different Hawken rifles he had seen or photos he studied. The Ithaca Hawken is best described as a typical or generic Sam Hawken rifle of the 1850’s.”

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