My Favorite Rifle.

Everyone needs a favorite rifle.

Mine is a Hawken copy made by Loren “Doc” Brown. Doc is a artist of extraordinary ability. His rifles are made to the highest standards.

The fit and finish of my rifle is superb. There are no gaps in the wood to metal fit, The browning now worn from use, was deep and rich when new. I have had the rifle long enough now that when I shoulder it, the sights align quickly and naturally.

Overall I think it looks, feels and shoots just right.

Doc used a Ron Long lock , an Orion barrel with a 1-72 twist and walnut from a local tree that was hit by lightning to make my rifle.

Quality parts aside, Doc put a lot of himself in each rifle he built. I think of him every time I shoot this rifle.

I use this rifle for everything from target work at a rondezvous or a local rifle match, to hunting. If forced to have only one firearm , my Hawken would be the one. I can depend on this rifle day in or out to score a respectful group or provide food for my table.

Loading is the same no matter if I am shooting paper, a old can or out hunting.

80 grains of 2F, a .15 patch spit for lube if just plinking, bear grease if hunting and a .530 round ball. I find with this  load I need to hold a shade under at 25 yards and just a bit over past 75 yards to hit what I want. Kinda nice having just one load, less to worry about.

This rifle gets lots of attention when we go to a event or a shoot. I use it to demonstrate what a Hawken rifle from the 1840’s would look like.

Having a real Hawken rifle from then would be great, but since the last one I saw for sale sold for almost what I paid for my house , Doc’s rifle will have to do.

Here are some pictures, I hope you enjoy them.


Hawken with shooting bag, Christopher Johnson knife and jacket.

Overall view of right side.

Me, doing my best to hit a gong on the trail walk.

My Three Basic Knives.

Looking at fur trade ledgers, one sees many entries for knives. You can find Pen knives, Jack knives, “Durk” knives, Common, Butcher, Scalping and knives even by brand name such as “Wilson”.

Today I would like to show you my two Butcher knives and one Common knife.

The first is a antler handled knife made by Universal. The blade is what I would call the “common” style of shape.

This knife has a 5 1/2 carbon steel blade, with a slight tapered half tang. The antler handle is held by a steel pin. The knife itself dates from the 1890’s to early 19 teens.

This knife was given to me by my friend Dave.

The knife in the middle is a Christopher Johnson & Co. Butcher style knife.

It is a 5 1/2 in bladed knife with cow horn handles and a full tang.

When I won this knife at a blanket shoot it had on wood handles held with five pins.

After much thinking and studying I came to the conclusion that the handles were a new addition to the knife and Dave added the horn handles.

I believe that this knife came to America in the 1970’s when Atlanta Cutlery imported new old stock blade blanks from England.

Again this knife dates from the 1890’s to early teens.

The last knife is a fabled Russell Green River butcher. Ruxton himself makes much of these knives in his work Life in the Far West. This knife has a 8 inch blade with a tapered tang and a wood handle held with five pins.

I use this knife as a “camp” and cooking knife.

As with the two other knives this one is also from the 1890’s to early teens.

While the dates of these three knives are after the height of the fur trade I believe that all three knives are representative of the basic belt knives of the fur trade.

Knife shapes did not change much in this period. The most note worthy changes in knives from the fur trade era to a knife from today are the use of cutler’s rivets, non tapered tangs and the use of stainless steel.

One last thought, these three knives are pretty plain. No fancy etching or elaborate handles. All three have good honest steel blades, not stainless or any other space age metal.

They do however feel right and work wonderfully.



Why Not Ruxton?

George Ruxton sought out answers….and had a strong desire to learn, share and experience people, places and things.

Ruxton was interested in the “Why is this so”…and “How is this done” type of questions. In his journal of his travels he asks those questions of himself and those who he meets. He also learned from others, even if this meant changing his own preconceived notions.

In his novel he shares what he learned and experienced. Ruxton helped put the Hawken rifle, the Green River knife and the term mountain man into mainstream American culture.

Ruxton was a avid hunter and shooter. From reading his writings one can tell he enjoyed telling of a excellent feat of marksmanship or the odd bit of hunting lore.

One of the goals of this blog and the “museum” is to do just as Ruxton did. To ask why or how. To share and experience with others. Perhaps even open up ourselves or a stranger to a new thought or idea.

I think the best way to learn is through a “hands on” experience. It is not enough to say to someone “This is a old gun, here is how it was shot, this is what it could do”. A better approach is to hand someone a gun from the 1840’s…walk them through how to load and shoot the gun. Then if possible have them shoot the gun.

All while asking questions and experiencing the gun and the lesson.

I think Ruxton would approve.