I need help with the value of a Green River Rifle Works S J Hawken 50 cal. rifle. Like most Hawkens this has steel furniture, hooked breech 1" on the flats, 8 lands and groves, barrel marked with WM (does anyone know who this maker was? I understand that GRRW had a number of good gunsmiths), lightly use, shot one time then stored. Wood is plain maple a few marks from storage. photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/steg86/GRRW50 Thanks steg49
Wopps :eek:, disregard the last photo of the full rifle that is the Layman model (I have both the Layman (approx value $800 from GB) and the Hawkens) The frist three photos are of the Hawkens with set triggers and two barrel keys and hooked breech, that is the one I need help with the value on. Steg49.
It is difficult to give you a specific value on your GRRW J&S Hawken because there aren't very many that come on the market. I have one that looks just like yours that I recently purchased for $1000. It isn't in as good of shape as yours as the original owner used it as his primary hunting rifle for 20+ years. I have also seen some for sale on Track of the Wolf's (TOTW) website for as high as $2000, but most the GRRW Hawkens that I have seen sold on the internet have gone for something in the middle of this range. Back in June of 2004, TOTW website sold a rifle like ours (serial # H-053) for $1400.
Here are some pics of my GRRW J&S Hawken.
Here are some shots of the rifle sold on TOTW.
You mentioned in your post that the barrel is marked with WM. Typically, Green River Rifle Works marked their early rifles with a stamp like this one:
Later rilfes were stamped with GRRW over Roosevelt, Utah like this:
In addition to the makers stamp, you should also see a caliber stamp such as .50 and a serial number such as H-053 on the rifle sold by TOTW some where on the barrel. Mine is stamped .54 and H-112. It seems that on later rifles, GRRW dropped the H and just had the serial number as shown in the picture above.
The WM stamp that you mentioned is stamped on the inside of the lock plate on my rifle. I have seen two different names attributed to this stamp on TOTW. One is William Morgan and the other is William Moore. I don't know which is correct nor do I know if either ever worked for GRRW. I had assumed that WM was the person that made the lock. I have a lock kit of the same lock that is also stamped WM on it. Dixie Gun Works used to sell this lock kit back in the 70's. The WM stamped on your barrel may suggest that he did work for GRRW. Another possibility is that if your rifle lacks the "Green River Rifle Works" or the "GRRW" stamp, it may be a kit that was assembled by WM.
According to a very reliable source, GRRW used Douglas barrels on their early rifles before they started making their own barrels. The Douglas barrels had 8 grooves and lands while the GRRW made barrels had 7 grooves and lands. Mine also has 8 grooves and lands, indicating a Douglas barrel.
These early rifles also used other components from Cherry Corners such breech plug and tang, trigger guard, and sometimes triggers. Cherry Corners was one of the early suppliers of authentic Hawken parts. The Ithaca Hawken used Cherry Corners breech plug & tang, lock, triggers, etc. (I believe I have seen references that Ithaca had bought Cherry Corners, but I could be wrong.)
Based on the pictures of your rilfe, it appears to be an early GRRW J&S Hawken just like mine and the one sold on TOTW. I have exchanged notes with two other owners of this early GRRW Hawken. All of these were stamped with "Green River Rifle Works" over "Roosevelt, Utah" and the caliber and serial number preceded by an "H" somewhere on the barrel. I'm a little puzzled by your barrel markings, though.
plmeek, thanks so much for your detailed replay, it is very helpful. My rifle does have Green River Rifle Works Roosevelt, Utah stamped just after the back sight, it also has .50 H-067 on the barrel near the breech (meaning an older rifle) and has the 8 groves thus Douglas barrel. The inside of the lock has WM 067, this rifle was probably shot one time then stored, it has a few marks from the safe but that is about all. Your knowledge on price is very helpful also. the Leman rifle I have also has the Green River Rifle Works, roosevelt, Utan stamped on the barrel just after the back sight and has .45 and just the number by the breech inside of that lock is marked R Kern. It was also shot one time then put away, it was still in the shipping box when I purchased it. I have one other rifle I would like you to look at, I was told it also is a GRRW rifle, it like the other two has the Green river stamp on the barrel but back by the breech there is an interesting makers mark? the inside of the lock is marked JJ. Pic of this rifle at http://picasaweb.google.com/steg86/Longrifle Thanks again for your help, steg49
Glad to be of help. I like sharing info on these old rifles and learning new things.
You have a nice little collection of GRRW rifles. The third rifle is an excellent example of their version of a Tennessee or Southern Mtn. rifle. GRRW referred to it as their Poor Boy.
I have a couple of GRRW's sales brochures--one circa 1977 and the other circa 1979. Unfortunately, I didn't get interested in black powder shooting early enough to have ordered one of their earlier brochures, so I don't know exactly what they first offered. I think your Hawken and Leman were the first models offered, though. Your serial number would likely put it in the first or second year of production. By 1977-78, they were no longer listing the same early J&S model as yours in their brochure, though they state you could order an early model with a flat-to-wrist guard. I bought one on these off the TOW website a couple years ago.
Their circa 1977 brochure lists a half stock S Hawken for $550, the half stock Leman (they called it the Leman Trade Rifle) for $350, a full stock Hawken in either flint or percussion, a full stock Leman they called the Leman Indian Rifle (no price quote on the full stocks because of a 2+ year delivery time), a scaled down Leman half stock called the Little Leman, and a Trappers Pistol starting at $300.
By 1979, their Price List includes the Poor Boy at $530. The Leman half stock had gone up to $400, the Leman Indian Rifle was $550, the half stock S Hawken went for $725, the Hawken full stock for $850, and the Trappers Pistol for $375.
Here is a scan of the circa 1979 brochure showing the Poor Boy and other offerings.
Here is a page from the circa 1977 brochure you might find interesting in that it lists a number of the people working for them.
I don't know the date of the photograph and don't think it lists everybody that worked for them. I know of at least a couple other people working there in the mid- to late-70's that aren't in the photo.
My guess is that R Kern and JJ could have been GRRW locksmiths. I ordered a full stock flintlock kit from GRRW in 1979 (delivered in 1980). It came with a Siler flintlock that is stamped with JJ inside the lock plate. The internals are highly polished and expertly hardened. Since Siler often sold his locks as kits and GRRW employed locksmiths, it stands to reason that the lock was assembled at GRRW by JJ. I suspect the Hawken locks with J&S Hawken and engraving as part of the casting were also assembled by GRRW locksmiths. I had assumed WM was the source of the lock kit and not a GRRW employee since I have seen the same lock with the WM stamp on rifles not made by GRRW. Your Hawken lock with the serial number stamped on it might suggest otherwise. Especially, if the WM and 067 appear together.
Beck, I can't cite a source, but also seem to remember reading that Bill Large was influential in getting GRRW in the barrel making business. Seem to remember that they may have bought some of their barrel making equipment from him, but I could be wrong.
Thanks again, my printer was busy again this morning printing your info. I did find an add in an old Muzzleblasts dated Jan 1973 where GRRW announces the Leman Indian Trade Rifle in cal 45-50-54-58 the add also announces the S. Hawkens halfstock will be available about mid 1973. thanks also for the info on the poorboy, it like the others was shot one time and put away. all these (and others) came from the same estate and I'm trying to get info on the builders and values and I will need to sell some in the future. I started shooting blackpowder in the early 80's. I bought a TC kit and found that there was not enough drop in the stock for me, left a 2 inch bruse on my cheek, thus I started building my own rifles. still building about one a year as time permits. thanks again for the info. steg49
I looked closly at the 79 brochure, the Leman trade rifle half stock has two triggers the older models had a single trigger and the Poor Boy is shown with a single trigger, mine has set triggers (may have be an option to order different triggers?)
You're right, steg, there are a number of options listed in the brochure from upgrades to fancy wood, set triggers, scroll or flat-to-wrist trigger guard, brass or iron trim, and flint or percussion. Some of their rifles were essentially semi-custom arms with the many options available and the excellent workmanship. You can see quite an improvement on the fit and finish from the early guns to the ones made in the late 70's. Of course, $850 for a full stock Hawken was a hefty sum back in '79, but you got your money's worth.
Let me know when you're get ready to let go of some of these.
I just acquired a replica Hawken rifle.
In looking for info I stumbled on this post.
The lock is identical to the one pictured above (marked J & S Hawken)
Inside is marked:
"WM W. Morgan 80"
(there is more space than shown between WM and W, also between Morgan and 80. Won't save format here)
So I too am interested in finding out about this guy.
Is 80 the rifle serial number? Year made?
Maybe he just assembled various kits as semi-custom guns.
Barrel has no markings other than what looks to be a center punch dot at breech on top flat.
Interested in a comparison to GRRW rifles vs mine.
Barrel is straight taper 1-1/8" to 1", 54cal, 6 deep grooves narrow lands, 36-1/2" long.
Breech plug/tang "interface" is slanted, not perpendicular
Lock plate is set at a taper from barrel axis.
i.e. measurement of stock width (Left to Right) is wider at front of lock than at rear of lock. A very subtle detail often not addressed.
Nice curly maple.
My gun either was used a lot or expertly aged. It looks just like an old original with lots of dings, light metal pitting and patina.
The J&S Hawken stamp on lock is barely readable
Bore is in excellent shape.
Thanks for any info. Maybe there is a money making opportunity for someone to write a book about the many contemporary (1960-90) replica companies and makers of Mountain Man guns.
There are major differences between these two rifles, the GRRW has 1", no taper, the hook breech is flat, no taper on the lock plate it's flat to the barrel, there are 8 groves. The inside of the GRRW lock is marked WM 067, the barrel is marked 067. If you gun was made in the 1980's them W Morgan may have supplied lock to different gun makers thus GRRW may have bought locks from him, your rifle builder may have done the same. Than again your rifle may be older, I have several nice shooters from the 1840's so there are still some around. My question now is did GRRW get an exact copy of the orginal S J Hawken lock? steg49
My question now is did GRRW get an exact copy of the orginal S J Hawken lock? steg49
I've been trying to find online, good close-up pics of original rifles.
Not a lot of luck and I don't have any good books.
They did use different styles of locks on the guns according to most sources. Most were plain I think.
One rifle I did see REALLY close, in fact held it in my hands, was at a local auction here in SoCal.
It had some similar floral work on the lock but didn't recall any text.
I was trying to take good pics but my G@# D%&* Canon digital camera decided to take a crap at that exact time.
I don't want to engage in "faking" or fraud but...
I wonder if it's considered OK to stamp or engrave the barrel with "J & S HAWKEN ST LOUIS" on a replica??
What I have is here, from auction catalog.
With metal discoloration it's hard to see details but there was engraving.
(Sorry for picture sizes. I can't seem to re-size them smaller here)
Original full-stock Hawken (sold for $45,000 + 10% Premium + 9% Sales Tax)
Nice rifle. I saw this listed on the auction site. Wondered who the lucky winner was.
I wish I had more info on W Morgan. I do have some dope on the lock. It was copied from this rifle.
This is a photo of an original full stock Hawken once in the Orville Dunham collection. John Baird has several pictures of it in his books on the Hawken rifle. Some people believe it and the Archie Peterson Hawken (also described in Baird's first book and now in the Buffalo Bill museum in Cody, WY) are two of the earliest extant J&S Hawkens.
This replica lock was available as a kit in the 70s and you can see it listed in Dixie Gun Works catalogs of the period. I still have one of the lock kits unassembled and it is stamped with the WM on the inside of the plate. The style of engraving was fairly common back then, but the Dunham rifle is the only one I know of that also had J&S Hawken stamped on it. (There are a few other pistols and rifles with J&S Hawken stamped on the lock, but the features of the lock plates vary.)
The Griffith Tool Co made a similar lock in the 70s and 80s, but they did not have the rolled engraving on their locks. The Hawken Shop in Oak Harbor, Washington still offers their version of the Griffith lock. Several original J&S Hawken rifles had this style of lock with the curved web from the bolster to the front of the lock plate. Other J&S Hawken rifles had locks with a square corner, so either is correct for a J&S Hawken replica. All of the Sam Hawken rifles I've seen pictured had the square corner.(The Modena rifle may be the exception, but it likely originated as a J&S rifle and was later re-barreled by Sam.) Krohn, I'm only guessing from the pictures of your rifle, but the breech plug and snail on your rifle looks like the ones that the Hawken Shop sold when Art Ressell owned it and ran it out of St. Louis in the 70s and 80s. The slant breech and 1-1/8" size also matches the Hawken shop breech plug. The Hawken Shop was later sold and moved to Washington state. Unfortunately, the present owners do not offer the same breech plug and tang. Ressell's Hawken Shop offered a version of the S Hawken rifle with this breech plug as a finished product or a kit. They had a lock that used a plate that was an exact casting from one of the original Hawkens in Ressell's collection. He offered the lock with internals from the best lock makers of the time such as Ron Long, Bob Roller, and Al Shillinger. You could tell it was one of the Hawken Shop's locks because it had in the casting the stamp of T. Gibbons along with Long's, or Roller's, or Shillinger's makers mark. Ressell's Hawkens often came with a Bill Large barrel. All of his components were top notch.
I'm only guessing, but your rifle looks like it was made by some unknown maker that used parts from several different suppliers. Bill Large supposedly helped GRRW get started in the barrel making business. They both cut their rifles with 7 grooves and lands. Since your rifle has six grooves, I'm not sure of its source.
If you have some basic gunsmithing skills, you might want to disassemble the rifle and see if it has any marks on the trigger bar. The triggers look like they could be Ron Long triggers (now made by R. E. Davis). Bob Roller and Cain also made triggers that looked similar. They definitely don't look like L&R or Cherry Corners triggers.
Unless the "80" on the lock plate is repeated somewhere else on the rifle, my guess is that it represents the year the lock was assembled. My GRRW J&S Hawken that is like Steg's does not have any numbers on the lock plate--just the WM stamp. There is a possibility that W. Morgan built the rifle. It would explain why this lock has his name and a date while other similar locks only have the initials.
I agree that is a beautiful piece of wood. The only thing that kept me from bidding on it was that I didn't care for the treatment of the lock panel. Just my opinion, but I didn't think it was done right.
There are other features of your rifle that are correct and used by highly respected makers including GRRW such as the tapered barrel, slant breech, and taper of the lock panels which were wider at the front than the rear when looked on from above. Many original Hawkens had these features but many other originals had straight breeches, straight barrels sized anywhere between 1" and 1-1/4", and no taper between the lock panels. There can be so many subtle differences in original Hawkens that no two are exactly alike. Exactly what you would expect in completely hand made rifles that spanned almost four decades and no telling how many different workers involved over the years.
Legally, there is nothing wrong with stamping a replica with J&S or S Hawken as long as you or someone else doesn't try to pass it off as an original. Ethically, there likely are differing opinions. Some builders, out of respect to the Hawken brothers, would not put the Hawken name on a rifle that wasn't built by a Hawken. My opinion is that it is ok as a decoration as long as the modern builder stamps or engraves his or her name somewhere on the rifle.
In answer to your question about pictures of original Hawkens, go to this link:
Search on "Hawken", "S Hawken", "J&S Hawken", and "Gemmer". You will find a number of original rifles represented. The best part is that you can zoom in on details in the photographs. When I last visited, they had a couple of pictures mixed up, but this is the best online source.
Another excellent source for photos of original rifles is a three volume set of books, "Great Gunmakers for the Early West" by James D. Gordon. They are expensive at $300 for the set, but worth the money if you are a serious student or builder of trade guns used in the west from the 1700s to the 1870s. There are just under 30 different Hawken rifles and pistols featured. Most have several different views of each gun and all are in color.
I really enjoy listening to someone with a real expertise no matter what the subject is. Kinda like listening to Modern Marvels on TV.
I'll say to you too. I hope this type info can be recorded in some form, book or web site. Some Centalized source of info. Like Wikipedia maybe.
These tidbits about current makers etc will otherwise be puzzled over the way we puzzle over the original makers.
At the time it just seemed like maybe it wasn't that big a deal and I can always ask so-and-so.
Of course it's easy for me to expect others to do it.
The picture of the lock you posted is just fantastic.
I just wish, as above, that there was a central location of all known pictures of all known Hawken guns.
Hopefully I can start building a library of books.
Here is a pic of the markings on inside of lock.
The stamping was obviously done with different sets of stamps.
I forgot to mention the little logo. Maybe a Buffalo Head? (is asymmetrical though)
The other marking is on breech plug and is simply "A 2"
The trigger assembly has a W Morgan stamp also.
The Buffal Bill museum has pretty good pics but in this case not enough zoom to see lock marks if any. I did copy pics of all the barrel stampings for future reference. I guess of I did stamp my new gun I'd also stamp "REPLICA" on it somewhere, maybe bottom flat of barrel. That's always been a sore point with me that replicas are not marked as such.
Especially when they are "antiqued" or aged.
I know experts may be able to remove them but gee, why make it so easy to fool a some poor guy.
Again, thank you very much for the info and picture.
PS RE Auction: Thanks for NOT bidding and allowing me to have the closest thing to an original I'll ever get. :D
After seeing the picture of the stampings on the inside of the lock plate and reading your statement that W. Morgan is also stamped on the lock assembly, I think you can be 90%, or better, confident the W. Morgan built the rifle and that 80 represents the year he built it.
Why he put his name on these parts and not the barrel is a bit of a mystery, but then again, some builders like to be less conspicuous with their makers marks.
Bob and Phil this get more interesting. I have another halfstocked rifle with G. R. Douglas barrel, the inside of the lock has the same bull head and #86. The bull head must be the stamp of the lock maker, may be it w. morgan or morgan stamped his name there because he made the rifle? The wood on this rilfe is also fancy curly maple not striped like Bobs but more mottled or swirled. steg49
I worked as a gun maker for Green River Rifle Works from the summer of 1974 until early 1976 (best as I can recall). I also had a small muzzle loading supply shop prior to going to work for them and sold a number of their kit guns which I built and then sold. While there we used a number of different vendors for all sorts of parts including William Morgan locks, Douglass barrels and various others. We also played around with different ways to rifle barrels and came up with some interesting stuff. Once we messed around with very narrow, deep grooves and wide lands. Seems we got to look at a few original Leman guns with rifling like that so we tried it. They shot pretty well but we did not stay with it. Don't recall why.
Lot's of things were tried to keep orders going out the door and to try to come up with a well made product that was as authentic as we could make it without obvious modern fabrication methods. All cast parts were carefully finished (at least on visible surfaces) so that obvious signs of casting were removed. We used period finishing materials and whenever possible, techniques.
You can only make generalities about a gun with any particular part, from a particular vendor, that indicates it being from a particular era of the companies short existence. It WAS a very special place with mostly great folks to work with, turning out a very good product for a decent price. GRRW guns SHOULD command a high price considering their quality, authenticity and history. At the time no other company making as many guns per week as we did offered anything as authentic as the Lemans, Hawken rifles, and a very few North West guns as we did. The "Poor Boy" rifle was not a copy of any particular rifle but all the features were correct.
All of which to say: WM was simply the cast in stamp found on all William Morgan style locks. It was not the touch mark of any of the gun builders there. Those marks were usually placed on the side flat near the breech end. I think it's safe to say that a number of the earliest GRRW guns did not have makers touch marks. Few if any of the kit guns had touch marks because we knew anything could happen to them before they were finished and some we sure would not want our marks on!
As far as value goes: Recently a GRRW Hawken rifle that I built showed up on Track of the Wolf. The asking price was $2499. It was on the site for a few weeks and then gone. Maybe they actually got that price and maybe they didn't. Track will usually put a price on and leave it there until it sells. At any rate I was flattered to see it at least start that high.
I'm still building guns and now and then still do a Hawken rifle. If I can help anyone interested in the GRRW history I'll do the best I can to help.
PS on Steg49 s GRRW Hawken. "The wood on the rifle is also fancy curly maple not striped like Bobs but more mottle or swirled."
GRRW also got wood wherever it could be found for decent prices. For a while we got western maple that does not have the striped or "fiddle Back" figure the eastern sugar maple does. The western maple is a bit softer with the different pattern figure. This is in part due to the faster growth of the western wood.
Your welcome. The site was actually forwarded to my by a customer friend of mine. Maybe its just my age (66) or the fact that while I love life here in a remote village in Alaska I do feel pretty cut off from the world now and then and this helps me feel a bit connected again. Somewhere is all my books I have an old logbook that contains the numbers and some names of customers of the guns I built while at GRRW. Also; my touch mark was a simple upper case 'O' with a lower case "p" inside it. Perhaps this will help someone trying to figure out who made a gun with that mark on it. Everything I have read on this thread is pretty accurate as far as I can recall - that was a long time ago. Its nice to see some are working at keeping the memory of GRRW alive. I'll do whatever I can to help. Trying to keep my hand in building guns is one way. A number of the guys that worked there still build guns or are involved in the craft somehow. Our skills have increased over the years and we are blessed to have been part of the GRRW history. My primary responsibility in life now is pastoring a small Native village church. The gun work helps keep beans and bacon on the table and a roof over our heads.
Again - whatever I can do to help anyone who has a question about GRRW I'll try. Those were 'shining times'!
I haven't visited the gunboards in a while and am just now seeing these newer posts. I too thank you, Ron, for your additions.
Thought I would share some photos of a GRRW Hawken that Ron built while he worked there. This one is .58 caliber with a 1" x 36" barrel.
This rifle was built with an underrib that is thinner than the standard 1/4" rib. This allows for a slimmer forearm and overall sleeker rifle.
On Dr. Gary White's website (whitemuzzleloading.com), he shows the following picture of his favorite original Hawken rifle that he was able to handle and examine in Alaska while stationed there. (Note this original is now in Jim Gordon's collection in New Mexico.) Notice how similar Ron's rifle is to this original.
Here is a photo of Ron's makers mark.
Ron also added his initials with the standard serial number and caliber stamps.
Here is a photo of the lock area. It has a Ron Long Hawken lock and a Cherry Corners breech and tang.
Ron also penciled in his name and date inside the barrel channel.
I do have a couple questions for you, Ron. This rifle has a name engraved on the barrel. Do your records show this person as the original owner of the rifle? Carl Walker told me once that he didn't recall anyone at GRRW doing custom engraving on their rifles. He thought the engraving was "after market". Is this consistent with your recollections, Ron?