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Thread: Hawken wedges

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


    GregLaROCHE's Avatar
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    Hawken wedges

    I have a Hawken type reproduction and one of the wedges keeps falling out. Is there a specific way to solve this problem?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    First the obvious. Did you try inserting form the opposite side or inserting upside down? These may have been tried already but get rid of the obvious stuff first. If these don't work, you may try putting a slight bend in the wedge or checking the lug on the barrel to be sure it is not out of shape.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    not the best but a piece of paper or cardboard will work
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I would first look for wear on the wedge and in he lug see where it is worn also the stock cuts. If its in the wedge the wedge can be bent or peened up to fit,In the lug it can be peened up again but is trickier. A light layer of solder applied may add enough or a this shim soldered in place. in the wood make a thinner wedge and bed the stock back up.
    You may be able to bed the barrel up a few thousands higher and tighten the wedge back up also. A couple 3 layers of paper under the barrel front and back smaller wedges bed up tight on paper then with the new fitting the wedges should be tight again

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Slightly bend the wedge.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I only have single wedge guns.
    a couple of em definitely shoot better with a couple layers of manilla folder card right at the forend cap - I want that wedge tight !

    That said I wonder if both wedges tight might disturb things ? bench shoot it with and without?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    I had one that I fixed by bending the wedge. Not much, a little is all you need.
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  8. #8
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    Bend it.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I am with the bending of the wedge.
    I have put a oiled paper shim under the barrel.
    That works good.
    But you have to remember to reinstall it every time you pull the barrel.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    On a couple of mine I have slightly bent the wedge and have bend down when inserted into the stock. Have also drilled a hole in the tips of the wedge and threaded a bootlace through the hole and tied off then cut, this stops all chance of the wedge slipping out when in use.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Lost one and then made a replacement out of s piece of brass. Easy to file & shape. Ended up looking great.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Or just beat it a time or two , fatter works every time it's tried ./Ed

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Greg,
    Bending the wedge will put more tension on it and keep it snug but it's not a positively sure thing that you won't lose that wedge at some point in the future. The ONLY way to insure you never lose the wedge is to capture it inside the gun. Here's how I did mine;

    Remove the barrel from the stock. Remove one of the escutcheons. Cut a slot almost all the way down the middle of the wedge. I used a Dremel tool with a flexible cut-off wheel but you could also drill a series of holes and use a hacksaw blade to finish it. I had to use a hacksaw blade to get down to the end on mine. Then cut a piece of metal pin (such as a paper clip or a sewing needle) just long enough to fit in the recess under the escutcheon on the stock. Make a small "V" cut above and below the wedge slot in the stock with a sharp chisel, it needn't be very deep. Put the wedge through the slot in the escutcheon and insert the tip into the slot in the stock, and slide the pin into place through the slotted wedge and into it's seat in the stock. Push the escutcheon and wedge home and re-install the escutcheon screws. It might at first seem like a lot of messing around, but you'll NEVER lose that wedge.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Lots of good advice. Thanks. I think I will start with bending it and go from there if needed.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by rancher1913 View Post
    not the best but a piece of paper or cardboard will work
    That's what I do with one of my rifles that has a loose wedge. It's easy and you can't see that little piece of paper when the rifle is assembled unless you looked really close. I don't want to chance bending the wedge or tenon to make it tighter.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Instead of bending the wedge try tapping on the barrel lug. This way the wedge can stay strait so it does not matter which side is up. The slotted wedge with a small nail to keep from loosing it is an old idea, I have a pistol in the shop now that was probably made in the 1850s with a slotted wedge.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    I can understand the slotted wedge way of doing it. Can someone provide a picture or sketch of how it works?
    Thanks

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    I can understand the slotted wedge way of doing it. Can someone provide a picture or sketch of how it works?
    Thanks
    There is a rectangular lug on the barrel that has matching holes in the stock's fore end. A rectangular wedge, that fits snuggly through both is the main mechanical means for holding the barrel in place as opposed to pins on a long rifle. These rifles generally have a hook breech, breech plug that fits in the tang.

    If you want to see what I am talking about run a query for Hawken rifle kits and look at the images of the parts.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master

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    When fitting a Hawken style I bend the wedges to the same amount of pull. I want a pretty hefty pull on a single wedge gun say 40 pounds or so.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    If you want to end the "dropping out" of a wedge and the possible loss of it, then replace the wedge / s with a "captured wedge". T o W and others sell them. They are a wedge with a lengthwise slot. Measure your current wedge and buy a slotted wedge plank and fit it to your rifle. Once fitted, remove the inlaid execution plate from the side of the forearm that you pull the wedge from. In the center of the inlay - vertical to the barrel, inlet a short section of a pin - a piece of a finish nail works well. inlet it so it is flush with the bottom level of the inlay. When done, assemble. Slide the wedge through the slot in the execution inlay, insert the section of nail through the slot in the wedge and put it all in place and re-install the execution inlay. The inlay holds the pin in place and when the wedge is pulled, the inlaid pin prevents the wedge from being pulled out all the way and/or being lost but it clears the barrel wedge lug. This was common practice on original half stock Plains Rifles on better quality rifles and by good riflamakers. Not something done on today's production rifles as it cuts production costs. I have a new Lyman Trade Rifle that will be getting a "captured wedge" when I get back to AZ for the winter along with a poured nose cap and some other customizing work.

    You still need to fit and make sure your wedge is properly fitted - I like them so I can easily push them in with my thumb but also so I can easily remove them by using something like a knife blade under the head of the wedge - as in "I'm in the woods in the middle of nowhere with no tools but the minimal items in my hunting pouch". Not unlike our ancestors and trappers with their rifles that utilized barrel wedges - it made it much easier to remove the barrel, put the breech in a stream or similar and clean it - same as a double barrel shotgun that utilizes a barrel wedge.

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