Davide Pedersoli wanted to provide hunters with the best combination of modern manufacturing techniques and the immortal design of two classics like the Missouri River Hawken and the Jaeger.
By A Wicks and G Tansella
If one were to choose two rifles that best epitomised the modern history of hunting using medium and large-calibre firearms, one would be hard pressed not to take into account the Missouri River Hawken and Jaeger rifles.
The former became renowned for its accuracy in central Europe, thanks in part to its helical-shaped rifling, and the latter symbolised the second generation trappers who no longer hunted with the flintlocke Pennsylvania Rifles but preferred the more modern, compact and accurate percussion-capped rifles.
These rifles where designed far away from each other but they share a number of common characteristics. It would be very easy to question whether the designers of the Missouri River Hawken had been at least partly inspired by firearms such as the Jaeger, which had been brought to North America by German immigrants.
The similarities of the original rifles designed purely for hunting ranged from overall ergonomic characteristics to the muzzle to the firing mechanism and from the same type of sights to the use of similar primary material as well as the same manufacturing technique.
These replicas are mid-range products in the Davide Pedersoli catalogue and share a few modern design and manufacturing solutions.
The barrels are both Premium Match Grade and are drilled, rifled from solid rods of steel. The smaller mechanical components are all machine tooled from computer-controlled equipment before the final touches are given by hand by artisans. The laminated springs are made from sheet metal and heat treated for better performance.
Obviously, the Jaeger and Missouri River Hawken have their own peculiarities:
The Hunter version of the Jaeger is a 54-calibre rifle with a tight twist rate allowing it to fire both ball and Maxi rounds. The overall compact size of this rifle and the sling swivels make it very easy to either transport or hold while hunting for extended periods. The double-set trigger helps when either having to take a quick shot or for a more precise shot using a support and the rifle is extremely accurate out to a range of 150 metres. The sight is only adjustable for windage.
The Hawken is larger than its German ‘parent’ and is available in three calibres, with the 50 being the most successful commercially. The barrel has a tight twist rate making it ideal for firing short conical-shaped rounds. The rifle performs exceptionally well when hunting prey ranging from wild boar to deer up to the black bear. The sights are adjustable in both elevation and windage. The stock is also available in American maple wood.
Do these firearms pay tribute to the tradition of hunting? Most certainly. However, they have kept pace with the times and nowadays many hunters consider the means and method used when hunting as important as the actual killing of the prey, as there is a resurgence of classical hunting technique.
The Jaeger and Missouri River Hawken are very versatile firearms and these excellent hunting rifles also perform very well in shooting competitions and, being elegantly designed, are also well suited to being put on display. Furthermore, the Jaeger’s military service makes it well placed for use in historical re-enactments.
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