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Thread: Hy Hunter Zouaves

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Hy Hunter Zouaves

    As a lad in the 1960's with a fixation on all things Civil War, I remember the introduction of the Hy Hunter "Zouave."

    Sure as I can be that be that this is/was the first major production of any repro Civil War long arm. Val Forgett had already done a few colt revolver repros by this time. (I get a sense that there was some "rivalry" between Hunter and Forgett, but that may just be a gut feeling on my part)

    Of course, Turner Kirkland is in the mix there somewhere as well as far as making BP muzzle loader repros in Europe too.

    I have, some where in my mass of gun "stuff", an old early 1960's Gun Digest that makes a BIG deal of the introduction of the Zouave.

    My buddy Bruce McArthur still has his early low serial Hy Hunter Zouave that he used when skirmishing with Loomis Battery in the 1960's. It is still a nice piece - To my eye, it looks like American Walnut, very good wood to metal fit and, except for the Hy Hunter lockplate etc. would at arm's length be confused for an original Remington 1863 Rifle. Seems like MOST of the repros from Europe are really nice when they first come out, but that over time the folks over there let quality slip - first batch done by masters and the rest by journeyman and apprentices? Who knows - just something I have noticed over the years amongst repros.

    By the time I arrived in skirmishing in November of 1969, Hy Hunters were long gone (seems he dabbled in making a repro Single Action Army and a copy of the Reminton over under derringer, manufactured in West Germany for a short period too) my first piece was a ZOLI that even then would not have been as good as Bruce's Hy Hunter. (Stock was birch I think and the rifling was deep on one side and awfully light on the other - must still be using that rifling head I guess)

    Now in the sport today, the Hy Hunters are looked down on - seems like I remember something about some of them had brazed, rather than machined or welded bolsters. Were there some failures back in the day? Seems like I heard that the Hy Hunters one could shoot had to have a "W" stamped on the bolster. Anyone know any details on this?

    I guess with the 150th anniversary coming up along with 60 some odd years of skirmishing, interest in these rifles would be piqued to some extent, as they sure played a BIG part in making it grow -- Along with Wiesz and Numrich barrels for Springfield Rifle Muskets.

    Before I left this I thought I might want to do a Google search of Hy Hunter - It reminded me that the company became Great Western (Trivia tip -The SAA that John Wayne used in the last part of his career was a Great Western with aged Ivory grips) The search also shows that Hy Hunter industries now makes cosmetics and fragrances - YIKES! Apparently another company Hawes took over the firearm part of Hunter.

    A couple comments from the CAs community regarding the SAA's:

    Henry 'Hy' Hunter was the original proprietor of the American Weapons Corporation of Burbank CCA, but his name was often used on products and is frequently regarded as a brandname. The American Weapons Corporation vanished in the 1970's.
    Hy Hunter Firearms Company Inc. of Hollywood and Burbank, California imported and distributed a wide variety of firearms. The Hy Hunter Frontier Six Shooter was a cheap Western style single action .22LR revolver that was manufactured in Germany by Rohm. This is the kind of revolver that is often seen for sale at gunshows in the $50 or less range.

    AND

    Hy Hunter, is the trade name of American Weapons Corp
    Hayward Hunter, also known as Hy Hunter, is the corporate president

    I read in John Taffins "Great Western Single Actions" that
    Hy Hunter and EMF were early distributers of Great Westerns.
    The first revolvers made by Great Western were the poorly
    made .22's but they improved quickly after that, and even Elmer Kieth commented
    on the improvements. Great Western added a number
    of major calibers including .45 colt, 44-40 .357 and .44 magnums.

    Great Western sixguns were totally American Made. Later Hunter also
    brought in the very well made German J.P. Sauer & Sohn "Hawes" versions.
    -------------
    Both Great Western and Sauer revolvers used the frame-mounterd firing pin.
    Thus it is entirely possible that you traded a "horse pucky" HiPoint for at least a Great Western
    (most likely) .

    AND

    As I recall, the SAA used by Matt in Gunsmoke was actually a Great Western. You pistola will meet with approval at any CAS/SASS match I know of!

    Seems Mr Hunter had wide interests in the firearms trade:

    Machine Guns!
    http://www.cornellpubs.com/old-guns/ite ... item_id=29

    I will leave this for other folks to add their two cents

    Bob
    R.C. "Digger" Huntoon
    N-SSA # 1504V - 1970 - present
    1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Pennsylvania
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    Re: Hy Hunter Zouaves

    Bob,

    When reading your post of the Hy-Hunter Zouaves, I remembered that topic coming up before, so I looked back through the archives (posts) to see where and when that was. Here is the link I found for the Hy-Hunter from a post made in July 2009. It's always interesting reading the stories and information on these subjects.

    viewtopic.php?f=4&t=11726
    Francis J. Miller Jr. (Herb)
    Lancaster Fencibles/79th PVI
    Middle Atlantic Region
    153-MA - 02601V
    Middle Atlantic Region Deputy Provost Marshal
    N-SSA National Provost Guard

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Re: Hy Hunter Zouaves

    Herb,

    Thanks for the search!

    Know the things had an important part in our early years.

    With what my friend Bruce said about his, along with Johnny Holland's memories, they shot as good as they looked!

    Bob
    R.C. "Digger" Huntoon
    N-SSA # 1504V - 1970 - present
    1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry

  4. Re: Hy Hunter Zouaves

    Nice research,

    and it's a nice gun.
    A weapon like knifes, guns or brass knuckle etc. isn't good or bad, depends on the person who uses it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Re: Hy Hunter Zouaves

    Just for any readers who are wondering about what the Hy Hunter Zouave looks like:

    http://www.joesalter.com/detail.php?f_qryitem=16715

    http://www.joesalter.com/detail.php?f_qryitem=13897
    Richard
    37th Georgia Vol. Infantry
    SCV member Francis S. Bartow Camp #93
    SRTX member James George Chapter #59

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Re: Hy Hunter Zouaves

    My veryn first muzzle loader was a hi hunter Zouave I bought in 1964 used for $40. I shot it for four years at targets and deer (got two deer with it). At targets I remember putting 5 out of 5 minnie balls into a paper plate at 200 yards with it and shooting a crow out of a tree at about 150 yards. It was a fine shooter but sold it to buy a suit so I could go to job interviews when I got out of college. Many years later I found another Hi Hunter Zouave and just had to buy it. It shoots as well as I can shoot these days and resides in a place of Honor over my reloading bench. They are great guns.

  7. #7
    Southron Sr. is offline
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    Re: Hy Hunter Zouaves

    Ah Yes, the fond memories! Back in 1962 I was in the 10th Grade of High school. I was in the Future Farmers of America and had sold my FFA project, three hogs I had raised on the farm, for a tidy profit.

    With the money, I ordered a Hy Hunter Zouave. While awaiting the gun, I went to the local hardware store in Metter, GA and purchased a 25 pound pig of plumbers (pure) lead, a plumbers lead melting pot and a couple of cans of DuPont FFFg Black Powder.

    The hardware store normally carried DuPont FFFg in stock, but not for shooters! Farmers used it to worm hogs!

    Thru the hardware store I ordered a Lyman 575213 New Style Minie Ball mould and several cans of percussion caps.

    A few days later the Hy Hunter Zouave arrived and the next time I dropped by the hardware store, the bullet mould had come in, but no percussion caps.

    I was informed by the sales clerk at the hardware store that I needed to heat my mould up to it was very hot, then pour a Minie and then wait for the mould to cool to room temperature before removing the Minie Ball! So, it took me one Saturday from early morning to late afternoon to cast a dozen Minies.

    With no percussion caps, I was forced to cut the white tops off of Kitchen Matches.

    One Sunday afternoon, my brother and I carried the Zouave out shooting to a remote pasture. I would load the rifle and then trickle some powder down into the nipple. The top of the nipple was then "capped" with a white match head and the rifle was ready to shoot.

    My younger brother and I had fired a half dozen rounds when a sudden rainstorm came up. We retreated into an old shed by the field. The rainstorm came up so quickly, I had a loaded and fully cocked Zouave on my hands when we walked into the old shed.

    I was lowering the hammer to "half-cock" when it slipped. "KER-BOOM!!!! Fortunately, my brother has standing behind me and we were momentarily deafened by the discharge of the Zouave in the confines of the shed and a bluish/white cloud of gun smoke enveloped us.

    As the shed was on a hill overlooking our cow pasture, when the smoke started to clear, I could see down in the pasture, about 200 yards away, a Herford cow running in a circle-then she plopped over. OOPS!

    We ran out into the rain, arriving besides the cow that was rapidly expiring from a .58 caliber hole in her neck.

    My brother made a snide comment, something to the effect that I "was in a lot of trouble."

    However, my mind was racing ahead. We had a tenant farmer that had a wife and three kids to feed. I drove my brother and myself over to his house and struck a "deal" with him. He could butcher the recently deceased cow and keep all the meat. He only had to promise to never, never say anything about the cow!

    So, that is how one of our Herford cows "mysteriously" disappeared from the field and neither myself or my brother ever got in trouble about it.

    Snif, Snif....that Hy Hunter Zouave was a "Cow Killer" extraordinary! Wish I still had it!

    Think about it, I shot a cow 200 yards away, while accidentally firing from the hip!

  8. #8
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    Re: Hy Hunter Zouaves

    Southron SR

    That is a good story and sounds a lot like one told to me by my Brother in Law from GA. He "accidentally" shot a neibors dog that was chassing Chickens in his yard with his 36 Navy colt. He said the dog was cured and he didn't like his neighbor anyway.

  9. #9
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    Re: Hy Hunter Zouaves

    Southron,

    I enjoyed your story very much. I like stories, and I remember good ones for a long time. I am sure I will remember that an N-SSA member killed a cow by accident with his Zouave.

    David
    DAVID FRANCE

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