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Fur Trade Books website has joined with the "Green River Rifle Works Collectors Association" [GRRW CA] better known as "  " to bring you, the reader up to date information about this old firm.

The  Collectors Association with the "GRRW Collector" & the "Green River Gazette" have been similarly inspired by the old firm of the Green River Rifle Works. For example, many old memories are enjoyed, & stories shared, by the means of the Internet with these mentioned sources. There is no connection to GRRW other than fond memories, & shared stories.  The & the "GRRW Collector" are just as the names suggests - Collector Associations. The "GRRW Collector" website & the "Green River Gazette" newsletters are excellent sources of articles of the old firm; none of these entities bear any connection to the original firm of "GRRW".  These groups & associations are of collectors or enthusiasts.  They are not businesses, & are not connected in any way to the past operations of the original firm of "GRRW".  These sources will provide its members & others with like interests of known information about the Green River Rifle Works. This research of the GRRW guns & related stories of their use, as well as searching for those guns sitting in closets or hanging on someone's wall. 

We will look at the original guns produced by Doc White & studied for several years before going into production. His venture was about the history as well as making the best reproduction firearm possible, detail, detail - see


As mentioned we are collectors or enthusiasts of the GRRW clan & those interested parties, folks that remember & still dream of the days when this company was in operation. GRRW was the gun to carry in the reenactor groups & considered the best reproduction rifle available at the time. price, workmanship & correctness compared to originals really appealed to everyone.

Custom guns were available but the price was double a GRRW & how well they performed was always a question when compared to the GRRW produced guns. 

With models like the famous Hawken brothers rifle available in either half stock, full stock - as a flintlock or a percussion gun. The Leman Trade Rifle in one of the same following configurations as the Hawken & the Poor Boy in full stock - flintlock or as a percussion firearm. A Trapper's pistol was also available. Our interest has gone from the history of the Hawken's family rifles & pistols, with the earliest known record of a Hawken rifle dating to 1823 when one was made for William Henry Ashley. The Hawken's did not mass-produce their rifles but rather made each one by h&, one at a time. A number of famous men were said to have owned Hawken rifles, including August Lacome, Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Orrin Porter Rockwell. Joseph, Jerdediah Strong Smith, & Theodore Roosevelt.




Doc White’s designs of rifles became fairly famous, while some went nowhere. Inventing was second nature to him as we all know. His organization of the 'Green River Rifle Works' back in the 1970’s was probably the most exciting new venture to the buck skinning crowd. Finally a reproduction that looked like the originals & priced at a fair retail price. Doc was becoming famous with his guns & sharing his knowledge of these weapons in many articles seen in those days.

THE HAWKEN RIFLE    The Hawken is was complex rifle & did not lend itself to easy manufacture, which is why most modern ‘Hawkens’ are barely similar to the real thing. As ardent traditional muzzle loading enthusiasts, the men at GRRW wanted to make  their rifles as close to the real thing as possible. The effort resulted in Doc designing the tools to manufacture the gun as quickly & efficiently as possible.

The Leman Trade Rifle design was a compromise. Doc designed a plain, easy to manufacture but sturdy & effective hunting rifle that at least in general represented the half stock Leman rifles found on the Western Frontier. Thus the brass furniture, st&ard inch wide octagon 33 inch barrel, single key, single trigger, plain short tang & drum/nipple combination designed into the final product. This rifle was much easier to manufacture than the Hawken, using its own set of small carving machines.

There was a demand for a less expensive rifle than the Leman or Hawken in the 1970’s. Doc's response was the so-called 'Poor Boy'. It was full stocked, no butt plate, single trigger, 3 pins instead of keys, two forward ferrules only, no fore-end cap, a plain kind of rifle. Greg Roberts, who was manager at the time, contributed heavily to the design & final product. His insistence on quality was famous. There was a nail in the tip of the butt & a piece of horn for a toe plate- there were other features, like DST’s, on custom order & at extra cost. GRRW made quite a number of them, but few in comparison to Leman & Hawken rifles. The small machinery invented for the other guns adapted fairly well in this instance success.

Courtesy of White Muzzleloading.

Museum of the Fur Trade  Charon NE.
View original Hawken & Leman guns along with other period weapons & 
accessories used in the North American Fur Trade.



EDITOR'S NOTE  In the day (1970's) if you weren't carrying or packing a GRRW firearm, you just didn't rate as high in the minds of your fellow buck skinners. The ranking in the 70's & 80's was all about skills, equipage & historical knowledge. At night you would see guys sitting around camp fires looking at firearms, knives or someone looking at what was carried in another's shooting bag. GRRW was right next to good quality custom guns & preferred over the custom gun because of price & wanting to have a rifle that could/would be used not just admired. Several buck skinners including myself have played both ends of the scale on this one & always returned to the rifle we knew we could depend on - the GRRW gun.


Having owned a muzzleloading/buck skinner shop ('Buckhorn Rendezvous' - Masonville CO) in this time period, & having the GRRW br& put you above other stores carrying the similar wares but with poor quality muzzleloaders. I would see a GRRW firearm in another's store from time to time & if possible made a deal for the gun with enough room for a little profit, that gun came to my store. The shop with the most GRRW guns had bragging rights over the other guy. I loved getting one up on 'Cache La Poudre Rifleworks' in Fort Collins CO, Mike McCormick would go crazy knowing I had one more GRRW than he had.  Same situation with 'Mountain Armory' in the same town, who we ran out of the muzzleloading business with the quality of our goods.  


The biggest dealer with the best inventory of GRRW in Colorado was 'Old West Arms', the owner Don Novack had deep pockets & seemed to have no problem keeping a good stock of these guns. We would see their ads everywhere advertising the GRRW Brand.



Great memories of a wonderful product that worked time & again. Thanks to Doc White & the guys at GRRW, you folks will always be remembered for your work & the good times we had when carrying a GRRW firearm.


THOSE THAT CARRIED Here's an interesting page of how the Hawkin and Leman rifles were viewed by some famous mountaineers.


Credit for pictures & text provided by these fine folks:

White Muzzleloading Rifles - with suggestions & photos.
Phil Meeks for his help & use of his photos seen on this site.
Bob Allen with providing the history with the "Green River Gazette".


The trade name 'GRRW' 'Green River Rifle Works' is still owned by Doctor Gary White.Trademarked ™ 2016 & Copyrighted 2016 accordingly. All Rights Reserved.


Businesses & organizations have been similarly inspired by GRRW.  For example, many old memories are enjoyed, & stories shared, at the "GRRW Collectors Association", "GRRW Collector"  websites & in the "Green River Gazette" newsletter, but there is no connection to GRRW other than fond memories, & shared stories.  The "GRRW Collectors Association" & the "GRRW Collector" are just as the names suggests, a "Collectors Association," "GRRW Collector" & the "Green River Gazette" newsletter are excellent sources of articles of the old firm; none of the entities bears any connection to the original firm of GRRW.  These organizations are of collectors or enthusiasts.  They are not businesses, & are not connected in any way to the past operations of the original firm of GRRW.



updated 01-20-2016