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Login Name Post: Load for a .50 cal Thompson Hawken        (Topic#247166)
32 Cal.
Posts: 7
06-01-10 04:52 PM - Post#863601    

Howdy All

I am fairly new to BP shooting and have a few questions. We just fired my newly acquired Hawken .50 flintlock for the first time at an extremely crowded shooting range on Saturday, and now I have a couple of questions about the proper loads. We shot only at metal targets, so did not try to zero anything in, really just getting a feel for the weapons.(BTW, my wife love BP shooting, which really pleases me)

In the Thompson Hawken, we were using Hornaday .490 balls with Ox Yoke .010 pre-lubed patches, and I started off with 50 grains of FFF but ended up pouring in about 80 grains. (To me, the lower powder charges did not seem to give a very good sound) Unfortunately, it was really windy with the wind blowing straight into our faces the day we shot so it was almost impossible to locate any of the patches to try to read them, but it seemed like I never really got the powder mix right.

So, I am wondering if 80 grains seems a little much for this rifle, or did I put in too much/not enough black powder?

I ran a brush down the barrel after every shot but quit after about 8 shots in the rifle as I was getting some fouling and did not want to get a ball stuck. It is also worth noting I use the same 3FFF powder for the pan.

Like I said I am fairly new to this and would rather ask stupid questions than do something dangerous. With that said, and as long as I am asking stupid questions, I could use a little advice on where to purchase expendable shooting supplies.

What I have, I bought from Cabellas, but as I read these forum's I find Cabella's is a little expensive ($50 + shipping for 100 #11 caps seems awfully expensive to me especially after I read somewhere that someone bought one thousand #11 caps for $50).

I know, I know, this is a flintlock and does not use caps, but I also have a New "Old Army" .44 cal pistol that I shot for the first time as well. I ended up with 45 grains for the .44 revolver, shooting Hornaday .451 balls with Ox Yoke lubricated seals. Does this seem right to everyone?

Also, what would be a good range ramrod for the Hawken rifle? I do not care at all about authenticity, just want to have some fun and not get hurt.

Thanks in advance for your replies...... also any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Posts: 26194
06-01-10 05:12 PM - Post#863606    

    In response to old_mikee

The .490 diameter balls are a good size for your .50. The .010 patches are probably a bit on the thin side for the best accuracy.

The TC Hawken has rather shallow rifling grooves so the ball/patch combination needs to be tight to get the best results.
Many who shoot this gun have found that the blue/white or red/white stripe 100 percent cotton "ticking" sold at Wal-mart and many cloth stores works very well.

If you do get some thicker patches you will need a "short starter" to get the ball/patch started into the muzzle. These look like a ball with a short and a long (3-4 inches) rod sticking out of them. The short one is to get the ball/patch into the muzzle. The longer one is to get the ball/patch down the bore so a ramrod can be used.

IMO, the best ramrod for range shooting of a muzzleloader is a long steel rod with a ball on one end, the other end being threaded for a jag. They are available from Track of the Wolf and other places that specialize in muzzleloading guns.

If you payed $50 for a tin of 100 caps you got tooken in the biggest way. A gun store in your area should either have or be willing to get percussion caps for you for less than $6.00/100.

I have found that my TC Hawken likes powder loads in the 65-75 grain area. Less or more can be used but the best accuracy seems to be when I'm using 70 grains. Loads up to 120 grains of 2Fg or 100 grains of 3Fg powder are OK in a TC Hawken.
Priming the pan with 3fg powder works just fine.
IMO there is no need for anything else.
Just Jim...

50 Cal.
Posts: 1092
06-01-10 05:54 PM - Post#863613    

    In response to Zonie

45 grains in that Remmie sounds pretty hefty. I'm surprised you could get that much in it.
One of the great things about BP shooting is the fact that there is no set amount of powder to use, unless it's too much. You can use very light to very heavy loads, whatever you feel like at the time.
A good general rule of thumb is in rifles, start with one grain per caliber, and for pistols, half a grain. You can work up from there if you wish.

Posts: 22964
06-01-10 06:18 PM - Post#863616    

    In response to old_mikee

  • old_mikee Said:

have a couple of questions about the proper loads.

Have shot and hunted T/C Hawkens for loads for me have been:

50grns Goex 3F
.018" T/C prelubed pillow ticking patches
Hornady .490" balls

90grns Goex 3F
Oxyoke prelubed over powder wad
.018" T/C prelubed pillow ticking patches
Hornady .490" balls

For Flintlocks, I always use Goex 4F priming powder as that's what its made for with faster burn rates than larger granulations, etc...and in T/C Flintlocks, the 3grn plunger / dispenser type pan primer is perfect for their size pans.
Roundball's ML Formula:
"Whompability...Across The Fields and In The Woods"

32 Cal.
Posts: 31
06-01-10 06:51 PM - Post#863631    

    In response to old_mikee

I use a .490 Hornady Ball with a .015 patch. Provides reasonable accuracy. I shoot a 60 grain load of FFF in the main charge, and a 3 grain load of FFFF in the pan. No complaints with that load the rifle printed in the 9 ring without adjusting the stock adjustable rear sight right out of the box .

32 Cal.
Posts: 7
06-01-10 10:44 PM - Post#863727    

    In response to tmbrdr69

Great Information, thanks guys. Very helpful. Lot's to learn yet. Hoping to get proficient before I go broke. I still need to find a source for flints and other expendable supplies, primers, and some of the other basic tools. There is lots of useful information on this site. I guess its just takes some sorting thru.... I'll keep reading

Thanks again for your replies,


Passed On
Posts: 17538
06-02-10 12:33 AM - Post#863746    

    In response to old_mikee

Get rid of the Hornady swaged balls. They have antimony in them, making them too hard to upset properly, AND CONSISTENLY when the gun is fired, so that the ball expands into the grooves, and shoves the fabric consistently the same amount into the grooves to seal them against the powder gases. Until you get up to around 80 grains, you simply are not going to begin to see consistent expansion of the balls on firing. USE CAST BALLS OF PURE LEAD INSTEAD. With those, you will find you can get good accuracy with lighter powder charge.

I personally have had nothing but trouble using .010" thick patches in my .50 cal rifle. They burn too easily and tear almost as bad. I recommend .015 to .018" thick patches instead.

If you don't have it already, invest in a copy of Dutch Schoultz's BlackPowderRifleAccuracySystem,

Its the best $20.00 you can spend on your education in working up loads for any BP rifle. Learn to READ Your spent Patches. They will tell you what works and what doesn't, and save you from wasting both time and money.

62 Cal.
Posts: 2989
06-02-10 06:54 AM - Post#863782    

    In response to old_mikee

This sentence caught my eye:

  • Quote:
I ran a brush down the barrel after every shot but quit after about 8 shots in the rifle as I was getting some fouling and did not want to get a ball stuck.

Don't run brushes down your bore. You didn't have to stop shooting because of fouling. You can wipe your bore with a moist patch followed by one or two dry ones. This will keep you shooting all day long by removing the fouling if it becomes an issue. Another way to beat the fouling on range sessions is to use a spit patch in place of a greased patch. They load very easy and you never have to wipe the bore since you're doing it every time you load a PRB. These are only good for range sessions, as you don't want a soaked patch on your powder charge for more than a minute or two.

69 Cal.
Posts: 3893
06-02-10 07:59 AM - Post#863801    

    In response to old_mikee

Welcome to the forum.
You are in for a good time shooting flintlocks. I shoot TCs almost exclusively and here is what I prefer.
Hornady 490 round balls
.018 TC pillow patches with Bore Butter
60 grs of 3f GOEX
4f GOEX in the pan

For my hunting load I just change the main charge to 90 grs and keep everything else the same.

50 Cal.
Posts: 1092
06-02-10 10:45 AM - Post#863866    

    In response to paulvallandigham

I just bought some Hornady .310" swagged balls recently, and found them to be dead soft. So soft that they won't register on my LBT tester. That tells me that they are from pure lead, with no antimony. They aren't what you would call very round mind you, as much as .005", but soft.
I believe the bulk buckshot balls might be alloyed though.

Edited by R.M. on 06-02-10 10:46 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

Passed On
Posts: 17538
06-02-10 12:26 PM - Post#863901    

    In response to R.M.

Thanks. This is the kind of thing that has been recently reported here about Hornady RB products of late. Because the buyer can't possibly know how fresh the stock is on some dealer's shelf, you have to check these when you buy them, I am glad you have your own lead tester. I need to buy one myself. I think it will be worth its weight in gold.

40 Cal.
Posts: 223
06-05-10 07:42 PM - Post#865158    

    In response to old_mikee

I shoot a T/C Hawkens 50 cal as well, I use Hornady 490 balls. For patching I found after much experimenting that a material called "drill" .015 I got from Joann's, lubed with ballistol at 8:1 ratio, and 65 grains of Goex 3f primed w/ Goex 4f gives me very good groups out to 100 yds. But that's as large a load as I've had a chance to try so far.As I am new to shooting flints this is as far as I've gotten in my tinkering with it.It's been said that each barrel will prefer it's own type of patch thickness,and lube ratio.(When you get serious about this you will find yourself figuring all of this out for yourself to get the consistency you will be striving for.) Even when it's the same kind of rifle one made after the other. At first I didn't see my self cutting patches at the muzzle I wanted to just buy them off the shelf and go, but now I find it's better this way. For many reasons. As has been suggested do yourself a big favor and get Dutches work on black powder accuracy,then follow what he says to do.You will be happy you did.From one beginner to another hope this helps.And welcome to the forum.
"One went high,one went low,and where in hell did the other one go?"

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