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I don't think Dad's Hawken is going to hunt

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Would like to be able to hunt deer and elk with it. Looking at the rebore option, or maybe a drop in 54 caliber barrel. This is 55 yards with a 370gr Maxi over 70gr of FFFg last weekend.
?? Plug the flash hole, fill it with a cleaner that won’t rot the rifling, let it sit for a day or two and then scrub it. Failing that, B Hoyt, he has done 3 bores for me and they are now shooters. He gets my vote! Call early 730/8am. Tell him the issue and let him work his magic. Tell him you want to shoot balls. He’s a shooter also and knows his stuff
 
I spent most of my free time this week yrying to clean up the bore. It is pitted, and still has some serious carbon buildup near the chamber. I have been pretty aggressive in the cleaning, and still the patches are catching in 2 spots. I can shoot it, and it will group, but I have to keep charges under 60 grains. I am shooting a .490 ball with a .015 patch, tried .018, but every patch was blown out. I am shooting Goex FFFg powder, patches of .015 look good until I try 70 grains, and then the group is replaced by a pattern. I also saw some weird marks in the bore about 2.5-3 inches forward of the chamber. Most look like machining marks, but a few look like something else. View attachment 270209
I'd look at it as a perfect excuse to rebore and rifle to .54 or .58 cal, a better choice for elk any way.
 
I'd go with a rebore by Hoyt. He has done three for me and they are the best shooting barrels I've ever had. My favorite is my tc 50 cal '73 vintage that he took out to 54.

You don't need a maxi for elk. Proven over and over. 54 and a ball is more than adequate.
The only reason for the Maxi is the 50 cal ball is a little light, and unfortunately most of the shots I will get will be around the 100 yard mark, not saying the ball in the right place, which key no matter what style or size projectile being used, won't get the job done, I just want to kill as cleanly as possible.
 
The only reason for the Maxi is the 50 cal ball is a little light, and unfortunately most of the shots I will get will be around the 100 yard mark, not saying the ball in the right place, which key no matter what style or size projectile being used, won't get the job done, I just want to kill as cleanly as possible.
I have a Thompson Center Maxi mold in .54 so I know they were made.
 
I know they were too, I have seen one, casts a 420 grain bullet if memory serves. I want to shoot round ball, so will likely step up to the 54 caliber. I am also wanting to work on my other neglected muzzleloader, a Korean Replica Arms 58 caliber. If I were inclined to just shoot bullets, I would get a muzzleloader that would allow me to shoot my .458 520gr Brooks, but I wish to shoot roundball as they did in the 1830's and early 1840's.
 
I don't have a spot to leave a full barrel at the moment, but a 3 1/2 hour vinegar bath definitely knocked down some of the smaller spots, the breech end just flat looks nasty. As I have said, the bore camera is a blessing and a curse.
 

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You've gotten a lot of good advice from some pretty knowledgeable fellows. You've clearly invested some time into your rifle, also. However, if it were me (and it isn't), considering the condition of that bore and the size of the game you want to hunt, I would send the barrel to Mr. Hoyt to be bored out to a .54 caliber, with a groove depth and twist that will help you achieve the performance you want with a patched round ball. I don't think your .50 caliber rifle with a worn down bore is going to give you what you need, regardless of how much you scrub the bore.

I would not go any larger than .54 in that 15/16" barrel, though. A bigger bore will give an even thinner barrel wall and higher pressure (not a good combination), not to mention more recoil in a lighter gun. You also need to consider the diameter of the threaded shank of the breechplug and, as @necchi pointed out, the depth of any screw holes and dovetail slots which may affect the integrity of the barrel wall.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 
I think I would have that barrel freshed out. I don’t know what those gouges are in the bore, but they don’t look good.

Sixty grains sounds like an adequate load to me. If the rifle is one of the brass-mounted, mass-produced Hawkens, I don’t think the grooves would have been very deep to start with. A lot of fellows will tell you a 1-48” twist is a “compromise,” and some will tell you it is too fast for patched round balls, but that isn’t necessarily true. The depth and configuration of the grooves makes a tremendous difference. Anyway, if the rifling in your gun is badly worn, the heavier powder charge may be pushing the ball too hard, so It doesn’t engage the grooves adequately so it skates across the lands. There are other possible causes of reduced accuracy with the heavier load, but I think this is one to consider. If the rifle shoots well with 60 grains, that’s what I would shoot.

However, I really think the best option is to get the bore recut. If the barrel is 15/16” across the flats, you could probably have Mr. Hoyt bore it out up to .54 caliber. I have a T/C Hawken barrel in his shop right now, from an abused and neglected rifle I bought used. He will fresh it out to .52 caliber (balls and moulds are obtainable), keeping the same number and configuration of grooves and pitch or twist, but cutting the tops of the lands to .520” to smooth them up, and the grooves to .011” (his recommendation) for patched round balls. Non-standard calibers are nothing to be afraid of in muzzleloading.

Good luck with it! We hope you’ll keep us updated on your progress. It would be great to get your dad’s rifle fixed up and out in the field again. He would probably be pleased.

Notchy Bob
Really looking forward to hearing how it shoots. It sounds like a good design.
 
I have a line on a 54 Caliber 1:66 barrel that is 15/16", it isn't much more than a rebore would cost, and it is new never installed. I am going to work with this barrel this week and shoot it again this weekend, if I can get it to hold 3-4 inches at 50-60 yards with a PRB and a 70 grain charge, I will keep it as is and have fun with it, and use the 54 for hunting. I am really grateful for all of the helpful suggestions and encouragement!
 
I have a T-C .54 Maxi-Hunter mold that drops out at 455 grains. It is my do-all hunting bullet but it isn't something to shoot for fun. Round ball is enjoyable, especially with lighter loads. I concur with wanting a quick kill; I don't think an Elk has ever been born that can stop that big Maxi-Hunter but don't discount a round ball!
 
I have a T-C .54 Maxi-Hunter mold that drops out at 455 grains. It is my do-all hunting bullet but it isn't something to shoot for fun. Round ball is enjoyable, especially with lighter loads. I concur with wanting a quick kill; I don't think an Elk has ever been born that can stop that big Maxi-Hunter but don't discount a round ball!
I'd trust the Lyman Maxi out of the 50 to get the job done on an elk. Truth be told, if a hunter was to wait for a perfect broadside shot at 50 yards or less, I doubt an elk would survive a roundball from a 50 either. When I was a kid, I thought a 357 magnum was a perfectly good elk round, I watched my granddad take 3 bulls in consecutive seasons with his.
 
I don't have a spot to leave a full barrel at the moment, but a 3 1/2 hour vinegar bath definitely knocked down some of the smaller spots, the breech end just flat looks nasty. As I have said, the bore camera is a blessing and a curse.
Some bore cameras I've used can magnify the surfaces enough to make a new bore look crappy..
 
My Hawkeye bore scope certainly does magnify imperfections at 24-x. One has to learn to interpreter what is being viewed.
Sometimes best to avoid newer high magnification optics technology;

Your correct N.De Land, first time i used mine on a mint bright rifled bore it magnified the grain of the metal to extent it looked horrible.
Immagine the stress this picture would cause to someone new to firearms.
I've found that a simple bore light with a reflector such as the base of a jacketed pistol slug serves most purposes to examine bores.
I only use the high magnification bore scope to examine the breach areas of original firearms for safety concerns.
Relic shooter
 
Sometimes best to avoid newer high magnification optics technology;

Your correct N.De Land, first time i used mine on a mint bright rifled bore it magnified the grain of the metal to extent it looked horrible.
Immagine the stress this picture would cause to someone new to firearms.
I've found that a simple bore light with a reflector such as the base of a jacketed pistol slug serves most purposes to examine bores.
I only use the high magnification bore scope to examine the breach areas of original firearms for safety concerns.
Relic shooter
Absolutely, I got this for one purpose, to keep track of throat erosion on an unmentionable new fangled bang stick.
 

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