New Member, New (to me) T/C Hawken

Discussion in 'Percussion Rifles' started by rkrcpa, Jan 19, 2020.

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  1. Jan 19, 2020 #1

    rkrcpa

    rkrcpa

    rkrcpa

    32 Cal

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    I've been thinking about trying my hand at this muzzleloader thing for a while now but just never made the jump. Until, I was killing time last weekend visiting local gun shops and ran across a T/C Hawken for a price that seemed low enough to make it worth trying. Now, I've never shot or handled a muzzleloader before so I was just kinda wingin' it my assessment of the condition. But the for the price it was worth a try.

    It's a 50 cal kit gun of indeterminate age that has certainly seen some use. It is missing a nipple and the rear sight is banged up but it should be a good project. My intention is to fix what needs fixing but to leave it as "as is" as possible. I don't want to do a refinish, the patina gives it character.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm sure I'll have lots of questions as I travel down this path but first I need to go shoot this thing.
     
  2. Jan 19, 2020 #2

    Blogman

    Blogman

    Blogman

    Pilgrim MLF Supporter

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    Welcome to the club, you have been bitten. Make way to clear out a corner of a closet for your new stuff. You'll need it.

    I like her looks.
     
    tenngun, Smokey Plainsman and ppg1949 like this.
  3. Jan 19, 2020 #3

    Zonie

    Zonie

    Zonie

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    Your TC Hawken uses a #12-28 nipple. I'd get one that uses #11 percussion caps.
    The Hot Shot nipple sold by Track of the Wolf would be a good bet and they are a good company to deal with.

    Here's a link to their site. Scroll down about a half of the page to see what I'm talking about.
    https://www.trackofthewolf.com/List/Item.aspx/807/1

    Your gun can be loaded with either black powder or one of the synthetic powders like Pyrodex or Seven7seven.
    NEVER use any kind of smokeless powder in your gun. Smokeless powder will blow it up.

    You'll also need some .490 or .495 diameter balls and some .015 to .018 thick cotton patches and a cleaning jag for a .50 caliber bore.
    I do not recommend buying pre-lubricated patches. If they are old, the lube will break down the cotton fibers and the patch will blow a part when the gun is fired. That's not dangerous but there is no way the gun will be accurate if the patch comes apart when the gun fires.

    With black or synthetic powders, cleaning the fouling out of the bore as soon as possible is imperative. Plain water with a little soap added is all you need to do this. After the gun is cleaned, apply a good rust protectorate like Birchwood Casey Barricade and apply it to all steel parts.

    Have fun. :)
     
  4. Jan 19, 2020 #4

    ugly old guy

    ugly old guy

    ugly old guy

    40 Cal

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    Welcome to the BP Fraternity. :)

    That is a nice looking T/C Hawken you have there. :)
    I like the browned barrel. Gives it "class" and it stands out from the normal (and IMHO boring "everybody and their extended family for several generations has it") blued barrel.
    Yes, I hope to brown my barrel in 2020 or 2021 at the latest,

    Contact Thompson Center, and request the 'SHOOTING THOMPSON CENTER BLACK POWDER GUNS' manual. (it is in PDF format) it is a more comprehensive manual than the 'HAWKEN' manual (also in PDF format.)
    There is no charge for either manual.

    Thompson Center only recommends/recommended using FFg (2 F) real black powder or synthetic (faux/fake) black powder like Pyrodex RS grade (by volume. You don't reset your powder measure), regardless of caliber or projectile weight.
    For .50 caliber they recommended a .490 patched round ball (using their Bore Butter patch lube, of course) on top of 50 to 110 grains FFg black powder or RS grade Pyrodex.
    You will find the most accurate load for your particular rifle somewhere in the middle of those powder charges.
    Start with 50 grains and work your way up 5 grains at a time.
    Do Not try pelletized powders. They were/are designed for in-line guns, and DO NOT fire reliably/consistently in a sidelock gun. Loose powder, only in a side lock.

    You should also be aware that changing patch thickness, patch lube, different brands of caps, and variations in loading pressures can and will affect accuracy.
    Swab your bore with a damp patch after every second or third shot when working up loads and sighting in.
    When sighting in, use a rest, at least under the forearm. (even if only a rolled up jacket or sweatshirt) That will eliminate or lessen any human errors holding on the target.
    Sight in starting at 25 to 50 yards. You want your group a little high at close range. It will drop when you set your target at 75 to 100 yards.
    Only shoot offhand after you've worked up the most accurate loads and are sighted in.

    In answer to your question: Yes. It takes a bit of range time, powder, patches, balls, and caps to find the most accurate loads and to sight in.

    You should also know that every rifle is different in what loads it likes best. Just because so and so or who and who says "My rifle likes 80 grains best..." does not mean yours will! - Even if the rifles are the same make and model, and the serial numbers are different by just one consecutive number on the end.

    You will probably find your rifle likes a light load and a heavier suitable for hunting load equally well.

    In a .45 CVA "Kentucky" rifle I had years ago, it liked 60 grains FFg for a "target shooting" load, and was just as accurate with a 120 grain Fg (1F) load for hunting.
    With either load, broomsticks were an "easy kill". (out to 100 yards with the hunting load.)
    (I could see a bit better back then, than I can now.)

    You will need a powder measure (the ones with a swivel pouring cone is "best") and a flask.
    While not exactly "pretty" an inexpensive brass or plastic tubular flask from CVA or Traditions works just fine.
     
    Blogman likes this.
  5. Jan 19, 2020 #5

    rusticbob

    rusticbob

    rusticbob

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    Your Hawken uses a 1/4 28 nipple. As do most T/C full size rifles.
     
    James Edmisson, Maven and bubba.50 like this.
  6. Jan 19, 2020 #6

    SDSmlf

    SDSmlf

    SDSmlf

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  7. Jan 19, 2020 #7

    bubba.50

    bubba.50

    bubba.50

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    Yep. 1/4 by 28 for the Hawken. The 12x28 nipple is for Senecas and Cherokees.
     
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  8. Jan 19, 2020 #8

    longcruise

    longcruise

    longcruise

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    They recommend cleaning with hot soapy water. Hot is not necessary or desirable. Warm is fine but not so you can't hold your hand in it.

    My copy(s) of the TC manual are the older ones. The one linked above has this under the thorough cleaning section. I'm sure you will spot the error in it. But just in case, don't allow it to lead you to think you should remove breech plug!

    "Next in the cleaning process; fill a pan with hot soapy water. Submerge the muzzle end of the barrel in the water and push a wet patch down the barrel (from the breech end) on the end of your ramrod with a jag installed. Pump the ramrod and patch up and down in the barrel. This will draw water into the barrel and flush out the fouling. When the barrel is clean - allow it to dry."
     
  9. Jan 20, 2020 #9

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    I'm with rustic bob and bubba50. My T/C Hawken has always used 1/4-28 nipples.
     
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  10. Jan 20, 2020 #10

    rkrcpa

    rkrcpa

    rkrcpa

    32 Cal

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    Thanks for the comments everyone. I've been scouring the internet for as much info as I can find. I've been collecting the accoutrements required for this adventure but have been at this game long enough to know to go slow. I've got a box of holsters as a reminder that the shiny new object is not always best.

    I have acquired a bottle of FFg Goex and some #11 caps to go with the .490 balls and .018 patches. I also have some Ballistol and an assortment of jags, brushes and patches. That's enough to get me to the range and back.
     
  11. Jan 20, 2020 #11

    azmntman

    azmntman

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    VERY nice looking wood too!

    Get the Dutch Schultz Method shooting accurrizing manual. Somebody will list the web site and Dutch shows up here when he gets tired of chasing his harem of nurses.
     
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  12. Jan 20, 2020 #12

    shdwlkr

    shdwlkr

    shdwlkr

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    How do you submerge the muzzle and clean a TC barrel from the breech end without removing the breech plug?
     
  13. Jan 20, 2020 #13

    Walkingeagle

    Walkingeagle

    Walkingeagle

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    Thats the error in the T/C manual he was referring.
    DO NOT follow those directions, just immerse the breech and pump through the muzzle.
    Walk
     
  14. Jan 20, 2020 #14

    Kansas Jake

    Kansas Jake

    Kansas Jake

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    To follow up on what Walkingeagle said, I just pull the nipple on my TC Hawken and submerge the breech in a small plastic bucket with the water and soap. It doesn't need to be a big bucket. Even a large plastic cup from a fast food or quick shop will do. I wet a patch and put it on the muzzle and with the cleaning jag in place pump the cleaning rod up and down in the barrel. I like to force the water in and out through the nipple hole in the breech forcefully to clean the patent breech area.
     
  15. Jan 20, 2020 #15

    longcruise

    longcruise

    longcruise

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    Same way I do it. I do start with putting a stopper on the nipple and filling the barrel with water then let it sit while organizing the rest of the cleaning process. If shooting is done for the day it's a good time to enjoy a cold one and let the water do it's work.
     
  16. Jan 21, 2020 #16

    ugly old guy

    ugly old guy

    ugly old guy

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    Don't forget a short starter. They can save your ramrod from becoming more than one piece.
     
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  17. Jan 21, 2020 #17

    bang

    bang

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    I use a small bottle and hose on nipple with tight patch to draw the cleaner in and push out. I put a spring on the hose to help hold it to the nipple.
    You can remove barrel and do same by putting breach end in a can of cleaner with or without nipple installed. Hose method uses way less solution.
     
  18. Jan 25, 2020 #18

    Semper_Smokey

    Semper_Smokey

    Semper_Smokey

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    Hey rkrcpa - I just picked up a T/C Hawken as well and hope to be out next weekend working up a load - let me know how you get on and we should compare notes!

    I've had a little bit of fun with a modern inline for the last couple months, but I think you've got the right of it by starting with a more traditional rifle! Any BP is fun, lots to play with, but after the tiniest bite of the BP bug I don't see how you don't immediately go for something more traditional:)
     
  19. Jan 25, 2020 #19

    waarp8nt

    waarp8nt

    waarp8nt

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    Welcome to the forum! Not sure where your located, but a fellow in Texas is giving away some synthetic powder in the classified section (local pick-up only). Might help you get started if your close.
     
  20. Jan 25, 2020 #20

    DOUBLEDEUCE 1

    DOUBLEDEUCE 1

    DOUBLEDEUCE 1

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    My T/C Hawken likes FFFg powder, .490 cal balls, pillow ticking for patches, soap and water for clean up. Easy peesie. :cool:
     

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