TCs have a cult following that causes higher prices than they merit based on the construction quality. They were popular in the 1970s, mostly because the mass marked guns of the time were pretty poor. Prospective buyers that were teenagers back then are now retirement age. They often have the cash now that they did not have then. There may be a nostalgia premium on the prices.
Cult following or what,where are you going to find a Black Powder rifle for $200-400 these days.And I keep seeing these digs about TC quality,the early ones had premium walnut stocks,fit and finish was perfect.With at the time a lifetime warranty,how could you go wrong.As thousands and thousands were produced the quality did go down some,but nothing that a person couldn't fix up.
Try to find a new 45 from the non-custom companies. Lyman, and Traditions are the last of the mass produced lower cost rifles. They do not sell 45, 40, or 36 caliber. Traditions has one or two 32 caliber rifles. Pedersoli has a good range of calibers but they are more expensive. I do admit that I am not that familiar with Dixie Arms. If you want a medium priced 45 these days, then the used rifle market is where you will find most
I've been shooting my old TC Hawken 54 Cal for a good number of years. However, my shoulder cannot take the beating even at 70 Gr. with a round ball. I'm getting older and the 45 Cal is much more manageable. I've fired my friends 45 Cal and what a difference. It's just more pleasurable and time on target [Range firing] is more enjoyable. I scout ebay every day looking for a stock I can marry up with a 45 Cal barrel. The ebay auctions do bring more for 45 Cal barrels than anything else excepting the very rare and fancy. And yes they are getting harder to come by ....just my opinion.
Yes, the .45 costs a bit more. Yes, I am retired now and have more money and time to waste on BP guns than I did in the 70"s. But not much incentive to buy better guns than the TC. The .50's are a whole lot more available both in used guns and barrels and new replacement barrels. I started thinking about a .45 the last time I shot my .50 from a bench with a heavy conical and a full hunting charge. I have not mastered accuracy with the round ball yet but they shoot soft.
I have shot several 45 TC Cherokees and compared to a 45 TC Hawken they can be a bit of a pain to shoot due to there light weight and small size. But I think the folks wanting them for a filler rifle keeps there value up. Several on this sight head shoot squirrels with the same gun they hunt deer with and lots of folks like the thought of a one gun for everything. I own a 32 and 36 Seneca and if I found a 45 Seneca in equally good shape would pick it up in a hurry. I also agree that folks that were young in the 70s myself included want to buy back a little of there youth. Sorry to ramble
I traded an unmentionable rifle worth approx. $500 US for an unfired .45 TC Hawken a few months again. I had sellers/trader regrets for awhile, but after a couple of shoots I am convinced I got the better deal. Crazy accurate with round ball.