TCA Hawken 50, S/N 500000 range

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Intervention

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Muzzle question. When I look in the barrel, it appears to be a smooth bore barrel, is this the QLA Muzzle System?

Purchased the rifle and it appears to be unfired or lightly fired, I'm not sure if a round ball is loaded in the rifle. I remove the nipple and I can't see any light through the barrel. Not sure exactly how far the rod should go into the barrel to see is a load is stuck in there.
 

Thunder14

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For starters did you put a bore light or flashlight to the barrel if its empty (not loaded) you will see the end of the barrel.
and when you removed the nipple did you see any powder.if you put a ram rod down it you will hear metal on metal and you will feel it bounce if it’s empty,you can always put a ball puller on and check to see if you pull any lead. And for GODS sake keep the barrel pointed away from you until you know for sure its unloaded.I just purchased a rifle that I was told it was never fired (1978 Hawken) well it was never fired but surer than sure It was loaded.
 

renegadehunter

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Just hold the ram rod on the outside of the barrel so you can determine how far it should go in, mark the spot, and then run it down the barrel with safety in mind and see if it goes to the mark or not.
 

Zonie

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Muzzle question. When I look in the barrel, it appears to be a smooth bore barrel, is this the QLA Muzzle System?

Purchased the rifle and it appears to be unfired or lightly fired, I'm not sure if a round ball is loaded in the rifle. I remove the nipple and I can't see any light through the barrel. Not sure exactly how far the rod should go into the barrel to see is a load is stuck in there.
If the smooth area of the barrel only goes down the bore about 1 inch below the muzzle and then the rifling grooves appear, it is the QLA muzzle.

To determine if the gun is loaded, run the ramrod all the way down the bore until it stops. Wrap a piece of tape in line with the face of the muzzle around what's left of the ramrod that's still sticking out of the barrel. Pull the ramrod out of the barrel and lay it down along side the barrel, lining up the tape with the face of the muzzle.

The end of the ramrod that was stuck in the barrel should stop 3/4" to 1" short of where the nipple is. If the ramrod is more than 1 1/2" inches away from the nipple, consider the barrel as loaded.

As for this fear of getting your head in line with a loaded barrel is concerned, if the gun is a percussion firearm and there is no percussion cap on the nipple, the gun is no more dangerous than a modern centerfire cartridge held loosely in your hand. In fact, it is less likely to fire than the centerfire cartridge held in your hand because without a percussion cap on the nipple it is the equivalent of a modern centerfire cartridge without a primer in it.
The same can be said for a flintlock if the pan has not been primed and the cock is resting in the fired position on the lock.

(It is not safe at all if a flintlock has an empty pan and the lock's cock is in the half-cock or full-cock position and the frizzen is closed. If the cock falls on a closed frizzen, the resulting sparks can enter the vent hole and fire a powder charge if it is there.
 

Intervention

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Thanks for all the answers and advice. I assume due to the design of the breech, it's not possible to see light shinned into it through the barrel? TCscraper.jpg
 

ppg1949

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I’ve done it by looking through the clean out screw hole. Your rifle may not have one. I used a bright bore light with the light facing down instead of up. Mind you it is not going to look super bright but you can see it. Zonie’s info is the best way to determine if it is loaded.
 

Intervention

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Used a borescope and it looks like a puddle of melted lead in the barrel. Going to try C02 next.
Borescope pictures
Photo on 7-31-20 at 6.27 AM.jpeg

Photo on 7-31-20 at 6.26 AM.jpeg
Rod pictures
IMG_2045.jpeg

IMG_2046.jpeg
 

Grenadier1758

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If you can, place a plastic straw over the nipple and blow through the straw. Listen for a hissing sound. If there is a blockage, the straw will pop off the nipple. Or take a pipe cleaner and run it from the nipple seat as far as it will go. You should be able to see the tip of the pipe cleaner with your endoscope.

It looks as if your ramrod is reaching to the chambered breech. Your picture of the breech appears to be of the reduced size of the breech and the flash channel entry is off to the left. That's the dark spot.
 

Intervention

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Piper cleaners coming in today, will try along with a straw. What could the puddle of stuff be? How difficult is it to remove the breach and get it reinstalled (with the correct tool)?
 
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Grenadier1758

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You don't need a pipe cleaner, just any relatively shiny object, such as a paper clip or thin copper wire that can be poked through the flash channel. You should be able to see that.

Okay another test. Remove the ramrod, pull the wedge and lift the barrel from the stock. Remove the nipple too. Put the barrel in an empty bucket. Pour water down the muzzle and watch for water to run out from the nipple seat.

If the rifle is unloaded, the shine could be old machine marks. If its loaded, no water running through the barrel, that could be the top of a Maxi-Ball. I don't see any evidence of patching material for that to be a round ball.

Its easy (so some say?) to remove the breech with the T/C breech tool, a heavy vise with padded jaws mounted on a sturdy workbench and a large wrench to fit over the breech removal tool. The barrel needs to be clamped just ahead of the threads of the breech plug. The T/C tool is no a factory supplied tool, but can be found on ebay. The easier alternative is to find a black powder gunsmith if the breech needs to be removed because an obstacle is located in the breech.
 

NorthFork

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I can see the flame passage way from the nipple in the second pic at about 11 o'clock. I bet the nasty stuff at the bottom of the patent breech is old bore butter. Pull the nipple and I bet you can shove a wire or piper cleaner into the patent breech and you will be able to see it on your bore scope.
 

Crow-Feather

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Not sayin it is, but does look like someone tried to melt out a round ball. Also, a tight patch in the bore will turn the ramrod if there is rifling in the barrel.
 

BEP

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I did the same depth test with my ramrod as you did. It shows exactly the same position relative to the bolster when placed on the outside of the barrel as yours did. Your rifle is not loaded. Without removing that breechplug (requires a special tool, a padded heavy-duty vice and some serious leverage) it's impossible to know what's showing on your 'scope. I wouldn't worry about it.
 

Zonie

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Intervention:
I'm not sure what the shiny stuff is but to figure out if your gun has a problem you should get some #11 percussion caps.

Take your gun, the caps and 1/8 to 1/4 cup of flour outside and pour the flour on a clean flat surface. Cap the rifle and place the muzzle over the flour holding the gun at about a 45 degree angle. Pull the trigger.
When the cap fires, if the passage between the bottom of the nipple and the breech of the bore is open, the flour should be blown away from the bore.
It doesn't have to be completely blown away but you should see some of it fly in all directions.
If it does blow away, your gun is good to go as it is so take it out and shoot it.

If the flour doesn't move when the cap fires, you've got a problem.

Because your gun doesn't have a "clean out screw" in the side of the snail below the nipple, it may have to have it's breech plug removed.
This is not a job for the average person without the tools needed so the gun will need to go to a gunsmith to get it fixed.
 

dragnetbill

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I'll test with a small wire tomorrow and then I'll try the floor trick. Thank you
Scanning back to the beginning of this thread, after looking at your pictures, I see that you mentioned that the rifle appeared to be unfired or lightly fired. My bet is that you found yourself an unfired specimen (look in the hammer cup for any trace of grime; only the really obsessive compulsive among us get that area squeaky clean) and that the breach is just factory shiney without a clean machine finish look to it. I think your ready for the range if a popped cap blows flour.
 

Eric Krewson

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Your gun isn't loaded. Here is a bore scope picture of my TC breech for a comparison. You have something going on down there that isn't right.

TC breech 2.jpg
 

Eric Krewson

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This picture is off a pre warning TC Hawken that is around 35 years old, they may have changed the angle of the flash hole between my guns manufacture and yours.
 

Grenadier1758

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Since I believe from the endoscope pictures and the ramrod insertion picture that your rifle is unloaded, the flour on the floor or preferably back yard in the grass is a test that will verify a clear flash channel. However if the gun is loaded, you may be creating a new access portal to your basement if you fire that rifle at the floor.
 

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