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What Makes a "Better" Component?

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I've been getting deeper into traditional muzzleloading over the course of the past 5 years, and it's been an awesome learning experience. However, some of what I know (or think I know) doesn't have a lot of depth, primarily, what makes a specific part, component, manufacturer, etc. better than others?

I think a lot about this with barrels, but I'm sure it can be transfered to any number of premium parts. So, just for sake of an example: Why is a Green Mountain barrel better than the standard T/C barrel? Is it the quality of steel? Design of the rifling? The logo looks cooler?

I know there's a reason, but I don't know what it is :)
 
The difference is mainly in the rifling. The Green Mountain has wide grooves and narrow lands, and the grooves are deeper than a T/C. T/Cs were made with shallow grooves and 1-48" twist for using a bullet without a patch and a roundball. At 1-48 roundballs will work fine but the original intent was for bullets. The T/C Maxi-ball. The GM twist is a lot longer. About 1-70 or so. GM steel is a lot harder. Not necessarily needed, but that is how they make them.
 
EC121 covered it but I gently disagree about the steel comment. GM barrels are harder than leaded steel barrels from many custom barrel makers. But TC barrels are as hard at GM barrels, or harder. I won’t attempt to re-cut the rifling on TC barrels using old time methods. Very hard.
 
Mass production vs specialty production. A product made for the masses cheap, or a quality more limited product designed and sold for a more discerning experienced clientelle.
 
Something is only "better" , if it suits your purpose "better." Trying to define down things for different uses .......apples to pears , still edible one to another , but I never ate a pear pie.
 
Sure, but he's asking "what is it" that they are discerning?
Exactly. If we go with the barrel question for example. I'm comparing 2 T/C "Hawken" guns. Identical in every aspect (including bore condition) except that one has a standard T/C barrel, the other has a Green Mountain. Seller is charging $100 more for the Green Mountain, because of the "better barrel". Why is it better?
 
Exactly. If we go with the barrel question for example. I'm comparing 2 T/C "Hawken" guns. Identical in every aspect (including bore condition) except that one has a standard T/C barrel, the other has a Green Mountain. Seller is charging $100 more for the Green Mountain, because of the "better barrel". Why is it better?
Defining the word " quality" is much more difficult than it appears on the surface. See..."Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
 
Exactly. If we go with the barrel question for example. I'm comparing 2 T/C "Hawken" guns. Identical in every aspect (including bore condition) except that one has a standard T/C barrel, the other has a Green Mountain. Seller is charging $100 more for the Green Mountain, because of the "better barrel". Why is it better?
Previously mentioned depth of rifling and twist rate. If primarily shooting round ball the Green Mountain withe deeper rifling and slower twist would be the best choice. For Maxi ball type projectiles, the T/C would probably be best due to the faster twist and shallower rifling. Choice is mostly due to how you want to shoot it.
Idaho Lewis has shown no accuracy problems with T/C barrels.
Quality is not a problem with either of these barrels.
 
Although, @Snooterpup, I would draw the line differently when it comes to the T/C QLA barrels. They were rebated to make loading/alignment of the T/C conical bullets easier. Quality control issues are noted with alignment of the QLA rebate and round ball shooting suffered. The older T/C barrels were better as noted above.
 
Although, @Snooterpup, I would draw the line differently when it comes to the T/C QLA barrels. They were rebated to make loading/alignment of the T/C conical bullets easier. Quality control issues are noted with alignment of the QLA rebate and round ball shooting suffered. The older T/C barrels were better as noted above.
Yup, forgot about those. Wouldn’t have one of them. Others, no problem in my opinion.
 
A barrel is only part of the equation, It is not the only answer.
Right. I know someone who won’t touch a Traditions gun. When I ask him why, he says “Because they’re junk!” I’ve never gotten a deeper answer than that. I’m not debating if he’s wrong or not, but as someone who is fairly new to the sport, I’d like to know the “why”.
 
Hard question. Have to rely on the "I know it when I see it" test. Of course, everyone's threshold for "knowing it" is a little different....
 
I know there's a reason, but I don't know what it is :)
IMO, there is no valid reason. There are opinions that are bandied about especially here on this forum. Much of it is parroting repetition without any supporting information. I have four tc barrels and three GM barrels and they are all excellent. Then there's the saying that TC barrels were meant to shoot bullets. I'd be curious to see factual information on when tc actually started to offer their first maxi ball. My original owners manual for my tc Hawken (1973 production) goes into a whole lot of rb discussion. In any case, my Hawken has been equipped with the standard tc 50 and a gm drop in. Both very good shooters.

Right. I know someone who won’t touch a Traditions gun. When I ask him why, he says “Because they’re junk!” I’ve never gotten a deeper answer than that. I’m not debating if he’s wrong or not, but as someone who is fairly new to the sport, I’d like to know the “why”.
Many of those guns have been poorly assembled from kits. But they still have pretty good shooting qualities. Mostly they have Spanish made barrels that are well made but almost always need crown work. They have other shortcomings but all in all the barrels are pretty good. The Spaniards were making barrels before America was colonized.
 
IMO, there is no valid reason. There are opinions that are bandied about especially here on this forum. Much of it is parroting repetition without any supporting information. I have four tc barrels and three GM barrels and they are all excellent. Then there's the saying that TC barrels were meant to shoot bullets. I'd be curious to see factual information on when tc actually started to offer their first maxi ball. My original owners manual for my tc Hawken (1973 production) goes into a whole lot of rb discussion. In any case, my Hawken has been equipped with the standard tc 50 and a gm drop in. Both very good shooters.


Many of those guns have been poorly assembled from kits. But they still have pretty good shooting qualities. Mostly they have Spanish made barrels that are well made but almost always need crown work. They have other shortcomings but all in all the barrels are pretty good. The Spaniards were making barrels before America was colonized.

Honestly, I found myself parroting the lines I had been fed from trusted individuals with no reasoning other than "they" had told me so. That's why I'm curious, I want to know the why :) I too have guns with both Green Mountain and T/C barrels, and I'm not a good enough shooter to make either of them less accurate than the other.

We've got some Traditions guns in our 4-H stocks, and I've never had an issue with them compared to our T/C's (which have also proved reliable). However, when I pull a Traditions from the safe, one of my volunteers tells me to "put that junk back". I do trust his opinion, but I've never been able to get an answer as to why they are "junk" :)
 
I would like to see a comparison of accuracy (meaning tighter groups) at 100 to 150 yards between both the barrels, same length or close with patched round ball, same caliber and same 85 grain powder load. My money would be on the Green Mountain due to the deeper rifling and slower twist. But then, I’d probably lose my money anyway.
I’ve owned T/C but not the Green Mountain barrel on aT/C Hawken. There might not be a difference, but I’ll bet the patch is thinner for the T/C. Most folks would agree the faster twist and shallower rifling do a better job of stabilizing conicals.
Both barrels are of very good quality in my opinion and both worthy of owning and both will get the job done.
 

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