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Thread: Beginning Muzzleloader

  1. #1
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    Question Beginning Muzzleloader

    I fired 50 cal Hawken when I was younger, but I know that the field has made some leaps and bounds since then. I am looking at traditional type firearm verses the inline. I am more or less set on 50 cal too. I like the T/C Hawken and Renegade models. Since I am in the Army this firearm would be used in multiple states for mulitiple big game, I wanna make sure I am getting something that is regulation versatile.

    Will the T/C Hawken/ Renegade fire conical, sabot, ball (all the options)?

    I have searched the website and catalog, the rate of twist is listed for renegade but not hawken, any clues?

    Any recommendations for good books or websites for beginner muzzleloaders I should check out before I get started?

    Thanks for your help

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    Default Diablo

    Sam Fadala wrote the muzzleloaders bible and it has everything you could want to know about the ol' sootburners. Most hawken style rifles have rifling which will handle conicals and also do well with a patched round ball. Check out Dixie gun works as they carry just about every muzzleloader made and the gadgets to go with them.

  3. #3

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    The standard TC Hwken has a 1:48 twist, supposedly a compromise for shooting both PRB and conicals. Several friends have them, and from what I've seen and shot at the range and in the field the twist rate lives up to claims. We've shot a wide variety of lead conicals, sabots and PRB's over a pretty broad spectrum of velocities. Excellent accuracy and very reliable performance. Best of all about TC is the warranty- even on kits. If something goes wrong, they'll fix it whether you are the first, second or later owner.

    I picked up a Lyman GPR in 54 caliber because I wanted the bigger bore, but now I'm keeping my eye open for a used TC Hawken. The Lyman has a 1:66 twist, and though it is a tack driver with PRB's, it doesn't stabilize conicals worth a hoot. As much as I love the Lyman, my 50 traditional is going to be TC. I've got an inline 54 which I enjoy playing with, and though it's a lot easier to clean, it's not nearly as much fun to shoot as the traditionals.

  4. #4

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    I should add that the standard TC Hawken (1:48 twist) easily shoots minute of rabbit head at 25 yards, and quite a bit beyond if you are capable. At the same time it shoots standard TC conicals into less than 2" at 50 yards, and 4 or 5" at 100 yards if you are up to it. Sabots shoot even tighter. That makes for a pretty versatile arm in any book, whether you are hunting small, medium or large game. In our group of shooters the TC Hawken has won its fair share of free lunches too, the prize for high shooters in our informal matches.

  5. #5
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    Default Another new smokepoler

    …but long time rifle, pistol and shotgun shooter….and I need some insight from some of you long time muzzleloader shooters.

    First let me say thanks for all the tips, as I passed the Ft Rich qualification with flying colors (5 consistent heart shots). My T/C Black Diamond 50 loves the 405 lead Powerbelts backed by 100 grains of Pyrodex pellets. In fact my last range session produced a three shot group all touching each other at 65 yards (she’s sighted in 3” high at 50 yards with my planning on taking no longer than a 100 yard shot, so I can hold dead on). I had some Barnes 295 Spitfires (yellow sabots), but I couldn’t even get them 3” down the bore! Had to use the bullet puller, etc…

    Anyway, I got home from the orientation following the qualification and cleaned the gun as I had in the past, which always worked well. Except this time no matter what I do I can still pull dirty patches. Let me explain, I first gave her the hot soapy water, hot clean water treatment making sure to scrub the bore good and rinse it down. I than took a wet patch of T/C #13 and followed that with a bronze bore brush, followed again by a wet #13 patch and finally by dry patches until clean. For $h&ts and giggles I went ahead and put another wet #13 patch down the bore and figured I would brush it a few more passes. Well, there would then still come out black. I continued the same cycle, wet #13 patch, brush, wet #13 patch, dry patches till they come out clean….and no matter how many times I did this, when I would then send a wet patch followed by the bore brush again I would end up with dirty patches. Now I did this until 2am (being the perfectionist “get ‘er clean” type of shooter, but finally the better half said enough is enough so I ran the bore down good with bore butter and called it a night. I will say that the bore looked nice and shiny through the bore scope.

    So…what the hell is going on here? Is it bad leading from the lead Powerbelts? Am I being overly conscious about cleaning her up? It’s just not sitting well with me knowing that I can still pull dirty patches from the bore after scrubbing some more, but fer cryin’ out loud I scrubbed the hell out of the thing….and that was AFTER the good soapy/clean water scrubbing.

    I’m seriously considering taking some JB to the bore. I sincerely hope that someone can help me figure this one out. Bear in mind that it’s probably only had a total of 20 lead Powerbelts through the bore, and has been meticulously cleaned after each of the previous two range sessions.

  6. #6

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    Sounds like a nicely performing rig. I'm assuming you pull the breech plug when cleaning a Black Diamond? (I haven't handled one.) If so, then there's no chance of fouling collected around the face of the plug. I have to guess that there's something to the leading issue. Pellets are prone to leaving a fouling ring just below the bullet seating depth, but you would see or feel that if you had pulled the plug.

    Eliminating possibilities one by one, I come back to your question of leading. If #13 is a mild lead solvent, but you have significant leading in the bore, that could be the source of your black. If those Spitfires once seated freely but now don't, that's another clue.

    Have you tried a bore brush? That's my usual treatment when I shoot lead Powerbelts through my 54. If there's significant leading, that's a good choice. I'm a fan of JB for copper fouling in my CF rifles, but I haven't tried it on leading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Sounds like a nicely performing rig. I'm assuming you pull the breech plug when cleaning a Black Diamond? (I haven't handled one.) If so, then there's no chance of fouling collected around the face of the plug. I have to guess that there's something to the leading issue. Pellets are prone to leaving a fouling ring just below the bullet seating depth, but you would see or feel that if you had pulled the plug.

    Eliminating possibilities one by one, I come back to your question of leading. If #13 is a mild lead solvent, but you have significant leading in the bore, that could be the source of your black. If those Spitfires once seated freely but now don't, that's another clue.

    Have you tried a bore brush? That's my usual treatment when I shoot lead Powerbelts through my 54. If there's significant leading, that's a good choice. I'm a fan of JB for copper fouling in my CF rifles, but I haven't tried it on leading.
    Oh yeah, pulled the breech plug everytime when cleaning and gave it a thorough scrubbing till nice and shiny inside and out. She actually cleaned up fairly easily. In fact, I even pulled the breech plug several times during range sessions and cleaned it. Right now when looking down the bore from the breech end (breech plug pulled) there's no noticable "ring" where you described. Looks shiny and not fouled.

    Bronze bore brush...as I wrote earlier yeah, I use the heck out of it both with the soapy water and with the T/C #13. As descirbed, That's what I can't figure out. I clean the heck out of my guns, but with the Black Diamond, no matter how I wet patch-scrub-wet patch-dry patch until clean, when I then wet patch and scrub there's the black.

    The Spitfires never did get farther than 3-4" down the bore, but I'll admit that this was aftera few powerbelts/spit patches. I'm going to try them again from a clean bore (if I can get her totally clean!).

    Yeah, she's shooting pretty sweet as far as I'm concerned, but the fouling deal is bugging me.

  8. #8

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    I don't have a clue!

  9. #9

    Default Traditional Muzzleloader

    I have a TC New Englander in .54 caliber for sale if you are interested. (Have 2 and have not used them for a while.) Excellent condition. $150 Call Roman at 745-8065 if interested.

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    Default

    Have you looked into a Pacific Rifle? Beautiful! I have shot a good friend's .72 caliber model but, I am ordering a .62 caliber for myself. The rifle is available in .62, .72 and .82. Give yourself 6 months if you want one. It costs $500 to get on the list. The balance is due when the gun is completed. They are all hand made and that takes some time.

  11. #11
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up T/C hawken

    I have hunted with both the TC Hawken and Renegade.....in 50 cal.

    My load of 90gr by weight 7772F or 2F Select loose powder using the 370 gr TC Maxi Ball is good load with CCI No 11 Mag. Caps.

    Prefer the 777 2F lose powder due too ease of cleaning

    Good 100 yard gun for Moose to deer
    Alaska

  12. #12
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    Default A little help maybe

    Been in the traditional muzzle loading thing for over 43 years. Been building custom guns for over 30 of them.
    A nicley tuned round ball gun can't be beat for all round use. The properly loaded round ball rifle shoots flat out to 100 yards, maybe a bit more depending on caliber. Bigger is better for large game if you can stand the recoil from the charges it takes to make the big balls perform well.
    The larger the caliber the farther the round ball will hold up if it's pushed hard enough. This requires a well built gun and a tough shooter!
    Anyway, if you want to hunt anything larger than deer you want a .54 caliber minimum. I have taken two bison in Montana with .54 flintlock rifle. I was using a stiff charge of 125 grains of FFG. However - there is no way in God's green earth I would use that in Brown Bear country - not even with sabots and slugs.
    Generally: Guns with the correct rate of twist to stabilize slugs and sabots will be unable to shoot a hot loaded round ball well at all.
    Personally I am in the process of making myself a .58 caliber rifle that will shoot both the original style Minnie ball and round balls very well. I am also going to be making a .75cal smooth bore. The smooth bore is highly underrated! At well patched (tight) smooth bore gun can shoot consistantly inside a pie plate sized target at 100 yards all day long with decent open sights. The smoot bore can use alloyed lead balls which will deliver amazing penetration. A long time ago I recall reading about a fellow in Maine that used a reproduction Brown Bess with some sights he cobble together for it and shot moose with it every year. All were one shot kills. He used a stiff charge of 165 grains of FG powder and stayed with the original flint ignition.
    I have shot deer with a .75. The results were instant and final.
    Round ball guns have the advantage of the flat tragectory as I already mentioned. They also have the advatage of being able to shoot many times without cleaning if you use the right patch lube.
    If you want authenticity and asthetics then it's your only choice outside original style Minie balls but they will not shoot well in most guns rifled for round ball.
    Hope this helps a little. Lastly, the Lyman Great Plains Rifle is a nice factory made gun with well cut barrels in .54. I would select one of these over a TC any day.
    If I can help in any way just ping me.
    Thanks
    Ron Paull

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    Default

    Bare lead on the bore might cause leading even at muzzle loading velocities. Pure lead does not have to be pushed very fast to lead. Water based bore solvents will take care of the black powder but not lead. At least not in my experience. Just another reason I like a well tuned hot loaded round ball gun.
    Ron

  14. #14
    Member akndres's Avatar
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    Question can't get'em down the barrel either

    Sal,

    I bought my mother a T/C Omega X7 for this past Ohio muzzleloader season. I cleaned it thoroughly before ever shooting it. Couldn't get the factory protectant out of the barrel. Solvent, soap, you name it, couldn't get a clean patch... Finally got it "clean enough". When she went to shoot T/C super glide shockwaves... mom couldn't get them more than three inches down the barrel. I could "force" them down, but with way more force than should be necessary. I kept using the supplied No. 13 cleaner, trying to condition the barrel (it should have had a good amount in the metal from the pre-cleaning ritual) in hopes of making them slide easy enough for mom to shoot confidently. After 10 rounds of forcing sabots and cleaning between shots, they still weren't going down any easier. I switched to my Barnes Expander MZ's (that are tackdrivers out of my Lyman GPH 50 cal). No better... she couldn't get them down the barrel. I then went to some Hornady XTP sabots... still couldn't get them down the barrel without two handing the rod with all her strength.

    I'm now pissed. I've owned two T/C hawkens with no problems. I wanted the X7 to work because it was the right length of pull for her, but she can't get a sabot down the barrel on her own... ridiculous.

    I resorted to powerbelts because of the different design. I don't like them personally but I figured her slightly undersized barrel might seal the powerbelts more effectively. Sure enough, she could seat a powerbelt with no problems. The X7 cloverleafs the 250 grainers at 50 yards.

    I also switched solvents and went with my Butch's Black Powder Bore Shine which I use in my Lyman and love. This didn't change the tightness either.

    Still can't get the patches to come clean between shots. I'm in the same boat with you, so your not alone. I've been shooting traditional bp rifles for years with no problems. This is the first in-line I've dealt with. I know T/C makes quality guns and barrels, so I don't think I have an undersized barrel.

    I would appreciate any inputs that could resolve this problem from the experts on this forum.
    "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt

  15. #15

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    I responded to your question on the other thread you started, akndres.

    As for bare lead in the bore, it's not a problem with lubricants, and especially with a lubed felt patch between the bullet and powder. I shoot the heck out of Lee REAL bullets in several rifles, as well as an assortment of Maxis, Buffaloes and others.

    I've used Wonderlube and a couple of others for years, but lately made up my own with a 50:50 mix of deer tallow and beeswax following another recommendation here on the forum. Works just as well, kinda nice to use something I made myself, and a whole lot less messy to handle.

    I agree about the utility/capability of roundballs, though. I do almost all my hunting with them, shooting conicals for long range target games but seldom on hunts. I hunt with ML's cuzz I like to get close, and at the ranges I shoot game any "advantage" of a conical is only theoretical.

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    Default Paper round Ball ballistics vv the real thing

    I agree about the lead bullets not leading when properly lubed. Some of the stuff that used to come on things like the Buffalo bullets didn't seem to work very well if the bullet was pushed hard.
    Round balls are highly underrated as a hunting projectile. People tend to go with the published ballistics which are considerabley less than flattering compared to slugs and sabots.
    The bison I mentioned each fell to one .530 round ball. One additional was adminstered as "The Stroke of Grace". Of course you can make a crummy shot with the biggest gun you can stand and still end up on a wild chase.
    Calibers 54 - 75 (if you can stand it) will shoot darned near flat to 100 yards (properly charged) which is about max ethical range with a single shot muzzle loader. If you are using traditional open sights this is nice as there is no need for compensating for the high trajectories of slugs. I do know some of the hot loaded sabots shoot pretty flat to 100 yards or even better. But then I bump into my strong bias against non-traditional equipment on what is supposed to be a "primative" hunt.
    For me the whole "Inline" vv "Traditional" thing is a little like the debate that still rages between some motorcycle enthusiats - No one can deny the advanced technology of the Asian Bikes - but the EXPERIANCE just ain't the same without a Harley. So too with muzzle loader. The Inline guns are superior in almost every way to a traditional, fixed open sighted, side lock, exposed ignition, hand built gun. But the magic just ain't there with the inline!
    Just another .2 cents worth from an old traditionalist
    Ron

  17. #17

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    We could probably sing harmony, our lines match up so well. Got an inline because it was cheap and I wanted to see first hand what all the fuss was about. Fun to shoot, but it sure doesn't come close to "primitive" in the spirit of the primitive seasons. Keep a scope off and it's got the same range limits due to sighting, but I have no interest in hunting with it, except maybe during the regular season if I was desperate for game and ranges were too long for my traditional. But truthfully, I'd probably grab a 7 mag and be done with it if I couldn't get close enough with my sidelock.

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