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Old January 31, 2012, 07:14 PM   #1
Garyson1311
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So I was given a muzzleloader..

Hello all,

I am new to the forum and have a few questions for you muzzleloaders out there..

I was recently given a Thompson Center Arms .50 caliber cap lock rifle. I believe its the Hawken but it doesnt say it specifically on the barrel like the new ones do according to the website although it looks exactly the same. The gun seems to be in pretty good shape other than the fact that its got some corrosion near where the percussion caps are placed. The actions all seem to work.. The hammer (assuming thats what its still called) moves and locks, the dual trigger set up works fine as well (set trigger, etc.). I believe whoever shot it last did not remove the spent percussion cap as there is one on there that is crusty and seems to be the source of the corrosion. (I already got the old cap off but the corrosion remains). I would really like to clean this rifle up and take it to the range. It doesnt have any visible damage or issues other than the corrosion and a hint of rust on the outside of the barrel (I havent looked inside the barrel yet but am definitely planning on cleaning it to the best of my ability.) My question is this.. Are there any specific points or mechanisms on the gun that need to be very closely inspected to ensure that it is safe to fire after sitting for who knows how long? (I'm not new to guns, just new to muzzleloaders) I heard that the gun had no problems last time it was used (who knows how long ago?) If I am able to use muzzleloader cleaning materials to remove the corrosion near where the percussion caps are placed and am able to get the barrel nice and cleaned without any more real signs of rust or corrision, would you guys try and give it a shot if it were yours? Should I take it to a gunsmith and have it checked out? I have read up on the load data and procedure for loading but am just curous about the firearm itself. Thanks a ton!
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:22 PM   #2
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I know the minimum I would do is treat it like a bomb until somebody who is familiar with shooting muzzleloaders (or a 'smith) looks at it and makes sure that last shot wasn't a misfire and you still have a charge and a ball in there.
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:22 PM   #3
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welcome to the ADDICTION! As I am fairly new to BP shooting, I'm learning quickly. Seems to me I would buy a new nipple clean the flash hole and install a new nipple. You need to make darn sure that thing doesn't have a charge and a projectile in it, as from what I've read used rifles often do have a charge and projectile in them, as alot of folks leave them that way. But the veterans will be along shortly to offer more advice.
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:26 PM   #4
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Thats a very good point. I didnt realize that muzzeloaders are sometimes left with a charge in them. Is there a way to "clear it" so to speak?
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:31 PM   #5
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well naturally you could clear the nipple and flash hole, put a new cap on it and clear it that way, but not knowing the condition of the bore I'm not sure I would do that. They make a projectile removal tool that will screw into the lead bullet and pull it out. But in theory the original ram rod should drop all the way into an unloaded barrel and sit flush with the muzzle.
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:36 PM   #6
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Put the ramrod down the barrel and mark where it stops and then lay it next to the barrel with the mark even with the muzzle. If that ramrod reaches all the way to the line where the breech plug starts, then the gun is empty. If it stops a few inches before the breech plug starts, you have a loaded gun.

Also, a ramrod dropped down the bore of an empty gun makes sort of a "tink" sound as it bounces off the back of the breech. If it hits a lead ball, it doesn't make much of a sound and it doesn't bounce much.
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:51 PM   #7
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Clean it and get to shooting !!!

Garyson
First off I'd say that is indeed a TC Hawken model and it doesn't say so. Many early ones were not stamped as such. They call these Pre-Stamped models and more desireable to have. As far as being able to tell if it's loaded, there are a number of ways to tell. One is to take your ramrod out and drop it in the bore. If you hear a dull sound, that means you are hitting lead. If it gives more of a ringing metallic sound, that means you are hitting steel. While your rod in in there note the depth of the bore on your rod, pull it out and see where it indicates at the breech end. At this pint, I suspect it's not loaded.

Now, don't do the Buck-Skinner trick of blowing down the bore. .....
Instead, insert a lubed patch down the bore with your rod jag end and see if you have hear a hising sound out of the nipple vent.. ...

As far as the nipple, just replace it after you have freed it up. TC still makes replacement nipples. It may be rusted in. You should see a small clean out slotted set screw on the side of the snail. Leave that little bugger alone as he is trouble; rusted tight.

As Far as smiths go, most of those you go to today, don't relate well to M/L's. As few old timers are still around that can. Personally, i would pulll the lock and check for rust at the back of the lock-plate.

It's a bunch of fun getting these old orphans shooting again. Would I shoot it, you bet !!! ...

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:57 PM   #8
Garyson1311
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Thanks for all the responses! I'm going to give it a look tonight when I get home and try to make sure if im dealing with a loaded gun or not. If not, i'll check out the nipple and then go from there. I'll keep you guys posted!
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:58 PM   #9
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And some Pics would be most appreciated
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Old January 31, 2012, 08:02 PM   #10
Garyson1311
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No problem, I will get pics up tonight so you guys can see what im dealing with. Oh yeah, Pahoo said that the older ones are "unmarked" with the Hawken name on them.. Do you guys know when they started putting "hawken" on them or when these unmarked ones were made? I would just like to try and date the gun. As I said before, I downloaded the current TC Hawken owners manual.. Am I able to go off of that manual or have there been significant changes made and is that manual useless to me? (Especially the suggested load data)

One more thing.. Whats a jag end of a ramrod?

Last edited by Garyson1311; January 31, 2012 at 08:07 PM.
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:00 PM   #11
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wether it's loaded or not i would run some water down the barrel and leave it soak for a half hour. If it is loaded this will make it safe to handle. you still need to know if it indeed is loaded so you can get the bullet out if there is one. As far as cleaning goes make sure the flash hole if that's what it's called is clear to allow ignition. I'm not familiar with this muzzleloader, but i'm thinking it does not have a removable breech plug. if it does though, make sure that's tight. if it's looser than the bullet the plug is what will move.
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:21 PM   #12
Garyson1311
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Okay if I was going to soak it, I need to remove the barrel by taking out that little pin that goes through the wood about halfway down the gun right?
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:22 PM   #13
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Heres the pics (part 1)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 0129121807.jpg (83.3 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg 0131121805.jpg (117.9 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg 0131121805a.jpg (108.8 KB, 40 views)
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:23 PM   #14
Garyson1311
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Heres the pics (part 2) I even took a picture of my corrosion problem.. Is solvent the magical cleaner for this job?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 0131121807.jpg (73.1 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg 0131121808.jpg (51.6 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg 0131121808a.jpg (52.3 KB, 37 views)
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:28 PM   #15
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Also, I drop the ramrod in there and it goes all the way down aside from where the metal starts on the other end of the rod (so about 2 inches?) I hear it hit metal I think.. Also, when I pulled the rod back out, it was wet?
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:30 PM   #16
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Last thing! Should I soak it or no? Warm water? soap? fully submerged? thanks!
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:30 PM   #17
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First off, Get a Fiberglass Ramrod it dose wonders without breaking
Y/D
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:49 PM   #18
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wet? with oil I hope? If not run a patch down that sucker and dry it out. If it were me I would remove the barrel from the stock and I would fill the barrel up with break free and let it soak. Also spray some break free on the nipple and with a nipple wrench try to remove the nipple after it soaks for a bit. Nice looking rifle though Definitely worth the effort.
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Old January 31, 2012, 10:05 PM   #19
Garyson1311
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Yeah I believe it was oil. So i know for sure the gun does not have a charge. I dont have a nipple tool or any real cleaning supplies for it but will be making a trip to the gun store! I just have my stuff that I use for my handguns, rifles, and shotty's. I do have breakfree but I was wondering if I should wait to fill the barrel up with it until I have an appropriate size mop/brush?
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Old January 31, 2012, 10:18 PM   #20
deerslayer303
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well, when you said wet, I thought you meant condensation (water) but if its oil its probably in good shape and you can just take your cleaning rod and run a patch with break free on it down the barrel and see how nasty it is. And clean as you would your normal guns. Getting that nasty nipple off should be the priority, You can get a nipple wrench anywhere, cabelas has them. I'm willing to bet that the corrosion is just on the nipple (or at least my fingers are crossed).
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Old January 31, 2012, 10:47 PM   #21
Garyson1311
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oKay im not sure if i just did something bad.. I ran some white tee shirt pieces (aka my patches) down the barrel using the rod and the little attachment and about 75 percent of the way through it seems to encounter some resistance.. I put a little more force behind it and it goes all the way to the bottom of the barrel.. Did that a few times, no problem.. This time, it goes in like usual, hits some resistance, i put a little muscle into it, and it goes all the way down.. Now its time to pull it out.. its not budging... its stuck... I pulled it very hard and it came out but I can feel little grits of metal or something on the patch.. All the other times I did this, there was just some brownish liquid (I think its oil but it feels pretty watery) is it from the barrel? Gunpowder? i'm not sure what just happened but i hope i didnt mess anything up.. Shouldnt there be zero resistance? (especially 3/4 of the way in only)
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Old January 31, 2012, 11:07 PM   #22
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Uh-oh, sounds like the previous owner left the barrel uncleaned after shooting it.

This may be a perfect opportunity to buy one of Green Mountain's legendarily accurate target barrels for this rifle. In fact, a lot of people who compete in muzzleloading matches look for TC Hawkens with neglected barrels just to get a stock on which to put one of Green Mountain's barrels on.

http://www.trackofthewolf.com/Catego...42&styleID=491
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Old January 31, 2012, 11:09 PM   #23
Garyson1311
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If that is the case.. What happened to this barrel? Is it trash?
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Old January 31, 2012, 11:27 PM   #24
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It may still shoot and may smooth out with use. The thing about the stock barrel is that it has shallow button rifled grooves and a "compromise" 1 in 48" twist which is too fast for optimum patched roundball shooting and too slow for optimum bullet shooting.

The aftermarket barrels feature no compromise patched round ball twist rates or no compromise bullet twist rates if that's what you want.

I shoot offhand muzzleloading rifle matches mostly and I replaced my stock .45 caliber barrel with a .36 caliber Green Mountain patched round ball barrel and never looked back. These barrels have bores that are so polished that even a bore sized roundball surrounded by a patch just slides downbore with gentle ramrod pressure once started.
The firing line at Friendship is full of TC Hawkins with GM barrels in them.
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Old January 31, 2012, 11:30 PM   #25
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Ok that makes sense. I guess what im wondering now is what was that material coming out of the barrel? Was it from the barrel itself? powder muck?
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