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Old March 12, 2013, 11:37 AM   #1
chewie146
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Muzzleloading .50 TC Hawken

Hello all,

I shot my ML for the first time in years, and man was it fun. I don't know why the ole black powder rifle has been neglected. Now that the ammo crisis is here for a while, I find that these components are available. I think I need a thicker patch, though. In the T/C they recommend a .490 RB and a patch, but don't specify the thickness. Does anyone here ever double up patches? I'd like to use the rest of the ones I bought. If not, no biggie. I'll use them for lubing the bore and such.

I'd like to get some pillow ticking, but don't know where to look online. There's no Wal Mart in town here, believe it or not. Also, what's your favorite lubes? I'd like to make my own rather than buy it.

Problems aside, the accuracy was acceptable at 75 yards with 5" groups. That's minute of deer. However, I know I can shrink that by a ton. I'm thinking seriously about getting a Lyman GPP to go with my hawken so I can share components.
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:21 PM   #2
Erno86
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Dixie Gun Works...sells precision cut {.018 thickness} pillow ticking gun patches & cloth. I don't know whether Jo Ann Fabrics mail order's fabrics or not. Both them and Wall Mart sells pillow ticking cloth in square yards.

I bought a Thompson rear peep sight for my 50 T.C. Hawken, along with a Green Mountain round ball barrel.

You can measure pillow ticking thickness with a hand held micrometer. I lube my round ball patches with Simple Green solution.
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:34 PM   #3
maillemaker
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Can you not shoot a Minnie ball in those things and skip the patch?

Steve
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:41 PM   #4
chewie146
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Round balls are cheap cheap cheap. Minnies and other conicals are not. It's a cheap-skate thing...
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:43 PM   #5
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50cal

In my Lyman GPR I use a .495 ball and .018 ticking from Wall mart. Over the years I have tried many lubes, but for the last 3 or 4 yrs I have been using Ballistol mix 1 part ballistol 3 water. I have shot 30 shot matches without cleaning. When you buy your ticking be sure and run it in the washing machine at least one time. Hope this helps.
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:46 PM   #6
Pahoo
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SideCockers are fun to shoot !!!

Quote:
I think I need a thicker patch, though. In the T/C they recommend a .490 RB and a patch, but don't specify the thickness.
There is a good reason why you are stating that you need a thicker patch. What might that be? The Patch-Ball-Barrel combination, is mostly a personal choice based on you circumstances and that is basically how TC lists this. However, if you look at their loading table/data, it's based on a .015 patch. This is always a good place to start and see where you land from there.. ..

As far as pillow ticking, just Google it and you will see a list as long as your arm. Many fabric stores carry this as well. ...

Enjoy and;
Be Safe !!!
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Last edited by Pahoo; March 12, 2013 at 01:03 PM.
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:54 PM   #7
maillemaker
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Quote:
Round balls are cheap cheap cheap. Minnies and other conicals are not. It's a cheap-skate thing...
I assume you'd cast your own either way?

Steve
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:58 PM   #8
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I normally use pre-cut patches from either T/C or Traditions, and if not pre-lubed, I use wonder lube on them. I have had great success with these combinations with a .490 RB in my .50 cal T/C Renegade. I also have a combination I use for target shooting that uses an Ox-yoke pillow ticking patch with a .495 RB. This combination is a bit too tight for use in the field, and requires the use of a stout range rod to seat the ball. The above combinations I use for .490 RB are tight, but still easily loaded in the field with the original style wooden ramrod. The T/C patches I use mike out at approx .020, and work very well with a .490 RB.

I know that by playing around with different patches and powder charges you should get better than 5 inch groups off a bench at 75 yards. At least that's been my experience with older T/C muzzleloaders.

Maxi-balls can also be wicked accurate in these rifles as well, so you might want to give those a try as well. Casting your own projectiles will save a lot of the cost of shooting as well.
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Old March 12, 2013, 06:20 PM   #9
chewie146
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Granted this was not off the bench, but I should be getting half that with a .50 ML off hand. What mold do you use to cast. I'd like to start with round balls, as those aren't as picky about being pure lead as full-bore bullets.
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Old March 12, 2013, 06:39 PM   #10
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If you cast round balls out of harder than pure lead they will be bigger than ones cast from pure lead so take that into account when you get patch material. Any fabric shop should have ticking but like was said do wash it first.
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Old March 12, 2013, 06:57 PM   #11
chewie146
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I figure I could get 2 lee molds for 40 bucks and experiment with the lead alloys to see what happens.
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Old March 12, 2013, 06:57 PM   #12
Pahoo
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.495; pure lead

Quote:
What mold do you use to cast. I'd like to start with round balls, as those aren't as picky about being pure lead as full-bore bullets.
The last lead that I ran, was in .495. Not sure to what you are refering to on the pure lead but I only run as pure as I can get. In the past, I ran alloy with a Poly-Patch as well as .445 alloy MaxiBall with a MaxiPatch. The only molds I have left, are Lymans and older TC's ...

Enjoy and;
Be safe !!!
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Old March 12, 2013, 07:13 PM   #13
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TC barrels are button rifled and have fairly shallow grooves, so they don't need really thick patching to fill the grooves. Also, the .490 ball recomendation is a starting point, not something carved in stone. You may well get better results with .495 balls and a thinner patch.
TC barrels usually come with a 1 turn in .48 inch "compromise" twist, a little faster than ideal for round balls but able to stabilize lighter bullets such as the TC MaxiBalls. That relatively fast twist means your best accuracy will happen with the lighter loads.
You can save a lot of money by going into a fabric store and just buying a yard of pillow ticking, just make sure it's 100% cotton, you don't want polyester in the patching material. Any tightly woven 100% cotton fabric will work, I have had good results with denim and a fabric that has some sort of flower pattern on it that Winns used to sell.
Just experiment, starting with a mild load and increasing it 5 or 10 grains at a time until you get accuracy. The rifle will tell you what it wants.
When evaluating accuracy, shoot at 50 or 25 yards, at 100 yards, crosswinds will drift your shot and you might blame it on your load. Also pay attention to the light conditions when shooting iron sights. Overcast conditions will have a different zero than direct sunlight so don't be too quick to blame a bad group on your barrel or load.
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Old March 12, 2013, 07:36 PM   #14
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Try the Lee molds. You can turn out some real nice rd balls and bullets with them for your TC rifle. Once you get a .490 rd ball w/.015 patches or .495 w/.018 patches. stick to one or the other or you'll work yourself into a frizzy tring to get good groups with your rifle. Once you get the right powder charge stick with that to. I been getting good groups with 80 to 90 grs Pyrodex RS and a .490 rd ball w/.015 patches lubed with boro butter. Also try to keep my shots at 100 yrds for hunting. Most shots from a bench are 2 1/2 to 3" groups. Still can put deer down at 100 yrds with that load. The same gun works good with the same 80 to 90 grs of powder and a .495 rd ball w/.018 patches. Just have to keep everything in order it all works out pretty good.
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Old March 12, 2013, 08:15 PM   #15
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Casting only pays if for itself if you intend to shoot allot. Otherwise the simple procedure of buying your projectiles is a better and much cheaper way to go if you consider yourself just an occasional shooter. I've always figured if ones ball and patch combo are 0.005 overbore your are at the optimum in engraving its projectile in most P.RB barrels. As a 50 cal bore size patch and ball combo (.490 & .010) usually gives mediocre result's at best. .490 & .015 or .495 & .010 are about as good as one can expect for accuracy. .490 & .020 or .495 & .018 will exhibit nothing better than a strenuous reloading exercise for its shooter.
As far as making ones own patch lube. About the only benefit is the removal of unwanted scents like wintergreen and some other nasty smells over what is made commercially. The use of Ballistol and diluted with water is indeed a good patch lube but still has a odor to it not found in Nature. And there lies the problem Sir. So many hunters spend so much money and time in their trying to be Sent-Free whenever they enter Mother Natures domain. But have forgotten, don't bother, or even consider the scent of their items brought into the field /woods with them. (gun, its bore chemicals & lubes, accoutrement bag, gloves) Simple forgotten or ignored things that can unknowingly ruin a hunt.

I prefer Wonder Lube at my favorite gun Range for a patch lube. Or Ballistol and water mix in a pinch. But for a patch lube in the field I have a recipe that contains a few different ingredients. Two of which are Lard and Lanolin in its make up and has little or no scent. So if you intend to make your own patch lube. Try to make one that doesn't smell any worse than the environment its to be used in. Just my opinion is all. What works for me may or may not work for someone else or collide with their way of thinking. That's to be expected no doubt. Good Luck OP.
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:07 AM   #16
chewie146
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I'm thinking this is going to be my new plinker. I'd love to get another barrel for it from Green Mountain in a smaller caliber, but the smallest they go is .45 I think. I'd love a little 36 for squirrel, etc.
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Old March 13, 2013, 10:59 AM   #17
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Look At Da Patch

One of the things that I do with a new rife or when working up a load is to examine patches after their shot. At most ranges this is not a problem, just pick up your spent patches during the range brake. They will be 15 to 20 ft down range. If your range has a lot of muzzle loading activity put an X on your patch with a sharpie. Look at the contact marks on the patch. It should be a round dark ring around the patch with stripes from the rifling. If the patch is not sealing properly it will leave evidence. Unfortunately the best way to determine this is by comparing a patch from a rifle that is shooting properly. Signs of problems are: Patches that are smoking, patches that are cut or have any kind of hole, dark pattern that is not semetrical or even.
A good patch should show a good round seal that is very even. This also shows how good of job you do centering your pre-cut patch.
Not that this gas seal will change with different powder loads and along with accuracy is a good way to determine a maximum hunting load.
Your TC is capable of much better accuracy than 5” at 50 yards.
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Old March 13, 2013, 02:45 PM   #18
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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I won a State Championship with my T/C. 50 cal stock Hawken back in 1974
It would shoot 3/4 inch 5 shot groups at 50 yds. Load was Goex FFF Black Powder, .500 cast round ball, .020 thick patch. Oh the load was 70 grs.
Patch was Teflon coated, and the gun was a Flintlock.
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Old March 15, 2013, 07:59 PM   #19
Boomer58cal
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Buy several thickness patches and see what your rifle likes. It's just one of those things you have to do. Sometimes it's not just ball and barrel diameter that determines your patch thickness. Every manufacturer make different depth riflings which makes a big difference. I've seen anywhere from .002 in. to .022 in. deep riflings. For muzzleloaders I like deep riflings. My Green mountain barrels range form .016 in. to .020 in. I had them made that way because I often shoot at rendezvous a lot and don't like running more than one patch between shots. I also hunt with my ML's almost exclusively over my center fire rifles and want to make sure I can get a second shot off fast and deeper rifles are easier/faster to load.

Good luck and be safe. Boomer

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Old March 18, 2013, 08:29 AM   #20
chewie146
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I went out again this weekend, and it was shooting some pretty good groups with the factory .005 patches and 490 round balls. I was shooting 50 grains of pyrodex RS backed by a 209 primer. This was at about 25 or 30 yards. The nice thing about the thinner patches is that I can thumb seat them and don't need my starter. However, I don't think the seal is all that great. I don't know, though, as I can't seem to find my patches. I think the wind was getting them, and as I wasn't at a formal range, there isn't a great deal of clear ground to find them. With a little bigger patch, do you think I could drive the ball a little harder, or is that more of a function of twist rate than patch thickness?
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Old March 18, 2013, 09:39 AM   #21
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You have a Hawken that uses a 209 Primer?
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Old March 18, 2013, 12:24 PM   #22
chewie146
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I have a nipple I ordered from Warren Custom Outdoor that has a screw-on cap with a floating pin in it for 209 primers. I absolutely love it. It does add another step to loading, as you have to unscrew the cap and screw it back on over the primer, but the primer is much more protected from the elements than a simple #11 cap, and the ignition power is much better than a musket cap. I bought it to see if it would cure my dad's .54 Renegade ignition problems, and I liked it enough to buy one for my Hawken. They can be found at http://www.warrencustomoutdoor.com/. It installs with a simple allen wrench. The socket for the wrench is machined into the top of the flash hole in the nipple. A little anti-sieze grease, and it's simple to remove during cleaning. Around here, 209 primers are roughly 66% to 1/2 the cost of #11 caps. Plus, around here, #11 caps seem to be pretty seasonally offered. 209's are available 365. I like the storage of the 209s better as well. My dad also had a #11 cap fall off somewhere on his hunt last year. That won't happen with the screwed-on 209.

Last edited by chewie146; March 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM.
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Old March 18, 2013, 08:20 PM   #23
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^^^ THAT SIR, is a WHOLE JAR OF AWESOME SAUCE!!!!!! That is probably a very good idea if hunting in harsh elements with a sidelock. OR because the wise old MAN of the woods rarely shows himself and when he does we sure don't need to hear................................click! Thanks for sharing
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Old March 18, 2013, 10:11 PM   #24
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Think for the link chewie. That may come in handy for sure.
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Old March 21, 2013, 02:52 PM   #25
chewie146
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As an aside on this topic, I've been using olive oil down the bore as an experiment. Thus far, I love it. I carry a small bag of oil-treated patches with me to swab the bore if loading becomes hard and follow that up with a shooting patch. It makes life easier. I haven't found any material for shooting patches around here, so I haven't shot any rounds with olive oil as the shooting lube, but I've heard it does work just fine.
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