View Full Version : What's this worth? Any ideas?

September 30, 2008, 07:45 AM
I know little and nothing about Muzzle Loaders or black powder guns, but I've got one, I'd like to get some idea what it's worth just for curiositys sake. I do not want to sell it. About all I know about it is what is and the fact they don't make them anymore.

It's a Thompson Seneca, in .36 Cal. A friend "loaned" it to me and told me to keep it until she wanted it back. That was 20 years ago or so ago. When I've tried to take it back to her, she just says "keep it for now." I know I've never fired it, and I seriously doubt that she ever did. (She got it one time when she was dating a guy who was into shooting.)


I've looked on Gunbroker and GunsAmerica but I can't believe anyone is getting the "buy it now" prices I see. And those are all .45's, not .36's.

Thanks in advance.

September 30, 2008, 08:25 AM
From The Blue Book of Modern Black Powder Arms, Fifth Edition (2007), page 180, the Thompson Center Seneca in 100% condition is valued at $300. Caliber makes no difference in value.

The gun was discontinued in 1987. It came in .36 or .45 cal, percussion only, with a 27" octagon barrel, brass furniture, double set triggers, color case hardened lock and an American walnut stock.

Thompson Center rifles enjoy a good reputation and are quite sought after. The Seneca is a fine rifle and was quite popular in the 80's.

The value of your gun is very much dependent on the condition of the barrel. If it has not been regularly cleaned there may be serious rust damage that would destroy it's value. On the other hand, if it still has the factory rust proofing in the barrel it may be just as good as new. An inspection by a knowledgeable person with a bore light is warranted (be advised that simple dust accumulation in the rust proofing agent can look like rust damage - a thorough cleaning before the inspection may be necessary to get accurate results).

Blue book values are only a guide. Actual prices can and do vary considerably in either direction.

September 30, 2008, 09:48 AM
One Father's Day a few years ago when eBay was still allowing muzzle loaders to be auctioned off there, a beautiful Seneca was sold in 2 parts somewhere in the neighborhood of $650.
Usually an asking price of $500 is enough to turn most potential buyers off, but some folks are willing to pay a princely sum. :)

September 30, 2008, 03:26 PM
For that kind of money I'd rather have a Lyman Great Plains.

September 30, 2008, 08:47 PM
How well I know these sweet little rifles. I own two and right now, would not take less than $350.00. Some folks are looking for these and if they want them bad enough, will pay that price. On the other hand, if you are not into them and just want them as a wall hanger then $200.00 to $300.00 is about right. There is one on Gun Broker in 100% unfired for around $600.00. I hope this helps and as the kids say, they are "Sweet". By it's profile, I would suspect that yours actually says "Seneca". Just like the T.C. Hawkens models the earlier Senecas were not labled. Of course I am assuming that the bore is bright and clean. You can check it by dropping a bobber light down the bore.

Be Safe !!!

September 30, 2008, 09:11 PM
Hey! the Seneca was written up in Muzzleblasts not too long after it was released on the market. Everything about the rifles are top notch, except the barrels, which were never considered "match" quality. Alot of shooters found them to be impossibly unpredictable - as far as accuracy is concerned. I believe that TC got the breechplugs from India (according to a credible Florida gunmaker.)and lost their own quality control in the process. If you want to turn the rifle into a shooter, contact Cain's Outdoor - they purchased all of TC's parts for these rifles. PS - Let Scott build up Green Mountain barrel and use one of his new made breechplugs. I know this barrel on TC's stock and lock will shoot! I know this doesn't answer your question of worth, but maybe someone has one and is wondering what to do with it.

October 1, 2008, 10:02 AM
I know this doesn't answer your question of worth, but maybe someone has one and is wondering what to do with it.

That's true but a very good follow-up. At least I appreciate the information. Welcome to the party !!!

Be Safe !!!

October 1, 2008, 08:15 PM
Thanks everybody. I appreciate the info. I don't have any kind of bore light, other than a regular one, but I know I can run a brush and an oily patch down the barrel and I don't get any sign of rust. Even the nipple area shows no sign of ever having been fired.

I might have to change that one of these days. I keep saying that.

And yes, it does have "Seneca" on the barrel. I've got no idea when she got it. Mid 80's I guess.

October 2, 2008, 04:43 PM
I don't have any kind of bore light
Buy a "Bobber Light." The last one cost me about $3.00 and can check a .22 if I had to. I only use these on any M/L smaller than .45. Your Seneca is a later model and can tell by it's profile. Cannot give you the date. The last time I spoke with T.C., in trying to date one, they said that the records were lost in their big fire.

Be Safe !!!