View Full Version : Buying a used T/C Hawken percussion .50; what do I need?

December 30, 2010, 09:47 PM
This will be my first BP firearm; I've previously shot one friend's Knight in-line, and another's flintlock. Have some idea of the required accessories, but can anyone personally recommend a good starter kit?

December 30, 2010, 10:29 PM
Actually, no. "Good starter kit" is an oxymoron. Purchase the items separately:

1) .490 round balls, cast or swaged
2) .015 thick 100% cotton patch material
3) powder measure
4) powder flask
5) short starter
6) black powder, 3fg or 2fg, (or Pyrodex P or RS)
7) .50 cal cleaning jag
8) cleaning patches

December 31, 2010, 03:26 PM
9) Nipple pick (homemade)
10) Bore Butter or wonder lube.
11) Good old #13 BP solvent.
12) Screw jag, worm jag, scraper jag
13) On patches, get lubed ones
14) 3F of 777, or equal
15) TC manual (Free on request)

Be Safe !!!

December 31, 2010, 04:42 PM
Thanks for the responses.

December 31, 2010, 04:53 PM
#11 caps.

December 31, 2010, 07:54 PM
I bought my used TC hawkin in 2007. This was my second bp rifle the first being a cheap spanish made gun that had a habit of hang firing right at the wrong moment. My TC shoots dependably when I pull the trigger. Patched balls definatly shoot better for me than the old style bullets. Never considered trying sabots. Just my personal feeling and wanting to keep it "old style". If you are only interested in the most practical accessories I'd suggest an additional rod made of modern unbreakable material so you dont have to use the wooden rod supplied with your gun. No need in taking a chance of breaking it or putting no more wear on it than necessary. Another suggestion would be to buy an inexpensive, plastic powder dispensing cap that will screw right onto your can of pyrodex or 777. Love the look of a powder horn but its not practical for most of us in the field. I got three quick loaders that can press the patched ball right into the muzzle like a hyperdermic needle. They are marked for proper powder amount. If you are a newcomer to bp shooting, thorough cleaning of your rifle is a must. Try to keep it simple and natural. TC#13 is what I use but will take the barrel off an use (only) hot water for a more complete cleaning then follow it up with lots of bore butter while its still hot. Check the barrel often for rust in case this method wasnt used before you bought your second hand rifle. I kept the bore butter after it if I saw rust for a while but then it quit happening. Now I can leave my rifle alone for months without worry. Lots of defferant opinions out there but this method works for me and I can shoot several shots without running a cleaning patch down the barrel. Oil in the bore will prevent rust if the barrel is clean but creates much more fouling. Good luck and happy hunting to you my friend! p.s. I took the biggest whitetail of my life the first year I hunted with my tc hawkin. It final scored 164 with 5.5 inches contestable. Fourteen points with split eye guards and a twenty-two inch spread. Be aware there isnt a good blood trail a lot of the times with patch & ball.

December 31, 2010, 08:01 PM
First thing you need is to find out if your TC 'Hawken' is an early patch grabber. Early Hawkens from TC had breeching problems. Run an oiled patch, fairly tight fitting to the bore, to the bottom of the barrel. If the patch is grabbed and you have to fight to get it out you have a dangerous gun. Only cure is to buy an aftermarket drop in, already breeched, barrel and replace the bad original. Use the original as a fence post.
If it is OK :D. Then buy your loading and care goodies.
I disagree with btmickinney about Bore Butter. I would fight to keep it out of my county much less use it.
But, then, much of the traditional ml game is disagreements. Preferably over a campfire.

December 31, 2010, 08:56 PM
The above post was my first so forgive me for rambling. I know bore butter has its faults and isnt a rust preventative but instead an inhibator. My TC bore looks like new though and it works well for it. Your disagreement with me is welcome rifleman1776 but please tell me what you use. My father n law uses hot water with dawn soap followed up by clean hot water & then a drenching of oil while its still hot. I've noticed he has to clean his bore often while shooting though while I do not have to as much. My dad n law doesnt have a rust problem and stores his rifles for long periods without using. It does take more work trying to stay natural I admit. Been experimenting with Ballistol in a newly inherited Tennessee mountain rifle. Incouraged so far. Any feed back on ballistol?

January 1, 2011, 01:03 AM
Balistol is good stuff. I use Bore Butter and even Crisco mixed with beeswax. Some will say Crisco is the worst possible thing to use but I say nay.The only thing about Crisco and Bore Butter is they get runny in summer heat.

January 1, 2011, 07:30 AM
LIke the fact that ballistol doesnt have petroleum byproducts in it. Googled it and did some reading on its history & uses, was quite impressed. It does have a unique smell when you use it but it goes away. Thanks for the feedback. Have to admit that like bore butter, during the high heat of summer, the more runny (sweaty) I get also :D

January 1, 2011, 09:41 AM
LIke the fact that ballistol doesnt have petroleum byproducts in it

Thanks for reminding me. Do NOT use any petroleum based lubes in the bore. They're ok in the action but not in the bore.

January 1, 2011, 10:47 AM
btmickenny asked: "please tell me what you use"
Glad to but my response will not be very exciting.
After 40+ years of being an avid muzzle loader I finally got over trying miracle products. I have used natural products with success (whale oil, bear grease, etc.) and still do occasionally. I have a patch lube of whale oil and beeswax that works excellently. For those who don't have whale oil, and that is almost everyone, a mix of peanut oil and beeswax is fine. In fact almost any good oil (mineral, lemon, etc.) with the beeswax is good.
But, really, for short term storage I just use (can I say this without starting a firestorm? ;) ) WD-40. Works fine, I like it.
For longer term storage I use RIG. IMHO it is a great product. A little goes a long way.
(for the record, I bought my whale oil about 40 years ago when it was legal and never used it until two years ago.)

January 1, 2011, 11:51 AM
We all have our preferences on materials and methods. We usually stop looking when we find something that works well for us. I see nothing out of line with what you have posted. Bore Butter is good and certainly has it's place in M/L use. But as you have mentioned, it has it's limits. .... ;)

I use whale oil but I don't waste it down a bore.
I only use WD-40 to dry out wet firearms/stuff and not to lubricate anything. :barf:
I use Ballistol for cleaning between the range and shop.
I have no use or need for hot soapy water but instead, use Mineral Spirits.

Bottom line; "Do your best, in your own best ways"

Be Safe !!!

January 1, 2011, 12:43 PM
Thank you fella's for your information. Think rifleman is correct in hesitating to say what he uses LOL. Read about wd-40 being used in bp bores before but never tried it. Have read where others have used WD with success in their ML bores also.
Said in my first post that my TC hawkin was the second gun I owned but built a CVA kit at the age of 14 all on my own. Didnt know much about maintaning/cleaning one back then though, neither did my father. After caping on a mule deer not 20 yards away the last day of season, decided to sell it.
Pahoo, you are absolutly correct in stating that we usually stop when we find out what works for us. It interesting to hear what others use though. Not going to knock anyone on their preferances. Think I'm on the right track for me. Hope you all have a great new years day.

January 1, 2011, 01:41 PM
pahoo and btmc...
I couldn't agree more. Use what works for you. That is part of the enjoyment of the ml game. I have simplified my approach over the years and still enjoy the activity very much.
Carry on. May we meet on the trail. And watch yer topknot.

January 2, 2011, 12:13 PM
I might soon find myself in the same position as the OP. The list of accessories in this thread has been very helpful....but.....

Can some of you old hands be more specific. I'm finding that choosing accessories is a lot like choosing wallpaper. The choices are mind boggling.

For example:

Short ball starters...T-Handle, round ball handle, wood, synthetic, etc, etc.

Cleaning & seating Jags....any particular design/brand better than others?

Ramrods/cleaning rods....wood, fiberglass, aluminum, steel?

I'm certain that many of you have opinions on what has worked best for you. It would be interesting to hear those opinions.

January 2, 2011, 12:36 PM
Understand that we are addressing a Traditional as the OP has listed. Support materials would be slightly different when addressing an In-Line.

My short ball starter is and older Butler Creek. It has a built in bore guide, steel shaft and brass cup or end as well as wooden ball. I do not know if you can buy these anymore.

On Jags and other stuff you mentioned. most are made by the same manucfacture anyway. CVA is a good source but you certainly can buy these from countless sources.

I own two Range-Rods and these were purchased from TC. Try Traditions on a Range-Rod. Stay away from an all Fier glass rod,

Precision powder measure; Get the higher end TC, preferably, all brass.

By the way, add a brass bore guide to your list .... ;)

Be Safe !!!

January 2, 2011, 01:31 PM
My opinions (not necessarily better, but I like them):

Short ball starters...T-Handle, round ball handle, wood, synthetic, etc, etc.
Short, wood, round ball handle with a 'cup' to match the ball

Cleaning & seating Jags....any particular design/brand better than others?
Steel rather than brass 10-32 threads (brass will eventually break). Size (diameter) is more important than design details. Needs to match your barrel and patch choices

Ramrods/cleaning rods....wood, fiberglass, aluminum, steel?
Solid brass with a bore guide and 'pear' shaped handle, 10-32 threaded end

January 2, 2011, 01:33 PM
Good info from Pahu.
Starters come in all forms. Something comfortable on the hand and/or able to withstand whacking from a small hammer is what you need. Most of us started out with those that have a wood ball head and wood shaft. I now make starters to use and give away. They have a head of antler scrap and a hickory shaft fire hardened at the end.
As said, avoid fiberglass rods. I'll add aluminum to that list. As alum. gets older it acquires aluminum oxide on the outside. That is the same stuff as grinding wheels are made of. I'm told it will not damage a barrel but I'm not taking anyone's word on that. Stainless steel is fine, just wipe clean now and then.
I make, and have sold, ramrods made from Delrin. It is strong, unbreakable and soft. Will not damage a barrel. I use one most of the time. Only when authenticity is required do I go back to wood.
The reason I seldom use wood these days is because good quality hickory rods are (as far as I know) gone from the market. Using hardware store dowel rods is dangerous. That's a whole 'nuther lecture why. I wrote an article about it published in Muzzle Blasts. Please, for now, just take my word on this.
Best advice I can give is to find a muzzle loading club and join. You will have good friends and tons of advice from experienced traditional ml shooters.

January 2, 2011, 02:09 PM
Ya didn't mentions "flasks" so I'll give you some more confusion. I'm all over the place here as I make my own horn flasks. Guess I could say that I have more flasks that money but on a practical matter, For range work, I use two brass tube flasks. One is a Butler Creek with a push button valve and the other is a CVA with the standard gate valve. I mostly shoot loose powder so I also have a shorter field flask from CVA, again brass.

Rifleman1776 has brought up a good point and that is you can make many of your own support items such as starters, flasks, ramrods, ball bags, nipple picks and even, powder measures. If you like to timker as I do, you can have a bunch of fun with this Great Adventure .... :D

Be Safe !!!

January 2, 2011, 02:56 PM
Steel rather than brass 10-32 threads (brass will eventually break).
Strongly disagree. Brass is kinder to your barrel. And, in my oft repeated 40+ years of doing this, I have never had, or encountered a brass tip or jag breaking. I have some as old as that 40+ years. Even wood and antler tips can last, and last and last and......

Re: flasks
Here is another lecture. Many ranges and shoots under NMLRA rules will not allow loading from flasks. They are simply too dangerous. Yes, yes, I know, here comes the inevitable "Mine ain't blowed up yet." response. Flasks were designed for military use where speed was more important than life and limb. Hang your flask on the wall. Admire but don't use. The use of a separate measure is required on most ranges and common sense dictates the same even while hunting. (BTW, I just love the "yet" part.)
When I had my gun shop I often heard customers say a friend had recommended a flask. My response was "He must be sleeping with your wife." That got their attention. I explained that use of a flask could be fatal then 'friend' would have the customers wife to himself.

January 2, 2011, 04:49 PM
Steel rather than brass 10-32 threads (brass will eventually break). Strongly disagree. Brass is kinder to your barrel.
Apologies. I wasn't clear. I meant threads should be steel, not simply cut into a turned down post on the back of the brass jag. The post should be threaded steel epoxied into the body of the jag. Brass is the correct material for the body of the jag, of course.

January 2, 2011, 05:21 PM
mykeal....I guess you are sorta forgiven. ;)
The steel posts are stronger. But, I still have never seen one broken without abuse.
Personally I prefer jag tips that have female threads. More versatile.

January 2, 2011, 06:30 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. Now, I'm on the hunt for a website that offers all the "good stuff" from the same place so that I don't have to pay the excessive shipping from different places.

This BP shooting sure occupies a lot of an old guy's time; and I have yet to put the first ball down range. The bright side is that I have done my share to help the economy over the past month. :D

January 2, 2011, 07:03 PM
I've got a brass jag that I've used for over 30 years. Just sayin.

January 2, 2011, 07:03 PM
Another thanks for all the replies. SainthoodDenied was nice enough to throw in some .490 balls, patches, caps, and pyrodex, so that shortens my initial purchase list.



January 3, 2011, 08:12 AM
Yep. All-brass jags can last a lifetime. Like any tool, treat 'em right and they'll do their job. Now I've never personally broken one;), but I've helped out others who have, and believe me, IF one ever does break off, it's mighty inconvenient. And if somebody else can break one, so can I. I'd hate for it to happen during a public event:eek: - after all, I've got a reputation to uphold.:p