View Full Version : Looking for a BP rifle

January 7, 2011, 05:05 PM
I have a post on another BP forum asking for comments on the subject. Rather than link to another forum, I will just ask for similar comments here.

Naturally, I can't decide which one I want. It will be my first BP rifle; and I would like to keep the price under $500. I don't hunt; so the rifle will probably never be used except at the range. I have little interest in shooting anything but round balls. I have narrowed it down to three choices:

T/C Hawken (percussion), Lyman Great Plains (percussion), or T/C Fire Storm (flint lock) w/stainless barrel.

I have come up with a list of pros and cons for each choice; but rather than list them, I would like to solicit some thoughts from the forum on each choice. I do realize that the T/C Hawken would have to be a used gun in order to stay within my $500 budget.

I would appreciate any comments you might have.

January 7, 2011, 06:00 PM
You can use whatever criteria you like to make your ultimate decision, but I would start with deciding if you want percussion or flintlock, and then go from there. I am new to this myself, real new, about 2 weeks! But I've been thinking about muzzle loading for about 5 years, but just recently got a Lyman Great Plains. I have lots of centerfire rifles and handguns, but I've always been interested in the history of our Revolutionary War and I decided I want a flintlock. I guess American history buffs come down to being either "Revolutionary War guys" or "Civil War guys". For me, the Civil War was a necessary but painful part of our history that I wish we'd been able to avoid although I am glad that the good guys won. On the other hand, the Revolutionary War was a glorious manifestation of our destiny to be the leading force for freedom in all the world, and all that stuff. So, I'm a flintlock (i.e, Revolutionary War) guy. If your history leans more towards interest in the Civil War, then you should probably get a percussion. To me, no offense to anyone, but the percussion was a little niche mechanism that only lasted a few decades between flintlocks and lever rifles, whereas lever rifles lasted 150 years and are still going strong, and flintlocks lasted about 300 years.

As to which specific rifle to get, I think that boils down to two things:
1. Which one reflects the period of time you are most interested in?
2. Which one are you going to really enjoy looking at and holding in your arms?

Best of luck, you can't go wrong whatever way you decide to go.

January 7, 2011, 07:17 PM
The guns he's narrowed it down to are generally halfstock plains style rifles. The time period is the 1830's; there's no connection with either the Revolutionary War or Civil War periods.

January 7, 2011, 07:31 PM
I have 5 TCs and have nothing but good to say about them. There some very good deals on the Hawkins if you check gun shops, gun shows etc. I like them well enough that every time I find one in better shape than what I have, I buy it. But then I keep what I already had. Guess I just like them. The only downside to the TC is the 48" twist, but it will shoot ball quite well if you keep your charge low. Good luck in the hunt for the perfect rifle. For what it's worth, to check the bore, if you don't have a BP bore light, use a nickel 38 spl. case and a high intensity flash light. Drop the case down the bore base up, shine the light down the bore and presto, instant bore light. Best to check that the rifle is unloaded first.

January 7, 2011, 07:51 PM
I have been at this a few years and really see nothing wrong with your choices. I have also taught for about the last 21 years. I am fundamentally a TC man on Side-Cockers. One thing that I would ask you to consider, is do you really want to start out with a rock-crusher. Given your requirements and while you are looking, look at the Pennsylvania Hunter with a 1:66. That one woud be for your PRB. Nothing wrong with the TC Hawken model but you might like the Renegade just as well. The Lyman Great Plains is a great choice. Might also look at the New Englander which would fit in your budget quite well. Go into gunBroker and see what is active. Stay away from the TC Senecas as those are always in my sights. ...... :D

I like the way you think !! .... :D

Be Safe !!!

January 7, 2011, 10:59 PM
Choose whatever you want for whatever reasons you want to make the choice.

I submit that if you are more interested in the Revolutionary War, you will choose a flintlock, but if you are more interested in the Civil War, you will choose a caplock.

January 8, 2011, 01:05 AM
How a gun shoulders and fits an individual can affect what is a very personal decision.
When one gun has something to offer that another gun doesn't, then price, popularity and who made it go out the window as far as I'm concerned.
Folks have different tastes so as with everything, we all like different models.
It could be how a gun balances and handles, how much it weighs, whether it has an adjustable sight, the barrel length, the length of pull, any trait could be the determining factor.

January 8, 2011, 08:10 PM
Congradulations on your taking the plunge into the world of bp rifle shooting!I have two percussion rifles at this time. One is a TC hawkin which is my favorite at least right now. Cannot remember ever poping a cap without shooting the load or for that matter a hang fire. The nipple on these guns sits really close to the powder chamber which I think helps dependability. Mine shoots round balls really well and press to fit lead bullets nearly as good but not quite. Bought this gun off of gun broker. The transaction went very well & I was not disappointed. Gave $300 for this gun & $20 shiping. In addition to the rifle, the seller sent $50 worth of accesories. He had told me that the rifle had only been shot about 30 times. It was indeed like new when received. I do however realize that not all transactions will go like mine did. Got lucky with a really good seller :)
My second rifle is a kit gun handed down to me when a close relative passed. Originally, it was purchased and assembled as a kit gun. It is Dixie gun works, Tennessee rifle with probably 1 twist in 60 inches. Its one of the pertiest guns I have ever saw and very fun to shoot & very accurate. The niple on this gun sits farther away from the chamber in a tube (cannot remember the name of the tube right now) with a cleanout screw in the end of that. This gun has hang fired a couple of times on me and I did cap on a deer a few weeks ago. Believe this was my fault for bringing the gun in and out of the cold. Because of my lack of "fun" time and trying to raise a family I chose percussions because of their dependability in a hunting situation. Some day when I have more quality time, I'd like to get a flintlock but probably would stick with a percussion for hunting. Got a bad flench when the gun doesnt shoot when it is supposed to :D
Hope my rambling has helped you make up your mind on a rifle. Just remember that black powder & substiutes are corrosive so keep the barrel clean and always use all natural cleaners and lubricantes. Happy shooting to you friend!

January 8, 2011, 08:29 PM
All comments are appreciated, fellas. Everything helps. Don't stop now.

January 8, 2011, 09:42 PM
Before you plunk down your hard earned cash for a flinter make sure you can get real bp. Flinters won't work with subs. The Lyman Great Plains is as close to an original Hawken as you can get from a reasonably priced production gun. The TC's, CVA's and Investarm Hawken's look nothing like a real Hawken but are reasonable facsimiles of Tryon trade rifles from the mid 1870's.

January 8, 2011, 10:40 PM
I faced a similar decision not long ago - I went with the Lyman Great Plains percussion rifle in 54 caliber.

Many of my reasons were subjective...the appearance of the LGP, the availability of an individual rifle with a lot of figure in the stock.,.. the fact that I'm a lifelong Connecticut Yankee and Lyman is a CT company...

Another reason was that the regular great plains barrel has the 1 in 60" twist rifling for shooting round ball BUT drop in barrels are readily available from Lyman with 1 in 48" twist for shooting conicals and sabots

From what I could gather in reading reviews and questioning more experienced owners - both guns are highly regarded with a slight edge going to the Hawken but I like the Lyman more,,,

For whatever my opinion is worth - I'd say pick the one you like the most because they're both excellent guns.

January 9, 2011, 09:43 PM
Thanks for everyone's help, comments, and suggestions.

I just won a Gunbroker auction for a Lyman Great Plains Rifle. It's a .50 cal percussion cap gun. My winning bid was $317.70. We're supposed to have an ice storm rolling through here tonight; but I hope I can get to the post office tomorrow to get the payment on the way.

Link to the auction. http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=209669292

January 10, 2011, 11:18 AM
Great choice and like I said before;

I do like the way, you think ... :D

When and if you get into hunting with it, I have a great "Shot-String" for this rifle. Took a 10-point buck at 75yds three years ago. ...... :)

Be Safe !!!

January 10, 2011, 11:33 AM
You may already have it "in your sights"; but, if not, there is a .45 cal TC Seneca currently listed for auction on Gunbroker. Just sayin'.....

January 10, 2011, 11:56 AM
Thanks Napp and yes, I'm watching it. ... :eek:
They are sweet ....... :)

Be Safe !!!

January 10, 2011, 08:06 PM
Congradulations on your rifle Nap. I too had checked out gb auctions a couple of days ago and noticed there were hardly any traditional muzzleloaders to choose from. Bought mine back in 07 from gb and there were tons of tc hawkins for sale then & a lot more reasonable also. Has tc toped making their hawkin model? That seneca is a sweet lookin rifle.

January 10, 2011, 10:26 PM
Thompson Center was acquired by Smith & Wesson, but still manufactures their 'Hawken' model half stock sidelock plains style rifle.