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Old 04-01-2019, 07:57 AM
flangster

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Opinions on a T/C Hawkin .50 Cal as a first BP rifle?



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BP Newbie here. I have been shooting a Uberti and Ruger Old Army .44 round ball pistols for the past year. I don't shoot them every time I go to the range, but I enjoy the basic nature of these revolvers. I would like to partner them with a rifle -- a traditional style cap-fired rifle -- but am lost in the number of choices facing a purchaser. Feels like when I was buying my first rifle all over again. Not a bad problem, but there is an "information overload" quality to the experience.

I bid on -- and lost -- a Gunbroker T/C Hawkin .45 rifle, which seemed like a good first choice. But having lost that auction, I am looking at all possibilities.

The purpose is target shooting at 50 and 100 yards, so accuracy is a must, but iron sights would be OK, even preferable. I'm not totally opposed to an in-line model, but if the rifle recommended is an in-line model, I want it to be reliable and ok to use with balls rather than only conical sabots (don't understand yet why it would necessarily be one or the other). I am thinking about getting into casting at some point, although that is, admittedly, several years down the line.

The budget here is sub-$1000 but a "best buy" at a fraction of that would be welcome. For instance, I see that there are new Hawkins in .50 cal for around $400 at Bud's and at Midway and a Kentucky Traditions .50 cal for about $30 less. I don't think my woodworking "skills" are up to a kit.

Also: any insight into why .45 rifles are so scarce? Is there a great accuracy advantage to the .50 cal slug, or is it a "hunting knock-down power" sort of thing?
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:11 AM
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A T/C Hawken is a great choice. In Lines were designed to get around the rules for muzzle loading hunts. They are no different than using a Ruger #1 except they take a little longer to load. Technology for advancement of mankind is one thing, but in Lines are technology to get around rules. If you like traditional muzzle loaders, the T/C models are very good.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:25 AM
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A little advice from someone that doesn't have a clue...

Watch twist rate. I have three BP rifles and one has a 1-48 twist and two 1-66 twist. I prefer shooting balls and the 1-48 stinks at that. Both 1-66 rifles do a very good job giving tight groups. I think the 1-48 may be compromise twist rate for maxi-balls.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:43 AM
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Hmmm. Are there aftermarket or T/C swappable barrels for the T/C Hawin with different twist rates than what comes from the factory?
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:44 AM
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Ah! Answered my own question. Looks like Green Mountain makes 'em. Ouch, though, on price, compared to the price of the firearm.
On the upside, I could get a .45 barrel with a 1/60 twist and standardize on ball size between rifle and pistol. My head is spinning a bit here.
Any accuracy disadvantage from the .45 as opposed to .50 cal? I find myself wondering why there are so many current offerings in .50 and almost non in .45 . . .???

[Edit: " I called the folks at Track of the Wolf and they set me straight about that. No way those .457 balls for the Ruger Old Army are going down the Hawkin .450 barrel with a patch. "]

[Further Edit: the guy I spoke with at Track of the Wolf also said that he had seen 1:48 twist barrels do well with round ball, and some not so good. They do sell Green Mountain replacement barrels, including a .50 cal in 1:66, which he said would be for a "round ball only rig." His advice about the factory 1:48 barrel? "Try it and see."]
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Last edited by flangster; 04-02-2019 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:56 AM
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Bigger is always better! Yeah, right.
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:10 AM
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I always had a Hawkin on my list as well . . . My initial M/L purchase was a T/C Renegade percussion in 54 caliber which was very reliable and shot very well using pillow tickling patched balls out to 100 yards. I bought a Cabelas Hawkin knock off which I returned as it would not give consistent ignition. I'm not sure one can buy a new T/C Hawkin as the last I was aware they were only available from the T/C Custom Shop (Fox Ridge Outfitters) and they are no longer in business. I agree with M2HB the T/C Hawkin is a great choice and there are some used ones available on the auction sites.

I have one of the original Remington 700 ML 50 caliber which I switched over to use a 209 primer so I could use to BlackHorn powder. It is also very accurate out to 100 yards (my testing length for M/L) but I tend to use a sabot with Barnes or Harvestor 250+/- grain bullets.

Can't help you on the 45 caliber question as all my M/L rifles are either 50 or 54's.

Here is a review on the newer inlines just for additional information - but totally understand the desire to stay with the older percussion cap style. I still have my Renegade and have no plans to get rid of it.

https://myhuntingear.com/best-muzzle...nters-reviews/
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Old 04-01-2019, 10:29 AM
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I think a TC Hawken is a great way to start traditional BP, assuming you want something to shoot and are not trying to get the most authentic Hawken reproduction. I've had one in both 50 and 45 and no difference in accuracy when you found the right loads for each. Just that the 50 has always been more popular in the TC Hawken.

There was a time when you could pick up these TC Hawkens for a song when in-lines became the darling of the late black powder hunting season crowd. I remember our local shops even refusing to take them on trade, for a time, because demand was so low. Interest seems to be coming back, though, so a good mint TC Hawken on the market will now attract attention.
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:17 AM
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TC Hawkin is a very good quality bp but not a true, period correct rendition of a plains rifle if that is important. Stick to 50cal. for many reasons, you'll thank me later. The 48" twist is too fast for patched balls, you'll need at least 66". At one time, Lyman made a much more accurate rendition of a period correct Plains rifle. Now if you're talking Kentucky rifle, 45cal. or smaller is the order of the day.
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
I could get a .45 barrel with a 1/60 twist and standardize on ball size between rifle and pistol.
Nope. The revolver uses a .451 ball, and the rifle uses .445 (to make room for the patch).

The original muskets used in the very early colonial days were large bore (.62-.75), but gave way to the .45 or so in the "Golden Age" rifles.

When the West was opened two new animals appeared (bison and grizzlies) requiring more power. So the .50-.58s came into more use for the plains rifles.

Both .45 and .50 can be very accurate with the right load, and both kill deer size animals equally well (from experience).
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat McCoy View Post
Nope. The revolver uses a .451 ball, and the rifle uses .445 (to make room for the patch).

The original muskets used in the very early colonial days were large bore (.62-.75), but gave way to the .45 or so in the "Golden Age" rifles.

When the West was opened two new animals appeared (bison and grizzlies) requiring more power. So the .50-.58s came into more use for the plains rifles.

Both .45 and .50 can be very accurate with the right load, and both kill deer size animals equally well (from experience).
Yeah, I should correct that in the post above. I called the folks at Track of the Wolf and they set me straight about that. No way those .457 balls for the Ruger Old Army are going down the Hawkin .450 barrel with a patch. I learned a lot today.
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Old 04-01-2019, 10:14 PM
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There are still good deals to be found on T/C muzzle loaders. I have a few Hawkens and a Renegade. They are all excellent quality. I stick with the factory built rifles to insure that Iím getting good quality. The most difficult part in getting a used one is finding one that had been cleaned properly after every use.
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:14 AM
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Hawken

Carried a TC Hawken for lots of miles. Was a way more accurate than I could shoot. Had a few no fires on rainy days with regular caps but changed over to a Hot Shot nipple. Slow to reload but went boom every time. I shot a .45 caliber saboted 300 grain Hornaday XTP. Deadly and would shoot clover leafs at 100 yards if I kept the gun cleaned properly. Did I say CLEAN?
Just in case you ask, I did harvest a buck or two with it.
A little humor, last deer I shot with it was a nice buck that a dad gum aggravating Beagle was trailing , yes I hate dogs that run deer. I had decided to climb down out of the tree stand and "squirt the dirt". Here comes the buck and peeks out from behind a big tree at about 75 yards. Gently reached over and picked up the Hawken. All I could see was his head and about half his neck, pow and he was DRT.

Finished task at hand.
By the way nice Hawkens are bringing a premium price!
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:56 AM
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I have had many TC's and they were all nice, None of them could hold a candle to my Lyman Great Plains Rifle though.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by abureels4me View Post
I have had many TC's and they were all nice, None of them could hold a candle to my Lyman Great Plains Rifle though.
Agreed!
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