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Thompson Hawken 50 cal Muzzleloader-

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I just picked up a Thompson Hawken 50 cal Muzzleloader. It is used and I would like to clean and care for it asap. But, thought it would be prudent to gather some information n knowledge before doing so. There is a wealth of information on the internet and videos on YouTube. Yes, some good and some.... That being said. Would anyone with good knowledge of this firearm be so kind as to.share any thoughts.

How do I make sure it is not loaded? The rod sticks out of the end of the barrel about 7/8" almost an inch "if that helps." My thought is to take it to a gunsmith or shop to make sure. Lol, Beats being stupid n stuff blowing up in ones face! : )

So far I believe I should "please excuse my lack of terminology"
1, make sure it is not loaded.
2, pull the bore rod out.
3 Push out and pull the free pin that holds barrel.
4, Carefully lift the barrel up and free of the stock.
5. Put the bridge/firing/primer end of the barrel in soapy water "dish soap?"
6. Swab the bore out with appropriate nylon rod and patches.
7. Brush the boar "this time" with appropriate rod and brush
8. Swab the bore dry with appropriate nylon rod and patches.
9. Blow the bore dry from the muzzle end with clean dry compressed air, "and or should I bake it dry in the oven at about 300 degrees."
10. Bore butter the inside and out
11. Remove the hammer assembly and dry brush it out. And we're it seats in the stock
12. Should I wipe it down with oil and oil it?
13. Should I put a conditioner on the wood stock?
14. Reassemble in reverse order, snugging the screw.

Thank you!!! For any and all help...

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If the stock is properly finished, varnish (ugh) or oil, it won't need any conditioner.  Wipe down all steel surfaces with an oily rag, followed by a dry rag.  Hot soapy water (dish soap is fine) to clean the bore.  Really hot water!

 

It's called a ramrod, not a bore rod.

 

I've never removed a hammer to clean a rifle.

 

I'll leave other comments to someone who's fired a B/P rifle more recently than me.

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With mine, a .54 hawken reproduction, I remove the barrel from the stock, remove the nipple with a nipple wrench, put a pan of water on to boil.  Scrub the bore with hot soapy water and a bore brush, Grab the barrel with a set of bbq tongs or similar and pour the boiling water down the bore. Set the barrel aside, (the heat from the water will dry it) and scrub the nipple with a old toothbrush and a nipple pick or fire copper wire. A little oil on a bore swab through the bore, a little dab of anti seize on the nipple threads, wipe down the barrel with a little oil on a rag, and reassemble. I always pop a cap before I load for the woods, just to clear the nipple. That's how I do it, and the thing still looks like it did 20 years ago. One thing, some times they don't shoot the same POI from a clean bore as they do from a lightly fouled one. Just something to check at the range, before you hit the woods.

Edited by 79troublehead
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One more thing I do is mark my ramrod with a small notch or marker where it comes out of the end of the barrel with a charge loaded. Just a visual and tactile check to be sure. Sometimes if I don't get a shot that day, and I'm headed back out in the next morning, I'll leave it loaded and just pull the cap. Just don't bring it into a warm house and then back out in the cold again. Condensation and such.

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Thank you to the above!!!
Yes thk u, Ramrod
Remove nipple with nipple wrench, rein with a film of antisieze.
Boiling hot water for cleaning...good point!!!
Pouring boiling hot water down the barrel at the end "with tongs."

Thanks again!!!

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Don't mean to be argumentative, but DON'T USE BOILING WATER!!!

 

Yes, the heat will help to dry the bore, but it'll also cause flash rusting. Guaranteed.

Cold or warm water, with a few drops of Dawn or Simple Green works perfectly. Also, don't use a bore brush. Get the correct sized jag & use lots of cotton patches (old T-Shirts are your friend!) Reason being, some bore brushes are simply slid & crimped into the rod threads. If one pulls loose in the barrel, being that it's only open at one end...., you'll have to get real creative in getting it back out!

 

To check to see if it's loaded, lay the ramrod alongside the barrel, so that the bottom end is roughly ½" towards the muzzle, of the nipple. Mark the rod in line with the muzzle. Now insert the rod into the bore & your mark & the muzzle should line up, pretty durn close. If it's about ½" proud, chances are there's a ball in there, but no powder (A Bad Thing) An inch or so, & yes, it's loaded.

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Oh, and if you coat the bore with bore butter (or similar) for protection; before you load it to shoot, you'll need to swab & clean the barrel out with a couple of alcohol soaked patches. I use 91% rubbing alcohol myself, as it evaporates in a couple of seconds. If you don't you'll contaminate the powder & have a heck of a job getting it lit.

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Oh, and if you coat the bore with bore butter (or similar) for protection; before you load it to shoot, you'll need to swab & clean the barrel out with a couple of alcohol soaked patches. I use 91% rubbing alcohol myself, as it evaporates in a couple of seconds. If you don't you'll contaminate the powder & have a heck of a job getting it lit.


Yep... been there, done that. Removing the nipple, adding a little fresh powder, replacing the nipple and then firing did the trick. Not a pretty ignition by any means.

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Don't mean to be argumentative, but DON'T USE BOILING WATER!!!

 

Yes, the heat will help to dry the bore, but it'll also cause flash rusting. Guaranteed.

Cold or warm water, with a few drops of Dawn or Simple Green works perfectly. Also, don't use a bore brush. Get the correct sized jag & use lots of cotton patches (old T-Shirts are your friend!) Reason being, some bore brushes are simply slid & crimped into the rod threads. If one pulls loose in the barrel, being that it's only open at one end...., you'll have to get real creative in getting it back out!

 

To check to see if it's loaded, lay the ramrod alongside the barrel, so that the bottom end is roughly ½" towards the muzzle, of the nipple. Mark the rod in line with the muzzle. Now insert the rod into the bore & your mark & the muzzle should line up, pretty durn close. If it's about ½" proud, chances are there's a ball in there, but no powder (A Bad Thing) An inch or so, & yes, it's loaded.

Well, we will just disagree.

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I shoot my Hawkins .50 cal probably once every two weeks and once a month in competition.

 

The first thing I did when I bought mine was get a globe front and rear aperture sight for my tired eyes. Easy to mount and now I can see and hit what I see.

The next thing I did was buy two hot shot nipples, size #11 and swapped out the original. The hot shot has a small hole drilled in the side of it up by the tip

when expands the spent cap. The cap usually just falls off the nipple when you bring the hammer back to 1/2 cock. I always have a spare with me and I keep the

original as another backup. My powder of choice is 777 as I find it's pretty clean.

 

Loaded?

The first thing you do is make sure your rifle is unloaded. That's easy to do by sticking a cap on it and pointing down range fire it. 

The next thing you do is take another primer and stick it on and point the rifle with the muzzle a few inches away from the ground (read dirt here) and fire it.

The cap will have enough power to move dirt around a little bit. Now you know for a fact that the rifle is empty. 

Now you take out you ramrod and stick it down the barrel until it hits bottom. You will feel/hear the ramrod hit bottom. Take a knife and scribe a line around the 

ramrod right where it exits the barrel. You now know if you have an unloaded rifle or not.

When you do load the rifle then stick the ramrod back down the barrel and scribe a mark for it being loaded. Now you know the right depth of seating or if

you forgot to put a charge in, or double loaded the rifle just by checking with your ramrod.

 

Cleaning:

In competition I clean between shots. That consists of running the same cleaning patch down the barrel between shots. I use #77 Muzzle Magic Cleaner.

A pint bottle runs around $6-7 and The last one I bought was almost two years ago and I'm about 1/2 through it. I transfer somer to a small squirt bottle that I take to the range.

 

All you need is the cleaner, patches, a cleaning jag, a nipple wrench, a tooth bruch, some oil (I use 5wt synth car oil) and some cheap pipe cleaners you can buy at wally world.

 

Take a patch and lay it over the muzzle then squirt some #77 on it and ram it to the bottom of the muzzle. Give it about 5-6 full strokes then remove and replace it with a clean 

patch. Repeat the strokes and the new patch should come out clean. You're done with the barrel. 

 

Take the tooth brush and squirt a little bit of #77 on the breach/nipple area and clean it with the tooth brush. It should come clean very quickly. Wipe off with a rag.

Remove the nipple and put a lil #77 on a pipe cleaner and clean the inside of the nipple out. Use the pipe cleaner and clean out the threads and breach plug channel.

Re-install the nipple and the cleaning is about done. Just lightly coat a patch or a rag with oil and wipe down the barrel/breach area.

Take a lightly oil coated patch and run it down the barrel.

 

I do this at the range after every shooting session and take a clean rifle home.

 

Shooting:

When I show up at the range the first thing I do is take the rifle to the firing line and charge it with a cap and fire it to confirm the barrel is open.

 

My powder charge is determined using the correct length tube connected to the powder horn. Mine is brass and has a button valve on it. I then dump that into a

powder measure and dump it into my loading tube, down the barrel.

NEVER dump the load directly from the horn to the barrel, It may and probably will dump a huge load by accident. Let's not have any accidents. 

Once the barrel is charged with powder. I take a tiny rubber hammer and tape the rifle around the breech area to ensure the charge also fills the the channel.

I then take a pillow ticking patch which I wet in a small tub of water and squeezed out then lay it over the muzzle and center a ball, sprue up, over the patch

and start it using my .45 cal pistol ramrod. Once started I use the pistol ramrod to push it 6-7 inches down the barrel then switch to the ramrod and ram it home.

Two firm pats on the ramrod ensures the ball is rammed home. You can confirm it because the ramrod has the charged line on it. 

 

I leave the caps on the shooting table when I walk up to shoot. That way they're never near my rifle while I'm loading it and they're right where I want to shoot.

After my shot I gently blow down the barrel and look for the smoke to exit thru the nipple. That tells me my breech channel is not clogged.

 

You need to get ahold of some 4X powder.  It is considering a face saver just in case you get into a conversation with someone and forget to put some powder in

the rifle prior to sticking the ball in. If this happens you will not need a ball remover. Just pull the nipple and charge the breech channel with the 4X. I will hold around

4 gr of 4X. screw the nipple back in cap it and shoot the round downrange. The ball will pop out and go around 10-15 ft..

 

A list of supplies. 

 

Hot shot nipple (for Hawkins)

#77 BP cleaner as noted above. I use a small squeeze bottle from Hobby Lobby.

1 old very large aluminum arrow with a funnel glued to it

Nipple wrench

Gun oil or substitute

777 powder

Powder horn with a valve to measure a load.

Powder measure.

#11 caps

Pipe Cleaners

Cleaning patches

Pillow Ticking (washed 3-4X to soften it up then cut into 1 inch patches).

Balls (shot). Try .490 or .495. My .50 likes the .495. 

1 small rubber hammer

1 .45 cal wooden ram rod

1 cleaning jag. 

Some 4X powder

A small water tub to wet the patches. Use lubed patches for hunting, not water wet ones.

A pint sized water holder to carry the water to the range.

 

My rifle is set up for target shooting using 35 gr of 777, FF. Very accurate and will knock over any silhouette. 

Any more powder for target shooting is pretty muh a waste in my rifle but you will need to try 30-35-40-45-50 grains until you 

get the group size you want,.

 

I can take and send pics if you want to see my setup. It all fits in one plastic large ammo box except the ramrods,  lol

 

Hope this helps. 

 

I forgot to mention I get most of my supplies from track of the wolf

 

http://www.trackofthewolf.com

Edited by Lowpower
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I have custom built several Muzzleloaders (not kits) and one of the things us serious black powder shooters try to achieve is a "seasoned bore" within the barrel similar to a season cast iron skillet, so nothing sticks to the bore. It takes some shooting to achieve this and once you do, life becomes sweet! Consistent shots, less cleaning between shots and no rusting inside the bore. Cleaning then requires "WARM" soapy water and a patch or cotton swab (shotgun/cleaning swab) worked within the bore. Dry with a patch and lightly oil. Hot boiling water and a combination of a bore brush will ruin your seasoned bore. If you don't mind having to swab between every couple shots or a little rust in your bore....Hot boiling soapy water, a bore brush and lots of oil do an awesome job! Just do what works best for you and your gun.

 

Dave

Edited by DaveS
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Don't mean to be argumentative, but DON'T USE BOILING WATER!!!

 

Yes, the heat will help to dry the bore, but it'll also cause flash rusting. Guaranteed.

Cold or warm water, with a few drops of Dawn or Simple Green works perfectly. Also, don't use a bore brush. Get the correct sized jag & use lots of cotton patches (old T-Shirts are your friend!) Reason being, some bore brushes are simply slid & crimped into the rod threads. If one pulls loose in the barrel, being that it's only open at one end...., you'll have to get real creative in getting it back out!

 

To check to see if it's loaded, lay the ramrod alongside the barrel, so that the bottom end is roughly ½" towards the muzzle, of the nipple. Mark the rod in line with the muzzle. Now insert the rod into the bore & your mark & the muzzle should line up, pretty durn close. If it's about ½" proud, chances are there's a ball in there, but no powder (A Bad Thing) An inch or so, & yes, it's loaded.

 

+1 to robtattoo. I've been shooting my T/C Renegade for more than 30 years now and I've always cleaned it with hot, soapy water. Hot as in how it comes from the faucet, not boiled ... and I've kept my barrel seasoned with T/C bore butter for the last 20 years ... great stuff. I've killed quite a few deer with it over the years. I enjoy shooting it waaay better than my in-line muzzleloader.

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Don't mean to be argumentative, but DON'T USE BOILING WATER!!!

 

Yes, the heat will help to dry the bore, but it'll also cause flash rusting. Guaranteed.

Cold or warm water, with a few drops of Dawn or Simple Green works perfectly. Also, don't use a bore brush. Get the correct sized jag & use lots of cotton patches (old T-Shirts are your friend!) Reason being, some bore brushes are simply slid & crimped into the rod threads. If one pulls loose in the barrel, being that it's only open at one end...., you'll have to get real creative in getting it back out!

 

To check to see if it's loaded, lay the ramrod alongside the barrel, so that the bottom end is roughly ½" towards the muzzle, of the nipple. Mark the rod in line with the muzzle. Now insert the rod into the bore & your mark & the muzzle should line up, pretty durn close. If it's about ½" proud, chances are there's a ball in there, but no powder (A Bad Thing) An inch or so, & yes, it's loaded.

^ this…been there, done that.  Worse is having the cleaning jag either unscrew from the rod…disaster is when the cleaning jag and the rod end pull of the cleaning rod…been there…done that.  Waited until the patch dried…since I couldn't get it out…and pulled the nipple.  Stuffed a little…too much…powder behind the cleaning jag renippled and recapped.  I never did find it again.

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Thank you 1 and all!!!!!!! Lots of information this all helps a lot for a first time muzzle loader!!!

Happy Safe shooting to one and all!!!!!!! : )

David

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Thank you to the above!!!
Yes thk u, Ramrod
Remove nipple with nipple wrench, rein with a film of antisieze.

Thanks again!!!

Thank you to the above!!! Yes thk u, RamrodRemove nipple with nipple wrench, rein with a film of antisieze.Boiling hot water for cleaning...good point!!!Pouring boiling hot water down the barrel at the end "with tongs."Thanks again!!!

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