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Thread: Does anyone know about a T/C New Englander

  1. #1
    Boolit Man moptop's Avatar
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    Does anyone know about a T/C New Englander

    I recently picked up a Thompson Center New Englander .50 cal front stuffer and I was hoping there was someone here who could tell me a little about them. This poor thing is rusted and pitted all over the barrel, lock, and hardware with very little bluing left. Looks as though it was shot a few times the stuck in a closet without being properly cleaned up. Bore looks amazing good considering it's outward appearance. This one appears to have been a kit. The stock, although in good shape, looks somewhat unfinished as far as shaping goes. Any place where it's inletted, like where the lock and trigger guard fit in, they set in way below the edge of the stock. So does the tang receiver where the barrel hooks in, very deeply recessed. I plan on doing the necessary shaping to level things out and put a few coats of Linspeed or Tru-oil on it to gloss it up.

    My main question is, I know it's a 1:48 RH twist, will this thing shoot saboted bullets or is the twist too slow? I know that the 1:48'ers are a "combination" twist able to shoot both patched ball and conical's but I didn't know about sabots.

    I assume FFG would be the best powder since it's larger than .45cal. Can FFFG be used? I have several revolvers and a .45cal rifle and have plenty of that. What would be a safe starting and max load using patched ball? I'm thinking 50grns start and 90-100grns max?

    I'll try to post some pictures when I start working on it.
    Any info is appreciated.
    Take care, Moptop

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Clean it up the best you can. Too bad the 'ol girl was put away wet. They are excellent rifles. Do the best you can and see what you end up with. If the bore is good, you're lucky. Even a funky looking bore can shoot sometimes. FFG is probably best in that one. FFFG can be used but frequently better performance comes from FFG. If you use FFFG reduce the load by a good amount - maybe 25% - to start with. It's finer and spikes pressure faster than FFG. As far as RB vs Conical, only testing will tell for sure. I would think a sabot would like a good barrel instead of a pitted one, but again, only shooting the thing will tell for sure. Sound like you have some tinkering to do. Enjoy the work.
    If the bore is too bad, that barrel can be rebored for a reasonable price and made into one top shelf performer. You can choose to have a dedicated
    RB shooter or a conical shooter. All depends on how much you want to put into it. I had a New Englander rebored and love it.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master HARRYMPOPE's Avatar
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    FFF is fine in 50's.More shots per # and accurate.I use 65g-75g with a Lyman 395g Plans bullet with great accuracy.Go with 50g and the patched ball.The 1-48 shoots RB and conical well but so does my 1-32 Lyman.Rifling depth is probably more critical to patched ball accuracy than twist

    It may shoot OK as is with a bit of rust.Keep us posted

    George

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I shoot fffg does great in my new englander , also was a kit , for a single trigger hunting gun it is a great choice , shame to see so many used black powder guns in such poor shape from neglect and ignorance , though I suspect many of the same peoples cartridge guns look sad also , As for the main question it will shoot sabots , though I prefer round ball or any of the maxi ball styles , start with the above loads and see what works for you .

  5. #5
    Boolit Master




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    pure lead (maxie balls) are any full bore bullets will most likely work well. if the bore is good a round ball will work. i would try it with 90 grains of 2ff and a maxie bet it shoots great

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    About 4 months ago I was given a TC Hawken that had been fired several times, loaded and misfired, then put away dirty, and loaded for several years. It was a PITA to get the ball and charge out, and remove the nipple. I had to drill the nipple and drive a torx bit in it then put a 12 inch wrench on the bit to break the nipple loose. After many days of soaking with PB Blaster and scrubbing with brushes and patches, I got the bore clean. It is still slightly pitted in a couple of places but with a PRB it shoots really well. A lot better than I can shoot it in fact.

    Those T/C guns were well made and could take some abuse and neglect. I am betting that once you get the old girl cleaned up she will shoot PRB really well like mine does. If the bore is a bit cruddy get you a wad of steel wool to start with and use lots of a good penetrating oil. Make sure if you use steel wool that you take full bore length strokes from muzzle to breech, as you want to keep the abrasion to the bore as even as possible. Don't worry about what the outside of the gun looks like, because it isn't going to effect the performance as long as the nipple is clear and the hammer falls freely. Heck there are countless things you can do to the outside once you make sure it is going to clean up on the inside and shoot for you.

    Don't get excited or upset and give up if it doesn't shoot well for you the first few trips to the range. It can sometimes take awhile to find out what the gun likes. Ball dia, patch thickness, powder charge, lube, and seating pressure are all critical factors with some rifles. Also loading technique is very critical. Every thing must be done exactly the same way each time, or the gun will never shoot accurately. I noticed you are from MO like I am and if you are not to far away and would like some help cleaning up the old girl and getting her up and shooting, drop me a PM and if you are near by I will be glad to help. If you are not, I may be able to point you in the direction of some folks in your area that can.

    Good luck and best wishes,

    Joe
    WWW.flintknappers.com/lithicarts Traditional items for the traditional hunter.

    Tyrants use the force of the people to chain and subjugate-that is, enyoke the people. They then plough with them as men do with oxen yoked. Thus the spirit of liberty and innovation is reduced by bayonets, and principles are struck dumb by cannon shot: Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Get all three of us toegther and I bet we can get the old gal shootin'!!!....nuthin' like a few Ozark hillbilly's messin' with a rifle!!!...lol!!
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

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  8. #8
    Boolit Man moptop's Avatar
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    Well thanks much guys! I appreciate all of your help. It's nice to know there are still good folks out there. I ran some patches down the bore and it didn't seem like there were any real bad spots that stood out. Pretty consistant on how the patch slid through. I think she'll be ok. I have a friend that shoots a .50, I'll glom a few round ball from him. I have both .015 & .018 patch material so I'm covered there. Thanks for the info on using FFFG.

    I'm in Columbia and it sounds like I'm not too far away from a few of you. I would be great to get together sometime and compair notes and, of course, shoot and shoot, ans shoot some more!


    Thanks again, Dominick
    Take care, Moptop

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Boer is at Sullivan, I'm in Rolla so we aren't all that far apart. As I am kinda in the middle I will volunteer my range facilities here at the house! (both generous and lazy of me, eh?....lol). I "shot, shot and shot some more" this morning. Ran some loads from my 10.5 X 47R across the chronograph, checked my Cape gun at 100 yards, whacked some steel and I THINK I finished up load development on a Pedersoli double ML rifle.

    If you have any question about the barrel, try the steel wool slick up trick. Start with 1/0 or 2/0 steel wool on a jag and work it through the barrel with strokes the full length. After 2-3 hundred strokes change over to 4/0 steel wool, repeat. After that I give the bore 300-400 strokes of JB Bore cleaner. That process has helped several rifle barrels I've owned over the years, both muzzleloader and cartridge firing.

    For a hunting load in 50's my load was 90 grs. Fffg under a PRB. It worked well in several rifles. As per good sense start low and work up. As others have said the 1-48 should do pretty good with either PRB or a conical of some variety providing you don't get over about .95in length of projectile. Right now I'm shooting a 450 gr. Accurate Molds bullet over 80 grs. of Scheutzen Ffg in that truck axel Pedersoli double rifle. If we do get together you're welcome to try that bullet....oh, and I have a 380 gr. Maxi-type mold also. I can't tell you a thing about sabot's, never felt a need for or saw them as improving on cast.

    Good luck with the ol' gal!!!
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Yeah, it'll shoot sabots just fine provided they weigh 270gr or less. Mine didn't group worth a hoot with 300gr. Actually, mine will shoot like a laser with 240-270gr in sabots and only fair with a patched round ball. I've tried different ball diameters and patch thicknesses with both ffg and ffg of various charges.

    I've since purchased a 54cal barrel that appears new, and a 12ga barrel with choke tubes.

    Even if your bore is terribly pitted, it can be drilled and reamed out to make a smoothbore. Some guys take 'em out to 20ga (.62).

  11. #11
    Boolit Man moptop's Avatar
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    Well I'm going to try her out tomorrow afternoon. I bought some .490" RB's and will start with 50grns of FFFG Trip7. I also have several cans of GOEX FFFG holy black but I really like the easy cleanup of the Trip7. We'll see how she does and go from there.
    I cleaned bore and found more old fouling than rust. I was a chore but it finally started to come clean. I think it will be just fine.

    Excess650, I saw somewhere that I could use a sabot to shoot .452" bullets, is that correct? If so, then I could use the same 230 grn LRN I cast for my 1911, now that would be too cool!

    Thanks to everybody for you help and suggestions.
    Take care, Moptop

  12. #12
    Boolit Master




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    if you blow the patch , try a spit patch are put about half a sheet of tp. on top of the powder. my round ball shooter blows the patch most every time with 777.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    i could never get a RB to shoot good in my New Englander, it does real good with 240gr hornady.44 sabot's, and 90gr of pyrodex rs. i now have a R.E.A.L. 250gr. that i'd like to try.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    There are sabots for 44cal (.430") 45cal (.452") and 45cal rifle (.458") boolits available for 50cal. You'll find 'em as marketed by TC and Hornady packaged with Hornady projectiles. Too, there are the sabot manufacturers themselves MMP and Harvester. Wiping the bore between shots is recommended with sabots.

    I have no firsthand experience with 777. Friends who shoot inlines have shot 777 and relayed issues with a "crud ring" that builds up towards the breech. My Omega has only ever seen Blackhorn 209 and it cleans up with nitro solvent. Unfortunately it won't ignite unless in a sealed ignition and 209 primers. BP has an indefinite shelf life unlike the substitutes, so I shoot BP in flint and percussion guns.

    BP cleans up with water. The New Englander is of hooked breech design, so no reason to not pull the barrel and pump hot soapy water through it in a bucket. I make sure mine is dry and then squirt WD40 in the barrel and run a snug patch through. Store muzzle down to allow remianing oil to drain away ftom the breech.

  15. #15
    Boolit Man moptop's Avatar
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    first time shooting a success!

    Well I finally had the chance to shoot my New Englander yesterday. I was only able to try it a 25yds but it was right on using patched ball over 50grns of FFFg 777 powder. I could not ask for better results! I also tried it with 60grns and 70grns to see how it reacted. There was a little change with 60grns only raising the POI about 2" at 25 yards but when increased to 70grns the POI raised just over 12" at 25 yards with windage staying the same. Very impressive for a $50 rifle that look like **** when I got it. The barrel was blued at one time but had almost nothing left of it so I opted to just polish it up and leave it in the white for now. It was full of pits and had to draw file it to clean it up enough for polishing. I draw filed and polished the lock plate and hammer as well. I think it came out ok. I plan on refinishing or I should say finishing the stock. This one musy have been a kit and the stock was never finish shaped or sanded. Now that I know it's a shooter it will be a little more fun in doing that.

    Sometime this week I'll try it a 50 & 75 yards and see how it does. I'd also like to try it with either some conicals or sabotted bullets. If I can get it zoomed in with them I'll definitly have a reason to use it this next deer season.

    Thanks all for the info on this thing. Dominick
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    Take care, Moptop

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    When I got my first new englander it was a factory made , shot great , lost in a house fire along with loading and casting and about everything I owned , got the second as a kit , thompson center had inlet the trigger about 3/8 of a inch out of whack , I wrote them to let them know , all I got back was a form letter , have owned it now for 20 years , shoots the maxi balls ,minie balls , lee reals and round ball all just great , has been a joy to shoot , and very accurate am always looking for another at a good price, gave my son for his high school graduation present, the thompson center hawken I bought from a gun shop that was just getting the light red speckles started , cleaned it up first thing and it is a fine looking rifle, am more into flinters now , but still love that new englander .enjoy it , it will be fun and it is easy to clean with the hooked breach, as for if its a kit does the serial number start with a K , if so it was a kit

  17. #17
    Generous Donator kenjuudo's Avatar
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    I bought the stainless synthetic stocked model for the son on sale years ago. I believe they called it a Greyhawk, 1:48 twist, light, short and handy in the woods even for a kid. It flat loved the Lee 250 gr. REAL over 80 gr. of FFG. Shot patched RB fine too, but not as well as the Lee REAL.

    Butt ugly gun to my eyes, it sits patiently waiting for his four year old to grow into it.

    jim

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by moptop View Post
    I was only able to try it a 25yds but it was right on using patched ball over 50grns of FFFg 777 powder. I could not ask for better results! I also tried it with 60grns and 70grns to see how it reacted. There was a little change with 60grns only raising the POI about 2" at 25 yards but when increased to 70grns the POI raised just over 12" at 25 yards with windage staying the same.

    You just learned a valuable lesson about your rifle, and may or may not realize it, but because the windage didn't change only the elevation at 25 yards, it will most likely hold true at 50 or 75 yards as well, and is the sign of a really good barrel. I have had some guns that the windage would not change a bit with increased or decreased powder charges, and I have had some that would. Greater distances will give you a better picture of what your gun will do, but it looks as if you are off to a great start.

    If you have any more questions feel free to ask. I am by no means an expert, and I have been playing with front stuffers for 30+years, but there are a good many experts here, that as you have already seen are more than willing to share what they know. The main thing is if it doesn't shoot at 50 or 60 yards like you feel it should, don't give up and don't get frustrated. There are a million possible combinations to try in order to find out what the gun likes best. Always remember the journey is half the fun.

    Best wishes,

    Joe
    WWW.flintknappers.com/lithicarts Traditional items for the traditional hunter.

    Tyrants use the force of the people to chain and subjugate-that is, enyoke the people. They then plough with them as men do with oxen yoked. Thus the spirit of liberty and innovation is reduced by bayonets, and principles are struck dumb by cannon shot: Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    The Grey Hawk was the SS/synthetic version. TC also made the New Englander in that synthetic stock. I agree, the blued steel/walnut is nicer to look at, but the Grey Hawk is bad weather friendly. The Tree Hawk was the 22"(?) barreled camo synthetic stocked version. IIRC, they had a really quick twist in that barrel.

    All of these would also take the 12ga shotgun barrel. The early 12ga barrel was cylinder bore, but the later had choke tubes. I managed to buy a NIB 12ga choke tube barrel a few years back, and I like it.

  20. #20
    Boolit Man moptop's Avatar
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    50 yard trail with 240 grn & sabots

    it will be fun and it is easy to clean with the hooked breach, as for if its a kit does the serial number start with a K , if so it was a kit
    FLINTNFIRE, Yes, this one is indeed a kit, unfinished as it is. That's ok, it gives me the chance to finish it the way I want. It is very easy to clean. Much easier than my .45 Kentucky.

    I took it out this evening and shot it at 50 yrds using .429" 240grn lead hollow points in sabots over 80grns FFFG 777. It shot as well as I could see at that distance as you can see. I did have to adjust the windage by one click and the elevation down two clicks. It even did well shooting PB's at that distance.

    You just learned a valuable lesson about your rifle, and may or may not realize it, but because the windage didn't change only the elevation at 25 yards, it will most likely hold true at 50 or 75 yards as well, and is the sign of a really good barrel. I have had some guns that the windage would not change a bit with increased or decreased powder charges, and I have had some that would. Greater distances will give you a better picture of what your gun will do, but it looks as if you are off to a great start.

    Boerrancher, I have to say, this one sure turned out to be a great shooter inspite of its appearence when It got it. Like I said, I did have to adjust the elevation DOWN which kinda surpirsed me. I thought I was going to run out of down adjustment before I got it adjusted. I tried reducing the powder charge to 70 then 60gnrs but it didn't make much of a difference. T/C suggested a starting load of 80grn so I didn't want to go too far down with the saboted boolets with not knowing if it would cause any goofy pressure problems.

    There are a million possible combinations to try in order to find out what the gun likes best. Always remember the journey is half the fun.
    I hope I don't have to try all of those "million possible combinations" before I find a good one ,but your right, it will be be fun for sure.

    I didn't use a rest when shooting this time so Iv'e still got some work (FUN) to do.
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check