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Thread: round ball barrel for T/C Hawken

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    UPDATE! round ball barrel for T/C Hawken

    Hello friends,

    I have an older T/C Hawken 50 cal percussion rifle. It is stock so I'm pretty sure it has the 1:48" twist rate barrel.

    I have fair luck with home cast maxi-ball bullets but I can't seem to get a patched round ball to perform well.

    I would like to buy a drop in replacement barrel with a slower twist. Where can I find one? And what would you consider to be a fair price? I have looked on the internet and I am not having any luck.

    Thanks for your time,


    Steve in N CA
    Last edited by sghart3578; 07-18-2017 at 12:07 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Place a want to buy on swap and sell here as there are slow twist barrels listed occasionally .Bob Hoyt can make it a slow twist bigger ball shooter .

  3. #3
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    I have a Green Mountain drop in replacement barrel on mine. It's 32", as opposed to the stock 28"er original, and it gives the rifle a great balance. .54 caliber, round ball twist, but offhand I can't remember the exact twist rate.

    I'm not sure they even offer these anymore, but I can recommend these if you can find one.

    As for your original 1:48 barrel, try lowering the powder charge a bit and using a bigger ball and a thinner patch.

    Good luck!
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


    Disarming is a mistake free people only get to make once...

  4. #4
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    I think the 50 & 54 caliber Green Mountain drop-ins were 1 in 70 twist.

    yer options for "drop-in" are pretty much limited to findin' one of the GM's either used on one of the auction sites or luckin' into one N-O-S in a shop somewhere. or findin' one of the even more elusive roundball twist barrels from the T/C custom shop.

    but as stated above, you could have yer barrel bored/re-rifled to a larger cal & rifled for RB's.

    another option, there are several places that can make you up a barrel to your specs but most if not all of them would need yer existin' breechplug.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the help guys, I appreciate it.

    I will place an ad for sure.

    I will experiment with the ball size and patch thickness also.

    I have owned this rifle for a long time and I am just now getting around to learning how to shoot it.

    I have to admit that I can see the attraction.

    Yesterday I went to the range with my youngest son. He went through 100 rounds of .308 in his PTR and 50 rounds of ammo through his Mosin. Plus a box or two of 9mm and 45 ACP.

    I was at the other end of the table. Once I developed a rhythm it was very relaxing. Except for not being able to hit anything.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    If you haven't bought a drop-in G/M Rd Ball Only barrel by now? Those who have a used one some fellers are asking a price higher then what they sold for new. Consider having one made by a competent barrel smith. There are a number of good B/P barrel smiths around. Just have to pick one out of the many and pull the trigger (ordering.)

    I agree without knowing just what is what in your'e shooting. Most fellers I've helped seem to believe "the bigger the charge the tighter a barrels grouping" Its just the reverse when targeting B/P shooters on paper. Lighter charges create a identical arc time after time. Those times are few. But you'll know when such a sweet spot in accuracy presents itself.
    "JUST A OLD DEPLORABLE THAT'S IRREDEEMABLE."

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    It might just be cheaper to find a good used Lyman Great Plains rifle in .50 with its one in 66" twist. Back before I started wearing trifocals I shot my GPR in .54 percussion in a local muzzle loader shoot with patched .530 RB and 60 grains of the dreaded Pyrodex RS power. I split the ball on the ax blade breaking two clay birds and on the next shot cut a playing card edgewise. This was all witnessed and proper, and I haven't shot quite that well since. I can still shoot cloverleafs at 50yards with that load if I work at it a bit. If I couldn't kill a southern whitetail with that load it would have to be my fault. I have a .54 TC Hawken, but like the balance of the GPR better. If I can find either a .50 or .54 flintlock for a reasonable price I'm going to scarf it up right quick! GF

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    So many good options. Locate that drop in and you will have two barrels. Give it to Bob Hoyt and he can either reline it in a slow twist .50 or rebore it to a slow twist .54, .58, or even a .60. I suspect that it would be cheaper to have Hoyt do the work than locate a serviceable Green Mountain. Really just have to see what the market has. He just finished a .54 1/60 for my T/C Impact, and years ago he did a slow twist .60 on my T/C Pa. hunter. Love 'em both. Best to talk directly to him and flesh it out. Just before he did my last one, he did a friend's Impact in a fast twist .54 for use with saboted conicals. He knows his stuff and is easy to talk to. 717-642-6696

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    After looking at the going prices for some barrels I am kicking around the idea of buying a Lyman Great Plains just for RB.

    But I will keep looking.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    There are several options for barrels. There are standard breech plugs to fit the assortment of barrels out there. Try Tip Curtis or Pecatona river, both advertised in Muzzle Blasts. I have several barrels built up including a set of 42 inch barrels one in 40 and another in 50. they work well in chunk matches. I am considering having a 56 or 60 inch barrel made up for my "custom high dollar " target gun. {T-C Hawkins as apposed to my cheaper target gun, T-C Renagade}
    Don't buy nuthing you can't take home

    Joel 3:10

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Just a thought, what does the crown of the barrel look like and have you tried different patching material and thickness? You made mention of different patch thickness, have you gone up or down in ball size, .495, or even,.500. Just few thoughts. Good luck!
    I am sorry for you also, you can't just have one muzzle loading rifle when the lights go out, they seem to reproduce!!!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by sghart3578 View Post
    Hello friends,

    I have an older T/C Hawken 50 cal percussion rifle. It is stock so I'm pretty sure it has the 1:48" twist rate barrel.

    I have fair luck with home cast maxi-ball bullets but I can't seem to get a patched round ball to perform well.

    I would like to buy a drop in replacement barrel with a slower twist. Where can I find one? And what would you consider to be a fair price? I have looked on the internet and I am not having any luck.

    Thanks for your time,


    Steve in N CA
    can you tell me what the condition of the bore is, and can you post a picture of your front sight? I may be able to give some advice.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Michael Eder from flintlocks inc over Indianapolis way had a few in the white Green Mountain round ball twist drop in barrels at the last show. Might be worth giving him a call if anyone is looking.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Mold T Herder's Avatar
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    Sghart3578, if youíre in the South Bay or San Jose area send me a PM and weíll try and setup a get together. My guess is with some patience and perseverance we could get it to shoot round ball. Iíve given away more muzzleloader bullets, patches, powder, etc. that my guns just donít like. No point in keeping it if my guns wonít shoot it.

    Hereís an example from my bone stock Renegade 50 caliber. I was checking load and sighting prior to hunting season. I was on the 50 yd. range due to no openings on the 100 yd. The boys were on the 100 yd. I walked over to them and asked if I could just confirm my load and sights, they said OK.
    Specifics: Bore fouled from 12 shots with no wiping or cleaning. Load was 100 grains by volume 777 FFG, 0.495 round ball, 0.010 patch, two shots @ 100 yards, a half hour between shots, barrel cold. OK, Iím done. Best regards, Butch
    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Butch,

    That is a very generous offer, thank you. If I lived closer I would take you up on it. I live north of Sacramento.

    That is some fine shooting for sure.

    You are right, I am giving up too soon.

    I sat down this morning with a pot of coffee and started working out a detailed plan of action. I just finished casting up 100 round balls from a Lee mold. They are .490" with pure lead. I have some Speer .490" round balls and some Hornady .495" round balls.

    I have some pre-lubed T/C patches that are .015". I also have some dry and some pre-lubed pillow ticking that are .018". I have some different patch lubes including bore butter, Hoppe's #9 with BP lube added, some homemade Crisco/beeswax and one or two others.

    When I finish my written plan I will have worked out combinations of ball size, patch size, patch lube, etc.

    I plan on starting at 40 gr of Pyrodex RS with each ball/patch combo. I will then work up in 5 gr increments and document the results. I plan on swabbing between each shot with a wet patch followed by a dry patch.

    After this if I can't get it to shoot then I will put it back in my safe where it has been for years and go back to my Marlin 1893.

    Thanks to every one for their help and suggestions.


    Steve in N CA

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    if you were to ask me................ and I know you did not, I believe starting at 40 gr. would be a waste of time. I would start at 60 gr. 3 shots with each combo. at 50 yards. start with one of the lubes and do the whole range with that particular combo. one group per sheet of paper. I do not wet patch between shots, you are adding moisture........... and adding a complication. when you see a group pucker up, then you have found something to experiment out to 100 yards.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I have a Lyman flinter .50 with a 1:48 that does well with Hornady .490 RB and the prelubed TC pillow ticking patches for .50 & 54 balls. It might do even better with a better fitting patch, GF

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    To triggerhappy243:

    Please chime in, I welcome everyone's suggestions and ideas.

    I decided to start at 40 gr after reading a test by Sam Fadala. He was testing a 50 cal T/C Hawken, same gun as mine. He started at 40 gr (of FFFg) and worked up. His chrono reading for a round ball with 40 gr was a little over 1300 fps at the muzzle.

    That would be fine for me if the accuracy is there. I am just punching paper and hitting clangers.

    As far as wet patches between shots I ring out as much moisture as I can then follow with two dry patches. Doing this really makes loading shot after shot much easier. If you think it is unnecessary then I will dry swabbing with just a dry patch and see how that works.

    In muzzleloader circles there seems to be two camps on this subject. Some guys say "I don't clean between shots and I can shoot all day and still hit the bull at 500 yards after 200 shots, etc. etc. etc." Maybe so.

    Other guys swear by the swabbing method.

    I am still new to this so it is another variable for me to work out. All I know is that if I don't clean between shots then after 8 or 9 rounds it is very hard to seat a load. With swabbing between shots the effort seems to stay the same.

    And I shot 40 or 50 rounds at my last session.
    Last edited by sghart3578; 07-02-2017 at 07:49 PM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I do swab between every shot, I just do not use a wet patch. But if a wet patch between shots wrings out some more accuracy, then yea go for it. I thought you were doing this for a hunting application.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    ............................. and if your groups turn out better than mine, I like BBQ sauce with my crow wings.

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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