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Thread: Thompson Center .45 Cal Hawken

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Thompson Center .45 Cal Hawken

    Hello,

    Does anyone know when Thompson Center stopped manufacturing the .45 cal Hawken rifle? This rifle is identical to their current .50 cal Hawken, but only in .45 cal.

    I found one in very good shape. Needs a new ram rod and the prior owner scratched his initials in the trigger guard (I think I can buff most of it out). From what I can tell of the bore, it has no noticeable pitting or frost.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    It would just be a guess but about 20 years ago you couldn't hardly get a 50 and most were 45. A few years later everything coming out was 50 or bigger and you could hardly find a 45 anymore. I'd say and just a guess it was about 15 years ago. Should be able to get the initials out without too much trouble being solid brass but if not you should be able to pick up a new trigger gaurd easy enough and withoutto much expence.
    Aim small, miss small!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I think I kinda lucked into finding this one. My dad built the same model from a kit when I was about 8 or so. Always found used 50's for $300 and up that never had a good bore. Well, walked into the shop over the weekend. Saw he had two very similar muzzleloaders. One was a Charles Daly .50 Hawken and the other was a Thompson Center 45. Figured I would see the normal $300 on at least the Thompson Center. The Charles Daly was $180 and had a rough barrel. Looked at the Thompson Center and the bore was near perfect. Price tag... same as the Charles Daly.

    Put it on layaway as I have other irons in the fire right now, but will be able to get it out of layaway soon. Looks like I will need to get some round balls cast up for it. Only have 50 cal RBs right now.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master GabbyM's Avatar
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    Don't know when the stopped manufacture. I have one I bought new in around 1971. Great shooter.
    It will hit C sized peach cans all day long at 100 yards. Tight patched RB is most accurate but you really need a maxi for deer hunting. I tried RB before I knew their was such a thing as a Maxi Ball. Not sure their was actually. It may have worked if I'd use 40 grains or so of BP but I used 110 gr for around 2K fps. Needless to say the soft lead ball probably fragmented.

    Couple of weeks ago I picked up an original TC 220 grain Maxi mould. Lost mine in a move. Cast up a pile this week from pure lead along with some 280 gr RCBS hollow based bullets (Minie ball). I just now weighed one of the 220 grain TC maxi balls. Came in at 255 grains. Go figure. Don't know if the old Hawken will stabilize the Minie or not. It's .805 long with a .320 meplat. Maxi is .732 long. Haven't looked up a load for the Minie yet. Imagine around 40 gr of FFG. Picked it up used off ebay also. Got it cheap as not to much competition of 45 caliber MZ balls. Figured it would be good for second shot reload. Remembering that millions of deer have fallen to the old 44-40 with 205 grain bullet over 40 grains of BP. That 280 grain Minie over 40 gr BP may work. Given a pure lead cast with that large meplat. It would leave a mark I'm sure. I've zero experience with hollow base bullets. Wondering how much powder it would take to blow off the skirt?

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Well, she is in the back seat of my van right now. Will be home late tonight to give her a good cleaning. Will have to get out and cast of some round balls tomorrow if weather permits. Seems all I have cast is for 50 cal.

    When I picked it up, apparently I had popped in a few minutes before another interested customer came in. Good thing I put it layaway, otherwise it would have been gone.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    They made 20th Anninversary Hawkens in .45 with the QLA if that helps with the date. I think they quit making the .54s first but continued with .45s for a while longer.

    At $180 I'd buy all the TCs I could find.
    Most people would sooner die than think, in fact, they do so. -B. Russell

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    Boolit Master GabbyM's Avatar
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    Have fun

    I found one of my old Maxi Balls. It measures .702 long not .732 like this replacement. Extra length is added to the base band which I'm sure will make loading much more difficult. Which was the complaint with Lyman Maxi's. I've a .454 size die and plan to run these through the RCBS I have dedicated to BP lube. If they're hard to load I guess I could size the bottom band .452 and see how that works.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Why would extra length on a Maxi make it harder to load? Unless they're oversized only the front band should be engraved by the rifling.
    Most people would sooner die than think, in fact, they do so. -B. Russell

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    Boolit Master GabbyM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geraldo View Post
    Why would extra length on a Maxi make it harder to load? Unless they're oversized only the front band should be engraved by the rifling.
    By gosh you're right. I just tried it out. I'm sure the nieghbors didn't mind to much.
    Base is .452" and top is .455". That big Minie is .446" full length. Been a long time since I loaded one.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    The early TC's were super shooters. Do not worry about a .45 either, I killed a ton of deer with a .45 round ball from my flinters and none of them went anywhere, even 100 yard shots.
    Shooting woodchucks with the .45 was just slam bang to the ground with a huge dust cloud coming off them.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Serial Number is in the 26,000 range. Thompson Center hasn't gotten back with me with a date of manufacture. May have to give them a call.

    Did polish up some of the brass. Was very tarnished. Still have a bit more to do.


  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I noticed that your hammer is the older style, as the "newer" ones that I've seen have the Seneca or dolphin style hammer.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master GabbyM's Avatar
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    My serial number is 19xxx. Purchased in 1971 IIRC.
    I always thought you were supposed t let the brass tarnish so it didn't glitter in the woods. Enough excuse for me not to polish brass anyway.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    That's "patina" not "tarnish". You wouldn't want folks to think we izzn't edjukated, wood yew?


  15. #15
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    Even on my handbuilt rifles I would polish the heck out of them and let them tarnish. Preferred the finish in the woods and so forth. Also the BP residue tend to get on your hands while shooting and really gives a "patina" to the hardware. Be a PITA to keep it bright. The 45 is a great all around short range deer, varmit, target, small game gun. I think there is nothing better for most target shooting and used with reduced loads it did not destroy anymore meat tthan a 32 hich had to be loaded hotter. Lot of deer have been killed cleanly with a 45 RB. One reason I do not use slugs, the versatility of the RB is great. Admitting that many matches I used to shoot only permitted round ball. As to hot loads in a 45. When I chronographed I noticed that my 50 tended to start leveling out at 80 grains of 3f. A 45 will at about 65-70, which is the deer hunting load of many experienced 45 users. Above that and you get a lot of noise, fouling and little increased performance.

    Northmn

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for all the information.

    Part of the reason I polished it was that even if I only worked on removing the engraving on the trigger guard, it would have caused uneven spots in the overall patina. Wasn't a fun job to polish it, but it does look nice. I probably will not polish it again as I can see why it is allowed to darken.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Gabby, mine was purchased in Jan. 1972, serial #88xx...Ray
    I've got the itch, but don't got the scratch.

    Democrats, uninsuring the insured.



  18. #18
    Boolit Master GabbyM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayinNH View Post
    Gabby, mine was purchased in Jan. 1972, serial #88xx...Ray
    I was reading the big number off the top of the barrel.
    Was thinking I got that rifle when I was fifteen or maybe sixteen.
    Mine is a 45 caliber.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Underclocked's Avatar
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    Gabby, I owned either three or four of the TC Hawkens in .45 caliber. The Last one I bought was serial # 11111 and that was about 1974. It wasn't until I got that one that I was able to obtain the kind of accuracy I wanted - that rifle would flat shoot!

    The first couple I bought were purchased at Kittery Trading Post either in late 71 or in 72. I don't think your rifle was made until the later 70s.
    "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED." Understand?

  20. #20
    Boolit Master GabbyM's Avatar
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    Well I graduated high school in 1973 and had taken it deer hunting at least once by then. It can't be any newer than 1972 production year. 70 or 71 would be more likely. Maybe the barrel is a farm out with different series of numbers? Pretty sure I bought it when I was 16 in 1971.

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