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Thread: Help me get started with my .54 TC Renegade

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Help me get started with my .54 TC Renegade

    I have several questions here, thanks in advance for any help.

    I've had this gun for a while now and never shot it, or any other ML for that matter. I want to start shooting it some and work up a hunting load. I would like to cast boolits for it. Would any of these molds work:

    1. .45-70 450 gr flat nose mold
    2. .490 round ball
    3. .45 minie 298 gr

    I guess I would need to use several patches to get any of these to work. Is there any problem with that?

    What bullet would you all recommend for the best accuracy?

    I have some triple 7 powder.

    How often do I need to clean the barrel? Can I shoot 10 shots or so without cleaning? And when I do clean, is just a quick few passes with a patch fine if I am going to be shooting more that day?

    Also, There is this gap behind my barrel. Is this normal? What should I do to fix it if it needs fixing?


  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    No. Those molds will not work for a .54.
    Get a 530, and 535 mold. Tighter for target work. Pillow ticking, make your lube.
    I like Pyrodex RS, I know nothing about 777.
    That gap is normal for an Hawken.
    I use R.E.A.L.s for cleaning at the range. Sometimes I smear valve lapping compound on them. Evens things up.
    For a starting load, 60-70gns of RS will do well.
    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I don't know what your twist rate is but if you are interested in trying some round balls PM me and I would be glad to send you some .530 and .535 round balls I shoot in my .54 ML.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Best thing to do would be to get a Black powder load manual and read up on it so you know all tha saftey precautions. Only use BP or BP substitutes. NO smokeless powder at all. Those moulds really won't work. They are too far off to shoot even with thick patches. You need to know your barrel twist rate to know what will shoot good. Round balls will shoot good I am sure but you need a .530 or .535 RB. To shoot a maxi or mini you need a certain twist for the bullet to stablize and fly right. A mini has a hollow base which expands when fired and a maxi had a solid base and firs the barrel tighter. The best and most accurate will be deturmined by the twist rat you have. You can run a patch down the barrel with a cleaning solution on it between firings. Each gun is different and may require different intevals for this. You can usually tell by the fact that either your accuracy drops off or it gets too difficult to ram your bullet or RB down the barrel. Never fire your gun with a air gap between the bullet and the powder. The gap you see is probably not a problem. I can't say for sure but if it doesn't have play it probably is good to go. I don't have a TC but it is probably a hooked breach which means you can remove the barrel by removing the wedge pin and lifting out the barrel. It has a hook on the end to hold it in place.
    Aim small, miss small!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Maven's Avatar
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    "I've had this gun for a while now and never shot it, or any other ML for that matter. I want to start shooting it some and work up a hunting load. I would like to cast boolits for it. Would any of these molds work: 1. .45-70 450 gr flat nose mold; 2. .490 round ball; 3. .45 minie 298 gr.

    "What bullet would you all recommend for the best accuracy?

    "I have some triple 7 powder.

    "How often do I need to clean the barrel? Can I shoot 10 shots or so without cleaning? And when I do clean, is just a quick few passes with a patch fine if I am going to be shooting more that day?

    "Also, There is this gap behind my barrel. Is this normal? What should I do to fix it if it needs fixing?"


    BH252,

    The easy part first: None of the molds you mention are designed for a .54cal. rifle. You need a .530" RB at the very least and possibly a .535" RB or even the .54cal T/C Maxi-Ball (no patches needed). Hornady and Speer make swaged .530" and .535" RB's, so you may need to buy a box of each and experiment. Btw, T/C typically used patches that were .014" - .016" thick. If you can find that thickness, try them with the .530" RB first. Various places sell them and they don't have to be T/C - made, just the correct thickness.

    Sorry, but I can't help you with Triple 7, as I only use BP. The latter and even Pyrodex RS, require a BP compatable patch lube, e.g., Traditions' Wonder Lube or T/C's Bore Butter (There are others too.), but you need to wipe the powder fouling every so often with these and remove the bbl. from the stock and the nipple and clean with warm, soapy water at the end of the day. Use Hoppe's #9 or WD-40 on a patch to keep the bbl. free of rust after cleaning. I just keep the ramrod with the Hoppe's/WD-40 patch in the bbl. until the next time I want to fire it.

    I am a bit troubled by the gap you mention and the slight canting/twisting of the bbl. with respect to the tang. Neither should be present to such a degree. You may want to telephone T/C's Customer Service @ 1-603-330-5650 for advice and possibly service (They'll send you a carton for free if you need to ship the rifle to them.). While you're at it, see if they'll send you a manual for their older BP rifles, which contains load data as well as safety and maintenance tips.

    Hope this helps!


    P.S. Unless your Renegade has an aftermarket bbl., the twist of the original bbl. is 1:48", which allows you to use both RB's and Maxi-Balls (conical bullets)
    Last edited by Maven; 11-12-2009 at 08:52 PM. Reason: omitted information

  6. #6
    Vendor Sponsor masscaster's Avatar
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    Hi BowHunter252,
    We carry all the projectiles you require to shoot your firearm. These are reasonably priced for your shooting pleasure.
    As mentioned above you'll need to use a .530/.535 Round Ball. Or, if the twist is 1/48 or less a .54 Minie would do nicely. I'd suggest starting out with round balls first at any rate.
    Unfortunately Maven must not know we are a Vendor Sponsor here on the Forum, and would realize that swaged Round Ballits cost 3x's what ours does.
    Click the link below if you need more info, or PM me with any quesyions you may have.
    Sincerely,
    Jeff @ Forefather's Casting
    Anyone on my "Friends List" can PM me with requests

    Jeff.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    BowHunter, check out TC's web site, I think you can print out a user's manual for your gun. Those are great guns, hang on to it.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Everything they said is good and solid. I would pull the wedge pin and remove the barrel to check the "patent breech" which is the hook in the breech plug which holds it to the tang. The gap isn't a problem (per se) but you should check the breech plug to be sure that it's screwed tightly into the barrel - and I mean TIGHT. People sometimes remove the plug, then find that they can't get it aligned properly (due to over-tightening) so they back it off a bit. Very unsafe practice - you want that breech tight. (I'm repeating myself.)
    "The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave."
    James Burgh, Political Disquisitions, 1774

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Just to add to all the above, GET AND READ AN OWNER'S MANUAL. They are free and available. BP rifles are a hoot to shoot. Safe and effective if you follow the rules. There are many variations of how and what you shoot (bullet types, lubes, patches/wads, powders), and almost all of them give you some level of effeciency. For ease of starting out, I'd go with a .530 round ball, prelubed commercial patch and pyrodex. Black powder is harder (for me) to find and pyrodex/triple 7 won't foul as fast. Don't use the preformed pellets in that sidelock. Start on the low side, say 60 - 70 grains of powder. You'll be happy to see just how powderful that load will be. Again, follow the book. As for the gap in your hooked breach piece, a brass shim is easily made from a smashed up brass rifle/pistol case. Just cut and fit. Not required, but might look better. Finally, clean, clean clean. Use a water based cleaner at first cleaning to "wash away" any "salts" from the powder. Water, soapy water work fine. Clean it diligently. Pull the nipple and clean the channel and niple. When you are sure it's clean, clean it all over again with some good penetrating oil to prevent rust. Other have their opinions, but I make sure a good amount of oil reaches the threaded breach area (from inside the barrel) and I let it soak into the threads. I clean it and leave it wet with oil. A few days later, I return and clean it again with oil (which has been working while in storage) and dry it out with clean patches. A little anti-seize on the nipple threads, and a lightly oiled patch to finish up the bore and it's good to go for storage. That second cleaning never fails to suprise me with slight amounts of fouling/rust/?.
    There are many good books about BP shooting. Unless your local library has been hit with the political correctness infection, there might be something there. If not, writers like Sam Fadala & companies like Lyman have good primers on the subject. Read a few. They are enjoyable.

  10. #10
    PAPERPATCH MASTER


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    I had a first year made .54 TC, until someone borrowed it in the middle of the night. I used 90 to 100 gr. FFg black powder in mine with good accuracy, a bit noisy and pushy - but accurate. I had to have another hole drilled and taped for a TC scope mount due to the early making of the rifle. I still have the single trigger adapter for it for hunting. I just removed the double trigger and installed the single one. I ought to sell it as I no longer have a renegade to use it on. I found the pyrodex and 777 powders to be finicky to ignite sometimes. I started using magnum caps and the ignition problems quit. You can buy Speer .530 round balls at about any sporting goods store cheaper than ordering them and paying shipping charges. Ready cut patches are available at these same stores or get pillow ticking at a fabric/sewing shop. Crisco is a good lube that any kitchen already has for the patch lubing.Robert

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    The gap between the barrel and tang is pretty common in TCs. I don't see anything in the picture indicating that someone has tried to remove the breechplug. TC puts them in tight and they require force or the application of heat to get them out. If you haven't already I would clean it before shooting it.

    If you go to www.tcarms.com you can download a pdf version of the manual.

    I have a few TC .54 barrels and all of them seem to run a little tight and require swabbing between shots or loading is very difficult. Frankly I do not understand what the problem is with swabbing between shots. First it is a safety issue and second you are sure the bore is pretty much the same shot to shot. I use .530 RB in them with .015 patches and real black powder. For general shooting 50-60 grains is fine as you can only kill the cardboard so dead. For hunting 80-90gr will get the job done on just about anything.

    Clean it after each shooting session. It's not that bad and this is where swabbing the bore during shooting pays off. I use a little windshield washer fluid on a patch between shots. When I'm done I run a few more of those down the bore, then when I get home I clean with hot water and Murphys Oil Soap. It rarely takes more than five patches to get the bore clean. I then dry it out and use oil followed by a shot of WD40 and a dry patch. I have no rust problems here in S. Florida.
    Most people would sooner die than think, in fact, they do so. -B. Russell

  12. #12
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    Looks like it was taken apart

    The Breach Plug on my TC has absolutley NO Daylight between it and the barrel. It is flush on all sides and wont even hang a silk stocking going over it. Aboout as perfect fit as you could get short of having a billett

    Someone may have messed with your breachplug and cross threaded it going back in.

    I would send it to Thompson Cent and have them rebuild it.

    Get rid of that #11 nipple and replace it with a Musket Cap Nipple and use Musket Caps. Work much better during deer season when its 20 below zero and freesing rain.


    Then. 100 grains of FF and a cotton patch with 50% Beeswax/50% Crisco on it and a soft lead roundball.


    Have fun.


  13. #13
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    Dean D.'s Avatar
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    I may be mistaken but from what I can see in the photo this is a hooked breech rifle. The gap you see is where the hooked breech fits into the tang.

    I see no safety issues firing this weapon, only a bit of poor craftsmanship installing the barrel/tang.

    JMHO
    "The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise." - Benjamin Franklin

    "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." - Thomas Jefferson


  14. #14
    Boolit Master idahoron's Avatar
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    Dean, you are right. The breech plug is fine on this rifle. The gap is between the breech plug and tang. Ron

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Smile confused yet?

    First thing I'd do is take it all apart and clean it up inside and out. When you pull the barrel wedge.... push and pull on the barrel to see how tight everything is. Then with the barrel out... unscrew the main tang screw and pull the tang out. Check the fit between the tang and the barrel (hooked breech fit)... may give an idea if there is a misfit between the two. NO the breech plug appears to have never been off the barrel- perfect seam.... they are put on very tight then dressed and will not go back on if removed without leaving a very visible seam. The barrel if original TC will be marked "TC Renegade" (it appears to be a TC barrel & drum). Unless special purpose or aftermarket they were 1:48 twist- good for both roundball and some conicals.

    Looks like a barrel sight was removed? and a screw or something broken off or is that an indent for part of the sight? (Been a long time since I owned a Renegade) No big problem either way. Many sights will work including a tang mounted peep.
    Unless the bore is trashed (sewer pipe), the gun should function and shoot fine with some TLC and study.
    Last edited by 405; 11-13-2009 at 08:30 PM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    The breech plug is tight it is the fit of the hook up of the hooled breech. it should be safe to shoot, but possibly loose? May be nothing more than the fit of the barrel wedge. You also have a little corrosion from cap flash. Nothing major. I would personnally like to fill the screw hole with a screw but probably not critical. TC's liked about 50-70 grains of 3f for a target load with a 530 RB and 015 patch as a general starting point. Hunt with a heavier charge, about 90-110 of 2f for a 54. 777 can be harder to ignite but will work.

    Northmn

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    If I remember right 777 is stronger than regular BP and substitutes so you use less but read the can it will tell you. Also when usuing BP and subs you measure by volume. I hope we haven't confused you on this but it would be best to get someone that has loaded MLs with you the first time you go out.
    Aim small, miss small!

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Powders ok to use Pyrodex, American Pioneer powder, Tripple 7, and of course real black powder. I use from 80 to 100 gr in my 54. I have 3, 2 with 1x48 barrels an one with a 1x66. I use 530 RB and tc maxi balls which is a conical I cast all of them my self. Get an assortment if balls and conical and experiment. I usually swab with a alcohol patch than a dry patch every 3 shot.
    "Peace is that glorious moment in history when everyone stands around reloading." Thomas Jefferson

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks for all the input everyone. PM incoming to you jack19512.

    The gun is actually in very good condition, even though it doesn't look like it from that picture. The hole you see is one of 4 holes that were for scope rings. The original iron sights are still on there.

    Hopefully I will be able to post some targets in a few days!

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy twidget's Avatar
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    I have a TC Renegade in .54. I use .530 round balls and 80 to 120 grains of black powder. I've never used any of the BP substitutes. With Wonderlube on the patches I can shoot as much as I want without cleaning. Of course, I clean when done shooting. The lighter loads are much more pleasant to shoot. Save the heavy ones for sighting in or hunting.

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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