In order to participate in the GunBroker Member forums, you must be logged in with your account. Click the sign-in button at the top right of the forums page to get connected.

Lousy Accuracy in a T/C Hawken

I have the misfortune of owning a .50 Hawken that will not shoot either the round ball or the maxie. Wanted to use it for hunting but have lost confidence in it. Bore is perfect, no pitting and sharp lands and grooves. I realize that in order for it to group, the bore needs at least one fouling shot. This has held 1 1/2" at 100 yards with 80 gr of FFg and a maxie after the first shot. Run a clean patch down the bore, loaded it a let it set for a few days. It was still fouled since it needed that to group. Then upon firing it, it goes wherever it wants to. Repeated this a number of times and it doesn`t shoot even close to where it should. Should I use this thing for firewood and fish weights or does someone have a solution?


  • navc130navc130 Member Posts: 1,199 ✭✭✭

    To the best of my knowledge, it is recommended to shoot ALL shots from a clean bore, i.e., clean before each shot. I am not familiar with the "fouling shot" theory and don't ever remember reading about it. Target shooters clean between each shot. Hunting can pose some different conditions but still enable a quick cleaning before reloading. Have you read a good Muzzleloading Manual? There is a lot of good information out there.

    Black powder and Pyrodex are hygroscopic (absorb moisture) and a black powder gun should be cleaned at the end of the shooting day. Good luck in your search for accuracy.

  • Butchdog2Butchdog2 Member Posts: 3,834 ✭✭✭✭

    I have a Thompson Center .50 Hawken.

    I shoot saboted 250 grain Hornady xtps. Run a patch soaked in bore butter after each shot.

    Deadly MOA at 100 yards if I do my part. Buuuut it is scoped.

    Same for my pro hunter.

  • MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member, Moderator Posts: 9,969 ******

    back in the day............shoot/wet patch, dry patch/load/ it's the sabot or 'power belt' bullets

  • 44mag444mag4 Member Posts: 47

    I have tried cleaning very well in between shots and the silly thing still wanders all over the target. Thought it was just me so, I dug out the good `ole 50 cal flinter and shot it. It still holds a nice group at 100 yards the measures a nice 2" with a patched round ball. Round balls with the T/C` produces a nice group at 25 yards if there is no more than 40 grains of either FFg or FFFg. Anything above that has a nice shotgun pattern. Checked the maxi-balls for air pockets, none found, tried some sabots of correct size with no good results. Have determined that the barrel in this thing is not worth blowing up. So, I will convert it to fish weights and go catch some catfish.

  • navc130navc130 Member Posts: 1,199 ✭✭✭
    edited December 2021

    Before you give up I would try, for round ball, different patch material and patch thickness. For testing use a water base patch lube: example Windex, saliva, soapy water. This may make a difference how clean the bore is for the next shot.

    You are obviously an experienced ML shooter. The only other thing I can think of is to check the twist rate of the barrel for a 1:48 inch twist. I suppose it is possible that the barrel has a fast twist in error. Good luck.

    You could try and polish the bore a little with a lead lap and laping compound.

  • 44mag444mag4 Member Posts: 47

    I used round balls in competition for years. The best I found was the grey and white pillow ticking that mikes at .20 with spit for lube. The ball was hand cast from pure lead at .490. Shot a Hawkens from a Sharron kit. Excellent accuracy. Never had to clean between shots with that load. This lousy T/C Hawkens cannot be compared with a Sharron barrel and believe this is the majority of my problem. Was just expecting too much from a T/C.

  • MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member, Moderator Posts: 9,969 ******

    'back in the day' ...I used shot bags for patch material, & deer tallow for lube, my .54 would keep them all in the same hole at 75 yards

  • hillbillehillbille Member Posts: 14,148 ✭✭✭✭

    5-10 grns of powder will also effect accuracy, try 75 grains and work up from there if it is better at 75. I still use real black powder and have a CVA that will "wander" if I go above 80 grns, around the hills here 75 grns has killed every deer I have hit, but I keep my shots under 100 yards, most times here in the woods 50 yards is a long shot. I had a Renegade that did what yours is doing once, but I had a spot in my rifleing that would cut the patch, I would find them after shooting and they looked like donuts, never got it to shoot very good, best it would do was with scorpion sabots, but it would still wander a few and inch or two at 50 yards for no good reason.......

  • truthfultruthful Member Posts: 1,983 ✭✭✭✭

    Have you checked to see if there is any looseness anywhere . . . mounting of the sights, barrel in the stock, etc?

    How does the diameter of the lead bullets you are using compare to the actual bore diameter? With the patch, is it a good tight fit requiring a bullet starter to get it into the rifling?

    What are you using for a patch lube? Anything water based will migrate into the powder causing some of it not to burn.

    Have you tried another brand of caps? How about trying one of the black powder substitutes?

  • Okie743Okie743 Member Posts: 2,584 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2022

    Try this recipe. (if you want to give your Hawken a chance)

    This recipe will usually produce 2 inch or less groups at 75 yards if you do your part.

    Start your testing at 50 yards instead of 100.

    I assume you are using iron sights. If using a scope, change scopes first if your groups have been really bad. (might be a bad scope or the mounts)

    This works in most all percussion BP rifle with a twist of 1:48 down to 1:28. (In-lines and sidelocks)

    First realize that using plastic sabots that the bullet diameter needs to be as large as possible so as the plastic is thin as possible for a good seal. (at least 45 cal .452 bullets for a 50 cal saboted load) and a good high pressure sabot.

    Next the plastic sabots must not be warm or hot. Soft plastic will result in erratic groups.

    Next pay attention to how much force is required to load a saboted bullet. The tighter the fit going down the bore the better the grouping will be. Also pay attention as the saboted bullet is being pushed down the bore if you feel a place in the bore where the friction force lessens the bore may be swelled in that area. You can note the place on the ramrod and then gently run you fingers down the outside of the barrel and feel the bump. (gun has probably been fired with a bullet not seated against the powder and swelled the bore)

    I've been using this recipe for several years in several different 50 CALIBER BP rifles with good results, including T/C Hawkens which I still hunt with today converted to the Mag spark adapter for Winchester triple 7 209's.

    Use 70to80gr of Pyrodex Triple 7, 2F powder. Not over 80gr. Anything over 80 gr will produce flyers in hot weather. Also make sure the powder is 2F, not 3F.

    Use Hornady 45 cal XTP Mag bullets #45235 with matching #6751 black sabot.

    (the #6751 Hornady sabots are getting hard to find)

    Harvester Sabots are also good with the RED crushed rib 50 caliber being the tightest fit #H25045SRR (red) These will be hard to load in some guns during cold weather.

    Little easier to load is the H15045BR (black) but groups may open up somewhat. (they load easier than the red sabots) Crushed rib means that the petals have small grooves (ribs) for little easier loading friction)

    I usually do not get as consistent of a group if using MMP brand sabots.

    For cleaning between shots take a 50 cal bore BRUSH and wrap a thin white patch around the brush (a bore brush will not hang up like a jag and patch) swab until the patch is fairly clean you can reverse the patch and use the other side. I usually twist wrap the patch around the brush. After the brush is used with a thin patch for awhile it will become easier to use.

    Also a tip: If you ever get a jag and patch hung in the bore just add a liquid of any kind into the bore around the ramrod , let soak couple minutes and the jag/patch ramrod can then usually be removed. Patched jags hanging up in bottom of bore is why I use a easier to remove bore brush.

    Before the first shot clean the bore good and then pop couple caps, clean the bore again full length of the bore, then run the PATCHED BORE brush down the bore and pull back 3 inches and pop another cap. This burns out the oil at the bottom of the bore where the first shot powder load is resting. Wipe until clean again.

    After the first shot two bore brushes and ramrods are more user friendly, because after about 3 shots the bore is easier to clean just using a bore brush only due to dust soot rather than greased soot burned powder. One brush has a patch and the other is just a bare 50 cal brush.

    Appears you are using regular BP since you mention flintlock. Most 50 cals do not group as well with 3f powder vs 2F, but when using #11 caps or musket caps and pyrodex you will get faster ignition or less erratic ignition if you first add about 10 gr of 3F or 2F black powder in before dumping in the Triple 7 2f pyrodex because Goex BP has lower ignition temp if it's still ok in the can. (Goex BP is no longer being produced)Goex Black Powder Co. Out of Business — Member Forums


    Hodgdons Pyrodex Triple 7 stores really good in it's container if placed inside a plastic one zip bag add few of them little plastic silca gel packets and store the powder in a controlled environment place. (have some that is 5 years old and still ignites good with 209's. I always had a ignition problem with Goex BP storage.

    Best to convert a side lock to Mag spark 209 primer adapter at about $30. You can search on-line for such. eliminates hanging and mis fires fires when used with Winchester triple 7 209 primers. I've even shot sabots in the side locks when using 209 primers. (50+30 grains)Point the Black end of the pellet towards the ign source.

    Kinda ignore the first shot, sometimes it does not print with the rest unless the bore is really cleaned good using caps and bore brushes to get rid of the grease/oil.

    Next start shooting at 50 yards and do not bother adjusting the sights or scope until you see if the gun likes the recipe. Make yourself a target from a piece of freezer paper or an old calendar and draw 2 inch circles on the paper with a red wide tipped marls a lot pen.

    Shooting BP rifle is not cheap now days per shot can average $1 per shot, so make the best of it.

    Some average costs to consider.

    50/box 45235 Hornady XTP/Mag bullets (do get the MAG bullet because they have a harder jacket shell and are really good hunting bullet for deer sized game. $25

    package 50 sabots@ $8

    209 primers $10

    Mag spark 209 primer adapter for T/C Hawken $30

    What is nice about the 209 Mag spark adapter is the ignition is completely sealed.

    Even though I have high priced in-line BP guns I deer hunt with a scoped T/C 50 cal Hawken converted to 209's and very accurate kill shots out to 125 yards with 80g 2f triple 7 pyrodex and the above sabot load. All my hunting 50 cal rifles use the 80 gr load.

    I had your pains also when I first started testing the BP Hawkens for hunting. Round balls, grease balls, maxi balls, saboted power belts and lots of pains with erratic accuracy, delayed fires, mis-fires, etc. The Green Mountain LRH barrels with sabots and 209's are really usually very accurate, but the barrels are NLA from GMountain and expensive when found now days.

    The T/C 50 cal Hawkens and Renegades 1:48 twist basrrels will produce excellent hunting groups if the barrel is not severely pitted and rusty. (when fed the correct recipe)and the shooter is reliable.

    You can go to the Harvester site ( and review their sabots. I've not tested Harvester bullets because the Hornady 45235 works great as a hunting bullet and produces excellent groups.

    None of my guns like any of the bullets that have the sabot made onto the bullet such as power belt type for consistent groups.


    Sunlight on the plastic package while at the range will make the sabots very soft and accuracy goes out the door.

    Forgot to mention that when at the bench rest testing I use the bore brush after each shot until I see not black powder residue.

    When hunting and need a possible fast re-load follow up shot just load and go. The 2nd shot will usually print ok for follow up shots but do bore brush before the 3rd shot when hunting If the 2nd fouled bore shot was not needed I usually fire it out later at camp and clean and reload before going back to the woods.

    Another thing (often overlooked) that causes BP rifles to mis-fire is going from warm to cold and vice versa.

    Moisture/condensate sweat forms inside the barrel and powder during temperature changes.

    In cold weather I do not expose my BP rifle to warm and cold and I haul it in the back of the hunting vec in a hard case or the toolbox so as it does not get warm then cold.

    This hot/cold sweat will also cause smokeless guns to produce severe rust fast and I've even seen Ice form inside the barrels on smokeless rifles due to freezing condensate. (ice/water in bore not a good thing for gun bore and consistent accuracy)

  • 44mag444mag4 Member Posts: 47

    OKIE743, Thanks for the info. Appreciate it. Have tried some of your recommendations and will try the others before the hacksaw introduces itself to the barrel.

  • OkieOkie Member Posts: 991 ✭✭✭

    I doubt that you will need the hacksaw. With the hints I mentioned I strongly suspect it will come around.

    I've been accuracy testing with them T/C Hawkens and Renegades since the mid 70's and found lots of stuff that they don't like for consistent accuracy and reliable ignition for reliable hunting purposes and like I said they are my favorite BP hunting rifles and I have other expensive in-lines but I reach for my old 209 converted scoped Hawken during deer season.

    Them T/C Hawkens are NL made by T/C and when broken down into parts and pieces really bring premium prices on flea bay.

  • alyshebaalysheba Member Posts: 1

    Great info Okie

  • mac10mac10 Member Posts: 2,541 ✭✭✭✭

    Try the cva bullets with the polymer skirt vs I had same problem you did

  • OkieOkie Member Posts: 991 ✭✭✭

    noticed a typo in my above post and could not edit such in the previous post.

    I've even shot sabots Pyrodex pellets in the side locks when using 209 primers. (50+30 pellet grains)Point the Black end of the pellet towards the ign source. The black end of the Hodgdons pyrodex pellet is impregnated with a lower ignition temp powder.

  • idahoduckeridahoducker Member Posts: 740 ✭✭

    I have my dads old TC Hawken that shot very well in the 1980s with a bullet from a company that went out of business. When I went to start using it again I couldn't get the accuracy with the available bullets that it used to get. Then I found No Excuses bullets and his sizing kits. I believe he makes bullets in 5 diameters for 50 caliber. My old Hawken likes the .504 diameter and is back to shooting great. Here in Idaho when hunting in a muzzle loader only season we have to go traditional so no sabots or jacketed bullets and such so I never tried any of that.

  • Okie743Okie743 Member Posts: 2,584 ✭✭✭✭

    I fought that poor accuracy thing with muzzleloaders also, even with saboted bullets.

    You are lucky that you found a non-saboted bullet that gets good hunting accuracy.

    I have a 54 cal Remington 700ML that I don't hunt with anymore. It only likes the 540 grain Maxiballs for good accuracy out to 100 yards that T/C no longer makes.

    How is the felt friction of the .504 bullet in a clean bore and also in a fouled bore?

    Which type style of the no excuse bullets are you now using?


Sign In or Register to comment.