New to Black Powder


October 19, 2008, 08:53 AM
I'm kinda new to this,have shot a couple times long ago.I inherited this gun and want to get into it.It's a Thompson Center 50 cal.,not sure of model.will add pics and maybee someone can tell me.My father in law bought it 3 yrs. ago and we shot it about half dozen times,beensitting since then.It shot nice but had problem with a couple bullets jamming while trying to load,is this possibly because of newness,had someone tell me once the gun needs to be fired a few times to wear it in,that it will load easier then.The buttets we were using were conical I think,looked similar to rifled slug for shotgun.

Want to find out best bullets,round ball,slug,sabot to use.What powder and how much.Anything I need to know to start shotting.Hopefully get good enough to maybe try deer hunting with it next year.

Greatfully accept any and all info.

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Mike 56
October 19, 2008, 11:30 AM
Probably the first thing you should know in how clean your rifle this should get you pointed in the right direction. Store your rifle muzzle down in case you have to much oil in the barrel it won't settle in the chamber. If you store your rifle with petroleum oil in the barrel you should remove it before shooting. Give your rifle a quick cleaning with cigarette lighter fluid or alcohol. Black powder and petroleum products can make a gummy mess and loading hard if not imposable. Go to a fabric store and buy a small amount of pillow tacing and some some cotton flannel make sure they are 100% cotton. wash the fabric cut into 1 1/8 squares for patches. Try both patches and see witch one works the best. For lube there are a lot of good ones i say start out simple just put a patch in your mouth get it wet. To load fire three caps to burn any oil out of the nipple and chamber. put your rifle on half cock pour 50 gr powder down the barrel tap the side of the barrel to make sure the powder settles put a spit patch centered on the barrel then put a .490 ball on the patch. Start the ball with a short starter then use your ramrod to finish seating the ball. Make sure you feel the ball touch the powder. Cap the rifle and you are ready to shoot. When your rifle starts getting hard to load wipe your barrel down with both sides of a spit patch.


October 19, 2008, 12:55 PM
Should have the name stamped into the barrel. Looks like a tc new englander to me.

Mountain Jim
October 19, 2008, 06:47 PM
i have a question too about cleaning the rifle. Should i get a cleaning jag or whatever it is? Just what should i have in my possibles bag as a cleaning kit?

Mike 56
October 19, 2008, 09:36 PM
A Lot of rifles have a jag made on their ramrod. If not you can buy one for about 3.50 you can get buy with just that to clean your rifle. Here is a list ramrod tools you should have.

bore brush the same caliber as your rifle
chamber brush that fits your rifle
patch worm used to remove a patch that has come off your jag
ball puller sooner or later you load a ball with no powder under it
breach scraper removes fouling from breach plug


October 19, 2008, 10:56 PM
That looks like the TC Penn Hunter Carbine available from the TC Custom shop. Pictured is the same model that someone else has been advertising for sale on the Muzzle Loading Forum. The original version had a steel buttplate while the newer version has a rubber butt pad.
The New Englander has a round barrel that's longer, while the Penn Hunter Carbine has an octagon barrel that's slightly shorter.
The TC Tree Hawk is the carbine version of the New Englander and that has a short round camo barrel with a matching camo synthetic stock. There's one currently for sale on Auction Arms.

October 20, 2008, 04:14 PM
Only marking on rifle other then reg Thompson Center is on top,Fox Ridge Outfitters,That is the store he got it at in New Hampshire,they are Thompson Center stope I believe.

October 20, 2008, 11:37 PM
Yes, that outfit is Thompson Center's Custom Shop.

October 21, 2008, 01:09 AM
Although I have grave doubts that the advertised ability for some guns to be able to use 150 gr. of powder, your short barrelled carbine is not one of them. You will have to use the time honored method of working up a load. First you must determine the rate of twist of the rifling. Slow twists like 1 in 48 or slower were meant for PRB. Faster twists like 1 in 36 or 1 in 24 work better with sabotted rounds or maxie balls.

October 21, 2008, 02:33 PM
How can I find what twist I have?
What wopuld be good amount of powder to start with?

October 21, 2008, 07:00 PM
The twist rate is based on determining how many inches of barrel it requires for the rifling to rotate one complete turn.
There's different ways to measure it.
One way is to ram a very tight patch down to the bottom of the barrel, mark the rod at the muzzle with a piece of tape sticking out horizontally, then pull the rod out slowly until it rotates 1/2 (or 1/4) turn.
At the point that the tape turns 1/2 of a rotation, measure the amount that the rod has been pulled out from the muzzle to the tape and then multiply by 2 (or 4 for 1/4 turn).
If your rifle has a 1 in 48 inch twist, the rod will rotate 1/2 of a turn in 24 inches, or 1/4 of a turn in 12 inches.
But the patched rod must be tight enough to grab the rifling, and the rod should be measured while being pulled out and not done while it's being pushed in.
The patched rod always seems to grab better and to reflect the actual twist rate more accurately as it's being pulled out.

As already mentioned above, 50 grains of powder by volume is the standard recommended starting load for patched round balls in a .50 caliber rifle.
fffg powder generally is 10% stronger so the volume can be reduced by 10% to be equivalent to ffg powder.
777 is 15% stronger than other powders so reduce loads of 777 by 15% volume.

If shooting heavier bullets, sabots or working up a hunting load with patched round balls, you can gradually increase the amount of powder in 5 - 10 grain increments until you're satisfied with the accuracy and velocity for the distance to the target and/or the size of the game.

October 23, 2008, 01:08 AM
For a .50 my pet load is 60 FFG Goex under a cotton bedsheet patched Hornady .490 round ball.mine likes the Hot Shot nipple and Remington #11 caps. on the patch, I use a smidge of Bore Butter,or Wonder Lube.

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