My first smokepole! (T/C Black Mountain Magnum)


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MacTech
April 17, 2011, 12:01 AM
I guess it was meant to be, really, a couple weeks ago, I picked up a Rossi 851 .38Spl revolver, used, but in nice cosmetic shape, only to be dissapointed when I took it to the range to find out three of the cylinders printed 8+ inches below POA :(

the gunsmith had it for a week or so, cleaning out a bunch of congealed WD-40 crud and the like, I finally got it back and took it to the range today....

to find that it was hitting 4-5" low on three cylinders, better, but still not acceptable

So, I returned it and took store credit, went to look around the store, as I walked past the used BP rifle section, I saw a few interesting new arrivals, but I kept gravitating back to a gun that caught my eye a few months ago, a T/C Black Mountain Magnum .50 cal caplock, every time I went in to KTP, I looked at it, thinking it was just outside of my self-imposed price limit, it was in great shape, barrel bluing was 99% of new, had a nice set of Williams-style fiber optic sights installed, the bore was clean, and it only had a tiny spot of surface rust under the trigger-side portion of the sidelock plate, and it had the musket cap nipple fitted

I wasn't a fan of the polymer/plastic stock, but the non curved buttplate/recoil pad did fit me better than a curved brass buttplate on a traditional style BP rifle, still, I'm a wood-and-blued-steel kinda guy, but for the price, I can live with poly, and poly does have the maintenance-free aspect in it's favor, besides, I can probably find a nice wood stock for it anyway

Judging by the gun code stock number, it had been sitting there for a while, at least a year according to their inventory system, so I made an offer slightly below their listed price, which they accepted, much to my pleasure, so now, I have my brand-new-to-me Thompson Center Black Mountain Magnum .50 caliber caplock muzzleloader sitting next to me as I type this, I'd estimate it's overall condition as 98% of new, just one tiny nick in the bluing near the muzzle is the only flaw I can find in the barrel, the lock plate had some easily wiped off surface rust at the bottom edge of the plate, and the stock is in perfect shape, after all, it's polymer and tends to shrug off abuse

Oh, and it came in the original box with all manuals and accessories too

Next week I'll pick up caps, patches and round balls (I already have some BP on hand) and other shootin' stuff to get it ready to make some smoky fun

I'm really looking forward to this :)

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MacTech
April 17, 2011, 08:41 PM
I couldn't resist the temptation, so today, I picked up the necessary supplies to get the Magnum up and running and went to the range....

I set up at the 50 yard range, set up targets, and went back to the bench, measured out a 60 grain starting load, dumped it down the barrel, then tapped it down with the ramrod, then seated the patched round ball on top of the powder load, placed a cap on the nipple, lined up on target and pulled the trigger...

*POP*, the cap went off, but nothing else, no main charge firing, I kept the muzzle downrange for a minute on the off chance of a hangfire, after a minute, I fitted a second cap, again, nothing....

I got the straight pin out of my SAK and cleaned the touch hole, cap 3, nothing....

I was starting to get annoyed, so I did something a little risky, I poured out a tiny amount of BP and dropped three granules into the nipple cap, just something to give the musket cap a little more kick...

I fitted cap #4, thumbed the hammer back, and pulled the trigger

*BOOM!* the gun fired with a mighty roar, belching sulphorus white smoke and surprising me with a rather pleasant "shove-ey" recoil, easily manageable from the bench

Me likey! there's just something *fun* about the experience of firing a black powder firearm, yes it's slow, yes it's stinky, yes, it's hard to see the results for a few seconds as the smoke tends to cloud your view, but it's also immenently rewarding, you immediately see how the load *you* loaded up mere seconds ago performed, it makes you feel all the more involved in the shooting process, it actually makes mettalic cartridge shooting feel almost....sterile.... by comparison, especially when shooting a semiauto....

Black Powder shooting is the "unsynchronized manual transmission" of shooting, semiauto metallic cartridge shooting is the "Continuously Variable Automatic transmission" of shooting

I can forsee myself getting a lot more into BP now that I have had some hands on experience with my own BP rifle

I fired around five shots before fouling started to get noticeable, but since my cleaning jag was at home, I couldn't run a patch down the barrel to clear the fouling, so I had to call it a day after those five rounds

on the last round, I decided to try an 80 grain load, and found that the Magnum really likes that load, as it was almost dead on POA at 80 grains, it was shooting high at 60, next weekend I may just try 90 grains and see what happens

arcticap
April 18, 2011, 03:27 AM
Thanks for sharing your range experience with us. :)
I recently went to the range to muzzle load for the first time this year and after firing about 25 shots of 50-60 grains of Pyrodex RS, I didn't experience any loading difficulties due to fouling issues at all.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=586812

I do saturate the dry patches myself using adequate Bore Butter, and more often load with Pyrodex P. But the Pyrodex RS wasn't disappointing at all and I didn't need to swab the bore during the range session.
Accuracy may have been better if I did but the first ball loaded as easily as the last.
Next time I may try saturating some patches with Hoppe's #9 Plus Black Powder Solvent and Patch Lube. Many flint shooters who load with real black powder tout how they like using it as a patch lube because it's a liquid instead of a paste, and it effectively swabs the bore as each PRB is loaded.
KTP is a great store to visit. They have so many guns to choose from! ;)

MacTech
April 18, 2011, 01:42 PM
Why didn't I get into BP sooner?…

It turns out that I work about 15 minutes away from the T/C Rochester NH facility, and on a whim, I called them to see if I could get a price on a walnut stock for the Magnum, apparently they have them in stock, and the rep even said that he would try and do a warranty swap/upgrade even though I was quite clear in telling him that I bought the gun used…

I just might take them up on that offer, T/C sure has great customer service, sorry to hear they were assimilated by S&W and the Rochester facility is slated for closure…

arcticap
April 18, 2011, 03:33 PM
*POP*, the cap went off, but nothing else, no main charge firing, I kept the muzzle downrange for a minute on the off chance of a hangfire, after a minute, I fitted a second cap, again, nothing....

I got the straight pin out of my SAK and cleaned the touch hole, cap 3, nothing....

I was starting to get annoyed, so I did something a little risky, I poured out a tiny amount of BP and dropped three granules into the nipple cap, just something to give the musket cap a little more kick...

Placing a few grains under the nipple to cure a misfire is standard procedure.
But one afterthought is that after a cap fails to ignite the main charge, it's not a bad idea to check to see if the round ball was lifted up off of the powder charge. Especially with the more powerful musket or 209 caps. There's a very, very small chance of slightly ringing (or bulging) the barrel with the next shot if it had come off while loaded with a heavy powder charge. That's usually not a worry with such a moderate charge as 60 grains, and most folks don't usually even bother to double check if using the less powerful #11 cap.
But as long as the misfire condition is safe and the gun is uncapped, a ramrod can be used to double check whether the ball or projectile remains in contact with the powder.

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