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T C Seneca

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Scrapiron45, Sep 28, 2019.

  1. Scrapiron45

    Scrapiron45 Member

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    I'm trying to learn a little more about the Seneca, when it was made, strengths, weaknesses, any experiences anyone's had with them.
    Many thanks.
     
  2. shootstraight57

    shootstraight57 Member

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    I used to hunt with my wife's Uncle who used a Thompson Center Seneca. It was a beautiful BP rifle. He shot many a deer with it and really never complained about it.
    I don't think there is any weaknesses with it.
     
  3. whughett

    whughett Member

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    No help as I don’t know the difference between it and the TC Cherokee. I had and used the latter however and just couldn’t get my face far enough into the stock to reliable use the rear sight. I installed an early model Aim-point red dot and used that for a couple years. I finally sold it back to its original owner. Mine was 45 Caliber and so wish I still had it as a companion piece for a later purchase of the TC Patriot 45 caliber pistol.
     
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  4. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    if i had one i would never ever part with it.
     
  5. mustanger98

    mustanger98 Member

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    The Seneca .45cal... nice rifle... I have some experience with one... has a 27" barrel, 3" longer than the Cherokee. It's lighter weight than a Hawken in the same or bigger caliber.

    The Seneca has a 1:48 twist... .440" lead ball, .015 T/C patch (lubed with bore butter). You might also try a .445 ball with a .010 patch. Twist rate's too slow for conicals. My preferred powder charge was 45grs of Pyrodex RS. It was pretty accurate at usual squirrel/turkey distance... should work farther out if you shoot it enough to get the trajectory. Try using 70grs of powder and all it'll do is kick too hard... accuracy was non-existent.

    To my mind, the weakness is that skinny dowel T/C sent with 'em for a ramrod. Snap it during use and it's probably going through your hand. That can be solved, for Seneca and Cherokee, by going on eBay and finding a Treso 27.5"x5/16" ramrod. (Edited to add: note that the Cherokee ramrod is 24.5"x5/16"... 3" shorter than Seneca... it'll matter if a Cherokee owner reads this.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
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  6. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    My wife has one in .45. It’s just a dandy little rifle. Shoots ball and some short conicals well, her hunting load is .440 ball, .015 patch. 70 grains fffg for deer and 40 grains fffg for plinking and bunnies.
     
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  7. mustanger98

    mustanger98 Member

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    I'd also note that these muzzleloaders' barrels are all a tad different. The loads woodnbow describes and the load I describe... they may well not be interchangeable between the two rifles.

    The conicals I attempted to use weighed 485grs. I tried some powerbelts and I forget the weight but I'm pretty sure they're geared more for in-lines and Pyrodex pellets. I'd be curious about a shorter conical... maybe one that's made similar to a wadcutter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
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  8. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    two Seneca,s, in .36-.45 and a Cherokee in .32. I don,t shoot them much as their value has climbed.
     

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  9. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    When they used to make the Ball-Ets those were a short, hollow based mine' style that worked pretty well.
     
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  10. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    if it is a 45 cal twist the conical you would use is 250 grains, also im sure a 200 grain would work also. nothing heavier than a 250 grain. ive shot 250 grain paperpatched bullets in a thompson 1/48 twist 45 cal rifle and they were very very accurate.
     
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  11. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    The most common Seneca rifles were .36 but they could be had also in .45. The even smaller Cherokee was really meant to be a small game rifle, and was a toss-up as to which version was most popular between .32 and .36. The Seneca was (iirc) the first multi-barrel concept from TC where you could own one rifle with two barrels, and thus have a deer rifle and a small game rifle in one package. Then customers asked for a .45 offering in the Cherokee, which may have been at first a sort of "kid's" muzzleloading deer rifle due to the smaller stock dimensions, BUT it did prove popular with adult shooters too. The smallest original caliber from Hawken was .45, though the Hawken was sold in caplock and flintlock, and in the Renegade (again iirc) the smallest offering was .50 and it was only a caplock. Renegades were also sold in .56 caliber smoothbore (pretty much 28 gauge), to comply with several states' early ML regulations. They proved to be pretty good deer getters out to 50 yards, and ..., proved to be good for small game without needing to switch barrels.

    LD
     
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  12. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    then their was the big boar .58 caliber that looked like a renegade. top rifle is the big boar and the lower is a limited edtion hawken.
     

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  13. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    The Renegade was also available in 54 caliber, and a flint lock version. Of course, you could get just about any caliber from the T/C custom shop (Fox Ridge). Alas, now you have to hunt for barrels on Flea Bay or other on-line sites. Green Mountain used to make "drop In" barrels for most of the T/C guns, but now they no longer do.
     
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  14. Scrapiron45

    Scrapiron45 Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies, a lot of good information.
     
  15. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    I should also note that the New Englander was a return to the dual barrel concept, with a rifle barrel in either .50 or .54, AND a 12 gauge version or extra barrel.

    LD
     
  16. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    I am very surprised that no one mentioned that the .45 Seneca has a thin wrist that have been known to develop a crack when fired with some full house hunting loads.
    I recall at least one person here complaining about how their wrist cracked.
    I wouldn't load a .45 with too much 777 or a heavy conical.
    It may not be every one but some of the stocks may have been cut with the grain running weak in the wrist.
    And the stock can be expensive or hard to replace and not easily repairable.
     
  17. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    Like all traditional TC muzzle loaders these are of the finest quality.
    All have coil spring locks.
    Inletting, fit and finish, rifling, stock walnut, and manufacture is second to none.
    The 1:48 twist is okay for .45 caliber.
    The rear sight is a non-traditional square notch adjustable target sight, much like what you would find on a high quality .22 target pistol.
    They shoot both round ball and the TC style of maxiball well.
    The set triggers work great and are trouble free.

    I have owned a TC Hawken .50 Cal. for over 30 years and would never sell it.
    I owned a .54 Renegade in the 1980s which was also excellent.
    These rifles are built to last as a combination of practicality and tradition and durability.

    Frankly, compared to the TC Hawkens, Renegades, Cherokees, and Senecas, anything made by Traditions is junk.

    The lock design and hooked breech used in the Lyman Great Plains rifle is a direct copy of the TC Hawken.

    Track of the Wolf is one of the best sources of accessories, supplies, and aftermarket parts for TC and all traditional muzzle loaders.
    They offer complete 5/16" X 27 1/2" ramrods specifically made for the Seneca (and for the entire TC Hawken family of rifles) made of hickory or unbreakable Delrin complete with factory duplicate brass tips.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
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  18. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

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    The 36 and 45 have a 1/48 twist IIRC. The 32 was geared for small game hunting with a 1/30 twist so it would shoot a RB with a light charge like 10-20 grains of powder per Sam Fadala in his BP handbook.

    I had a 36 caliber and it shot great with round balls. I also like to shoot it with 25grs of 3F and a 38 caliber hollow base wadcutter bullet made for pistol target loads. You could have hunted close range deer with that load. I stupidly sold it.
     
  19. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    These are the bullets my wife has used in her Sceneca .45. It’s an accurate hunting bullet over 70 grains of 3f Swiss powder but no surprise, she prefers 70 grains of 3f and a .445 with a .10 patch. It’s more accurate, easier on the rifle and the shooter, and for small game and deer it’s sufficient given good hits which are frankly, easier with the lighter recoil. At least for my 5’2”, 105# wife. Truth be told all of us are more accurate with lighter recoiling rifles..

    5686691F-F8D7-4D9D-8FCD-4D2EAADABCF1.jpeg
     
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  20. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Hee's one thread posted by Ratdog68 about how he found cracks in the stock of the "new' to him TC .45 Cherokee. --->>> https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/pacific-nw-outing.459036/
    He posted many photos of it and the cracks that he repaired with epoxy on pages 1 and 2 that are easy to see by scanning through the pages and photos.
    The cracks ran directly from the 2 screw holes that the lock bolt passes through which affixes the lock in the lock mortice.
    Because both sides were cracked in the exact same way and he didn't shoot it much or load much powder in it, he believed that the stock was defective from the factory.
    It probably had to do with the grain of the wood.
    Or perhaps the previous owner fired it with too much powder or both.
    It's something to be aware of.

    It's sad to see someone say that Traditions guns are junk or worse than old TC's when every gun can have defects.
    I once bought a lightly used TC Renegade and had to send it to TC to have the lock fixed which they won't repair for free or at all anymore under their lifetime warranty that is no longer honored.
    The lock wouldn't stay cocked.
    And TC also doesn't carry parts anymore.
    However Traditions does carry parts and still repairs their guns under their lifetime rifle warranty.
    To make generalizations about which brand is junk and which isn't just depends on the individual gun that a person ends up buying and the luck of the draw.
    Some folks would rather have a new Traditions than a used TC because of the parts and previous wear and tear when buying a used gun.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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  21. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    I said that Traditions were junk by comparison to to TC quality. That is simply my opinion and I stand by it. You can certainly disagree if you wish. Traditions guns are serviceable I suppose, but you get what you pay for.

    I have owned both. I never regretted owning the TC Hawken and Renegade that I bought, and I still own the Hawken over 30 years later.
    I haven't had any problems with the TC gun. Period.
    It will outlive me.
    The Traditions Kentucky is long gone and good riddance.

    TC guns like the Seneca use first class walnut and are fitted and finished far better than anything that Traditions has ever made.
    -Traditions uses stained beech for a lot of their stocks.
    TC coil spring locks are probably the most reliable locks ever produced for modern production side lock guns.
    -Traditions Spanish made locks are very crude internally.
    TC hammers line up with their nipples perfectly and use a proper snail breech plug.
    -Traditions rifles that I have seen use a screwed in drum for the nipple and often this does not line up properly with the face of the hammer.

    The fact that TC doesn't honor their warranty anymore is regrettable, but it doesn't change the fact that guns like the Seneca DO exhibit an extremely high standard of quality.
    TC has evolved so much as a company since they made these rifles that they are really almost unrecognizable as the original company.
    It's just the way it is. Companies change and sometimes change ownership or go out of business. This could happen to Traditions as well.

    There are a lot of older guns out there that no longer have warranty coverage. I don't think that that should stop people from buying and using fine firearms like the TC Seneca. Just inspect it well to be sure that it is serviceable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  22. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    The geometry of the original cock that TC used to build flintlocks for many, many years needed to be redesigned.
    Although it worked, it was known to eat flints and to have some problems sparking.

    After TC came out with the new redesigned cock, many people ended up replacing their old cock.
    But there's still many TC flintlocks on the marketplace with old inefficient cocks without any current TC replacement cock available.
    So to say that TC's are always better quality compared to Traditions sounds a lot like being a "shill" for TC.

    Many people actually prefer Traditions guns and I wouldn't want to insult them or the people who prefer TC's .
    I'm just trying to be objective.
    TC 's usually do have very nice walnut stocks.
    But some of their Patriot pistol stocks were also known for developing cracks.

    There is more to a gun than just its stock.
    Trying to replace a Seneca or Patriot lock part can be problematic too.

    The TC QLA muzzle was another source of complaints from many people when it was introduced on their traditional sidelocks.
    To this day some people are still cutting them off the barrel because they think that it interferes with accuracy.
    The QLA could have very well been one of the reasons that led TC to exit the traditional sidelock business.
    Lyman basically copied the TC design but never made their guns with a QLA and more people preferred to buy Lyman over a TC, and not only because of Lyman's lower price.

    Many people may agree that the Traditions Crockett can shoot better than many of the TC .32's because it has a longer barrel and a slower twist rate than some of them.
    That doesn't mean that people don't love their TC .32's. or shouldn't buy a used one.
    But it does mean that all TC's aren't always better quality in every respect than a Traditions gun, or that a walnut stock is always going to be better.

    In the end, some Traditions guns can out shoot some TC's and vice versa.
    How well each individual gun comparatively shoots should make for a valid comparison that not all Traditions guns are junk as originally stated by
    Old Stumpy who said: ""Frankly, compared to the TC Hawkens, Renegades, Cherokees, and Senecas, anything made by Traditions is junk. "
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  23. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    Attempting to equate cheaply made Spanish muzzle loaders with stained beech stocks and crudely made locks with U.S. made first class muzzle loaders with select walnut stocks and high quality coil spring locks is an exercise in futility.

    It's like saying that a Yugo is equal to a Lincoln Continental or a Cadillac.

    Both may get you from point A to point B, so both may be serviceable for as long as the Yugo may last.
    But clearly, the Yugo is junk by comparison.

    I've owned my Cadillac TC Hawken for over 30 years and it is a great rifle with which I have experienced zero problems.
    Similarly a TC Seneca is a Cadillac as well and many people love them.

    A Traditions rifle is a beer budget plinker, and I doubt that many people will invest their emotions in one.
    It is what it is.
     
  24. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    An interesting thing about TC Hawken rifles is that you can simply lift out your hooked breech percussion barrel and remove your percussion lock very easily with a single large headed screw. I do this every time that I clean.

    Equally interesting is that you can convert your TC Hawken to flintlock (or vice versa) simply by dropping in a TC flintlock barrel and lock without fitting. I own and use such a barrel and lock. Both were taken from an earlier production 1970s rifle. I sold the rest of the rifle to someone who installed a percussion lock and barrel on it.

    I have not experienced any problems with this lock eating flints, and it is about 44 years old. It sparks great, and like the percussion lock it exhibits the fine craftsmanship. It has never given me any problems.

    Furthermore, I have before me a Lyman Great Plains rifle flint lock from a kit that I bought about 5 years ago. As I mentioned earlier, Lyman uses a direct copy of the TC locks in almost every detail. The Lyman lock will almost drop in to the TC mortise on my rifle. It also sparks well and does not "eat flints".
    And yes, the geometry of this next to new cock on this lock is IDENTICAL to the 45 year old TC cock.
    So, if this cock angle is "no good" why does Lyman still use this original TC cock angle after so many years of Great Plains Rifle production?

    The Traditions Kentucky flintlock that I owned, on the other hand, had a lock with crude internal design and had the flint clamping screw hole mis-drilled at an odd angle, which resulted in the upper jaw being misaligned with the lower jaw. Also, the lock was supported inside the mortise using the head of a wood screw. Poor quality control to say the least.

    Finally accusing me of being a "shill" for TC seems rather ridiculous, as well as insulting, when you consider that TC only makes a couple of modern in-line muzzle loading hunting rifles these days. (Which I am not a fan of in the least.)

    I could as easily have accused you of being a "shill" for Traditions rifles since you so passionately recommend them. But I did not.

    I do not own any other TC products than my Hawken, and I could care less about what they sell now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  25. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    As Old Stumpy mentioned, the locks of a Lyman Great Plains and a T/C Renegade/Hawken are almost identical. In the past I have swapped out my T/C frizzen for the Lyman frizzen, as you can no longer get T/C parts except on Flea bay. I also found, that if your T/C cock is smashing flints, (as some do for some reason) you can swap cocks with the Lyman Great Plains to solve the problem.
     
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