View Full Version : Joined the Sidelock club today

08-17-2005, 09:20 PM
I've been shooting an inline 50 cal for a couple of years and although the performance was great, I really wanted a more traditional gun. I had been eyeballing a .45 cal sidelock for the last couple of weeks and then today I came across a deal on a Thompson Center 50 cal that I couldn't pass up. Took a chance on it due to the fact that the bore looked real bad, but a little JB bore past and some elbow grease cleaned it up real nice. I can't wait to get out to the range and fire it up.

The barrel twist is not marked. Do any of you own one of these? and what deer load are you using ? I've got 295 gr powerbelts & 240 gr hornady xtb w/sabots but I will switch if something else works better.



08-17-2005, 09:23 PM
The twist is 1-48". It's a compromise between the 1-66" twist used by rifles that are intended to be used for roundballs and ones with 1-20" twists that will stabilize a submarine.

I have one just like it and it's my favorite ML by far. I use Hornady 385g Great Plains bullets. They expand nicely, penetrate well, and blow a big hole.

08-17-2005, 09:51 PM
7x57 I should have figgured you'd have a recipe. What type of powder and how much are you using? Have you tried the triple 7? Any particular cap or nipple?


08-17-2005, 10:21 PM
Funny you mention Triple 7. That is all I use anymore. I use a 90g equivilent charge in my TC. That is a pretty stout load as Triple 7 seems to develop a little more energy than Pyrodex or standard black powder.

I put a musket cap on my gun for a little hotter ignition and use RWS primers.

My only gripe is that being left handed that sucker can burn me when I shoot it offhand if I am not wearing long sleeves!

08-17-2005, 10:44 PM
Weagle, with my muzzleloaders I`m strictly a traditionalist and in my percussion rifle I use 70 grains of FFF blackpowder, 10 thousandths patch, .490 round ball, and no.11 primer.

In my flintlock, 60 grains of blackpowder, 10 thousandths patch, .490 round ball, and prime with FFFF blackpowder.

Both rifles have 1 in 66 twist barrels. The percussion rifle has a 32 inch barrel and the flintlock has a 39 inch barrel. In 20 years of usin` these rifles I`ve never had a deer go over 40 yards before fallin`, and they are both good out to 125 yards with a prop. I`ve also only recovered 1 ball that lodged in the neck vertebra of one deer. The rest were all pass thrus, left big holes too.

Congratulations on goin` with a true muzzleloader. You`ll love it.

08-17-2005, 11:08 PM
Thanks, I'm pretty fired up. I hope it doesn't screw things up to set the trigger and snap it (without cocking the hammer) cause I been doing it all night. I'm also especially pumped cause I got it for $125 out the door :banana:


08-18-2005, 06:38 AM
Bet you really enjoy shooting it:)

08-18-2005, 07:34 AM
welcome to the (club?) I shoot a cva 1in66-- 50--flinch lock :p

7Mag Hunter
08-18-2005, 09:14 AM
Welcome to the club!!!!
I have had 54cal Hawken for ever !!!!
Used Pyrodex , but bought triple 7 this year as everyone indicates it burns cleaner...

One suggestion, dont get hung up on "more powder is more powerful"
syndrone...Loose powder guns are harder to clean, and unburnt powder
quickly makes your gun harder to load during sight in...
Use accuracy, as your guide, and rely on the bullet to do its job....Spend as
much time as possible to learn your rifle, and experiment with powder charges
to find optimum accuracy for your gun/bullet combo...
My older Hawken doesnt like conical bullets, as well as round balls....I only use
conicals (maxi-balls) for thick hunting areas and close shots...

Use 5 gal bucket (warm water) lots of mops, and brushes to get gun clean...
Hair dryer to dry gun...Bore Butter as lube (lots of it) , and mop/brush
between shots when sighting in ...

Good Luck

7mag hunter

08-18-2005, 09:40 AM
A Traditions 50 Cal Hawken was my first deer rifle 15yrs ago and still one of my favorites. I've used 90-100gr of Pyrodex, and 300, 350 and 385gr maxi-balls (Hornady and TC manuf.) as well as PRB with 60gr. Mine has a 1-48" twist. and shoots all pretty well.

I may try some 777 this year.

08-18-2005, 07:57 PM
These rifles are not made for pellets.....misfires/hangfires can happen if they are used.

After cleaning i bust a couple of caps to dry out the area where the powder will be,then i pull the nipple and make sure there are no obstructions.

After the powder is poured down the barrel, bump on the side of the gun right at the nipple while leaning the gun over .....this helps the powder to sift over under the nipple,i've never had a mis or hangfire when loading this way.

I shoot the same model.....the sights are a problem for me in low light conditions but its normally too hot in the evenings for me to hunt anyway...i beleive some luminus paint on the front sight would help with the problem.

08-18-2005, 08:43 PM
Bull One, I have that same habit of tappin` the side of the lock. Seems to help. Maybe I`m just lucky, but in all the years I`ve shot these rifles, I`ve never had a misfire, but I`m a fanatic when it comes to cleanin` and takin` care of them. My wife also painted the front side of the front sights with pearl colored finger nail polish and that really made a difference.
My method of cleanin` is to plug the nipple or flash hole with a feather (traditional), pour a small amount of Windex with vinegar (not traditional, they used hot water), put my thumb over the end of the barrel and shake it up real good, then pour it out. Then I run patches thru until they come out clean and dry. Then I run a patch soaked in pure bear oil down the barrel and it`s ready for next time. I also clean them nightly after each hunt, even if I`m huntin` the next day. It don`t take but a few minutes to clean one proper and I kinda enjoy it.

08-18-2005, 10:54 PM
Thanks, Lots of good info. I hope to get to shoot it a bunch before the season.

Is there a particular best powder measure devise?

As I said I've always used the pellets in my inline, so you just dropped two down the tube.


08-18-2005, 11:00 PM
I made mine out of deer antlers.
70 grains-percusion
60 grains-flintlock
40 grains-pistol

08-18-2005, 11:15 PM
Do you have a line marked on those deer antler measures that you fill them up to, or do you top them off and screw on some sort of lid?

Got a pic?


08-19-2005, 12:26 AM
Also, do the hooks and loops on the fancy brass grip serve any particular purpose or is it just an ornamental "pistol" grip?

Looks like it might work as a bottle opener :D


08-19-2005, 06:41 AM
made my mine from fired 300 mag cases cut off 80 grains of ffg

08-19-2005, 07:53 AM
I've got deer antler powder measures too. Just cut them off and drill them. I cut the top at about a 45degree angle to make pouring out easier. Drill them deep and fill it up with powder. Then pour the powder into a brass powder measure to see how much it holds. Saw cut or sand the antler down from there to get the measure size you want. This type of measure is very very handy as it can not be misadjusted.

You'll still end up keeping a brass adjustable model powder measure on hand for tweaking loads.

Then I drill a hole in the base of the antler and using a leather thong, tie it to my powder horn. I carry the powder horn and a possibles bag into the woods.

You'd be amazed that some deer will stand there and watch you reload if you miss or shoot another deer. I guess the boom isn't like a rifle crack to them.l

08-19-2005, 10:58 AM
Another thing that works pretty well is a .45-70 case. It will hold about 85g charge of triple 7 (which is plenty). With that large rim there is no chance of it going down the barrel either.

08-19-2005, 07:48 PM
Weagle, those finger loops are more for style than anything else, but that long reenforcin` trigger guard was to help brace the hangrip part of the stock. In the old days when the gun was shot, until it was reloaded it wasn`t nothin` but a fancy club and a lot of stocks were broken right there from clubbin` an enemy or wounded varmint over the head. That`s why you also always carried a knife and fightin` `hawk with you everywhere you went.

08-24-2005, 10:26 AM
I was got a traditions PA flintlock rifle last Christmas and i don't know where to get the ffff priming powder. Could someone tell me where i could get this.I live in Tattnall Co. Ga.

08-24-2005, 12:52 PM
there are black powder or buckskinners get to gether every year last I got to go to was in Alma Ga. the vendors at these have everything you need and more just fine out where the next one is and go
you can get help with how to's with your flinch lock to

08-24-2005, 07:58 PM
ohoopee-hunter, you can prime with 3F till you can get ahold of some 4F. You can take 2F or 3F and usin` a GLASS mortar and pestle, LIGHTLY drind it into a finer powder. NEVER USE ANY KIND OF GRINDER THAT MIGHT CAUSE A SPARK SUCH AS ANY STEEL APPARATUS. I recommend just usin` 3F to prime till you can get to a rondyvoo. I`ll post when our next one gets closer.

08-25-2005, 08:07 AM
Ok i'll try to make it to the next one.Where do i get the 3f.
thanks for the help

09-12-2005, 11:09 AM
Thanks for all the help. I love these board because I don't have to reinvent the wheel when I start shooting something I don't have any experience with.

I got to the range with the .50 tc hawken this weekend. I started out using 85 gr triple 7 and a hornady 385 gr. Great plains conical. It shot so good all I did was adjust the open sights to suite me and shoot up a bunch of bullets. I was only shooting at 50 yds but the groups were all nice and tight with some 3 shots touching.

The Triple 7 worked great. I tried a couple of shots without using the spitpatch in between and the bullets still seated easily and they hit the same point of aim. Also, the cleanup was a breeze and it didn't stink up the house like the pyrodex did.

I'm pretty fired up about the hawken!



09-12-2005, 08:10 PM
Weagle, don`t make a habit of dry-firin` it on an empty nipple. Over time it can deform the nipple so a cap won`t fit on it. Use a fired primer cap on it to dry-fire.

09-12-2005, 08:26 PM
Nicodemus, On mine the hammer doesnt drop when I dry fire the set trigger. With the hammer at half cock, I can set the trigger and then dry fire the front trigger. Sort of like dry firing a thompson contender without cocking the hammer.


09-12-2005, 09:20 PM
Nicodemus, On mine the hammer doesnt drop when I dry fire the set trigger. With the hammer at half cock, I can set the trigger and then dry fire the front trigger. Sort of like dry firing a thompson contender without cocking the hammer.

It will not hurt to dry fire the triggers. It will if you dry fire the hammer, it will flatten the nipple.