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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Greetings everyone. I have a few questions I'm trying to get answered. Ok, let's be honest. I have a LOT of questions since this is the first black powder rifle I have ever owned. :)

I have at least partially identified the rifle thank to a couple of people here on the board.
It is a .45cal Hawkens reproduction my by Investarms in Italy in 1993.

Visual inspection of the rifle appears fine except for some rusting on the inside of the barrel. There doesn't seem to be any pitting just surface rust. This leads to the first question. How should I clean this and prevent it in the future and should I remove the breech plug to allow a "complete cleaning" like I am able to with the modern rifles I have?

Next question I have is since the rifle is "proofed" and labeled as black powder only is there a modern substitute I can/should use? I only ask this since none of the local gun shops carry real black powder and the closest place to get it to me is 3 hours away.

I have no idea yet what the twist of the barrel is so I have no idea what type of ammunition I should use. Which brings me to the third question. What should I use? I know most people have their personal preference and opinions on this since I have gotten answers from local shops the ranged from "The ONLY thing to use is (Insert a type of bullet here), and anyone that uses anything else is a moron!" to "Aw heck it don't matter it's a black powder they will shoot anything the fits in the barrel!"

I'd love to be able to take this rifle to the range and have some fun with it. And hopefully, once I get to know her better ;) take her out hunting.

Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions you folks have.
 

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Steel Wool!!!

Get some 0000 steel wool and scrub the daylights out of the barrel, i learned that from some questions i asked. Put the steel wool on your range rod or cleaning rod, lightly oil it and scrub until your arm hurts, then get a dry patch and run it down the barrel, keep running the dry patches down until they come out clean, then what i did was i flushed the barrel with hot soapy water, dried it and ran an oiled patch down the barrel to prevent the rust. This is just what i have done to save my barrel, im sure there are many more ways to do this. I am a newbie to this sport as well, and I can tell there is ALOT to learn. The best way to find out what bullet to shoot is to get a few different types and experiment.

Have fun,
Jake
 

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That's the way to clean the rust. But once that is done and maintained, it will last a life time. Unless you are a qualified gunsmith with proper tools...Never Ever remove the breach plug. I'd take it to a smith to replace it, so it is sealed properly. Also, they won't mar up the plug or barrel. If it's a percussion, most of the subs will work. Try some Pyrodex P. I use FFFg Goex in my .45. Take a road trip to Powder, Inc.: http://www.powderinc.com/ . They are just on the other side of Little Rock off of I-40. It's about a 7 1/2 hour drive for me. If you can pick it up in person you save shipping, Haz Mat charges and you can buy form 1 to 50 pounds. When I went last year it was going for $12 per pound. A heck of a lot cheaper than any sub powder. Your rifle is likely a 1 in 48" twist barrel. It should do well with round ball and conicals. Use #11 caps, a .440 round ball, pillow ticking patch and start with about 45 grains of powder. Shoot a group, the increase it 5 grains at a time, until you get your tightest group, then adjust your sights. You can use the pre cut- prelubed patches. I go to Wal-Mart and buy blue and white striped pillow ticking and cut my own. A good and easy lube is good old Crisco. Besides round balls, try some T/C Maxi Balls. You can normally find some on Ebay, if the store doesn't carry them. A .45 caliber muzzle loader has been the cause of many of deer to meet their maker. Good luck and let us know how things work out.
 

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If it is a flintlock you can use pyrodex powder if you put in a "starter" charge of about 5 grains of real black powder down the barrel before you dump in the rest of pyrodex load. You will have to use 3F or 4F black powder in your pan however. It works well and that was what I was doing untill I could get some more real black powder. I use plain old Crisco as a patch lube. I swab the bore out with a bit of Hoppes between shots and run a dry patch through to dry the bore before reloading. Buy a couple of yards of flannel at a fabric store for cleaning. It sounds like a lot but you do use a lot of rags with blackpowder.

Clean the rifle real well with HOT soapy water at the end of the day and use a good gun oil in the bore for storing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the info everyone!

nigonjac
Don't worry about the newbie part. If you already have your bore cleaned up and shinny then your not as much of a newbie as I am. A little funny for you here. If you have kids you can make a contest out of the scrubbing part. As I type my 11 year twins are trying to see who can get the inside of the barrel the skinniest. (Gotta love em')

cowpoke1955
Thanks for all the info it helps a lot. I'm itching to try her out but I heard a lot of horror stories from my great grandpa and my grandpa both about rifles blowing up and didn't want to end up a statistic. I'll wait a bit on the real black powder and go with sub for now. I don't want to order 5lbs of it and have it sitting around for a while. Though I'd love to get some. As for starting at 45 grains and working up, What would you recommend as the never go about this amount?

alsask
This one isn't a flintlock. But I do have an eye on a couple I'd like to get in the future. ;) I'm already set on rags and patches. My wife just handed me all the old t-shirts and pillow cases in the house. (I love that woman) Though I did have to veto using my favorite t-shirt for patches. It already has a ring of holes around the bottom from when I went with a friend several years ago to a shooting meet and he forgot to bring any patches.
 

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A couple of notes: about loading powder....we talk about grains all the time - 40 grains, 45 grains, etc. but we load by volume and we do not weigh the charge out on a scale.
Get a powder measure. Set it for 45 grains and fill it. Put that amount of powder down the bore. Don't worry about how much it actually weighs - just use the measure. This is true for real BP and the subs like Pyrodex.
As far as the maximum goes.....chances are very, very good that you will find your most accurate combination well below 90 grains. (I own a bunch of MLers and have never loaded more than 90 grains in any of them.) Max will probably be higher than 90.
Cleaning rust from a bore: there is a product called EVAPO-RUST. Seal the nipple of the barrel. Fill the barrel with ER and let it sit overnight. Pour the stuff out. Clean with soapy water. Dry. Rust gone.
Pete
 

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Greetings everyone. I have a few questions I'm trying to get answered. Ok, let's be honest. I have a LOT of questions since this is the first black powder rifle I have ever owned. :)

I have at least partially identified the rifle thank to a couple of people here on the board.
It is a .45cal Hawkens reproduction my by Investarms in Italy in 1993.

Visual inspection of the rifle appears fine except for some rusting on the inside of the barrel. There doesn't seem to be any pitting just surface rust. This leads to the first question. How should I clean this and prevent it in the future and should I remove the breech plug to allow a "complete cleaning" like I am able to with the modern rifles I have? Do not remove the breech plug. You will only damage the rifle. To remove the rust, steel wool works, but I like to use JB Bore Paste on a good tight fitting patch. I just never liked steel wool unless it was a last resort. Instead I use the bore paste. That will remove surface rust, leading, and any other things that might be gripping on the inside of the barrel. Then a good hot water bath and some solvent patches. If you have one, take a .30 caliber cleaning brush on a rod, and wrap a patch around that. Saturate that patch in solvent. Push that to the breech area and that will fit into the cone of the barrel and clean that out for you as well. After you have bore pasted the barrel, solvent, dry patches, etc.. then be sure and apply a good coat of gun oil in the bore of the barrel. This will protect the bore for you and is easy to remove before you shoot.

Next question I have is since the rifle is "proofed" and labeled as black powder only is there a modern substitute I can/should use? I only ask this since none of the local gun shops carry real black powder and the closest place to get it to me is 3 hours away. Pyrodex P or RS, Triple Seven 3f, APP 3f or black powder. Because it is a .45 caliber they normally suggest a 3f powder in them. You can shoot 2f but it will foul the barrel faster.

I have no idea yet what the twist of the barrel is so I have no idea what type of ammunition I should use. Which brings me to the third question. What should I use? I know most people have their personal preference and opinions on this since I have gotten answers from local shops the ranged from "The ONLY thing to use is (Insert a type of bullet here), and anyone that uses anything else is a moron!" to "Aw heck it don't matter it's a black powder they will shoot anything the fits in the barrel!" Most of the .45 caliber have a 1-48 twist, unless they are inlines and then you will see a 1-28 or even 1-24 twist. The 1-48 twist is a great twist for that caliber. I would load 60 grains of powder, a .018 patch with a good lube on it, and then a .440 roundball. I am guessing it might also shoot things like powerbelts and maybe even sabots. But I am positive it will shoot roundball.

I'd love to be able to take this rifle to the range and have some fun with it. And hopefully, once I get to know her better ;) take her out hunting. Nothing is stopping you. What you might want to do is download a manual from T/C Arms for their traditional rifles. Their hawkins and your rifle are very similar. In there are suggested loads that should work just fine for you as well. Along with that there are other tips and information that a new shooter will find useful. Its a free download.

Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions you folks have.
 

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Thanks for the info everyone!

nigonjac
Don't worry about the newbie part. If you already have your bore cleaned up and shinny then your not as much of a newbie as I am. A little funny for you here. If you have kids you can make a contest out of the scrubbing part. As I type my 11 year twins are trying to see who can get the inside of the barrel the skinniest. (Gotta love em')
Oh mine isnt anywhere near perfect, it not only had rust, but pitting, but i did manage to get a good deal of the pitting too. As for kids, Im 18, way to young to have kids yet. This whole black powder and muzzle loader thing is new to me, i grew up in small town wisconsin, my dad got me started in Bowhunting and shooting bow when i was about 6, and have continued that passion still, my dad said he never really saw a use for muzzleloaders, but when one of his friends offered me a renegade .54 cal. for 100$ i couldnt resist because ive always wanted to try this sport.
I also have another barrel on the way that is in great condition, and i plan on using the one i refurbished to the best of my abilities as a back-up barrel.

Either way, even though this may all be overwhelming at first, i found that, that is have the fun. And pace yourself with it too. Just relax when things seem impossible, because i mean hey, not everyone gets a chance to own a gun that is practically a shoulder fired cannon and shoot stuff with it:D

Best of Luck,
Jake
 

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bofh77,
Don't worry about black powder. Black powder has a more consistant ignition than any of the sub powders. It also has a lower ignition point than the subs. This means the sub need a hotter flame to ignite. This is the main cause for Hang fires and misfires. A lot of the subs will loose their potency after opening. Black powder remains potent for over a hundred years. If you are going to use a sub powder, get a spitfire: http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product_info.php?products_id=5869 in 6X.75mm. These nipples are designed to increase the flash from the cap to the powder charge. Using #11 magnum caps will also help. You shouldn't have to worry about any blow ups as long as you seat the ball/bullet firmly against the powder charge and the bore is clear. Remember, the sub powders are measured by volume, not by weight. As for a max load, I would say 85 to 90 grains. The T/C site refers to .50 caliber only (since that's all they make in traditional muzzle loaders), but it does have a lot of good information. I have a .45 Pedersoli Blue Ridge flintlock (from Cabela's) with a 1 in 48" twist barrel. 70 grains of FFFg Goex and a .440 ball gives me a one ragged hole group at 50 yards. this is my most accurate load and my hunting load. I was playing around one day with some .45 caliber 220 grain T/C Maxi Balls that I cast and was amazed to get 1 inch groups at 50 yards with the same powder charge. By the way, I'm in NE Alabama, so we are almost neighbors...Howdy and welcome!
 
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