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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have found out that there is no one in my area that sells black powder:( Should I make the 3 hour drive one way to buy some more or do I look for a substitute?

I have a new T/C Hawken .54 that I want to begin working up loads for spring bear season, and I would really like to find something local that works in my rifle. I have been told that nothing beats the regular black powder in the traditional sidelocks like my T/C Hawken. I have know clue, so I thought I would ask for some expert advise;)
 

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Traditional black powder is hard to beat, so if you do decide to make the drive I would suggest that you buy several pounds. You might also ask around and see if you and several others could make a group purchase and have it shipped to you, splitting the haz-mat fee might be less expensive than the cost of gas. If not then I would go with Triple 7 in 2f.
 

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I have found out that there is no one in my area that sells black powder:( Should I make the 3 hour drive one way to buy some more or do I look for a substitute?

I have a new T/C Hawken .54 that I want to begin working up loads for spring bear season, and I would really like to find something local that works in my rifle. I have been told that nothing beats the regular black powder in the traditional sidelocks like my T/C Hawken. I have know clue, so I thought I would ask for some expert advise;)
The big question is... your .54 caliber T/C Hawkins is it a cap lock shooting a #11 cap or a flintlock? If the rifle is a flintlock, you are doomed almost to need black Powder to shoot. If it is a cap lock or percussion lock also called, sub powders will work just fine. The two powders I would recommend is Pyrodex RS or Triple Seven 2f powder. If you hunt in extreme cold or wet, then the Pyrodex RS will ignite easier then Triple Seven but I'd hate to live on the difference.

The big thing is how you prepare the rifle before you shoot. Lets say you want to shoot YOUR PERCUSSION CAP RIFLE...

Put some isopropyl alcohol on a patch. Not saturated, but damp. Swab the bore using short strokes from muzzle to breech. Then do the same thing with two dry patches. Now with the cleaning loading jag on, push a dry patch to the bottom of the breech. Pop a #11 cap off and pull the patch. Look for a burn mark on the patch. Don't be shocked if there is not burn mark. Some rifles take three caps to get one. If no burn mark, push that back down and do the same thing. Pull the patch and check it again. When you see the burn mark, pop one more cap off. What you have done is cleaned the bolster of any oils or gunk. Also you car boned the snail. This helps the spark from the next cap bounce down the snail into the fire hole.

Now load your Pyrodex RS or Triple Seven. Tilt the rifle lock down facing the ground, and slap the side of the lock. What your doing is knocking powder into the bolster at the end of the snail (fire channel). Seat your projectile, cap the rifle and I will bet it will fire just perfect.

If your hunting... load the same as described. But if you have a place to do this (careful not to loose your nipple), take the nipple out of the bolster. Now drizzle just a little powder down that hole. Replace your nipple. And cap it. That rifle will fire.

When your walking around in bad weather, take a tire valve stem cover, cock the rifle, put that valve stem over the percussion cap, and lower the hammer on it. That will keep that area nice and dry. Over the muzzle you can use a condom, finger cot, electrical tape, plastic wrap, to cover the end of the muzzle. Also you can shoot right through that with no loss of accuracy. It will keep rain and snow out of the end of the barrel

Making that Hawkins rifle shoot is not that hard. All you have to do is prepare them and they will shoot the sub powders, all but BlackHorn 209, off just fine. Keep your powder dry and you will be fine.

90 grains of Pyrodex RS a .015-.018 patch and a .530 ball will shoot real good I bet. If shooting Triple Seven lower that to 85 grains and try that. If your shooting maxiball, start it out at 70 grains. If you want more ideas of what to shoot, let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The big question is... your .54 caliber T/C Hawkins is it a cap lock shooting a #11 cap or a flintlock? If the rifle is a flintlock, you are doomed almost to need black Powder to shoot. If it is a cap lock or percussion lock also called, sub powders will work just fine. The two powders I would recommend is Pyrodex RS or Triple Seven 2f powder. If you hunt in extreme cold or wet, then the Pyrodex RS will ignite easier then Triple Seven but I'd hate to live on the difference.

The big thing is how you prepare the rifle before you shoot. Lets say you want to shoot YOUR PERCUSSION CAP RIFLE...

Put some isopropyl alcohol on a patch. Not saturated, but damp. Swab the bore using short strokes from muzzle to breech. Then do the same thing with two dry patches. Now with the cleaning loading jag on, push a dry patch to the bottom of the breech. Pop a #11 cap off and pull the patch. Look for a burn mark on the patch. Don't be shocked if there is not burn mark. Some rifles take three caps to get one. If no burn mark, push that back down and do the same thing. Pull the patch and check it again. When you see the burn mark, pop one more cap off. What you have done is cleaned the bolster of any oils or gunk. Also you car boned the snail. This helps the spark from the next cap bounce down the snail into the fire hole.

Now load your Pyrodex RS or Triple Seven. Tilt the rifle lock down facing the ground, and slap the side of the lock. What your doing is knocking powder into the bolster at the end of the snail (fire channel). Seat your projectile, cap the rifle and I will bet it will fire just perfect.

If your hunting... load the same as described. But if you have a place to do this (careful not to loose your nipple), take the nipple out of the bolster. Now drizzle just a little powder down that hole. Replace your nipple. And cap it. That rifle will fire.

When your walking around in bad weather, take a tire valve stem cover, cock the rifle, put that valve stem over the percussion cap, and lower the hammer on it. That will keep that area nice and dry. Over the muzzle you can use a condom, finger cot, electrical tape, plastic wrap, to cover the end of the muzzle. Also you can shoot right through that with no loss of accuracy. It will keep rain and snow out of the end of the barrel

Making that Hawkins rifle shoot is not that hard. All you have to do is prepare them and they will shoot the sub powders, all but BlackHorn 209, off just fine. Keep your powder dry and you will be fine.

90 grains of Pyrodex RS a .015-.018 patch and a .530 ball will shoot real good I bet. If shooting Triple Seven lower that to 85 grains and try that. If your shooting maxiball, start it out at 70 grains. If you want more ideas of what to shoot, let me know.
WOW:eek: This is why I love to ask for information on this site. I am always impressed with the wealth of knowledge that folks readily share with it's members:D

Yes, my T/C is a percussion, and I appreciate the information about bad weather. Here in Oregon, hunting is usually in some kind of foul weather. I will head back to the store today I saw that they had Pyrodex Select, but I did not see any 777. Is there a difference between Pyrodex and the Select?

Thanks again and Happy New Year!!!!!
 

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I saw that they had Pyrodex Select, but I did not see any 777. Is there a difference between Pyrodex and the Select?
Pyrodex Select is Pyrodex RS. The difference is they sent it through the filters a few more times. Personally I never found Select to be any better then RS. I shoot RS and it works fine. Also Triple Seven is a good powder, but it is 15% stronger then Pyrodex in loose form. So remember that if you go with Triple Seven. Both of those powder will clean up with simple soap and water baths. Personally I would go with the Pyrodex RS. You Hawkins and my Renegades love the stuff. But since I went to almost all black powder, I shoot that now in most my rifles.
 

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Pyrodex Select is Pyrodex RS. The difference is they sent it through the filters a few more times. Personally I never found Select to be any better then RS. I shoot RS and it works fine. Also Triple Seven is a good powder, but it is 15% stronger then Pyrodex in loose form. So remember that if you go with Triple Seven. Both of those powder will clean up with simple soap and water baths. Personally I would go with the Pyrodex RS. You Hawkins and my Renegades love the stuff. But since I went to almost all black powder, I shoot that now in most my rifles.
I forgot to add that about T7 being stronger, so my normal charge of 75 grains of Goex would equaly about 65 grains of Triple 7 rounding up.
When working up a load start low and go up in 5 grain increments after shooting 3-5 shots. So start with 55 grains of pyrodex or goex, or 46 grains of T7. Hope this helps, let us know how she shoots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Is there a load data manual for black powder similar to a reloading manual for smokeless powder for us new guys?
Also, any information for the different ratios like cayugad, and SFT shared in their above posts about 777?

Thanks again!
 

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If you download the manual for the Renegade and Hawkins from the Thompson Center web site, in the back of it there is a number of different suggestions as to what the rifle can shoot and what works best. It also tells you the powder charge limits. The manual comes in a PDF file and there is a ton of information in there for you.

As for powders, they come thing many grades. When you talk black powder, 1F is a cannon powder. 2f is for rifles. 3f is a pistol powder commonly. And 4f is your priming powder. There are other grades but they are really no concern to the black powder shooter.

Pyrodex comes in two grades. 2f grade includes Pyrodex Select and RS. RS stands for rifle and shotgun. Then there is Pyrodex P which is a 3f grade. P stands for pistol.

Triple Seven comes in 2f and 3f. 2f is commonly for rifles. 3f for pistols but also works real good in rifles and for when shooting conical bullets.

American Powder comes in 2f and 3f and their grades follow much the same as the other powder.

Lets say you want to load 100 grains of powder and achieve the same velocity. In most manuals 100 grains of Black Powder = 100 grains. In Pyrodex RS the same holds true, 100 grains of powder equals 100 grains. Now this is for volume measures. In Triple Seven's case 77.7 gains (triple seven) = 100 grains. In APP 100=100

so remember Triple Seven is 15% stronger then the other powders. Actually, all the other grains are not equal, there is a little difference, but for the most part they are equal. There might be a 100 fps more or less faster between some of them, but nothing you are going to notice.
 

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I have a .54 T/C Hawkens that has a rather tight bore. .530 balls have to be pounded down the bore. I could use .520 balls, but all my other .54s use the .530 balls perfectly. So I use my T/C for conicals. It is a real tack driver with 90 grains of FFg Goex and the 380 grain Lee REAL bullets and even tighter groups with the 400 grain T/C Maxi Balls. All sub powders require a hight temp for ignition than black powder, giving you delay or hang fires at times. Black powder will give you a more reliable ignition. Here are a few places you can order black powder from: http://www.powderinc.com/ , http://www.grafs.com/ and http://www.mainepowderhouse.com/ . Black powder is also cheaper per pound than any of the sub powders. The only thing good about the sub powders is they are easier to find locally. You have a great rifle in an excellent caliber. Now go get that bear!
 

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Is there a load data manual for black powder similar to a reloading manual for smokeless powder for us new guys?
Also, any information for the different ratios like cayugad, and SFT shared in their above posts about 777?

Thanks again!
A good way to start working up your load is to use the same amount of powder as your caliber; 50 cal = 50 grains, .54 = 55, etc. or in the case of Triple 7, .54 cal + 47 grains (55 grains minus 15%). That's not a hard and fast rule until you are approaching max charges though, so you can just subtract 10% if using T7. I would suggest though that since 3f T-7 is made for pistols and cannot be used for cartridge loads (use only 2f for those applications) that you stick to the 15% ratio. I am pointing this out not because it is dangerous to use 3f Triple 7 in your muzzleloader but that your groups may be way off if you don't pay attention. What is an accurate load using 75 grains of Goex might not be even close when using 70 grains of T-7. You want consistency shot to shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I opened up the box that my Hawken came in and I found the manual with all the load data:D I also disassembled her and cleaned the barrel so I am ready to finally fire her!

My plan is to head out tomorrow after church if the weather holds. I feel like a kid on Christmas eve;)

My plan is to order some black powder from Grafs as I have dealt with them in the past with my center fire reloading needs.


Thanks again and I will let you know how everything goes if I can get out tomorrow.
 

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I opened up the box that my Hawken came in and I found the manual with all the load data:D I also disassembled her and cleaned the barrel so I am ready to finally fire her!

My plan is to head out tomorrow after church if the weather holds. I feel like a kid on Christmas eve;)

My plan is to order some black powder from Grafs as I have dealt with them in the past with my center fire reloading needs.


Thanks again and I will let you know how everything goes if I can get out tomorrow.
Did you get to the range yet?
 

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I told a friend that the 3F 777 was for pistols, but he is loading 70gr behind round balls, in his 50 cal hawkin, and loves it. Is there a safety issue here?
 

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X-Man... The makers of the powder might tell you there is a safety issue. Hodgdon's does this I think for liability reasons. But consider this, if a small revolver cylinder can take the brunt of the the 3f Triple Seven then a large well made rifle is that much more secure. I shoot 3f T-7 out of my White rifles all the time. I shoot it in a CVA Mountain Stalker. The thing to remember is the 3f is about 10% stronger then the 2f triple seven. If you look at the ballistics of it, there is not all that much difference. But a lot of people shoot the 3f out of their rifles all the time. They claim better ignition.
 

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I told a friend that the 3F 777 was for pistols, but he is loading 70gr behind round balls, in his 50 cal hawkin, and loves it. Is there a safety issue here?
That is about 80.5 grains of Goex or Pyrodex, and as long as he can stand the recoil and it's an accurate enough load it shouldn't pose a problem.
 
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