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Removing the breech plug from a TC hawkens

This is a discussion on Removing the breech plug from a TC hawkens within the Lever Action forums, part of the Gun Forum category; I am working on a .50 cal Thompson Center Hawkens for a friend, it was given to him. The person that had it did not ...


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Old February 29th, 2016, 10:20 PM   #1
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Removing the breech plug from a TC hawkens

I am working on a .50 cal Thompson Center Hawkens for a friend, it was given to him. The person that had it did not do a very good job cleaning it and the bore has some rust, I would like to remove the breech plug and use a .50 cal stainless bore brush with some steel wool wrapped around it and some Kroil and see if it will remove the rust. I would like to keep the original barrel because it has a cool serial number [K9797]
Has any body ever removed the breech plug from a muzzle loader before? I have a barrel vice and I am sure I can find something to grip the plug. If the rust wont clean up does any body know any where that can bore and rifle the original barrel for 52 or 54 cal?

Casey

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Old February 29th, 2016, 10:44 PM   #2
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Earthquake,

Submerge the back of the barrel and chamber plug in Kroil and leave it for a week or so...then loosen the plug. It should come out.

There are services that can re-bore most barrels if you have to go that route.

Do not use stainless steel brushes on any bore you care about...period. Us Bronze brushed. Solvents can be neutralized by soaking them in IPA when through using them.

S/F,

Wes

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Old March 1st, 2016, 05:34 AM   #3
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Solvents can be neutralized by soaking them in IPA when through using them.

I assume you don't mean India Pale Ale; what is does IPA stand for?

Thanks from Stevie Ray
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Old March 1st, 2016, 05:46 AM   #4
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they say you shouldn't remove them.

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Old March 1st, 2016, 06:23 AM   #5
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Gents,

IPA = Isopropal Alcohol

Don't drink, so forgot there was another IPA...

Wes

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Old March 1st, 2016, 09:18 AM   #6
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Call up Jason at Rice Barrel. http://www.ricebarrels.com/index.html

He will more than likely be able to help you, or put you into contact with someone who can.

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Old March 1st, 2016, 09:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthquake View Post
I would like to keep the original barrel because it has a cool serial number [K9797]
BTW, FWIW, I believe the "K" in the serial means it originally came as a kit and was put together by someone who may or may not have known what they were doing. Also, the kits themselves weren't necessarily known for the accuracy of the barrels (I speak from personal experience). Notwithstanding the serial number, you may just want to get a new barrel. Jason at Rice Barrel would again be a good person to talk to.

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Old March 1st, 2016, 12:35 PM   #8
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Before you decide to re-bore to a larger caliber or re-line the barrel back to .50 cal. Clean the barrel throughly and shoot it. Even though the bore may not look great it may still shoot fine. I have seen many stained barrels with imperfections from neglect clean up and shoot accurately. Remember these front loaders are more forgiving than their newer cousins.

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Old March 1st, 2016, 02:52 PM   #9
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Unless you have some real experience in removing breech plugs, don't.

For attacking the rust, remove the nipple from the barrel.

Next, fill a 3-5 gallon pail with hot water, boiling hot is great. Put some dish washing liquid in the water and put the barrel in, breech down.

Get a cleaning rod with a bronze bore brush of the correct size. Scrub the bore vigorously with the hot soapy water solution. This should remove most of the surface rust and any black powder residue from the breech. After swabbing the bore dry, look into it with a bore light, the type that drops down the barrel. You'll be able to tell just how much damage has been done by the rust. If the full length of the bore is clean, and serviceable, then proceed to the next step.

There are two cleaners, I trust. The first is Moose Milk; the second is Ballistol. Both are excellent cleaners. Use a clean bronze bore brush, and scrub well, then dry with cotton patches. Use either for lubricating the barrel.

If the bore is severely pitted, you may be out of luck. The barrels on those T/C's are not that expensive, and you could probably find a new one from T/C, or from the web sites of black powder rifle suppliers. T/C no longer lists the Hawken.

Those T/C barrels are twisted 1-48". That's perfect for slug-type bullets, but if you want to shoot round ball, then you may like a 1-66".

There are still Green Mountain barrels out there, although I don't believe they make them any more. Those make perfect replacements, and are usually drop in fit. Boring and relining the barrel is a no win.

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Old March 2nd, 2016, 06:06 AM   #10
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It can be done - however if one lacks the proper tools to do it then I would recommend taking it to a gunsmith. Once upon a time I had a Hawken which had to have the plug removed. I took it to a gunsmith who did it for me. I went on to use the rifle for a number of years after with no issues. One "plus" to taking it to a gunsmith is if you damage it yourself - you're out of luck. If they damage it - then they'll have to repair or replace it.

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Old March 2nd, 2016, 06:48 AM   #11
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I don't recommend that you even try to remove that plug, they are in there tighter than you can imagine.

There used to be a special breech plug wrench to remove a T/C plug, but even then there was a very good chance that the plug or the barrel was going to be screwed up.

Make a range rod with a jag and run some 0000 steel wool with some Kroil down the bore for a dozen or so strokes, if that doesn't clean it up then you might as well just shoot it the way it is, and it might surprise you with a tight fitting patch and ball.

Years ago a lot of us used to polish the bores of our new T/C's with 0000 steel wool to knock down the sharp edges of the rifling and they shot very well!

Kit rifle bbl.'s were the same as a fully assembled rifle, you just had to finish them yourself.

There is a lot more to muzzleloading than what it seems at first.

http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/fusionbb/fusionbb.php

Good luck.

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Old March 2nd, 2016, 11:41 AM   #12
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As stated, unless you KNOW what you're doing, don't try to remove the breech plug. You'll just screw it up. A highly experienced BP shooter once recommended making a patch from a green Scotchbrite pad, and swabbing a rusty bore with that. They're impregnated with a fairly mild abrasive, and in this case it cleaned the bore up nicely.

If you decide to rebore, Bob Hoyt is the guru for reboring muzzleloader barrels.

Robert Hoyt
2379 Mt Hope Rd
Fairfield, PA 17320

ph# 717-642-6696

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