Being a lefty I cannot say which I would buy because we are left out of TC's line of weapons BUT I got friends with both and they love them both. I (if I were a righty) would choose the hawkens for the look and feel. The firestorm reminds me of cheap wal mart guns. You can't go wrong with TC though!!
TC flint and great shooting are mutually exclusive.
The perc., is first rate, their flintlocks have been improved but still aren't what an L&R's or custom gun lock's performance would be. Lots of folks love their brand name guns. I venture to guess that they have never experienced the joy of a properly made flint lock. Far faster and far more surefire with substantially fewer problems.
Owned a TC Firestorm for several years. They come with a 1-48 twist barrel as does the TC Hawkens. I wouldnt get either. First...not the best twist for a roundball (too fast) plus not optimum for best stabilization of conicals(too slow). I found the 1-48 TC bbl very mediocre as far as accuracy.
Personally, for the same money you could buy a Lyman Great Plans Rifle 32"(1-60 twist bbl) great for roundballs & have option of buying a Lyman xtra drp-in bbl (1-32) good for conicals & sabots. Likely could get for the price of a TC Hawkens & be like having 2 guns handling a much greater variety of bullets.
The Lyman GPR will run about $100 more. A second bbl about $140.
The TC Firestorm is a solid gun. Just wish they would still have the ole 1-66 twist bbl they used to put on their Pa Hunter Flintlock which is no longer made. plus with the Firestorms removable breech plug design there arent any after market bbls to fit its stock so your stuck with a 1-48 bbl.
I have been shooting the Firestorm since T/C first introduced it. I love it. The only problem I had is I tried extending the orignal flint life too far and just had to flip it. Everytime I pull the trigger it goes boom, weather not something falls is another story but it goes boom. It is not the gun's problem either, just shooter error. I shoot it very well from the bench and in the woods not so well.
TC is ok but I would hold out for a used 1/66 twist barreled gun for roundballs. Like Loggy said buy a new Lyman if you looking at a new rifle. I would not buy a 1/48 twist Hawken and drop-in barrels are hard to come by.
I guess being new and all I will have to live and learn also ... I have a Traditions (I know it's not a Lyman or TC) PA Longrifle 1:66 ... But can not get it to shoot like this Firestorm right out the box ... Pyro 50/50, 295 Powerbelts and FFFFg in the pan ... Thanks for the tips Loggy ... I went with the load you recommended ... No Flash in the PANs ... But did have a few Flint Misfires ... Adjusted the flint and went much better ... Two hart shots, 1 lung, nice 3 shot group and a lucky shot all at 75yrds