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Discussion Starter #1
I've been shooting the same .50 cal T/C Hawken now for 20 years. It has always been a very good shooting gun and never have had a problem keeping good groups at 50yds....until now.

I've spent the last 3 days at the range and I am at a loss. Here is the situation:

Day 1: .490 round balls with .015 patches. Started out shooting 6" right and 5" high. Was able to work the elevation to where I wanted it, but could not get balls to hit near center line. I have always fired a clean shot and a 2nd shot, so 2 shot groups before running a patch...I used all of my rear sight adjustment (which I have rarely had to move) and also had to drift my front sight. (and yes I know which way to move my sights..lol). Was touching 2 shot groups consistently at least 3-4" right through out this process. I checked my patches and they were shredded and burned up..should have looked at that earlier, but I was still shooting solid groups, just not in the center. I packed up and went home to clean-up, AND I put sights (both rear and front back to dead center...starting fresh day 2 from 25ds.) (Day 1 = 27 shots)

Day 2: I did not have any other patches, but I used to shoot 350gr maxi Hunters and had plenty of them. My goal was to shoot at 25yds and make sure that they were dialed in, then move to 50yds. This way I would at least know that I had the Maxi-Hunters dialed in. At 25yds, I was stacking them on top of each other with very little sight adjustment..see above..intersting????. Moved to 50 yards...and could barely hold a 10" group...high/low/left/right, you name it. Now more frustrated, packed up and wont home. (Day 2 = 18 Shots)

Day 3: Went and bought some new patches (.018) to see how they reacted and at 25 yds, same story as day 2...stacked the round balls on top of each other, about an inch high and an inch right.... move to 50yds and same as day 2..I didn't even hit the 8.5 x 11" target I was aiming at on first 2 shots...one off paper at 12:00 and the other off the paper at 3:00. I went back to 25yds....dead freakin center. Put a maxi-hunter in, just a little high. Maxi-hunter at 50yds...same as day 2..10" group, BUT 4 shots with PRB never hit target (thank goodness I had 4'x4' cardboard up so I at least knew where they were hitting....packed up and went home...AGAIN.( Day 3 = 15 shots)

I have no idea what is going on...could it be me and I just can't see that far? don't think so because had the Mosin out with open sights and no problem drilling center at 50yds.

I have not tried changing the powder load, which I am shooting 80 grains and always have....Do I need to try changing load..70gr? 90gr?

Any constructive feedback is welcome...need a game plan for tomorrow....

Thanks!
Mz
 

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Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

hey muzldr, did you change types of powder this year?
did you clean the gun before firing the first day?
my dad had this problem last year and come to find out it had a little surface rust inside the barrel and pitted a tiny bit, ran wire brush down a few times and problem solved.....im in palmyra right now btw
 

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Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

First check the wedge pin and make shure that is not loose. Check tang bolt is tight. Check rear sight make shure not loose. Check muzzle crown make shure not dinked.Check for pitting in barrel
After eliminating these. Try .495 RB's.sounds like you are not getting a good seal and are gas cutting the patches If your patches are shreding or even cut groups will suffer.
Shoot for groups at 50yds, 25 yds is good to get on paper but is terrable for judging accuracy.
Even a smooth bore can shoot a ragged hole group at 25 yds.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

@teamkeystone:
I've always fired Goex 2F from barrel and bought new can this year and is all I have used. Also, cleaned gun before using first time and thoroughly after each session...thanks for the tip.

@long hunter:
Checked wedge pin. Seems very secure, tang bolt is tight, rear sight is tight and muzzle crown seems OK. I will see if I can get some .495 RB's for tomorrow to test also. Thx for note on 25yds vs 50yds...

What is best way to check for pitting in the barrel?
 

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Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

Any chance you've developed a flinch, and it doesn't show much at 25 yards, but once you get to 50, the groups are opening up?
 

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Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

Run a tightly patched cleaning jag down the bore and feel for rough spots or drop a bore light down and look for pitting.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

@borden811
Very good point. I wondered same thing. I've had several misfires over the last 3 days, and usually you can really tell if you are jumpy when that happens. I was pretty solid with the few "flash in the pans" as well as a few misfires I had. (at least I think I was).

But truthfully, I'm questioning my self as much as the gun. That's why I took the Mosin out to shoot and had no problems with it (as far as open sights and hitting where I was aiming)
 

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Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

I had same problem with the same rifle, 2 of them, Drove me nuts. After 2 lb of powder and 2 weeks I finally tracked it down. The stock was warped and the barrel would move when I shot, ez fix, Just take a straight edge and lay it in the bottom grove where barrel touches, see of it rocks. Mine had the high point at the pin holding the barrel in. Then remove some wood where the high point is 2 to 3 inches length on the bottom and also on the next flats up. Then get some saran wrap and wrap the barrel very carefully where you removed the wood + 2 inches more. Then mix some jb weld and put it where you removed the wood but not too much as it will stick to the barrel and wood if no saran there.insert barrel carefully, insert pin let it dry overnite, You can always add more jb if needed over the old jb. This worked on both my tc hawkins and I can touch holes again at 50 yards.
Good luck, Stan
 

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Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

Throwing some options out there.
Make sure sights are not loose in dovetails.
Old rotted patches
No lube on old patches
Scrub barrel with 0000 steel wool,oil and a jag.Give the bore a good polishing.
Your patch and ball combo should be good.
Try different charges firing 3 shot groups and be SURE to run a wet followed by 2 dry after every 3 shots.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

@Stant: Great info. Will head to garage and check that out. Never would have even thought of that...will update

@410-er: Thanks for comments! I double checked the sites...they are OK. I have new patches and I lube them myself. Going to scrub barrel with the steel wool...have not used the steel wool before. Tomorrow, I am going to stat at 70gr and work my way to 90gr and see if I discern a difference.

Thanks again for the feedback....
 

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Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

You've got a wealth of great information here to consider as you attempt to solve your riddle. I don't think that I can add any additional gems except perhaps backing back on powder even more. I wouldn't hesitate going back to 50 grains of FFg, and slowly work your way back up to your present hunting charge. Shooting these things is supposed to be enjoyable, and maybe you simply need a confidence boost provided by some target type charges.

Best of luck to you. You will find the right combination, and we look forward to your report of success!
 

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Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

Seems like most of the possibilities have been covered. Just by chance, are you using a fiberglass ram rod? Perhaps wore one side of the rifling near the muzzle? The guy that has my old TC Hawken, used a fiberglass ram rod for years and the rifling was visibly worn down on the lower side of the barrel at the muzzle. More so than on the top. He always loaded the gun with the sights away from him, so it wore the opposite side of the bore. I allows blow by on one side of the ball just before it reaches the muzzle and can cause inconsistent spin.
 

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Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

Get somebody else to shoot it for you. That way, you can comfirm/disprove if you are are doing something to cause it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

I guess hitting submit helps....details of today's activity on home PC....waiting for that magical button to be hit....which will be later tonight...

BUT....got things squared away!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

First, I want to thank everyone for their input and feedback!

Here were today's results:

After checking an re-checking everything, my buddy and I that I hunt with went back to range.

First, we shot HIS gun.I let him shoot a group, then I shot a group using same sight picture and POA. We put 2 rounds each down range in a 3" circle at 50yds....OK, so now I know I can still shoot.....Onto my gun

Using .490 round balls with .018 pillow ticking lubed with wonder lube 1000.

Started with 70 grains.....I shot three rounds in about an 8" group. Then I lef my buddy shoot my gun..he was in same place....now I feel a little better about my abilities...LOL. FYI...I checked my patches and they looked great.

Since I knew what 80 grains was doing, I moved to 90grains. What a difference. 2 shots touched and my buddy put a third about 1/2" away. Now I worked on the sights and moved it to center line, then worked on elevation. VOILA! 3 shot groups in a 3" orange circle. A FAR cry from where I was at. For the 1st time in 4 days, the gun responded to sight adjustments like it was supposed to. I had one flier that went about 6" left, but I am going to blame myself on that one...knew it when I pulled trigger.

So what did I change:

1) Patch was too thin. Increased from .015 to .018 thickness
2) Increased charge from 80 grains to 90 grains.

I guess the thing that amazes me is that I have shot 80gr and .015 patches with .490 RB's for as long as I can remember. Oh well..at least I am comfortable to head afield on Wed.

Thanks again for everyone's feedback!
Happy Holidays!

Mz
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Re: Looking for some wisdom from the forum.....

@mossie:
Funny you said that...I always shot round balls and switched to maxi-hunters 2-3yrs ago. I was wondering if there was any impact on going back and forth? I scrubbed until I thought it was clean, then scrubbed more and then even more......
 
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