I bought a new T/C hawken on the recommendation of a friend who
has had his since the early '70s. There were many lower priced guns to choose from, but I decided to go with T/C because of the recommendation, and because I have heard so many good things about them.
I ordered a rifle, when it came in, I noticed the lock was binding a bit. Okay, so I disassembled it, stoned off the high spots on the interior lock plate, and lubed it with molly slide. I then noticed hotglue on the interior of the stock. I removed the hotglue globs. I then put the lock back on. Still binding! I then carefully examined the situation. The lock was binding against the stock! The hotglue acted as a shim! I took my dremel tool and carefully inletted the stock. I again replaced the lock. A little better this time, but STILL binding! I disassembled the lock again, and found that the shaft that the hammer connects to is way too short, the hammer just rubs against the lock plate. To me, the design of the lock is just flawed. What a piece of junk! I took it to the range, and tried to sight it in for the upcoming BP deer season in NE. It took an average of three tries to get the thing to go off!
I had also ordered a tang sight for the gun. I drilled and tapped the sight on the tang of the gun. I had occasion to remove the tang in doing this. Surprise, there is a plastic shim under the tang!
The fit and finish on this gun is okay, but by no means excellent.
The fitting on the end of the ramrod was misaligned. The patchbox has no provision to open the thing! It is as if this gun was thrown together. The gun is almost like a cheap Italian replica! I could have paid much less, and gotten the same thing in a cheaper gun. For the price range, the quality control on this gun is just unacceptable.
I ordered an L&R RPL aftermarket lock. I have heard that these are the best things going for these mass produced guns. I overnight expressed it so I have time to fit it, and get the gun sighted in for deer season. I have a trapdoor Springfield and the lock on that 110 year old gun is a work of art! It never fails to go off! I have no time to futz with T/C's poor excuse for a lock, especially if it is going to play a crucial role in the success of my hunt!
I will eventually get rid of this thing, and go with a handmade gun, or just build one from a decent kit.
T/C Muzzleloaders are about the most over rated things on the market since Bose. It's all advertising and promos.
If you want a good, reliable, traditional style plains style rifle, Get a lyman great plains rifle. The T/C Hawken is a hawken in name only- the similarity ends there. Although Lyman makes no claim to it, the Great plains rifle is about the closest you'll get in a production rifle to what J&S were producing in St. Louis. You can get a "real" hawken (swamped barrel, fancy wood, etc.), from other sources, but at a high price.
BTW- in the fur trapping days, Hawkens were rare- they cost more than most mountain men could make in a year.
I used to shoot competitively with a .50 cal CVA "Hawken"- not very authentic, but it outshot every T/C on the line.
The nice thing about any traditional muzzle loader is the relative ease at which you can tune them.
I replaced the lock with the L&R RPL lock. What a difference that made. It goes off every time now! The trigger pull on the front trigger is excellent. There is almost no need for a set trigger! The lock time is also much shorter, as the hammer travel is reduced significantly. The hammer centers squarely on the nipple.
The front plate of the lock fits exactly. The internals on the lock go much deeper into the stock, due to its being extremly well made. The bigger internals require inletting it to fit.
This lock also comes bead blasted. You need a sharpening stone, sandpaper, and crocus cloth to finish it. Or you can just leave it, your choice. I polished mine and cold blued it. I would highly recomend this lock to anyone. Simply outstanding!
I also added a Williams fire sight to the front, and replaced the plactic shim under the tang with glass bedding.
My rifle now shoots like a dream. I can hold a 1" x ring at 75 yards with patched round ball! It also shoots farely well off hand. I am now more than confidant to hunt with it!
I know that the T/C Hawken is not at all faithful to the originals. The lyman plains rifle was a close second to the T/C, but my friend talked me into buying the T/C.
I would like my next BP gun to be a flintlock, and I am leaning more towards a handbuilt one, or perhaps building a kit. The kits I am looking at cost in the range of $400 to over $900. They look as if they would take a year to complete. These kits come with L&R or Siler locks, and barrels made by the some of the best BP barrel manufacturers. They look as if one would be very proud to own it when completed.