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Muzzleloader Black Powder Load Data Thompson/Center Seneca Renegade Hawken

Black powder load data that has begun to fade into obscurity.

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Photo of flintlock muzzleloading rifle

Flintlock muzzleloading rifle

Photo courtesy of Traditions Performance Firearms

As the technology of shooting progresses, much information is allowed to fade away, including muzzleloader black powder load data for Thompson/Center Seneca, Renegade, and Hawken Rifles. The information below may apply to other sidelock traditional muzzleloading guns as well. This is an attempt to preserve some load information that many owners of older muzzleloading guns may find valuable. I received the following inquiry from a reader:

Hello, Mr. Chastain,
I have had a Thompson Center Seneca 45 caliber rifle for years, but have not used it for most of them. I want to shoot it with my son, but I can't locate information regarding loads and loading. Is it possible for you to send me such?
Thank you,
Rick


I have owned and used a 45 caliber T/C Seneca since 1987, and it's a great little rifle. It was truly a loss to the black powder hunting community when that rifle was discontinued. Surprisingly, this light rifle was not nearly as popular as the bigger, heavier Hawken rifle. Load information for these rifles is getting hard to find, now that most hunters are going to inline rifles and using pellets rather than powder as a propellant.

(Need to know how to load your muzzleloading rifle? No problem - check out this article: How to Load a Traditional Muzzleloading Black Powder Rifle.)

My own hunting load for the 45 caliber Seneca is 70 grains of FFFg black powder pushing a 240-grain T/C Maxi-Ball, and it has served me well.

Below are Thompson/Center Arms' suggested loads from a paper publication of theirs, printed in October of 1980. I accept no responsibility or liability for the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the following load information. All of these loads specify no. 11 caps or T/C flints. Round ball loads specify T/C patch material lubricated with T/C no. 13. Maxi-ball loads specify the use of Maxi-Lub as a lubricant. FPS = feet per second at muzzle. Ft-lbs = foot-pounds of energy at muzzle. Grains listed after projectile type represent bullet weight.

Seneca, 36 caliber
Round ball loads (.350", 65 grains):
40 grains FFFg - 1894 FPS - 518 ft.lbs
50 grains FFFg - 2034 FPS - 597 ft.lbs
60 grains FFFg - 2150 FPS - 667 ft.lbs

Maxi-Ball loads (128 grains):
40 grains FFFg - 1761 FPS - 882 ft.lbs
50 grains FFFg - 1843 FPS - 965 ft.lbs
60 grains FFFg - 2001 FPS - 1138 ft.lbs

Seneca, 45 caliber
Round ball loads (.440", 127 grains):
50 grains FFg - 1584 FPS - 707 ft.lbs
60 grains FFg - 1701 FPS - 816 ft.lbs
70 grains FFg - 1800 FPS - 914 ft.lbs
80 grains FFg - 1904 FPS - 1022 ft.lbs
90 grains FFg - 1980 FPS - 1106 ft.lbs

Maxi-Ball loads (240 grains):
60 grains FFg - 1369 FPS - 915 ft.lbs
70 grains FFg - 1456 FPS - 1036 ft.lbs
80 grains FFg - 1541 FPS - 1160 ft.lbs

Hawken, 45 caliber
Round ball loads (.440", 127 grains):
50 grains FFg - 1605 FPS - 732 ft.lbs
60 grains FFg - 1720 FPS - 841 ft.lbs
70 grains FFg - 1825 FPS - 947 ft.lbs
80 grains FFg - 1929 FPS - 1054 ft.lbs
90 grains FFg - 2003 FPS - 1140 ft.lbs
100 grains FFg - 2081 FPS - 1231 ft.lbs
110 grains FFg - 2158 FPS - 1324 ft.lbs

Maxi-Ball loads (240 grains):
80 grains FFg - 1564 FPS - 1195 ft.lbs
90 grains FFg - 1659 FPS - 1345 ft.lbs
100 grains FFg - 1743 FPS - 1485 ft.lbs

Renegade & Hawken, 50 caliber
Round ball loads (.490", 175 grains):
50 grains FFg - 1357 FPS - 761 ft.lbs
60 grains FFg - 1434 FPS - 850 ft.lbs
70 grains FFg - 1643 FPS - 1115 ft.lbs
80 grains FFg - 1838 FPS - 1396 ft.lbs
90 grains FFg - 1950 FPS - 1571 ft.lbs
100 grains FFg - 2052 FPS - 1739 ft.lbs
110 grains FFg - 2135 FPS - 1883 ft.lbs

Maxi-Ball loads (370 grains):
80 grains FFg - 1271 FPS - 1328 ft.lbs
90 grains FFg - 1344 FPS - 1484 ft.lbs
100 grains FFg - 1418 FPS - 1652 ft.lbs

Renegade & Hawken, 54 caliber
Round ball loads (.530", 230 grains):
60 grains FFg - 1263 FPS - 815 ft.lbs
70 grains FFg - 1469 FPS - 1102 ft.lbs
80 grains FFg - 1654 FPS - 1397 ft.lbs
90 grains FFg - 1761 FPS - 1584 ft.lbs
100 grains FFg - 1855 FPS - 1758 ft.lbs
110 grains FFg - 1931 FPS - 1905 ft.lbs
120 grains FFg - 1983 FPS - 2009 ft.lbs

Maxi-Ball loads (430 grains):
90 grains FFg - 1263 FPS - 1523 ft.lbs
100 grains FFg - 1345 FPS - 1728 ft.lbs
110 grains FFg - 1428 FPS - 1948 ft.lbs
120 grains FFg - 1499 FPS - 2146 ft.lbs

Renagade, 56 caliber smoothore
Round ball loads (.550", 265 grains):
80 grains FFg - 1195 FPS - 840 ft.lbs
90 grains FFg - 1285 FPS - 972 ft.lbs
100 grains FFg - 1300 FPS - 992 ft.lbs

Source: "Shooting Black Powder Guns," Thompson/Center Arms Company, publication designation "CR October, 1980."

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