This booklet contains information that is essential to the safe use and maintenance of Thompson/Center's modern-style in-line muzzleloaders. You must read this material in its entirety and fully understand its significance before you can safely use your muzzleloader. If a Thompson/Center muzzleloading firearm is loaned or sold (by an individual or a dealer), this booklet must accompany the firearm. Replacement booklets are available at no charge from our factory.
If, after reading this booklet, you still have questions concerning the safe use of your Thompson/Center firearm, write or call our Customer Service Department at:
Thompson/Center Arms Company, Inc. P.O. Box 5002 Rochester, New Hampshire 03866 Telephone: 1-603-332-2333
• And Remember • The Fundamental National Rifle Association Rules for Safe Gun Handling Are:
1 - Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. 2 - Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. 3 - Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Discharging firearms in poorly ventilated areas, cleaning firearms or handling ammunition may result in exposure to lead and other substances known to cause birth defects, reproductive harm and other serious * physical injury. Have adequate ventilation at all times. Wash hands thoroughly after exposure.
General Rules for Use and Handling of Thompson/Center Black Powder Muzzleloading Firearms
1 If you are unfamiliar with muzzleloading firearms seek professional instruction. Qualified organizations such as local gun clubs, The National Rifle Association, The National Muzzleloading Rifle Association and state Hunter Safety Programs offer approved courses which teach safe gun handling and proper hunting procedure. Those who are unfamiliar with muzzleloading firearms should seek guidance from an instructor who is qualified by one of these organizations.
2 If you are uncertain of the terminology or meaning of any word used in this booklet, write to Thompson/Center Arms. Throughout this booklet the term "Prime" or "Primed" applies to the act of placing a percussion cap on the nipple of a cap lock rifle or the pouring of priming powder into the pan of a flint lock rifle. "Unprime" or "Unprimed" refers to the opposite condition and indicates the percussion cap or primer (cap lock) or priming charge (flint lock) has been removed or is not in place. In addition, the frizzen on the flint lock must be open and the hammer at half-cock to put the firearm in an unprimed condition. "Charge" or "Charged" applies to the presence of a propellant powder charge and projectile in the bore of the rifle. "Uncharge" or "Uncharged" refers to the opposite condition and indicates that the powder charge and projectile have been either fired or removed and that the bore is completely clear.
3 Know the muzzleloading firearm before attempting to use it. The overall functioning and safety features of a muzzleloading firearm are different from modern rifles, shotguns, and pistols. Because of these differences the user must exercise caution and skill in the use of a muzzleloading gun. You must read and understand the workings of the muzzleloading firearm as explained in this booklet before attempting to use it.
4 Use Black Powder or Pyrodex only to load your muzzleloading firearm. WARNING: The use of smokeless powder, or a mixture of smokeless and Black Powder (duplex loads) or the wrong type or granulation of Black Powder or Pyrodex or overloading may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property. See section on "Black Powder and Pyrodex" in this booklet. Thompson/Center muzzleloaders are designed and intended to be used only with a commercially manufactured Black Powder or Pyrodex propellant of the specific granulation or type called for in this booklet. By Black Powder we mean a powder which is manufactured specifically for use in muzzleloading firearms as opposed to smokeless powder which is manufactured for use in metallic cartridges or shotshells. NO smokeless powder, even those which appear black in color, should ever be used in a muzzleloading firearm. Be sure you know what type and granulation of powder you are loading. Never buy or use powder unless you have seen it poured from the original manufactur er's container which is clearly identified on the label. Use Black Powder or Pyrodex only of the type and granulation specified in this booklet and never load charges heavier than those listed.
5 Always point the muzzle of your Black Powder Gun downrange. The possibility of accidental discharge is a constant danger when using a firearm. If the muzzle is pointed downrange, away from yourself, other people, domestic animals or property, then injury and/or death and damage to property from an accidental discharge is less likely to occur.
6 Be sure of your target. Never fire a muzzleloading firearm unless there is a backstop behind your target. Never fire your muzzleloader in the field unless you have a clear view of your target. Never fire at noise or movement in the brush. If hunting with companions or in an area where there are other hunters, know where members of your party and/or hunters are located. Never fire your muzzleloader if there is a possibility that other hunters are downrange. Never shoot at flat, hard surfaces such as rocks or water. WARNING: A projectile may ricochet off these surfaces and may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.
7 Never prime your muzzleloading gun until you are ready to fire it. Your muzzleloader should remain unprimed until the instant before firing. After you prime the firearm, your full concentration should be on the target and the act of firing. WARNING: Failure to follow this rule can result in an accidental discharge which may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property. Uncharge the firearm by firing it into a suitable backstop before returning to the road or vehicle.
8 Never transport or carry a charged muzzleloading firearm in a vehicle. WARNING: Uncharge the firearm by firing it into a suitable backstop before returning to the road or vehicle. Failure to follow this rule may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property. Due to the large number of firearms accidents which occur in or near vehicles, this is a most important rule. The game laws in most states prohibit the taking of game from a road or vehicle. The rules of sportsmanship and common sense dictate that the firearm should not be charged until you are a safe distance away from the vehicle, road and companions. Never prime the firearm until you are actually ready to fire.
9 The T/C ThunderHawk® is a modern "striker action" cap lock rifle, and does not have the half-cock notch that traditional cap locks have. There are three striker handle positions for the ThunderHawk; they are; "Safety", "Fire" and "Fired". In the "Safety" position, the striker is locked rearward with the striker handle secured in the striker handle retaining notch. In the "Safety" position, the striker handle will be lined up with the green dot on the stock. In the "Fire" position the striker will be lined up with the red dot on the stock. WARNING: The ThunderHawk should be carried with the striker handle in the "Safety" position, with no cap on the nipple. The striker handle should be moved to the "Fire" position only after a percussion cap has been installed and you are ready to fire. Failure to follow this rule may cause serious inju ry and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.
A sharp or heavy blow to the external striker handle can fracture parts and cause a malfunction or discharge of the firearm. AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE MAY RESULT IN INJURY AND/OR DEATH TO THE SHOOTER OR BYSTANDERS AND DAMAGE TO PROPERTY.
10 Never hand a charged muzzleloading firearm to another person. Once charged, a muzzleloading firearm requires your complete attention. Never charge the firearm and then hand it to another shooter. Equally you should never shoot a muzzleloading firearm that has been charged by someone else. Only the person doing the loading knows whether the firearm has been charged properly. WARNING: Overloads and/or improper loading may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.
11 Never lean a charged and primed rifle against a tree, wall or any surface. Once the rifle has been charged it is your responsibility to guard it against accidental bumps.
12 Never store a charged muzzleloading firearm in a home, camp, vehicle or building. WARNING: After use, a muzzleloading firearm should be discharged (fired) into a suitable backstop before returning to the home or camp. Failure to follow this rule may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.
13 Never attempt to clean a charged or primed muzzleloading firearm.
14 Use pure lead only when casting round balls, Maxi-Balls® or Maxi-Hunters®. Lead alloys which contain large amounts of antimony or other metals are not suitable for muzzleloading projectiles. Do not use commonly found alloys such as wheel weights or Linotype because they produce hard, oversize projectiles that are difficult to load. WARNING: Improper loading (projectile not seated on powder charge) may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property. See section on "Bullet Molds" in this booklet.
Striker Handle / _
15 Wear protective gear when firing your muzzleloading firearm. Always wear shooting glasses to protect your eyesight from air borne particles and ear protectors to guard against hearing loss due to loud noise when firing your muz-zleloader. Protect your arms from flying particles of percussion caps or priming powder by wearing a heavy shirt or jacket with long sleeves. WARNING: When firing, stand well forward of all bystanders to ensure that they are not struck by particles of powder or caps. Failure to follow this rule may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property. Those wearing long hair or beards should use extra caution when firing a flint lock. A flint lock can torch hair.
16 Do not load or prime your muzzleloading firearm directly from a can, horn or flask. A spark from a previous firing may ignite the stream of powder being poured into the gun and cause the container to explode. WARNING: The explosion of powder can, horn or flask may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property. Use a separate pre-cal-ibrated measuring device containing small quantities of powder to load and prime your gun and keep your face, hands and body well away from the muzzle when loading and the pan when priming.
17 Do not smoke while using your muzzleloader. The spark from a lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe can ignite Black Powder, Pyrodex, Percussion Caps or Primers. WARNING: Smoking around a charged and/or primed muzzle-loader, percussion caps, priming powder or supply of powder may cause premature firing of the gun or an explosion of the powder can, horn or flask causing serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.
18 Keep powder, percussion caps, or primers well away from a firing position or shooting bench. A powder horn, flask, can of powder, box of percussion caps or primers can ignite with deadly force if exposed to sparks or intense heat. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe handling and storage of powder or caps. WARNING: Keep unused caps, primers and powder well away from firearms that are being discharged. Sparks from the discharge of a muzzle-loading firearm may cause an unused supply of powder, caps or primers to ignite causing serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.
19 Give the firearm your complete concentration. Never cross a fence, jump a ditch or engage in any activity which distracts your attention while holding or carrying a charged and primed muzzleloading firearm.
20 Know the condition of your muzzleloading firearm before charging, priming or firing. Function the striker and trigger of your gun to be sure that the parts are working properly before loading a charge. Be sure the muzzleloading firearm is properly loaded. Use recommended loads of BLACK POWDER OR PYRODEX ONLY for your specific model and caliber. Mark your ramrod as explained in this booklet and always be certain that the ball, bullet or shot charge is seated properly on the powder charge. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions (including excess oil, mud, dirt, snow or any foreign material). WARNING: Fail ure to observe any of these rules may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.
21 Be physically fit and mentally alert when using your muzzleloading firearm. The use of your muzzleloader involves forceful physical actions which require strength and concentration. Never use alcoholic beverages or drugs before or when shooting or handling your muzzleloader. Never use your muzzleloading firearm when you are overly tired. If you use medication or have medical implants, consult your physician before using your muzzleloading firearm.
22 At their very best, tree stands are potentially hazardous. Even with good equipment, safety depends upon the age, health, dexterity and sound judgement of the user. If you feel that you must use a tree stand, purchase a top quality brand only and follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter. WARNING: Never climb to or descend from a tree stand with a primed muzzleloading firearm. Never raise or lower a primed muzzleloading firearm to or from a tree stand. Failure to follow this rule may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.
23 Respect the muzzleloading firearm. Used properly your muzzleloader will give you years of pleasure. Used improperly, carelessly or abused, your muzzle-loading firearm is a dangerous instrument and is capable of causing serious injury, death or property damage. Always treat your muzzleloader as if it were loaded. Do not drop your muzzleloader or allow it to be struck a blow. Dropping or striking it may cause movement and/or damage to internal parts in such a manner as to cause an accidental discharge. If the gun is dropped it should be examined. WITH THE FIREARM UNPRIMED slide your ramrod into the bore to ensure that the barrel is not obstructed. Check your ramrod mark to be certain that the projectile is seated firmly on the powder charge. Check the firearm for external damage. Check the firing mechanism to be sure that hammer and trigger are functioning properly.
24 Use extreme care in the selection and/or use of accessories, implements or components. Thompson/Center muzzleloaders are manufactured to a controlled tolerance and are intended for use with accessories and implements of Thompson/Center brand only. For example, Thompson/Center mold dimensions are carefully calculated to produce cast (pure lead) round balls, Maxi-Balls® or Maxi-Hunters® of a proper size and hardness which are consistent with the specific caliber requirements of our product line. Patch material bearing the T/C brand is of the proper size and thickness for the caliber and round balls specified in this booklet and in our catalog. The reader is warned against the use of any unauthorized accessories, implements or components which are not of our manufacture and over which we have no control. Before purchasing or using accessories, implements or components, the reader must assure himself that such items are safe to use with Thompson/Center firearms. Responsibility for the safe use of such items rests totally with their manufacturer and/or dealer selling these products. If you are unsure as to the safety or compatibility of accessory items to use with our firearms, write to us at the address shown on page 7.
25 The reader is warned against custom alterations and conversions. Thompson/Center does not endorse or recommend any type of alteration other than those performed by the Thompson/Center Custom Shop. Replacement nipples, replacement barrels, priming devices or any other unit not of Thompson/Center manufacture and used as a replacement part or attachment to a Thompson/Center firearm is potentially dangerous. Responsibility for such devices rests totally with the manufacturer of the device and/or with the dealer selling the device or the person or persons installing it.
26 Use Thompson/Center scope mounts only. The Thompson/Center Catalog lists a series of scopes and mounts which are designed specifically for use with our firearms. These mounts make use of existing screw holes. Those who desire a scope sight should make use of Thompson/Center mounts. WARNING: Do not drill additional holes in the barrel as this could weaken the barrel structure leading to a rupture. A ruptured barrel can cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.
27 Follow Kit instructions carefully (where applicable). A copy of this booklet is included with all Thompson/Center factory finished muzzleloaders - both kit and finished models. Readers who purchase kits must realize that Thompson/Center Arms Co., Inc. has no control over the final finishing and assembly of kit products. The kit builder must follow instructions to the letter. Alteration of factory parts, the drilling of additional holes in the barrel, excessive heat and/or removal of excess quantities of metal from the barrel can weaken the firearm or cause it to malfunction.
The foregoing general rules and cautions are printed to contribute to your safety when using Thompson/Center muzzleloading firearms. These rules must be read, understood and adhered to. The remainder of this book is equally important. It contains information which is essential to the proper use and care of your muz-zleloading firearm. Do not attempt to load or fire your muzzleloading firearm until you have read this booklet in its entirety. If, after reading this booklet, you still have questions concerning the safe use of your Thompson/Center firearm, write or call our Customer Service Department at:
Thompson/Center Arms Co., Inc.
Rochester, New Hampshire 03866 Telephone: 1-603-332-2333
Know your ThunderHawk muzzleloading firearm before attempting to use it. This booklet will help you to become familiar with the various terms associated specifically with this type of firearm. The diagram on this page points out the more commonly mentioned parts.
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