Thompson Center Thunderhawk Best Way To Clean

A PROJECTILE WHICH IS SEATED ONLY PART WAY DOWN THE BARREL SETS UP A HIGHLY DANGEROUS CONDITION WHICH MAY CAUSE A BURST BARREL AND INJURY AND/OR DEATH TO THE SHOOTER OR BYSTANDER AND DAMAGE TO PROPERTY. The projectile must be seated firmly against the powder charge. If the ball or bullet is not seated against the powder charge the firearm must be disassembled and the charge removed (see section on "Pulling a Charge"). Never fire a muzzleloading firearm unless the projectile is firmly seated on the powder charge.

The use of Thompson/Center's Natural Lube 1000+, a non-petroleum based lubricant will eliminate most of this build up of black powder fouling, and the cleaning and accuracy problems associated with it.

Actually the user of a Black Powder rifle or pistol has two types of cleaning with which to contend. One is total or complete cleaning which is done after shooting for the day and before the rifle or pistol is put away. (This must be done after using either Pyrodex or Black Powder.) The other is a simple "wiping out" of the bore which is done between shots to clear away fouling and to ease loading (this is essential with Black Powder). This is referred to as "field cleaning".

The saturated patch is then followed by several dry patches to absorb moisture.

Cleaning between shots may be necessary when using Black Powder.

It will depend on how much fouling is developed from shot to shot, and how progressively difficult it is to load as a result of it. It will also depend on how tight your initial patched round ball fits. The tighter the initial fit , the more difficult it will be to load successive shots as the powder residue or fouling builds up. As previously described in the above text, the use of an all natural lube aids in reloading as it "seasons" the bore and produces far less fouling. However, no matter what you use for a lube, consistency is the key to accuracy; so much that target shooters will use the tightest combination of patch and ball they can load, and they will wipe the bore between each shot. A good all natural bore cleaner like T/C's No.13 Bore Cleaner will work extremely well in these situations, and because it contains no petroleum base, it is highly compatible for use with an all natural lube such as Natural Lube 1000 Plus Bore Butter.

Depending upon the specific load (heavier charges burn less consistently creating more fouling) and temperature, a series of shots with Black Powder can be fired before it becomes necessary to wipe the bore. How many? Under favorable conditions five shots can usually be fired without adverse affect on loading. Under less favorable conditions, loading may become difficult sooner. If you are using a natural lubricant such as Natural Lube 1000 Plus Bore

PHOTO A Use a Jag for field cleaning (A Worm will work as a substitute if you don't have a Jag with you.)

No.13 Powder Solvent is specifically designed for field cleaning.

Butter, with no petroleum base, you will be able to shoot many more shots without the need to wipe the bore. In fact, T/C's test gun had over 1000 rounds shot through it without the need to wipe the bore even once. Bear in mind though, that the pressure does build and accuracy falls off as fouling builds in the barrel. So, regardless of your lube, if you feel that it is getting more difficult to load as a result of excessive fouling, it will be necessary to wipe the bore. The best method is to pay close attention to loading (and group size). If the ball seems to drag or is somewhat difficult to seat then you must clean the bore before you load the next charge.

For complete cleaning when using either Pyrodex or Black Powder the best solvent is hot soapy water. It is necessary that the water be very hot so that it heats up the barrel metal. A hot barrel will dry rapidly without rusting.


You will note that throughout this manual, references are made about using lubricants (patch lubricant, bullet lubricants and bore cleaners) which are both petroleum based such as T/C Maxi Lube, and non petroleum based like our Natural Lube 1000 Plus Bore Butter.

While we have no intention of changing your successful practices of lubing or cleaning, we do want to point out that our experience in using non-petroleum based lubes has shown us that it does improve performance and ease of loading, while also eliminating the need to clean between shots. Natural products were used in the early 1800's with a great deal of success, and it wasn't until petroleum based lubes were used that the corrosive nature of black powder fouling seemed to present a problem in both maintenance and in reloading. Fouling is fouling, and regardless of the system used to lube and clean your muzzleloader (petroleum based oils versus all natural non petroleum based products) excessive fouling will be evident to the shooter as he experiences more difficulty in loading from shot to shot.

The advantages to using all natural non-petroleum based lubes and cleaning products are many; the elimination of having to wipe your bore between shots or of having to immediately clean your gun after use; and the increase in accuracy due to more consistent velocities and more uniform pressures.

However, the responsibility to clean your muzzleloader thoroughly before putting it away still exists. It's a tradition that has always existed and for good reason. A well maintained firearm is a safer firearm, and it's up to the owner/user to keep it that way.


Thompson/Center muzzleloading rifles and pistols are supplied with a cleaning jag which is the proper size for the particular caliber. For cleaning use commercial cleaning patches (round or square) or pieces of discarded clothing.

When using the cleaning jag,keep in mind that patch size and thickness are important. Start with a patch that is approximately 2 1/2" square (or in diameter). Position it over the jag as pictured in the illustration and try it in the bore of the firearm (wet patches will enter more easily than dry ones). If it seems to be too tight - don't force it. If your trial patch proves to be too tight, use a smaller size patch and/or thinner material.

A patch which is too small or thin will pull free from the jag teeth during the cleaning process. Such "lost patches" can be quickly retrieved by use of the worm (see illustration). Cleaning will go easier, however, if you establish and maintain an optimum patch/jag/bore fit.

Cleaning Jag

Patch Worm

The Cleaning Jag threads onto the end of the ramrod. ' -

Position Patch over the end of the Jag.

Patch thickness requires 0)

judgement S


The Patch Worm threads onto the tapered end of the ramrod.

tines of the Worm Ji^r/ tj will snag and ' & retrieve patches p^m ijll lost in the bore. ■(fT4tl2M =■ A Patch on the vW^/iF! o> Worm may also be m^^SLU^^ o used for field <° cleaning.

Thompson/Center does not package the worm with each firearm. This is an optional tool and must be purchased separately (one size fits all calibers - see current catalog). The worm is an extremely important muzzleloading tool and every shooter should carry one in his implement bag. While its prime purpose is to retrieve "lost patches", it can also be used for field cleaning. To do so you simply catch the cleaning patch on the tines of the worm and push it into the bore in the conventional manner.

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