By the Editor
New for 1997
With the in-line muzzleloading rifle concept strongly dominating the deer hunter market, all of the major manufacturers are jockeying for market position. Thompson Center, long a major player in the field of quality in-lines, has announced a new product line called System 1. At this writing, I have not had the chance to play with the new system yet, so I'll let T/C tell you about it in their own words:
from a T/C Newsletter dated December 20, 1996
"Next, we are proud to announce the introduction of a completely new muzzleloading shooting concept, called the System I In-Line Rifle. This new concept features complete takedown capabilities, with a removable breech plug, and an interchangeable barrel system. After studying the requirements needed to make a removable breech plug which would combine safety, reliability and ease of cleaning, we are introducing an innovation in breech plug design, called the taper-lock breech plug (Pat. Pending), which features a tapered thread design that locks into a matching barrel extension taper to prevent ignition gasses from entering the thread area of the breech. This not only prevents thread fouling, but also eliminated the possibility of escaping gasses being returned to the action area of the rifle. The chamber design of the breech plug allows powder to be loaded into the chamber and reduced the amount of distance the primer fire must travel before ignition, thus assuring the fastest ignition time of any muzzleloader available today. Barrel interchangeability allows the barrel to be removed for cleaning and, once the breech plug is taken out, the barrel is as easy to clean as your favorite shotgun barrel.
Interchangeable barrels allow you to choose .32 cal., .50 cal., .54 cal., .58 cal. and 12 ga. shotgun. Within seconds, you can convert your System I from a .50 cal. deer rifle to a .32 cal. small game rifle or a 12 ga. turkey gun, at less than half the cost of an additional muzzleloader. Interchangeability, T/C accuracy and the quality you have always enjoyed from Thompson/Center products. "System I Rifles and barrels will be available for shipment in late January."
In the past, T/C In-line plugs were not removable. While I never found this to be a problem, the industry standard seems to call for a removable plug. In some cases, the removable plug presented some problems when the user wanted to remove it. During this season, we spent considerable effort removing in-line plugs that had locked in place because of fouling or just the repeated stress of firing. It sounds like the new T/C System I may eliminate this situation. Time will tell.