Good gun?

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tturner53 posted this 18 March 2015

Never had one. I'm just curious how they hold up. Issues?

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Brodie posted this 19 March 2015

I have one of the earliest that came on the market.  I have the 45/410 barrel, 22 hornet barrel, and 357 mag barrel, all in 10inch pistol conformation.  The biggest problems as I see them are: the origional grips had a hook that beat the heck out of my hand when firing the 45colt or 410 ammo, or 357 mag loads.  I contacted TC about it and they said; “We are discontinuing the sharp checkering that was objectional in recoil.” After I had sent them diagrams and text explaining the problem.  The early pistols had a roll pin that tended to get lost from the hammer if you didn't watch it.  The 357 mag barrel shot about 14” high at 25 yds. until I put a taller front sight on it.  As a handgun it is terribly muzzle light unless a bull barrel is used.

TC has come out with new grips and Gary Reeder tells me the new Encores and G2 models are much better than the origional.  Since Gary makes some of the most outrageous wildcats for TC I tend to believe him.  The early Contders' were made to light for a lot of the rifle and wild cat pistol cartridges they have since been chambered for.  Hence the Encore and now the G2 frames.  The Encore is a much more substancial frame and can take a lot more pressure. I have a friend who has a couple of Reeder's barrels and they are romper stompers and fully capable of what Gary claims.

If I were going to do it over I would go with the Encore. Brodie

B.E.Brickey

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2coldhere posted this 19 March 2015

I used to shoot a lot of IHMSA and NRA silhouette. Needed three frames to be able to have one good one to shoot. One of them has enough shipping miles on it for a moon landing.

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Duane Trusty posted this 19 March 2015

I have had trouble with a late Contender frame not accepting all of my older barrels (Note) all barrels and frame are made by TC, not aftermarket) looks to be a quality control issue. No problem ith my earlier frame.

Prefer a XP-100 set up with a Savage barrel nut system.

Duane

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joeb33050 posted this 19 March 2015

I spent a lot of time shooting a lot of groups with a Contender, a Competitor cannon breech pistol and a Savage Striker. At the end of it all the Contender had several problems, TC barrels shot poorly, barrels are VERY expansive---The competitor was fine, almost worry free, barrels from the maker only and expensive. he Striker, all Strikers, had a poor trigger, the only negative except cost. Now  have a cut down stock for a M10 Savage rifle, and can put any 16” or longer barrel on it. ATF rules-look 'em up- requiore a rifle to be at least 26” long with a barrel > 16” long. A 26+' long Savage rifle with 16+” long barrel is almost as handy as a contender or other pistol, has a better (accu) trigger, holds several cartridges, and is generally more accurate. Barrels and stocks are available CHEAP, barrels for ~ &50 and stocks for ~ $30. Bolt heads are ~$30, allowing change from 223 family (222, 223, 30 Whisper etc, all them TCUs etc) to 30-06 family (22-250, 243, 7-08, 257, 25-06, 308, 30-06, ...). And, you can turn it back to a big fully stocked long barrel rifle in 30 minutes or less. Sporter savage barrels are 22” long-most-and can be easily cut down to 16.25 ex “. I don't know why anyone would buy a contender, competitor or striker etc; or an XP100, Savage shortys are SO much less expensive than multi-barrel others. 

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corerf posted this 20 March 2015

Tim, (you asked the wrong question in a forum I am allowed to type on)

I currently own and have owned a “significant” number of Contenders and one Encore.

The actions are exceptional. Simple and easy to work on. (Except the Encore, a bit more diff to work on). You will need to find a gen2 frame, with a hammer mounted rotary RF/CF /Safe switch. Thats is the best action. Try to find one with a RF barrel on it as a pistol so that you have some insurance some idiot didn't stuff 444 Marlin rounds down it at 60K to see if he could stretch it.

Barrel s**k, that is factory barrels. TC chambers them with a pocket knife and a masonry drill, both chucked up in a chinese HF drill press. Might as well use a tomato stake for a barrel. It WILL shoot better.

Then there is custom barrels, more pricey and for good reason. TC barrels get welded and are more difficult to build that something that SCREWS on to an action.

BULLBERRY BELLM DAVID WHITE

I only own one TC factory barrel, oh yeah its a 357 mag rechambered by Mike Bellm to MAX. It shoots groups in the 10 inch form that all of you would laugh and say I smoke crack and that can't be done, and then it would come down to STATISTICS and I can't verify the groups over 4000 rounds so throw the groups out. Might as well be one shot groups. (this is an older barrel, I like them better, less throat to clean up)

So I won't bother stating the teeny tiny number (if the universe is big then my group could be relatively large compared to it- but Im comparing it more to how small a footprint it leaves in the 10 ring of an air gun target at 50 yards........ Let that marinate. It aint me, its the gun! And yes its scoped. Maybe there is a small exaggeration, but maybe not.

As for the BULLBERRY barrels, not every one that I have shoots a 1/2 inch at 100 yards. Take some time to process that statement, you'll catch up.

Some of them shoot smaller groups.

BELLM makes a good rechamber and if you ever wanted a 200 yard deer pistol, the 357 MAX is a money maker/drill bit/bad ass widow maker, in 10 inch configuration. Not all his barrel turn out, it has to do with what the factory donor provided for a crappy throat to start with. Newer 12 inch barrels are SOOOOOOOO deep that a chamber cast has the throat 1/4 inch from the crown.

Go ahead, let that marinate.

I have heard that David White, Whites GS is VERY GOOD stuff as well. I am a BULLBERRY client, have MANY BB barrels, have toured Freds facility and seen his collection, shot the breeze with family and seen where/how/why he does what he does. And so I order from him exclusively.

I have owned MANY factory barrels and of the “30” or so, not ONE has shot worth a diddle. If minute of deer is OK, they will do fine. If minute of 100 yard squirrel is needed, then you need custom. I have done VERY WELL on Ebay flipping TC factory barrels. Guys love em if they shoot 2-3 MOA (24 inch rifle barrels that is!) Keep marinating.

They can stretch if you beat on them. 47K pressure limits. Encore is full ride 65k, beat the living crap out of it, you can't stretch it. Well at or under 65k that is. Lastly the newest gen of actions have better NON-adjustable triggers. Adjustment should be done by a smith, like September Smith at Bullberry, to provide the smoothest finest trigger you WILL EVER FEEL. But you get one shot. It is a trial and error thing for them, lots of labor to assemble/Dis/Ass/dis/ass/dis, etc. Till its the weight you want. Once there, its never going heavier. Period. Old frames are adjustable for sear eng, overtravel,and with some finesse weight, down to as little as ounces. When you cross the 1.2lb line, you can expect problems with the sear not resetting but at that weight its a bench gun, not a field gun. The newer actions perform flawless down to 1 lb and are field ready at that weight.

Basically they are awesome. There are bolt action platforms like JoeB has stated that work really well as well. I prefer the break action. I don't like the idea of hunting with a bolt action pistol. If your at the bench, then buy a Savage. Im a Savage owner, I think the world of the model 10/12 series. I don't own a Remington for this reason! But for field use it just doesn't make sense. Ill bet I can get 3-4 rounds off accurately with a Contender before the Savage gets 2 off.

So there is my weekly sermon Tim, hope it changed your life.

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RicinYakima posted this 20 March 2015

Tim, I'm getting into the end of this discussion, but my thoughts. I bought my first new gun in 1971 and it was a Contender, 357 Mag. It shot OK, as in 2 inches at 50 yards. Replaced it with a 45 colt/410 that would not hit the outside wall of a CONEX box from the inside. I have owned about 20 barrels and three frames. The 22 Match barrels are 1 inchers at 25 yards, better than most revolvers. My 32/20 is scary accurate to 50 yards. The 218 Bee is about 2 inches at 100 yards but picky about loads. No other barrels would shoot within 4 inches at 100 yards. None of the rimless cartridges shot well for me, but it is not craved in stone for others, I know. There are several 7 MM TCU's that shoot well at 200 yards. If you can get it cheap to play with, OK, but not for actually hitting something unless you are just lucky. Ric

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corerf posted this 20 March 2015

Ric, I think you have confirmed my statements regarding factory TC barrels. Absolute rubbish. (sometimes even a blind, deaf, one footed cat can catch a mouse) There are exceptions, but as a rule, they are not worth using as pry bars.

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JSH posted this 20 March 2015

I won't argue some of the above points. But for the most part some of the above is bull butter. Factory TC barrels are crap. I would say that is a pretty accurate statement for the most part. There are some out there that in TC's hey day they got behind and out sourced some and they are excellent shooters. Mastering one of the single shots of the bench before it masters you is not for everyone. After market custom barrels are not a complete answer to accuracy. Been down that road. Mike bellm explains the ins and outs of these guns as well as anyone. I admire the man for what he has done with the TC platform, but, everything he says is not written in stone. TC's won't shoot. Do a search on Don Bower. The old gunny did as much to spark my interest as bob Milek or Steve herret. I have several factory barrels that will shoot 1"at 100 on demand. .22rf, 30-30, 375 WW, and a 35 Remington. This is all with cast and didn't happen over night. Anything you know about loading for a bolt or lever gun , just throw it out the window because a lot doesn't apply to this platform. I guess this subject is like me and the AR's I can buy a more accurat bolt gun for a lot less money. The encore and G2 are not a cure all. I will say that they are built some what tougher. For sure more lawyer proof. Have a factory 243 pro hunter 28"SS barrel that has shot several sub MOA groups at 6 and 700 yards with jacketed hand loads. Didn't mean to step on any toes or rile the natives. Jeff

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R. Dupraz posted this 20 March 2015

"Don Bower long range handgun shooting"

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tturner53 posted this 20 March 2015

Wow. Thankyou gentlemen. I have put the Contender Gen 2 RF on my list of things I can't live without. Then a BB barrel. I'm guessing that whole thing is addictive. Joe has made an interesting point, if a little off track from the topic. Joe, where do I find these great prices, and a tutorial on plumbing the Savage. I've been looking at Ruger's American Compact in a .243 for a walk around/motorcycle coyote getter. -Back to the TC, I was thinking in terms of a SHTF gun which is how I think. I'm canning that idea.

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R. Dupraz posted this 20 March 2015

tturner53:

You probably have already found this but if not check out the Mike Bellm Contender web site. It will keep you busy for a while.

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joeb33050 posted this 21 March 2015

tturner53 wrote: Wow. Thankyou gentlemen. I have put the Contender Gen 2 RF on my list of things I can't live without. Then a BB barrel. I'm guessing that whole thing is addictive. Joe has made an interesting point, if a little off track from the topic. Joe, where do I find these great prices, and a tutorial on plumbing the Savage. I've been looking at Ruger's American Compact in a .243 for a walk around/motorcycle coyote getter. -Back to the TC, I was thinking in terms of a SHTF gun which is how I think. I'm canning that idea. The Savage forum has many barrels, stocks and bolt heads for sale. You've got to pay the yearly ?$15 cost to see the for sale stuff. http://www.savageshooters.com/forum.php I have 1 stock, barrels in 223, 30-06 and 7mm Rem Mag, 223 and 30-06 bolt heads available. All of the info needed to disassemble and assemble Savage rifles is available at the Savage site above, at other places findable on the net, or athttps://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/savage110group/infowhere I put a lot of my experience. Changing barrels, taking the bolt apart,  it's all easy. I will be happy to send info on any particular topic.

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joeb33050 posted this 21 March 2015

To get attention at the range.

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gpidaho posted this 21 March 2015

Tim: I have a T/C Encore handgun I've owned since they were introduced. Three 15” barrels. 22-250, 762x39 and 454 Cassul. I have lucked out with the 762x39 as it is one of those barrels that never met a bullet it doesn't like, cast or jacketed. The 22-250 is scoped and can easily hit an oil can (quart sized not drum) at 150 yrds. I have thought about cutting up the 454 with a torch on occasions, the trigger guard will bloody your middle finger every time if your not wearing a glove. These are fun guns if not benchrest accurate. GP

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Brodie posted this 21 March 2015

Tim, let me add that two of my three barrels have been quite accurate.  The 45/410 barrel doesn't shoot worth beans with solid ammo, but any bird within 25yds is in grave danger.  I have killed a number of pheasants with it and shoot between 14 and 18 at skeet single birds of course. Brodie

B.E.Brickey

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Tuner posted this 28 May 2015

The TC platforms are guns that in my opinion require a bit more attention and thinking out of the box to get to shoot really well; that is an appeal to me. When you take into consideration the necessary tolerances required to provide reasonable cost and interchangeability it is amazing that the things work at all. Mike Bellm (already mentioned by several) has an excellent article on his website that goes into all of this. He also provides a plethora of information on what it takes to get TC's shooting well, from the gun to the loads, and you can go to his website at http://www.bellmtcs.com/store/ and view his numerous writings.

Regarding TC barrels my experience with the four I have has been better then others, perhaps lucky. One 14 in. 30-30 and one 24 in. would both do 1.25 in. for five shots at 100 until I had Mr. Bellm rechamber them to 308 Bellm and now they are both sub MOA barrels. My 10 in. .22 rimfire will put five shots into 1/2 in. at 50 yards with the cheapest ammo and my 10 in. .44 I just have not got serious with tiny groups but it will do 3 to 4 inches with cast bullets at 100 yards, one day I will start playing with it to see about shrinking those groups; I am confident it will do better. My MGM 45-70 barrel is too new but I expect excellent results from it. The difference between a MOA handgun and one that shoots into 6 MOA is frequently the person pulling the trigger, but frequently the handgun takes the wrap; not everyone possesses the necessary skill and concentration to shoot MOA or sub MOA groups with a heavy recoiling handgun.

Bottom line for me is they are a very accurate, flexible and fun gun to shoot capable of taking anything that walks on the face of the earth.

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JSH posted this 31 May 2015

I have had a fair pile of SSP's. TC, BF, MOA and XP's. They all have their glitches of some sort. Along with each and everyone having its own wants. The break open TC is an animal onto its own. Anything you know about bolt guns can pretty much be thrown out the window as it doesn't apply and rarely works. That in turn is where a lot of accuracy issues tend to fall, factory or custom barrel. I agree 100% on a custom barrel. It does take a lot and I do mean a lot of work out of getting one to shoot well to excellent. Bellm is info is good, but not written in stone. His sizing thoughts are for full tilt up against the wall loads. My IHMSA loads are neck sized, then about every third reload the FL die is used to just bump the shoulder back. Factory barrels have long tapered throats and some times generous chambers. To my under standing this was all done to keep pressures down in hand loads. The BF I have in 7US on the other hand has to have the case full length sized, as in cammed over on the shell holder or you will have chambering issues. Then if CB's are used any fleck of lead or lube build up in the course of the 40 rounds of fire will make for some small issues of chambering. IMHO the contender is over and above the G2 by a bunch as to being able to tune. The G2 and encore I think may be a fair bit stronger. I keep hearing about the contenders stretching. I am good friends with a gent that did for the most part nothing but TC products for 25+ years at gun shows. He ran through thousands of frames and barrels. I know of maybe five that were stretched. Most all of them were done with after market chamberings. One I know of locally was messed up with a 309jdj. The barrel is pretty permanent to the frame as the pivot pins has been tried to remove on several occasions with no luck. On the other hand I know personally the gent that fired by accident a 44 mag in a 309 jdj and it did not blow up, split the barrel or anything. The frame was sent to TC and it was found not to be stretched and within specs. JD has this frame and barrel in his possession the last I knew of. Just saying what these things will handle. The encore IMHO is too much of a good thing. It is way over built and just not real handy as a handgun/pistol platform. A frame in between the G2 and the encore would be nice, but will never happen. I think the encore is so massive built in order to get the attention of some that remember the TCR. They are in no way even in the same class. The TCR is such a beautiful thing to look at and shoot. If after market barrels could be had for these I would seek one out. And for the record, there is no such thing as a G1, it is a Contender plain and simple. Folks put that tag on it because of the G2 I imagine. The TC platform is not an easy one to master off the bench but can be done, as noted above on Don Bowers shooting with one. I never had the chance to shake his hand but did write back and forth and had some phone calls with him years back. IMHO he is what inspired about a half dozen to follow in his foot steps and do with a long barreled pistol what few cans do with a rifle. Hitting blue rock a 1k and prairie dogs at a measured mile. Not all with a TC but long barreled pistols of some sort. I myself fear that SW running TCA they will run it into the ground, then throw it to the side. Contender parts are getting harder to get every day. G2 and encores parts and repairs are not a whole lot better. Their customer service is not at all what it use to be, but who's is today ......... Jeff

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mtngun posted this 20 June 2015

corerf wrote: They can stretch if you beat on them. 47K pressure limits.  Mostly agree with what Corerf said about Contenders but there is no simple pressure limit.   It depends on the case thrust.   A tapered case generates more thrust than a straight case.  A fat case generates more thrust than a skinny case.   A slippery case generates more thrust than a sticky case.   And a separated case generates the most thrust of all !

You'll get a first hand lesson in how much thrust a separated case generates when the action pops open and spits the primer and hot gas in your face.  :P

I've heard about Contender frame stretching but have never seen it myself.   Most of the time the first thing that goes wrong with hot loads is that the action pops open when the gun fires, due to case thrust overpowering the wimpy spring loaded locking lugs.     Also if you are pushing the limits of the action you'll be stretching brass and cases will separate after several reloadings.

Some barrel/frame combos lock up better than others, but the best of them are still limited by the wimpy spring loaded locking lugs.

The bottom line is that if your cases are separating after a few reloads, or if the action is popping open when the gun fires, then that load is too hot for your barrel/frame combo.   

As for the quality of factory barrels, I have a 7-30 that is a dandy.   Nice throat, snug chamber.      I had a 7TC that was good with jacketed and fair with cast despite a sloppy chamber.   Mike Bellm's website gives a rundown on which TC calibers were worth having and which to avoid.

Agree with JSH that “Anything you know about loading for a bolt or lever gun , just throw it out the window because a lot doesn't apply to this platform. ”   :D:D:D  Yep.

Agree with Joe that a Savage switch barrel is more and better from any rational perspective.    But they weren't around when I was shooting silhouette 30 years ago.   

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dan l posted this 13 January 2017

The early frames were junk they great for .22 .22k hornet and such. Heavy hitters and the big wildcats torqued the frame and that sucked.

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