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  #1  
Old 12-05-2012, 08:15 PM
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Contender Carbine Question


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New to both the Forum and the T/C Contender. I have two questions about this particular carbine and could use some input.

I'd like to know who made the carbine components. Since it is a Jet, the bore could be .222, .223 or .224. If I can learn who made this I may be able to track down the bore size, which is important for handloading.

The frame is nearly new and shows little use. It was used with a .22 LR barrel. I bought a carbine barrel, fore end and stock through the internet. The caliber is .22 Remington Jet. The barrel is 18 inches long, measures .75 at the muzzle with a target type crown, and is of a weight that makes it a comfortable walking varminter. Sling swivels are mounted on both barrel and stock. Both wood and metal seem to be of excellent quality.

The kicker is that I can't find a manufacturers mark anywhere on the carbine, to include caliber. If it were T/C I expect it would be so marked. I'm wondering if it is a Bullberry carbine.

Any input is appreciated. My total experience with T/C's is having fired about 10 rounds through this piece. That said, it sure is a lot fun to shoot this thing.
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  #2  
Old 12-06-2012, 03:23 AM
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Welcome to the forum, Rascal. Sounds like an interesting firearm ya got there.

By the time the 22 Rem Jet was first formed, from 357 Mag brass, the industry had largely settled on .224" bullets. I would be very surprised to find otherwise for your T/C barrel. With that being said, you should probably have it slugged so you know for sure.

With the barrel out of the action, you can't find ANY identifying marks? How do you even know it's a 22 Rem Jet? I'd be more concerned about that little tidbit than what company made it! Also, if Bulberry, EA Brown or MGM made it, the barrel would be stamped with their mark.

The T/C's really are fun to shoot, pistol and carbine!
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  #3  
Old 12-06-2012, 11:14 AM
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Welcome to the forum Rascal. I am a TCA (Thompson Centre Association) member. Within the Association I would say we have about as much knowledge of all T/C products as you could imagine. Google TCA which should put you onto their web site where you may be able to find someone who can help you further. I chose the Encore as my T/C single shot but have shot a fair few Contenders whilst over in the USA(I'm in the UK). As has been said, all of the regular manufacturers of alternativebarrels would certainly mark their wares with all relevant details. You have thousands(probably) of amateur gunsmiths over there who may have produced this barrel and you say you have fired 10 rds already so the calibre is not in question and I would put the bore as .224 BUT check it out properly.
Is it the old style frame or the new G2 ?
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  #4  
Old 12-06-2012, 04:03 PM
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Gentlemen,
Thank you for your response.

Broom_jm:

I can find no marking whatsoever on my Contender .22 Jet barrel. It is possible there may be something under the scope mount base. The carbine kit was advertised as .22 Jet caliber. It chambers the Jet cartridge and when fired shows no distortion to the case. I'm new to the T/C but an old hand with the Jet cartridge. I believe it is chambered for the Jet and the carbine functions nicely. Today I fired handloads using .224 bullets and there was not even a hint of a problem. I believe, but cannot confirm, that the bore is .224. Which may explain why factory ammo using a .222 bullet was not especially accurate at 200 yards. And you are so right - this is a fun little rifle to shoot. By the way, the blue and woodwork were nicely done. The little gun is always impressive with respect to quality and workmanship. I wondered if Bulberry marked their products and you have indicated they do. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

Sus Scrofa:

Thank you for your valuable insight. I know nothing of Contenders as they never caught my fancy. I will look into TCA and try to get educated. My frame, as far as I know, is standard Contender. The workmanship of the carbine kit - I hope no one is offended - seems better than that of the Contender frame, which is quite nice. My hope in finding the barrel maker was to determine bore size but I believe that matter is now resolved. The only flaw is that the frame seems a bit difficult to open. Perhaps it just needs to be used a bit.
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  #5  
Old 12-06-2012, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascal03 View Post
Gentlemen,
Thank you for your response.

Broom_jm:

I can find no marking whatsoever on my Contender .22 Jet barrel. It is possible there may be something under the scope mount base. The carbine kit was advertised as .22 Jet caliber. It chambers the Jet cartridge and when fired shows no distortion to the case. I'm new to the T/C but an old hand with the Jet cartridge. I believe it is chambered for the Jet and the carbine functions nicely. Today I fired handloads using .224 bullets and there was not even a hint of a problem. I believe, but cannot confirm, that the bore is .224. Which may explain why factory ammo using a .222 bullet was not especially accurate at 200 yards. And you are so right - this is a fun little rifle to shoot. By the way, the blue and woodwork were nicely done. The little gun is always impressive with respect to quality and workmanship. I wondered if Bulberry marked their products and you have indicated they do. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

Sus Scrofa:

Thank you for your valuable insight. I know nothing of Contenders as they never caught my fancy. I will look into TCA and try to get educated. My frame, as far as I know, is standard Contender. The workmanship of the carbine kit - I hope no one is offended - seems better than that of the Contender frame, which is quite nice. My hope in finding the barrel maker was to determine bore size but I believe that matter is now resolved. The only flaw is that the frame seems a bit difficult to open. Perhaps it just needs to be used a bit.
The odds are EXTREMELY high that you have an older frame and a newer barrel. Some 20 years ago, T/C moved the pivot point on their frames and also went to a split locking lug on their barrels. If you have an older frame and older barrel, this is not a problem, and obviously a newer frame/barrel will work well, also. If you have a frame that has not be upgraded and attempt to use a newer barrel, you will find it quite difficult to open the action. If it takes more than the thumb and two fingers of your dominant hand, meaning it takes both hands or even a firm surface to press against, you can bet you have an older frame and newer barrel. Another way to confirm is to remove the barrel from the action and push against both sides of the locking lug. If it's solid, with no split in the middle, the whole thing will move and be quite stiff. If it's split and each side moves somewhat independently, it's a newer barrel.

Once you've made this determination, you send the frame, along with any older barrels you might have, to the T/C shop. They will drill a new pivot point in the frame and update any old barrels. They used to charge a truly nominal fee for this, but I suspect it may have gone up a bit. It is a very good idea to have this upgrade done. It makes the gun easier to open/operate and also makes it less likely it will ever pop open under higher pressures, so it's a safety thing.

Get ahold of T/C for more details.
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2012, 06:43 PM
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Wow. Had no idea. I'll check first thing in the morning.

Thank you very much.
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  #7  
Old 12-06-2012, 07:14 PM
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My frame is numbered 188XX. Perhaps that will help to find a date of manufacture.

While looking at the locking lug I found the name Ingram in small print, and the chambering ".22 Jet." There is also a Capital "R" on the bottom of the hinge assembly. I believe the locking lug is one piece.

This is a bit like the brilliant leading the blind as I'm not up on T/C nomenclature. But the piece which is spring loaded and can be forced inward under pressure appears to be one piece and is stiff. There is modest side-to-side play.
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  #8  
Old 12-06-2012, 10:08 PM
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A search by serial number indicates my Contender frame was made in the first half of 1972. The Ingram Carbine kit could be of about the same vintage (more or less).
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  #9  
Old 12-07-2012, 05:01 AM
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OK, so your frame AND barrel are both older. FWIW, my frame was made in '72 as well.

The difficulty you feel in opening the action is perfectly normal, but could be reduced if you wanted to send both action and barrel to T/C for retrofitting. If you have plans to purchase other, newer barrels, I strongly recommend you have the modification done, as the new barrel will be very tough to open the action on.

I'm not familiar with "Ingram", but that is likely your barrel manufacturer and may lead you to both the bore diameter and rate-of-twist information, if you're still hoping to find it.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:49 AM
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A search for Ingram Contender carbine conversion kits indicates he made high-end T/C after-market products in the 70's. This included barrels and carbine conversions. He also produced his own line of T/C wildcat chamberings which were, I believe, based on the .223. Other than that, information is scarce.

I'M not going to try and chase down bore diameters. I'll get the bore measured or slugged when I can. Right now I'm gently working up .224 handloads and all appears well.

Thanks to all for the help. I knew zip about these guns though I can even recall their hitting the market years ago. I doubt I'll get any more barrels but I do have a .22 rimfire chamber insert that will let me shoot the cheap stuff.

Now to get out and shoot this little rifle and see how it does... and enjoy my retirement while I can.
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  #11  
Old 12-07-2012, 12:42 PM
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Rascal try e mailing tcaogs@metrocast ........ Art is our main man in TCA and a lifelong enthusiast on all things TC. He may have more information on Ingram
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  #12  
Old 12-07-2012, 03:29 PM
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Thank you, Sus Scrofa. I will do that.

Today I shot several test loads and found substantial vertical stringing. I had to move from 100 to 50 yards to get the job done. Bullets were .224 diameter and I saw no abnormal pressure signs. I refired with .222 loads I had on hand and got better accuracy - 3 shots into an inch and a half. Vertical stringing in 3 shots with .224 bullets ran 8 inches or more at 100 yards. Left to right dispersion was fine.

I suspect that the 40 grain .224 bullets I'm using - which are significantly longer than standard Jet bullets are not being stabilized with the twist in the rifle. And it could be that I have a .222 bore. Perhaps it is something else altogether.

A great little gun but it going to have to do better than this - or I'll need to find varmints as big as bear cubs to get a hit.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:04 PM
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Sus Scrofa,
Message sent to Art. Response pending.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2012, 07:27 AM
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Sus Scrofa,
FYI - I'm unable to reach Art on the e-mail address you provided. Email does not go through. Please double check the address.

Thank you.
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  #15  
Old 12-11-2012, 08:11 PM
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When you handload for the Contender, you might want to headspace on the shoulder. I had problems with a 30-30 barrel before I found out about this. Size the case just enough that the rifle will close easily. My 30-30 barrel would often missfire when full length resized.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:41 PM
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Thanks, Ironhead. I'll keep that in mind.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:57 AM
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And to add to what Ironhead mentioned about headspace, the Contender can be very fussy about this. If you size the case excessively, you can wind up with too much headspace which will result in poor accuracy, reduced case life and misfires. Ironically, if you don't resize a case enough...the action will not lock up properly, due to the case being too long, and then it won't fire at all.

You want to adjust your sizing die down a little at a time until your action just starts to close and lock up easily, on a sized case. Don't run it down any more than that and you'll get the most out of your Contender, with no hiccups.
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  #19  
Old 12-12-2012, 05:45 PM
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Thanks everyone. I appreciate your input. I'm learning the Contender carbine game as I go. There seem to be a number of Contender traits that one needs to pay attention to.

Shot my best Contender group today, running a bit over an inch at 50 yards. My carbine appears to prefer .222 Hornady bullets over others I've tried. Its light weight and compact size are delightful. No pun intended, but I'll keep banging away.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:30 PM
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E-Mail contact established.

Thank you, Sus.
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