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Discussion Starter #1
Are there any Contender fans out there that can tell me about these cool little cartridges?


Here's a picture of the box. Its got some age on it.
 

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Where did you find them? Never saw the like.
Pete
 

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I've seen them, but it's been awhile. I just sold the 10" 357 barrel I had that included a choke for the shotshell cartridges. Never used it with the choke. I still have a 12" 45/410 barrel that is the cat's meow for grouse out to about 25 yards. I always figured the 357 shot shells were best for snakes and other small vermin.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Pete, I collect cartridges and I got a box of stuff that had these in it, along with some 38 and 44 shotshell reloads. Someone was apparently experimenting with various things as this picture of 3 0 buckshot pellets in a .38 shotcup show.


Thanks au2183 for answering another question, about the .357 barrel being choked! We wondered about that.

Another source told me the Contender offered these in the 70's but they did not last long. The shotcups are fairly fraigle. Mine are loaded in Super-Vel cases and are about 1/2oz of #9 shot.
 

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They also had a 44 mag version with the choke. I dont think ATF at the time would approve a 410/45 Colt barrel. So they went with special shells. I had the 44 mag barrel.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes Ironhead, I have some of the .44 loads too.


I've been told that the 45/410 was before the .357 and that they got around the ATF issues with rifling the barrels and choke attachments. From what I can piece together, they seem to have made three barrels that were compatable with shot loads but only made 2 pistol shotshell loads, the .357 and .44. To my knowlege, so far, the 45 barrel was only expected to fire .410 shotshells.

I'm going to try and learn more from TC but since it now belongs to S&W I doubt I will get much info from them. I'll have to look for a TC collector webpage.
 

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I've still have one of the 10" .357 barrels with choke. The purpose of the choke is to stop the spin of the shotshell as it exits. If you shoot .38/.357 bullets through it you are supposed to remove the choke. I've shot it with and without the choke using CCI/Speer shootcapsulse loaded in .38 cases. There is a nice pattern of shot at 15 yds when using the choke and without the shot is all over the place. Never had any of the TC shootcapsules to try.

CD
 

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Here's my T/C with the 10" and choke removed (bottom barrel is a 14" .41 Mag)



CD
 

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Discussion Starter #9
CD, I have never owned, probably not even held, a Contender but I wonder how something as short as that choke you show could stop the spin on something moving that fast?! One source told me that the choke tube had little tips or studs inside that scored the shot cup, causing it to erupt upon exit.

Since discovering this stuff I've decided I would like to collect all of the TC variants as a sub-catagory to my shotshell collection so I am looking for rounds and especially the boxes of most calibers and shot sizes. While I have the .44 rounds, there is no box with them. All of the little bits of info each supplies only helps me understand these things that much more. Many thanks.
 

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The .45/.410 barrels came first but were then threatened to be outlawed by ATF since they would accept a standard shotshell. To forestall any legal issues, T/C brought about the creation of the Hot Shot barrels. The chokes on these barrels showed a more severe internal taper than the .410s, creating very deep, sharp grooves to help cut the thick shot capsule, because without that special choke, the capsules were just an odd, oversized bullet. Capsules were sold already shot filled and sealed and were labeled by the shot size for handloading into your cases. I still have a couple of boxes in the cabinet. No empty capsules were ever offered, unlike the Speer capsules. .44 patterns were similar to .410 patterns, but the cost and trouble of handloading each one did little to help their popularity. I never had the opportunity to try the .357.

Later ATF rulings declared that the Contender was not a sawed off shotgun, factory shotshell or not, since it was built with and retained its twist rifling. That ruling was the death nell of the Hot Shot barrels and brought the return of the .45/.410. I know the history, but can't supply the dates. Hope this helps.
 

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T C shot shells

I have a Thompson in 44 mag with the shot shell barrel. The choke has cuts in it to stop the capsule from spinning and cut the plastic capsule. I also have 3 boxes of factory loaded shot shells. They had as much shot as a 410. I supose I have a piece of firearm history.:)
 

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They made both internal and external choke barrels.
I thought the internal choke barrels all had a ventrib w/ a folding rear sight. I guess I sure was wrong.
The pic is of a .357 Mag. barrel w/ external choke, at the muzzle below the front sight blade there are some ports machined into the larger dia. barrel section. That round section is larger (I.D.) than the rifled section,(appears to be soldered on, ?) w/ the choke installed it's like a chamber, i'm assuming the porting was there to help the patterns.
I have almost a full box of factory loaded hot shots, got them w/ the barrel I think. This is a 8.5" barrel w/ 7-5/8" of rifled octagon.
The choke has 5 flutes or grooves its length, 1-3/4" long. And the small id. is about .300", w/ the groove (?) dia. being about .385".
 
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