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Hi guys and gals.This is my first post and I have a PBR in hand but no guns in site so don't worry; I'm safe. (is that the correct way to use a semicolon?).

So I used to be on a rifle team and I'm a real accuracy snob. That said I'm no pro or military guy, just a normal joe schmo who likes precession.

I also like handguns. Partly because they are so awesome, partly because they piss off so many people.
I had a Uncle once who would bag an elk and more every year in New Mexico with a Thompson contender. This man was a Christian missionary in New Mexico and had no money to speak of but he did have a T/C with a 22LR and a 41Mag barrel. I saw him hit a Pepsi can over and over again at 50 - 120 yards with my own eyes with either barrel (he loaded his own .41 Mag).
I want one. I don't know what to get. I hunt mostly Deer in the Adirondack Mountains and now the Catskill's area.
I think I want a 22LR barrel and a "deer" round like '06 or 7mm.
Have any of ou shot this gun with these rounds? I would love some guidance.
Thanks,
JR
 

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Welcome to the site.

The contender is a great gun and is the one that started the big handgun hunting 'thing'.

We have five in the family, and12 barrels. good choice.

Cartridges like the '06 and 7 mauser are not apropiate for the contender, and many would say not for any pistol.

The Encore system is a heavier action, rifle style, and can take the '06 cartridges in a riflr configuration.

You must understand that a pistol barrel can't burn all the powder that is in a standard rifle case; it not only does add to velocity and energy; but actually reduces it as that extra weigh of unburnt/partially-burnt powder must be pushed out the barrel. and that waste of energy means the bullet moves slower.

A 30-30 with a 150 grain bullet will actually have a higher velocity than a 30-06 in a 10" pistol barrel. So a different decision needs to be made when picking contender cartridges.

I hunt eastern mountains for deer. My choices for factory rounds would be: 44 mag, 41 mag, 375W and the 30-30. I've killed deer with all. Personally, I like the 10 inch barrels as they carry great for hunting and shoot good off-hand.

There are also two contender models the originals and the newer G2. we have some of each. I prefer the originals, they seem to have better adjustable triggers than the G2
 

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What you need for handgun hunting is practice, and lots of it.
That being said, a Contender in 22 rimfire is a perfect place to start.
Later on you can shop around for a center fire "deer barrel". It would be kind of cool to find a .41 mag like your Uncle used.
..

and Welcome to the forum.
..
 

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Mike Bellm used to perform work on TC barrels and had a web site with considerable info on TC Contenders. The site is Mike Bellm Custom TCs, it has changed over the years and a number of articles and/or technical tidbits are no longer available for viewing, and I think his son has taken over the machining work.

IIRC, he did not advocate 30-06, 308 Win, or even 22-250 type cartridges for the Contender (one of the last things I read on that site was that he wouldn't even consider a belted magnum or WSM cartridge for the Encore, regardless of whomever else did, as well). He said the bolt thrust from a 50k psi cartridge of those diameters is too great and runs the chance of springing the receiver, making it too loose permanently. The 30-30 and 35 Rem run to 35k psi, and smaller cartridges like the 223 Rem at 50k psi he was OK with in the Contender.

FYI, I hope this helps.
 

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Also, be advised that shooting and hunting with a Contender is more like rifle hunting than using a large revolver. To be accurate with a Contender at longer ranges, with the flatter-shooting cartridges, one must take a solid rest. This is a specialized style of hunting that encourages getting closer and being cool enough to place your shot well, even under the pressure most of us feel when presented with a shot on big game.
 
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I had one and loved it my dad talked me into selling it, very poor decision o my part. We had several barrels for it my favorite for hunting was a 7X 30 Waters. It was a tack driver. Good luck in your decision.
 

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Contender caliber in a nutshell...357 maximum !!!! You can shoot lower powered 38 spc. and 357 mag ammo to practice and shoot the Max loads for deer. HD1
 

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I have several grip frames that are Contender, and several more that are Encore frames. Out of the 21 barrels I own, my personal favorite is a 16" 308 Win barrel. I have several rifle barrels also, but most of them are in 22 caliber or smaller. except for one 50 caliber muzzle loader barrel. These firearms are hard to beat for accuracy, most of my barrels are equipped with scopes, only two 10" barrels do not have scopes.
 

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I've got a Contender with two bbls. First a 10" .357 Mag with the HotShot bbl. This is a choke that stops the spin of the shotshell as it exists. I routinely sh0ot squirrels in the backyard at 20 yds with Speer/CCI shotshells. Second is a 14" .41 Mag bbl with a Simmons 2x20 scope.




CD
 

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I had one and loved it my dad talked me into selling it, very poor decision o my part. We had several barrels for it my favorite for hunting was a 7X 30 Waters. It was a tack driver. Good luck in your decision.
I was going to suggest the 7-30 Waters as a likely deer round, but also if you don't already have a Contender then go for the Encore. A little heavier, yes, but that will be an advantage when getting steady on a shot and reduce recoil.
Might I suggest you shop around the T/C specialists and pick up a frame prior to Smith & Wesson because I continue to hear disturbing comments on stuff coming out of the factory since they closed the original T/C factory.
Choosing the Encore frame will also open up everything barrel, calibre wise.

If you want some real fun then eventually get a 375JDJ barrel, this round has taken most every game animal on the planet, but you need to be the boss.

The Thompson/Centre Association is also not a bad place to join. Lots of very knowledgeable guys there who can advise. Known mainly as a collectors club, many of the members also hunt with their T/C equipment.
 

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I agree with all the posts except the one that says you can't burn all the rifle powder in a pistol length barrel,That's why Bob Milek and Steve Herrett reconfigured and reformulated the 30-30 to yield the 30 Herrett and 357 Herrett. These cartridges are REAL performers in the contender! Don't be satisfied with chambers cut for factory ammo. The contender shines when you feed it wildcat fodder in barrels from Bellm and Reeder. Load with safe data and heed your pressure signs and you'll be fine.
Just took a whitetail this morning with a 308 Bellm 150 gr Nosler BT that traveled through bone and tissue 26-28" and was retrieved with perfect mushroom. Those wildcats really impress me.
You will dig the trigger,too!
 

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Contender

Ideally, a ten inch barrel chambered for the .30 Herrett. Reality....a ten inch barrel chambered for the .30-30 Winchester.
The marvelous .30 Herrett is not a factory cartridge. You must load your own. It is also not a beginner's reloading project.
The .30-30 is readily available just about anywhere on this continent and is an accurate, powerful choice for deer hunting.
Probably....at least for me, as I do load my own, is a bullet in the 125-135 grain range. Very accurate, plenty of zip. Remington, Federal, Hornady all make .30-30 ammo with 125-140 grain bullets.
Pete
 

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Ideally, a ten inch barrel chambered for the .30 Herrett. Reality....a ten inch barrel chambered for the .30-30 Winchester.
The marvelous .30 Herrett is not a factory cartridge. You must load your own. It is also not a beginner's reloading project.
The .30-30 is readily available just about anywhere on this continent and is an accurate, powerful choice for deer hunting.
Probably....at least for me, as I do load my own, is a bullet in the 125-135 grain range. Very accurate, plenty of zip. Remington, Federal, Hornady all make .30-30 ammo with 125-140 grain bullets.
Pete
I have many Contender and Encore barrels. My favorites are the 308 Win, 30-30 , and 45-70. Frankly, I don't care if all of the powder is burnt in the barrel or not, I just enjoy the end result, which is pretty darn good accuracy. The recoil on any one of these barrels is not really all that bad. Practice seems to make a difference, and that is something most all of us needs to do more of.
 

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30-30 with the right bullet and powder. With modern powders it will work just fine.

357 Max is also good. And 6,5 JDJ.

If you are a handloader, check out the SSK Industries website.
 

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I used 2 different T/C Contenders in IHMSA competition back in the 1980 and 90s, and found that for standing and production, the 10 inch 357 mag using 8.4 grains of Unique and a 165 grain flat nose bullet would reliably knock over turkeys at 150 yards, and would have enough velocity to expand in an animal. My ram load was a 200 grain 35 caliber rifle bullet with 16 grains of WW296, and was like a cannon going off. It had plenty of power out to 200 yards for the rams, but rifle bullets were notorious for not having enough energy at pistol velocities to expand. Both of these loads were very accurate. My other T/C was a 14 inch 7mm TCU re-chambered for 7mm Int-R by Elgin Gates, and was a tack driver, but again the rifle bullets didn't have the energy to expand from a pistol.
 

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i have a .22lr ,.357mag and a .223rem
and like the man said
a solid rest is a must.
these things can be shockingly accurate.
 

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14" of barrel should do the trick with the pressure curve of most conventional cartridges. Optics help for distance. 30-30, 35 Rem., 44 mag, 375 win. ALL CORNERSTONE Barrels for the contender!
Get Wild .... go to Reeder:GNR Wildcat Cartridges
Now your talkin', man!
 
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