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Old October 3, 2012, 11:02 AM   #1
Tido4570
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Thompson Center 44 mag or 460 S&W

A guy I know wants to purchase a Thompson Center Contender or Encore for deer hunting in a tree stand. He is 65 years old with minor arthritis. He is wandering what he will be able to shoot better (handle), the 44 mag or the 460 S&W?
Thanks!
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:19 AM   #2
steveno
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I don't think either one of those rounds would be very good choice for somebody with minor arthritus as they will hurt. if he reloads get a 7 mm TCU. I'm not sure what the correct name for it is but there is a 6.8 spc( or something like that) which is a 270 caliber for which there is factory ammo.


another thing to consider is if the 357 mag is legal for deer is the TC in 357 mag with a 10 inch bull barrel or a ruger blackhawk in 357 with the 6.5 inch barrel using a good bullet. while I consider the 357 mag just a bit on the light side for deer but if you keep your shots under 50 yards it would work ok with practice. it would also be a lot easier on the hands recoil wise.

Last edited by steveno; October 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM.
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Old October 3, 2012, 02:03 PM   #3
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I owned a 10 inch "bull" barrel in 44 Mag for my Contender and found it to be extremely unpleasant to shoot. Even using the grip with the rubber backstrap. And I have owned a number of 44 mag revolvers and never had problems with any pain or discomfort firing them like with the Contender 44 Mag. In the Contender I like the 357 mentioned above.
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Old October 3, 2012, 05:55 PM   #4
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The 460 would be a terrible choice. It may knock him right out of the tree stand. I have a BFR in 460 and it is a handful. From my experience with Condenders(which isn't a lot, but I've shot them), they tend to kick more than revolvers. I don't think I'd want to drop the hammer on a 460. I've shot my dad's 30-30 Contender, and that is a nice round out of them. Quite accurate and recoil isn't bad.

You can shoot 454 Casull and 45 Colt out of the 460 barrel, but accuracy may suffer. It does considerably in my BRF. The 454 would still be brutal. The 45 Would be a decent round, but it would be pointless to buy a 460 barrel just to shoot the other calibers out of it. I think there are better choices. 22-250 or 243 might be other good candidates.

Last edited by Gdawgs; October 3, 2012 at 06:02 PM.
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Old October 3, 2012, 06:11 PM   #5
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If the man is a reloader, I'd recommend the .44 Magnum and download cartridges to about the 1000~1100 fps velocities.

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Old October 3, 2012, 06:42 PM   #6
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A friend of mine has a TC rifle barrel. Blast is horrible, recoil is brutal. It would be MUCH worse in a handgun. The 44 mag in a TC is pretty bad too. Here in Illinois, 357 is the smallest caliber allowed, and would probably be the best choice.
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Old October 3, 2012, 07:00 PM   #7
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I had a Contender barrel in .44 mag and didn't think it kicked that bad. What WAS untolerable was the 45/70 barrel however.
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Old October 3, 2012, 11:56 PM   #8
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My 15" Encore in 460 was the most brutal thing I ever pulled the trigger on. On the third round I was unable to hold the gun steady enough to hit a 20 ounce bottle at 20 yards. I damaged the cartilage in my wrist after a few more rounds and had to stop shooting all but the mildest handguns for better than 6 months.
A muzzle brake made it a controllable barrel. After I had Bellm cut his brake into my barrel I was able to chrony the factory Hornady 200 gr rounds at 2800 fps. That's faster than you should push a 200 gr pill out of a 30-06 and you're holding that thing in your hands. I later played around with 230 gr ball over 2500 fps.
As I continued reloading I noticed that I was gradually backing that thing down. I never found reduced loads that used safe published data, were comfortable to shoot, and didn't involve Trail Boss slinging 250 RNFP at 1300 fps. The case is so big (more case capacity than a 308 and a higher pressure) that you're going to have a hard time loading down to moderate levels. 5744 kinda worked but it would leave unburned powder in the bore.

If he's a reloader I'd get him a dedicated 45 Colt barrel (NOT a 45/410) and he'll have a ball. Trail Boss plinking loads will run 800 fps and he can work his way up to JHPs at 1600+ fps. Everything in between is easily assembled with a Colt. H110 will limit you to higher speeds but you can step down a bit with 4227, 2400, Power Pistol, and tons of other powders.
A 250 gr flat pointed hunk of lead at 1200 fps will drive stem to stern through any deer.
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Old October 4, 2012, 11:03 AM   #9
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Great Information everybody! Good thing I asked the question! Thank-You!
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Old October 5, 2012, 04:43 AM   #10
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Having owned a Contender in 44 mag I agree with everyone, maxed out hand loads are just brutal.
Strangely enough when I bought mine used it came with a 30-30 barrel. I only shot is 20 or 30 times and I found it had much less recoil than the 44 mag.
I was wondering why he is looking at a handgun for hunting?
If it’s like here in Indiana where the law allows only pistol caliber guns (including long guns) for hunting deer other than BP, I would push him toward a long gun with his issue.
Ruger makes a very nice rifle in 44 mag and 357 mag in a bolt action rifle which is legal here in Indiana.
It’s the 77/44. Its acceptable hunting accuracy out to 150 yards and the energy level is also good. At 100 it’s impressive for a pistol caliber long gun.

http://www.ruger.com/products/rotary...44/models.html
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Old October 5, 2012, 05:47 AM   #11
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A G2 357 magnum with a 12 or 14 inch barrel has impressive ballistics, much better then a 6inch revolver. I don't know what range he is hunting at but a T/C G2 in 357 magnum is more user friendly.
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Old October 5, 2012, 08:51 AM   #12
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I have to agree that a 10" 44 mag contender with full power loads can be quite a handful. But a 14" with a scope and medium level 44 mags are much better. And maybe even better than the 357 mag. would be a 357 maximum. The recoil levels in between the 357 and the 44 mags., with near rifle like ballistics.
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Old October 5, 2012, 09:00 PM   #13
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Stalkingbear wrote:

Quote:
I had a Contender barrel in .44 mag and didn't think it kicked that bad. What WAS untolerable was the 45/70 barrel however.
Where did you get that .45-70 barrel? A man not too far from my daughter's house makes custom .45-70, and other calibers, barrels for the Thompson Contender. I did some shooting years ago with these big bore barrels. They were a handfull!

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Old October 6, 2012, 10:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
I had a Contender barrel in .44 mag and didn't think it kicked that bad. What WAS untolerable was the 45/70 barrel however
My experience is just the opposite. It depends on the barrels. I have a 10" octagon .44 Mag, and a 14" ported .45-70.

The .44 is rough. It has more recoil and muzzle flip than any other .44 mag (revolver or auto) that I have ever shot. That's mostly because it is lighter than repeaters. I only shoot one load from my .45-70 (so far) a 400gr cast, at normal factory spec (black powder) velocity. It is a handful, and quite stout, but doesn't seem as "sharp) as the shorter, lighter .44 Mag.

Recommend getting the full rubber Pachmyr grip if shooting hard kickers.


As to why a handgun? Lots easier in a tree stand. For your friend, whichever caliber he chooses, I would also recommend a rest (shooting stick, etc.), and then just hang on. One shot is all you get, so there is no need to "control" the recoil, other than not letting the gun drop, or hit you in the head (which I have had a friend do shooting my .45-70! Wacked him in the nose with the edge of the red dot sight! Bled a bit.)

Get a good dot sight, if you like that kind of thing. Scopes are ok, but at woods ranges, I don't see much advantage over a dot, and the dot has some advantages over regular crosshairs, especially in dim light. If you like the iron sights, recommend some model paint in contrasting color for the sight (red, orange, bright green, etc. White is ok, but if hunting in the snow, not so much. Model paint lasts a fairly long time, is easily touched up, and cheap. Wife's fingernail polish works too, if found in suitable color. Degrease the metal before painting, for better adhesion.

You can also get the grip/forened fitted with sling swivels. Being able to sling it while climbing is a plus, unless you have a chest type holster.

Deer are not armor plated, contrary to what one often reads on the internet. Regular full house factory .44 Mag will almost always go competely through. Can't see any use for more than that.
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Old October 6, 2012, 12:44 PM   #15
mrt949
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Had a light weight octagon 44 mag back in 1973 . Recoil was terible with stock grips back then .Now there are so many grips to chose . 44 MAG is a good choice .
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Old October 6, 2012, 12:52 PM   #16
Capt Rick Hiott
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If he gets the barell ported it will help with the recoil a lot!
I shoot a Taurus Raging Bull 454. Its not bad at all with one hand.....

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Old October 6, 2012, 01:55 PM   #17
feets
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You can't compare revolvers with TC pistols. I shoot my 454 SRH one handed with and without a scope. Those same loads in the Encore are totally different.
See that little thing known as a cylinder gap? It's the highest pressure release in the land of firearms. It is a ported chamber and reduces recoil like a ported barrel.
Take that gap away with a fixed barrel and velocity increases dramatically. I gain over 400 fps with standard loads. Heavy loads pick up even more velocity and recoil.

Porting will help but many hunters do not like ported barrels.

Last edited by feets; October 6, 2012 at 02:01 PM.
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