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Old February 26, 2020, 06:58 PM   #26
stinkeypete
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1. Just say “no” to .357 Maximum. The recoil and blast are oppressive. Hot .357 Magnum is more than enough. If you want to make your Contender a nice Carbine, .35 Remington would do the same job with less stress.

2. Just say “no” to .454 Casull. You need all the weight you can get to help tame recoil. 45 Colt “Ruger and Contender only” loads will get all you need with less stress and no need for an Encore.

3. If you want a big boomer, 45-70 just because.

I think I would really like a .327 Fed Mag barrel... from plinking to white tail, at realistic ranges .. yeah. .32-20 “Contender only” would be a question of how much cooler do you want to be than your pals.

Realistically, a .357 magnum barrel is awesomely flexible and common.
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Old February 27, 2020, 12:39 AM   #27
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I am a long time Contender shooter in a variety of calibers. There are lots of great choices, but if you want to use the gun for "fun shooting", calibers with less recoil have a big advantage.

The 357 max in a 10" sounds great. I got one of these after shooting the Max in a revolver for many years. In my Dan Wesson I can shoot the Max all day long. With the TC, my wrist is hurting after a hand full of full power loads. I am more recoil tolerant than most shooters, but this one in a 10" Contender is over the top for me. Also, do not get a Max barrel and thinking you will just use Mags & Specials. Most TC Max barrels do not do near as well with anything other than Max brass.

The 30 Herrett performs great (I have a 10" and 14"), but 30-30 brass is no where as easy to source as some other choices. My 14" 30-30 is ok, but not as good as the 14" Herrett. I really do not recommend a 30-30 in a 10". At full power, the 30 Herrett and 30-30 are both a bit much for fun or target shooting. I have shot a bunch a reduced loads in the 30 Herrett, but other choices are better for volume shooting.

A straight 357 mag is real good for "fun shooting" with adequate power for typical handgun hunting needs. If you are set up to reload 357, plan on getting a 357 mag barrel even if you also want something with a longer effective range. I have probably used a 357 mag barrel more than any other for fun/target shooting.

My new favorite is a 10" 7 TCU that is working well with a 132 gr bullet that I cast. The 10" 7 TCU is about as good as you can get for performance while retaining the ability to shoot a full power rounds more or less comfortably. I found the lack of a rim to be less of an issue than I expected, and making brass from the most plentiful range pickup caliber out there (223) is a piece of cake. In addition to my 1800 fps full power load, I found that 8.8 gr of Titegroup gives ~1450 fps and make a dandy medium heavy target load. I have already started loading this one in large batches and incorporated it into my regular practice shooting rotation.
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Old February 27, 2020, 12:46 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by stinkeypete View Post
1. Just say “no” to .357 Maximum. The recoil and blast are oppressive. Hot .357 Magnum is more than enough. If you want to make your Contender a nice Carbine, .35 Remington would do the same job with less stress.

2. Just say “no” to .454 Casull. You need all the weight you can get to help tame recoil. 45 Colt “Ruger and Contender only” loads will get all you need with less stress and no need for an Encore.

3. If you want a big boomer, 45-70 just because.

I think I would really like a .327 Fed Mag barrel... from plinking to white tail, at realistic ranges .. yeah. .32-20 “Contender only” would be a question of how much cooler do you want to be than your pals.

Realistically, a .357 magnum barrel is awesomely flexible and common.
1. I do have some .35 Remington brass my uncle game me, but it's not a cartridge that interests me. Along the lines of what others have said about pistol specific cases, the .35 Rem is probably not a case optimized for use in a 10-12 inch pistol barrel, plus it's not rimmed.

2. I hear you on .454, I've long believed hot .45 Colt was good enough in a Ruger, I just mentioned it because it's safer to load a .45 Colt hot in a .454 chamber.

I would get .327, but I don't believe T/C makes a barrel in .327 and aftermarket barrels seem to only want to chamber .327 in a barrel with .308 groove diameters, which is stupid IMO. Same issue with 7.62x39.
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Old February 27, 2020, 01:11 AM   #29
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2. I hear you on .454, I've long believed hot .45 Colt was good enough in a Ruger, I just mentioned it because it's safer to load a .45 Colt hot in a .454 chamber.
Presumably you're going to a single-shot pistol for the accuracy potential. Shooting a shorter cartridge than the gun is chambered for is going to throw away some of that accuracy potential. I'm not saying it's definitely guaranteed to make the gun shoot poorly, but you're more likely to get good accuracy from a cartridge that fits the chamber and doesn't require the bullet make a jump to get to the rifling.
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Old February 27, 2020, 02:29 AM   #30
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Presumably you're going to a single-shot pistol for the accuracy potential. Shooting a shorter cartridge than the gun is chambered for is going to throw away some of that accuracy potential.
While I recognize this is true in principle, I don't think it matter much in revolvers, and even less so specific to the .454 Casull and .45 Colt. The difference in the two case lengths is essentially .1" which is less than the .135" case length difference between the .38 Special and .357 Magnum.

Considering the distance the bullet has to "jump" before it hits the rifling of a revolver I don't think 0.1" is significant and doesn't have a noticeable affect on accuracy.

Of course every gun is an individual and no doubt there are some which do shoot better with a case full length for the chamber, but I've never seen a revolver that seemed to care, so I don't worry about it.

Quote:
and aftermarket barrels seem to only want to chamber .327 in a barrel with .308 groove diameters,
If you want something other than what they offer order it. Barrel makers will cut the tube to anything you want it just takes a bit of $$.
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Old February 27, 2020, 03:01 AM   #31
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I don't think it matter much in revolvers...
I think that's probably true. There are other accuracy issues inherent to revolvers that likely dominate.

However, the OP specifically stated that he was interested in single shots for the improvement in accuracy over revolvers.
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I've seen a few posts on forums the past couple months of people dumping revolvers for single shots for the accuracy and quality.
When you get away from revolvers to a more conventional chamber/barrel/leade arrangement, I think the difference in accuracy potential due to the bullet jump becomes more significant because you've eliminated most of the accuracy issues inherent to revolvers.

I don't think it's going to be a huge effect, but it just seems inconsistent with the stated goal.
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Old February 28, 2020, 01:14 AM   #32
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I think that's probably true. There are other accuracy issues inherent to revolvers that likely dominate.

However, the OP specifically stated that he was interested in single shots for the improvement in accuracy over revolvers.When you get away from revolvers to a more conventional chamber/barrel/leade arrangement, I think the difference in accuracy potential due to the bullet jump becomes more significant because you've eliminated most of the accuracy issues inherent to revolvers.

I don't think it's going to be a huge effect, but it just seems inconsistent with the stated goal.
True, it's getting away from the goal, but if I wanted to shoot some lighter .454 rounds I would have to lower the charge to starting loads and that may leave too much air space in the case and cause other issues.

So, yeah, I don't see any reason to bother with the .454 then. I have no other guns in .454, don't intend to buy any other .454's (unless Henry or Rossi want to come out with new lever actions in the chambering) so no sense to get one over .45 Colt, which I have many guns in and lots of brass.
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Old February 28, 2020, 01:17 AM   #33
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If you want something other than what they offer order it. Barrel makers will cut the tube to anything you want it just takes a bit of $$.
I'll see who else makes barrels for the Thomson Center pistols, currently I only know of Match Grade Machine and Bulberry.
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Old February 28, 2020, 03:53 AM   #34
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I shot 7/TCU for years, and it was an effective round in competition as far as accuracy and had lots of potential for other uses. It was very effective in a 10" or 14" barrel and not bad recoil.
We don't have as many contender barrels as before but still have 32/20, 30 & 357 Herrett, 357 Max, 41 mag, 22 Hornet, etc. But if I had to pick one, the 7 TCU is a do it all barrel. It is accurate and hits hard enough with mild recoil. They are formed from 223 so brass is easy to come by. If lower power is okay, the 22 Hornet is very accurate and fun to shoot.
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Old March 12, 2020, 10:20 AM   #35
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I have several barrels for my contenders.

22lr
22 Magnum
222
223
256 Winchester Magnum
32 H&R Magnum
30-30

My favorites are 22lr, 223, and 32 H&R
All three are incredibly accurate and with the exception of the 32 H&R are easy to find cheap ammo for.
32 H&R mag ammo is limited but if you reload, thats not a huge problem.
At 75 yards, this is my most accurate barrel. It would probably be a tack driver at 100 yards if not for my old eyes.
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Old March 12, 2020, 01:19 PM   #36
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The way I look at a 357 maximum chambered barrel is one you can shoot:

38 special target loads
38 special standard
38 special +P
357 magnum
357 maximum

All out of the same barrel ! That covers a lot of different rounds and there is no greater variety than 38/357 ammo and components .
Anything from paper target loads to hog and deer hunting loads can be easily covered .

I will admit , I could probably do everything I wanted with 38/357 magnum barrel ...it would be nice to have the 357 maximum option there if I wanted it .
Gary
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Old March 13, 2020, 03:10 PM   #37
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So, what caliber(s) would be best for a single shot like the Thompson Center?
I bought my TC Contender new in 1989 and it came with a 10" 357 Magnum barrel which I still have. Accuracy is quite good and easy to load for. The recoil/blast is not severe like my old 10" 44 Mag was. With the 10" the gun can still be fired free handed.


Only other barrels I have are two 10" 22lr match barrels and a Super 14 in .223.
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Old March 13, 2020, 06:27 PM   #38
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I wish T/C made a 10 to 12" .357 Encore barrel with iron sights. That would be a dandy short-range deer pistol.
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Old March 13, 2020, 06:34 PM   #39
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I wish T/C made a 10 to 12" .357 Encore barrel with iron sights.
I have 10" .357 Contender barrel with iron sights. They don't have that for the Encore?? how sad.
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Old March 13, 2020, 06:47 PM   #40
mikejonestkd
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I had a contender with several barrels for quite some time, and now have two encores with a half a dozen barrels.
They do have a learning curve compared to most other handguns, and they are a bit ungainly when carrying, but they are excellent hunting handguns.
My 15" .308 win barrel is obnoxious, my brother's 15" 270 win barrel is even worse.
If I could have just one 15" barrel for hunting in an encore it would be either 260 rem, 6.5 creedmore, or 7mm-08 rem. they have the best balance of downrange performance, usable case capacity, and tolerable recoil.
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Old March 14, 2020, 06:52 PM   #41
Doyle
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44 Amp, no - It seems T/C short changed us on pistol length offerings with the Encore. In fact, the only "short" Encore barrel I know of is the 12" .44 mag. Lots of 15" offerings though. I've got one in 7mm-08 and i sold a .223 recently.
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Old March 15, 2020, 09:24 AM   #42
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I suppose that I bought at the right time...I have a 12” .223 Rem barrel for my Encore. It, and the 14” Contender in .30 Herrett are my favorites.
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Old March 15, 2020, 09:39 AM   #43
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Truthtellers: Other barrel manufacturers for you to investigate are SSK Industries and Bellm T/Cs, EABCO.net.
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Old March 15, 2020, 08:14 PM   #44
buckit
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Contender hunter 14'' in 45-70
Encore 15'' Bullberry barell in 45-100 aka 45X2.6. 577 grain hard cast gas checks pushed to 1425+fps is a hoot.
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Old March 17, 2020, 05:48 AM   #45
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Truthtellers: Other barrel manufacturers for you to investigate are SSK Industries and Bellm T/Cs, EABCO.net.
Thank you, I'll keep them in mind if I ever pull the trigger on a TC.
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Old March 17, 2020, 05:55 AM   #46
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The way I look at a 357 maximum chambered barrel is one you can shoot:

38 special target loads
38 special standard
38 special +P
357 magnum
357 maximum

All out of the same barrel ! That covers a lot of different rounds and there is no greater variety than 38/357 ammo and components .
Anything from paper target loads to hog and deer hunting loads can be easily covered .

I will admit , I could probably do everything I wanted with 38/357 magnum barrel ...it would be nice to have the 357 maximum option there if I wanted it .
Gary
That's kind of how I feel. I don't need .357 Max to have fun shooting at the range, that's what .38/.357 Mag are for, but if I ever wanted some extra punch that's far above .357 Mag, the Maximum can deliver that and put it near what .30-30 can do from a 16 inch rifle.
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Old March 17, 2020, 12:10 PM   #47
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1 shot, one kill

T/C in a pistol caliber is a .357 Maximum and in a rifle 7x30 Waters.

Both are deadly accurate and proven game getters.
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