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Old June 1, 2013, 07:38 PM   #1
Join Date: January 13, 2012
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T/C Contender

Hi guys I am looking for some information. I am thinking about buying a contender in a .44 mag from a local gun shop but what I am wondering is what is the difference between a Contender, Contender G2, and a Encore besides some being newer? Are any better than others or just larger frames to withstand larger calibers? This one has the 14" barrel, hows the accuracy of these guns? Any feedback would be great!
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Old June 1, 2013, 08:02 PM   #2
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The Contender , and G2, are for lower pressure rounds.
The Encore will handle higher pressure rounds think .416 Rigby.

The Encore is heavier then the Contender and G2, and I wasn't impressed with trigger on mine. You can have a trigger job done to make it better.

The Contenders had the best trigger but when you either dry fired, or let the hammer down without firing, you had to open the breech to reset the trigger.

You don't have to do that with the G2, and the Encore.

My Encore had the fifteen inch .45/70 barrel, and I had a .308 Rifle barrel for it.
My Contender had a ten inch .44 Mag barrel, and was very accurate. And I had a custom twelve inch .22 hornet barrel with a 4X Leupold scope on it. Also a sixteen inch .223 barrel, and a sixteen inch 410/.45 barrel.

The hornet barrel would clover leaf three shots at a hundred yards.
The Encore .308 barrel was not nearly as accurate.

If you want the ability to switch from hand gun to rifle, you MUST buy either the G2 or Encore with a pistol barrel. You can grow it, but you can't shrink it.
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Old June 1, 2013, 08:41 PM   #3
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The Contender is preMIM, as I understand it, but the G2 is stronger. They are officially rated the same. Triggers can be improved by gunsmith.

Encore is much stronger, but kind of defeats the purpose, IMO..
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Old June 1, 2013, 09:07 PM   #4
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The Contender is preMIM, as I understand it, but the G2 is stronger.
The G2 frame was reinforced in a critical area that was subject to stretching with some of the big boomers. They aren't going to rate it any higher than prior because the fix was already needed to protect us from ourselves.

The Encore is a real big gun with a very long reach to the trigger. If you have small to medium hands it can be difficult to get a good grip on one. I prefer the original Contender. You don't actually have to break the gun open to reset it, just a tug on the spur will suffice. True, the Encore can safely fire higher pressure chamberings than the Contender, but there isn't a critter that walks this earth that cannot be dispatched with one of the available Contender options.

Encore = bench gun

Contender = carry gun

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Old June 1, 2013, 10:02 PM   #5
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Another vote for the Tender, I've got 2, one in blue and one stainless. They are match grade accurate and relatively light to carry in the field. I have a 3030 barrel 14" with muzzle brake and it's taken more deer than any of my other guns, it's also taken prairie dogs with the 3030 barrel and a 223 barrel.
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Old June 2, 2013, 11:12 AM   #6
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For barrel interchangability, remember that NOTHING will interchange between a Contender and an Encore.

A G2 Contender will take both G1 and G2 barrels but a G1 Contender won't take a G2 barrel.

In G1 frames there are two major versions - the original and a later "EZ open".
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Old June 2, 2013, 11:16 AM   #7
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There a fewer and fewer G2 barrels out there. The Encore is more available, but at the cost of a longer trigger reach. I liked the size of the G2 12 inch barrels myself.
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Old June 2, 2013, 02:59 PM   #8
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Frankly, considering it is a pistol, what would I want that I cannot get in a Contender barrel?

I have a 375 JDJ. Looking to add a 6mm JDJ #2 this year.

Life goals: get a 12" match 22LR barrel and a 223 barrel, maybe 7-30 waters??
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Old June 2, 2013, 07:08 PM   #9
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I have a G1 in .30-30 Win. and .45-70 Govt. I'd simply like to add .22LR and .223 Rem.

.30-30 in a Contender is flat-out more fun than most of my guns. Accuracy is MOA.
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Old June 2, 2013, 09:37 PM   #10
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Reality check folk!

The new owners (S&W) are only supporting the Encore, no further parts or barrels for the Contender or G2,unless you go custom.

Have a Contender with number of the original Octagon barrels, have a number of more to obtain.
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Old June 2, 2013, 10:41 PM   #11
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Lots of good information on T/C handguns here:
Cheapshooter's rules of gun ownership #1: NEVER SELL OR TRADE ANYTHING!
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Old June 3, 2013, 12:10 AM   #12
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A G2 Contender will take both G1 and G2 barrels but a G1 Contender won't take a G2 barrel.
Barrels are interchangeable between the Contender and G2 with the exception of the muzzle loading barrel will only fit the G2. The pistol grips and rifle butt stocks are not interchangeable between the Contender and the G2.
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Old June 3, 2013, 10:22 AM   #13
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Rifle buttstock from G2 will work on G1 with a couple of very thin shims in the sides. Actually could be tightened down enough to work without but looks funny. Been there done that.

LOVE my G1 especially with scoped 223 on it. Had 17 barrels which I have sold over the years as I didn't use them enough and wanted other guns. Now just the 223 and 45/410 and use them. Do kind of wish I had my 35Rem back but not a LOT.
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Old June 3, 2013, 11:57 AM   #14
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Have a couple of Contender frames, and around a dozen barrels. One thing I have to tell you is that my 10" .44 Mag Contender recoils a LOT more than myy 6" S&W. The 14" does less, its heavier, but still has a lot of muzzle flip.

If you have porting/muzzle brake, that will help. Contenders are lighter than revolvers, and lighter guns recoil more. Be aware.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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