Concerning the Thompson Contender ...


February 13, 2005, 12:29 AM
I was shooting at the range today with my AR and a gentleman next to me was shooting at targets with his Thompson G2 Contender pistol (chambered in 7mm TCU I believe). Both our targets were set up at 100 yards, and he routinely got about 1/2" groups (my groups were about 2"). He said he never felt the need to own a rifle when his pistol was so accurate.

Is this kind of accuracy normal for the T/C pistol line? I've heard they are incredibly accurate.

Keep in mind he shot the pistol from a full benchrest (grip and fore-end fully supported), and he used his own handloads. His gun also had a trigger job (he claimed it broke at six ounces, and I believe it - one touch from my finger caused to to break), and a scope.

If you enjoyed reading about "Concerning the Thompson Contender ..." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
February 13, 2005, 12:51 AM
If he challenges you to a duel, apologize immediately. :D

February 13, 2005, 01:02 AM
It's been a few years, but I've gotten to shoot a Contender chambered in 7mm...I've always had good luck with it, I don't think you'd be unhappy with its accuracy at all.

It can be somewhat of a bear unless you've got mosterous powerful hands, but then again, I guess they chamber them in 45-70 too. I've seen a couple deer taken with the 7mm though, seems to knock em down just fine, especially if you can get time to set it on a rest.

February 13, 2005, 01:04 AM
If you miss with a Contender set up like that, it's cuz you screwed-up!

February 13, 2005, 10:01 AM
I was shooting a G1 Contender with a Super-14 barrel in 44 Mag at our 25-yard range, and it was rare for me to NOT get at least 2 shots of a 3-shot group touching; they can be amazingly accurate. On a related note, does anyone know if the G1 and G2 barrels are interchangeable?

February 13, 2005, 10:42 AM
You can use any Contender barrel on either version.

G2 grips will not interchange with Contenders but all barrels will.

A pleasant shooting Contender that will be extremely accurate and loud is one in .222 or.223.

The .22 LR and .17HMR calibers are extremely accurate in these guns.

February 13, 2005, 02:00 PM
i have an encore in 223, and i LOVE shooting it. i probably get more pleasure from that then any other gun right now. with my bushnell trophy 2-6 on it and the rest of the gun being totally stock, i can get a 5 shot group in 3/4 of an inch at 50 yards. my best group at 100 yards is just over an inch and a half. i blame my inability to shoot better for that group even being that large. im gonna pick up a barrel in 7-08 for it for deer by next season hopefully.

there is the tc owners group. great site, great guys and great info if you ever get a lil more interested in them

February 13, 2005, 02:10 PM
I have a Contender and caseydog has an Encore - both with .223 barrels. We shoot them with equal enjoyment. I think we both agree that accuracy is all but astonishing. I know if I do my part - mine will shoot very tight and in fact, like as not - tighter than my Ruger 77 MkII!! Mine seems to do well with WWB 55 grain FMJ rounds.

Last year we ''despatched'' an old HDD at 100 yds ... very easily ... five shots each. Then, at end of last year when we had a small shoot at my local range, we again did a ''five shots each'' - on paper at 100 yds. Light was none too good and we both called one or two shots we felt were a tad off ... and this was the target ... let's say three shots had felt less than good ... that makes the rest, for me - pretty darned useful for a handgun.

February 13, 2005, 04:56 PM
the 7 mm TCU is a very accurate cartridge so I'm not surprised. I have super 14 barrels in 41 mag amd 357 max with 2x Leupold scopes. 1 inch groups at 50 yards are normal. I had 221 Fireball and 223 barrels do the same at 100 yards

Standing Wolf
February 13, 2005, 09:15 PM
Is this kind of accuracy normal for the T/C pistol line?

It's not at all unusual. Much depends on the caliber, ammunition, condition of the barrel, and of course, the shooter, but Contenders have always been prized by those whose passion is accuracy.

February 13, 2005, 09:45 PM

I have a 12" SSK .44 Mag barrel for my Contender. It's neat to see a tight group of .44 at 100 yards!

I have thought about getting more barrels for mine...I should do that. Like a 378 JDJ...heh. Actually I shot a 7-30 Waters, and with the MuzzleTamer, it wasn't bad at all on recoil.

Ky Larry
February 13, 2005, 11:16 PM
My .223 Contender with a T/C 2.5X7 scope and a 14 inch barrel is the most accurate handgun I have ever fired. Handloads are almost freaky accurate.
I've been trying to come up with one load for both my Contender and my Ruger 77V. I've come pretty close but haven't got there yet. It sure is fun trying.

happy old sailor
February 14, 2005, 11:09 AM
my older TC is in 30/30. it does shoot good, i want a .223 bbl for it, but have an old Fireball i have rechambered for .223. now that is accurate. so, i cannot justify the .223 bbl for the TC. i have shot other ppls TCs and None were dogs. i think everyone should have a TC to impress friends and amaze others

February 15, 2005, 06:07 PM
He said he never felt the need to own a rifle when his pistol was so accurate.I wonder if he can shoot it more accurately than a rifle away from the bench. What sort of accuracy do you think he gets from a standing, unsupported position?

February 15, 2005, 07:07 PM
It's also worth noteing that T/C shooters are often fanatical about accuracy. True, the guns themselves are accurate enough (in most calibers and barrels) but LOTs of experimental handloading is often behind those groups. This is especially true when you start talking about specialized calibers like the 7 TCU.

February 15, 2005, 09:33 PM
I have an original Contender with a 10" 223 barrel, it will shoot sub MOA at 300 yards from the sandbags. At 50 yards the groups are often one hole for five shots. It is more accurate than any rifle I currently own. I shoot rifles more accurately, and they certainly are easier to shoot well for most folks. It is neat having a pistol that is amazingly accurate, but it isn't all that practical unless punching paper or have the time to seek out a good rest.

February 15, 2005, 09:38 PM
You probably know H - I too am a Contender freak! Mine with the .223 14" bbl will shoot way better than I do now in old age.

I really want to put it to the ultimate test with groundhog hunting ... but fear I'd have to have a portable rest with me! :p Standing - unless a tree handy, I think ''barn doors'' may enter into the equation. Still, I love the darned thing. :)

Never tried at 300 but I am sure MOA is achievable.

Harry Paget Flashman
February 15, 2005, 09:40 PM
Had a Contender in the Seventies with a .44Mag and .222 barrel and used to drive up to Nevada and hunt varmints(jack rabbits) with it. I sold it to buy other guns and regreted it since. Last year I bought the G2 Contender with the .410/.45LC and .223 barrels. It is too far to Nevada and the jack rabbits are quicker than I am nowadays but it's a fun plinking and range gun. Last Thanksgiving I stumbled on a .221 Fireball octagonal 10" barrel in pristine condition while making the rounds of the local gun stores and snapped it up for $130. The big bang and muzzle flash are a bonus.

41 Redhawk
February 16, 2005, 09:41 AM
You can use any Contender barrel on either version.

Except that you can not use a G2 muzzleloader barrel on an old frame.

February 16, 2005, 12:56 PM
"I wonder if he can shoot it more accurately than a rifle away from the bench. What sort of accuracy do you think he gets from a standing, unsupported position?"

Silhouette shooters use the creedmore position which is lying on your back with the gun against your leg. This position is, for some, just as stable as a bench. In a typical match, is not uncommon for 15 or more consecutive rams to topple at 200 yards. And let us not forget those crazed shooters who shoot half-scale at 500 meters.

So, yes, away from a bench but not standing, a Contender and its shooter can be more accurate then the "average" rifle shooter, benched or not. There are some standing shooters who can do this too but they are a very rare breed.

February 16, 2005, 09:21 PM

For a portable rest, use a 5 gal plastic bucket with a padded (seat) lid and a pair of dowels joined loosely with a bolt/nut for a "V" rest. You can put rubber tubing over the top of the dowels to protect the finish on your gun.

Friends & I used this method for shooting prairie dogs in SD in areas where you couldn't lay prone due to prickley pear.

I apologize for thread drift.

February 16, 2005, 09:36 PM
Moon - no probs, only minor thread drift! :) Good thinking ... I must remember the dowels ... so simple and I'd imagine pretty darned effective. Thx.

February 16, 2005, 11:18 PM
I have 20 contender barrels and nearly all of them are very accurate with the 22 K Hornet, the 223 and the 6.5 TCU each showing incredible accuracy. The 6.5 TCU just shot a 10 shot group into the size of a dime at 50 yards and that was using a case forming load of remington bulk 120 grain bullets and HS-7 powder at about 1700 fps. I can't wait to see what it will do with a good Sierra bullet. :)

February 19, 2005, 11:28 AM
Is this kind of accuracy normal for the T/C pistol line? I've heard they are incredibly accurate.
The short answer is yes, I had a Conteder with 8 barrels they all shot that well. My 14" .233 with a 3x7 in a three ring mount shot sub MOA from a rest using necksized only brass and 25 grains of Varget topped with 50grn Ballistic Tips. The 10' .22 shot inch groups from a rest at 50 yards with a Leupold 4x but the best was the .22 match grade Bullberry even with its poor trigger (compared to a real target rifle) using RWS R-50 it would outshoot Winchester and Anschutz Target .22s.

February 20, 2005, 02:48 AM
[thread drift]
Are the Thompson Contender or Encore rifles as accurate as the pistols? I haven't really heard much about them regarding accuracy.
[/thread drift]

February 23, 2005, 12:21 PM
That portable dowel rest sounds like a great idea in combination with a bucket seat.Any pictures available to share? I've had my Encore 15" pistol in .22-250 a little over a year and can hold MOA @ 100 yards off the bench with my handloads but I have yet to try hunting positions at the range or to varmint hunt with it. With the right rest system I would not be opposed to hunting deer with it with a 7mm-08 barrel which I already load for in Rem. Mod7 rifle.

February 23, 2005, 12:59 PM
A buddy of mine is a big time Contender guy with four frames and 21 barrels in everything from .17 Remington to .45-70. His most accurate rig is a Super 14 in .222 with a 7x Burris scope. 100 yard five shot groups run about 5/8" with handloaded 52 grain Sierra Matchkings. The .45-70, even with Magnaporting and Pachmayrs, is just plain brutal. It is my favorite :).

Just my .02,

February 23, 2005, 10:47 PM
I currently own 4 frames all pre-G2 and 13 scoped barrel sets. I posted on another site the averages size of 10 10 shot groups shot with a Contender fitted with a 22lr BullBerry bull match barrel. The groups are from a test I did using 13 different brands of .22lr ammo. The gun was mounted in a Stinger rest.
Here they are:





Eley Tenex 40gr Ultimate

Eley 40gr Biathlon Match

Eley 40gr Club Xtra

FEDERAL Gold Metal 711B





WIN Bulk Pack 40gr Lead

REM Bulk Pack 40gr Lead

These are the group sizes in two sets shot at 50 measured yards. The left set is out of the box ammo. The right set is the same ammo but after it was altered using a Hanned Line SGB tool.

.956 .867
.889 .765
1.250 1.000
1.334 1.112
.779 .700
.645 .630
.364 .360
.555 .498
.367 .365
.478 .472
.867 .777
.335 .326
.998 .975
1.013 1.000

I was conducting a test and that is why the gun was mounted in a rest. I usually shoot this setup using a set of bags and on any given day I can shoot groups that beat these but not as consistently as with the rest. I have a match .223Rem barrel that shoots dime sized groups at 100 yards and a BullBerry .41RemMag barrel that will put all I want to shoot inside a nickel at 100. I stopped long ago posting group sizes obtained with my Contenders; I just got tired of being called a liar. :banghead:

February 24, 2005, 07:13 AM
I Believe ya crawfish :).

When it comes to group sizes, just about anybody that has owned or shot a Contender has been called a liar, and you should hear what they call people that own Remington XP-100s when they talk about 1/4" and 3/8" groups at 100 yards from their .221 Fireballs and 6 BRs :).

Just my .02,

February 27, 2005, 08:59 AM
Contenders are addictive. I have shot quite a few diffrent cal/bbls over the years and never had any real dogs.

There is a group of guys that hang out at the Specialty Pistols Board.

These fine gentlemen are probably the best educated people on the subject of T/Cs that you can find on the net today.

If you cant find it there you probably cant find it anywhere.

January 22, 2009, 01:14 PM
man, i love resurrecting these old threads...

i own 3 contenders and several barrels,including 223 barrels in 10" 14" and 16". while my 16" is extremely accurate, my 10" will regularly shoot 1/2" groups with my handloads at 100 yards all day from a bench. freehand?....well,more like 3 inches, but i think that its because of the scope (crappy)

now, my 16" custom shop 223 barrel with put 5 shots in a .224 hole at 10 yards all day without a break. all of my contenders,pistols and rifles are that accurate. my 223 super 14 in more accurate than most rifles out there in 223.

January 22, 2009, 03:57 PM
Wow, that is old.

Love my G2 with a 10" .22WMR and 7" .357 mag barrels. Good excuse to post my one and only pic. Right now the mag wears a Trij. Reflex sight and it shoots as good as I can benchrest it, about three inches at 100 yards. The .22 mag will do even better, but it won't beat my CZ rifle from the bench.
With the short barrel and crisp trigger (two puonds), it's my best offhand shooter, including some of my carbines:

January 22, 2009, 11:27 PM
T/C's are extremely accurate. Just go to any smallbore silhouette match and count the number of shooters who aren't using a T/C. Granted that's for a .22LR not a 7mm, but still.

January 22, 2009, 11:58 PM
I had a Stainless G1 Contender with a .44 Mag barrel and a 30/30 barrel. Both were far more accurate than I was. I don't remember why I got rid of it but I'm going to have to get another one. My wife's rifle is an Encore in 7mm08. She has a Nikon Monarch 3-9 mounted on it and can get 1 inch groups with Federal Premium ammo.

One thing I really liked about my Contender, the gun had a Pachmayr grip and forend. This meant that I had only one mounting screw for the forend. Yup, definitely going to have to get myself another one of those.

January 24, 2009, 09:53 PM
I've owned a few Contenders. I once had a decent assortment of barrels and accessories, but that was when I was in the service and didn't get so much chance to go out shooting recreationally, and didn't have a reloading settup.

Then after I moved to Austin I picked up a 14" .223 with a good scope, took it out to the range with some Winchester 45gr ammo (slow rifling twist, figured I shouldn't use the heavier grains), and had a terrible time getting on target with it. I hasten to add, I'm not blaming the gun, just me! I finally realized I could boresight it by cracking the barrel open, looking down the bore and comparing that to the crosshairs. But even after I got the scope more-or-less on, I was all over the target at 100m, not even good enough of a group to start adjusting.

I was shooting off of a full ammo-can with a rolled-up coat on it as a rest. I figure that my problem was some combination of having no familiarity with sighting in scopes (just M16A2 iron sights), and not knowing how to use a rest properly.

I'm still fascinated by the idea of the T/C, and am just about to start reloading for my Ruger .32 H&R single-action. At some point I just might have to get another T/C, and then find an experienced T/C shooter to explain what I'm doing wrong with it. Further, I imagine that being a handloader would massively increase my enjoyment of, and involvement with, the T/C. 6x45mm (my dream plinker cartridge) ammo is pretty hard to find on store shelves...

January 25, 2009, 08:20 AM
Owned tc from 1975 had 3 receivers setup .had several barrell setups when they ONLY COST 30.00DOLLARS.all gone boat sank

If you enjoyed reading about "Concerning the Thompson Contender ..." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!