Thompson Contender Price Check


August 8, 2005, 10:20 PM
Ok I was in one of the local shops tonight and they had a Thompson Contender (no clue which version it is) with a .357 magnum barrel for $225. They also had an extra .22lr barrel for $100. Are these normal prices? I've always been interested in the platform I just haven't seen to many around to know much about them.

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August 8, 2005, 10:30 PM
Hi Dave :)

Hmmm - sounds well useful to me. New barrels themselves run around the $200 area and I'd never be too surprised to see a whole gun go for $450 region.

If you have the frame then of course you can add barrels - sounds like a very OK deal from here. Doubt (personally) I'd bother with a 22 barrel but my .223 barrel is my fave! Even if this is the original Contender like mine (which I think you have seen or even fired) - you still have plenty of choices for cal. I have a .44 mag barrel too and 30-30 is another nice option.

The Encore is a tougher cookie and will accept heavier cals - but hey - I'd snap this up by sound of it. can't see you losing even if you sell later.

Best to you and Erica. :)

August 9, 2005, 01:28 AM
Sounds like a good price, especially if we're looking at bull barrels. Those 357 mag barrels with the shot choke tend to not be the best shooters. I paid 3 bills for my first setup with just a 10inch bull 357 and considered it a good deal. Problem is, I've spent 4 times that on new barrels and glass and grips, and of course you have to feed the danged thing. :D
Best thing about buying one is that even if you decide you don't like the caliber, it's pretty easy to find soemone who wants to trade.

August 9, 2005, 07:12 AM
Having the contender "sickness" like many around here, I can tell you this...that deal sounds kinda fishy...

As others have said...cheapest I have seen a frame and barrel go for was 350 and that was a frame with a trigger issue (someone tried to massage it into a target trigger and instead made a dangerous situation, so he tried to sell it off). I am happy to say that Thompson Center Arms was more than happy to sell me a trigger at an extremely reasonable price.

Simple test is to set the action (break and close) then pull the hammer back, then slap the base of the pistol grip in the palm of your hand...if the hammer doesn't fall, then your sear engagement is good as well as your spring tension for the same. inspect the bore for throat erosion...there should be a well-defined shoulder inside the will have frame marks on the barrel...break the action as to load it, then try to wiggle the barrel to see how much frame stretch there is...357 mag shouldn't stretch a TC frame, but I have been wrong many times before...I just want you to make sure that your getting something that won't KB on you...

As far as the barrel goes, remember that if there IS what appears to be throat erosion, you can always rechamber to either 357 Max, 360 DW or 35 Remington...they all use the same diameter bullets and TC uses the same twist rate on all those chamberings.

And as far as the 22 lr goes...I would get it because they are just so much fun to shoot. :)

Harry Paget Flashman
August 9, 2005, 07:45 AM
Sounds like a bargain. The real expense is adding barrels later on.

August 9, 2005, 08:34 AM
I would look it over and if in good shape I would probably hurt myself trying to get my wallet out. That is EXTREMELY cheap.

August 9, 2005, 09:05 AM
Well darnit you guys, there goes some of my money for my varmint rifle :neener:

August 9, 2005, 09:53 AM
db made some good points Dave - I too was thinking ''why so cheap''. Carry out the tests/inspection as he suggests - and hopefully you'll still find it good and so be worth getting.

The varmint rifle can wait! And hey - I regard my Contender with the .223 barrel as a perfect varmint platform!

Let us know what develops.

August 9, 2005, 11:21 AM
My 14" .223 barrel will shoot under 1/2MOA, just how accurate do you need you're varmint rifle to be? :cool:

August 9, 2005, 11:46 AM
I am curious if that(357 mag) is a hotshot barrel or just standard? Octagon? Bull? what length? And where at? Pawnshop or mom and pop gunshop?

Pawnshops around here are generally good to go looking for "gunsmith specials" get Bubba going on a rifle thinking he is going to re-invent the wheel and instead he screws up a perfectly good rifle/handgun...

And was already said...223 TC barrel in 12-14" length makes for a really good varmint pistol...and then you can move up to a 16" for a carbine or 21 or 24" for a good can find thumbhole stocks and the accuracy is there in abundance...the pre-G2 frames are easy to massage into a real whistle-pig nightmare. :evil:


August 9, 2005, 02:11 PM
Well I stopped by at lunch today to run through the inspection db mentioned, It passed. Paid for it today but I have to wait a couple weeks to fill out the paperwork because of Marylands dumb one regulated gun a month law. I did pass on the .22 barrel for now but I'll probably go back later to pick it up. Thanks for the help guys!

db: This was from a mom and pop shop. As far as I know it's a standard barrel. It's definitely not octagon. Not sure if I would call it a bull or not either, the barrel is the same thickness for the length but not overly thick. I'd put the length around 10", it may be shorter but it's definitely not more then 10".

August 9, 2005, 03:07 PM
10" standard contour is what I have. In 357 Mag, that is...very good barrel and VERY accurate with factory ammo...haven't started rolling for it yet, but that will happen soon.

Congrats on the won't be sorry.

Pretty soon you will learn that you can tell the approx. age of a barrel by how the stampings are on the barrel...

Welcome to the worst of all firearm addictions...Contenders. :D

I went from one frame and barrel to 4 frames and 9 barrels and I am hunting for a 5th to turn into a rifle/carbine setup for my 45-70.

August 9, 2005, 03:21 PM
That is a very low price for a Contender barrel in any kind of decent condition. If you have 100 of them you could sell them on EBay for between $140 -$160 apiece easily and make a profit. Centerfire barrels go for between $180 and $250 depending on caliber. Some of those people could buy it for less new at retail but have to "win" the auction. Great if you are selling.

August 10, 2005, 06:59 AM
Gunshows in Houston you can find TC barrels for 150 dollars plus or minus 10-15 dollars depending on how much crack the vendor is smoking...some actually try to get retail for a used barrel and his table is strangely serene and peaceful after an hour or so...

You go to a gunshow you must remember that all is negotiable...especially price. :p

General rule you can remember...on the USED market...standard barrels and not SSK or Bullberry...225-250 for frames and 125-160 for barrels.

JD must think he is using gold or platinum in making his barrels...he crazy.
Bullberry makes a decent product 75% of the time...4 people I know have purchased new from sent back for a non-shooter...would only hit paper at 25 yards...wound up being a muzzlebrake issue and they made good on they don't get barked at too much by me.

Again, welcome to the fold and if you need any help with your TC lemme know here or PM me and I will be as much help as possible.

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