Contender caliber selection


December 9, 2007, 06:08 PM
Looking to buy a contenter for tree stand hunting next season, I use to have a savage striker .308. Had a red dot on it did'nt like it, and sold it. Wish I did'nt. What caliber contender would be optimum for deer up to 150 yards. Where I live it's shotgun only. I don't know to much about rifle calibers and would'nt be reloading myself . I would just be buying loads off the shelf . One person recommended 35 rem, and another guy recommended 30/30 or 45long. Thanks for the help.

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December 9, 2007, 06:14 PM
Hands down the .308 is best hunting round for North America (Unless you have alot of money for many specialized calibers and expensive bullets, and reload).

Its ballisic coefficient is basically the same as the 30-06 for all practical purposes.

December 9, 2007, 06:21 PM
Inside of 150 yards, 35 Remington is hard to beat. It's got more thump than a 308 and works better in shorter barrels.

ETA - I'm actually really partial to intermediate chamberings, and would make mine 6.8SPC. But that's just me, and I also handload.

December 9, 2007, 07:09 PM
if where you live is shotgun hunting only do you want a contender barrel for target shooting?

December 9, 2007, 07:39 PM
You can hunt with a handgun, but not a rifle. Also to add to my questions what lenght barrel would work the best. I would be adding a 2x scope ,also a bipod

December 9, 2007, 07:48 PM
Check the regs regarding cartridge legality where you live. Here in IL, we are basically limited to "handgun" cartridges (i.e. .44 mag, .41 mag, .357 mag etc.).

December 9, 2007, 07:53 PM
there are some members here who have posted pics of deer shot with a .30-30 contender barrel. I know that worked well for them.

December 9, 2007, 08:11 PM
What about the 460 with a 15" barrel?

December 9, 2007, 08:22 PM
We are held to only shotgun, ML, or pistols

The pistols may be in any centerfire cartrige >.380 Dia, and a minimum barrel length of 5" is required, that being said all cartriges MUST be straight walled, with no length contraints, therefore my buddy always looking for more recoil, and loopholes in Hunting Regs. . .
He set up an Encore in 45-70 with a TC custom Shop 12" barrel with 1.5" Muzzle Tamer, actually not bad to shoot. . .

This is just one option. . .

December 9, 2007, 09:22 PM
A 15" Encore in .243, 7mm-08 or .308 should do the trick. ;)

December 11, 2007, 12:41 AM
Out to 150yrds, Don't dismiss the 44mag, especially out of a 14" barrel. My choice would be a 30 or 357 herrett, or a 30-30AI, but you'd have to reload of pay someone bukoo bucks to reload for you.

December 11, 2007, 03:53 AM
Not so bad; .357 Rem Maximum. I have 14" barreled with G2 mechanism.

December 11, 2007, 04:22 AM
Here in Indiana we have the same deal. Pistols in any caliber .357 mag or greater. I use a .357 Herrett with a 2.5x8 Weaver scope. As noted, the Herrett is handload only. The .35 Rem is very close, available over the counter, and is extremely popular here. For your needs it perhaps your best choice. That's what I'd get.

After lots and lots of looking, I got the Weaver scope for the Contender. My rifles have Burris, Leupold, or B&L's. Got the suggestion from a guy that owns a gun shop and shoots Contenders in lots of competitions (IMSHA). The Weaver has the best eye relief, excellent clarity, and is one of the lower priced ones out.

December 11, 2007, 12:57 PM
are than my .357 Rem Max. My ordinary loads T/C G2 14" barreled: 158 Hornady HPXTP N-110 21gr Rem case oal 1,9" 2114 fps and oal 2" 2040 fps. :confused:

December 11, 2007, 04:09 PM
I took my first buck with a TC in 35 Rem., 14" hunter barrel and a 4x scope. I was in a tree (not a stand) and took him at about 100 yards. It was a great gun. Just practice with you gloves on!! I didn't and hit the buck in the neck, but he dropped DRT!!:what: Have fun.

December 11, 2007, 06:05 PM
You don't see a big difference between the 357 max and the herrett until you start pushing the heavier bullets. Even then the deer probably won't notice. I just started to shoot the max out of a custom 10 inch barrel and it's quite impressive.
Another thing to think about in the 35rem is misfires. T/C has had a problem at times with chambers out of spec which causes misfires unless the case is sized to the chamber. Definately a hard hitter.
A couple of other choices if you're looking for a thumper are the 375 win and the 444 marlin, my personal favorite, but not for the meek.

December 11, 2007, 06:17 PM
I am thinking break open guns like T/C Contender and G2, likes rimmed cases. But I have .223 Rem and 9mm Luger with no problems.

December 11, 2007, 06:41 PM
I have an older Contender super 14" in 30-30 Win. I have found it VERY effective for whitetail. It will shoot a 100 yard group under 5/8" when I can. I use reloads with 125gr Nosler BT's over a good charge of IMR 4198. (I'm not running burn-blast-n-blind loads here.)

I have killed deer from 5 yards to 175 yards. PLENTY of penetration, plenty of damage to the target and good, clean kills. Most were dead when they hit the tracks they were standing in.

I hunt from a stand and am careful about shot placement with it and I am not a quick shooter with it.

Not saying this is the best for you as the other calibers will work fine too. However, this one has worked well for me.

Good luck-handgun hunting is a real blast!

December 12, 2007, 06:33 AM
It will shoot a 100 yard group under 5/8" when I can.
Accuracy of the Contender seems to rival a very good bolt rifle. Operator error tends to be the biggest question, at least in my case. I got a LOT of different bullet weights at a blow out sale for $3 a box. Bought something like 18 boxes, every one they had. Some were 110 grain, and they even shoot extremely well.

The Maximum is just a little shorter than the Herrett. In the real world, I suppose the difference is very little. Remember that a 10% increase in powder typically gives a 2 1/2% increase in velocity.

The Herrett is a .30-30 necked up to .35 and shortened .200. It's been a long time since I chrono'd mine, but IIRC I was getting about 2,200 with a 160 grain. I'd have to check my records to make sure. These were about middle of the recommended load range.

In any event, there are a number of rounds that will work. There is no one right answer, but a number that will work fine. Right before deer season my local shop gets 25-30 boxes of .35 Rem, and we can't hunt with rifles here. They're all for Contenders. You could find .30-30 anywhere.

I don't know to much about rifle calibers and would'nt be reloading myself . I would just be buying loads off the shelf .
I know some guys don't want to reload, but you might consider starting. I'd get a nice simple single stage for rifle. You can pay for your entire set-up with the first 2 boxes (40 rounds) of ammo you'd buy retail. We go through that easily in one sitting. As you can see, a lot of the guys here reload.

December 12, 2007, 09:02 AM
My vote goes for the 7-30 Waters.

December 12, 2007, 09:09 AM
Guess I'll break the trend here. Given the distances you want to hunt, I would opt for the Encore in 7-08 Rem. JMHO. I have owned and fired several T/Cs, both Encore and Contender, and like both. Yes, the 7-30 Waters is good, but the 7-08 is better. In my 7-08, I used 120 grains handloads. Accuracy was exceptional. T/C does have a 1" guarantee for handloads at 100 yards, so if you're not grouping well, something is wrong, and it likely is not the pistol. Use quick-release rings and have a 2.5-7 scope and a nice reddot and your set.


December 12, 2007, 08:24 PM
My vote goes for the 7-30 Waters.

He wants over the counter factory loads. Again, any of the .35 Rem, .30-30, or 7-08 would work fine. Once you get a 150 grain bullet moving at 2,000 fps, the deer won't care what the case looked like.

December 12, 2007, 08:31 PM
I would go with the Encore and a 15" .243 barrel.

2nd choice would be a 25/06 barrel.


December 12, 2007, 10:12 PM
I have an older Contender super 14" in 30-30 Win. I have found it VERY effective for whitetail. It will shoot a 100 yard group under 5/8" when I can. I have the same and get the same results on paper. Though I do not hunt, I would not hesitate to use this model and caliber should I decide to. The accuracy is incredible with every factory load I've tried.

December 13, 2007, 08:55 AM
T/C has had a problem at times with chambers out of spec which causes misfires unless the case is sized to the chamber.

Is this specific to the Contender or does/did it affect Encore barrels as well? Any links?

December 13, 2007, 09:33 AM
I'm not sure about the Encore. I haven't heard of many chamber mishaps with the Encore. There are a couple of chamberings in the Contender that are interesting. 357 mag barrels sometimes have deep enough chambers to use 357 max brass in. My last wouldn't use max brass, but would chamber 360 DW without difficultly. That amounts to a pretty good jump to the lands for the bullet. I could seat out 140gr bullets as far as I could in my 7tcu and never hit the rifling.
I should add that neither of those barrels seemed to show any lack of accuracy because of it.
For all questions in the specialty pistol field you should look into this board.
Not just alot of info, but also just a nice group of guys to sit and chat with.

December 13, 2007, 09:45 AM
Thanks. Looks like I'll be getting a Groupee registration later today.

December 13, 2007, 10:29 AM
Is there 7,62(.308)x39 barrel for Contender/G2. How much $$$ 30-30 and 7,62x39 barrels new/used?

Joe Demko
December 13, 2007, 10:34 AM
I also have an older Contender with a .30-30 barrel. I've taken several deer with it. I don't see how they could have been any deader.

December 13, 2007, 10:40 AM
A 15" Encore in .243, 7mm-08 or .308 should do the trick.



December 13, 2007, 10:51 AM
7.62X39 is just a bit too much pressure for the contender frame according to most gurus. I've seen some custom barrels, but they are for reloading only to keep the pressures down. I tihnk alot of the worry is someone trying to push a .311 bullet down a .308 bore in an already borderline cartridge. 30-30 barrels are pretty common on the used market, think I paid $125 for my last one.

June 6, 2008, 05:24 PM
In New York you can use any you want just as long as the barrel on you pistol in less than 16". Here's a quote from NYDEC website:

Handgun-is any pistol or revolver intended to be aimed and fired with one hand, and having a barrel length not exceeding 16 inches.

If you travel South or East just a little you can use a rifle. Good luck hunting.

June 6, 2008, 09:09 PM
So a brief scan shows me that yes, we are talking Contender/G2 and not Encore. I have an old Contender frame and I have to say I'm very happy with the .30-30 for ranges out to 200 yards. So far, though, my longest shot has been 90, but it kills very quickly. I shoot 3031 behind a 150 Nosler BT. I also have tested the 140 Barnes, but all the deer I've shot so far has been with the Nosler. It's a boat tail bullet with a decent ballistic coefficient and carries 1000 ft lbs at 200 yards, so it makes enough snuff for 200 yards on whitetail.

The barrel I have is a 12" hunter barrel, involves a built in compensator which is very effective and eliminating most recoil. This thing recoils about like a .38 special standard load in a K frame, honest to God. Oh, it's loud. Don't shoot it out of a box blind without hearing protection. I found THAT one out the hard way. But, in an open stand, it's not bad at all. I generally wear my muffs on top of my head and pull 'em down when I'm hunting out of enclosed blinds, though. I really like it and ain't looking to change for my hunting pistol.

June 6, 2008, 09:22 PM
I just had a brake put on my 357 max barrel. Greatly reduced recoil, but man can you hear it work.

June 6, 2008, 10:58 PM
I am building an encore pistol in 7mm BR. Not a round you want to get into unless you reload. The 357 max is also a good round but not unless you reload. I personally wouldn't want a full 308 cased round in a pistol. I an building mine with and MGM 14" barrel, Leupold 4x scope. I did a trigger job on the frame. It should be a good shooter if I do my part.

March 4, 2010, 06:48 AM
factory loads ?

i'ed go with the contender super 14'' in 7-30 waters

March 4, 2010, 10:05 PM
Over the last decade Ive taken a dozen deer out to 100 yards with a 10" 357 Max and 180gr FPJ bullets.

March 4, 2010, 10:32 PM
My opinion only - 35 Remington for a factory chambering. I'm shooting a 14" 357 Herrett.
I took the 2X Leupold off and put a Bushnell Holosight on, I like the holosight a lot better.

March 5, 2010, 10:09 AM
My vote is for .35 Remington. My buddy has a Contender in .35 Rem, who let me shoot it. It shoots very well, recoil is manageable, and noise is not so bad.

I have a 20" .308, and I can't imagine what the muzzle blast would be like from a .308 or 7mm-08 from a 14" barrel.

March 5, 2010, 04:40 PM
If it has to be a common round for the Contender, 30-30. If it can be any Whitetail Contender round, 7-30 Waters. I have both and the 7-30 shoots flatter. If it has to be straight walled, 44 mag. Both the 44 mag and 7-30 barrels are 11 inch with a muzzle tamer. They are both very capable on deer. The 44 mag has the most recoil of the 3.

My favorite is my 223 in Super 14. You can shoot it all day long, it will explode a groundhog at 200 yards, and it is very accurate.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 5, 2010, 05:01 PM
I'd look at

.260 Rem
.30-30 win
.35 Rem
7-30 Waters
6.8 SPC
6.5 Grendel

Out of a 14" or longer bbl, I'd probably run with 7mm-08 or .260 Rem. Out of a 12" bbl, probably 7-30 Waters. Take that back, I'd run with 7-30 Waters regardless. Great round out of a Contender pistol.

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