Contender guys. I need education on the platform.


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R.W.Dale
April 3, 2012, 08:48 PM
I purchased this 44 mag contender today and am having some difficulty establishing what exact configuration I have.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y96/krochus/2012-04-03154838.jpg

I know its not a g2 but it doesn't match up with the descriptions I find of the older contenders. Mostly as it relates to the lack of a safety and the hammer switch layout.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y96/krochus/2012-04-03154749.jpg

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y96/krochus/2012-04-03154629.jpg



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PapaG
April 3, 2012, 09:06 PM
First model. Nothing wrong other than hard opening and terrible recoil if shooting a 410 model. Later ones are easier to switch from rf to cf.

MCgunner
April 3, 2012, 09:18 PM
Yep, the originals didn't have the hammer safety. Mine had one, fell out. Mine has the same method of switching to CR/RF and I ALWAYS have to make myself do that FIRST so I don't forget. It would be way embarrassing to pull down on a 12 point or something and hear "click". Never happened hunting, but has at the range.

My old .45 colt/.410 barrel is compensated and, with shot loads, recoil is mild. With heavy .45's, though, the choke is removed and that renders the compensator pretty worthless. The thing will pound you. Such is the case, too, with hot .44 magnums in a standard .44 mag barrel. I have a Pachmayr grip on mine, still sorta hard on me. My .30-30 is compensated, 12" "hunter" barrel, and is quite mild in recoil, but one needs their hearing protection. It's especially LOUD out of a box blind. I have a 7mm TCU barrel, mild recoil even out of a 10" standard barrel and it gets decent ballistics. I shot it in IHMSA. It still has the IHMSA click adjustable rear sight on it.

I shot one like that nearly 40 years ago at our club range in Bryan, Texas when I was in school. I was there shooting my .22 and my '51 navy. This guy was there with 2 .44s, a contender 10" and a Super Blackhawk. He let me fire both. As it wasn't long after "Dirty Harry" was released, it was a treat. I went back and told my roomies I'd gotten to fire a .44 mag. :D Anyway, the Super Blackhawk was nice, just rolled up in my hand. The Contender HURT. It's the grip profile that helps that Super Blackhawk. On that experience, I didn't bother with Contenders for a long time after i'd graduated and gotten a good job. I finally bought the .45/.410 barrel first, then added the .30-30. I've now got the 7TCU and a 10" .22 match barrel. I don't think I'm going to bother with a .45-70, though, ain't quite THAT macho, don't think, and the .30-30 is all I need down here for hunting hogs and deer.

pendennis
April 3, 2012, 09:54 PM
It will not be fun, spending the day at the range with one. Lots of recoil, and that grip configuration is not comfortable. I had a .44 Mag with a 14" barrel, and Magnaported.

You may want to find a .22 barrel. They're fun, and cheap.

MCgunner
April 3, 2012, 10:08 PM
This has been posted before, but it's pretty funny. Stupid is as stupid does...:D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCInkw3641w

Thing is built on an Encore, I think.

R.W.Dale
April 3, 2012, 10:36 PM
OK till what production date would be considered "early models" because what's throwing me is the production date via SN# shows mid 90's

ETA: I stand corrected! I was adding another digit to the sn#! It turns out to be a 1975 model


So what contender barrels can and can't I use on this particular frame?
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steveno
April 4, 2012, 02:49 AM
you can use any TC Contender barrel. I would also suggest a 22 barrel or other light recoiling caliber as the 44 mag barrel won't be fun. you also want to make sure that the barrel has the 2 piece lug instead of the one piece lug.


at one time years ago TC would convert old frames to the easy open frame. I don't know if they still do that or not. TC used to have very good customer service but I don't know if that still is true since they got bought out by S & W.

R.W.Dale
April 4, 2012, 04:35 AM
I imagine recoil in such a light 44 will be stout according to how hot things are loaded. But I'm not especially concerned. I bought this thing more for accuracy and to dabble in handgun target shooting.

I'll likely shoot more trail boss fueled cast 44spl than I ever will magnums. Should l hunt with this bbl a 240g swc at 1100fps will still lay low any critters that walk the ground here in Arkansas

To me the frame is VERY hard to open. I'm speculating that its not been converted.

Thanks for the help by the way.

posted via mobile device.

Hunterdad
April 4, 2012, 06:17 AM
I have one with a Super 14 barrel in .30-30 and don't think the recoil is bad at all. I put the Pachmayr grip and forend on mine and it helps quite a bit.

sirsloop
April 4, 2012, 07:51 AM
Lol... That .600NE video makes me laugh every time. So damn funny! I think .44 mag will be real fun to shoot. It's got enough thump to get your blood flowing, but not enough to inflict pain. My .500SW can *really bite you if you hold it incorrectly!! I think 44 is on the hot end for that frame, so you'd have to get an encore if you wanted bigger

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PREGWB4h4RA&hd=1

Cemo
April 4, 2012, 08:40 AM
The .44 will hurt a bit with those grips. I had an early model with 3 calibers, loved it, but had to sell it but later bought a couple of models made in the 80's. I put Pachmyr grips on the two later ones and love them for hand fit and recoil reduction. MidwayUSA.com has them in stock, #589251. Pachmyr forearms are available to match the grip, but you may have to take a razor knife to it where the barrel hinches. There a numerous barrels for these guns. My favorite factory round is the .223 and favorite wildcat is 7-30Waters. With a good scope this gun is easly capable of sub 1" groups at 100 yards.

PapaG
April 4, 2012, 09:38 AM
TC is now part of Smith and Wesson and as such shows little care for customers....we recently sent in an Encore barrel to have a Tamer put on it and were told they could no longer do that as the TC custom shop was no more.
I guess you'd have to call to see just what is available. I'm glad I have most of the barrels I want (other than a 300 whisper and a 375 JDJ which are also not being listed) cause there isn't much selection now.

loose noose
April 4, 2012, 10:18 AM
I've got the TC Contender I bought around 1979, with a 10" .44 Mag barrel, I bought for Steel Silhouette shooting. At the time we were shooting 40 rounds from 50 yards on out to 200 yards. Needless to say at the end of a shoot my hand and especially my social finger about had it, traded it in on a Ruger Super Black Hawk. However back around 1992, I bought another and this one I still have, in fact I have all the different barrels in pistol and carbine. If I remeber right I got them from Ed's Contenders. Don't shoot it that much anymore but still enjoy owning it.;)

sirsloop
April 4, 2012, 10:29 AM
Just cause the custom shop is not available doesn't mean you cannot get work done. There are a few places that make barrels and will modify even factory TC stuff...

Match grade machine
Eabco
Bullberry
SSk industries

Lol I used to thing my 4" 686SSR with full horse .357 kicked a lot until I touched off the 500. Recoil perception has been altered, lol!

MCgunner
April 4, 2012, 12:54 PM
JD Jones is a major barrel source with lots of wildcat rounds and barrels for the frame. .309 JDJ is pretty impressive.

http://sskindustries.com/contender

R.W.Dale
April 4, 2012, 03:01 PM
I pulled the barrel and locking bolt under the barrel is split instead of being one piece and is thicker inside the bbl than it is the part that locks into the frame.

Would this be consent with an upgraded "easy open" frame?

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trex1310
April 4, 2012, 06:09 PM
I used to shoot IHMSA silhouette matches with a 10" .44 magnum
T/C. That was/is the most brutal recoiling gun I have ever fired.
The recoil was so bad that it would sheer the screws and the rear
sight would fly off. After a match my elbow would be bleeding, my
hand numb and my head aching. I sure miss that gun.

steveno
April 4, 2012, 06:28 PM
if you can get TC or another good gunsmith to do it the frame you have can be converted to the easy open frame.

one of the reasons for the split lock was because in the search for the 100% ram load there were some loads used that with very heavy recoil the barrel would unlock and sometimes it would even throw the empty case out. I wouldn't hazard a guess on the pressure but one of the other problems when shooting a load that hot , it would also deform the hinge pin and you wouldn't be able to remove it. that is also something for TC or a good gunsmith.
in reloading manuals there is usually a section for TC's and Rugers , it is a lot better to proceed with caution and rely on the extra barrel length to get the performance.

R.W.Dale
April 4, 2012, 06:28 PM
I used to shoot IHMSA silhouette matches with a 10" .44 magnum
T/C. That was/is the most brutal recoiling gun I have ever fired.
The recoil was so bad that it would sheer the screws and the rear
sight would fly off. After a match my elbow would be bleeding, my
hand numb and my head aching. I sure miss that gun.

Good lord!

Care to share your load so ill know what to avoid doing on terms of handloads

posted via mobile device.

sirsloop
April 4, 2012, 06:29 PM
After a match my elbow would be bleeding, my
hand numb and my head aching. I sure miss that gun.

amen!


Care to share your load so ill know what to avoid doing on terms of handloads

I would avoid heavy bullets, H110 powder, and any reloading manual recipe that has red numbers for the powder ;)

MCgunner
April 5, 2012, 12:13 PM
I used to shoot IHMSA silhouette matches with a 10" .44 magnum
T/C. That was/is the most brutal recoiling gun I have ever fired.
The recoil was so bad that it would sheer the screws and the rear
sight would fly off. After a match my elbow would be bleeding, my
hand numb and my head aching. I sure miss that gun.

Well, the 7mm TCU shoots flatter and is much less dramatic. :D It's quite mild in recoil compared to a heavy .44 mag load, probably why that Ulgrade (or whatever his name was) guy invented it for IHMSA shooting. Power is not shabby in that caliber, either, 150 grain 7mm match king moving out of a 10" barrel at 2050 fps. I hunt with my compensated .30-30 barrel and it pushes a 150 Nosler BT at about the same velocity from a 12" "hunter" barrel. The .30-30 can be a bruiser without the compensator. The 7mm TCU is pretty sweet. :D I might scope it someday and put a game king in front of the charge and call it a hunting barrel since I don't shoot it anymore, don't shoot IHMSA anymore.

Peter M. Eick
April 5, 2012, 02:53 PM
Looks like a nice first model. I have one just like it. It is stiff to open but very accurate. Easy to shoot well. I need to get mine out more!

R.W.Dale
April 5, 2012, 03:00 PM
Holy cow! You guys aren't just whistling Dixie about the recoil.

I'm at the range right now having just taken my first shots. Trying to get a feel for what you guys are saying I have some leftover from my m77/44 240g xtp h110 loads I needed to get rid of. (You know where this is going)

TWO SHOTS the first had the barrel hitting a "think safety" sign over my head and the second had me going to the truck for some thick welding gloves!!!

It shoots good but I'm afraid I'll develop a flinch before I can burn through theses leftovers. Perhaps I should just save em for my friends! This thing is on an order of magnitude worse than scandium 357's or the 30-30 bfr and the 454 superredhawk I have previous experience with.

Stepping back from my handloads to some weak factory fiocchi 240g sp's recoil is still bad but certainly manageable.

I'm not touching the leftover 300g loads I brought.

posted via mobile device.

R.W.Dale
April 5, 2012, 03:05 PM
http://img.tapatalk.com/a6cd0922-ef4c-3155.jpgWell I'm done. Two shots after my last post and the rear sight flew off

:thumbdown:

posted via mobile device.

scratcherky
April 5, 2012, 04:04 PM
It has not been converted. After conversion a pivot pin will be visible right above the trigger. Call TC and see if they will convert it. There is an outside possibility they may trade it for a G2.

R.W.Dale
April 5, 2012, 04:41 PM
It has not been converted. After conversion a pivot pin will be visible right above the trigger. Call TC and see if they will convert it. There is an outside possibility they may trade it for a G2.

I'm not too worried about the easy open aspect. I just want to be able to use common barrels

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mbopp
April 5, 2012, 05:53 PM
There's an active Contender forum here:

http://www.go2gbo.com/forums/index.php

I have a 357 Herrett and 218 Bee, both 14". Yeah, the original grips are painful, I had a set of Pachmyers on but upgraded to a custom wood set from http://tonysforendsandgrips.net/

I had a Leupold 2X scope on the Herrett barrel but it now wears a Bushnell Holosight that I like much better (but my eyes are older too!) For the Bee I have a 2-7X Bushnell.

Both barrels have the split lugs. I don't have the "easy open" conversion but I really don't have a problem opening it with either barrel.

Accuracy-wise the Herrett goes just over an inch at 100 yards and the best Bee load goes into 3/4".

steveno
April 5, 2012, 06:34 PM
from the first picture I though you had the 10 inch bull barrel but I can see now that you have old octagon barrel. yes that barrel will be PAINFUL. I would suggest the 7 mm TCU as it will shoot flatter , after 100 yards it will still have most of the useful power of the 44 mag and a LOT easier to shoot.

sirsloop
April 5, 2012, 06:49 PM
HAHAHAH welding gloves! Ok, now go shoot a .500, but pre-schedule a visit to the nearest orthopedic hand specialist ;)

D'oh! You shear off the rear sight screw or did it just come loose and fly off? I had to blue loctite both my .500 and .357 magnum base and rings. They kept backing off from the punishment.

R.W.Dale
April 5, 2012, 07:08 PM
HAHAHAH welding gloves! Ok, now go shoot a .500, but pre-schedule a visit to the nearest orthopedic hand specialist ;)

D'oh! You shear off the rear sight screw or did it just come loose and fly off? I had to blue loctite both my .500 and .357 magnum base and rings. They kept backing off from the punishment.

It didn't break it but it pulled a thread or two out of the front screw hole. I redrilled the sight to use a different front hole and I'll stick to specials till I can get a screw to go up front bring the number of sight holding screws up to three.

Those factory screws don't catch nearly as many threads as I'd like

posted via mobile device.

MCgunner
April 6, 2012, 09:46 PM
My .45/.410 barrel is the octagon barrel. Picture a 300 grain XTP coming out of 7" of barrel at 1200 fps packing 1000 ft lbs. I originally had a Tasco Pro Point on it, not the strongest of scopes, but was warrantied at least. I shot the reticule loose. I'd advise a STRONG scope. :D I put the sight back on that .410/.45 Colt barrel and just fart around with it occasionally. It's fun with .410 loads. It's pretty worthless for anything useful, but it's fun. It's accurate enough for 75 yard hunting with iron sights and the .45 Colt loads, but I'd rather shoot my .30-30 for that. I have that Tasco on that .30-30 now after sending it back for repair. It's still working fine after 18 or so years on the .30-30 barrel which, as I've said, is compensated and is mild in recoil.

http://i49.tinypic.com/talzrm.jpg

JFrame
April 7, 2012, 11:24 AM
My T/C Contender started life as a .44 magnum with a 10" barrel. After having similar experiences to the ones being shared here, it quickly became a .44 special pistol... :o

It's a standard rynite Contender -- I imagine that if I had put a Decelerator grip on it and/or used a shooting glove, I would have improved the experience considerably. A one-time coworker of mine said that a Contender with a muzzle-braked .45-70, using a shooting glove, was his favorite pistol.

Having said that -- I put a 14" match .22LR barrel on mine, and with a Nikon 4x scope, has become my favorite pistol for punching paper (as well as an effective squirrel-getter)...


.

bluetopper
April 7, 2012, 08:12 PM
Sell the 44 Mag barrel and get a 223 barrel and use lighter weight bullets and a bit faster burning powders than you would for a 223 rifle to avoid all the unnecessary boom and muzzle blast. Great fun and accuracy.

mnhntr
April 8, 2012, 10:34 AM
Why is the recoil so bad in this configuration? Why is it better in say a short barrel SBH? I am missing something here. I just bought a 45colt/410 Encore pistol and so far it is very fun to shoot.

JFrame
April 8, 2012, 11:07 AM
Why is the recoil so bad in this configuration? Why is it better in say a short barrel SBH? I am missing something here. I just bought a 45colt/410 Encore pistol and so far it is very fun to shoot.

Just a couple of quick guesses...First, because the Contender uses a closed breech, it imparts every ounce of recoil that it possibly can back at the shooter. Second, the Contender in its original form did not have a grip configuration conducive to minimizing or dispersing the recoil. The rynite grip on my Contender is like a solid piece of masonry -- I imagine wood grips are comparable. Also, the backstrap on the Contender is rather thin and sharp. I imagine after-market grips (like the Decelerator) would ease things quite a bit.

There may be other factors in play, but those come to mind right off the bat...


.

R.W.Dale
April 8, 2012, 11:14 AM
Why is the recoil so bad in this configuration? Why is it better in say a short barrel SBH? I am missing something here. I just bought a 45colt/410 Encore pistol and so far it is very fun to shoot.

I pondered the same things

An octagon contender is not heavy by any stretch

The bore appears to be quite high relitive to the grip

I'll confirm this later but velocities from contenders appear to be qite a bit higher than those for revolvers. Closer to carbine speeds

The grips are great for aiming, controlling recoil....not so much

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sirsloop
April 8, 2012, 12:06 PM
...and H110 .44mag loads are much heavier than .45LC/.410 shotshells.

Velocities should be higher with a break action... no cylinder gap to drop pressures

Slapshot
April 8, 2012, 12:20 PM
Get yourself a 10 inch bull barrel and a pachmeyer grip and it will be manageable. My first contender was just like yours, 50 full charge loads and my hand was bleeding all the way from my thumb to my knuckles next day I followed the above advice and it was manageable. A trick to open the old frames is to grasp the trigger guard with two fingers and kind of pop the gun down while pulling on the trigger guard, will not damage the gun. The grip on your gun is the most punishing ever put on a contender.
Elmo

R.W.Dale
April 9, 2012, 08:03 PM
I shot this beast some more leaving the hot handloads at home this time.

7.7g of trail boss over a 200g cast rnfp is much more pleasant @1000 fps. However at 25yds they do shoot quite high with the rear sight bottomed out. I'm hoping another .5g will bring things down sufficiently.

The weak fiocchi 240g SP factory ammo I fired still hit just shy of 1400fps!!!! The rear sight breaking handloads from above posts were over 300fps faster than the fiocchi stuff in a 77/44 NO WONDER they kicked so hard.

posted via mobile device.

mnhntr
April 9, 2012, 09:26 PM
...and H110 .44mag loads are much heavier than .45LC/.410 shotshells.

Velocities should be higher with a break action... no cylinder gap to drop pressures
I know the difference in the 44mag and 45lc and was not trying to compare the two. I have a Ruger SBH 4 5/8 in barrel 44mag and my high power H110 loads are a handfull, but still I do not see why the longer Contender would be worse. I guess the weight, and like you say, the lack of cylinder gap would be a factor.

Stevie-Ray
April 10, 2012, 07:18 PM
I have one with a Super 14 barrel in .30-30 and don't think the recoil is bad at all.Same here. I can shoot my .30-30 Super 14 all day long and love each and every shot. But I also have a .45-70 Super 16 tapered barrel that has been Magnaported and is still positively brutal with 300 gr factory loads. Mine has the competitor grip, but it is not good enough for modern .45-70s.

OrangePwrx9
April 13, 2012, 01:38 PM
Couldn't figure out what your complaint was, R.W., until I saw that slim barrel and the hard-back wood grip. Guess that would translate to a hurtin' hand.

For awhile, I had a pair of Super 14 Contenders chambered in 35 Rem. Found a hot H322 load that pushed a 200 gr. RN at carbine speeds. THEY were a handful. Had two because my Dad said he wanted to hunt with one.

Anyway the softback TC grip and the Pachmyer Presentation grip made them manageable. Having a 2x Leupold on each one helped too. They sure would hammer deer inside 100 yards, but you had to practice with them to be accurate. Practice wasn't much fun.

One finally tossed its Leupold into my eye. That hurt. Luckily no permanent damage done. I still have one, but haven't shot it in years. Sold the other .35 Rem. barrel and converted the frame to a carbine (.22RF and .223). Love the carbine.

Got a 10" .44mag. Bull Barrel from Ed. It's a good shooter and a pussycat compared to the .35 Rem. I've got Super 14 barrels in .22RF match and .223 as well. The .223 Super 14 is great on coyotes according to a friend who's nailed many of them with it.

Nice thing about Contenders is that you can convert them to something totally different if you sour on what you have.

bluetopper
April 14, 2012, 10:02 AM
I just traded for a 7mm TCU barrel but haven't got the dies or bullets yet.......can't wait to try it.

steveno
April 14, 2012, 11:40 AM
a 7 mm TCU is a LOT more fun than a 44 mag in the TC

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