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Contender guys. I need education on the platform.

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by R.W.Dale, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    I purchased this 44 mag contender today and am having some difficulty establishing what exact configuration I have.


    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.



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  2. PapaG

    PapaG Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. pendennis

    pendennis Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

  6. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    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?
    posted via mobile device.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  7. steveno

    steveno Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  8. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Hunterdad

    Hunterdad Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. sirsloop

    sirsloop Well-Known Member

    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

  11. Cemo

    Cemo Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. PapaG

    PapaG Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. loose noose

    loose noose Well-Known Member

    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.;)
  14. sirsloop

    sirsloop Well-Known Member

    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
    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!
  15. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

  16. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    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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  17. trex1310

    trex1310 Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. steveno

    steveno Well-Known Member

    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.
  19. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    Good lord!

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

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  20. sirsloop

    sirsloop Well-Known Member


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

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