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T/C Contender and .223? Best loads/barrels?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by MatthewVanitas, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Well-Known Member

    Greetings. I've had a T/C Contender for some time now, but have always been too busy to get as deeply involved with it as I'd like. Once I get back stateside, I plan to start getting back in to it.

    To that end, I've been thinking that the .223 is probably the most affordable way to have fun with a T/C, in terms of having more range than the .22LR, but still affordable.

    I currently have a 16" barrel, but it only has the stock sights. Plus, I bought it used, and it appears that the chamber may be eroded. So I may just sell this one to someone who wants to rechamber, and buy another .223 barrel instead.

    That said, what's the best .223 fun one can have with a Contender?

    Do I lose massive amounts of velocity with the 10" barrel? Is there a happy compromise on barrel length?

    If I choose a 10" or 14" barrel, I assume that my ammo choices would be very different from someone firing a 24" bolt-action rifle. If I get into handloading, are there markedly different loadings and techniques for .223 pistols vs. rifles?

    Would appreciate any info from T/C fans out there. I also have been meaning to post for some time regarding getting a Lee Hand Press to reload for my T/C, so I'll go post that one in Reloading next. Thanks for your help. -MV
  2. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Well-Known Member

    I've been getting good results from a factory "super 14" with winchester cases, 748 powder and hornady 55gr SXSP slugs.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2004
  3. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Matthew - know what?? I all but promised myself I'd work up a special load just for my T/C ... but so far it ain't happened. Why?

    It would seem that the WWB 55 grain loads work extremely well ... at least well enough. Next time out I want to try the 45 grain varmint WWB .. which seem excellent in my Ruger 77 MkII.

    In theory, I felt I ought to download somewhat .. not waste powder in shorter barrel etc. But apparent muzzle flash seems other than extreme and, bottom line .... the groups are reasonable.

    My ''normal'' .223 load for Mini is 24.8 Vhit N-133 and 55 grainer ..... lively load to ensure action cycling.

    For Contender I am thinking different. Maybe something like 25 grns Varget and a 55 grn. Yet to try tho.

    Oh BTW ... my .223 barrel is a 14" and I wouldn't choose as short as 10" myself for .223, to be honest .. that's too short to fully exploit the cal IMO


    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    I have a 10" 223 and it shoots so well with Federal Premium 55 BTHP that it is completely a waste of time to try to handload. It goes sub-2" EASILY at 200 yards. Never shot it over a chrony but the velocity is high enough to make shooting out to 300 yards possible without drastic elevation holdover or adjustments.
  5. JuniorG

    JuniorG Well-Known Member

    I've had two 223 bbls over the course of my addiction, one 14" and 1 carbine (20" I believe) Both were excellent shooters with RP cases, Win. primers, W748 powder and plain old Speer 52gr HPs

    Someday I'll have another 14incher and I hope its half as good as the 1st one I had.

    Have fun!
  6. MatthewVanitas

    MatthewVanitas Well-Known Member

    I was thinking for a while that I wanted a 16" barrel so it could double as a carbine or pistol. But then I realized, unless I leave it with iron sights, the optics choice will confine it to one role or the other. Or is there some choice of optics which allows me to use a 16" barrel in both formats?

    Seems there are happy campers with both 14" and 10" barrels. Do you 10" fans not find the muzzle blast to be excessive?

    The fact that WWB .223 has also been cited as satisfactory puts a crimp in my plans to get into handloading. Oh well, I suppose I can just get a revolver in 10.4mm Italian and use that as my rationale.

    Is there anything that a .223 barrel with shot-out chamber can be reamed out to? Anyone want to buy an otherwise satisfactory barrel for their projects? -MV
  7. Bob C

    Bob C Well-Known Member


    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    Blast with the 10" tube is NASTY, same for the 14, and the 14 with the brake on it is MISERABLE!!!!!!! The 10" has less blast than the 14" with the brake for sure. They are all bad noisy, and there is no way to shoot without protection, so just get the barrel you want.

    How much for that barrel with the bad chamber? You can PM it if you want.
  9. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    I had a 10 inch barrel, shot pretty well, but the muzzle blast will get to you after a while. Traded it for my 14 incher and we get along just fine. My best groups come from hornady 45 gr bullets and either 2015BR or a reduced load with BlueDot. Both of those will do 5 shots under 1 inch at 100yrds. I've also had some good results with 50gr bullets and 2400, but ran out of 50 gr bullets before I could really wring out the load. One thing that really shrinks my groups with the 223 is using CCI benchrest primers.
  10. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Okie - despite what ''H'' said .. I see you too prefer the 14" ... like I do. I am pleasantly surprised by WWB so far .. and look forward to trying the 45 grain varmint loads in mine.

    BTW ... seen you back here this last week or so .... pleased to see that. Did your ''time off'' prove useful??
  11. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    Time off proved useful

    but mostly in a spiritual way. I'm way more active, sanded the rust off the weights and invested in some good hiking boots, but still weighing in at around 275. But I've gotten back to who I want to be, kinda hard to explain. My time off actually lasted about a month longer than planned due to a massive computer crash, and the Feds wanting the money I wanted to use to buy a new computer.

    Back on topic, I've never shot factory thru the 14 incher. Never could find factory that would shoot under 2 inches with the 10 incher. The wife and I went out to the range today so I could set the scope on the 44 barrel and she burnt up about 100 rds of 223 that were loads I didn't care for. We were just shooting at 50 yrds, but I'll bet none of those shots went outside a 2 inch group. I was going to get a 22 hornet barrel, but I can download the 223 to about the same difference. A word of caution on the reduced loads. Some people like to set the bullet out so that it just touches the lands of the rifling in the contender. I recently read about a guy who did this (in a 17 rem IIRC) and it caused enough of a pressure spike to blow the frame.
  12. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Thx for the feedback Okie ... sounds like you did achieve quite a lot. :)

    Re the bullet seating aspect .. know what ... seeing as I ain't a total ''groupie'' .. and can accept what I find adequate .. I prefer to have that bullet take a little more of a jump, than ever risk touching lands. A useful cautionary mention I'm sure.
  13. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    I've tried seating the bullet long in several calibers, the only one that saw any improvement was Seirra's 180gr sillywet, and it still didn't shoot as well as regular hornady 158gr jhp's. Some people swear by it, and I'm sure it works for them. The one thing I've learned about these things is that each barrel is a whole new animal.
  14. critter

    critter Well-Known Member

    I shoot a Contender super 14" stainless. Mine LOVES 50 gr Nosler ballistic tips over moderate loads of IMR 4198. Well in the sub 1" range and devistating on small vermin, etc. Good luck.

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