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What Caliber Contender Barrel for Young Shooter's First Deer Season?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Olympus, Oct 11, 2017.

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  1. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    Hey guys, I'm looking to get a custom barrel made from Match Grade Machine for my little T/C Contender in a caliber that a very young, small shooter could use for their first deer season but also something that's not too loud and recoiling that they can do a lot of "fun"shooting throughout the year to help them become more proficient with shot placement. I'm thinking I'll probably have the barrel cut down to 16"-18" so that the overall length and balance will fit a small size shooter. MGM has a huge list of calibers available and I do reload, so it doesn't need to be an "off the shelf" caliber. I just need to be able to get or make brass reasonably easy for whatever caliber. Any advice?
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    Heavens, I don't think anything custom or oddball would need to be made. A .357 Mag. barrel would make a very dandy first deer rifle/pistol. Certainly would put down any white-tail at the kind of distances a young hunter would be making a shot.


    Are you going to put this into carbine configuration?
     
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  3. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I have a MGM 13" 357 maximum barrel for my contender pistol and it is fantastic. If your hunting ranges are short (150 yards and less) I would recommend the 357 maximum. To start out you can load it to 357 magnum velocity with 158 grain bullets and slowly work up in velocity as they get used to it. A 158 grain at 1400 fps or so in a carbine will be very mild on recoil and blast. A 158 grain sierra JSP at 1800-1900 FPS would be mild recoiling deer load for a youngster and the expansion will be fantastic. My deer load is a 180 grain Hornady XTP at 2000 fps which is stout in my 13" handgun, but just wanted to mention that to show the cartridge has power potential for down the road. Mine groups 1 to 1-1/2" groups at 100 yards with a 4x pistol scope. The beauty of a straight wall cartridge like the maximum is its super easy to reload just using carbide 357 magnum carbide dies, and can be loaded anywhere from 38 special levels all the way up to nearing 308 win energy levels.

    My father in law has a 14" 30 harrett barrel I bought him this spring and that is an excellent and very soft shooting cartridge. You do have to form brass for it from 30/30 but its easy to do. We load it with 125 grain nosler BT's at 2000 fps and you can easily shoot it one handed. A more modern equivalent that doesn't require case forming would be a 7.62x39 or a 6.8 spc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  4. HB

    HB Member

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    30-30 all the way. Brass is everywhere this time of the year.

    HB
     
  5. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    And just to be more confusing, 7-30waters with 120nosler ballistic tips, or something similar.
    Im biased thats what i shoot......
    One major downsides to any rifle cartridge, even in a super 14, is that they are blasty, but in a carbine i think the 7-30 would be well mannered, efficient, and take advantage of the really good 120-125 bullets available.

    But again thats mostly academic as any magnum pistol cartridge from .357 on up should be fine for short range
    And any (medium game) rifle cartridge will pick up from there, while offering little real difference between them, as the contender is thrust limited.
    This is of course assuming your a reloaded (which OP is)
     
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  6. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    I was going to say .357 mag. Recoil will be very low, and while your range is probably limited to 75-100 yards, I don’t think that’s a bad thing for a new shooter.

    And since it sounds like you plan on letting this shooter do a quite a bit of practice, you can use .38 sp (or downloaded .357) and it’ll feel like a .22 mag!
     
  7. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...barrel cut down to 16"-18"..." Re-think that. A wee barrel will significantly increase the muzzle blast and noise. That alone can put an inexperienced shooter off the whole thing. And it's not the barrel that needs fitting to a small shooter. It's the stock. Assuming you're using a Contender rifle.
    You maybe leaving it too late for this year anyway. Absolutely, if the kid hasn't passed the local Hunter's Safety training and had a chance to shoot the thing. The kid will have to learn to shoot it and sight it in him/herself. You cannot sight in for somebody else.
     
  8. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    Not really to an obnoxious degree with a .357 -- another benefit.
     
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  9. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Cut it to 16", install a linear compensator from Kaw Valley Precision - or more fun, cut it to 14.5" and P&W the comp. The lower powered Contender-compatible cartridges aren't very abusive, even in short barrels, but the linear compensator will help keep the blast away from the shooter (which is nice when hunting, since most folks don't wear hearing protection in the field).

    A "very small kid" will not notice any difference in POI shift from your zero. However, do take time to fit the stock to the shooter - smaller kids will have lower eye position than adults, so they typically need a cheek riser, and of course, shorter length of pull on the stock. I typically use red dot sights with the youngest shooters to alleviate parallax issues.

    A 7-30 waters is a very productive cartridge for the Contender carbines, and I'd second that option. The .357 mag doesn't impress me, but it can work.
     
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  10. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    Well there are two aspects to fitting a rifle to a small shooter. The stock is one and the barrel is the other. The stock on the Contender rifle is very short and compact with a short length of pull so that part shoot be fine. The barrel length affects the balance and feel of the rifle. If it's too long, it will be too muzzle-heavy for a small shooter to hold up. I want him to be able to balance the rifle if necessary.
     
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  11. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    357 Mag and 357 Max are both calibers I hadn't thought of, but would certainly work for the hilly, thick woods that we hunt.

    Then there's also 10mm and 44 Mag that I also already shoot and reload for.
     
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  12. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator Emeritus

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    I've often pondered a .44 Mag Contender, SBR'd, with a suppressor, as a really great youth deer gun, as you could load a mighty thumping heavy slug at subsonic speeds and have a fantastic thumper that was pretty quiet.
     
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  13. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Id personally prefer something larger than the .357, tho the Max might be pretty neat. I like the .44 idea if pistol rounds are the name of the game, or perhaps the 445 supermag.
     
  14. redbullitt

    redbullitt Member

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    The 357 max is a deer killing machine... Cant go wrong there if you can get brass without issue and you load them yourself.

    Check out bellmtcs.com. More information on your topic than you could ever want.

    I like the rimmed cartridges in the encore/contender. Personal favorite would be the 307 winchester, or 7.62x54 for a break action deer rifle in my encore. I am not sure what the limit is on the contender frame though. 357 maximum is a very close second, only because brass can be tough to find.

    30 30 would be an easy to use, common rimmed cartridge. I have a mgm barrel in that caliber and it does very well on deer if you load proper bullets.
     
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  15. 458MinMag

    458MinMag Member

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    I'll throw in another vote for the 7-30 Waters. My Dad used to have one in a Contender pistol and it was a good little cartridge. You can load it light now, and step it up (a little) as he/she gets older.

    A 30 Herrett would be a fun cartridge too. It is formed from 30-30 brass and was designed for the Contender. Barnes has a 110gr .308 bullet that is designed to expand at 300 Blackout velocities which would be a good choice for a deer hunting bullet. 300 Blackout may be a good option if you want to have the benefit of factory ammo.
     
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  16. AABEN

    AABEN Member

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    If you go with a rifle Savage makes youth guns and a 243 is a very good round witch has little kick and will last a life time can be passed down to the next one. My son passed his down to his sister. Good luck on what ever you do
     
  17. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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  18. Geno

    Geno Member

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    I’m thinking .44 Mag or .45 LC with a nice red dot. I would keep a longer than 16” barrel. JMHO.

    Geno
     
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  19. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Perhaps a longer "carbine" tapered barrel to reduced muzzle heaviness (MGM offers custom profiles i see as well), At least if going with a rifle cartridge? I think 16-18 is plenty for a pistol round.
     
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  20. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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    I would go with the 44 magnum I had a 357 Max but was just a PITA looking for Brass all the time and 180gr XTP bullets
    get the 44 mag and down load it a 240gr bullet going 1100 fps will kill any deer
    good luck
     
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  21. AFDoc

    AFDoc Member

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    6.5 Grendel?
     
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  22. witchhunter

    witchhunter Member

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    How about a 25/35?
     
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  23. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    Wow, lots of good suggestions so far. Unfortunately, the 30-30 and 7-30 are going to be too large for a shooter this small. Again, this is something that I want him to be able to shoot throughout the year for fun just so he can get comfortable and familiar with the rifle and it not be something he's scared of because the kick or the boom scares him the very first time.

    44 Mag is another good choice because I already have a Marlin 1894 and I have some really, crazy light reloads that I call "bunny fart" loads that I can shoot behind the house and not anger the neighbors. I'd let him shoot the 1894, but I don't want to put a scope on it and I'd really prefer that he starts out hunting with a scope instead of iron sights.

    I think 44 Mag and 357 Max are both my favorites so far, but keep them coming!
     
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  24. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Olympus

    I like Geno's suggestion of going with a .44 Mag or .45 Colt with a Red Dot sight. This would be a great set-up for hunting in a heavily wooded area. If a rifle cartridge is under consideration I would think the .243 could be a good choice for a young deer hunter as well.
     
  25. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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