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Thread: What's your favorite Contender cartridge?

  1. #61
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Rochester, NH
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    409
    Used to be big into Contenders and being from where they were made it was easy to find used barrels floating around all the gun shops and gun shows.

    Had a bunch of carbine barrels but down to two at this point....a 18" Custom Shop .22 Long Rifle and a 16.5" .41 Magnum that was one of the last offereings of the Collectors Association.

    Pistol length barrels:
    .22 LR 10" Bull
    .22 Magnum 10" Bull
    .22 Jet 10" Octagon
    .30 Carbine 10" Bull
    .38 Super 10" Octagon, one open sights one scoped
    .41 Magnum 10" Bull
    .45 Colt/.410 Bull VR w/adjustable post front sight

    One other barrel I have is a 14" .41 Magnum barrel that Mike Bellm rechambered to .41/.445 Super Mag... Story is that a customer in Alaska wanted this round and asked Bellm for a barrel. Bellm contacted a reamer company who just happened to have what he was looking for...unfortunately the reamer was the propitiatory property of Gary Reeder who already had it trademarked as the .41 GNR #2. After the barrel was made and shipped Reeder found out about the barrel and advised Bellm to cease making said chambering... The barrel was sold to Kelly Broast who owned Cast Performance Bullet Company which is how I got it in a trade for a .35 Remington he wanted. I later confirmed the story with Gary when I bought a set of his .41 GNR #2 dies to reload with. The barrel will run a 255 CP hard cast bullet at 2000 fps with AAC-1680 powder...and is a handfull in a Contender.

    My favorite...I guess the ones I have left...

    Bob

  2. #62
    Boolit Master
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    What I have left...except one that is on another frame.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The TC Custom Shop at Fox Ridge Outfitters had these for sale before the company was bought by S&W and moved to Springfiend...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by RJM52; 03-13-2018 at 07:15 AM.

  3. #63
    Boolit Master contender1's Avatar
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    Well,,,, I'm gonna list the least favorite,,,, according to the 100 plus deer I've killed. The 7x30 Waters. The deer, as well as many other critters hate it. It's accurate, easy to shoot, easy to load, and is an excellent killer. Me? I happen to use it more than my others.

  4. #64
    Boolit Master




    EMC45's Avatar
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    Lately I have been shooting the 10in octagon .38 special barrel a lot. It is accurate.
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  5. #65
    Boolit Master
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    Jun 2012
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    MN
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    7-30 Waters. I have bought and sold many others but always kept the Waters.

  6. #66
    Boolit Master
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    Nov 2007
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    Have to agree the 7x30 is probably one of the best deer rounds for the Contender. A friend shot an antelope at 250 yards with his...went right down. And factory ammo is at least somewhat available..

    One of the barrels I sold was a .309 JDJ...THAT was a big game round... Accurate and powerful and the recoil not bad...

  7. #67
    Boolit Master
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    Sep 2012
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    NE Wisconsin
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    I have several Encore frames and bbl.

    375 GNR
    475 Linebaugh
    460 S&W
    338 Federal
    6.8 SPC

    rifle encore Bbl.
    44 mag
    45-70
    ML 50 cal

    G2 Frame with collapsible stock 10MM carbine (This is my favorite)

  8. #68
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    27
    Over the years I’ve owned a few.
    45 Colt, 223, 17 hmr
    And have shot a lot with 22lr, 44 mag, and 30-30 (didn’t shoot that one a lot, a little too painful at the time).

    The 14” 223 has the most accurate gun I’ve ever shot. Period. It could make 1-1 1/4 inch groups at 100 yards all day. The limiting factors were me (of course) and my 4 power scope. I sold it and got the 17 hmr because reloading shouldered cartridges wasn’t fun.

    The 22 Hornet is on my short list for wants/needs.

    On a more personal note, I attribute my happy marriage to the TC Contender. I was visiting my future wife one year at thanksgiving and woke up to the happy sound of gunfire. All 5 of her brothers were out back shooting whatever they had. One showed up with the most amazing gun I had ever seen. I was young and inexperienced, but I was in awe at how accurate and practical it was. I decided two things that day. One, I needed to be a part of that family! Two, I needed a Contender. Took care of both in short order.

    Love, love love my Contender! ( and the family that came with it)

  9. #69
    Boolit Mold
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    Nov 2014
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    So. Cal.
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    Guess I am one of very few shooting a 14" 45 Win. Mag.
    It is fun to shoot but little reloading information is available but enough to put some lead down range.

  10. #70
    Boolit Master
    white eagle's Avatar
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    not contender but encore
    my favorite is a 220 swift 27"rifle barrel made by MGM
    Favorite pistol cal is a 9" 475 Linebaugh made by MGM
    those are all I have at the moment
    but another was a 6.5 Creedmoor that was a tack driver
    made by MGM sold it to build a ar-10 in 6.5 CM
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  11. #71
    Boolit Man curioushooter's Avatar
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    Part of the problem with Contenders is that you can't have a FAVORITE.

    I can tell you all about my favorite features of a certain cartridge in a Contender, and I can tell you which shoot the best for me, but FAVORITE?

    It really depends what you want to do with it...

    I have found the 32-20 to be an outstanding cartridge in a Contender, and, for whatever reason, I shoot it well. It will bring down anything smaller than a deer easily and quickly. I've clocked 130 grainers going 1800 FPS out of my 10" barrel, and this is with a sub 357 magnum recoil level. It is very cast-bullet friendly, too. Up to 150 grains you can get your lube grooves in the neck. It is incredibly efficient and flat-shooting, too. I has become my woods gun, having retired a 357 Magnum revolver. My effective range is just so much better, and in a contender making use of a log or tree branch as a rest is a huge advantage. Of course, the reason why I am carrying it at all is to plug Coyotes. If I lived in bear country, it would be a different story.

    357 Herrett is pretty hard to beat as an all-around Hunting-Competition-Impress Friends cartridge, but I have lately found that 357 Maximum with do almost the same thing, and the Starline brass is available. No lubrication, much longer useful case life, and straightforward sizing are definite advantages to the Max. The Max can't really demonstrate its potential in anything besides a sealed breech handgun like a Contender.

    If you really want some wallop there is 45-70/444 Marlin. But to me they are excessive and unpleasant, and so are the myriad of necked down versions of the 44 that find their way into Contenders.

    The 375 Winchester is about all I can take in the high power territory, but it is an outstanding big-game cartridge for a handgun, and is very friendly to cast bullets.

  12. #72
    Boolit Master
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    An interesting and good thread. Four pages and only one reference to the Contender as a G1. I want to vomit when I see that generic reference. Simply never was a G1.

    As to favorites. Mine have switched around some over the years. Mostly because I went from jacketed to cast. I won't pin point an exact favorite, but what I shoot the most all cast. 14" 30-30, 14"35 Remington rimmed, 10"30-20,10" 357 magnum.
    I do play with others and cast, all with good end results as well.
    Quite a few years back I shot 3 deer, maximum you could shoot during firearm season at the time, with three different Contender chamberings.
    After casting, I shot five deer with five different rifles in five different calibers with cast. I have plans on doing the same with pistol barrels and cast bullets at some point.

  13. #73
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by dhom View Post
    To answer the question "which is my favorite" I would have to say the one in my hand at the time.
    I second this one!!!

  14. #74
    Boolit Master
    Rick Hodges's Avatar
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    I only own one Contender and its a carbine....my favorite caliber is the 7x30 Waters with a 22" Bullberry barrel.. It makes a beautiful little deer rifle. I also have a 22lr and 22Hornet barrel for it, but the Waters is my favorite.

  15. #75
    Boolit Bub
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    Jan 2018
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    I have three.

    14 inch 7-30 Waters
    14 inch .35 Rem
    10 inch .44 Mag

    Currently looking for a 14 inch 7mm TCU.

    All wear 2x pistol scopes and all are very accurate. The Contender will teach you a lot about load development and being a single shot, do so economically. Really enjoy them.

  16. #76
    Boolit Master
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    7mm TCU 222 and 223. The 22 Hornet is a 18" barrel. cant hold it steady ........ LOL

  17. #77
    Super Moderator

    Preacher Jim's Avatar
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    Favorite had to choose. 14" match 22lr, 15" 221 fireball, 38 match, 30 herret. 357 herret,
    223, 22k hornet, my main ones several I don't shoot much.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check