View Full Version : NOB T.C. Encore vs Contender question...

02-19-2008, 2:28 PM
I'm thinking of jumping into one of these in a pistol platform.

Which is better in the way of options? I will most likely eventually set t up as a pistol, rifle and shotgun.

Since I like the "one horse with many jobs" take on things I'm looking at one that I can get in several different pistol calibers, rifle calibers and shotgun calibers. Heck, I might see about a black powder upper just for S&G :D

Let me set this straight. I HAVE NO INTENTION OF USING THE SHOTGUN BARREL WHILE IT IS IN A HANDGUN CONFIGURATON (ie 410 pistol barrel). I am also aware of the entire registered pistol frame issue, SBR issues, etc... I'm not looking for legal advice, just practical use advice.

So, what does the mass knowledge here think?

I have the oportunity to buy an encore (pistol blue frame) in 204 ruger with a 44 mag barrel also for around $800. Am I getting screwed?

02-19-2008, 2:42 PM
The only advantage a Contender has over the Encore is the ability to readily use a rimfire barrel - the Encore is set up for center fire only, unless you buy a little conversion firing pin gizmo. For one size fits all the Encore is the way to go.

I have an older Contender, a G2 Contender and an Encore. I use the older Contender for lighter caliber, low recoil calibers like the 223 and 30.30 WCF. I prefer the older Contender trigger over the new G2. I use the new G2 Contender for the heavier recoiling calibers still suitable for the smaller framed Contender - 35 Remington, 375 JDJ, 45/70. Contender barrels fit all Contenders, old or new G2, but Encore barrels fit Encore only.

The Encore, being the strongest of the crew is used for everything else from 22-250 through and including 260 Rem, 8mm Mauser, 350 Rem Mag, 375 H & H and 416 Rigby. Personally I think the Encore really shines in the 243 to 7mm range. I have a 15" 25.06 that does very well and doesn't have much recoil at all. Calibers that you'd think of as being too much to handle, such as 405 Winchester, are pretty decent to handle with a good brake installed. I haven't yet made the 458 Win Mag jump but sooner or later I suppose I shall.

When buying new, be certain you buy a handgun frame (or complete handgun in CA) because regardless of what you may hear to the contrary, it is illegal to buy a rifle frame and configure it as a handgun. I'm certain there are lots of 2nd hand "frame only" or even what appear to be complete used handguns that started out as rifles or rifle frames. You can all T/C and they'll tell you if the gun was manufactured as a handgun or a rifle.

You may want to check out MGM barrels, OTT barrels or BellmTC for alot of info. It's a whole new world of handgun shooting, I think it's great fun.

02-19-2008, 4:05 PM
So if it is an older model Contender pistol (I didn't look), what would it be worth in CA as just the pistol in 95% condition?

Is there a real structure integrity difference between the G2 and the older Contender?

Sorry for the NOB questions. I don't want to be taken or end up with something I have to really hunt for parts/ barrels for...

02-19-2008, 4:54 PM
Apparently there's a new .22LR Encore barrel available now (or soon) with an offset bore such that the standard firing pin will hit the rim of the cartridge. I think it's from T&C.

-- Parag

02-19-2008, 5:04 PM
Whichever platform you buy, make sure you get a 45/70 in pistol config. It is a hoot to shoot especially with 405 grain bullets at 1400 fps.


02-19-2008, 6:51 PM
So if it is an older model Contender pistol (I didn't look), what would it be worth in CA as just the pistol in 95% condition?

Is there a real structure integrity difference between the G2 and the older Contender?

Sorry for the NOB questions. I don't want to be taken or end up with something I have to really hunt for parts/ barrels for...

The older Contender (usually recognized by a couger etching in the side) isn't quite as durable as the G2 Contender. You'll notice the G2 Contender has prominent wings located on the side of the frame and this supposedly helps the frame withstand rearward pressure. The T/C guys know what they're doing, so I'll presume it's a worthwhile change, but if a load is safe in your G2 it almost certainly will be safe in an otherwise functioning older Contender. The stronger G2 frame simply holds up better over the years. My older Contender frame is a 1980 manufacture, I used it for years to shoot 45/70 handloads of 2,100 fps with a 300 grain JHP and 375 JDJ handloads at 2,200 fps with a 235 grain JSP.

T/C will service an older Contender as well as the new. Keep in mind the internals (trigger, safety, etc) of the G2 Contender and Encore are quite similar - I think they're identical actually - but the older Contender is different. I can completely disassemble the G2, not the older one.

You'll have no trouble finding barrels - Foxridge Outfitters is the custom shop of T/C and MGM, Bulberry offer about 200 different chamberings for the Encore, about 100 for the Contender. Any currently manufactured Contender barrel will fit the older frame, so if you get agreat deal on an older frame barrels are not a problem.

There are some forend and grip differences. These shouldn't be a deal breaker, but my favorite grip is a rubber backed wood grip that fits the old Contender angle, but not the new. I had to modify the grip to make it properly fit.


An older Encore with a single barrel should probably run about $450.00 in CA. A new G2 Contender or Encore with barrel is probably $100.00 or so more. A scope can add anywhere from $50.00 to $400.00 to the cost. Handgun scopes are generally not cheap, which is to say while you can buy a $50.00 rifle scope and have it at least be serviceable, you should probably count on spending about $150.00 or so for a plain old 4X handgun scope. Burris, Weaver, Leupold are always a safe bet. My most often used handgun scope is a Weaver 2.5 to 8X. Just a preference based on a brand I haven't broken due to recoil.

Personally, if I had only one frame to work with it would be a new Encore handgun frame.

02-19-2008, 7:46 PM
Thanks dfletcher.
I think I'll go poking around at the local shops tomorrow. I want to see the difference between the frames for myself.

02-20-2008, 3:46 PM
For true versatility I'd stick with the Encore. I have both Encores and Contenders, almost all handgun frames by the way, and even though I have small hands and the Contenders fit me better, the Encores allow you to step up to full-strength rifle cartridges such as the .308. Unless you're into reloading, you'll find it easier to locate match-grade ammo in rifle calibers.

Don't underestimate what you can do with these awesome little guns. Rich Mertz's world long-range handgun prize was won by a fellow with a .223 Contender. And this was me making fist-sized groups at 600 yards with a stock 17.5" Encore in .308 using off-the-shelf match ammo, on my third day ever shooting an Encore. It can be done.


I also really like the Encore shotgun for clays.