Thompson Center Encore

Thompson Center Encore

“Single shot performance & versatility unequalled by any other firearm!”

Utilizing a break open design, the Thompson Center single shot firearms are very simple. Break open the barrel, load one cartridge into the chamber, pull the hammer back, and squeeze the trigger. Within minutes, you may change barrels from a choice of 86 different calibers!

I first found out about this unique firearm while browsing the 2nd Amendment discussion regarding muzzle/break loaders and single action revolvers/pistols at Very intrigued by the firearm, I had Bill at order me the Encore frame with a 44 magnum barrel.

There are two general models offered by Thompson Center: the Contender G2 and Encore. Generally speaking, the Contender is a frame for center-fire pistol/rim-fire ammunition whereas the Encore is meant for center-fire rifle ammunition. The decision between the two was difficult because I wanted a 22LR barrel for the mere affordability of ammunition ($10.69 @ Walmart for 550 rounds), but like any other testosterone driven male, I wanted the bigger boom ‘n bang. There was also the Encore Pro Hunter model that caught my eye, but the price difference didn’t justify the additional cost. Bells such as a revolving hammer to accommodate an easier reach with a scope installed and whistles like the stainless steel finish are nice and practical, but not for my meager needs as a paper shooter.

The model I chose to start off with was a Blued Encore frame with a 15” .44 magnum blued barrel with adjustable rear sights. I selected the .44 magnum barrel for the pure boom. I was also anticipating on owning an Smith & Wesson M629 wheel-gun on a later date, so ammunition would be available by the time I got my hands on one. The important thing for me however was to be able to switch barrels from pistol to rifle or visa versa without any legal troubles.

According to the BATFE (Title 27 CFR Chapter II, Subpart B – Definition) and other state regulations, it is illegal to manufacture a short-barreled shotgun/rifle or pistol. A general description of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle consists of firearm barrels under the length of 16” for rifles and 18” for shotguns and an overall length of 30” and 26” respectively. Despite the audacity of certain firearm laws, we as law-abiding citizens go out of our way to follow them regardless.

For example, if I had a Dealer Record of Sales indicate that I have a rifle on hand, by law I am not allowed to attach a barrel under 16” of length for an overall length short of 30” for center-fire rifles. Basically, I’m not allowed to manufacture a pistol. This restriction would eliminate a lot of choices for different barrels I may wish to purchase in the future. To avoid barrel restriction, the dealer must sell the T/C frame as a pistol with a “pistol” barrel. To my recollection, there is no “maximum” limit regarding the length of barrels for pistols. By creating a DROS on the T/C Encore frame as a pistol, I’m free to use whichever barrel I wish.

Enough about laws and why I bought it – lets dive into the build and function of the gun. I bought the gun with ambidextrous walnut grips and fore grip. The finish is smooth and adds a nice classic touch to the overall look. The grips are on the larger side for and hurts a lot when I shoot it – the recoil of a 44 magnum can have quite the kick. I bought new wood furniture from Denzel Roberts in a laminated blue/grey pattern.

The break down of the firearm is simple. Two minutes, two screws and a pin, you have a new gun. Of course, other steps are necessary when switching between a pistol and rifle set up – but the basic simplicity of the firearm remains the same.

Unfortunately, I have yet to buy another barrel for my frame. The cost of a laminated stock that I want is out of my budget for the moment; however, I could easily settle for a used OEM set from ebay.

The accuracy from the 44 magnum barrel is great. I point where I want to shoot and it hits it without a problem. I haven’t done any bench shooting, so as far any official/reliable measurements, I can’t report.

Cleaning is the easiest part. I don’t have to worry about disassembling the entire gun. Simply break open the barrel, soak patch, brush, wipe – done. It could be the fact that I don’t shoot hundreds of rounds through it as I do with my semi-automatics. 44 magnum ammunition is expensive!

I love the frame because there are so many options; however, as I stated before, I have yet to take advantage of it. I recently sent out my C&R license to and dealer prices are amazing. I may have to spoil myself early and get a 20 gauge shotgun barrel or a .17 HMR barrel (whenever they become available).

Either way, if you’re into diversity without having to visit the FFL for another DROS appointment, the Contender or Encore should be next on your list. This may also give you the opportunity to try out different calibers without having to commit to whole new firearm.

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Categories: Firearms, Guns


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