View Full Version : Thompson Center Barrels....

12-27-2010, 07:29 PM
Picked up two TC barrels at auction for a friend's TC Pistol. He says it is a Contender--not an Encore. The barrels are a .223 "Super 14" with front ramp sight, large pin & wood fore end and a 10" .45Colt/.410 with open sights. Any way to easily tell if these fit the Contender?? I will have the pistol tomorrow. Also, the .45/.410 barrel has an interesting rifling that drastically changes to straight for about 2 inches at the muzzle--probably for the .410 shot loads. Is that an insert that screws out?? Condition of both barrels is good to excellent with a few areas of storage rust on the .45 only. Price was $90/each--good or not?? I know one of you, out there, knows all about this. Thanks in advance. Good Shooting....

12-27-2010, 08:34 PM
Trying to help you with this, but I might sound a little vague. Try a search on Google for the difference in size between the Contender frame and Encore frame.

If it says "Super 14" on the barrel, it's a Contender barrel. In my experience, most factory Encore pistol barrels are 15" (not counting custom shop barrels).

The frame of the Contender is also shorter and narrower (along with being lighter). The Contender won't hold up to the pressures that the Encore will.

Barrels do not interchange between the Encore and Contender.

The .45/410 barrel should be threaded inside the muzzle, for a screw-in choke. Do not, under any circumstance, fire a .45 through the barrel with the choke in! The choke is built for use with .410 shotshells only, and has small "ribs" that catch the shot cup, slowing it down and spreading the shot pattern out.

$90 per barrel sounds like a good price, IMO.

12-27-2010, 08:56 PM
Thanks--starting to make sense. Is there a special wrench for the choke tube? I assumed the straight rib tube is designed to stop the rotation of the shot/wad column. Do you replace it with a screw-in tube of some kind when you shoot .45cal bullets, or just leave it out?? Good Shooting.......

12-27-2010, 10:33 PM
Here's what the Contender choke tube looks like. It appears to be the same wrench and tube for the Encore as well, judging by the pictures on the T/C website. It's splined to fit the grooves of the tube.

I can't seem to find anything about a screw-in tube that works with the .45, so I assume that you'd just leave it open. You'd no doubt have to clean out the choke tube threads afterwards.

Hope this helps. If I can think of anything else, I'll post it here.:)

12-28-2010, 01:14 AM
Look on Gun Broker. I was just looking at a couple today and I know at least one set had the choke tool or tools with it. It will give you a good idea what you have. You got a great deal.

12-28-2010, 06:30 AM
There is a special wrench to install and remove the .410 choke tube. You do indeed just leave the tube out to fire .45 Colt. TC made the wrench in at least two versions---a choke tube wrench only that was usually sold with the barrel, and as part of a multi-tool that also had a screwdriver and pin punch on it. Used to be able to find them on ebay. To re-emphasize what M1orNone said, don't ever fire a .45 Colt round with the choke installed. I recommend using a good choke tube anti-seize compound on the choke tube threads, same as you'd use on a shotgun choke tube. If these barrels are in good shape, you got an excellent deal on them.

Update: There is indeed at least one listed on ebay. Disclaimer for all: Not an endorsement of ebay or the seller, and not intended to start a "political discussion" on the merits and faults of ebay---it shows a picture, and it is a possible source for a sometimes hard to find item!


And the multi-tool version:


12-28-2010, 07:38 AM
Thank you, gentlemen. I knew I could count on you. I'm thinking five or ten minutes to fabricate a suitable tool and get the tube out unless someone forgot the antiseize. Should have the Contender later this AM--report to follow. Good Shooting.......

Super Duty-KTP
12-28-2010, 02:20 PM
The insert with the straight splines is meant to do two things; first to stop or significantly reduce the spin of the wad and shot column and to "choke" the shot string down to decrease the pattern thereby increasing the range. The internal chokes were incepted to improve on the older external choked .357 and .44 Magnum barrels shooting proprietary "Hot Shot" cartidges loaded by Speer. Components were hard to come by and the popularity faded rather quickly.
There are two styles of locking blocks for the Contender, the earliest are the solid type, and the later ones have a split block beneath the extractor. Some later frames may have difficulty seating the early solid blocks without a bit of fitting. I have four frames and a dozen barrels and the Contender is one of my favorite firearms; I have been shooting & hunting with them since 1978.
If you find you do not like, or do not need either of the barrels, let me know. The "Super 14" (and "Super 16") designations and your description of the .45/.410 are definitely indicators that what you have purchased are Contender barrels.

12-28-2010, 09:55 PM
We looked everything over tonight. The barrels are for the Contender. No problems except too late to shoot. Made a "wrench" from an aluminum shotgun cleaning patch tip--choke tube came right out. The contender was purchased with Pachmayr grip/forend and a TC .223 Rem Ackley Improved barrel with Burris Scope--shoots great, BTW. We did have a little problem getting the forend to let go of the barrel weight--stuck from solvents and years. Everything fit fine--should be interesting to try all the new combinations. The owner will probably be looking for a 22RF barrel and maybe a .44Rem. Magnum if the .45colt doesn't work out for deer hunting in the shotgun/straight wall pistol cartridge zone. Thanks for all the help. Good Shooting.........

12-29-2010, 06:54 AM
The owner will probably be looking for . . . a .44Rem. Magnum if the .45colt doesn't work out for deer hunting in the shotgun/straight wall pistol cartridge zone.

The .45/.410 barrel is really a rifled .410 barrel. Back when this was first introduced, TC had a skinny barrel with external choke. BATF convinced them to drop the .410 chambering, so for a time TC sold .45LC barrels with the external choke. Had one reamed to .410 in '74 at a LGS. TC later dropped the pretense. Accuracy tends to suffer in these because of the long jump to the rifling caused by the .410 chambering.