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Thread: Tell me about the 7 TCU

  1. #1
    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Default Tell me about the 7 TCU

    So as luck would have it, as soon as I finished my 222mag project I stumbled onto another 700 short action for a song. It is also a 222mag, what are the odds, but the bore is toast and it is stockless for now. I happened upon a cut rifled 10" twisted .284 barrel blank for the princely sum of a 100$bill. And my mind started whirring. I have a 17rem and the deuce mag for varmint critters and so have no need for another purely varmint caliber. I was scanning through my load manuals and happened upon the section for the 7TCU. Got to thinking that with a longer(20") barrel and the 120gr ballistic tip that it might make a nice little pickup rifle for kicking around the ranch back home. Have enough more bullet weight for our small deer and hogs using good shot placement, and a low enough velocity to keep it from being explosive on turkeys. No reason it wouldn't work for coyotes and bobcats too I wouldn't suppose. Thought too that it would be just the ticket for Baby Sister to use as her deer rifle, light recoil and cheap to load for, she likely wouldn't shoot past 200yds anyway.

    Trouble is I've never visited with anyone whose used one in a rifle. The speeds attainable from a 10" Contender are hohum until you stop and think about the fact that they are measured from a 10" barrel. I figure that 2400fps should be attainable from a 20" boltgun and that sounds about ideal for my described uses to me.

    Anybody on here ever fool with one? Handgun or rifle doesn't matter I'd just like to hear your thoughts and any good load recommendations you may have. Also I need a set of dies but don't wish to pay 80$ for hornady, so if anyone has a no longer used set lying around they'd part with I'm interested.

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    All the TCU's are fine rounds in their place. I have a 22" Contender barrel in 7 TCU and it kills deer just fine and I have loaned it out many times for youngsters to kill their deer with...especially young ladies. I just bought a 6.5 TCU 14" barrel that I'm going to weld on a 2" muzzle brake on to make it over 16" so I can use it with a butt stock on the Contender. I also have a 6x45 upper on an AR and it is a great round too.

    I think you will enjoy the 7 TCU. I've seen Rem 7 and the old 600 and 660 re-barreled in the TCU rounds and they love em!!
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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Never messed with the 7TCU but I got a near new 243 700 take-off pipe you can have for free . . . Long as I donít got to watch that Christmas show again.
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  4. #4

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    Not too long ago, I built a 7/30 Waters TC.

    With a 20" barrel, it did 2400 with various 120 bullets.Weighed about 4 3/4 lbs scoped with a 2.5x8 VariX3 uptop.

    Just never fell in love with it.Wanted to...but it always felt like a seriously upgraded Mattel toy.Shot decently...around 1.5" at 100.

    Stuff we do...and the money we spend...to just save weight.

    Another elegant solution to a non-existant problem.

  5. #5
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    Very Interesting.

    Anything 7mm sounds good to me.

    The 6.5 MPC might be better, but it's a 7mm barrel.

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  6. #6

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    Good to hear reports on the 7TCU in rifles. I got started with it when it first appeared, really working out the kinks using a 14" Contender. And there were kinks, for sure.

    The first was suitable bullets. It was accurate enough that I took several deer at 200+ yards, but much past 100 yards there wasn't a single bullet on the market that would expand. Just not enough velocity. Period. Sierra fixed that with the release of their single shot pistol bullet. The extra barrel length of a rifle would resolve all of that I think, but I'd still be suspicious of bullet performance at longer ranges.

    Case forming is easy, but problematic if you don't do it right. If your fire-form load doesn't fully expand the shoulder all the way around, it seems that no amount of annealing and refiring is going to fix it. Anneal the cases after the first pass through the sizing die. ALWAYS! Then use full-power loads to fireform. Case life is very good when you do all that, but don't miss a step or your cases won't turn out.

    In the Contender bullet seating depth was critical to accuracy. You wanted virtually no jump to the rifling. I'd make darned sure that your rifle barrel was throated for the bullets you anticipate using, and that the action was long enough to feed them. You can go with a shorter throat to assure that the lighter bullets will reach the rifling when you chamber, but that will mean that the longer bullets are going to reach down and cost you powder capacity when you need it most. In the Contender, lightest bullets had to be seated only about .10" deep to reach the rifling and it was easy to unseat them in your pocket. I can't see them staying in place when cycled through a rifle action. I'd make up dummy rounds with the bullets you favor most and provide them to the smith that will be doing your chambering. In my mind you're kinda forced to go short or long, with the compromises having more affect than you might guess.

    Loved the round, but gave up on it after half a dozen years. All this applies to the 6TCU and 6.5TCU, which I also worked with. Mostly I just moved on from scoped single-shots, or I'd probably still be shooting all three of them.

    One more thought for your thinking process. How about a 25 Copperhead for your rifle? I'm a 25 caliber nut in the first place, but if I was putting together a rifle for an expanded 223 case, that's the route I'd take. Lotta great reports on the round "back in the day," and it still appeals.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I'd considered building one for my son's first rifle, had a barrel blank and set of dies but never got around to pulling the .223 barrel. To my way of thinking a .223 pushing a 75 @ 2700 fps will do anything we'd use a 7 tcu for with a bit flatter trajectory and then there are 50-55gr varmint pills for plinking and practice for much less than 7mm componets.

    It'll be a dandy 200 yd deer rifle, but IMHO If I was building a 7mm bolt gun I'd want it to be capable of pushing 120's @ 2700 fps.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Member fishnngrinn's Avatar
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    About a decade and a half ago there was a Colorado gunsmith bragging that he could shoot 2 inch groups at 1500 meters with a 7mmTCU contender pistol. A gun editor (from MO I think) said "show me" and he did. The smith offered a service to rework your TC chamber to get this accuracy. I had mine all packed and ready to ship, but came to AK instead. Have not brought it out to shoot since being here. The smith said the Burris 10x pistol scope made the long shot possible, after all, one must be able to see the target.
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishnngrinn View Post
    The smith said the Burris 10x pistol scope made the long shot possible, after all, one must be able to see the target.
    Ummm......

    Have you ever looked at anything 1500 meters out with a 10X scope?

    I smell a skunk or a sales pitch, cuzz I doubt there's a barrel alive that could be guaranteed to shoot .1333 MOA at 1500 meters (That's 2" at 1500 meters). Hand hold it, and you'd be better off putting your faith in politicians.

  10. #10
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    Does sound like a bit of a stretch to me too. On another note, my barrel blank showed up yesterday. If I get feeling well enough tomorrow I may chuck it up in the lathe and try to get it contoured. Good looking tube, smooth lands and grooves with no toolmarks that I could find, it is a K&P cut rifled blank btw. All I need now is my bolt from PT&G and to track down a stock. If anybody has a takeoff wood SA rem stock or a SA Rem Titanum takeoff stock I would be interested in making a deal with you for it.

  11. #11
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    Okay update time. I contoured the barrel down to match a remington magnum from a SAUM and cut a minimum headspace chamber in it. My PTG bolt body came without a handle so I soldered a pre64 M70 style handle on it, nice handle that 4D reamers sells for less than $15. I rebuilt and tuned the factory trigger to 3# with no overtravel and cut the mag spacer in half and TIG welded it back in place to allow longer OAL since the TCU reamer had a longish throat. I bedded the whole works into a factory BDL walnut takeoff stock I bought at the last gunshow. Using Talley lightweight low rings I mounted a Leupold VX II 3-9x40.

    Got the chance to hit the range today and try this little guy out, to say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. I loaded 120 grain bullets from Nosler and Sierra with 3 different powders. Didn't seem to matter what load I used I couldn't make the darn thing shoot more than 3/4 of an inch at 100. And both fireform loads and full loads in fireformed brass shot to the same POI even with the velocity differences. I had a few rounds I had fireformed into the bullet trap at the shop and reloaded with fullpower loads using the 120 Noslers and H4198, these clocked an average of 2575 over the chrono screens, more than I had hoped for and not even at book max. The fireform loads were averaging a shade under 2300 so may be useful for something, doubt the coyotes would care. Recoil is non existant of course, and with the stellar accuracy it really is a fun little rifle.

  12. #12

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    Good to hear the round is so accurate in a rifle, as well as the handgun. With the right bullet for expansion it's a natural for your uses, but also for small shooters and deer.

  13. #13

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    Is your wife going to "adopt" the new rifle?

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