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Thread: Looking at a Contender!!!

  1. #1
    MNTS_R_MY_PLYGRND
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    Default Looking at a Contender!!!

    Hey all,

    I'm looking at getting a contender with a couple barrels. The first would be a 410 for snowmaching and bird hunting. The second I'm not so sure about. I'm looking for a round for varmint all the way up to wolf hunting. I know they make a .223 do they also make a .22-250 for it? Which would be a better choice? Also at what range could I except to shoot decent groups out to?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default Out of Contender-length barrels...

    I'd opt for a .221 Fireball! Anything bigger than that, and you're likely to have enough muzzle flash from unburned powder out of the end of that 14" barrel to fry the hide off the critter! I hear of .223's working rather well out of them, and for the difference in cost, and availability, the .223 is probably the way to go.
    If you were to encounter a wolf, I'd really want something more in the barrel than a 55 gr bullet at around 2000 fps. You might consider getting a .30-30 barrel for that thing, and playing around with the 110-130 gr. varmint type bullets in it, and keeping a few 170-180-200 gr load in yer pocket fer them less than pleasant encounters....even a .308 is available, though recoil, I understand, isn't pleasant.
    I'd personally think about a .250 Savage, play with the little 75 grainers, or even some of the lighter slugs for blowing stuff up, and keep some of the 100-115-120 grain stuff in reserve.
    Many many possibilities...good luck, and enjoy! The beauty of the things is that barrels are a lot less expensive than complete new guns, so if you don't like what you have, get a 'nuther'n!

  3. #3

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    You'll have a ball. I just unloaded a Contender and 15 barrels, most of them scoped, because I haven't shot it in quite a while. I used to hunt exclusively with handguns, but in recent years aging eyes have cured the itch.

    You'll do fine with that 410 barrel (it's actually a 45 LC barrel, allowing you to shoot those too when you unscrew the choke).

    As for a second barrel to use as you describe, there are a whole bunch of choices. I liked the 222 barrel better than the 221, but I'm not sure it's still available. It was far and away the most accurate I've shot with groups less than 1/2" at 100 yards more common than not. It would do just over and inch at 200 yards and around 3" at 300, but I always felt that with more scope it would have shot even better at long range.

    My 223 barrel shot almost as well, but handled heavy bullets better.

    I agree with Darreld's assessment of the 250 Savage. I'm a sincere lover of the round in rifles and handguns.

    Another good option if you're a dedicated handloader is the 6mm TCU, basically a necked up 223. Not sure if it's still available, but mine was virtually as accurate as the 222 and 223 barrels while launching 80 grain bullets at very credible velocities with much less powder and muzzle flash than large cases like the 250.

    The 30-30 has enough more recoil that I didn't like it (or the 30 Herrett) for varmints with any bullet. While theoretically possible with lighter bullets (especially the Speer 110 grain HP), it still recoiled a bunch more than the smaller "true" varmint rounds.

    If I was contemplating something on the order of the 30-30 in spite of that, it would be a hard call not to get the 7mm-08 or the 7-30 Waters rather than a 30-30. That reflects my prejudice for 7mm more than a criticism of the 30-30, but both have proven more accurate and flatter shooting in my barrels than I could manage with either the 30-30 or 30 Herrett. There were lots more bullets to choose from, mostly because I had a bigger selection of 7mm bullets than 30 caliber bullets already on my shelf. The options are truthfully a lot closer when you look on dealer shelves.

  4. #4
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    Contender rifle or pistol? I tried about dozen different barrels in various lengths in the contender. First off, you cannot use the various .473" casehead rounds such as the 22-250, .257 roberts, 7X57, or any of the .308 varients as they generate too much back thrust for the frame, backthrust being a combination of pressure and case head dia. You can run the .223 to full pressure levels, and 30/30 based rounds work though opperate at lower pressures.

    If you're looking at a handgun, the .221 fireball is outstanding in a 10" barrel, it matches the performance of a 22 hornet rifle. Lengthen it to 14" and you gain about 200 fps. I had a 14" 223 barrel, and the muzzle blast was horrendous. I can't see using the .223 in anything shorter than 20". To me the 14" barrels reduce the handiness of the contender, to me they have the worse attributes of a single shot pistol and a rifle. But alot of the chamberings need the extra length to perform. If you want a really oustanding short barrel, the 357 maximum runs on the heals of a 35 rem rifle, 200 gr @ 1900 fps.

    Accuracy can rival a rifle, but it depends on the barrel and handloads. Factory t/c barrels are ok, but seldom shoot sub moa. At 100 yards good aftermarket barrel, or a factory barrel that has been re-chambered and re-crowned will typically be capapble of putting 3 shots well under and inch, 1/2" groups being not a big deal. With my 218 mashburn barrel and the scope cranked up to 7X, I could hit the head of the turkey silouette at 150 yds every time. Now shooting that well with a handgun requires a good rest and practice. There are some folks that shoot mindbogglingl small groups at 500 yds, but they have specialized rests and forends and scopes. Such rigs aren't for field use and won't shoot that well just plopped over the sno-go seat.

  5. #5
    MNTS_R_MY_PLYGRND
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    Default After Market Barrels??

    Where would one look for after market barrels that are more than capable of shooting sub-moa groups out of a 10 to 14" cotender barrel.

  6. #6

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    I'd put a want ad on the buy and sell section right here at AOD. Remember though, that to turn out MOA from any pistol barrel you need to be doing your part. Grip, rest technique, trigger squeeze, follow through etc, are a lot more important that with a rifle.

    Edit- You said "aftermarket" and I read "used." My favorite source of aftermarket barrels was SSK.

  7. #7

    Thumbs up Contender

    I still have a Contender pistol with some 14" barrels. I also have an Encore rifle that I just love to shoot. Some great aftermarket barrels to check out are SSK Industries, and the Bullberry company from Las Vegas. I'm not sure they are still in business, tho.

    If you do get the .45/.410 barrel, get the vented ribbed one. I had the one with open sights and did not like it at all for use in the .410. I bought a vented ribbed one and had an absolute ball hunting grouse, hares and even shooting Contender skeet with it. A regular skeet course, but single shot only. Pulling the choke, the .45 Long Colt is an excellent shooter. You just have to really clean the choke threads before reinserting it, or it will be a bear to remove again. Also, MAKE SURE you remove the choke before firing a bullet!!!!!
    I currently still have a Contender. My best shooting barrel is the .35 Remington! It will shoot into the same hole at 100 yards all day long if I do my part. I shot a black bear and a caribou with it, so it works well on medium size game. I have also taken some coyotes and a wolf with it.
    My .223 Remington barrel shoots moa with 50 grain bullets. It opens up to nearly 2 inches at 100 yards with 55 grainers. I shot a number of fox and coyotes with it up around Fairbanks, and never lost one.
    I also have a 10 inch .22 rimfire that is as accurate as any .22 I have seen. I have a red dot scope on it and take head shots on grouse and hares all of the time at various ranges. It is a shooter, for sure.
    I have a .22 Hornet barrel, but I loaned it to my brother in law and he loves it. I didn't shoot it much, but got it very cheap, so I bought it.
    Whatever you get, learn to shoot it by burning a lot of ammo in it. You will like it.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  8. #8

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    I forgot to mention the .45-70 barrel in a Contender. It bloody hurts!!!!!!!
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  9. #9
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm not sure who still makes aftermarket contender barrels, there was bullberry, virgin valley and ssk, and then there is also a newer one or two. Mike Bellm was a fine one for re-chambering. Unfortunately e-bay has banned barrels, and it was a good resource albeit the prices were often crazy high.

    If you find a factory 22 hornet, it's a great candidate for a re-chamber.

  10. #10

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    I bought an Encore pistol rather than a Contender. You can use higher pressure cartridges like the 22-250. Contenders are great, but you can't get every caliber like you can with an Encore.

    So far I have a 223 and a 7MM-08.

  11. #11
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    Default

    You can find good deals (and advice) on barrels over at http://specialtypistols.infopop.cc/eve/forums.

    I agree about the encore frame. The versatility is nice.

    But if your getting a smoking deal on the contender, it should fit the varmint hunting bill very nicely. I would research the 7-30 waters or one of the whispers if wolf was a intended target.

  12. #12
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    One downside of the encore is it is a noteably larger and heavier platform than the contender. I've had both the contender and encore, and IMHO for a handgun platform, the contender is a better way to go. The downside of the contender is you need to use wildcat chamberings to get the most out of it.

  13. #13
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    Default Aftermarket barrels

    Fox Ridge Outfitters sells custom barrels for the Encore/Contender. They are the custom shop for T/C.

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