"Ordinarily, the introduction of a new bolt action rifle wouldn’t fire up much enthusiasm. Most are just clones of the original Mauser, and, depending on the manufacturer, tricked out with modifications that enhance the safety, strength, feeding, or accuracy of that great original design. However, when it’s a radically new design, built by one of the best known American gun companies, is their first ever bolt action offering, and uses every improvement ever used on the original Mauser and then some, it’s gotta be big news!
Let me state up front, “I have not seen, handled, or shot the new Icon from Thompson Center Arms”. I have been aware of its development and privy to its very ambitious design objectives. In a nutshell, they wanted to build what they felt was the world’s finest bolt action rifle. Towards that end, they pulled out all the stops and held back nothing. I’ll describe the features of the end result. Whether they’ve achieved their goal or not will be up to you, the shooters (and history) to decide.
The unique receiver is of medium length, about eight inches long, designed to function with cartridges in the .308 category. It is milled from a solid block of 4140 ordnance grade steel. Weaver style bases are integrally milled into the receiver, meaning bases and receiver are one solid block of steel.
The bolt uses three locking lugs that fit into matching recesses in the barrel. That provides a short 60-degree bolt throw. Bolt handle is of the trimmer, slimmed down butter-knife design. Extraction is via a specially designed claw style extractor dubbed the “Talon of T/C”. That claw firmly maintains a grip on the case during the cycling for Continuous Round Control Feed (CRCF). Continuous round controlled feeding means once the bolt has secured a new case, that case is firmly held in proper bore alignment throughout the entire feeding cycle. No cases “popping off” during a hurried recycle.
A fully detachable magazine that holds three rounds fits flush with the bottom of the stock. Magazine removal and replacement is fast and simple.
Fire control is via a totally T/C designed trigger. Anyone who has ever owned a Contender or Encore has discovered that T/C knows how to build great triggers. This one won’t disappoint, and is fully adjustable by the end user. A two-position safety located on the right side of the receiver fully disengages the sear when activated.
A match grade, button rifled barrel with a sporter contour and recessed target style crown tops off the hardware. More on the calibers and rate of twist later on.
The Icon will be housed in an exceptionally fine walnut stock of classic proportions. As a special part of the initial introduction, T/C’s remaining supply of 6,500 finely figured walnut blanks currently in their warehouse have been reserved for the first run of Icons. These are the last in the factory, and when they’re gone, the standard walnut blanks will be used. The first run will be exceptional.
Within the stock, the receiver mates to a solid aluminum bedding block to insure perfect wood to metal fit with no possibility of shift. Ample machine cut checkering, cut to 20 lines per inch will be found on the grip and forend.
Action length has been designed for medium length calibers in the .308 range. That means the .308, .243 and .22-250 are the natural choices and are among the first releases, but T/C has gone one bold step further and will be introducing a new cartridge – the .30 T/C.
Dimensionally, it is very close to a .308, but improved to provide adequate case capacity to drive a 150-gr. bullet at 3,000 fps. That velocity can’t be safely reached in a standard .308 case, but over the years there have been several cartridges like the .300 Winchester Short Mag that can reach that speed in a case no longer than the 2.1” length limit of the .308. In the case of the WSM, a slightly larger head diameter is required, but I’m told the .30 T/C will maintain the same head size. I’ve not seen the case yet, but my guess is that to accomplish this, they will have to blow out the case walls and possibly move the shoulder forward. According to the T/C marketing staff, accuracy of the new rifle will be factory guaranteed at MOA or better. "
I have always been a T/C fan ...
What is the source of the story?
Thanks for the info Allen!
I think I'll take one in 338 Federal or 358 Win ...