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Thread: Thompson Contender Calibers for Black Bear?

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    Member 7wt's Avatar
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    Default Thompson Contender Calibers for Black Bear?

    For the past 25 years, I've been very interested in owning and hunting with a Thompson Contender hand gun. My dream has been to take a black bear with a TC. Any recommendations on calibers? I'm very interested in hearing from those who hunt with TCs. Thanks.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    What type of hunting? Over bait or spot and stalk?

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    A Little more info would be helpful but you can use any caliber you would normally use for bear. The TC Encore is chambered in just about anything you could want so 243 to 375 are options as long as your wrist can handle it. 45-70 has always intrigued me for a shorter rang pumpkin chucker.
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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 30/30

    As always, it is not as important what you shoot 'em with, as opposed to where you shoot 'em. Because, well, when a black bears get a hole poked into the right spot it will die easy. If a bullit, or arrow, or a cross bow bolt (and for the really adventureous a speer <or knife?>) penetrates the proper organs...the bear will experience a rapid death, a "good death".
    (OK, no knifes!)

    If you really want a caliber recommendation...then I recommend a 30/30 Windchester cartridge with some of those new, modern bullits.

    With my scoped 30/30 contender, I have punched "quarter sized" five shot groups at 150 yards. My 200 yard groups have been so tight that I have threatened to take the gun sheep hunting.

    Dennis

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    pop into my albums in my profile,,, and see the black bears taken with .243 and my kids.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    I would definately go with the 14" 35 remigton barrel. I have had a couple of them and my dad still has one. Plenty powerful for under 200 yard shots and not too bad recoil.

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    Default TC for black bear

    I plan on walking stalking bear on POW. I've read that some consider the .243 to be a little light. I'm not sure if this is true or not as the lightest gun I've ever hunted with is a .270. My favorite gun is a 7mm Rem Mag. I have also hunted on Kodiak with a .375. Recoil is not a problem for me in a rifle but I'm not sure if it will be a problem with a hand gun as I've never hunted with a hand gun. I guess I'm asking each of you what caliber TC would you use to hunt bear and why. Thanks for the posts. Please ask me any questions you like. I am really clueless when it comes to hunting with a handgun. I would like to have a caliber than can reach out 100-200 yards. Thanks.

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    I'm considering chasing black bears with my bow next year via spot and stalk, but carrying my 7-30 waters contender in case I can't close the distance from 75 yards to 40 or less. Either would be neat to harvest a black bear with and I feel both would be more than capable of doing the job.

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    I took a smalle blackie down in California about 15 years ago with a 14" contender in .35 Rem. It was scoped with a Burris (IIRC) and set on 2x. This was behind dogs and the shot was not far, one shot behind the ear did great work. This was before the G2.

    I love the .35 and in the contender you can use any bullet you want (as opposed to a tubular magazine). That said, depending on the frame you get, you can shoot anything up to the .600 cal stuff, and none of the calibers mentioned are bad. One that I'd really like to try out would be a .357 max, though up here, it maybe a bit on the smallish size. A .375 Win would be a nice choice though. :-)

    Just keep in mind, that open sights on a handgun give a much shorter sight radius and a scope on a handgun (a true "handgun" scope) is a different animal to shoot with than a rifle scope. As much as I love shooting them, I'm currently not up to par with them and would have to burn a bit of powder before I would take one into the field again.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Another 7-.30 waters fan here. With the proper powder you can get some really decent balistics from this round. I killed a black bear with my Contender in 1991 with a .357 Maximum. Worked really well.
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    I have a Thompson Contender in 7-30 Waters with a 2.5X8 Leupold on it. The barell has a break on it and is very mild on recoil. This gun is very accurate up to 150 yards. I have not tried to shoot the gun past 150 yards but am sure it would do well past this range. I have never hunted bear with this combo but have killed deer in their tracks with it. I am sure it would do well on black bear. This gun only has a 10 inch barell and shoots a 120 grain Nosler or Sierra bullet over 2000 feet per second.
    A Thompson Contender or Encore in several different calibers would work well for black bear.

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    What's really fun is to send a 35 Remington barrel to SSK and turn it into a 358 JDJ. It adds anywhere from 200-350 fps, according to bullet and load. I enjoyed the 7-30, but for bears went with the 358. I shed those to try the "new" Encore, but found that too large for my hands. Now it's the 375 JDJ for any/everything.

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    There is a lot of difference in the Copntender and Encore platform. I've little experience with the Encore, but the Contender and I go way back. There are a slough of competent cartridges in the Contender platform that work well for deer and black bear and a few that work well for bigger stuff. Having shot Contenders for years I think the Super 14 in 44 mag is pretty tough to beat for most purposes. Reasonable recoil and a trajectory that will allow easy hits to 125 yards and a good bit further if you are prepared. Mount a 2X scope and you are ready to go. I've also used the 35 Rem., the 357 Maximum (which is a great cartridge), the 30/30, 45/70 and a few other standard chamberings. JDJ and others will outfit a host of cartridges that will allow shooting twice as far as the 44, but dead is dead and the 44 will perform admirably if you do your part.

    In addition to bear and such I've found it is no trick at all to work up handloads that will let you practice hunting small game at closer range without changing the sighting with the 44. A 200-240 grain SWC at 6-700 fps is very effective on squirrels and rabbits and will make you a much better game shot. IME the Contender platform is extremely accurate and lots of fun, but it is difficult to shoot from field positions. Small game hunting allows a lot of quality trigger time and is worth the work for preparing to hunt big game.

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    Member 7wt's Avatar
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    Default Great Stuff

    Everyone,
    Thanks for responding. I'm hearing that several of you are shooting the 7-30 Waters and the 35 Rem.

    So far recommendations have been:
    .243
    7-30 waters
    30/30
    .35 Rem
    357 max
    .375
    .358 JDJ
    .375 JDJ
    .44
    45-70

    I guess my question now is that if you only owned one TC, which one would you own that you'd feel comfortable taking a black bear with?

    Also, I know nothing of JDJ rounds in either the 358 JDJ or the 375 JDJ. Could someone help me understand about these rounds. Are these rounds available for purchase or must one be a reloader? I've reloaded 7mm REM MAG some years back but stopped reloading years ago. I'm guessing this is something I should pick up again.

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    I only own one barrel for my TC.....a 14" stainless 375JDJ. I had it Magna-ported as well. This wildcat is a 444 necked down to 375. One pass thru the resizing die if you reload your own, or buy commercial ammo for it. Recoil is similar to my Dan Wesson 44. My favorite load uses a 270 grain Speer Spire Point.

    I have a 2 x 7 scope on it and it will put down a black bear/moose/bou/deer/goat/sheep etc out to 200 yards, no problem. I'd pull the trigger on a brown bear inside 100 yards if given the opportunity.

    JD Jones and his customers have taken pretty much everything that walks with this round.

    This round flat out rocks.....you and whatever it hits.

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    With the list you compiled the .243 would have to go on the Encore platform... The others are all good for the contender (G2 now) platform.

    My top three choices, for your purpose, in this order -
    .35 Rem
    .45-70
    7-30 waters

    that said, I love the .44 mag, but i prefer shooting it in a revolver. :-)

    Keep in mind, the TC platform is GREAT for swapping out barrels - i think I can do a change in about 1.5 minutes...

    You can find a lot of good barrel used to play with. Watch the different boards and check out the free trading post at Mike Bellm's site. He is SHARP when it comes to making TC's shoot. Lots of info on his sight. Disclaimer: I get no kick back from Mike, but he IS a friend.

    Due to the TC barrels (and customs) i've had over the years, I've got around 30 different sets of dies for handloading. lol

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    If I had to pick one caliber to hunt with for my Contender it would be the 30-30 for no other reason as the round is cheap to shoot and readily available, followed by the 35 Rem as they are very close ballistically.
    Sign up for Mike Bellams email news letter. You'll be glad you did.

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    Default Thanks

    After reading everyone's comments, I think I'm leaning in the direction of

    .375 JDJ
    .35
    .7-30 Waters

    I appreciate the input and will certainly look for Mike Bellem's sight.

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