TC Contenders

L Ross

Well-Known Member
Darn, been away from Contenders for a long time. I used to play a form of silhouette with a couple of them at local gun clubs around Green Bay. (Oh, if you care, it's pronounced green-Bay not Green-bay), and gathered up pieces and parts and even shot a deer with a Super 14 in .30-30. Sold or traded them all away after silhouette got to be such a gamer's game that there were even special cartridges made for it. Remember the .270 REN? I was trying to compete with a .357 mag. shooting cast and the hot shooters were peeing away jacketed bullets by the hundreds. I lost interest when it became obvious all I was doing that contributing entrance fees.

At the cast bullet gathering last weekend I ended up swapping a Model 19 round butt for a Contender in .357 mag. We had been handily busting buffalo targets at 210 yards with a .357 Herrett and a 4X scope with my gunsmith friend's Contender with custom wood, a beautiful piece. Another buddy is picking up the .357 for me this weekend, it was a long distance swap.

So now I'm all excited to have a range toy and started looking for other barrels. OMG when did those prices go nuts? Where's the demand coming from? Other than Charlie's piece I haven't even seen anyone shooting a Contender in years!

I finally got a photo from the friend I swapped with and the .357 is uglier than a mud duck with Pachmayr rubber front and rear so I looked for some nicer wood and a 10" .22 barrel and a Super 14" .30-30 barrel. I can now see this is not going to be a simple nor inexpensive undertaking.
 

Rick H

Well-Known Member
They got real expensive when they stopped making them. Actually, extra barrels were never really cheap. My only contender frame is a carbine. Purchased new in 22 Hornet. Each aftermarket barrel and scope cost more than the carbine did new, and that was back in the 80's. (Bullberry in 7x30 Waters, and at that time Virgin Barrel in 22 LR)
You are about to learn all over again how addicting (and expensive) contenders can be.
 

Rick

Moderator
Staff member
You might be surprised how well cast bullets can do in Silhouette. Cast is all I shot for years, though I finally settled on mostly revolver category I still shot cast in Contenders and XP etc. Won the revolver State Championships shooting cast with a perfect 60x60 score upsetting those using the supposedly best bullets money could buy. Full length gas checks are not needed or desired. Pour your own.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
@L Ross , you aren't kidding about Contender prices.

I had been interested in them in carbine format for many years, but never got into them until I decided to slim down the personal battery. THEN I sold a bunch of stuff and bought what I wanted instead of what I though made sense - if that makes sense. I didn't get around to the Contenders until about five years ago, and was surprised at the prices, but snagged a blued, easy-open action, like new for $325.

Met a guy at a show, where I was moving stuff to pay for some MGM barrels, which were $375 each at the time, and he felt I over-paid for the action. No big deal - mine now. There was a whole, stainless 223 with a factory tapered barrel on an adjacent able that I watched throughout the show and not one person picked it up. This guy told me it was a good one to have and that $500 would be reasonable, so Sunday afternoon, when we all started packing up, I offered the guy $500 and gook home my first whole Contender Carbine.

In the interim, I trade that same guy a CZ 452 Trainer for a like-new, stainless, 24" MGM barrel and it has been an absolute gem. I eventually got my 357 Mag and 357 Max MGM barrels with my take from that show, and have since added a nickeled receiver - pre-Armor Alloy, which had been part of a JDJ package don up by JD Jones. Swapped barrels, stocks, pins and scopes and keep three assembled at all times, with the 357 Max barrel waiting to get used, someday, maybe, for deer season.

I thought they were high five years ago, but wanted what I wanted. Now that Smith discontinued the G2s, and on top of the current "shortage" situation at that, they have gone up even more. What I've found though, is that in my area, where if you're not a cheap bastard, you're just broke, that the stuff that ells at the shows sells for much less than what I am seeing online. At the last show, I saw a set of four Contender pistol barrels, which I'd seen there before. I believe he ended up moving them as package which netted an average of about $100 each by the time he'd gotten tired of packing and unpacking them. If it ain't plastic, doesn't have a three-foot stick of Picatinny rail, take 30-round mags and have a glowing blob for a front sight, you end up selling to shrewder folk - face to face in a rural area where the economy, at its best, would be considered poor in many other areas.

I love these things. They have become my platform of choice for my long-guns from here on out. If you spook around at smaller shows, you could end up with one again for a decent price still. Maybe get two when you find them, as the second serves well as a stand-by, complete set of spare parts, assembled and useful. I'm still on the list at Haus of Arms for their $275, stainless remake of the original Contender, but I seriously doubt its ever going to fly. I've waited for over two years for this to happen, but so far NOT. On the upside, they do show new parts available for the originals.

Danged MGM barrels have gone up a lot since I got mine too, but I do see barrels sell for considerably less used. I keep an eye on this site:


...and have dealt with a few guys there and have been treated well.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
Bought my first complete Contender 10" brand new in a sporting goods store in Oregon for full retail, for the grand price of $125.
In those "days of yore," Rick, how did that $125 compare to a weekly pay check? Not meant as a challenge, but out of curiosity/comparison's sake.

Right now, for a fella to get a whole Contender Carbine, it'd be $750 on the low side, to an easy $1k, which seems utterly ridiculous to me, but there are people a-payin'.

Shopping local, networking among shooting-associates, one may well do better, but I'm a bit of a hermit by circumstance and don't get out to play with others much. My "network" is broken.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
I bought my first one in about 1977 and I think it was $149. I was a second class Firefighter and making $419 a month, so over a week's wages. My daughter had just be born and I had sold a few elk rifles I had made to pay the expenses. But the City stepped up and paid the hospital costs so I had extra money that winter.
 
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L Ross

Well-Known Member
I flubbed the dub, as my Dad used ta say, in Oct. 2019. I was at a local show and ended up helping an older fellow who had 6 weeks left to live price and move his reloading stuff. He wanted me to buy what was left at a very good price but there was a lot stuff and my supply of fungible bills was somewhat limited. I passed up a 10" .30 Herrett with a 2X Tasco. brass, 100 loaded rounds a complete pistol for $450.00 as the show ended on Sunday and I just wasn't using my head. I thought, "Oh heck I can always find a Contender and I don't want a wildcat." Silly me, now I'd dislocate my wrist grabbin' for my wallet.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
That's about how it usually goes for me - numerous things I took for granted are now discontinued and now hard to find, even though they were not necessarily wildly popular when available.

Marlin levers - they were a dime a dozen, used. Winchester was what everyone really wanted, so a used Marlin was commonly available for something like $150. Now, look at 'em.
 

Missionary

Well-Known Member
We bought numerous 30-30 "ugly" Marlins years back as they were cheep with neglected bores. But just right to rebarrel or bore out to larger calibers. It still brings a smile to my face having a good supply of Marlins not in 30-30.
 

Bret4207

Northern NY Dangerous extremist...???
They got real expensive when they stopped making them. Actually, extra barrels were never really cheap. My only contender frame is a carbine. Purchased new in 22 Hornet. Each aftermarket barrel and scope cost more than the carbine did new, and that was back in the 80's. (Bullberry in 7x30 Waters, and at that time Virgin Barrel in 22 LR)
You are about to learn all over again how addicting (and expensive) contenders can be.
Crap, I didn't even know they weren't still in production!
 

Missionary

Well-Known Member
That is for sure ! I am very happy we bought a bunch of 41, 357, and 44 barrels. I sort of have a feeling for Supermags.
 
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todd

Active Member
my dad(RIP) had an original (g1?) with a 14" factory brake ( i hate brakes) in 7-30 waters. i've been thinking of taking it out and hunting with it. TC did a heck of a job, the barrel is 1/4 - 1/2" group at 100 yards(5 shots/bench). i can remember my dad shooting it every day when he first got it. i even introduced him to handloading. he killed quite a few deer with it. there was no mono, bi or tripods back then, so he took a rake handle and a block of wood that he fashioned into a rest. then he screwed it together and he took it out hunting. years later, he bought a bog pog bipod to replace his rake/wood fashioned rest.

the last barrel i ever bought was for a tc encore 23" heavy factory barrel in 500 linebaugh for $420 including s/h. what i'd really like to do would be a rifle High Plains Gunstock in either a old TC Contender (no S&W) or a 23" MGM heavy factory barrel in 7x30 waters.
 

Jeff H

NW Ohio
Crap, I didn't even know they weren't still in production!
You do know that the H&R Handi Rifles were discontinued too, right?;)

Kidding aside, it's sad and it's what I HATE (yes, I said the "H-word") about all the new crap being pushed by "marketing geniuses." It pushes out of production a lot of viable, useful and really great stuff. I think a lot of the new shooters, who end up sticking with it will also mourn these losses eventually as they start to demand more of their guns (and themselves) than making noise and kicking up dirt on the back stop.

There.

I did my grouchy old fart thing for the day and now I'll shut up for a while.

No, there's one more thing - getting mad about dumb stuff being done to you is considered poor form and bad behavior. Well, I'm mad and I'm not buying into the new etiquette that one must endure suffering imposed by others for their own gain at your expense.

NOW, I'll shut up for a while.
 

Bret4207

Northern NY Dangerous extremist...???
You do know that the H&R Handi Rifles were discontinued too, right?;)

Kidding aside, it's sad and it's what I HATE (yes, I said the "H-word") about all the new crap being pushed by "marketing geniuses." It pushes out of production a lot of viable, useful and really great stuff. I think a lot of the new shooters, who end up sticking with it will also mourn these losses eventually as they start to demand more of their guns (and themselves) than making noise and kicking up dirt on the back stop.

There.

I did my grouchy old fart thing for the day and now I'll shut up for a while.

No, there's one more thing - getting mad about dumb stuff being done to you is considered poor form and bad behavior. Well, I'm mad and I'm not buying into the new etiquette that one must endure suffering imposed by others for their own gain at your expense.

NOW, I'll shut up for a while.
Don't shut up!!! It's like reading my thoughts on someone elses post!!!! ;)
 

Alstep

Member
You do know that the H&R Handi Rifles were discontinued too, right?;)

Kidding aside, it's sad and it's what I HATE (yes, I said the "H-word") about all the new crap being pushed by "marketing geniuses." It pushes out of production a lot of viable, useful and really great stuff. I think a lot of the new shooters, who end up sticking with it will also mourn these losses eventually as they start to demand more of their guns (and themselves) than making noise and kicking up dirt on the back stop.

There.

I did my grouchy old fart thing for the day and now I'll shut up for a while.

No, there's one more thing - getting mad about dumb stuff being done to you is considered poor form and bad behavior. Well, I'm mad and I'm not buying into the new etiquette that one must endure suffering imposed by others for their own gain at your expense.

NOW, I'll shut up for a while.
Well said, Jeff H ! You hit the nail square on the head.
 

Bret4207

Northern NY Dangerous extremist...???
I kind of knew about the Handis, but I haven't had a yearning for a new production gun in a couple decades. I think the only brand new one I ever owned in my adult life was my Ruger 22/45. Used suits me fine, and I like old stuff anyway. I am an anachronism.