thompson contender

squirrel slayer

NES Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2006
Messages
84
Likes
3
Location
Offshore, Cape Cod
Feedback: 1 / 0 / 0
Can a contender pistol be made into a rifle legally? I am looking to get a contender and am wondering if it is legal to buy the pistol frame and make it into a rifle. That way I can use it as both if I had a pistol barrel and a rifle barrel.
 
SCOTUS said: "Yes." But you have to have a legal rifle-length barrel installed if you have the rifle stock mounted.
 
Contenders are not for sale in Mass. just look on the side of the box. But I do believe that one that was already in the state is kosher.
but Encore's are legal. just think.......
 
squirrel slayer said:
...I am looking to get a contender ...
Pistol silhouette was very popular quite a few years ago and the Contender was THE gun. There are tons of used ones out there, somewhere (I have 3, not for sale). There are three frame variations, any of which are OK for any purpose. The significant differences are in the way the hammer selector for centerfire and rimfire works, and in the type of saftey switch. The pivot point of the trigger guard was changed at some point, to make the gun easier to open (can't prove it by me.) There were also stainless guns, which require modified barrels, blued barrels can be modified to work.
Post a WTB, here, in the classifieds, or try Gunbroker, Auction Arms, and Guns America, but be prepared to wait a while. I see two or three available for sale every year.
 
C-pher said:
I have the Encore. And I don't know what the difference between the two are.
The Encore is a lot larger and heavier than the Contender, and is available mostly in rifle calibers with 15" barrels. The Contender is available in pistol calibers, with 10" barrels (longer barrels are also available).
 
jhrosier said:
A .308 pistol sounds like a solution looking for a problem[thinking]

What do use yours for?

Pain. And knocking down the ego of a big pompous guy at the range.[smile]

Really, when I bought it off my buddy, those were the barrels that he had. So I don't really use it for anything other than fun at the range. And that .308 barrel is a good conversation starter.
 
C-pher said:
Pain. And knocking down the ego of a big pompous guy at the range.[smile]

Really, when I bought it off my buddy, those were the barrels that he had. So I don't really use it for anything other than fun at the range. And that .308 barrel is a good conversation starter.

So far, my favorite is my 16" Contender barrel in 45/70 with 2" muzzle-tamer. This gives me all three food groups: Noise, Blast*, and Flame (at dusk). The 10" 44M barrel is tame, but fun. All other barrels have migrated away.

I know that KTP in ME has quite a few Contender frames & barrels, but I don't know if a used Contender could be shipped into MA.

*Blast 'does not equal' Noise; Blast = pressure wave. Damn! where are my math symbols?!?!?
 
C-pher said:
Pain. And knocking down the ego of a big pompous guy at the range.[smile] ....

Sorry for the OT, however...

Reminds me of the time, many years ago, that I was shooting my .577 Snyder carbine at the local public range. I had only one case and reloaded it for each shot, with a 315gr. bullets and 35 or 40 grs. black powder. The recoil was light and it was a lot of fun to shoot, even with the rainbow trajectory.
A wisea** just had to interupt me to make some very disparaging comments about my 1858 Snyder. I asked him if he had ever shot one and if he would like to try it[wink]
Then I loaded one up with a 500 grain bullet and a case FULL of powder.
(the gun weighed about 5-1/2 lbs)
That was the first time I ever saw someone slide off the bench and on to his back, with the rifle pointing straight up[rofl]
That happened in the early 70's, and I still remember the very surprised look on his face.
 
jhrosier said:
Sorry for the OT, however...

Reminds me of the time, many years ago, that I was shooting my .577 Snyder carbine at the local public range. I had only one case and reloaded it for each shot, with a 315gr. bullets and 35 or 40 grs. black powder. The recoil was light and it was a lot of fun to shoot, even with the rainbow trajectory.
A wisea** just had to interupt me to make some very disparaging comments about my 1858 Snyder. I asked him if he had ever shot one and if he would like to try it[wink]
Then I loaded one up with a 500 grain bullet and a case FULL of powder.
(the gun weighed about 5-1/2 lbs)
That was the first time I ever saw someone slide off the bench and on to his back, with the rifle pointing straight up[rofl]
That happened in the early 70's, and I still remember the very surprised look on his face.

I love that.[smile]
 
jhrosier said:
... (snip) Then I loaded one up with a 500 grain bullet and a case FULL of powder. (the gun weighed about 5-1/2 lbs)
That was the first time I ever saw someone slide off the bench and on to his back, with the rifle pointing straight up...

Did much the same to my blushing bride back in 81; only NOT on purpose! I was working up a hunting load for a .50 T/C Hawken she bought me for our first Christmas, when I had the wild idea to let her try it. I offered, and she bravely accepted.

Got her all squared away for position and stance. Then I said "Pull the front trigger.", which she did. I then said "Pull the rear trigger." She couldn't find it by feel; so just as I'm starting to yell "No! No! No!", she takes the gun partially off her shoulder to locate & 'touch' the hair trigger.

The upper pointy end of the half-moon butt-plate caught her square in the middle of the shoulder. (100 or 110gr Pyrodex under a T/C MaxiHunter)

I had over 8 years of active duty in the Navy at that point; but I'd never heard anyone, much less my demure New York City girl, put together such a unique and forceful combination of words as I heard after that.
 
Can a Contender "Pistol" be converted into a rifle.........The answer is YES.

All pistols can legally be converted to rifle specs............No federal or local issues with this.

Can a Contender (Encore) rifle (carbine) be converted into a pistol.......This gets more difficult. If the firearm was transfered to the gun shop and/or the first owner as a rifle (carbine) , then it can never be converted into a pistol without applying to the ATF for the required forms for a short rifle and pay the assiciated taxes and fees.

It's quite simple as far as the ATF is concerned. "Once a rifle, always a rifle". And whether a Contender (Encore) is a rifle or a pistol is determined by the paperwork accompaning the firearm to the vendor and how he records it in his bound book or what the gunshop calls it on the first transfere to the purchaser.

Except in Massachusetts, where we can't buy Contenders or Encores any longer...........You should always take possesion of your Contender (Encore) as a pistol if possible.
 
Thanks for all the info. My big question was answered. I can turn a Encore/Contender pistol into a rifle. I pretty much knew that a rifle could not be turned into a pistol, but thank you for confirming. I guess that there are no physical differences in the pistol vs. rifle frame. There are some frames only for sale at Kittery. One pistol, one rifle. That is idiotic that I could go up there and only be able to purchase the frame registered as a rifle. I wonder if the new proposed bill would allow this "single action target pistol" to be legal in our so wonderful state.
 
RoyB said:
...Can a Contender (Encore) rifle (carbine) be converted into a pistol.......This gets more difficult....
It's quite simple as far as the ATF is concerned. "Once a rifle, always a rifle". And whether a Contender (Encore) is a rifle or a pistol is determined by the paperwork accompaning the firearm to the vendor and how he records it in his bound book or what the gunshop calls it on the first transfere to the purchaser....
I think that it would be worthwhile to contact TC (603-332-2333) with this question. As I recall, there was a great deal of confusion about this issue regarding the Contenders, when the rifle barrels and stocks were first introduced, 25 or so years ago.
I recall that the ATF gave an interpretation that Contenders were considered to be manuafactured as handguns, regardless of the barrel length that was subsequently installed. Owners were also cautioned that the gun was never to be assembled with a short barrel when the rifle stock was installed and possesion of a frame AND rifle stock REQUIRED possesion of a rifle barrel to disprove intent to manufacture a short barreled rifle. I would be inclined to believe that the same principles would apply to the G2 Contender and the Encore.
The issue is not adressed on the TC website. I do not have a current printed catalogue, but I recall it being addressed in catalogues in the past.
 
Contender for sale in MA.

I know they aren't that common for sale, but I believe Four Seasons has one for sale with a ton of extra barrels. The price is around $1800. No idea if that is a low/fair/insane price but I know I have seen it there on the site.
 
You can have an extension or brake added to a super 14 barrel to make it rifle or carbine legal.
Be sure that it is permanently affixed to comply with ATF rules
cherry furniture sm.jpg
308 Bellm (necked down 444 Marlin)
 
Last edited:
Contender for sale in MA.

I know they aren't that common for sale, but I believe Four Seasons has one for sale with a ton of extra barrels. The price is around $1800. No idea if that is a low/fair/insane price but I know I have seen it there on the site.
How many barrels?

If 2, that is insane. If 6 barrels, that might not be bad. I forget how much barrels cost.
 
I'm pretty big into Contenders and Encores. Contenders are limited in the pressures they can endure. There's plenty of options though, from. 22lr up to a 45/70. My 30-30 barrel sees the most use but I shoot a lot of 223 and 7TCU as well. Custom barrels really make the platform shine. 309JDJ is right on the heels of a 308 but with acceptable pressures. There's also a slew of fun wildcats for them.

Encores are the Contenders bigger brother. You can get a 416 Rigby barrel is you'd like.

To answer on pistol to rifle configuration, well, the answer is once a rifle always a rifle, BUT, I know what 100's of TC shooters do.
 
Sorry for the OT, however...

Reminds me of the time, many years ago, that I was shooting my .577 Snyder carbine at the local public range. I had only one case and reloaded it for each shot, with a 315gr. bullets and 35 or 40 grs. black powder. The recoil was light and it was a lot of fun to shoot, even with the rainbow trajectory.
A wisea** just had to interupt me to make some very disparaging comments about my 1858 Snyder. I asked him if he had ever shot one and if he would like to try it[wink]
Then I loaded one up with a 500 grain bullet and a case FULL of powder.
(the gun weighed about 5-1/2 lbs)
That was the first time I ever saw someone slide off the bench and on to his back, with the rifle pointing straight up[rofl]
That happened in the early 70's, and I still remember the very surprised look on his face.

Don't start, nothin' won't be nothin'. [rofl]
 
I almost bought an Encore once. Probably 15 yrs ago. Thought I'd want a platform to buy multiple rifle calibers. Thankfully never did. That was a fad to me. I'm lucky to get to the range at all, let alone shoot multiple calibers. ROFL!!!
 
contenders are an acquired taste and part of that taste....and fun....is reloading for it. i'm on my second one, i sold my contender stuff when i stopped shooting ihmsa and suffered withdrawals. i had to locate another guy getting out to secure another and a bunch of barrels for a decent price. i won't let this one get away unless of course i get too feeble to shoot. i have a first gen frame.
 
Yep.

I had a buddy that had a Contender pistol years ago. He had a .223 and 45LC/410 bbl and a few others. Maybe a .17something bbl.

He had a problem with the hammer falling upon closing the action. The break-open of a Contender is not smart. It's the trigger guard. What he was doing was accidentally bumping the trigger when he'd open it. So the trigger was. . . triggered already. Close that thing up and SLAM would go the hammer. We'd have to set it on the center spot to have it on super-Safe in order for it not to fire.

One time we took a clay thrower and about 6 boxes of .410's to the range and shot clays with it. THAT was hard. You'd actually have to track the clay but not aim at it. Because the rifling would create a hole in the center of the pattern as the shot all moved out.

Maybe if I had a range in my back yard it would be fun.
 
Dennis in MA,
You friend's experience with his contender the hammer should not be cocked while loading or closing a contender.
The actions are not smart but they're very safe. I have forgotten about the hammer being cocked as game approached and after the opportunity passed opened the action without letting the hammer down. It abruptly dropped the hammer but did not allow the hammer block safety to fall and shielded the pins from strike by the hammer.
All my frames are original contender and need to be reset if hammer has been set down after cocking.
 
Last edited:
Back
Top Bottom