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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Favorite T/C Contender Chambering
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access (Robert D. Houk) writes:

#My .308 works like a champ, and is fun to shoot - although the fun starts
#wearing out after about a dozen I sure wouldn't want to fire
#an IHMSA course with it (not to mention that the range folks get rather
#pissed off with people who punch holes clean through their targets!).

Nahhh.  Not bad.  I shoot a .308 bolt gun in IHMSA unlimited class.
It helps to use a lite powder and some of this foreign surplus ammo loaded
to primer-flatening pressures is pretty brutal but a properly loaded
round is VERY effective.  And no, it does not pop holes through
targets.  Unless you load AP rounds, of course.   About the only thing
different is occasionally I hear someone say "Oh God, there's the .308
again" and then they start packing in the cotton :-)


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: .308 Hand Cannon
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. writes:

#I am looking for a .308 Hand Cannon. I have seen a
#unique Thompson type version made or imported by Magnum
#Research. I believe it is called SPK or SSPK? If anyone
#has recommendations or comments they would be much
#appreciated. A 14'' version with compensator or brake is
#what I am leaning towards. Thanks!

I shoot a custom built Shilin .308 bolt gun in IMHSA Silhouette competition.
Shilin made (still does?) a barrel and bolt assembly especially for
silhouette.  It is a short throw mauser-like action with a sharp taper
on the barrel in order to get the weight down to silhouette specs.
I'm using a Hart 3 ounce benchrest trigger and a stock I custom-whittled
out of (I think) birch.  The gun weighs 4.1 lbs.

I don't think you'd want a brake on it.  Even with very fast powder,
the muzzle blast is brutal.  I had to add side shields to my shooting
glasses to keep the concussion from making my eyes water.  I generally
manage to have an empty table on either side of me in a match :-)
A brake would direct even more of the blast back toward you.  Besides,
I don't find the recoil objectionable.  About the only thing I've done
different from when I shoot my lesser silhoutte guns is I use an elbow
pad.  I shoot the "dead frog" creedmore style with my elbow resting on
the ground.  I was abrading it pretty badly from the recoil before the

About the only "problem" I've had is sometimes the chickens go flying
so far that they bounce over to the adjacent rail and knock someone
else's targets down :-)  On the other hand, I can hit the ram on the
nose, on the tip of his butt, on his pecker or even on his feet and
he goes spinning.  Never have had a hit-but-no-fall.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: The gun that shafted us (was: ATF stops 7.62)
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (Mark Fuller) writes:

#The offending company is Olympic Arms Inc.  They chambered their
#'patriot' AR-15 style pistol to 7.62.  J&G in Prescott was handing
#out flyers back in November about this company's business practices
#and how it would result in a ban.

#The pistol which shafted up is pictured in the March _Shooting
#Times_, pg.88.

#Anyone wishing to thank these "businessmen" for jacking up the
#price of ammo for us can reach them at:

You know, I don't "need" a hand cannon any more than you "need" your
SKS junk.  Fortunately, (at least until recently when everyone
has allowed the government to define a right as a priviledge)
"need" isn't anywhere in the 2nd.

Before you make a fool out of yourself, you maybe ought to visit a
handgun silhouette match sometime.  You'll find in the unlimited class
that just about everyone shoots a pistol chambered for a rifle caliber.
Indeed you'll find that in the lower production class.  I shoot a
custom-made .308 NATO bolt gun in unlimited and a .30-30
Thompson/Contender in production class.  Many of the guns are Remington
XP-100-based.  That, after all, was the FIRST PRODUCTION rifle-caliber
hand cannon.  You might even want to look back to some of the 70s gun
magazines and see what was available then.  Like the JDJ .375 JRS
(Jurras Rhino Stomper), a bolt action handgun chambered in the .375 H&H
Mag!  Olympic is simply another player in the game, a pretty good one, I
might add.  The 7.62X59 is a pretty good silhouette round.  Not great
but not bad either.  It is certainly a legitimate cartridge to chamber a
handgun for.

Perhaps if you're looking for who is shafting whom, you could look
toward the Clinton Administration and then look within.  We're where
we are today because so damn many "sportsmen" said "nobody needs an
ugly old black army gun" or "nobody needs a pistol which will shoot
rifle ammo" and "nobody needs armor piercing ammo" and then just
turned their back when the government shafted some other special
interest subset.  Now it's coming back on you and you're squealing
like a stuck hog.  And what do you want to do?  Why, turn on
your allies, of course.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Silhouette guns (was Re: The gun that shafted us )
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (David Lin) writes:

#In article <> gatech!!jgd@uunet.UU.NET (John De
#Armond) writes:

##Before you make a fool out of yourself, you maybe ought to visit a
##handgun silhouette match sometime.  You'll find in the unlimited class
##that just about everyone shoots a pistol chambered for a rifle caliber.
##Indeed you'll find that in the lower production class.  I shoot a
##custom-made .308 NATO bolt gun in unlimited and a .30-30
##Thompson/Contender in production class.  ...

#Just out of curiosity, could you please explain why this is the case?
#Thanks in advance.

Sure.  In a nutshell, it takes that kind of power to reliably knock down
the Ram.  IHMSA-sanctioned handgun silhouette competition ivolves trying
to knock down steel silhouettes of chickens (50 meters), pigs (100
meters), turkeys (150 meters) and rams (200 meters) and if you're real
good and have to break a tie, more chickens at 200 meters (arggg!!) Iron
sights only except for field pistol.  A standard match consists of
shooting 10 each of the targets for 40 shots total.  The turkeys are
the most demanding in terms of gun accuracy but rams demand power.  The
ram, constructed to IHMSA specs out of T1 armor plate, weighs 55 lbs.
The bullet must be able to topple or slide this mass off the railroad
rail that it typically sits on.

An empirical rule of thumb is that with a ram "half footed" (sitting
with half its foot off the rail), it takes about 0.8 lbs-seconds of
momentum to reliably knock it off.  More if you happen to hit it in the
foot.  In the production class where the gun is limited to off-the-shelf
firearms and 10" barrels, a very popular round is the .30-30 loaded with
faster than normal powder.  My load, which is hot enough to stretch the
head web (the weak part of a .30-30 brass) after 3 or 4 shots, delivers
about 0.88 lb-sec of momentum.  This is close enough to the edge so that
if I hit a leg or foot, the ram may not fall.  That REALLY makes you mad
to see the bullet impact and then the ram just stands there smirking his
little steel smirk :-) My .308 bolt gun delivers just a scosh over 1
lb-sec of momentum.  it reliably fells the ram regardless of where he is
hit.  A nose or flank hit will actually spin him around - very
impressive for 55 lbs of steel.  Unfortunately it also tends to break
the welds on the chickens so I typically down-load some ammo for those.

Silhouette competition is the most fun of any I've ever done.  It
has all the right ingredients - the necessity of real hand cannons,
the sound of bullets slapping home, the motion of the target flying
away on a good hit and LOTS of shooting.  I typically shoot
three classes (unlimited, production and standing) and that means
I get to fire 120 rounds during an ordinary match.  For someone
like me who really likes to shoot, this is wonderful.  Best of
all, IHMSA has structured the rules to avoid the "hotrod race gun"
that plague other competitive shooting disciplines.  They allow
no prize money and the awards must be of only nominal value.
For production class, a $350 off-the-shelf T/C will put you in
the winner's circle if you're good enough.  Try THAT with IPSC
or NRA bullseye sometime!

73 John

From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Silhouette Guns
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (Todd Enders A262 857-3018) writes:

#     Well, the absolute *worst* place, IMHO, to hit a ram is at it's centre of
#mass.  The bullet has to be able to drive the ram straight back 1+ inches to
#get it to fall reliably.  Foot hits, if they have enough push, will trip
#the ram, and it'll fall forward.  In general, hits around the periphery of the
#target need less power for reliable knockdown.  However, you're also flirting
#with misses... :-)

Hey, that's what I love about Silhouette.  "Just barely" is equally good
as "dead center". :-)  One season a couple of years ago, my nickname
was "Dickshooter".  Duz that give you any idea where I was hitting the
rams? My spotter spent a lot of time with his legs crossed in sympathy :-)

#     Under good conditions, one can get away with considerably less than 0.8
#lb-sec. of momentum.  But, get a little rain, or some mud on the target feet,
#or wind coming from behind the target, or dumb target setters who will
#sometimes set them hard, or wedge rocks and such under the feet to keep them
#from blowing over, and it can be as though the rams were set in stone! :-)
#Under such adverse conditions, more power is certainly better.

Probably true.  Another shooter and I did quite a bit of experimenting
with .30-30 and his 7BR and we figured out that 0.8 was the minimum
that would take a ram down every time when hit somewhere on the main
body.  We shoot sitters who use rock props :-) so that has never
been a problem.

#     I've actually managed to knock over 5 of 10 rams with a 6" barrel Colt
#Officer's Model Match in .32 S&W Long with a 120 gr. cast bullet load, but
#you have to have *very* favourable conditions, and have to hit them around
#the periphery.  I *still* use it for standing from time to time, when I'm
#not worried about my score.  Under poor conditions, it'll leave pigs with
#centre hits... :-)

What a glutton for punishment!  On the other end of the spectrum,
one of the clubs I compete at regularly has what they call the
"buffalo stomper" class.  That is, you can shoot a buffalo stomper
rifle on the pistol course.  Most people (myself included) shoot
.45-70 Springfield trapdoors.  A couple of the fellows have .50-90s.
Never knew there was such a thing before this started.  Anyway,
the muzzle must be elevated so that it looks like a mortar to get
to the rams.  But when that 450 grains of lead hits the sucker,
it flies like a chicken!  That bullet is like a lumbering train,
easily visible going down range even without a scope.  It takes
long enough that the shooter can look up to see it hit.  This is,
of course, a non-scoring, just-for-fun class.

#     IMHO, handgun silhouette shooting is the *most* fun you can have with
#a handgun! :-)  When you knock down that first ram way out there at 200
#meters, you're sure to grin from ear to ear!

10-4 good buddy!

#     My suggestion to anyone even remotely interested would be to find a match
#near you and go have a look.  If you have a T/C or a 6" or longer barreled
#revolver chambered in .357 Mag or larger, or a .22 rimfire semi-auto,
#revolver, or single-shot, bring some ammo and give it a try.  Silhouette
#shooters are, as a rule, a very friendly lot, and will go out of their way
#to help out a newcomer.  See ya at the range! :-)

So true.  I've done just about everything there is to do in shooting
competition except the shotgun sports.  IHMSA is SOOO much more fun and
the shooters are SOOO much looser and ready to help.  The NRA guys seem
SOOO serious and uptight.  IPSC is a money race with too much run'n'gun
for my tastes.  The first time I visited an IHMSA match, the match
director took me over and introduced me to Nial Tuvel, the Ga state
champ and one of the best shooters I've ever met.  He shoots a
one-of-a-kind bolt gun he literally machined from a bar of chrome-moly.
The match was over and we were talking.  He finally handed me his gun
and said "Here, lay down there and shoot a few and see what you think."
We spent the next hour working out a suitable technique for me.  I'd
like to see one of those IPSC champs do that with their zillion dollar
race guns!  I was hooked instantly and remain so today even though my
eyes are NOT cooperating.  Grrrr.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: T/C Contender
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (John Donovan) writes:

#I'm considering the purchase of a T/C Contender later this year. What I would
#like is any feedback from people that own/shoot this gun. My primary use will
#be hunting deer. I was wondering what calibers would be both powerful enough
#for a deer, and will not break my arm when I shoot it. That .45-70 sounds
#nice, but I think I might break something shooting it.  I live in PA, so
#most of my shooting will be within about 100 yards, up to 200 if I'm hunting

Though it won't break anything, the .45-70 is NOT a good long distance
round.  It's more like lobbing a mortar that the deer.  One of our
local silhouette club has a "buffalo stomper" class.  Not for formal
score but for fun.  Any "buffalo stomper" rifle is legal.  I shoot
an original Sharps Trapdoor.  I have a ladder sight on the gun and
at 200 meters, have the sight elevated about 4 inches.  You fire,
drop the gun, the smoke clears and a bit later, the bullet strikes :-)
Admittedly I'm running puny loads in this antique but my opinion is
that whatever you can regain with a modern gun will be lost on
barrel length.

My personal favorite in the T/C is the .30-30.  Others like any of the
7 mm rounds.  Any of these will outshoot most any deer rifle at 200
yards.  I've posted some details on working up loads for a T/C in
.30-30.  Check the archives.

#  Ideas on barrel length? I've seen bbls from 10-16 inches. What is a good
#balance between velocity/accuracy and being cumbersome?

The 14" barrel is pretty easy to carry.  The 16" might be a bit clumsy.
I'd probably go 14".

#  Also I have noticed some barrels come with a muzzle tamer. How effective are
#these things?  Do they affect accuracy/velocity?

Don't need it unless you're hypersensitive to recoil.  Put some good
Pachmyer grips on the thing and shoot.  I can comfortably shoot two
40 or 60 round classes in one day with my .30-30 so I don't think
a shot or two a day will bother you.

#   How good are the iron sights on the T/C? Should I consider a scope?

A scope helps but silhouette shooters regularly clean the ram line
at 200 meters with iron sights.  Depends on whether you want to carry
the weight and whether your eyes are going or gone.

#I know this is lots of questions, but I don't want to spend over $500 on a
#gun unless it will do what I want it to.....

I'm not a game hunter so I can't absolutely make a recommendation.  But
to the extent that silhouette competition and varmit shooting is similar
to game hunting, you can't go wrong with a T/C in any of the .30 cal or
7 mm. rounds.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: T/C pistol iron sight question...
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (Minh Lang) writes:

No one else jumped in so I'll give it a shot.

#Hi, I have a question that I would appreciate
#any help. I have a T/C 10" 44 magnum with
#a factory iron sight. Using an electronic
#caliper, I measured the rear sight's height
#at different clicks and this is what I got:
#- with the rear sight all the way down, it's
#   2.020 inches.
#- with 5 clicks up, 2.045"
#- with 10 clicks up, 2.063"
#- with 15 clicks up, 2.084"
#- with 20 clicks up, 2.108"
#- with 25 clicks up, 2.128"
#The click adjustments are not consistent. I am wondering
#is this a common problem wihth the factory iron sight?

Yep.  That's why many of us production class Silhouette shooters lap the
clicker on the sight and then keep a little 3X5 card with sight
settings on it.  The big concern is repeatability, something the T/C
sight does quite well, particularly after being lapped.

#If it is, is there any iron sight that gives consistent
#clicks and it can fit the T/C without drilling and tapping?
#(Such as Williams ro Lyman?)

Nial Tuvel (NiTu Machine Tools, 404 986 9741) who is the Ga State Silhouette
champ, makes and sells a fantastic silhouette sight.  The sight floats
on 2 hardened and chromed pins and the lead screw is a very fine pitch
hardened affair.  The click detents are actually tiny spring balls like
used on machine tools.  One click is worth a half inch at 200 meters on
a 14" barrel.  The blade is hooded.  I think he gets $120 for it.  He'll
want to install them for you.  Don't let him.  As good a gunsmith and
machinist as he is, I've seen way too many sights come from his shop mounted
crooked, mine included.  If you buy the sight, put it on yourself.

#Also, is there an accurate way of calculating the relation
#between MOA and sight click? (In other words, giving
#the sight radius, sight height (and adjustment per click),
#muzzle velocity, can we accurately calculate the
#MOA/click? I tried to calculate it using trigonometry
#but it seems the result is too far from being accurate
#after I tested in the range).

you can compute it by simply using the ratio of distance between
the sights to the distance between the front sight and the target.
Problem is, you can't measure the sight height accurately enough.
Consider:  1 inch of movement at the target is

1" * ( 14" sight distance / 67,200 inches (200 yards)) = 0.000208 inches

(That is impressive to think that people can hold to that accuracy :-)
The simple calculation does not take into account the dynamic effects
that may be much more significant.  For example, if you elevate the shot
slightly, you are holding the gun at an ever so slightly different angle.
This means the recoil force vector is slightly different which causes
the muzzle to move slightly differently before the bullet exits.
Computing even a ballpark figure is beyond my matchbook calculations
here but you should be aware of 'em.

The only thing you really need to worry about is whether the sight is
repeatable (the T/C's is with a bit of work) and whether the clicks
are fine enough resolution (The T/C's are not.)


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: T/C Contender .. opinions?
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South.

mjp@vnet.IBM.COM (Michael J. Phelps (8-695-1623)) writes:

#I saw a T/C Contender in a local gun shop.  Its got:

# - hunter package (T/C 2.5x scope)
# - .35 Rem barrel
# - .22 LR barrel
# - .45LC/.410 barrel

# - .35 Rem in a handgun

# Just how bad is it?  My experience is limited to a .22 revolver, a
# .38 snubbie with +p, and a 9mm.  I've briefly shot a .357 revolver as
# well.  The .35 Rem barrel has a muzzle break (that looks stock) as well.
# I believe that i could handle a .44 Mag ok, but i have no idea at all
# what a .35 Rem in a handgun would be like.

I shoot an unlimited .308 NATO pistol and a production .30-30 T/C for
silhouette.  Not quite .35 Rem but close.

I very much enjoy shooting both guns and do not find the recoil
objectionable.  Some competitors find the .308 muzzle blast a bit annoying :-)
I will acknowledge that some of my friends who have shot my .308 think
it kicks like a mule so I guess this is highly subjective.  When shooting
silhouette, I wear a shooters glove with a small pad of Sorbathane
in the web between the thumb and forefinger.  This is because there is
a nerve in that area that when pounded a few times, causes a temporary
but uncontrollable hand tremor.  A Silhouette match involves from
40 to 80 shots so this is quite different from ordinary hunting.

If you use the .35 Rem, you'll need to hand load with a faster powder for
the pistol.  When I shoot mil or commercial .308 ammo in my pistol, the
velocity goes down, the muzzle blast is enough to make your eyes water
even behind shooting glasses and the fireball covers your field of view.
With a proper load, the fireball and muzzle blast will be quite tolerable.

I'd suggest some kind of hearing protection even while hunting.  The muzzle
blast is considerable even with the proper load and it is a lot closer
to the ear than with a rifle barrel.  I have a set of Silenco amplified
muffs that would probably work fine for hunting.

# Any idea on what its worth?  I think that I could get it for between
# $550 and $600.

Pretty good price if the frame is a late model one (with the firing
pin selector on top of the hammer as opposed to the older one that
required a screw driver.)


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: T/C Contender miscellany
Organization: Dixie Communications Public Access.  The Mouth of the South. (David Brunell) writes:

#I recently purchased a Contender and was hoping someone could help me with
#a few questions I have.

#1. What is the preferred method of hold for the high-recoil calibers?  I
#   find it difficult to use two hands around the grip, because if I have
#   my left hand too high it gets cut by the overtravel screw boss and if
#   it is too low it gets cut on the sharp bottom edge of the stock.

I have developed a technique for shooting my .30-30 T/C silhouette pistol
that is both pleasant and extremely stable.  The technique involves
grasping the foreend with my off-hand (in my case, my right hand)
with that arm outstretched and my elbow locked.  Then I curve the fingers
of my trigger hand and hook them around the butt of the gun so that
the rear of the grip just barely touches my palm.  I do NOT grasp the gun
with any significant force.  I extend my thumb to touch my off-hand
wrist.  This forms a triangle that is very steady.  Lastly, I pull backward
against the grip with my trigger hand.  This tension pulls the gun in
line and holds it steady.  I can then touch the trigger with my

When the gun discharges, the foreend is pulled out of the grasp of my
off-hand and the gun rids upward in my trigger hand.  The recoil energy
is dissipated in pulling the foreend from my off-hand and in pushing
the gun upward.  The felt recoil using this technique is very mild.

The worst thing you can do is to grip it firmly.  This pounds your

I use a shooting glove that I made from a golf glove.  I cut off the end
of the trigger finger which lets me feel the trigger directly.  I then
sewed a thin sheet of Sorbathane (available from atheletic stores) into
the area that covers the web between my thumb and forefinger.  The
reason for this is that there is a nerve that runs fairly close to the
skin in that area and if it get pounded by the un-damped recoil force of
a gun of this class, it will rebel and cause an uncontrollable tremor.
There is, as far as I can determine, no permanent damage but it DOES
make getting that last set of rams somewhat of a challenge.  With the
Sorbathane, I don't develop tremors even when I shoot several classes
(40 rounds each) in a day.

#I can't
#   understand why a company that specializes in hand cannons leaves so many
#   sharp edges in the grip area.

Probably because no one keeps 'em except for display purposes.  Get a set
of Pachmyres and don't give it another thought.

#2. What is the comparative difference in recoil between the 10" 44 Mag without
#   muzzle brake and the 12" 45/70 with the brake (assuming factory loads)?

No idea. If you can give me an efficiency number on the brake, I'll run
the ballistics for you.

#3. How well do the receivers hold up over time?  Can I expect a lifetime of
#   blamming away with hot 44 Mag loads?

Yes.  And if you ever have any problems, Thompson has a lifetime no-charge
repair policy.  If there is ever a significant problem, they simply
send you a new gun.

#4. Who makes aftermarket wood grips, sans sharp edges?

No idea.  No one I know uses wood grips.  If you want to stay with wood
grips, you could probably find a discarded set for a pittance and
just sand them to your liking.  Just about every serious T/C shooter
has a pair or two of wood grips laying around collecting dust.


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