Friday, November 19, 2004

I posted on Mike Bellm's forum:

Yes, I have the 28 ga. Van Horn barrel. I like it.

It is really, really light since, well, heck, there's just about as minimal an amount of steel as you can have in a Contender barrel. It is so light that you really have to work to avoid shooting errors. There's no inherent self correction on something like swing through since there's no weight in the system to keep those barrels moving in spite of yourself. If you stop swing, the barrel stops right now! Heck, the whole gun weighs about 5 lbs (maybe a bit less).

I've tried several loads which work and I think enough better than the .410 to make the barrel worthwhile.

I had Dave put a modified choke in it and when I got it that's what it patterned. That's good. I also asked for a 22" but Dave (bless his heart) sent me a 25½" barrel. I wasn't happy when I opened the tube but I'm now glad he did that. Every bit of steel one hangs on that barrel is a good thing! Yep, this is a bull barrel!

Another consideration is that the "dovetail" locks are actually brazed to the barrel there being insufficient material to cut a dovetail. This and the bull barrel configuration require a dedicated forearm. I've modified a Custom Shop (Choate) bull barrel carbine Rynite forearm for use with this barrel.

Birding isn't what it used to be around here and I've only collected a couple of mourning dove and a single squirrel with the barrel. I just haven't been able to get onto any quail and not managed to bust a grouse with the gun in hand.

If anyone has further questions, feel free to ask even by e-mail. If you want to know about the 28 ga. capabilities any published data will apply. This barrel doesn't exhibit any surprises in that area.

I received an e-mail:

I happened to see on Mike Bellm's website that you have a site of your own and that you have a 28 gauge barrel for your TC Contender. I too have a Contender (a G2 model) which has a truly superior trigger and I had read here and there that 28 gauge shotgun barrels are made for them. Then when I saw your post on Mike's website I had evidence that these barrels are being made by someone out there. I had considered calling Fox Ridge to order one since I thought that the TC Custom Shop barrel should be a cut above what other companies make, but I guess that I must be wrong on that account. If you don't mind telling me: who made your 28 gauge Contender barrel and why did you decide to go with that company as opposed to Fox Ridge (Thompson Center Custom Shop)? Since I started this research on TC barrels, I see that there are a couple of companies that make barrels for their guns, and since I read commentary that TC's quality control is "spotty", I am beginning to understand why.So maybe a 28 gauge barrel from the TC Custom Shop would not be such a good idea after all? I look forward to your input on this subject and I thank you for your time and consideration.

My response (edited for this format and to remove personal references):

...about the 28 gauge. I got my barrel from Dave Van Horn. I believe he still has a website The Gun Shop.

I got the 28 gauge barrel from him because at the time:
1. I was on the prairienet TC list and they arranged a "deal" with Mr. Van Horn
2. I didn't have a 28 gauge barrel.
3. He was the only fellow who would make one for the Contender!

I didn't try the Custom Shop because they didn't do that at that time. I must not have noticed that they do 28 gauge Contender barrels now. I would think that they would do at least as good a job. Frankly, I've never gotten a bad custom shop barrel. I have 2, a .45-70 24" and a .25-35 21". Both are good accurate performers.

I highly recommend one other forum to a budding Contender freak like yourself. Specialty Pistols is a great forum for Contender and Encore shooters. Bullberry produces good quality after market Contender barrels as does On Target Technologies. For a good price on previously loved barrels, see Ed's Contenders.

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