Friday, December 10, 2010


A reader writes: Is there anybody producing that 600 nitro barrel for sail. I would be interested in purchasing one.

The Thomson Contender 'Encore' .600 Nitro Express Magnum is a single shot target pistol, its very light and dangerously uncontrollable when fired.




  1. The TC encore platform is great for experimenting with obscure factory rounds and wildcats. One can have a barrel made up relatively inexpensively. The largest cal. I have messed with on this platform is the 500S&W. I dont know what the chamber pressures run for the .600 Nitro but I dont think I would care to mess with that. Keep in mind that with the Encore and Contender your scope base screw holes are directly over your chamber unless you ask your smith to offset them a but forward.

  2. --Fellow who penned Boomer and BS for a whileDecember 10, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    .600 Nitro isn't really any more high pressure than a lot of other things people have put in Encores. I've done a .458 Lott Encore with 18.5" barrel and serious porting and one COULD make a serious brake (not the same as ports) if one wanted to, like the folks did on the shootable .50BMG pistol they built to prove their braking system really worked. Yes, .50BMG. And shootable. Louder than hell, too, which is why I lean towards slightly less efficient porting compared to brakes, plus it looks more elegant. The more efficient the recoil control, the more gas and noise you are blasting back at the firing line.

    The thing is, I did it so I could say I did it and it's funny to take it out when people are shooting .45 and say "You call THAT a Forty-Five? THIS is a Forty-Five!", but I LOAD IT for what it is. It eats 350 grain loads tailored for a pistol application (and wastes a lot of powder).

    I wouldn't shoot the 500 grain loads tailored for my rifle in it because it would be brutal to shoot and doesn't make much sense to do. Amusingly enough, the only T/C I ever pinwheeled into the sky was when I was showing off trick shooting a .30-30 pistol barrel Contender one handed. FWIW they aren't at all the same gun and the Contender is significantly lighter, just come from the same basic design. There are really 3 T/C "pistol frames" in the family: Contender, G2, and Encore.

    The fact a person did it wrongly, with a short barrel, not terribly effective brake, and with silly loads to shoot in it doesn't mean it's not possible to shoot .600 Nitro in an Encore although there's some question about whether or not it's a NFA Destructive Device because of bore diameter in a pistol application. BATFE wasn't very keen on the fellow who did the "famous" one from what I've heard second-hand.

    Important thing to remember if you like rifle cartridges in a handgun: There is NO MAX LENGTH on pistol barrels in the USA and stubby barrels don't make sense. For that matter, most rifle caliber T/C barrels of 10" are about useless unless you are building an intentional flamethrower. My .243 Prarie dog pistol barrel is 22" with a bipod.

    As far as DG handgun hunting, I've killed a wildebeest with a .45-70 pistol (BFR) and a fellow I know who has a .375 H&H Mag pistol barrel very similar to the one I have in my Boomers & BS banner to your right has killed a cape with his, mine kills hogs so far. I know a number of people that COULD make a person a usable .600 Encore barrel if they were really sure they wanted one.

    Lastly, the only truly uncontrollable pistol I've ever shot was an unported .460 S&W snubby with Hornady 200 grainers. Interestingly, if you go to the local gun store, if they bother to stock .460 and .500 S&W ammo they stock reduced recoil loads.