I have been using a Thompson-Center Encore for all of my hunting for the past 12 years. Yes, there are limitations, but for my purposes, it is a good fit. Not once during this time; have I needed or wished for another shot. I don’t hunt bean fields, clear-cuts or vast, open areas. I hunt the woods of the eastern mountains. In these conditions, a firearm is carried a lot more than it is shot. I don’t need a heavy rifle, capable of bench-rest accuracy, nor do I need a lot of unnecessary firepower. I have never been stricken by magnumites, and don’t enjoy having my eyes crossed every time I pull the trigger. I have owned five different barrels for my Encore, and everyone has proved satisfactory. I have also found a few inexpensive and simple ways to make an Encore even better, as a hunting rifle.
STOP THE DRIFT
The factory hinge pin, which holds the barrel and frame together is the first step in reaching accuracy potential. There is a small amount of inherent drift, every time the action is opened and closed. This movement is very slight, but to achieve accuracy, you must start with the same alignment of barrel and frame, on every shot. The Encore Locker-Pin was designed by Cecil Epps of Precision Rifle to solve this problem. This product makes sure that the mechanical lock-up of the Encore action is exactly the same from one shot to the next. The Locker-Pin is comprised of three parts; installation is as simple as removing the old pin, replacing it with the new Locker-Pin and tightening an Allen screw with the supplied Allen wrench. The Locker-Pin is available from sources listed at the end of this article and will cost around $40.00.
RELIEVE THE PRESSURE
Encore fore ends bind on the frame and create pressure. I really don’t know what effects this has on accuracy, but it can’t help anything. It is a very simple problem to solve. All of my fore ends are synthetic. I use a rotary tool to grind away the excess material from the inside of the fore end ears. Keep checking your work, until you have clearance on both sides. Make sure you wear a dust mask while grinding. The whole process should take about 15 minutes. I haven’t worked on any wood stocks. I would use sandpaper to do the same thing and seal with linseed oil. This process is mandatory to provide clearance for the Locker-Pin.
MAKE IT CRISP
Nothing effects accuracy as much as a poor, sloppy trigger pull. Send your frame to a good gunsmith; with experience in Encore actions. They will be able to tune-up your trigger pull and smooth everything out. E.A. Brown does this for around $75.00. Your groups will shrink with these three simple methods and around $125.00 in expenses. Your confidence as a single shot hunter will also improve. My barrels are all standard factory barrels and will shoot MOA from a cold barrel with three shot groups. I need to stress cold barrel again and I mean cold. Not warm. After they heat up, strays tend to begin. Remember; it is a single shot, hunting gun.
The Encore is lightweight; that is why it is a joy to carry all day. Don’t make the mistake of choosing the biggest and baddest caliber that it is chambered for. Muzzle blast and excessive recoil do not translate into an accurate lightweight hunting gun. You will shoot better and harvest more game; if your mindset will let you choose a .308 over a .300 Winchester Magnum. I have personally been using a 7mm-08 over the past six seasons and it has preformed above my expectations. Caliber choices for the Encore are nearly unlimited. Factory barrels are offered in many popular calibers. Custom barrel makers offer just about any chambering; that you can dream up.
E. Arthur Brown Co, Inc. www.eabco.com Precision Rifle www.prbullet.com