TC Encore Pro-Hunter 30-06 Rifle – Out of the Box by Ed Hale

If you are following my TC Encore Pro-Hunter testing, I received the TC Encore Pro-Hunter as a muzzle loader and wanted to test a rifle barrel with it. It requires the shooter to punch out the hinge pin after removing the forearm. The new rifle barrel received is in 30-06 Springfield. Yesterday I loaded up some 150 grain Sierra Game King boat-tails with 56 grains of H4350 powder and shot the barrel out of the box. The rounds loaded into the breech easily and… after firing the round was lifted by the ejector so I could remove it with my fingers. Nice! I removed the Leupold Scope from the muzzle loader and attached it to the 30-06 with the TC weaver base. Two knurled screws and it was on the rifle. I shot at 25 yards to see where it hit on paper. It was 5 inches high at 25 yards and dead center. Luckily, I was on paper. So how much to adjust the Minute of Angle – MOA down?

Doing the math; It takes 4 clicks/moa at 100 yards to move 1 inch, or 8 clicks at 50 yards to move 1 inch, or 16 clicks to move one inch at 25 yards. Correct? Sixteen clicks at 25 yards is equivalent to 4 moa on your scope elevation dial. Accordingly, 4 moa/inch x 5 inches equals 20 moa or 80 clicks to be on target at 25 yards and will likely be on paper at 100 yards. That’s a lot of clicks but use your scope dial numbers which are in MOA unless it is in Mil’s like a military scope.

Below is a three shot 100 yard group out of the box with the Sierra 150 grain head and the H4350. It is a bit over an inch. This is a great group given that the load was just created. It delivers 2700 ft-lbs at the muzzle and can drop a deer at 450 yards were energy is still above 1000 ft-lbs.  I will shoot more this next week and try different loads and bullets


The 30-06 barrel performed very well in the Out-of-the Box test.

More testing soon…

Shoot Straight, Shoot  often


Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved





The Leupold dial numbers are written as moa so I turned the dial 20 moa and shot 2 inches or so low at 100 yards. Group 1 was

Then fired at 100 yards

TC Encore Pro-Hunter 30-06 Barrel and Forend


I have just received the 30-06 barrel and forend for testing. Nice packaging! I tried to swap the barrel of the muzzle loader which requires you to tap out the hinge pin which I did with a wooden dowel. I got the new barrel on and the hinge pin went in quickly. I added the new forend which did not come with mounting screws so I figured the screws from the muzzle loader forend will work. But they didn’t. They were only for the muzzle loader, larger in diameter and designed to attach to the ramrod standoffs. So I contacted TC folks who are sending the correct screws. I made the recommendation that all rifle forends be packaged with the correct forend mount screws. I will begin testing the rifle next week. I have already attached the second TC 7429 steel scope mount base (Weaver style) to the rifle and swapped the Leupold VX-III scope to it. It was very fast and easy to swap over the scope as it required loosening the two large knurled screws that hold the scope to the base.

While the screws are arriving I will load up some rounds for the 30-06 Springfield.

We wait…

© 2016



TC Encore Pro-Hunter Muzzle Loader with Leupold VX-III 2.5-8 initial shots by Ed Hale

Below this article is the detail Physical Exam on the T/C Encore Pro-Hunter Muzzle Loader.

In this article:

This afternoon, I went to the range to get the rifle and Leupold VX-III on paper. I tried a shot with the 300 grain Hornady sabot bullets at 25 yards to see if it was on paper, it was far away from the bull in the lower left. Accordingly, I chose to bore sight the rifle as the easiest way. So I took out the Speed Breech plug with just my fingers and a flip of the wrist and I could see through the bore and the scope. Nice! I dialed in the scope and two more shots later I was near the dead center but a half inch low. I moved the target to 50 yards, dialed up the vertical adjustment 16 clicks, approximately 2 inches, figuring some drop, and chose a 1 inch square in the lower right to aim at… and I hit it. “Guess I figured well. Wow! I thought,  ok now lets shoot at 75 yards with no further drop adjustment but I ran a bore snake in the barrel once before I shot.”  The first shot was an inch high. The second shot was way left as I likely pulled the shot for a myriad of possible reasons but the heavy trigger and newness to the rifle are likely reasons not the rifle itself or the scope.

I let that go and concentrated on the next shot and place that round within an inch of the first 75 yard shot which was just an inch high.  See the target below.


This was impressive but more shooting at 100 yards will tell more and for a three shot group. I pulled the Breech plug, wiped it clean and ran the bore snake in just a few minutes, ready for the next time. The Fox Tactical Butt Stock Cheek Rest pouch worked great to store the long jag.


Until then,

Shoot Straight, Shoot Often!

© 2016

TC Encore Pro-Hunter Muzzle Loader Physical Examination Report by Ed Hale

Just like my doctor checking all my vital signs, looking in the nooks and crannies in a physical exam, I am doing the same but with a new rifle and detailing my findings.

The T/C Encore® Pro-Hunter™ Complete Rifle has a history of success. It is such a well thought out firearm that can be a muzzle loader, today, a Rifle or Shotgun tomorrow or even a Pistol if you purchase the grips and barrel.


The work horse of the gun is the core trigger/hammer and its Encore housing. In early rifles this was called the lock mechanism as in Flintlock or Caplock and mates to a single shot rifle, a shotgun or a pistol with stock or grip and forearm. The lower tang on the trigger housing is a lever you must pull to open the breech. This trigger breaks at 7 lb 8 oz.dsc_0010-1

The muzzle loader 28 inch barrel is called the Endeavor 209×50 cal Magnum and sports an innovative, state of the art metallic looking Weather Shield® exterior coating that is nearly impervious to rust and patented Speed Breech XT® . It is a visual work of fine engineering and machinist art with the breech plug that removes simply with a 90 degree twist for easy cleaning. Note: Ambidextrous Swing Hammer®.




I fired a bench rest shot yesterday at 100 yards with open sights and hit a 4 inch target on the first shot. I opened the breech and pulled the speed breech plug with a twist of my hand to clean the barrel with no effort. Below is the grip side of the speed breech.


You pull the black decapping arm rearward about 1/4 inch and it can be rotated to the right and out of the way so the plug can be rotated to its removal align marks and pulled out of the barrel. Marvelous!

Note the hammer above can be adjusted right or left. Another great feature!

Loading powder and bullet is accomplished by placing a powder charge in the barrel then a bullet and using the ramrod and extended threaded loading/cleaning jag to drive the bullet down to seat firmly on the powder or a cleaning patch.

For ease of loading in the field or at the range, the muzzle has no initial rifling for the first inch (see barrel below without rifling at the muzzle) so that it can cradle and align the bullet as it is placed in the muzzle with your fingers. Nice! No more fumbling for a faster reload and proper bullet alignment.


The Jag (below) is not part of the ramrod it must be carried separately. Without this Jag the rifle cannot be loaded so don’t lose it! I would order another spare Jag just in case. I ordered a Hoppe’s 410 shotgun bore snake with embedded bore brush for fast cleaning. The 410 shotgun bore is 45 caliber in size.


The loading ramrod below has a swivel T handle to aid in seating the bullet.

At the range, I put a 300 grain Hornady bullet through my chronograph with 100 grains of Black Powder substitute and it registered 1655 fps. That equates to over 1840 ft-lb at the  muzzle and deer killing energy to 200 yards with that load.

The rifle instruction manual for the muzzle loader has recipes for both powder pellets and for loose powder that go up to 150 grains of powder equivalent and bullets up to 400 grains. Wow!

The stock has a recoil tamer built in to it called Flex Tech where recoil on the stock is absorbed by the recoil pad which extends up the grey radial marks on the stock.

Thompson Center T/C Encore Pro Hunter Flextech Rifle Stock Set

If you like a lighter trigger that is the only thing an owner might do is to have a gunsmith tune the trigger to your liking. I have two TC scope mount bases (not part of the rifle) coming and a 30-06 barrel so we can really see the accuracy of the rifle and its versatility.

The muzzle loader is balanced at 8.25 lbs. much more than I I would have thought with a 28 inch barrel and not overly front heavy as some muzzle loaders can be.

The excellent attributes of this rifle are many as we can see above. Minor weaknesses in this Muzzle Loader Rifle are the heavy trigger and the unattached non storing Jag. Both can be remedied with a trigger job and a butt stock storage pouch.

To date I have just completed mounting a Leupold Scope using a 7429 T/C Encore mount base to use with weaver rings and added a Fox Tactical ™ butt stock cheek rest and storage pouch.



I am going to the range today to see what accuracy I can obtain for the upcoming accuracy test report.

Shoot Straight and Shoot Often!

© 2016











Coyote Trailing New Hampshire Whitetail Fawn by Ed Hale

In preparation for Deer Season I sometimes bear hunt in northern New Hampshire. A few weeks ago I placed a Moultrie Trail Cam and got these videos. It has been a three years since I used this camera and forgot to set the time and date correctly. This was taken September week 1 of 2016. Here setting the cameras I am carrying the Ruger American Predator Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor with a Leupold VX-6 3-18x44mm. Great bear medicine and great anything medicine for deer, bear, and moose. At 6.6 pounds the Ruger American Predator carries like a feather and shoots like a target rifle with the the finest Leupold Scope!


as you can see this coyote looks healthy and right behind a doe with a single young fawn in the next video. No mice for this yote, it wants venison!

Both look very healthy and already eating acorns and unaware of the danger that lurkes behind.

I was hoping to get a bear to step into the camera. The next video you can hear a huff sound and that may be my bear but was reluctant to step into the camera lens.


I was very pleased to capture these short videos for my NH Rifleman Readers. I hope there is more to come. I found an old primary scrape nearby as it has the remnants of ground that has been scraped and beat-up though covered with leaves and the overhanging spruce branches all knarled from his antlers. I will set up the camera on it later in October perhaps.


© All Rights Reserved


TC Encore Pro-hunter Muzzleloader – Out of the Box by Ed Hale


The TC Encore Pro-Hunter Rifle with 50 cal. muzzle loader barrel arrived at my local FFL dealer fully assembled and ready to shoot. This Pro-Hunter model can also change barrels to center-fire ammo. I have a 30-06 barrel on its way for testing with it. The TC brand, as you know, is part of Smith and Wesson.

Out of the Box – Shots with fiber optic sights

The Pro Hunter does not come with a scope mount but is set up with fiber optic sights. Accessories include a flat wrench to open the breech and a Allen wrench to adjust the hammer angle to accommodate a scope.

I measured trigger pull at 7 lb 8 oz.with my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge, very heavy indeed.  I set up at target at 25 yards and stoked it with 100 grains of black powder substitute and a 300 grain Hornady saboted bullet to the target at 25 yards and later at 50 yards. I bench rested the rifle.  See below. The first shot hit 3 inches low at 25 yards so I raised the rear sight 4 clicks and hit 1 inch low. Then moved to 50 yards and shot again and hit 3 inches low but on center and made an adjustment and hit the same spot low again. Recoil was very manageable. So I adjusted up another three clicks up on the rear sight and twinned the one inch low shot. Though the trigger pull is heavy it was smooth and broke clean.


What I discovered is that to fire each shot, I had to pull the ramrod and screw in the brass extention Jag from my pocket. Unfortunately there is no place to store the Jag on the rifle where it could otherwise be misplaced or lost. The good part is that there is no rifling for the first inch or so of the bore so the bullet and sabot could be inserted into the barrel tip easily.

Below the user end of the rifle is handsome indeed. Out of the box accuracy is very good with the fiber optic sights. Much More soon…


© 2016


Leupold RX-1200i TBR Wind Compact Digital Rangefinder – Review by Ed Hale

The Leupold RX 1200i TBR-W (True Ballistic Range® -w/ Wind) DNA Digitally eNhanced Accuracy is super jam-packed rangefinder with features for the serious hunter/shooter.  It weighs in at a mere 7.8 ounces. Wow! DSC_0009

with this rugged case below with Quick Reference Card inside that includes tables to set your bullet performance info (see more on this later). A manual is included that provides all the details.


Looking through the eyepiece;it has rubber sleeve  that can fold over for those with eye glasses.

Below is the battery compartment which takes a CR2 Nuon  see image of battery below where you lift the lower half-ring and turn clockwise to open it.



Laser and Objective lens below.


This housing of the electronics is a sealed waterproof machined aluminum rubber armored rangefinder and will deliver years and years of great service if cared for.

Once you have read the instructions (I had to read them a few times) it is a easy-to-use comprehensive MODE packed laser rangefinder for both bow and rifle. It incorporates a 6×22 monocular and will range deer size game from 5 to 800 yards, inanimate objects to 900 yards and reflective targets to 1200 yards. The greatest feature besides the orange OLED Display, and the True Ballistic Range (that takes angle into account) perhaps is Scan mode ( I tested it and works great) when you hold the laser button on wild game you can hold the button down and move the crosshairs from animal to animal or an object to see the distance without taking your eye off the monocular.

Here is a rifle cartridge example below that sets the correct footing for the rangefinders 800 yard deer max;

A 300 Winchester Magnum shoots a 165 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip at about 3150 fps. Wow, that is fast for the 165 grain head! A look at what happens at 800 yards is that it runs out of ethical killing energy of 1000 ft-lbs beyond that, even though its velocity is 1654 fps. The wind component is 6 MOA or 51 inches at 90º with a 10 mph wind.  You have to shoot “a lot of gun” to go beyond 800 yards and kill deer size game and know the wind too drifts your bullet 51 inches, more than a deer length. A nearly impossible shot under those circumstances. So perhaps 800 yards is a great benchmark distance after all. 

Back to the Rangefinder: The RX1200i has reticle choices too with a simple cross hair called Plus Point™ ideal for small game or very distant targets, Duplex® with Plus Point™ and Duplex® without Plus Point™ which is more like a rifle scope reticle. MSRP is around $519 but prices have come down to below $375 making it a really great buy for this big game hunting season!

The bright orange OLED display is far superior in display than black LED especially in low light… a fabulous feature only a hunter at dawn or dusk can appreciate.

Image of OLED Plus Point


The new Wind feature can only be used when you enter your rifle velocity/caliber from the table provided in the manual or the Quick Ref Card for modes such as HOLD, MIL and MOA where your cartridge data is entered too because without velocity and bullet data a wind calculation is not possible. The wind calculation portion will provide a fixed 10 mph value at 90º  to the muzzle. Accordingly, if the wind is quartering at 45 or 135 from east to west you must half the wind value in MOA, HOLD and MIL modes when the wind feature is turned on. Example: Wind in MOA mode may say 2 for a 375 yard shot. (being 2 MOA and assumes a 10 mph wind so if it were 5 mph then “half the value to 1” or if the wind were quartering at 10 MPH it would also “half the value” If the wind were 15 mph from 90 degrees you would add 1/3 more to the value and use 3 MOA and adjust your scope accordingly

The hunter/shooter can switch between modes (modes in red are my most used modes with BAS being the easiest without bullet info) such as:

BAS Mode -Ballistic group and sight in distance. Part of TBR (True Ballistic Range) This default mode displays the equivalent horizontal range which takes angle into account. As a rifle hunter the BAS mode will perhaps be the most used mode who simply wants the horizontal distance ± to the animal and takes angle already into account and the hunter has already knows the drop table for the caliber and load like me. Wind deflection function cannot be turned on here because it does not  know your projectile velocity etc.

BOW Mode –  works with TBR (True Ballistic Range) to find the horizontal Range ±1/10th yards. Arguably the most used mode for the bowhunter.

HOLD Mode– will display the amount of holdover to use in inches or centimeters and takes into account your cartridges ballistic path in table settings provided for hunting calibers and can turn the wind feature on.

MIL Mode – will display the amount of holdover in milliradians. Most helpful for those with Mil Dot reticles and know how to use them. Mil Dot reticle scopes are becoming increasingly popular for very long distance fans and military.  Can use Wind feature. 

MOA Mode – will display the Minute of Angle adjustment for your target which is based on your cartridges ballistic path you choose in a later mode to select the cartridge or group based on what you are shooting with a bullet path height and with sight-in range of 200 yards. (see the Quick Reference Card) This is helpful to the target shooter and hunter who works in MOA mode and you can turn the wind feature on. Most hunting rifle scopes out in the field today are set-up in MOA increments so this mode can be very helpful for a long range hunting and target beyond MPBR (Max Point Blank Range). 

TRIG Mode -calculates both the true vertical and horizontal distance components such as the height of a tree. A once in a while use feature.

LOS Mode – Provides straight line distance to the target without taking angle into account. A least used mode, I think.

Last Target Mode – for TBR/ W only displays the farthest distance between two objects measured.




Battery: CR2 Nuon seen below.

From the website:

“All RX-1200i Compact rangefinders are completely weatherproof and feature multi-coated optics, selectable reticles, measurements in yards or meters, and fold-down rubber eyecups to accommodate users with or without eye glasses. Pocket-sized and packed with features, Leupold’s new RX-1200i TBR with DNA makes all other rangefinders dim in comparison. Product includes Cordura® holster, lanyard, battery and complete instructions.

The RX-1200i is covered by the Leupold Golden Ring® Electronics Limited Two-Year Warranty.”

Most hunters that are going to use this rangefinder have a much higher level of long distance shooting skills. 

Many retailers are less than MSRP and less than $400 for this rangefinder making it a top choice for hunter who know value when they see it.

I give it a solid A grade for the value, price, ruggedness and accuracy and of course it’s a Leupold.

In a Leupold review it was said that an elk hunter lost his rangefinder and later his outfitter/guide found it and sent it to him. It wasn’t working so he sent it to Leupold who said they could not fix it but will gladly send him a new one! You can’t beat that! 

Good Hunting!

© 2016