New, exceptionally strong and capable of enormous power. It is at least a pound heavier than the Contender, bigger and usually needs a trigger job to enable the shooter to achieve its excellent inherent accuracy. It is capable of handling pressures far higher than the Contender. The factory 308 in the Encore is about equal to the 309 JDJ ballistically but cannot be chambered in the Contender. In SSK Encore barrels, any cartridge with the case head size and pressure level of the 300 Win mag can be safely chambered. The 300 and 338 Win mag are reasonably popular, as is the 375 H & H. Increasing the case head size beyond this means you must reduce pressure. Cartridges such as the 470 nitro in factory pressure levels are acceptable to the Encore. The 375 H & H , 416 Taylor (416/458) and 416/348 JDJ are worth consideration for really big game, and the 500 Alaskan is popular as are several other 50s. The 458 Win. is OK but only acceptable to hardened shooters.
The Encore is the result of the evolution of the Contender and the TCR rifle. The T/C design team is responsible for the development and introduction of the Encore.
The Encore is bigger, stronger and heavier than the Contender. These differences will be considered both advantages and disadvantages when comparisons are made with the Contender. The Encore is capable of handling a large number of cartridges commonly considered suitable for only bolt action or single shot rifles such as the Ruger #1.
The frame of the Encore is an investment casting – just as is the Contender. Its design prevents it from being machined. The first frames were made from two blocks of steel machined to accept the internal parts and configured to the outside profile desired. The two halves were then welded together, internal parts fabricated and assembled, mated with a barrel and the Encore was born. Several guns – experimental prototype – were assembled this way for testing. SSK was invited to test some of these guns and shot them until a problem developed and then returned it to the factory for examination. In this manner the mechanism was debugged by the factory. Initial accuracy was excellent, although it has gotten better. We shot one of these experimental frames testing various parts until its welds began to fail. After these first few guns the frame design was deemed suitable, and investment frames were cast. More testing by shooting, not just computer testing, was done. You would probably be amazed at what the gun was subjected to prior to it ever being manufactured and marketed. Later, a stainless frame was developed and produced.
I feel that all cartridges of the casehead size and pressure range of the .300 Winchester Magnum can safely be chambered in the Thompson/Center and SSK barrels for the Encore.
Many larger cartridges that develop lower pressures than those in the pressure range of the .300 Win Mag may also be chambered in the Encore. If the cartridges are larger in diameter then the 300 Mag, pressures must be reduced in relation to cartridge diameter. Also, many of the larger diameter cartridge cases are not capable of handling the pressures generated by the Win Mag. SSK has a good idea of what is suitable for the ENCORE and also what isn’t. We have tested it with a large variety of calibers. Remember, this is a break open action design–not a large, heavy bolt action firearm.
The Encore weighs approximately one pound more than the Contender, and this weight is welcome in helping absorb recoil of hard recoiling cartridges. The action of the Encore is significantly different from that of the Contender. I don’t believe the trigger pull of the Encore will ever match that of the Contender, but a good trigger pull can be achieved with the Encore. Beware of those snake oil salesman who advertise very light Encore trigger pulls. They may give ignition and safety problems.
In comparison, the trigger pull of a Contender can be considered “excellent” while that of the Encore would fall into the “good-to-very-good” class after being worked over by a competent gunsmith. The accuracy of both guns is superb. No significant differences in inherent accuracy will be found.
One significant advantage of the Encore is its ability to handle a large number of factory rifle cartridges which give quite high performance without the necessity of reloading. However, significant ballistic advantages are still available to the hand loader/wildcatter.
Not to be forgotten is the fact that SSK chambers Encore barrels for all significant military cartridges which may be purchased quite cheaply on the surplus market. Many of them give superb performance.
Interestingly, our tests indicate a great deal of military surplus ammo produces far better accuracy when fired in the Encore than it does when fired in excellent condition rifles chambered for the same ammunition.
The 6.5 Mini-Dreadnought is a short necked 60 degree shoulder 220 swift case. (Ditto the 257M-D.) It easily does 2800 FPS with a 120 and 2700 FPS with a 140 in the Encore. The 30-06 case has been given the same treatment in 280, 30, 338, 35, 375 and 416 calibers so far with outstanding results; they equal the belted magnums ballistically, surpass them in accuracy and case life while doing it with much less powder and far less expensive cases. At this point SSK has about 300 reamers that may be chambered in the Encore.
Interestingly many of the old Nitro Express cartridges give excellent performance in the Encore rifle. Their handgun barrel length ballistics are easily equalled or exceeded by many physically smaller cartridges.
Obviously if the Encore is developing all this power, recoil must be a problem. Well, it is; and SSK has developed several highly effective “Arrestor” muzzle brakes geared to the particular caliber and shooter to negate that situation, and extreme power can be used with genuine comfort. Also chambering . . . 376 Steyr
Plain or Fancy Big Boomers – 475 JDJ, 458 Win, 50 Alaskan 750 and many others.
Plain, Bull, Fluted, Diamond, Dimple, Antique Cannon , T’SOB and many other styles are available
Above:SSK ENCORES The top T’SOB is the standard. We call the other a Quarter Rib. Extremely useful on pistol length barrels, they are almost a necessity on rifle barrels to give the maximum in versatility of scope placement and tube support. T/C Rubber grips are now in stock