Improving the T/C Encore / Omega
& G2 Contender
Above: T/C Encore modified breech plug to use .660" long .22 Hornet cases in place of the 209 primer.
Too much flame; too much fouling:
Our Encore gets so dirty from the 209 primer that after 50 shots my firing pin will not even travel far enough to ignite the primer. I need to remove the butt stock and clean the entire action with brake clean and compressed air before it will work. Too much flame trying to get through the small hole.
If you check out the cartridge in the foreground of the photo you can see that it is perfectly clean. It has been used 27 times and has not even been wiped off. No fouling, no mess. Look inside the breech plug and action; 50 shots without being touched and not a spot of fouling anywhere.
Too much energy:
I have no idea who started the 209 craze but I believe that it provides way more energy than is required to get the job done. Try this experiment for yourself. Take your ramrod with a jag and a clean damp patch, push it all the way down the barrel of your Encore. Mark the ramrod where it meets the end of the barrel with a strip of masking tape. Put a 209 into the breach plug, close the gun, cock the hammer and pull the trigger. With our Encore, the ramrod will get blown 6"- 8" up the barrel with just the force of the 209. If we do the same experiment with our Hornet / Encore breech plug with it's small rifle primer, the ramrod moves less than 1".
We have all but eliminated those unexplained flyers from our Encore groups. Personally, I believe these flyers were the result of the 209 actually lifting the sabot off the powder charge simultaneous with igniting the powder. The much milder Small Rifle primer of the Hornet case ignites the powder just as instantly but lacks the energy to move the sabot and bullet off the powder charge therefore eliminating the flyers.
More fine tuning options:
Unlike the 209, Small Rifle sized primers come in a variety of ranges and qualities. One can experiment with Standard, Magnum and Bench Rest to add one more variable to the mix. To this point, we have seen the best success with CCI 400 but that could change with the next load.
To sum up, I love this conversion. The Encore is now perfectly clean inside and out shot after shot. I have eliminated the flyers caused by the excessive 209 energy levels. I find the shortened .22 Hornet cases very easy to install, remove and find in my pockets. One case has been primed over 40 times with the primer pocket fit as snug as it was when we first used it. We decap and prime the cases with the very economical Lee line of reloading equipment. As you lose them, you simply trim down another handful of .22 Hornet brass and away you go.
The .22 Hornet, possibly one of the most enduring cartridges ever designed, lends itself for yet another purpose.
June 20th update:
It's not often that we are granted the luxury of head to head comparisons of one idea versus another idea. Today was one of those rare days.
We headed to the range with a pair of brand new T/C Omega rifles. One in .45 and the other in .50. The .45 was posting groups of 3.5" to 4.0" throughout the entire day with no real pattern being evident. It's owner guessed it might be the bedding or the new scope but was really quite disappointed.
The .50, on the other hand, had a pretty good day. Most everything shot about 1.5" to 2" and it did not seem very fussy. The crowning moment came when I decided to try our 195 gr Dead Center Duplex sabots. Three shots touched at 100 yards and life was wonderful.
The .50 had been fitted with the .22 Hornet breech plug while the .45 was using the factory 209 style. During a short rain delay, I suggested that we take the best combination that we had come across with the .45 and try it again but this time use the .22 Hornet breach plug instead of the 209. It was agreed and the gun was loaded with 100 grains of Triple 7 FFF powder and 195 grain Dead Center bullet. The only change was instead of the 209, we used the shortened .22 Hornet case with a CCI 400 primer. Magic; the group shrunk by 75% to right around 1" at 100 yards. With a little encouragement, the shooter completed a second three shot group which measured just under 1.3" . The best two groups back to back that this Omega had ever shot and the only change was CCI 400 small rifle primer in place of the 209 shotgun primer. The day ended and we not only had a "semi-believer" converted; we also had another breech plug to convert.
September 23rd update:
We now have brand new T/C Encore / Omega breech plugs converted for the .22 Hornet ready to ship. Order today and have it shipped today. Lots of time for this hunting season.
We appreciate those of you who support our products and our ideas.
November 1st, 2003
Matt Epp - 200 Dead Center - 105 gr Triple 7 ff - .45 Encore / Hornet Conversion
172 3/8" gross B&C green - Click photo for enlarged view.
Jason Caswell - 200 Dead Center - .45 Encore G2 / Hornet Conversion
174 4/8" gross B&C green - Click photo for enlarged view.
January 2004 update:
The demand for our .22 Hornet modified breach plugs seems to have exceeded T/C's ability or desire to supply us with Encore / Omega breech plugs. To solve this problem, I sent a finished breech plug to a machine shop who currently makes breach plugs for the industry. The first sample has been received and tested.
The breech plugs are beautiful. Made of 416 stainless each one is identical to the next. This new arrangement is the long term solution to our supply problem.
March 2004 update; Not necessarily a better mouse trap, just a different mouse trap.
Originally our Hornet conversion was embraced mostly by muzzleloader shooters who were also reloaders. As our market increased, more and more of our Hornet customers lacked the knowledge or tools or both to shorten the Hornet brass once they had needed more.
If only we could find a cartridge that could be used full length and was readily available. I began pouring over chamber specs and reloading manuals to see if such a case existed. Enter the .25 ACP or the .25 Auto. Rimless rather than rimmed .610" rather than .660". This might work.
My first step was to contact the good folks at Winchester to determine the strength of the .25 ACP case. I explained the process and they assured me that the case strength was many times the strength required to do the job. My next call was to CCI for primer strength data. CCI tech people confirmed my suspicions that Small Pistol primers contained about 10% less fire than the CCI 400 small rifle primers. I then called the boys at Lock, Stock and Barrel in Valentine, NEBRASKA (1-800-228-7925) for the UNPRIMED .25 ACP brass and a Lee shell holder for our Lee Auto Prime tool. While UPS was carrying my brass and shell holder across the United States, I was busy making the first .25 ACP breech plug. The final fitting would be completed when I had the brass in my hand.
The .25 ACP breech plug works great. .25 ACP cases accept all small rifle and small pistol primers so the load development options are endless. The same guns shoot to the same spot with the same group size as they do with the .22 Hornet breach plug. The brass stay clean, extract with your fingers and also seem to possess unlimited life. The added bonus is they do not require any trimming. Just pop in a primer and insert them into the breach plug. If you want more, we have them in stock by the bag of 50, 100 or more. We continue to get the best results using CCI 400 Small Rifle primers.
Matt Epp '04 Saskatchewan buck
162 5/8" gross B&C
200 Dead Center - 105 Triple 7 fff - T/C Encore .45 - .25 ACP breech plug
Click photo for larger view
Great to find a product that really works! I took my T/C Omega .45 with its new .25 ACP breech plug out to the range and had a group tighten from 5 inches to less than an inch, shooting 175 g Dead Centers with 105 grains of T7 FFg.
Thanks for your help.
Price list for breech plugs:
.22 Hornet T/C Omega & Encore breech plug
$ 59.95 includes 10 shortened .22 Hornet unprimed brass
.25 ACP T/C Omega & Encore breech plug
Nothing to trim. Nothing to fit. $ 59.95 includes 10 .25 ACP unprimed brass
.25 ACP T/C G2 Contender .45 breech plug
Nothing to trim. Nothing to fit. $ 59.95 includes 10 .25 ACP unprimed brass
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