Improving the Thompson Center Encore
The perfect ignition for inline muzzleloaders.

Large Rifle primer VariFlame Primer Adapters

Large Rifle primer VariFlame Primer Adapters

Wow! These stainless steel adapters were designed as a superior alternative to the 209 primer. They prevent nasty blow-back that eventually clogs firing pins and stains your rifle's scope. These T/C Large Rifle Variflame Primer Adapters work with any powder you choose to use. Improves your accuracy (shrinks your shot groups) over the hotter 209 primers that tend to cause those unexplained flyers. I shot up a whole bottle of the new cleaner burning Blackhorn 209 powder using the same 10 stainless steel adapters and they never needed cleaning at all. They still looked like new; no powder burns or corrosion at all. With this particular powder there was no need to swab the barrel between shots either. Beautiful!
click here to order

Large Rifle primer VariFlame Primer Adapters with T/C Encore / Omega breech plug

Large Rifle primer VariFlame Primer Adapters with T/C Encore / Omega breech plug

The perfect ignition for Thompson Center Encore muzzleloaders. Large Rifle Primer VariFlame Primer Adapters will work with every powder including Blackhorn 209 and all smokeless powders. The hot, central flame of the large rifle primer is the perfect ignition for muzzleloader applications.

These adapters have been tested with 200 grain charges of Blackhorn 209 powder. click here to order

Large rifle primer priming kit: Contains a Lee Auto Prime, 1/16" pin punch and a #20 shell holder. CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Want to see more ways to improve your Thompson center Encore's accuracy? Click on a link below to learn more!

The .25 ACP Breech Plug Conversion


NewIntroducing The Locker-Pin for the T/C Encore


Now available, a .25 ACP brass priming kit. This kit contains all the tools needed to prime and re-prime your .25 ACP brass. Click here for details...

Here are some emails I received from real folks that have used the Precision Rifle .25 ACP Breech Plug Conversion:

Deer Ray, The 235 grain QT did its job again. I got this buck with a Winchester .50 caliber using the 25 ACP primer conversion. The conversion has worked very well giving tighter groups when compared to the 209 primers. It also leaves almost no fouling around the firing pin and breech plug. I shot the buck at approximately 40 yards and the deer only went about 30 yards after a clean through lung shot.

Best regards, Don Greene

I included a couple of pictures of my deer from '04, in case you needed a picture for your site. I was shooting a .45 Encore with the .25 ACP Breechplug, 105 grains 777 FFFg and a 200 grain D.C. The deer grossed 162 3/8.

Thanks again, and take care,
Matt Epp

Every now and then something new comes along that just has to be shared with fellow shooters.

Introducing the

PRAFBP™ "Precision Rifle Accu-Fire Breech Plug" Patent Pending

Above: TC Encore modified breach plug to use .660" long .22 Hornet cases in place of the 209 primer.

The folks at Precision Rifle have this to say about their reasons for developing an improvement to the Encore / Omega.

"Too much flame; too much fouling:
Our Thompson Center Encore gets so dirty from the 209 primer that after 50 shots the 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 breach 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 TC 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 Thompson Center 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 / T/C Encore breach plug with it's small rifle primer, the ramrod moves less than 1".

We have all but eliminated those unexplained flyers from our TC 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 Thompson Center 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 way when we first used it. We decap and prime the cases with the very economical Lee line of reloading equipment. As you loose 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 crowing 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 breach 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 breach plug to convert."

Want your breach plug converted for your T/C Encore, Omega, G2 (.45 cal only) or NEF?

It seems that Precision Rifle is not the only shooter interested in improving the the accuracy of their muzzleloaders that use the 209 primer. Their e-mail and telephone lines have lit up since they first posted this page on their website.

Precision rifle has come up with an even better solution than the .22 hornet conversion.

After much research and testing, they have come up with .25 ACP T/C Omega & Encore breech plugs conversions.

What makes this a better idea is this conversion offers the same accuracy as the .22 hornet conversion, but there is no trimming or fitting involved and they offer the versatility of using either small rifle or pistol primers.

R & P Muzzleloading now offers these (.25 ACP Breech Plug conversion) "Precision Rifle Accu-Fire Breech Plugs" for the T/C Encore, T/C Omega. They are only $59.95. Each conversion kit includes a dozen .25 ACP cases and will be shipped by 2-3 day Priority Mail. Order today and have it shipped today.

Please order your breech plug conversion by clicking here.
Warning - Triple 7 pellets may not ignite well with small rifle primers.
Someone suggested that I put together a priming kit for the .25 ACP brass. Excellent idea, I wish there would have been one of these available when I bought my breech plug conversion. The kit contains 1 Lee Auto-Prime tool with two shelves; 1 .25 ACP case holder; 1 1/16" pin punch. Everything you need to prime your .25 ACP casings.
Now available, a .25 ACP brass priming kit. This kit contains all the tools needed to prime and re-prime your .25 ACP brass. Click here for details...

..the only permanent solution to the T/C Encore pin movement problem
The problem: Pin movement side to side and rotation Most everyone who shoots the Encore has experienced pin movement at some time or another. If the pin moves side to side or rotates, the point of impact will shift and accuracy will be effected. Cecil's most extreme example was when his pin had slid all the way to the side of the fore-end causing his .22-250 barrel to shoot 12" right.
The solution: The Locker-Pin Machined from hardened 4140 Chrome Moly The Locker-Pin is the ultimate solution. Simply slide the pin in place and screw the locker side with the supplied Allen wrench. No rotation; no left and right; no change of impact. Hundreds of shots and so far, zero movement.
Fitting of the fore-end:To achieve the best accuracy from your Encore, the fore-end must not rub on the side of the frame. In other words, the ears of the fore-end that are designed to keep the factory T/C pin in place must be filed, ground or sanded so they are not contacting the Metal (side of the frame). Personally, I grind the inside of the fore-end ears until they clear the The Locker-Pin by the thickness of a match book cover or a business card. This allows plenty of free space so the fore-end does not put pressure on the barrel by contacting the side of the frame. Questions, call toll free 1 877-662-7468.

Most bullets designed to shoot well in a 1 in 28 inch twist barrel will normally do so somewhere between 100 and 120 grains (always measure by volume) of loose Triple 7 powder. Fact; Triple 7 loose powder is hotter than Pyrodex or regular Triple 7 pellets (this does not include the new Triple 7 Magnum pellets) by about 15%. That means, shooting 2 of either of these pellets is equivalent to approximately 85 grains of loose Triple 7. Shooting 3 pellets is equivalent to about 130 grains of loose powder. This means by using 2 or 3 of the 50-grain pellets you will miss the window for best velocity and accuracy possible, IF your chosen bullet was designed to shoot well in a 1 in 28 twist rifle.
What determines how well a Muzzleloading bullet shoots? By this, I mean, "What enables it to achieve its best velocity and accuracy?" I believe it achieves this if it reaches the optimum rate of spin needed to stabilize it in flight (how fast you push the bullet through the barrel and the barrels rate of twist will determine how much spin is put on the bullet). How does one know when this happens? Well, I suggest one way to determine this is to start by over spinning the muzzleloader bullet (shooting it with too much powder) and measuring your 3 to 5 shot groups. Be sure to follow a good in between shot routine or none of this will make any difference; click here to read the steps. Back off on the powder 5 increments in volume shoot another 3 to 5 shot group. Your groups will tell you when your muzzleloader bullet has reached its optimum rate of spin. Normally the higher the ballistic coefficient of your bullet the more spin it will need to stabilize it. I submit that if your Muzzleloading bullet is designed to shoot its best in a 1 in 28 twist barrel, this will occur somewhere between 100 and 120 grains of loose Triple 7 powder.
If I am correct, and I believe I am, using 2 or 3 of the 50 grain pellets misses the window for your best accuracy completely.
Now some are going to suggest using 2 50-grain and 1 30-grain pellet to fall within the window above. That might work, but unlike loose powder, it does not allow for a 5 grain more or less powder test for best flight and accuracy.
Here is what Hodgdon's says about loose powder on their website.
  • Triple Seven produces the highest velocities of all granular muzzleloading propellants when compared by volume (see Comparison Chart below). An added bonus is that this enhanced velocity results in a flatter trajectory and greater down range energy.
  • Triple Seven works with all styles and brands of projectiles which makes it easy to find a load and maintain accuracy.
Enhanced velocity results in a flatter trajectory and greater down range energy... Wait, couldn't you achieve that with 3 50-grain pellets? Velocity yes, but if you can't hit what you are shooting at...
Easy to find a load and maintain accuracy... Well, now isn't that what we are all striving for. Why don't they say that about their pellets? Because they know you can't do it with pellets. Instead, ease of use is their selling pitch.
I submit that it would be nice if you could have both, but most of the time it just doesn't work out that way. My assumption is that you are considering a .25 ACP Breech Plug conversion for two reasons; cleanliness and the best velocity and accuracy possible. Why would you only go half of the way with a cleaner ignition system designed to allow your gun to achieve its best possible accuracy and velocity, by using pellets? Take the leap to loose powder. You won't be sorry you did.

It seems the T/C Encore 209 x 50 has had some mixed results from various users. Some are getting sub 1 inch groups at 200 yards, while others can't hit in a 2 foot square at 50 yards. I got some testing information from my manufacturer on an Thompson Center Encore he tested. I will try and summarize his experience with the TC Encore. There are a few things one can do that might go a long way toward improving the accuracy of this rifle. One thing to check, is the trigger pull. If it is over 3 pounds then it could use some work. Check the butt stock for looseness and tighten it with an Allen wrench if necessary. Ensure the fore end is not rubbing on the receiver. A little sand paper will correct this. Check to see if the pin that is used to attach the barrel is good and tight. If not, you may need to machine a tighter one for it. After this your T/C Encore should shoot very well indeed. The below groups were shot using the Dead Center .40 200 grain bullets.

Click here for more information.

Below are a few emails my manufacturer has received from folks using his PR Bullets and their T/C Encore.

ust wanted to let you know, this last weekend I shot your Precision Dead Center 240 grain bullet and sabot in my T/C Encore 209x50 Muzzleloader. I started with 100 grains and ended with 120 grains of Hodgden 777 powder. At 75 yards and up to 100 yards I was shooting 0.75 inch groups with this combination. I also had installed a spring kit from BellM to lighten the pull to approx. 2 lbs. Other than this the TC Encore is stock. Last season when I bought the gun I was shooting approx. 4-5 inch groups with the stock trigger pull and both weights of CVA Powerbelts. Since these groups were not really what I expected from this gun, I decided to change things for more accuracy. After reading your article on changes you made to a test 209X50 TC Encore, I became motivated to do the same thing. Hence the results I got! I am highly impressed with the quality and accuracy of your Dead Center bullets!!! What a great product you make. I only hope other hunters see the light and use your bullets for all their hunting needs!

Again, Thanks
Jack G. Ingle


I have enjoyed shooting your bullets, I have purchased 300 of your Dead Center .40 cal 200 grain for my T/C Encore, very nice. I have also shot approx 200 of your QT .40 cal 250 .44 cal. Wonderful expansion on recovered bullets. I am currently working with your .40 250 grain QT, but due to Indiana law I must use a .44 cal bullet. I have now shot 150 rounds through my T/C Encore . . . after using your loading and "spit patching" procedure. To say the least I am pleased. I tell everyone about your product! Thanks for all the good work. Looking forward to your ballistics on the Dead Center 260 grain.

Thanks again!
Todd Wiedell

2003 T/C - Hornet Conversion
Matt Epp 172 3/8" B&C gross - 200 Dead Center - .45 TC Encore

Dear Sirs,

I would like to take this time to thank you for a fantastic product. On November 12, 2002 I made the most efficient humane kill ever with a muzzleloader. The result was a nine point buck with a 20 inch inside spread. The buck weighed 163 lbs. I dropped him with your dead center 45 caliber 240 gr. right in his tracks. I am shooting a nickel size group at 100 yards with a Thompson Center Encore and a 100 gr. of triple seven and your dead center sabots. This is a great combination that I plan to use over and over again. Again Thank you for our product and I look forward to seeing what you have to offer in the future.

Michael K. Williams

Hi Ray,

This deer I recently took during muzzleloader season using a CVA 50. cal inline using your .25 ACP breech plug system. The bullet was a 245gr.Barnes spitfire. Powder charge was 3 - 50gr Pyrodex pellets. The shot was 192 yards with the bullet traveling through both lungs and between the ribs. (No Bone contact) After firing the shot which was over the backs of two does to hit the buck, which was a 8" inch window over the does. The buck ran 175 yards before falling over dead in a thicket. I was only able to find 3 drops of blood of about the size of the end of a "Q" tip. Needless to say, tracking was somewhat awful being no snow on the ground. His hoof track is basically all I had to go by. After 15 minutes of tracking I found the deer piled up in the nearby thicket where I saw him run too. He bled out entirely inside his chest cavity. The exit wound was exactly the size of the entrance wound (no expansion at all).
Basically like shooting a full metal jacket. Nice sweet long range with the Barnes spitfire but poor expansion of the bullet. Still an awesome shot for any gun. But I do love the ease of a good blood trail.

As for the .25 ACP system, It rocks!! At 200 yards and 150gr Pyrodex pellets and bench rested I am placing minus 3"inch groups 6"inches low. At 125 yards I am 2"inches high cutting bullet for bullet and swabbing with a spit patch on all shots. Never to return to the 209 system. Next year I will try another style of bullet. The Barnes tipped MZ with its large hollow point looks like possibility or Hornady's new SST.

Have a nice and Happy new year Ray!

Tom Giesige