Improving the Thompson Center Encore (Part 1)
We all want our T/C Encore to shoot those famous 1 hole groups right out-of-the box. The truth is, this is rarely the case. It is the exception rather than the rule. There are several different reasons for this and probably just as many opinions as to why this is true.
First, let's define what I mean when I use the term accuracy.
When one considers muzzleloader accuracy, many variables come to mind. Wind drift can certainly be a factor at distances greater than 100 yards. But, that involves marksman ship and shooting skills, as well as, a gun capable of producing repeatable 1 hole groups. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the muzzleloader's accuracy potential and less on shooter skill. Therefore let's agree to fix that variable, by assuming the shooter has the necessary shooting skills to repeatedly shoot 1 hole groups at 100 yards, given a rifle and load capable of achieving this goal. Yes, I agree that a shooter with those skills is rare indeed. So when I use the term accuracy, I am speaking only of the T/C Encore's capability, not the shooter's.
So why wouldn't I expect my T/C Encore to have repeatable accuracy right out-of-the box?
There are a number of factors that can affect a gun's accuracy. Matching a muzzleloader bullet with the proper ballistic coefficient for the barrel twist of the T/C Encore is one important, but often overlooked factor. The best shooters in the world would be hard pressed to overcome this problem. It is much easier if you select the proper bullet initially, but this is a topic in and of itself. It is not the purpose of this article to list and discuss all the factors influencing the T/C Encores' accuracy. Instead we will focus on one most people overlook. The T/C Encore's hinge pin...
Here are a few things to consider:
- Are all T/C Encore hinge pins exactly the same length and diameter?
- Are all T/C Encore hinge pin slots the same diameter?
- What happens to accuracy if the hinge pin fit is too loose or tight?
- What if the hinge pin rotates or slips out a little on one side or the other?
- How much looseness, tightness, turning or slippage is necessary to matter?
Now that you are considering how the hinge pin, alone, might affect your gun's accuracy, what can be done about it? It is my belief that the turning or protruding of the hinge pin alters the zero of your rifle and therefore affects the gun's accuracy. Enter the T/C Encore/Pro Hunter Locker Pin movement accuracy solution.
Created by Cecil Epp, it is the solution to the T/C Encore pin movement. 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 Locker-Pin is machined from hardened 4140 Chrome Moly. To convert your hinge pin to a state where it won't rotate or change position in any way, slide the pin in place and screw the locker side with the supplied Allen wrench. I put these Locker Pins in all my Encores and friend's Encores. After years of shooting my Encores, there has been no pin movement. My point of impact does not suddenly change for no apparent reason, and I am confident that I have solved this piece of improving the T/C Encore accuracy.