TC serial numbers - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-18-2013, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Default TC serial numbers

I found a list of TC Contender and Encore S/Ns from 1967 up to 2000. When the G2 was introduced did they cease production of the original Contenders and just continue the run of Contender S/Ns for the G2s? I see Encores have their own S/Ns and both the Encores and the Contenders have special S/Ns for their stainless frames. I would like to learn the introduction date and S/N s of the first G2s and also the dates of the various upgrades of the original Contender ? Thanks, kody
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: TC serial numbers

From some info. in one of my gun books the Encore came out in 96 and the G2 in 2003 at one time there was I think a post on the contender and when up grades were made, you might find it by doing a search or maybe Ladobe would know as he seems to have the most Knowlage when it comes to all this stuff.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: TC serial numbers


Very knowledgable of some maybe, but not all by any means. As for a real TC one still alive or reachable is. New unknowns are still found about TC's models, even though their Contender, Encore and even traditional muzzleloader lines (despite the plant fire) are pretty well documented by a few folks. Mostly by very serious collectors and end users, there are none at TC anymore and many of the old records are gone. Alot is still speculated, always will be and like it always has been will continue to be passed on as fact with no documented proof. Documenting proof is not an easy task on some of their lines. I especially get a kick out of folks who swear on their Mother's grave they have had such and such model since not only long before the model was ever produced, but some before TC was even a twinkle in anybodies eye. "But I'm possitve I got my TC Hawken in 1961 because..." was a favorite. :

The last of the last version easy open Contender's, both blued and stainless, were made in 1999 with the probability a few spilled over into 2000. There was an official discontinued date, but I don't remember it offhand and most of my data is in storage. TC had been designing and trying to get all the ducks in a row for the G2 pretty much along with the Encores before they came out. So the last of the Contenders (they are not G1's) probably trickled out near the end (speculation). My last Contender bought new was in 1998, and it was among the first of the last version of the easy opens with the renewable breech block. Bright idea on paper (I took a small part in), but not with good QC up front unfortunately due to it being sort of an afterthought with the G2 their top priority then. So it didn't get the chance to prove itself.

I'm not much help on the G2's. As many here already know from previous posts Tim Pancurak and Ken French brought the G2 prototype to the 2000 SHOT Show - not to display or show it to the so called public, but to show to specific old friends that were long time high volume users to get their opinions of it. I was on their list as was Jim Henry that I went to the show with that year. TC's booth was our first stop the first morning of the show where we spen about 3 hours with them (and again on other days). So we were among the first if not the first on their list to see the G2 proto when it was handed to me literally "under the table". My opinion of it is why I know little about their serial number range - enough said. Nor do I remember when the first were actually shipped for sale - only that it was a long time after the show as they were still trying to work bugs out of it and most likely had took heed to the negatives offered by friends at the show to also work on.

With the Encores I did have one of the first that was available to an end user - supposedly. While around 3000 are attributed to 1996 birth dates, that to me anyway is a guess. I got mine May 9, 1997 as a frame with factory furniture only from the first shipment of 80 of same sent to Fred at Bullberry who had his order for them in with TC from day one. And I also got three separate factory barrels on the side - a 12" 454 Casull, 15" 223 and 15" 22-250. It's serial number made it the 4,78X one made. Means there certainly could have been some out in end users hands in late 1996. I just don't know either way for sure personally because I never bothered to do the work to prove it out.

I'll leave it at that... I'm not up to going over all the Contender versions asked for that would require going to and digging my data out of storage.

Evolution at work. Over two million years ago the genus Homo had small cranial capacity and thick skin to protect them from their environment. One species has evolved into obese cranial fatheads with thin skin in comparison that whines about anything and everything as their shield against their environment. Meus
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 10:48 AM
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Default Re: TC serial numbers

Ladobe always nice to see and read your posts, you say you are not an authority if not you may be the closest thing a lot of us will get to listen too. I know a bit as I made several trips to the plant in the 80's and early 90's all before the fire. It was like a family over there and the quality as far as I am concerned was never as good after the fire. I have never even considered a G-2 frame and the barrels seem Ok after 95 but after 97-98 to me something went south. I too love the comments that say I have been shooting my 7-30 Waters for 37 years in my Contender frame, come on at least look up the info on the internet before posting comments that make no sense! Thanks for your knowledgable and interesting posts. Shawn
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2013, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: TC serial numbers

The reason that list stops at 2000, is that is when it was sent to me.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2013, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: TC serial numbers

I bought STAINLESS STEAL Contender frame, smooth sides (no cougar or etching) s/n FRO 1099 what do you think now about your serial numbers for a stainless steal frame on the chart it says they started at serial number 1100 ???? what does the FRO stand for?? any help would Be great
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2013, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: TC serial numbers

FRO stands for Fox Ridge Outfitters, which was the TC Custom Shop. Your frame was a special run made for and sold by the custom shop.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2013, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: TC serial numbers

Larry, Thanks for a trip back into time. After seeing your first Encore S/N I just looked at my oldest one. Its S/N 370x. I actually didn't think that the G2 would ever go to production as did a lot of the other old guys. Visiting with Arden Cox one day and he was thinking everything was going to go Encore. I had a heck of a time actually getting one of the first G2s after they were announced but finally managed to get one.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-17-2013, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: TC serial numbers

Yep, as Walt said TC's so called custom shop (store front open to the public, and a name sake). IOW, my opinion varies what is truly custom or just semi custom production.

IF, your 370X serial number does put the frame well into the supposed 1996 vintage mentioned regardless of when they were actually first sold. Someday could be among the collectable "E" frames as first year anyway. Unfortunately I knew the G2 Contender would go into production when it's bugs were worked out enough to be acceptable to the powers at TC way before I actually saw/handled the protype. As I said, TC had been long committed to do so to go along with the Encore, it's design to tie it to the Encore. They well knew a lot of their customer base wouldn't accept just the Encore alone without the traditional smaller/lighter version as well, and they had zero interest in bringing the Contender back even though they also knew folks like me would never buy a G2 Contender.

Some of us long time Contender users didn't like the Encore as well as them either, but I did try them out as soon as I could get one. But I didn't keep the Encore frames or barrels I had for all that long before selling/trading them away. For my uses, read that again, the Encore couldn't do anything my Contenders couldn't already do just fine with all the wildcats I had for them. So I chose to go back to what had served me so well from the start instead of starting over with a different platform. While I had them long enough with enough factory/custom barrels to have quite a bit of personal experience with them their first years, like with the G2 Contender's I seldom offer help on them here. Lots of folks here who did buy and build up with them know volumes more about them in use than I do. I have no G2 Contender data base at all, wasn't of interest to me to start one. My work on the Encore data base also stopped sometime after I sold them, in part because I had no interest in building it further on them, but also because I was still heavy into trying to fill in some last holes in the database of TC's traditional muzzies, and those of CVA's traditional as well. All my data bases going back 50 plus years are interest specific to my interests, not just TC. Some are complete worldwide, some still have holes that will never be filled. I don't work on them anymore though as I no longer use any of the things they are for. I only make new additions if and when they crop up and can be confirmed. With most packed away in storage elsewhere, I rely mostly on memory. I referred to a Contender factory forearm the other day by a local style name instead of the one most used for it that somebody corrected (thanks). So far the memory has been pretty good, but the clocks ticking.

Evolution at work. Over two million years ago the genus Homo had small cranial capacity and thick skin to protect them from their environment. One species has evolved into obese cranial fatheads with thin skin in comparison that whines about anything and everything as their shield against their environment. Meus
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