Thompson/Center Arms is bringing back the modular second-generation Contenders series in pistol and rifle form. The G2 Contender can use rimfire barrels in addition to centerfire barrels, making them very flexible, particularly when it comes to low-cost plinking and small-game hunting.
The G2 Contender is an updated version of the original break-action single-shot Contender series. After T/C introduced the beefed-up Encore series, they launched the G2 Contender which maintains the light build of the archetypal Contender with a handful of tweaks and fixes.
“The versatility of the G2 Contender has always been at the heart of its popularity and we have definitely preserved that for hunters and shooters who depend on these rifle and pistol platforms in a host of different hunting situations,” said T/C manager Danielle Sanville. “But what the G2 Contender complete rifle and complete pistol systems do is make it easier for hunters and shooters who prefer something chambered in a proven, all-around caliber that is ready to go right out of the box while also having the option of further customization down the road.”
Contender pistols weigh about a pound less than similar Encore pistols and rifles weigh a full 2 pounds less, making them popular brush guns that can be carried all day without the extra bulk and longer barrels of the Encore series. It’s easy to swap barrels on these guns, too, even in the field.
The G2 Contender was taken off the market for a short time during the recent buying frenzy. In the past few years manufacturers around the world were forced to focus on their more popular products leaving fans of these niche guns in a bind. But T/C hasn’t forgotten them, and now they’re back in production four with four base models, seven rifle barrels and 11 pistol barrels.
T/C allows customers to build their own Contender rifles and pistols online through their local dealer in addition to selling complete guns in standard configurations. To kick off the reintroduction of the Contender series T/C is launching with two complete pistols, in .22 Long Rifle and .357 Magnun and one complete rifle in .30-30 Winchester. These models will ship with traditional walnut stocks and blued barrels and receivers.
These rifles and pistols can shoot a good number of other cartridges including .17 HMR, .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, 6.8 Rem. SPC and 7-30 Waters for pistols, and .17 HMR, .22 LR, .204 Ruger, .223 Rem., 6.8 Rem. SPC, 7-30 Waters, .357 Mag. .44 Mag., .45-70 and .45 Colt/.410 bore for rifles.
The bulk of the re-released Contender parts follow the classic wood and steel look of the original Contender series but T/C is also making a small run of polymer composite and stainless steel parts for more practical types. These aren’t available in quite the same variety as the blued parts but they do cover the more popular cartridges for now. For details about what’s available right now check out the G2 Contender product page.
G2 Contender MSRPs start at $729 which is even less than complete firearms in the Encore series. Because of their discontinued status, older Contenders have been listing in the $700 to $800 range but prices should come down fast once word gets out that they’re back in production.
If you’ve been on the hunt for a compact and lightweight single-shot rifle the now-returned G2 Contender might be your best choice. And if you’ve already got G2 Contender parts on hand then you’ll be glad to know that the new-production guns are compatible with previous G2 Contender models and their parts — with the exception of Herrett forends. Otherwise, everything’s good to go.