Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter: The Most Versatile (And Best) Rifle on the Market?

 In Defense

The Thompson Center Encore Pro Rifle is a single-shot, break-action firearm. It’s also a switch-barrel rifle, mean­ing the barrel is inter­change­able. Any Encore barrel will fit, which lets you cus­tomize the gun to fit any need. Whether you’re look­ing for a gun suitable for hunting, target shoot­ing or self-defense, the Encore Pro is great for all types of shoot­ers. Here’s why.


The pre­ci­sion rifling of the TC Encore Pro gives you accu­ra­cy you can count on. The 28” barrel gives you the best veloc­i­ties you can expect from a given rifle car­tridge. Like most rifles, the accu­ra­cy def­i­nite­ly varies based on what kind of ammo you use. I’ve noticed that I get the best, most con­sis­tent accu­ra­cy when I use powder instead of pel­lets. When I used between 185 – 200 grains, my 3 five-shot groups aver­aged 1.72 inches, and when I used 140 grains, it was around 1.2 inches. With most loads, you can expect excel­lent accu­ra­cy. The more often you clean the gun—and riflescope—the better shot groups you get. The trig­ger makes it a little harder to get even small­er groups, because it has a longer lock time. But, this tends to come with the ter­ri­to­ry with a hammer-fired gun.


Thompson Center rifles are known to be great qual­i­ty, and TC is a rep­utable com­pa­ny. The Encore is one of the best break-actions on the market, with no mis­fires to report, and extreme dura­bil­i­ty and robust­ness. However, there’s one down­side: load­ing the gun with a dirty barrel. I had a couple bul­lets get stuck and had to clean the gun in order to get them out. For the most part, how­ev­er, it’s a reliable gun you can count on no matter what you’re using it for. You can main­tain opti­mum con­trol in any con­di­tions, wet or dry, with the over­mold­ed pistol grip. It’s def­i­nite­ly a stand-out in com­par­i­son to sim­i­lar models.


This is a well-built, well machined gun. The fit, the feel, and the bal­ance are all fan­tas­tic, and the pistol grip stock fits per­fect­ly in your hand. It’s one of the most com­fort­able grips I’ve ever expe­ri­enced! One of the coolest fea­tures of the Encore Pro is the inter­change­able bar­rels. It’s pretty simple to change them out:

Just remove two screws from the fore­arm, pull out the hinge pin, switch the bar­rels, replace the pin and screws, and… done! It’s quick and easy to trans­form it from a muz­zle­loader, to a slug gun, to a cen­ter­fire rifle.

It also comes stan­dard with an ambidex­trous Swing Hammer. A couple of down­sides:

Cleaning the rifle is a bit chal­leng­ing because in order to remove the breech, you need to first remove the fixed extrac­tor. This involves remov­ing two screws on the fore­arm, one on the extrac­tor, and then reassem­bling the rifle after clean­ing it. However, this is easier with an E‑Z tip primer extrac­tor. When you have one of these, it’s easier to clean, and you’re more will­ing to clean it often, which improves accu­ra­cy. There’s also no safety on the gun. But you can still move safely, even with a round in the cham­ber, by keep­ing the hammer for­ward.


The Encore’s trig­ger is pretty good. It’s firm but crisp, which helps to offset the heav­ier pull — around 5 to 6 lbs. There’s a little incon­sis­ten­cy with the trig­ger pull, but other than that, it’s pretty impres­sive! No take-up, no sand, no creep, and no grit to speak of. The travel before the hammer snaps is min­i­mal.

Magazine & Reloading 

The TC Encore Pro is a break-action, single-shot rifle, and one of the best break-action muz­zle­load­ers on the market. It fea­tures a Quick Load Accurizer with reduced rifling at the tip, which allows for easy load­ing. To open the action, you just pull back on the trig­ger guard lever and load your shell! One down­side is that it comes with an extrac­tor rather than an ejec­tor, so you have to man­u­al­ly remove the car­tridges or cases.

Length & Weight 

The stan­dard barrel of the Encore is adver­tised at 28,” but since the barrel is inter­change­able, this all depends on what you choose. Overall, it mea­sures around 42.” It’s rel­a­tive­ly light­weight, and depending on the accessories you use, weighs any­where from 7.5 to 8.25 lbs.

Recoil Management 

Recoil man­age­ment is def­i­nite­ly some­thing TC got right with the Encore. It comes with a FlexTech recoil reduc­ing stock, which boasts four layers of Limbsaver navcom mate­r­i­al. The stock also comes with pli­able inserts in the butt and comb, which makes the gun shoot softer. The buttpad is soft enough to absorb most of the recoil from firing. This firearm is great because it can handle tough-recoil­ing loads with­out making the shoot­er absorb all the recoil.


The MSRP for the Encore Pro is around $790. For an extreme­ly cus­tomiz­able, smooth shoot­ing rifle, it’s not a bad price! It’s tried and true, and the customizability it offers at this price point is steller. It’s within most people’s budget, and per­fect for fam­i­lies that need one gun for any sit­u­a­tion, or for the “one-gun-man.”

My Verdict? 

The TC Encore Pro is a great hunt­ing rifle, and is per­fect for anyone look­ing for an inex­pen­sive gun for hunt­ing, target shoot­ing, and self-defense all rolled into one. Here are some of the best fea­tures: 

  • Interchangeable bar­rels

  • Squishy buttpad to absorb even the most intense recoil

  • Weather Shield coat­ing makes it extreme­ly resis­tant to cor­ro­sion

  • Ability to shoot dif­fer­ent cal­ibers based on the game and ter­rain

So if you’re look­ing for the best in ver­sa­tile hunt­ing guns, look no fur­ther than the Thompson Center Encore Pro.

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and edu­ca­tor. His work has appeared in large pub­li­ca­tions like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.

National Interest source|articles

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