June 14th, 2013

Thompson/Center Arms Issues Safety Recall Notice

Thompson Center Recal icon venture dimensionThompson/Center Arms (T/C) has identified a condition that may cause the safety lever on certain ICON®, VENTURE™ and DIMENSION® rifles to bind, preventing the safety from becoming fully engaged. In this situation, closing the bolt may move the safety to the fire position. The rifle will not fire unless the trigger is pulled. Though there should be no risk of the gun going off by itself, T/C states: “Out of an abundance of caution, we are taking this action to recall the rifles so that the firearm can be inspected by our technicians to ensure that the safety lever functions as designed.”

This is a large-scale recall, not just a few rifles. This recall applies to all Icon, Venture, and Dimension rifles manufactured by Thompson/Center Arms prior to June 13, 2013. If you own a rifle affected by this recall, T/C recommends that you stop using the rifle and return it to T/C at once: “Because the safety of our customers is our utmost concern, we ask that you stop using your rifle until we have an opportunity to inspect the safety lever to ensure its proper function.”

Thompson Center Recal icon venture dimension

To facilitate the inspection and repair, if necessary, of your rifle safety lever, contact Thompson/Center’s customer service department to receive instructions and a pre-paid shipping label for the return of your rifle to the factory. At no cost to the owner, T/C will repair the rifle and ship it back. For more information, visit www.tcarms.com. If you have any questions about this recall, contact Thompson/Center at (800) 713-0355.

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September 25th, 2012

Top Shot’s Iain Harrison Stars in New “Rapid Fire” TV Show

Rapid Fire Television Iain Harrison Outdoor Channel

A new high-octane, gun-oriented TV show, Rapid Fire, debuts October 3, 2012 on the Outdoor Channel. Rapid Fire focuses on military weapons, in particular, full-auto machine guns and other select-fire hardware. The Rapid Fire preview video confirms the new show features plenty of action, with reactive targets, and lots of lead going downrange. The show is hosted by Top Shot Season 1 Champion Iain Harrison, a talented shooter with military training in all types of small arms. Harrison will be aided by co-host Mike Seeklander, Training Director for the U.S. Shooting Academy. While firing legendary automatic weapons is the centerpiece of the show, Rapid Fire will also provide historical background information on a variety of weapons, explaining their design and their role in history.

Rapid Fire Preview Video (Lots of Action!)

Watch the video above to see Harrison and Seeklander try out everything from a hand-crank Gatling to a modern, motorized mini-gun. Sixteen full-auto weapons are featured, including SAWs, BARs, Thompsons, Vietnam-era M60s, HK PDWs and much more. Rapid Fire airs at 8:30 pm and 11:30 pm ET on the Outdoor Channel.

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January 31st, 2012

New Dimension Switch-Barrel Rifle from Thompson/Center

Thompson Center T/C Dimension rifle
At Media Day right before SHOT Show, Thompson/Center Arms unveiled an innovative hunting rifle that features interchangeable barrels and multiple bolts. This allows a single gun to shoot a wide range of chamberings — from .204 Ruger all the way up to the large, belted magnums. The gun employs some unusual engineering, with an AR-type barrel nut on a barrel extension which contains the bolt-lug recesses. There is no conventional recoil lug. Instead a slot on the underside of the barrel extension mates to a metal bar molded into the stock. With the supplied tools, the entire gun can be assembled or disassembled in under one minute (in the Video, a T/C rep assembles the gun in 55 seconds.)

T/C’s Dimension rifle is definitely innovative; there is nothing like it on the market anywhere near its price range (MSRP is $648.00 with tools). For a walking-around deer hunter who is satisfied with factory barrels, and who doesn’t shoot with a rear bag, the gun will probably have appeal. On the other hand, varminters won’t be impressed — the stock won’t work well with a bipod or rear bag, and T/C will be the only source for barrels. The nature of the design, for practical purposes, precludes the use of affordable 3rd-party barrels. You won’t be able to buy a Shilen or PacNor prefit barrel, as you can for a Savage.

Thompson Center T/C Dimension rifle

Factory Promo Video (Loud Soundtrack — turn down speakers before playback!)

Action Features
Pro: One size fits all — single hard-anodized aluminum action can be used to shoot multiple chamberings from .204 Ruger to .300 Win Mag with bolt, barrel, and magazine swap. For all chamberings, T/C guarantees 3-shot accuracy of one MOA with premium ammo.
Con: You have to replace complete bolt assembly to go from one family of cartridges to another (e.g. from .308 Win to Magnum). This is much more expensive than swapping a bolt head on a Savage.

Barrel Fitting
Pro: Barrels can be quickly exchanged using provided tools.
Con: Bolt recesses are machined into barrel extension section, so barrels must be supplied by T/C. We were told that both bolts and barrels “absolutely have to come from Thompson/Center”.

Stock Features
Pro: Stock is lightweight with rubberized surface texture — good for wet climates.
Con: Stock is ugly. Forearm too flexy to use with bipod. Concave arc on underside of buttstock is terrible for use with rear bag. Stock finish tends to retain dust and grit.

Scope Mounting
Pro: T/C offers a bridge scope base that mounts to the barrel (like on Blasers). This allows an optic to stay with a barrel — so you could have a low-power close-range scope mounted and zeroed on one barrel, with a higher-power variable scope on another barrel.
Con: If you keep optics on the barrels, you need to buy a separate bridge for each barrel. That’s an added expense, plus many hunters can’t afford multiple scopes anyway. Thankfully, conventional Weaver bases can be fitted on top of the action.

Commentary: On viewing and handling the rifle, and watching the assembly process, it was obvious that some intelligent, clever engineering went into the gun. The AR-style barrel engagement system functions very well — the whole gun can be disassembled in under one minute. T/C provides some fairly sophisticated assembly tools with the gun, including wrenches that automatically set correct torque values. That’s cool. The gun is relatively light and balances well. On the other hand, the stock design fails in many ways. The fore-arm is short and too flexy for serious use with bipod. The curving underside of the buttstock is a odd-looking, but what is worse, the curve is just about the worst possible profile for use with a rear sandbag. Most observers thought the gun was ugly.

T/C Dimension Caliber Groups
The T/C Dimension LOC™ System has 7 parts — a universal stock and receiver that accept multiple barrels, magazine groups (magazine and housing), bolts and bridge scope mounts. Dimension hand tools work with all Dimension rifles. Interchangeable parts are stamped with letters: A, B, C or D. Match the letter on the barrel with the one on the bolt and magazine group.

A Family: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem
B Family: 22-250 Rem, .243 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, .308 Win
C Family: .270 Win, .30-06 Sprg
D Family: 7mm Rem Mag, .300 Win Mag

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November 14th, 2011

S&W Expands Thompson Center Venture Rifle Recall

Last week we reported that Smith & Wesson was recalling certain Thompson/Center (T/C) Venture rifles because of potential defects in the sear mechanism. Well it looks like the problem is worse than first thought. As a result, Smith & Wesson has expanded its recall to include ALL T/C Venture Rifles manufactured prior to October 28, 2011. The sear issue could possibly cause a Venture rifle to fire without the trigger being pulled. READ Recall Notice.

Expanded Recall of Thompson/Center (T/C) Venture Rifles
This broadens the recall announced by Smith & Wesson on November 8, 2011. This recall applies to ALL Venture rifles manufactured prior to October 28, 2011. To determine if your rifle is affected, please reference the serial number list located at www.smith-wesson.com/venturerecall or by calling Smith & Wesson directly at 1-800-713-0356. If your serial number does not fall within the list of affected serial numbers, your rifle is not part of this recall.

REMEDY/ACTION TO BE TAKEN: STOP USING YOUR RIFLE. Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential to cause injury or death, and we ask that you stop using your rifle until we have an opportunity to inspect the sear to make certain that there is no condition which will allow the rifle to fire without the trigger being pulled. To facilitate the inspection and, if necessary, repair of your rifle, please contact Smith & Wesson’s customer service department to receive instructions and a prepaid return label for the return of your rifle to Smith & Wesson. When you return your rifle to Smith & Wesson, be sure to attach the completed information card received from Smith & Wesson, so that your rifle can be returned to you as quickly and efficiently as possible.

CONSUMER CONTACT: Please contact Smith & Wesson directly at 1-800-713-0356, or at venturerecall@smith-wesson.com to arrange for the inspection and repair of your rifle.

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