Thompson/Center Encore Pistol

I wanted to get a single-shot hunting handgun in a caliber that is legal for hunting deer in Illinois. I have chosen to go with the T/C Encore pistol with a custom barrel chambered in .405 Winchester. In addition to hunting in Illinois, this handgun can be used during Missouri's Alternate Methods season.

Caliber:.405 Winchester
Frame:Thompson/Center Encore Pistol, stainless steel, Model #1876
Barrel:Match Grade Machine 15" stainless steel, 1:14" twist, "heavy factory" contour
Optics:Leupold FX-II 4x28mm handgun scope
Trigger Pull:7½ lbs
Weight:5 lbs 3 oz
Barrel ✔
I have the barrel, custom made by Match Grade Machine. It is a 15" stainless steel barrel in .405 Winchester with a 1:14" twist and a "heavy factory" contour.
Frame ✔
I have the T/C Encore pistol frame, stainless steel, Model #1876. Purchased through GoG/KO for a total price of $359.33.
Scope ✔
I have installed a Leupold FX-II Handgun 4x28mm scope on this barrel. It will give me a little more eye relief, probably brighter optics, much smaller size, and the magnification is much more realistic.
Rings ✔
I have installed extra high Weaver Grand Slam rings, part number 49307. With the hammer spur to the side, these rings will give my thumb plenty of room.
I want to order a custom grip and forend. Tony Gettel's forends are recommended. "Black Onyx" would look good, but I am actually leaning toward "Royal Jacaranda".
  1. Fist Height: 3-3/8"
  2. Distance to 2nd Knuckle: 1-1/4"
  3. Distance to Tip of Index Finger: 3-1/4"
I have ordered a trigger job kit. The trigger pull is about 7½ pounds right now, which is just ridiculous. 2½ to 3 pounds should be much better, especially if it is crisp and without detectable creep.

I had the .405 Winchester barrel custom-made by Match Grade Machine in 2015.
I purchased the pistol frame in 2017.

I need to find an ammo box. I also need to find or make a bag that can transport this thing.

.405 Winchester Barrel for T/C Encore

.405 Winchester

This is the barrel for which I originally acquired the Encore pistol. Theoretically, this combination of caliber and barrel is capable of retaining enough downrange energy to take deer out to 300 yards, and it meets the requirements for deer hunting in Illinois.

Caliber:.405 Winchester
Barrel Length:15"
Material:Stainless Steel
Contour:Heavy Factory

.30-06 versus .405 Winchester

.357 Maximum

I'm beginning to think that .405 Winchester in a handgun is just too impractical. I should probably scale back to something more manageable, and in that case I think I should go for the .357 Maximum.


The trigger pull is rather heavy. I measured it, and it's around 7½ pounds. This is unacceptable. I have ordered a trigger job kit from Bellm TCs, which should put it around 2½ to 3 pounds.


I test fired it a few times using full-power loads. There's no real danger of it hitting me in the face. However, after the third shot, the top of my trigger finger was bleeding. I'll have to figure that out.


I have installed a Leupold FX-II 4x28mm handgun scope on this thing.

With Weaver extra-high rings, the sight axis is 1.825" above the bore axis.

Load Development

I plan to develop a load using the 300 grain Barnes Triple-Shock X Bullet. I had MGM cut the throat specifically for this bullet.

There aren't many bullet choices for this caliber. There's the Barnes 300 gr. TSX, and the Hornady 300 gr. InterLock SP. The TSX has a better BC, but the InterLock isn't a lot worse. So far, I can find only one company making hardcast bullets in this diameter, and they come without gas checks. I'm not sure hardcast is legal in Illinois anyway.

The data for the InterLock results in better velocities than that for the TSX. This means that, even though the TSX has a better BC, the InterLock still ends up with better downrange velocity and energy.

I should chronograph known loads of different powders in this gun. Since I am using a 15" barrel, I expect to lose about 15% of my velocity compared to a rifle. However, I'm also curious to know whether different powders, particularly faster burning powders, do better with the shorter barrel.