I have a Contender I used in NRA Small Bore Hunter's Pistol and Hunter's Pistol Silhouettes. The .22 LR and .32 H&R Mag barrels served me well and I can say this is easily the most accurate handgun I own.
It is awesome in .44 Mag and 7X30 Waters.
GO FOR IT!
[This message has been edited by CCV (edited 11-25-2001).]
I have a ten inch in 7TCU. Almost as accurate as my 15 inch Remington XP100. I literally shot the frame loose, sent it back to TC and they rebuilt the frame and returned it to me in less than two weeks; free-of-charge. My ten-year-old is getting a ten inch .22 for Christmas for smallbore shilouettes.
The 7-30 is a great cartridge and should give you a better trajectory and increased range as compared to a 44mag. If you handload, I'd opt for the 7-30 in the 14". Personally, I like the shorter barrels and would opt for a 44mag in a 10". I am patiently waiting for the G2 to be released for my next hand gun purchase.
I have a Thompson Contender with several barrels, including the 7-30 Waters, whitch is scoped and compensated.Very accurate and effective on deer,coyotes etc.My Bullberry Match Grade barrel works fine on IHMS competition. Contenders are great.
Unless you have a line on a used Contender, I would strongly suggest you get the Encore. The contenders made now (Called GII) have the same trigger and safety as the Encores, but for a few bucks more, the Encore can handle almost any center-fire cartridge and shotgun barrels and muzzle-loaders to boot.
Oh, I forgot, if you want a .44 Mag, go for the .445 SuperMag. It will handle .44 spl, .44 mag, and the 0.3" longer .445 SM all out of the .44 mag dies. I went for the .414 SuperMag (lengthened .41 Mag). The .414 SM outperforms the .44 Mag with 13% more case capacity. Shoots flat and hits hard. Both are factory offered barrels.