The Author’s Thompson Center Encore with 24” Match Grade Machine .357 Maximum barrel and Leupold VX-1 2-7X Scope.
Several options came to mind in deciding what rifle to purchase for the task. The H&R Handi-Rifle chambered in .357 magnum would require further gunsmith expense to lengthen the chamber to .357 Maximum dimensions. Considering the good reputation and low cost of these rifles, this would be a possibility worth considering. But personal preference would not allow me to take this route. I have always had an appreciation for the Ruger No.1 rifle. I cannot think of any rifle that is more pleasing to the eye than the No.1. Searches on Gunbroker would occasionally locate the somewhat rare Rugers chambered in .357 magnum. Again, these would require extra gunsmith work to open the chambers. In addition to that, as beautiful as they are, the price these rifles were demanding was not within my budget constraints. When the dust settled, my choice was the field proven Thompson Center Encore. In December of 2007, I place an order with a well know mail order company, for a 24” T/C barrel chambered in .357 Maximum. At the time of my order I was told the wait would be 3-4 months. No problem! I would not start testing until late April or May so I was content to secure 2007 pricing and wait. I procured a walnut stock, fore end and a blued receiver from my local dealer, Tomlinson’s Shooting Supply in Churubusco, Indiana. I consider Dennis Tomlinson and his employee’s good friends in my shooting world and would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone in the firearms market. So, I waited…and waited….and waited. Four months later I received a letter from my mail order company stating that my order was cancelled from their supplier’s inability to deliver. The fact that my mail order company showed the barrel in stock less than 2 weeks later (at a higher price) did not settle well with me at first. In the end, I realized they really helped me out. Had it not been for these circumstances, I would have not had the opportunity to realize the advantages of the barrels produced by Match Grade Machine. I had heard of MGM but had no experience dealing with them.