Bit of the back story.....
The Thompson Center Contender is one of those guns I knew someday I would have. Well that day came a few years back and I obtained a nice SS gun with a nice SS 10" hornet barrel and ken Light sights. A good start but soon after....as I was warned with getting one of these... barrels started coming and coming.....and coming as I continued to upgrade and experiment. I have had the gun only 2 years or so now and have had about 10 or 11 barrels come through my hands while I experiment and see what I like. Some I sent down the road after just trying them on the frame....the super light 10" octagonal 30-30 and .44 mag barrel did not appeal to my hands at all. But the topic of the versatility of the TC Contender is for another post. One barrel I know I wanted to get AND keep was a .22 match chambered barrel and then put a Williams target knob rear sight on it. This would be for practicing one handed olympic style pistol shooting. Something I don't exactly intend to compete against others in but practicing one handed shooting and building up those muscles and skill never hurt.
A few months into my looking I got lucky and a gentleman replied to my want ad with the williams sight and a barrel in STAINLESS for what I thought was a fair price. When I took it out to the range I could tell this barrel would have a lot to teach me in marksmenship, it was not forgiving. The custom colored grips I got off a guy online which were excellent for two handed shooting lacked the real-estate for one handed support. These grips were made of some sort of very durable composite and tended to be slippery. I knew I wouldn't find exactly what I was looking for so I decided I needed to make my own set of grips. Is this a solution without a problem? Well in a way "yes" and "no"...I could get rubber grips and modify them to my liking but I wouldn't learn anything from doing that. Anyways I finally had some down time to research the kind of wood I wanted to use to make some nice grips for myself. And settle on a style of grip as well. The wood search went on for awhile until I found somebody else online who had made a set of grips from "purple heart". More about purple heart HERE But anyways I got online and found a supplier who had "bowl blanks" in the size I deemed I needed for my custom grips. 4x6x6".
|3 blocks of "purple heart" wood more than enough for several grip projects|
Careful use of a protractor in finding the various angles of the frame and how they relate to the bore axis will aid us in setting the block up in the mill vise correctly.
|Setting the block up in the mill vise for the first frame cut|
|Frame cut being made|
|A view of the releif cut for the frame and spring|
|"Purple Heart" sawdust after being heated turns VERY purple|
|Opps, you cant see really but the set screw hole down inside the bigger hole was drilled off center|
I ran into a problem in trying to drill the hole for the grip screw through the whole block. The problem is the drill bit I used walked on me. After some thought a friend offered some drill bushings to try and correct the problem. Some modifications of the bushings and I thought we were on our way.
|Looooong drill....that still tended to walk...back to the drawing board.|
At this point the drill bit still wanted to walk off course. So I have stopped the project for now to try and come up with a solution, the best of which to me seems like I will be drilling out the whole block or most of it...until the very bottom of the grip to the diameter of the round frame stud or slightly under. Then drilling a set screw hole through a wood dowel or perhaps plastic or aluminum rod and setting that into place inside the purple heart block. I'll ponder solutions a bit more before I move forward....