New T/C - Bergara Encore in .30-06

Larry in SD

Nov 8, 2004
Roger (my local gunsmith) finally got back from his Black Bear Hunting Trip and finished bedding the forend for my new Encore.


The finished product.

After I acquired the T/C Encore Frame and Bergara Barrel I then talked to local gunsmith Roger about the best method of bedding the Synthetic Forend to the Bergara Barrel. Roger said to do some research on the net on the preferred method, ie Pillar Bedding vs a Hanger Bar System. I spend a couple evenings reading and when all the smoke cleared from my computer screen I came to the conclusion that half of the guys were happy with Pillar Bedding while the other half preferred the Hanger Bar Systems.

I relayed this info to Roger, and we talked a bit about how Roger has been bedding the Synthetic Forends to the Encore Barrels. In the end Roger said "let's do an experiment". Roger went on to say if I supplied the materials he'd Pillar Bed the Synthetic Forend to a Stratton Custom Hanger Bar.

The Stratton Custom Hanger Bar is a bar made out of 3/8" steel key stock, machine to fit the contours of T/C Encore Barrels. The forend is then modified and attaches via two screws to the hanger bar. When the Stratton Custom Hanger Bar arrived I immediately phoned Roger and promptly took the Encore and the Hanger Bar to Roger. Roger attached the hanger bar to the Bergara Encore Barrel and said we have a problem.

Since the hanger bar attaches to the barrel via 2 screws the screw holes in the hanger bar for the forend are offset from the original mounting location. Roger said this isn't going to work. I told Roger it was my understanding that new screw holes need to be drilled into the forend in the proper location to mate up to the threaded holes in the hanger bar.

Well Roger didn't want to do it that way and said I had a plan. Roger said he was going to make a hanger bar to attach to the Stratton Custom Hanger Bar so he could use the existing holes in the forend. By making the second hanger bar to attach to the Stratton Custom Hanger Bar Roger drilled and tapped holes for the forend to attach to the second hanger bar that are over the top of the holes in the Stratton Custom Hanger Bar that attaches it to the forend.

Roger radiused the corners and tapered the sides of the second bar so that after he glassed the forend around the bar the forend automatically centers itself to the bar. He then put steel pillars in the forend so the screw heads mate up to the flared end on the steel gas line he used for pillars, and on the other end the steel pillars seat against the hanger bars. To attach the forend to the hanger bar Roger used some large headed hex head screws I had and the heads of the screws contact both the ends of the steel pillars and the synthetic of the forend.

Roger also moved the sling swivel stud in the forend rearward some so that when my bipod is attached the base of the bipod is now flush with the front of the forend tip. He glassed in a piece of aluminum plate, threaded it and screwed the sling swivel stud into the plate, which is glassed into the forend. I told Roger I wanted to be able to shoot this Encore off of a Bipod or Front Rest or Crossed Shooting Sticks.



Roger fired one round through the barrel (after cleaning it). He said he just had to shoot it. The barrel didn't even have a scope base or scope on it at this point, Roger said he just had to shoot it.

He fired the round (Federal Power Shok 150gr. SP Factory Round) with the FC on the cartridge case in the 12 O Clock position. We then removed the case and examined it. Looks like the rearward most portion of the chamber might be a little oversided. When measured at the largest point ahead of the extractor groove the fired round measures .005" larger than the unfired factory rounds I measured.

However the headspace is perfect. We inserted a loaded Federal Factory Round into the chamber and while I closed the action Roger held a .002" shim between the case head and the breach face. Once I closed the action Roger was not able to pull the .002" shim out of from between the cartridge case head and the breech face. We then took the fired round, put the FC at 3 O Clock, 6 O Clock and 9 O Clock position and the action locked up every time with minimal effort.

After coming home I secured my T/C Weaver Style Scope Base, I torqued the screws to 30 In Lbs and also applied Red Loktite to the threads. I then mounted my 3x9x40mm Bushnell Elite 3200 Firefly Rifle Scope in Weaver 1" Extension Quad Lock 4x4 Scope Rings (putting the extension ring in front so the offset is forward to get maximum ring spacing distance on my scope tube).

Saturday I put 40 rounds through the T/C - Bergara Encore.

For the first 10 rounds I ran 3 patches soaked in Shooters Choice followed by 3 dry patches through the bore after each round. There was just a hint of copper after each shot so after the first 10 rounds I shot 5 rounds then ran 3 patches soaked in Shooters Choice followed by 3 dry patches through the bore after every 5th round.

Man this bore is SMOOTH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Federal Power Shok 150gr. Soft Point Factory Ammo averaged 3071 FPS, producing 1.217" Groups. Federal catalogs this ammo at 2920 FPS.

Once I had shot the 20 rounds of Federal Power Shok 150gr. Soft Point Factory Ammo I switched to my standby handload of 150gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips loaded with 59.0grs. H-4350 in Federal Brass with CCI 200 Primers. This has been the accuracy handload in 4 or 5 different .30-06's now and this T/C - Bergara Encore seems to continue that trend.

The 150gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips were seated .005" off the lands and this is what I would consider a MAXIMUM LOAD in this barrel. For the record the Cartridge Overall Length with the Nosler Ballistic Tips seated .005" off the lands is 3.360". Average velocity is 3054 FPS with this load (the most I have ever gotten out of this load) with an average group size of .693" (The smallest group came in a .392" and the largest group came in at .937" which was the last group fired and the barrel was getting hot).

I also should note that I shot my groups off of a Harris Bench Rest Swivel Bipod, and off of a Front Rest I built with a formed bag on the rest. I used a Rabbit Ear Rear Bag to support the buttstock. There really seemed to be no difference between the different front rests used but I did shoot the smallest group off of the Bipod.

So far I am totally pleased with this barrel. I am also SUPER IMPRESSED with the Sims Limbsaver Recoil Pad, even though I got scoped on the first shot. After the first shot I moved the scope forward and placed it in the position I should have had it in to start with. I am also SUPER IMPRESSED with the Bushnell Elite 3200 3x9x40mm Rifle Scope. I could even see my bullet holes in the black of the target through this Bushnell (I never did take my spotting scope out of the case today).

All in all a good day at the range. It was a beautiful day, 85 degrees and sunny. At the range I had a gusty tail wind but it really didn't seem to effect anything.

When I ordered my Bushnell Elite 3200 Riflescope from Natchez I also had planned on ordering 2 more boxes of .30 Caliber 150gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips but Natchez was out of them. So I ended up ordering 2 boxes of .30 Caliber 150gr. Nosler E-TIPS (Noslers version of the lead free Barnes Bullets).

I talked to Nosler about loading the E-Tips after reading the note in the box of bullets that stated (when loading Nosler E-Tips always start at the starting load of a reputable load manual). In talking to John @ Nosler he said that the guilding metal and bearing surface of the E-Tips is different than conventional cup and core bullets so they build pressure much more rapidly.

Per Nosler's advice I checked the Hodgdon web site and in a .30-06 with a 150gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip they show a starting load of 56.0grs. and a MAX load of 62.0grs. of H-4350. Well I am hear to tell you there is no way to get 62.0grs. of H-4350 in a .30-06 case and if it could be done you are not shooting it in my gun! In my gun 59.0grs. of H-4350 with a 150gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip is MAXIMUM, and probably plenty hot at that.

At any rate I loaded 10 rounds of the Nosler 150gr. E-Tips at 56.0, 56.5 & 57.0 grains with the bullet seated .080" off the lands (Nosler recommends .050" to .100" off the lands). Long story short, the 56.5 grain l was the most accurate coming in a 1 1/2" at 2945 FPS, and about as hot as I want to go. 57.0 grains opened up the group and they were HOT. I had one of the 56.0 grain loads with the 150gr. Nosler E-Tip in which the action was a touch sticky in opening. The other thing I noticed in shooting the 30 rounds loaded with E-Tips was that I had 3 misfires. 2 of them went on the second try and the 3rd one went on the 3rd try.

I cleaned the barrel after every 5 rounds of the E-Tips and there was a lot more copper coming out of the barrel than when shooting the Nosler Ballistic Tips.

I then shot 5 rounds of my 150gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips, 59.0grs. H-4350 with no issues. I pulled one shot in that group so didn't measure it. I then shot a 3 shot group with the 150gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips, 59.0grs. H-4350, again with no issues what so ever and that group measured .844" center to center. By this time the barrel was getting hot and I had 2 more rounds to shoot so I saved them for Water Filled Milk Jugs, and I am sure you can guess how that turned out.

I have 80 rounds through this barrel now, and just got done giving it a thorough cleaning. I started with Shooters Choice. I must have run a dozen patches through the bore and there was the slightest hint of green on the patches. I then brushed the bore 10 strokes, followed by a half dozen patches soaked in Shooters Choice. I then totally dried the bore and ran 3 patches of KG-12 Copper Solvent through the bore. KG-12 is one of the solvents that is supposed to remove the most amount of copper. Those 3 patches came out CLEAN. I then dried the bore again and ran 2 patches soaked in Break Free through the bore followed by 2 dry patches, and it is now SPOTLESS.

All in all I am super pleased with the way this Bergara Barrel shoots. I am thinking that it is just going to get better the more rounds I put through it.

Wow, it sounds like your 150gr BT load is awesome. I bet that would be a great deer killer and man, that is quick out of the 06. Glad you like your rifle, that is a good looking shooting stick. The ETip load seem pretty awesome also, other than the misfiring? That is kinda odd. Either way, hopefully you get to draw blood with it soon. Scotty

Nice rifle! She is a shooter for sure, congraulations.

Thanks guys. I have done a fair amount of shooting and had to do a little tweaking also since I last posted about this Encore. First of all I had a problem with my first shot going HIGH every time out of a cold barrel. I could let it sit for 10 minutes and my first shot would be way higher than the rest of the group.

Seems we were inducing stress with our second hanger bar. Did some modifying and now have that fixed.

Now I am waiting the arrival of an oversize hinge pin to make up for an undersized hinge pin.

All in all it is shooting good and once all the tweaking is done I am hoping it even shoots better.