Thompson Contender Carbine – 5mm Rimfire – Hunt Report

As most of you know, a few of us 5mmForums members have purchased the Thompson Contender 23″ Carbine barrel in 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum.  I posted an initial report when I received mine back in January (click here for that story).  I got a chance to hunt with the rifle a few times with the Centurion ammunition after I purchased it.  But, I did not have any close places to hunt where lead ammunition was legal here in California.  That made it very difficult to do a series of hunts to develop an informative hunt report.  Beginning about a month ago, I was able to hunt with the 5mm Contender quite frequently.  Even allowing me to get some video of how this rifle and ammo combination performs on ground squirrels.

My rifle consists of the following:

Thompson Contender Frame
23″ Thompson Contender Carbine Barrrel in 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum
Weaver 2.5 x 7 rimfire scope
Thompson Contender Rynite Stock combo
Neoprene comb riser

It is a light-weight, very accurate, killing machine!

I have found that the particular property I am hunting is best done by still-hunting, then setting up a stand where 3 or 4 rows in the orchard intersect.  I have a collapsible stool, as well as a video tripod that I have converted very simply to a shooting stand.  This allows me to pack them on my shoulder, set-up and sit for a while.  When I end up doing this, the ground squirrels start to come out of the woodwork!  Most of the time, they don’t even know I am there.  The only downside to this is that I do not bring my video camera, as it is not feasible with this set-up.  The typical view I have looks like this:

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My shots ranged from a few within 30 to 40 yards, to my longest at 167 yards.  The average shot was about 75 yards, which makes this rifle combo perfect!  I spent a lot of time shooting this gun and came to some very real conclusions about the new Centurion 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum ammunition.

  • In a modern rifle, the Centurion ammunition is very accurate.  I found that shots I might bypass with my Remington 591, I felt confident enough to make the shot with my T/C.
  • The Centurion ammunition (both White Box and Varmint) is VERY destructive!  I have shot 1000′s of ground squirrels, with many different calibers and I can say that the 5mm rimfireammunition performs at almost the same level of a .22 Hornet, or .218 Bee centerfire caliber on small, ground squirrel sized animals. 
  • Quality ammunition in a quality rifle is every hunters best tool.  I think the folks at Centurion have finally hit their stride with the 5mm rimfire ammunition.  As well as being accurate, both of their offerings in the 5mm rimfire performs very well on varmints!

Enough gushing about this rifle and ammunition, let me show you the proof (click on an image to see a larger version) – The video will be in the next post!

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Entrance and Exit Wound Examples

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Bullet Performance

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Over the course of 5 hunting trips, I shot and recovered 102 ground squirrels.  I was not able to recover about 5 ground squirrels, but they all left very large blood trails into their holes.  Almost every squirrel I shot died instantly, even the numerous shots I had past 100 yards.  As stated before, my longest shot was 167 yards (measured with a laser range-finder).  It was a ground squirrel that was chirping while sitting on top of a log on the side of a hill.  I held appropriately and hit the squirrel right below the chin.  The bullet took off the top of his head, killing him instantly.  Even at the distance I was standing, I heard the “crack” when the bullet hit him.

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My final thoughts are this.  If you have a Contender frame and have the funds available to pick-up one of these 23″ Contender barrels, do it.  You will not regret it.

— Eric A. Mayer