This is to introduce you to my style of stocks for the Thompson Center
System. I build high-end custom presentation quality stocks for the T/C
Contender and Encore in both the handgun and carbine format. I specialize
in the use of highly figured hardwoods, in my thumbhole design with the
stock being specifically fit to the client. My design makes use of some of
the original Herrett T/C features and then incorporates additional ones
of my own. I make use of long sweeping graceful lines to enhance the
appearance and style of the T/C system. Another feature is that I build
the forepiece to have a wide, flat bottom, which is very comfortable to
hold and is helpful for steadiness when shooting from a rest.
Most of the hardwoods I use come from specialty mills located in Oregon,
where black walnut as well as myrtle are readily available.
|Meet Don Shearer with his 2007 Colorado buck taken with a .308 Bellm barrel.|
Note by Mike Bellm
Don Shearer very scientifically developed the data for my cartridges based on the common .308 Win. chamber body combined with the full length .444 Marlin cartridge, a family of cartridges he dubbed "The Bellm Triad."
|Data for the 7mm, .308, and .358 Bellm developed by Don Shearer|
The first steps of building a stock center on joint selection of the wood by
both myself and the client, then curing it in my kiln to workable dryness.
I lay out the stock by incorporating the client's personal dimensions for
the size of his face, length of his arms and size of his hands to determine
the height of the cheek piece, length of pull and fullness of the handgrip
as well as any other personal aspects he may wish to incorporate. In this
regard, I ask the client to provide his T/C barrel with scope attached in
order that I mount it on my T/C frame and use the assembled gun to fit to
the wood during the stock building process. This approach allows direct
mailing and avoids having to transfer through an FFL. If necessary,
especially when building a stock in the carbine format, when the stock has
been roughed out, I can send the unfinished product to the client so as to
enable that he verify the correctness of the initial shaping. He can then
return it to me so I can make any adjustments that may be needed and to
complete the shaping and finishing. I also specialize in providing either a hard
varnish or a tung oil finish buffed and hand-rubbed to a very smooth
|I contract for just one stock at a time, and never rush a job simply because
I will not compromise on the quality of work. The cost of building a stock
is negotiated on an individual basis. Usually, the time required to complete
a stock is about two months after the wood has been cured to workable
dryness. The curing step is normally one to two months after I procure the
Shown here are some examples of stocks for the Thompson Center handguns
and carbines that I have built recently. These pictures show not only the style
and beauty of the wood, but also the customized aspects of the different
Walnut Burl With Rosewood Burl Tip and Grip Cap
Left hand Contender Set
Walnut Burl with Rosewood Burl tip and grip cap built for a left-hand
shooter in Virginia. Also included, was a 20-piece ammunition box from
the same walnut burl with the gun and ammunition case fit into a walnut
Same left hand stock set as above, shown in its case on the client's stainless Contender.
Myrtle Burl Handgun Stock
|This Encore handgun stock set was built for a big-bore shooter from the
Denver region. It was built from Oregon Myrtle burl.
Walnut Encore set, right hand
This figured walnut carbine stock set was built for a shooter from Southern
California. He wanted it set up to use with either of two barrels. Note that
one barrel is tapered round while the other is round-to-tapered octagon.
This is my own Varmint Set. It consist of an early Contender with two barrels -
one, a 22 K-Hornet for Prairie Dogs and the second, a 25-35 Ingram Improved
for Coyotes. The stock, two 20-piece ammunition boxes and the carrying case
are all built from the same piece of crotch-cut Catalpa wood. Note too that I also
build my own case clasps as the commercial ones look to be too klunky.
Walnut Encore Handgun Set
This walnut Encore handgun grip and forepiece set was built for a shooter
in Australia. His preference is to the shortie full bull barrels. I have built
several Encore grips and forepieces for this shooter.
|Handgun grip and forepiece below was built for the same shooter from Australia. It is made of camphor burl and has ebony tips.|
|Handgun grip and forepiece were built for one of my big game hunting partners It is built from walnut burl with tips of ebony. Note that it has a removable attachment on the forepiece for a bipod.|
This set, next 4 pix below, was built for a shooter from Louisiana.
The set consists of a full rifle stock for a 375 H&H Magnum Encore, an extra forepiece for a 270 Winchester second barrel, two 20-piece ammunition boxes and a carrying case. The stock and extra forepiece are made from a very complex walnut burl where both have tips of amboyna burl. The ammunition boxes are also made from the same piece of walnut burl as is the stock. The carrying case is built from similarly colored walnut. Sufficient space has been left in the carrying case so the second barrel can be equipped with a scope.
Encore Rifle Set
This stock set is built from a very nice piece of crotch-cut walnut, which has an especially nice color pattern. It also has tips of amboyna burl, which are complimentary to the walnut color pattern. It was built for a shooter from Colorado for his all stainless Encore Hunter rifle. It includes a single forepiece, which serves for four barrels. A 20-piece ammunition box made from the same piece of wood is also included as is the carrying case and a second carrying case (not shown) for the other two barrels.
Ruger No. 1
Although I have confined most of my stock building efforts to stocks for the Thompson Center Contenders and the Encore, The same shooter who commissioned the Encore stock from walnut crotch-cut as shown above, really wanted unusual stocks for both his Ruger #1 and for his Remingtom 700. We selected and amboyna burl for the Ruger #1 and also built a 100-piece ammunition box from the same wood. Note that the stock has ebony tips and also that the ammunition box has ebony corner inlays. Note too that the buttstock features a deep thumb groove to make the right hand position to be optimized for accuracy shooting.
The wood selected for this shooter's Remington 700 is ziricote. It is a wood with a very unusual grain structure and coloring, and is quite heavy. It does make a striking stock with its ebony tips. Note too that this stock also features a very deep thumb groove to aid in trigger-hand positioning. Also included with this stock, but not shown is a 100-piece ammunition box of the ziricote wood.
As an added touch, I build 20-piece and 100-piece ammunition boxes. They
can be built from domestic or exotic hardwoods or from the same piece of
wood as is the gunstock, and thus provides a box to match the stock. Note
that some have ebony corner inlays.
|Stock Making Tutorial Available|
I have been asked numerous time for reference instructional material and guidance in building stocks for the T/C handguns and carbines. So, if you are one of those woodworker/shooters who would like to build your own stock, but haven't figured out just how to go about it - help is on the way. That is, I have prepared a CD Tutorial showing how to build stocks for the T/C original Contender, the Contender G2 and the Encore in both handgun and carbine format.
This CD is in Microsoft Word, is 40 megabites with 70 pictures showing how to do it. It outlines the tools needed, details about how to design your stock, how to prepare the wood, how to lay out for the woodwork, how to make the numerous set ups to make the cuts and to fit the wood to the frame and barrel, how to do the external shaping, and when the woodwork is completed, how to get a superior finish.
I sell this CD Tutorial for $30.00 delivered. If you would like to give T/C stock building a try, get in touch with me at the above email address and I will give you details about how to get one.
by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone: (303)912-7391 (C) or (303)220-8612 (H)