from: Rifle Shooter Magazine
Accuracy guarantees generally put me into a cold sweat, so when Mark Laney, Thompson/Center’s R&D director, told me the new Venture rifle came with an one m.o.a. guarantee, I smiled weakly...
“You’re putting lots of faith in the shooter,” I said.
He acknowledged that not everyone
can shoot that well. “But we’ve had such extraordinary results in the lab, we felt compelled to share our confidence,” said Laney, who was also responsible for developing the higher-end Icon rifle.
“The Venture is a modestly priced rifle with some of the Icon’s attributes but a lighter, round receiver and an injection-molded stock,” Mark explained.
“It has our barrel with the same 5R rifling—five grooves with angled groove-land junctures. We’ve shown this rifling to produce tighter groups. It also resists fouling and makes cleaning easier.”
The Venture lacks the Icon’s bolt lock, so with the two-position thumb safety on there’s no way to secure the bolt. In my view, this isn’t a liability.
The only problem might occur in thickets where brush can work its way under the bolt handle of a rifle hung on the shoulder, and pry it open. The safety works smoothly forward and back with muted clicks.
The adjustable trigger on the Venture
sent me for testing, a .270, is factory
set at 3.25 pounds. It gives consistent pulls with very little creep. The three-lug bolt runs smoothly in its race, thanks in part to a groove cut in the full-diameter
body. The bolt release engages
the cut and serves as might a guide rail during operation.
The bolt-face extractor and plunger ejector work fine, even with ambitious handloads. Feeding from the three-round magazine—a detachable polymer
box with straight-up stack—is silky, which isn’t a big surprise since the .270 hull was designed to feed smoothly. The box latch up front is unobtrusive but easy to operate; the magazine drops right into your hand.
An injection-molded polymer stock with separate grip panels is attached
to the receiver with traditional front and rear guard screws. A washer-
type lug handles the recoil. There’s no “bottom metal”; the guard is part of the stock.
The Venture employs a synthetic, straight-stack three-round magazine that fed rounds smoothly into the chamber.
While it won’t compete with top walnut
or the best hand-laid Kevlar stocks for beauty, the Venture is thoughtfully
shaped. The fore-end is the right length to complement the floating 24-inch barrel and slim enough for quick pointing. Properly slender, the grip has a subtle but useful flair. The thick
black recoil pad has some curvature
and fits the shoulder nicely.
The comb is a bit low for the medium
rings I used to clamp a new Weaver
SuperSlam 3-15x42 scope (low rings
would be ideal). Weaver bases are furnished
with each rifle.
The Venture’s profile and balance,
and its textured grip panels, make it
an easy rifle to carry and to fire quickly
from hunting positions—even with
wet or cold hands.
I applaud the 24-inch barrel. While
the 22-inch tubes common on lightweight
and economy-class sporters
are adequate for many cartridges, the
.270 and even the .30-06 can bump up
a notch in performance with a couple
extra inches of burn time. Also, I like
barrels that keep blast well out front
and that give the rifle a slight tilt forward
in the hand.
The Venture, which boasts a one mo.a. accuracy guarantee, proved accurate
with a wide variety of both handloads and factory loads.
“We’re working on a short-action
version of the Venture now,”
Mark pointed out. “We’re planning
a 24-inch barrel, though that could
change.” Chamberings are slated
to include .223, .204 Ruger, .22-250,
.243, 7mm-08, .308 and .30 TC.
My pal Rich McClure did most of
the accuracy testing and turned in
some good groups. I had the same
experience when I got the opportunity
to test it. The rifle proved not to
be fussy at all. Between the two of us,
Rich and I tried 15 loads—handloads
and factory—and all shot well.
While I typically let barrels cool
between strings, the Venture kept
shooting tight knots even as the steel
became too hot to touch. So I kept
firing at a measured pace. No significant
point of impact shift, no change
in rifle function or accuracy.
The only thing I found disconcerting
during trials was the bolt lift.
It’s hard. Primary extraction with a
three-lug bolt is more difficult than
with the traditional Mauser dual-lug
design because it must occur in a
shorter 60-degree rotation. T/C could
assist by giving the Venture a longer
If T/C swept the shank back at a
straight angle or gave it near-vertical
drop, like the Winchester Model 70 or
commercial Mauser respectively, the
bolt handle would be more appealing
to those of us with traditional tastes
“It’s a bit embarrassing to have to
report on this rifle,” I confided to Mark
after the range sessions. “How can
anyone justify paying a premium for
sub-minute groups when he can get a
half-minute T/C Venture for $500?”
“Whoa,” he said. “We aren’t going
anywhere near half-minute guarantees.
Such hyperbole frightens
The three-lug bolt has a bolt-face extractor, plunger ejector and a full-diameter body.