Our evaluation rifle was, of course, chambered in .460 S&W Magnum. Built on a stainless steel Encore frame, the switch-barrel Pro Hunter is designed to accept all Encore and Pro Hunter barrels., which include 20-, 24-, 26- and 28-inch lengths, in blue and stainless steel, chambered variously in .500 S&W Magnum, .47-70 Govt., 209 x .50 caliber muzzle loader, .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., .25-06 Rem., .270 Win.; .280 Rem., 7mm-08 Rem., .308 Win., 30-06 Springfield, .300 Win Mag. and .35 Whelan.
Barrels are changed simply by removing the forearm’s two screws and pulling the forearm off, tapping out the hinge pin and lifting the barrel out of the action. To install a new barrel, simply reverse the process.
Pulling the action lever to the rear with your trigger finger releases the action lock and causes the breech to tilt upward and the extractor to partially remove the empty cartridge. After reloading, simply snap the action closed. The external hammer has to be fully cocked to fire, and it automatically returns to a half-cock “safe” position when the trigger is released. There is no manual safety. The hammer spur can be rotated approximately 50 degrees to the right or left to clear the ocular lens of a mounted scope, making the Katahdin Pro Hunter truly ambidextrous.
Sights consist of a Williams aperture rear sight that is windage and elevation adjustable and a ramp-mounted red fiber-optic front. The barrel is drilled and tapped for scope mounts, but the rear sight occupies two of the four mounting holes, so it must be removed to mount an optic.
The Flex-Tech synthetic stock is black with gray sticky rubber inserts on both sides just forward of the butt pad, on the top of the comb, and on both sides of the pistol grip and forearm. Sling swivel studs are provided at both the heel of the buttock and on the underside of the forearm at the front end.
Weighing only 5 lbs. 15 oz. empty and without optics, and measuring only 34 inches stem to stern, the Encore Katahdin Pro Hunter is a lightweight, compact, fast-handling and versatile rifle capable of taking any North American game animal.
For testing we used the same Hornady 200-gr. FTX load and fired from the bench at 50 yards using the rifle’s excellent open sights. Recoil was quite stout but not overly objectionable…this is one rifle that could benefit from a muzzle brake. As you would expect with a single-shot rifle, however, reliability was 100%. The rifle’s barrel is six inches longer than that of the 460XVR, but muzzle velocity only increased by 20 f.p.s., for an average of 2,490 f.p.s./2,574 ft. lbs. Group sizes averaged about 2.5 inches, with the best 5-shot group coming in at an impressive 1.61”—pretty damned good shootin’ with open sights.
See the Encore Katahdin Pro Hunter at your gun shop, or contact Thompson/Center Arms, Dept. OT; Tel.: (866) 730-1614; Web: www.tcarms.com