When It Comes To T/C’s Venture Compact,
Accuracy Is Not An Afterthought.
By Robert Kolesar
Colonel Townsend Whelen said, “Only accurate rifles are interesting.” If you do a lot of shooting, this statement becomes a truism you will live by. Like most hardcore shooters, I’ve had my share of rifles, both expensive and budget guns. Regardless of the price tag, those not meeting my accuracy expectations were worked on or shipped out. A rifle not capable of performing its primary mission of putting bullets into tight groups is worthless to me. Reliability and accuracy are mandatory for any rifle, whether carried by a hunter, protecting an infantryman or competing at Camp Perry.
I got to shoot the T/C Venture Compact (mine was a .308) on a deer hunt in south Texas last December. During our downtime, I also shot two other Venture Compacts, one in .243 and the other in .308. All three were scary-accurate, especially when you consider we were using only one load for each caliber (Federal standard “blue box” soft points).
I ended up killing four whitetails with my T/C Compact. I had no problems, no malfunctions and no change of zero with this easy-shooting rifle. I didn’t pamper it. It was dropped twice (not on purpose!), left in the truck at night and bounced around in the cab during the day. That’s impressive from a rifle selling for somewhere around $475 (with the discount most chain stores give.)
Later, after I got home, I had T/C send me the rifle I used for more shooting and photos. I was even more impressed. Accuracy was stellar with most loads; no issues of any kind were experienced during several shooting sessions that included bench-testing and field shooting (sitting and offhand). I had my shooting buddy and former all-Army rifle champion John Buol help me with the testing. He grew fond of the Venture Compact, too.
T/C Venture Compact in .308 and a Weaver Grand Slam scope make an ideal
hunting combo, especially for the younger and shorter shooters among us.
With the spacer added, it works equally well for taller folks.
Nuts And Bolts
Thompson/Center envisioned the Venture Compact as a rifle for women hunters and smaller-statured shooters. It has a 20″ barrel and a shorter, 12.5″ length of pull. What’s neat is the extra 1″ spacer and additional recoil pad that T/C includes. With only a Philips-head screwdriver you can install the spacer and pad, giving you a 13.5″ length of pull. This makes the rifle a great choice for the younger hunter in the family or the husband who shares a rifle with his wife. The 20″ barrel also makes the Venture Compact easier to carry and maneuver in close quarters.
The Venture series has a 1″, 100-yard accuracy guarantee (something not seen too often with a production rifle), Picatinny-type scope bases, a detachable box magazine (3-round capacity) and a free-floated barrel. Triggers are set at the factory for a creep-free 3.5- to 4.5-lb. pull. The stock is a classic pattern with a straight comb for scope use — black composite Hogue panels prevent slippage if the stock is wet or if your hands are sweaty.
The magazine uses a straight-line feed (as opposed to a staggered box) which helps ensure reliable feeding. The downside to a straight-line feed is reduced magazine capacity, but 3+1 is enough for most any hunting scenario. I’d purchase 2 or 3 extra factory magazines and consider myself well prepared.
The action has a 3-lug bolt with a 60-degree lift, making for fast cycling. The short action helps, too. The bolt handle itself is designed to be accessible without fumbling. It’s not as pretty as a pre-64 Winchester bolt, but it is functional. The two-position safety doesn’t lock the bolt when engaged — this supposedly allows accident-free loading and unloading. I still prefer a safety that locks the bolt, or a 3-position type safety like a Winchester M70 or the newer Ruger Hawkeye. The Venture safety works well enough though, and is quite easy to operate, even for a lefty like me.
T/C has covered all the bases in building an accurate, very shootable production rifle. They’re justifiably proud of the barrels on the Venture rifles — 5R rifling is used, with a clean recessed crown. A sharp, even crown devoid of dings and dents is critical to accuracy. Recessing it helps to ensure it will stay that way.
The action is properly bedded in a synthetic stock free-floated the full length of the barrel. The stock itself has a small degree of “flex,” which makes it very comfortable to shoot. The trigger on mine came set from the factory at just above 3.5 lbs. with no creep — I left it alone.
We shot the majority of our groups from 100 and 200 yards using seated and off-hand positions, after getting zeroed for specific loads. I’d already shot the rifle extensively at the 100-yard bench during my December hunt with Federal 150-grain softpoints, so I wanted to do something different at home.
We did shoot several 100-yard groups though, mostly with the LC M118 match stuff (it has proven to be accurate with every rifle I’ve used it in). One group (five shots) was fired with some M80 GI issue ball (147-grain) mostly out of curiosity. Second-best accuracy from the 100-yard bench was turned in by standard commercial Federal .308 “blue box” 150-grain softpoints. This group was fired in December during my whitetail hunt.
Shooting at 200 yards is a great idea after you get your zero. Most hunters need to tear themselves away from the bench — it’s a good place to start, but most of your practice needs to be done from actual positions you might use in the field. We had a lot of fun shooting the Venture Compact at 100 yards offhand and 200 yards from the seated position. A few “clicks” up and we were on target at 200. I wouldn’t hesitate using this rifle out to 400 yards on another hunt, if the conditions were perfect (no wind, a stable position, stationary target, etc.).
Since zeros usually changes when going from a solid bench to a field shooting position, you need to reconfirm it from the position you’ll most probably use in the field. A sling (either hasty or an orthodox tight sling) will also alter your point of impact, especially with a light barrel under tension. Don’t take the ammo manufacturer’s drop tables as gospel — they’re only a starting reference you can use to get on paper at the distance you’re shooting.
The T/C Venture Compact in .308, teamed with a good scope like the Weaver Grand Slam, would be an easy choice whether hunting, bench-shooting or doing some long-range practice. It comes into its own as a rugged field gun, especially in poor weather conditions. This one will probably end up in my safe as there’s always room for another accurate rifle.
.308 rounds loaded in the single stack T/C Venture detachable magazine.
A straight-line magazine is very reliable but it does cut back a bit on capacity.
A good, sharp crown is critical to accuracy. Recessing the crown avoids damage.
The Venture Compact is easily converted from 12.5″ to 13.5″ LOP with
a Phillips-head screwdriver and the provided 1″ spacer.
A half-MOA 3-shot group using LC (Lake City) M118 Match — from a factory rifle!
|Load||Best Group (Inches)|
|LC 118 Match 173-grain||0.5 (3 shots)|
|Federal Match 168- grain||1.1 (5 shots)|
|Federal Softpoint 150-grain||0.8 (3 shots)|
|LC M80 GI Ball 147-grain||4.2 (5 shots)|
Groups fired from the bench at 100 yards
T/C Venture Compact
Manufacturer: Thompson/Center, Springfield, MA
Action: Short-action 3-lug bolt with 60-degree bolt lift
Calibers: .308 Win, .243 Win, .22-250 Rem, .223 Rem, 7mm-08
Magazine capacity: Detachable, 3 rounds
Barrel: 20″, 5R rifled, 1:10 twist- .308/.243. 1:12 twist, .223/.22-250. 1:09 twist, 7mm-08 need 7mm-08 twist. It’s 1:9 or 1:10
Trigger: Adjustable for weight between 3.5 and 4.5 lbs.
Sights: None. 2-piece Picatinny-type bases included
Stock: Black composite with Hogue panels. Adjustable between 12.5″ and 13.5″
Weight: 6.75 lbs.
Close-up of the Weaver Grand Slam turret. Adjustments are in 1/4 min
increments at 100 yards (both windage & elevation). Parallax adjustment
is located on the side, easy to use between shots and adjustable from
25 yards to infinity.
Weaver Grand Slam 3-12x42mm Scope
I mounted a Weaver “Grand Slam” 3-12x42mm on my T/C rifle using Warne medium rings. I’ve been using some of the new, Japanese-made Weavers a lot lately and I really like them. My favorites are the fixed 4X and 6X . I also like the T-series, especially the 24X T24. I wanted to try a Grand Slam to see how a Weaver variable would perform. I wasn’t disappointed.
The Grand Slam is a great scope for a .308 bolt gun. The cartridge is very capable, in an accurate rifle, of reaching out to 800 meters (880 yards) or more. The Army and Marine Corps use the .308 (7.62x51mm) as one of their standard sniping calibers, usually with M118 Lake City 173-grain Match ammo.
Thanks to its excellent power range, the Grand Slam takes advantage of the accuracy and long-range capability of the cartridge. It’s also parallax adjustable, using a side-mounted dial that’s easy to reach and focus during shooting. The power adjustment is also easy to use. Just grip the eyepiece and turn. It also has European-style fast focus, just in front of the power ring.
The Grand Slam comes with a 1″ tube, which makes picking rings and mounting much easier. I chose medium rings to get the scope low over the bore, with plenty of room to maximize eye relief. With the 1″ spacer installed on the stock, the rifle and scope combo was comfortable and fit my 6’2″ frame.
We shot over 100 rounds through the Venture Compact with the Weaver Grand Slam mounted on top. Clarity and brightness were great, and the adjustments (1/4″) were “spot on.” For the money ($707.95) you’re getting a great scope from a legendary maker with a lifetime warranty.
For More Information
Warne Scope Mounts