Deer Rifle Review: Thompson/Center Venture

Recently I shot and field-tested the Venture, which T/C introduced in 2009. T/C had shipped in 2 rifles in 7mm-08 for my 2 new hunting buddies, Daniel and Brandon. The rifles were topped with Nikon scopes, and Nosler sent the 140-grain Accubond ammunition. Many thanks to those companies for stepping up and providing the gear. Those kids had been through a lot. Daniel had battled cancer as a baby, and Brandon suffered severe head/brain injuries in an accident when he was 15. I worked with the Outdoor Dream Foundation to help out these kids with a once-in-a-lifetime TV hunt. You should have seen the look in their eyes when we gave them those new rifles!

But first things first. While Shane took the boys scouting for deer on the Texas ranch, Chuck and I hit the range to sight-in the rifles. We started at 50 yards, got them on paper and moved out to 100. Right off, we liked the fit and feel of the sporter-stocked rifles--clean lines, lightweight but sturdy. The detachable magazine loaded rounds easily, and bolting was smooth enough.

T/C guarantees the Venture will group 3 shots in 1 inch or less at 100 yards. I like the Venture’s look—black composite stock with gray “traction panels” on the fore-end and grip. But when you pull this modern-looking rifle out the box you might be skeptical, seeing as how you paid $500 or less for it.

But you will be pleased—make that amazed--when you shoot it. Both our test Ventures grouped MOA out of the box immediately. The more we shot and tweaked the scopes the better they performed, with some holes touching, even with warm barrels. They liked that Nosler ammo.

T/C attributes the Venture’s great inherent accuracy to its match-grade precision barrel. The good fit of the rifles and especially their clean, crisp triggers were a big reason we shot so well. I didn’t have a gauge to check, but I’d say 3 ½-4 pound pull (definitely not as tight a trigger as you find on most factory rifles these days). The Venture’s trigger is externally adjustable (it comes with a tool so you can do it) but if the rifle you buy is like either of those we shot, you won’t want to touch it.

I go so far as to say those were the best pre-set triggers on any factory hunting rifle I’ve shot in 20 years. 

Daniel and Brandon showed up at the range, and each kid shot a 1-inch group and squealed. They shot some more and were ready to hunt. We talked Brandon’s mom, Kim, a new shooter/hunter, into popping off one shot—smack in the middle of the orange bulls-eye.

The rifles (and 140-grain Accubond bullets) performed impressively in the field. Six shots and 6 dead animals; each kid smoked a buck, a doe and a hog and had a blast. I had more fun than they did just being there and watching. You will like this show on Versus this fall.

Some Venture specs:

• weight – 7 lbs
• detachable single-stack magazine (3 rounds)
• 22-24” barrel, tapered, match grade with 5R button rifling
• sporter-style stock with grip panels 
• chambered for 16 popular hunting calibers
• made in USA, lifetime warranty

Thompson/Center claims and I quote, “there is nothing that can come close to what the T/C Venture offers for under $500."  After that awesome field-test and hunt, I agree. comment

Scott from MI's Gravatar Good post, im actually buying one for my wife next month in .308. For 2011 they came out with the weathershield option, stainless barrel. Pretty nice looking gun and cant beat the warranty.
# Posted By Scott from MI | 4/20/11 3:01 PM
Curt's Gravatar I have heard good things about the TC rifles. A couple buddies bought them last year and their remarks are right in line with Mike's. I have actually toyed with the idea of getting one in 270 or 30-06. I normally use a 300 wsm, but I don't always need that kind of power. Most spots I hunt are 100 - 150 yard shots. At least that's what I tell the wife. Scott, doesn't have to do any justifying.
# Posted By Curt | 4/20/11 3:27 PM
joel's Gravatar hanback, thought Remington sponsored your show, way were they shooting TCs? Just saying...
# Posted By joel | 4/20/11 3:47 PM
hanback's Gravatar Rem decided not to come back as a sponsor for my Versus show last year, so we used some other
guns. T/C and Nikon stepped up and sent these kids Ventures and scopes, pretty awesome
# Posted By hanback | 4/20/11 3:51 PM
Scott from MI's Gravatar To funny Curt. I figure she wouldnt mind one bit if im buying her a gun...that way i can get my .270 back from her :)
I've been using my .300 Win Mag the last few years but always liked the .270 better. Groups way better and just feels good when
i pull it up.
# Posted By Scott from MI | 4/20/11 4:06 PM
Silverback's Gravatar I hunt shotgun and muzzleloader only states, NJ & OH, so no rifles for me. And if I go away on a trip I like to take the bow. Plus, it's not fair chase to shoot deer with a rifle. (ha ha, just starting trouble)
# Posted By Silverback | 4/20/11 4:31 PM
Curt's Gravatar Exactly, Rich! A well placed rifle shot = No Chase!
# Posted By Curt | 4/20/11 4:39 PM
REALBUCK's Gravatar I use a Savage 30-06, with accutrigger... My scope is Leupold...
Just love it...
# Posted By REALBUCK | 4/20/11 5:44 PM
jr's Gravatar you and your sponsors should be proud of what you do, taking those injured or sick kids hunting,
those are awesome shows. it's the right thing to do and we should all learn from it!
# Posted By jr | 4/20/11 6:35 PM
hanback's Gravatar nice words, thanks man, it is a very rewarding experience
# Posted By hanback | 4/20/11 6:43 PM
David in NC's Gravatar T/C is a good company. I don't think anyone would be disappointed in their products. I personally think they cater to the higher end crowd on most of their stuff, but this seems to be a more affordable option.
# Posted By David in NC | 4/20/11 11:52 PM
David in NC's Gravatar I have two centerfire rifles that I use for deer: a .30 cal remington, and a smaller cal. T/C.
# Posted By David in NC | 4/20/11 11:54 PM
Rick from PA's Gravatar When it comes to rifles I'm a Browning fan all the way...They may cost a little more than most rifles but I feel you get what you pay for when it comes to guns/ammo.
# Posted By Rick from PA | 4/23/11 8:48 AM
Fred's Gravatar 7mm-08... YEAH BABY....!!!
# Posted By Fred | 4/24/11 9:21 AM
Edward's Gravatar I recently purchased one of these, 270 WSM and I am very pleased. The first noticeable difference between the Thomson rifle and (Remington, Mossberg, Winchester, Marlin & Ruger [$800 or less range]) is the fit of the bolt was solid and did not have lots of play in it like the other rifles. 2nd, the weight balance was very nice. 3rd, it shoots really good and yes, the trigger does feel great from the factory.
I have a muzzle break being installed this week and I cannot wait to get it back and try it out. (I target shoot mainly).
The only issue I have is my own. I should not have gotten the 270 WSM because ammo is difficult to find and very expensive. I should have stuck with a .308 or .270.
# Posted By Edward | 6/8/13 10:02 AM
Phillip Martin's Gravatar Now in 2013 my Venture has been recalled twice for trigger safety issues. After the first recall, TC said my trigger was fine. Now it is back again. I have not yet fired a one inch group from my Venture but I am mostly shooting non-premium hunting ammunition. Still a very nice rifle for the money.
# Posted By Phillip Martin | 10/12/13 10:35 AM