Thompson Center Venture Rifle Review

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Thompson Center (T/C) has been known since the late 60's and 70's for their Contender single shot hunting handgun and their line of higher end traditional and modern muzzleloaders. From the start, T/C has been about blackpowder and single shot pistol and rifle hunting. Given this 40+ year background it was surprising when T/C brought out their first bolt action rifle, the Icon, a few years ago. We have previously reviewed the Icon and found it to be a solid offering and were excited to take a look at the new T/C Venture when it started shipping late last year.

The Venture is T/C's less expensive, value based rifle with a street price of around $449 (at the time of writing (11/2010) T/C is also offering a $50 mail in rebate on the Venture). Currently the standard Venture is only available in blued metal with a synthetic stock. There is a Venture Predator version, only available in smaller varmint cartridges, that are just starting to ship and comes in a fully dipped Realtree Max-1 camouflage.

Thompson Center (T/C) Venture Rifle

The standard Venture is available in short and long action models. The long actions are currently available in the following cartridges: 25-06, 280 Rem, 338 Win Mag, 270 Win, 30-06 Springfield, 7mm Rem Mag, and 300 Win Mag. The short actions are available in the following cartridges: 204 Ruger, 223 Rem, 22-250 Rem, 7mm-08, 308 Win, 243 Win, and 30 T/C. Our review model is a long action in 270 Win.

When first looking over the Venture it is easy to see the aesthetic similarities to the Icon. The receiver has a similar shape and layout to the Icon; however there are some differences. First off the Venture does not have directly integrated scope bases. Nonetheless, T/C does include pre-mounted Weaver style scope bases with the Venture, a nice simple perk that Marlin also does with their value based XL7, but seems to be uncommon for most manufacturers.

The Venture does not have integrated bases like the Icon, but T/C includes two pre-mounted Weaver style bases.

The rear of the receiver has contours and a design that is reminiscent of the Icon as well. It is easy to see if the rifle is cocked and ready to fire or if the hammer has been dropped. The safety is a simple two-position design, which is to the right of the bolt. When the safety is engaged it is still possible to cycle the bolt and remove a live round. The bolt uses T/C's short 60 degree bolt throw for quickly cycling rounds. The bolt, while not the absolute smoothest on the market, is very good for any rifle and better than most value based rifles. Furthermore it is not excessively loose and does not wobble in the receiver. The bolt is released by depressing a simple mauser style release button on the left side of receiver.

Rear of bolt in the uncocked or fired position.

Rear of the bolt in the cocked position.

The three lug bolt uses a plunger style extractor.

The fit and finish on the Venture is excellent. T/C has done a great job with the bluing for the price. Our review model had a polished blue not usually seen at this price level. While the bluing is not as deep as say an early Colt Python, it has a good luster and polish. If you like blued metal, this is a huge step up from the unpolished matte blue that is par for course in the value based rifle market.

The muzzle has a recessed target crown.

The Venture's stock is synthetic with grayish inlaid grip panels on the pistol grip and forearm. These grip panels are a nice addition to a synthetic stock and make it easier to hold the rifle under recoil and slick conditions. Another nice addition to the stock is one that cannot be seen but only heard and felt. Most synthetic stocks these days have a hollow sound when lightly tapped. T/C has either foam filled the butt-stock or is using some other process to fill the rear of the stock. This gives the stock a more solid feel than most synthetic stocks on the market. The stock's recoil pad is made of softer rubber, however it retains some firmness and should stand up over many seasons.

Textured rubber inlaid into the stock gives a better grip.

Its worth noting that while the Venture does not have the three bedding aluminum blocks of the Icon, it still uses a simple metal bedding. T/C has inlaid metal around the two screw holes that bed the action to the stock. The recoil lug and stock bedding is more typical of those found on most other rifles.

The receiver is bolted to the stock through two holes that are embedded with metal (rear view).

The receiver is bolted to the stock through two holes that are embedded with metal (front near the recoil lug).

The recoil lug that rests in the slot in the stock.

The recoil lug is embedded into the stock forward of the front receiver bolt.

All T/C Ventures also ship with a detachable box magazine with 3+1 (three in reserve, one in the chamber) capacity regardless of the cartridge. The box mag is plastic with a plastic follower and plastic feed lips. However the retention tab that locks the magazine into the stock is metal. The metal on plastic design should last a long time.

Somewhat fuzzy view of the plastic retaining tab for the magazine.

The detachable magazine, notice the metal retaining tab at the front of the magazine.

Bottom view of the receiver.

The trigger on our review model broke cleanly and consistently at about 3.75 pounds. There was a very small amount of creep and no over travel. Adjusting the trigger involves removing the bolt and turning a small set screw that is recessed in the receiver above the trigger assembly.

Left hand view of the trigger. Notice the mauser style bolt release on the side.

Right hand view of the trigger. The trigger assembly is similar to the T/C Icon.

Two views of the small set screw that is above the trigger assembly to adjust
the trigger pull weight. Remove the bolt to access the set screw.

The Venture has the same 5R rifling as the Icon. 5R rifling uses 5 lands and 5 grooves in such a configuration that lands are opposite (directly across the barrel) from grooves. T/C claims that this style of rifling reduces bullet deformation and presumably making inner-chamber pressures more consistent from shot-to-shot. T/C is so confident in their rifling technique that they are guaranteeing the Venture to shoot 3 shots in one inch or less at 100 yards with premium ammo. If not completely satisfied T/C will certify MOA accuracy or replace with a new Venture. (according to this:

The last few years have seen a lot of new value rifles introduced to the market. If you have $300 to spend on a new rifle, there are a lot of good options, such as the Stevens 200, the Savage Edge, the Marlin XL7 or XS7, and some offerings from Mossberg. However there is a second tier of sorts opening up in the value market that hovers in the $400-$450 price range. The Venture sits nicely in this tier. For the extra $100 to $150 you get an accuracy guarantee, detachable magazine with metal lock-up, a nicer stock, and a consistent externally adjustable trigger. If your budget allows for up to $500, the Venture should definitely be on your short list of models to review.

For more information about the Thompson Center Venture rifle visit


T/C Venture .30-06

hi guys, i am impressed with all the things i heard abvout this rifle. i am new in the field of hunting. i wanted to buy one this christmas as my gift to myself as i got accepted for another job as part time. i am in maryland, any near store offering this rifle please tell me. thanks to all ......###hugestone


Thompson Center Venture Rifle

Purchased a new Thompson/Center Venture rifle in .270 Win. this past week and put on a new VX2 4x12x40  scope from Luepold. Liked the craftsmanship of this new rifle even though it is considered a " budget " priced gun. At the present, the Venture was more appealing to me than the Savage edge, Marlin's, and Mossberg's newest " budget " bolt guns, and for the money ( bout $425 out the door after $50 mail-in rebate ) liked it better than the Ruger M77, Wins M70, Browns A/X bolt, and Remington's M700s. The bolt is slick and smooth with very little play, and the 60 degree bolt throw and the bolt handle are nice too. The blue finish throughout is very good. The stock is nice for a synthetic and the rubber inserts are a nice plus. The trigger guard is integrated into the synthetic stock. Prefer a metal guard but I must remember this is a " budget " rifle. The rifle came with scope bases already attached to the top of the receiver which T/C provided, and I was disappointed to find the base screws were not very tight and were not lock-tited. Guess this was the case if someone may not have wanted to use the T/C bases, but the owners manual read almost like they were ready to go ( beware ). Lock-tited the factory ones and used them with the Luepold scope. The T/C bases and Weaver rings I added did not allow for a whole lot of scope movement from back to front. For example, like trying to adjust for eye relief, yet it worked out ok with this Luepold scope. Today I had the chance to test fire and zero the Venture and was able to finally get a 7/16" one hole group, all in the bull's eye, with three rounds of Federal 130 gr sp Power Shoks ( the cheapest .270 ammo Wal-Mart had on the shelf ) fired consecutively from the 3 shot mag. Truly amazing. The recoil pad was decent during the shoot and the trigger was great. The trigger was one of the best I've used on almost any factory rifle and I have not tried to adjust the factory setting, even though the trigger weight is adjustable. I have yet to check on how many accessories are available for this rifle. This model still seems to me to be rather young to the shooting world right now, yet my basic setup seems to be fine for now. Only other negetive is the detachable box magazine, because I'm old school like a Mauser style. Damage or misplace your mag. and you've got a nice single shot rifle, yet this all comes back to the " budget " rifle theme. I've owned many deer rifle centerfire bolt guns ( 9+ ) over the last 20+ years, and only two I've  owned do I consider to be " budget " rifles, and I consider the Venture overall one of the best of all 9. I was highly impressed with T/C Venture. This is a great rifle for the money, and the accuracy pushed it all over the top for me.

numbnutz's picture

That was a great review. I

That was a great review. I have never owned a T/C but when they released the Icon I wanted one of them. I can't use the moden muzzleoaders in my state but have liked the T/C look. So when they started making bolt action rifles I was very excited. This seems like a very nice entry level rifle and thats about all I could afford.  After reading some review from actual owners of this rifle they sound pretty durable and accurate. I would want a rifle chambered in a .270. I really would like a .270 in my aresonal. That round would be good for just about everything I hunt here in Oregon. Again thanks for the review. I will have to do some more research on this rifle as well as the Icon.

ndemiter's picture

am i seeing the picture

am i seeing the picture correctly? looks like a plastic magazine box, plastic magazine follower?

i am not sure, but is the housing for the trigger assembly ALSO plastic?

it seems like if you use it under extreme heat or cold, it might not jive together all that well as when you sight it in on the range.

i've heard that the TC rifles are becoming very popular and are selling more than remmington and winchester now. but with cutbacks on the use of metal parts, i'm not sure i'd be interested. i'm basing this on my brief ownership of a remmington model 710 in 270 winchester. you could hit a 5 gallon bucket with it at 200 yards, and that was all.

as good as the reviews for this rifle have been, i'm not sure the construction makes any difference. that's just my perspective as a potential buyer.

hunter25's picture

Sounds like a very nice rifle

Sounds like a very nice rifle with a lot of good features but I just read the review on the Icon and I would really like to have one of those or at least be able to check them both out at the same time to make a decision.

The value market has so many great deals these days. I can get a new rifle in this category for the same price as 10 years ago or more.

Good job to these manufacturers for making it affordable for more people.

TC Venture rifle

Your article was right on. I purchased a Venture in 300 Win mag. I loaded 180 grain accubond bullets to the maximum load recommended for Rl 17. It Placed the first 3 in 1 1/4 inches, the next 3 at 7/8 and the next at 5/8 of an inch.  I chronied the speed at 3000 fps. I love the rifle. The only thing is that mine weighs 8 1/2 pounds with a Burris 3X9. Wish it was just a little lighter. I guess 8 oz or so wont kill me to pack. Keep up the good work...  

steven_seamann's picture

i really like this gun if i

i really like this gun if i had my choice i would pick this over most every other rifle just for the quality of the rifle

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Looks and sounds like a heck

Looks and sounds like a heck of a good deal on gun and for a great price too.  I just may have to buy another gun...oh not not another darn.  may have to make some room though..not...just another safe.

CVC's picture

TC has established itself as

TC has established itself as a quality rifles and the Venture seems to be a quality rifle at a very affordable price.  The MOA guarantee seems to be the standard these days.  I just bought a Tikka that is similar in price and looks and it too has the one MOA guarantee. 

Is that pitting on the bolt?  It looks like it has pitting as does some of the other metal.  Does it or is it just the photography?


Does any one market an after market trigger for the T/C Predator ?

jaybe's picture


Thanks for the physical review of this new rifle.

CVC - I'm not positive, but I wondered if that was packing grease (cosmoline?) that we are seeing that looks reddish-brown in some of those pictures.

I would have liked to also see the results of actually shooting this rifle along with the review of just the physical aspects of it.

Many really great pictures that show off all the gun's points.

Thanks again.