An In-depth Look at the T/C Venture Predator

T/C was ahead of the trend in modern bolt-action rifles when it introduced the Venture. Today, the line has grown to include mission-specific models including ones purpose-built for predator hunting.

An In-depth Look at the T/C Venture Predator

The T/C Venture Predator has a host of features that make this mid-priced rifle quite a bargain for the savvy, budget-conscious hunter. (Photo: Scott Mayer)

A decade ago, T/C anticipated many of the trends we’re seeing in today’s bolt-action repeating rifle market for full-feature, lower-priced guns that offer accuracy, durability and dependability in the mid-price range. In turn, they developed the Venture rifle as a stablemate to the company’s then-flagship bolt-action, the Icon.

The Icon had a funky angular look to it that you either liked or didn’t. I personally remember it being heavy and, with an MSRP of more than $1,000, it was a “spendy” rifle. So, developing the Venture with many of the Icon’s desirable features but into a more conventional looking, lighter and less expensive rifle just made sense.

“It has been perceived great, particularly when it was introduced,” says Matt Spafford, T/C’s Firearms Media Manager, of the company’s strategy to offer the lighter, less expensive rifle. The strategy worked so well that today the Icon is no longer in production and T/C calls the Venture its “best-selling bolt-action.”

Numerous Features

Features included in the Venture leave no question as to why it has been a success.

Chief among those is T/C’s 5R rifling that Spafford credits for the consistent accuracy across T/C’s rifle product lines. “[It] delivers superior accuracy by causing less bullet deformation, giving greater stability over multiple shots,” Spafford said, explaining how with 5R rifling you have a rifling land opposite a rifling groove, which compresses the bullet less as it engages the rifling. “It shoots way better than I could hope for,” posts Tbone-AZ in a popular online shooting forum of the accuracy from his T/C Venture rifle. Many shooters also report that with 5R rifling they experience less barrel fouling because the lands don’t cut so harshly into the bullet jacket.

Another significant feature is the Venture’s trigger that is user-adjustable over a range of 3.5 to 5 pounds pull. Granted, many rifles in this price range also have adjustable triggers, but to make an adjustment on many of them you have to take the action out of the stock and that can affect accuracy. Instead, the Venture’s trigger pull adjustment is external and accessible by simply removing the bolt. There, a small Allen head screw is rotated clockwise to increase pull weight or counterclockwise to reduce it. Spafford points out that shooters appreciate that they don’t have the extra step of removing the action from the stock and that “with a wrench that’s provided, it’s a pretty handy feature, especially if you’re out on the range with the rifle.”

The 5R rifling and adjustable trigger provide T/C with the kind of confidence it takes to offer an accuracy guarantee of three shots in an inch or less at 100 yards when using premium ammunition. “Every gun is certified for accuracy and with an MOA guarantee,” Spafford said. There is also a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.

Other enhanced features on the Venture include Hogue overmolded inserts in the grip and forend that provide a comfortable, non-slip grip in a variety of weather and environmental conditions, a target crown and internal “energy burners” to help dampen felt recoil. “[They’re] a rubber coil of arcs that when placed at a precise location in the stock achieves the maximum amount of shock absorption possible,” says Spafford of the energy burners.

The Venture has bedding pillars, and I noted that they come up just a little short of touching the bottom of the receiver. On mass-produced rifles with pillar bedding, I’m accustomed to seeing the tops of the pillars mate precisely with the bottom of the receiver. A little bit of research showed that some noted stock makers such as McMillan leave a small gap between the top of the pillar and the receiver (McMillan’s is 0.035-inch) to “create a completely uniform bedding surface that is 100 percent consistent.” McMillan notes that, “By not allowing the aluminum pillar to come in contact with the receiver, we have eliminated one possible source for unwanted stress. While other techniques are used, we believe ours creates the perfect relationship between the stock and action.” On the Venture, the recoil lug and action bottom mate skin-tight with the stock, effectively creating a conventional bedding system.

As with many others of this “modern bolt-action” genre, the Venture is a three-lug “fat bolt” design. While that is essentially a manufacturing efficiency, one of the desirable functional results is a short, 60-degree bolt lift that lets you cycle the action quicker. The trigger guard is molded as part of the stock. The Venture comes fitted with Weaver-style scope bases.

Within the Venture line are several models including one specifically for predator hunters. At 6 3/4 pounds and sporting a 22-inch barrel, this is an ideal “walk around” predator rifle for hunters who are frequently on the move from one calling location to another. Unique to the Predator model are choices of total coverage Realtree MAX-1 or AP snow camo and T/C even offers matching 3-12x40mm scopes with rings.

“We really have two versions of the [Predator] rifle,” Spafford said. “We have the snow camo, so think winter coyote hunting out West or even up in the Midwest or the Northeast. And then we have the Realtree MAX-1 version that would really be more suited to the environment like you’re in in Arizona and more like the Southwest.”

At the Range

Available chamberings include .204 Ruger, .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem. and .308 Win. All come with a simple, detachable, 3+1 synthetic magazine. I opted to receive a Venture Predator chambered in .223 to review. The sample gun had the MAX-1 camo finish, so I topped it with T/C’s matching 3-12x40mm scope. Purchased separately, this scope has a MSRP of $118.99 and can be purchased on T/C’s website.

All of the .22-caliber-chambered Venture Predators have a 1:12-inch twist so you’re really going to be limited to 55-grain or lighter bullets to get the stability needed for accuracy. I know where I predator hunt it’s common to stretch a shot out some distance and would like to see T/C offer the Venture Predator chambered in .243 Win. for those times when I need a heavier bullet for longer shots or heavy wind, or perhaps even offer the option of a tighter twist on the .22-caliber guns so hunters can use heavier bullets.

To see what kind of accuracy the Venture Predator was capable of, I headed to the range with American Eagle 50-grain JHP Varmint & Predator, Black Hills 50-grain V-Max and SIG 40-grain Varmint & Predator Tip loads and fired each for accuracy at 100 yards.

True to the accuracy guarantee, the Venture Predator had no trouble firing sub-MOA groups. In fact, not a single group from any of the loads was more than an inch. The SIG load averaged 0.64-inch for five consecutive three-shot groups followed by the Black Hills, which averaged 0.79 inch. The American Eagle load’s accuracy was just at an inch, but managed to deliver at least one 0.49-inch group.

As it came from the factory, the trigger was set at 5 pounds pull, so I lowered it to 3.5 pounds using the supplied Allen wrench. I have to say, as convenient as it is to adjust without removing the action from the stock, making the adjustment with the tiny wrench is tedious, especially when a scope is mounted — it’s just in the way. Shooters who want a lighter trigger pull should consider making that adjustment before mounting a scope.

There is no recoil to speak of with a .223 Rem., so I cannot speak as to the efficacy of the energy burners. I will say that the Venture Predator is a nimble rifle that’s easy to shoot. It solves the overweight problem the Icon had and, even with the lower price tag and synthetic stock, does not come across as “cheap.” The trigger is crisp, though there is a bit of overtravel after it breaks and feeding is really slick thanks to the bolt’s hard finish and the in-line arrangement of the cartridges in the magazine. While it is possible to single load, you cannot top off the magazine while it is in the gun.

As Spafford points out, the warranty and accuracy guarantee ensure you have a rifle that is going to work and that is going to be accurate. “The one thing that always surprises customers about this rifle is the accuracy. That’s the one thing that we always get an ‘oh wow’ [about] and it’s one of the more comfortable rifles to shoot, particularly with the stock on the Venture. The Venture has a really comfortable stock,” Spafford adds.

Customers agree. A user who goes by the online handle “Ghilliedup” opines, “All in all I would absolutely recommend this rifle to any skill level of hunter/shooter … It’s hard to ask for much more than that in an entry level rifle.”

T/C’s Venture is actually more of a mid-level rifle. And for that extra $150, you get an attractive and comfortable stock, an externally adjustable trigger and the kind of accuracy guarantee that makes it worth it.

SPEC SHEET 

MANUFACTURER: T/C Firearms 

MODEL: Venture Predator 

CALIBERS: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem. and .308 Win. (5.56 tested) 

ACTION: Bolt-action repeating 

MAGAZINE: Detachable, 3+1 capacity 

BARREL: Free-floating, 5R rifling, 22 inches          

TRIGGER: Single-stage, externally adjustable 3.5-5 pounds pull 

SIGHTS: None. Weaver-style bases installed 

STOCK: Synthetic, Realtree MAX-1 or Realtree AP Snow camo             

OVERALL LENGTH: 39 3/4 inches      

WEIGHT: 6 3/4 pounds 

OTHER: Weaver-style scope bases installed 

MSRP: $638 

FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.tcarms.com


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