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The T/C Venture II Proves Why You Don't Need a $1,000 Rifle for a Dream Hunt

Here's why we believe the Thompson/Center Venture II stacks up well against the more expensive hunting rifles on the market.

What firearm outranks others when you're considering what to take on your dream big game hunting trip?

The market has become saturated with high-priced guns that would lead you to believe you've got to spend an arm and a leg to even begin to scratch the surface of a successful hunt.

We're going to make the case that those ideas aren't exactly true, and we're getting significant help from Thompson/Center Arms with our objective.

The Thompson/Center Arms Venture II

T/C has always been a reliable, trustworthy gunmaker, and their updated Venture II bolt action helps persuade hunters everywhere that there's truth in that statement.

With just one glance, you'll see why the Venture II has earned our stamp of approval. For starters, the Hogue traction panels, overmolded and designed to give shooters a secure grip in wet or unfavorable conditions, jump out as a notable feature. The black composite stock will last a lifetime if it's treated well, and the design of the barrel has some impressive longevity built in as well.

The Venture II's match grade barrel and receiver have a proprietary Weather Shield coating, which has been tested to be 50 times more corrosion resistant than uncoated stainless steel. That means the effects of rain, snow, grit, and grime won't cause wear and rust, as long as it's cleaned with the recommended regularity.

Venture II Basic Specs

The Venture II has a 22- or 24-inch barrel length and a smooth, easy-to-grip bolt for consistent cycling. That bolt is canted at 60 degrees, giving far more scope clearance than most rifle makers bother to warrant shooters.

It comes with Weaver-style scope mount bases for optics, and is chambered in calibers just about any big game hunter can be satisfied with.

The list of chamberings includes .243, .270, .300 Winchester Mag, .308, .223, .30-06 Springfield, 350 Legend, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 7mm Remington Mag. It's tough to comes up with too many big game animals that couldn't be successfully harvested with one of those.

There's a three-round detachable magazine, a threaded barrel for suppressor use, and a rate of twist that ranges from 1:8 (for the 6.5 Creedmoor) to 1:16 (350 Legend). The entire gun, unloaded, weighs from 7.3 to 7.5 pounds (again, depending on the caliber).

Features Above Its Price

If we take a closer look at the Venture II, you'll see how Thompson/Center added and improved elements that would normally be found in much higher priced rifles.

The aluminum pillar bedding system at work on the T/C Venture II positively locates the receiver, allowing for a free-floating barrel. That makes for some outstanding accuracy, and was previously unheard of in your typical, out-of-the-box bolt action.

The Generation II Trigger System, created by T/C as a major upgrade from their previous rifle lines, is a two-piece trigger with a 3- to 4-pound pull. It's allowing shooters and hunters to increase their accuracy through a smooth, consistent break with both precision and safety in mind.

Every one of T/C's Venture II firearms comes with 5R rifling, which again promotes accuracy through less bullet deformation and better stability across more shots.

Combine all these attributes and you get a guaranteed gun. And by that, we mean a literal guarantee. T/C has so much confidence in their rifle's accuracy, that they've promised every Venture II can achieve Minute Of Angle accuracy. For those who don't know, that equates to 1-inch groups of three shots at 100 yards.

Now, the guarantee only stands when shooters use premium factory ammo, but the fact that you're seeing such accurate firearms straight out of the factory is a major accomplishment. You don't see that in many bolt guns, especially not ones that have as low a cost as the Venture II.

How Much is the T/C Venture II?

Combine all those features we've mentioned, and most first guesses would put the gun at a much higher price point than it is. Some elements, like the MOA guarantee and the corrosion-resistant Weather Shield finish, were previously only available from a custom gun shop at an unreasonably high cost.

When hunters find out that the Venture II's MSRP is only $525, most take a moment to get over their shock, then dive straight into serious consideration. If they can get all those features in a gun at that dollar amount, how much are they saving to put towards that Alaskan sheep hunt, or Wyoming pronghorn trip, or virtually any big game experience they've dreamed about?

It's a basic fact that if you're going to aim high for a memorable hunting experience, that it isn't going to come cheap. Travel costs, licenses and tags, guides and outfitters, plus all the other expenses tied on to the excursion can add up quicker than you'd expect.

At least now you can see that there are realistic choices you can make in the bolt action rifle category that will help you save resources where you don't need to spend them.

A certain level of doubt, despite all those great features, is understandable. Some might think a centerfire rifle at this price couldn't possibly perform up to their expectations, especially on a once-in-a-blue-moon hunting opportunity.

To those doubters, we'd merely say try it. Find a way to shoot a Venture II at a range, see one up close at a dealer, and give it a chance to impress.

If you get as much trigger time as we've had with the Thompson/Center Arms Venture II, you'll quickly see how well it stacks up, and how nicely it will fit into your dream hunt plans.

NEXT: IS IT TIME FOR A NEW DEER RIFLE?

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The T/C Venture II Proves Why You Don't Need a $1,000 Rifle for a Dream Hunt