Since its introduction in 2007, the 6.5 Creedmoor has taken off like wildfire and Thompson/Center (T/C) has delivered a rifle chambered in 6.5 that will go head to head with rifles a few weight classes above it. Thompson/Center is one of the oldest names in American hunting. They’re known primarily for their muzzle loading guns that are without peer. This year, they have taken a step into the bolt action market with a strong contender. Enter the T/C Compass.
The Compass line was built from the ground up with the idea that inexpensive doesn’t mean cheap. The first thing that stuck in my brain when this rifle was announced was a 1 MOA three-shot guarantee that comes with an MSRP of $400. Even 17 years ago at the beginning of the war, 1 MOA was viewed as the holy grail of custom guns. I never thought I would live to see the day of a guarantee like this on a rifle under $500. And my test model delivered on it, every time I did my job correctly. The key is a mastery of 5R rifling, which results in less projectile deformation. It might be part magic, but it works.
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- Type: Bolt-action
- Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
- Capacity: 5 +1 rds.
- Barrel Length: 22 in
- Weight: 7.25 lbs.
- Trigger: 5 lbs., 10 oz. adj. (tested)
- Stock: Polymer
- Finish: Blue/black composite
- Sights: None
- MSRP: $399
- Manufacturer: Thompson/Center
The Compass is loaded with features you wouldn’t expect for the price. This is flush fit, rotary magazine-fed rifle. Standard calibers hold five rounds and magnum calibers hold four rounds. The barrel is threaded from the factory and ready to accept a muzzlebrake or suppressor. This shows that Thompson Center is looking ahead to the future as hunting with suppressors becomes more popular. The trigger is user adjustable if a bit more involved than some of the others on the market. It’s still not rocket science, and out of the box, it is good enough for most people.
The bolt is a 3-lug design that is built beefy for a lifetime of use. The bolt isn’t the smoothest I have ever used, but you would be hard pressed to find a higher-quality rifle at $400. The 60-degree throw is nice, and the angle of the bolt handle keeps it well away from the optics. Thompson utilizes a three-position safety with a large safety knob on the bolt itself. You can’t miss this safety, and they made it stainless against the black bolt for good measure. The three-positions are safe, unloaded/safe, and fire.
The stock isn’t going to put McMillan out of business anytime soon, but it isn’t bad for the price. It is lightweight which is a bonus for hunting — especially if you’re covering a lot of ground. It is synthetic, which makes it weather proof. The rigidity is better than most of the entry-level plastics stocks I have seen. There is a nice texturing around the grip area and again on the forend. The forend also has grooves cut the length of half the stock, which both looks nice and adds some purchase for shooting in less than ideal conditions. This stock was made to be used in the field and it shows. It also features front and rear sling attachment points, but only one of each. If you use bipods in the field, make sure your choice has a sling mount on the bipod.
The barrel profile is on the thinner side, which we expect for a hunting rifle. Shooting my groups with Federal Fusion ammunition, it heated up pretty quickly. This did not affect my groups or strike points in a noticeable way, and I probably shot more in one session at the range than most hunters will in three seasons. As mentioned, with a premium hunting bullet, I had no problems keeping groups under an inch. For a better field test, I then moved this combination out to 500 meters. I was set up with a Vortex Viper 4-16 set in the included Weaver mounts on the Compass, and my target was a 10 inch hex gong from MGM. I am not a hunter by trade, but I would think this is well inside the vitals of most things you would shoot at that range. Hit after hit was no problem, even with a little wind.
This is a great set up for the field, and at a price that won’t break the bank. Available in a variety of calibers from .204 Ruger up to .300 Win. Mag., an option exists for all your hunting needs.
For more information about Thompson Center click, https://www.tcarms.com.
For more information about Vortex optics, click http://www.vortexoptics.com.
For more information about Federal Fusion, click https://www.federalpremium.com.
To purchase a Thompson/Center Compass on GunsAmerica, click https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=Thompson%20Center%20Compass.