May 13, 2011
By Jon R. Sundra
The Warlord is Thompson/Center's version of a tactical/target rifle, but it's also the kind of gun that an ever-increasing number of hunters are using to take game at extreme ranges.
By Jon R. Sundra
Based on a modified Icon action, the Warlord is strictly a product of T/C's Custom Shop, a fact that's reflected in its hefty price tag. The Icon, of course, is the company's flagship line of bolt-action sporters for which it guarantees m.o.a. accuracy; for the Warlord it's 1/2 m.o.a.
My test gun was chambered in .308 Winchester, one of two rounds for which the Warlord is chambered, the other being .338 Lapua. At 123„4 pounds, the rifle is quite a handful, and the stock accounts for a lot of that extra weight; it alone weighs a shade over four pounds. The barrel, too, is of a heavier contour than normal, measuring 1.2 inches at the receiver and tapering to .910 inch at the muzzle. Six rather deep, wide flutes reduce weight and add to the all-business look of the gun.
|Video: T/C Warlord Rifle|
The Warlord receiver is machined from bar stock, and its bedding surface is a flat, single plane from front to rear. This flat-bottomed receiver sits atop a hardened aluminum bedding block that is epoxied into the carbon fiber synthetic stock; T/C calls it the Interlock Bedding System.
This action differs from its sporter counterpart in that it has an integral Picatinny rail running the full length of the receiver.
The Icon/Warlord action is of the fat-bolt genre in that its body diameter is .850 inch, which is about .150 inch more corpulent than that of your typical Remington 700, Savage 110, etc. With this added girth, three shallower locking lugs can be formed by machining away material around the bolt head. With three lugs oriented on 120-degree centers, bolt rotation (handle lift) is only 60 degrees rather than 90.
Another feature shared with the Icon is T/C's R5 rifling, which has five instead of the usual six lands and grooves. As such, directly opposite the center of each land is a groove, whereas with conventional six-groove rifling, the lands and grooves are opposite one another.
Moreover, instead of the lands meeting the grooves at 90-degree corners, the sides of an R5 land appear to have a slope of about 60 degrees. By eliminating the sharp corners where lands meet grooves, there's less bullet deformation and less energy needed to engrave the bullet.
The Warlord features a 60-degree bolt lift, and the bolt-locking safety also has a small lever in front to allow you to open the action with the safety on.
The rifle's flat-bottom action mates to a hardened aluminum bedding block that's epoxied into the Manners carbon-fiber stock.
The result should be less friction, higher velocities and less bore fouling, all other things equal. And with less bullet deformation, accuracy should also be enhanced, at least in theory.
Aside from the fact that this is a three-lug, 60-degree action, the recessed bolt face is quite conventional. The extractor is much like that of the Savage 110 series, and the familiar spring-loaded plunger in the lower left quadrant of the bolt face handles ejection. The entire barreled action is treated with Weather Shield, a patented metal finish that T/C claims is 50 times more corrosion resistant than stainless steel.
The trigger is user-adjustable from 31„2 to five pounds, but the barreled action must be removed from the stock. The safety consists of a two-position lever that locks the bolt and blocks trigger movement. In front of the primary safety is a smaller button that unlocks the bolt so the action can by cycled with the safety still engaged.
The Warlord comes with a choice of a five- or 10-round detachable magazine, the release lever for which juts down at the front surface of the trigger guard bow for fast access.
As for the stock, the grip is nearly vertical and rather thick through the wrist but does provide excellent trigger control. Even when fully lowered, the adjustable comb is so high that i
t must be removed to pull the bolt free of the receiver. Light stippling adorns the grip panels, but the surfaces are so rounded they provide little additional purchase.
The four-pound stock sports an adjustable cheekpiece that must be removed in order to pull the bolt.
For testing I mounted a Leupold FX3 25X fixed-power scope in T/C's own Weaver-type rings, which are supplied with the gun.
Also supplied with every Warlord is a printout of the gun's qualifying 1/2 m.o.a. acoustic target. Now bench testing a rifle in a tunnel under ideal conditions is a little different from shooting at an outdoor range, but one of the loads I used was the same one used to produce that .380-inch group that came with the rifle, so I was anxious to see if I could match it. I came close. Accuracy results are shown in the accompanying chart.
This is a very well thought-out and well-made rifle worthy of being a custom shop item. The gun functioned perfectly, and its 14-found heft made it a pleasure to shoot. For what it was designed to do, the Warlord fills the bill.
The loads shown here are safe only in the guns for which they were developed. Neither the author nor InterMedia Outdoors, Inc. assumes any liability for accidents or injury resulting from the use or misuse of this data.
NOTES: Accuracy results are averages of three five-shot groups at 100 yards from a sandbag rest. Velocities are five-shot averages recorded on a Competitive Edge Dynamics Millennium chronograph placed 15 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviations: BTHP, boattail hollowpoint; HP, hollowpoint