T/C Compass: Why I’m not buying one. Yet.


If you are the kind of person that just reads the headline you might have the wrong impression about the Thompson/Center Compass and about me. So I think it makes sense to read on.

You see, I want to buy a Thompson/Center Compass but my daughter had other ideas. We will get to those in a bit, but for now let’s look at how it began. A spark in my imagination. A hog hunt with my daughter. 

Just imagine this simple plan: While on a family vacation in Florida we would book a father daughter evening hunt. It would be perfect. Warm weather, a beautiful sunset, and a tasty dinner of wild hog. Sounds perfect right?

The only problem is I don’t have a hog rifle that is suitable for my 9 year old daughter. My .308 is too heavy and packs too much of a punch, plus that Remington 700 and it’s Magpul AICS magazine full of hog hate would be on backup incase her shot wasn’t immediately effective. So she would need a new rifle.

That is where the T/C Compass comes in.  The Compass is a rifle from Thompson/Center that is designed to provide a feature rich, American made rifle at a value price point.  The Compass has an MSRP of $399 and features an adjustable trigger, a threaded, free float barrel in a pillar bedded stock, and a 5 round detachable magazine.  The compass utilizes a 3 position manual safety and is drilled and tapped for scope bases which are included.

The Compass is available in a host of calibers including 204 Ruger, 223/5.56, 22-250 Rem, 270 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, 7mm Mag, 308 Win, 30-06 Springfield, 6.5 CRD, 300 Win-Mag and the caliber I think would be just about right for my little girl, 243 Winchester. Probably not the perfect caliber for hogs, but from an elevated stand with a back up, I think it would do just fine.

All that would be needed is a moderate scope like a Leupold Varix-II 4-12 and a set of rings and we would be off to the races.

The MSRP of $399 is impressive, but the street price is even more so at $299 with a $75 manufacturers rebate to boot. Mated with a scope you can be up and running with what seems to be a quality rifle for right around $500.

But, like I said, I’m not going to buy a T/C Compass. When I shared my idea with my daughter, she mulled it over and after some thinking she decided she wasn’t quite ready to harvest a pig this year.  I have to respect her for that. The phrase goes something like, “A man has to know his limits.” I think the same is true for little girls.

The only question left in my mind is, “Is it too early to get ready for next year?”

Paul Carlson, owner of Safety Solutions Academy, is a Professional Defensive Shooting Instructor.  He has spent the past decade and a half studying how humans can perform more efficiently in violent confrontations and honing his skills as an instructor both in the classroom and on the range.

Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of Critical Defensive Skills courses in more than a dozen states annually.  Courses range from Concealed Carry Classes to Advanced Critical Defensive Handgun Courses and include instruction for the defensive use of handguns, rifles and shotguns.  Safety Solutions Academy regularly hosts other industry leading experts as guest instructors to make sure that SSA’s students have the opportunity for quality instruction across a broad range of Critical Defensive disciplines.

  • Jim Cloer

    I bought one in 243 last year right before deer season in Oregon. I put a scope on it and dialed it in with Hornady SST’s. Harvested a nice buck with it the first time out! BUT…though I find the rifle to be a crazy good deal for an overall great system…I am extremely disappointed in the magazines and the customer service I received regarding their magazines. The 243/308 magazines are supposed to hold 5 rounds. Both the one that came with the rifle and the one I bought as a spare will load three rounds beautifully. The fourth is a bit more effort but not terrible. The fifth round is nearly impossible to load and you’re basically guaranteed to dent brass in the process. I returned them both and after several weeks of dealing with their mistakes on providing replacements, I finally ended up with two new mags that have the EXACT same problem. When I notified them that the replacement mags were no better, they suggested that I leave the mags loaded for a long time and see if the spring settles enough to resolve the issue. That is freaking ridiculous, but I didn’t see much else I could do if I wanted to keep the rifle. So…they have both been fully loaded for several months. Just before writing this note I checked the function of them. The fourth rounds go in slightly better than before, but these will never be able to be used with five rounds when hunting. Personally, I will not hunt with more than three in them due to the loading difficulty. This is less of a problem when deer hunting as I hope to not need that many rounds, but a large part of what drove me to this rifle was as a starter prairie dog gun. A few months ago I bought an older Remington 700 in 22-250 that shoots beautifully. I haven’t decided if I will keep the Compass or not. Good luck with whatever you choose for your daughter! Have fun and happy shooting!

    • Michael Beckham

      Jim if I’m not mistaken, the Compass is a 4+1 rifle. 4 in the magazine 1 in the chamber.

      • Jim Cloer

        Hi Michael,
        You had me second guessing myself as that would make sense, but no….they are a five round mag. It even says so on the magazine package (I bought a spare).

        I did see this under one of the reviews for the mag on TC’s website though and will be trying it on my mags.

        “The rifle performance was “Outstanding”. My 100 yard groups were 1in wide x 2in high. But loading the magazine, I had a lot of trouble reloading it with 308 rounds. It would only except 3. A 4th round was a struggle. So back home I used silicon spray to soak the insides of the magazine, 4 times allowing it to drain and dry between applications. Now it excepts 5 rounds with no hassles.”