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?”

  • 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!