a follow up in the wake of the recent 13” Virgin Valley Custom Guns/Mike Bellm .30 Bellm Encore barrel test, Mike Bellm
suggested that I do a comparison test using a longer barrel of his own make, this time for the Thompson Center Contender and
set up as a stationary long range deer and varmint pistol.
long ago, Mike sent me a 19.75” .30 Bellm barrel of his own make. The barrel has a matte blued finish and a gradual
taper rather than full bull profile, starting out at .810 at the rear and tapering down to .685 at the muzzle. There are 4
lands and grooves, and the twist rate is 1-10”. It came drilled and tapped with a 6-hole scope base screw pattern, and
I mounted a 6 screw Virgin
Valley Custom Guns [now known as Stratton Custom] scope base.
barrel was mounted on an old style non easy opening blued Contender frame, as I find that these frames have the best triggers
out of the box and can be safely taken down lower in trigger pull weight than any other generation Contender frame. Also used
were a Western Gunstock thumbhole anatomical target grip along with a custom wide target two-hole aluminum hanger bar forend,
Harris 6r bipod, three Burris Signature Zee rings, and a Burris 3-12x32mm EER AO target scope.
load development had been accomplished during the testing of the 13” VVCG barrel, I simply backed off a little and worked
back up, finding that this barrel also enjoyed the same load that gave best accuracy in the other barrel. Weather conditions
on the day of chrono data were mostly sunny, 82 degrees, and a 5-10mph cross wind. Chronograph data for the 19.75" barrel is
125Gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip 2465 FPS
130Gr. Hornady SP 2410 FPS
three shot 100 yard groups averaged ¾” with several intermingled ½” groups. The difference between these groups
and those recorded from the other barrel? The other pistol was bench rested on sand bags and adjustable rests: these were
all obtained from rested field positions using the Harris bipod in front and my off hand as an elevation wedge in the rear.
in all, I found this configuration to be much more user friendly from several rested field positions. Prone while laying along
a three board fence line, sitting with the pistol rested on a stump, laying sideways with my body concealed behind a bush,
all with the bipod extended and my off hand as an elevation wedge.
Here, left to right, are the 44mag, 30 Herrett, and .30 Bellm next to one another. Note how fat the .30 Bellm
is. That short fat powder column is what I attribute to it's accuracy, along with the fact that all .30 bellm barrels are
chambered by Mike Bellm
Commercial Ammunition, dies, barrels, handloading data and brass are all available from:
CNC Cartridge, Macedonia, IL. Phone: (618)
With the advent of the .30 Bellm, one does not even have to be a handloader to have the best handgun cartridge
going in Contenders for the Illinois handgun deer season.
This barrel was made by Mike Bellm, custom gunsmith & chambering specialist. Mike is a consummate
craftsman and knowledgeable in all areas of firearms customization! Contact him through the link below:
Contact us through our e-mail address at:
- COMING SOON! -
A specific and more thorough review of CNC Cartridge's
30Bellm Loaded Ammo.