Thompson/Center Arms Dimension Rifle Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
January 7, 2013
Sometimes I'm just amazed
at the simple innovations manufacturers come up with to create
unique, yet practical, firearms. In my humble opinion, that is
exactly what Thompson/Center did with their new T/C Dimension Rifle.
I'm sure you are thinking that this is not the first switch barrel bolt
action rifle to ever hit the market and you're right. The thing
that Thompson/Center has done is to make switching barrels and
calibers fast, accurate and affordable. They have
established a rifle platform that can shoot 4 different caliber
groups and up to 10 different calibers (at the time of this review).
Also, when you purchase the rifle, it comes with all the tools you need
to switch the barrels in the field.
Each person will see
their own pros and cons with this type of platform, but immediately
I saw a potential opportunity to have the same "feel" when shouldering
the rifle, the same cheek weld when looking through the scope, the same trigger pull
for each shot and potentially same high quality scope for all my hunting
situations. I want to be clear that when I say all my hunting
situations, I'm talking about a range of 10 calibers that currently
go from the .204 Ruger to the .300 Winchester Magnum. If you
can't "Get-R-Done" with that range of calibers, you must be hunting some
extremely big and dangerous game that are not in North America.
With regard to the scope,
one potential beauty of this platform is that you may have the opportunity to invest
in a single high quality scope that can be used on all your hunting
and target adventures. Instead of skimping on many different
scopes for many different rifles, you can pool all that money
together and buy a high end optic, or you can buy
a good scope and spend the remaining money on hunting
adventures... or your wife... just kidding. The more I thought about this
optics situation, the more I liked the new T/C Dimension Rifle
platform and decided I had to try one out for myself.
If you have read any of my other reviews, you may
already know I'm fairly detailed. When I first started
thinking about this Dimension Rifle review, I recognized I could
potentially go "off the deep end" with the details of the four
different caliber series (groups), ten different barrels/caliber, and
two different methods for mounting a scope. After
pondering the best way to do the review, I decided
to focus on some aspects that would be the most important things for me to understand
and show about this rifle platform. Below sets some of
my key goals for this review.
Review the basic rifle just like always
Review what you get when you purchase
the capability of another caliber series and barrel
(see Part 2)
Show that both of my received configurations are one MOA capable
(see Part 7)
Show any variations you may get in your scope zero when swapping
out barrels using their bridge mounted scope
(see Part 6)
Show any variation you may get in your scope zero when swapping
out barrels using a receiver mounted scope
(see Part 7)
For this review, I decided to receive the
in the .308 Winchester caliber and then receive an alternate .223
Remington barrel (magazine & housing) and bolt series. The
table below shows the details of each series and barrel combinations
currently available. I decided to go with the .308 Win and
because there is so much affordable match grade ammunition on the
market and l also like the idea of having standardized calibers for
my own personal inventory. I will have to admit that I was
tempted to select some of the other calibers because T/C has done a
good job offering some of the most popular calibers on the market.
In the November 2012 issue of "Shooting Times" magazine, Shooting
featured an article titled "Cartridges with Staying Power".
The article shows that with the exception of the .204 Ruger, the
other 9 calibers listed in the table below make up the top 9 reloaded rifle
cartridges according to data from RCBS which is based on reloading die sales.
Also, eight of these ten calibers were in the top 10 in 2011 based
on Federal ammunition sales. Clearly T/C did their homework
when deciding on the initial calibers for this rifle. T/C also plans
to introduce new calibers in the future. I'm already hoping to
see a threaded barrel 300 Blackout and 6.5 Creedmoor.
|7mm Rem Mag
.300 Win Mag
During my reviews I like to compare my results
to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in
colored italics was taken directly from the
on 10/6/12 or the 1/17/12 Press Release and gives an Overview, Key Features, and Specifications
for the Dimension Rifle. The
are my way to show agreement and keep up with details that I have covered in this
review with either photos, commentary or both. I may also add
commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if
Overview & Key Features
Dimension is a bolt-action platform you
build on, season after season.
- The secret to the unique capability in Dimension is our
Locking Optimized Components™ (LOC™) System. It allows you to
change Dimension components and calibers quickly and guarantees
MOA accuracy - 3 shots into a one-inch group at 100 yards.
- Change components in less than 3 minutes.
- No gunsmith required.
- The barrels are all standard with 5R rifling, which
maintains accuracy and helps to reduce copper fouling and
- Universal aluminum receiver engineered to accept small,
medium and long action calibers and provide precise alignment of
bolt and barrel.
- Fitted with an innovative universal stock, featuring a high
cheek piece for a distinctive look and a comfortable feel.
- At the end of the butt stock, two, half-inch removable
spacers provide a perfect for for a wide range of shooters.
- Stock also features ARMORSOFT® coating, which adds
durability and noise reduction when hunting in dense vegetation.
- The forend has been designed to expose a totally free
floated barrel with additional space to handle future calibers
and barrel profiles.
- Standard with factory scope mounts installed on the
- Optional LOC Bridge mount is available separately as an
accessory for each barrel. Through the use of the LOC
Bridge mount, optics can be installed and left in place on each
barrel in order to help return sight-in at the time of
- 3-Lug Fluted Bolt
- Aluminum Pillar Bedding
- 60 Degree Bolt Lift
- Adjustable Trigger
- LOC hand tools provided with each complete rifle purchase.
- Start by purchasing
one complete Dimension platform rifle in your favorite caliber,
then choose a second barrel in the next caliber you want, as
well as a bolt that matches the same letter series as the
barrel: A, B, C or D. If both barrels are in the same family,
you can use the same bolt.
Review Rifle Specification
Caliber: .308 Win
Weight: 7.0 lbs
measured 6.84 pounds for this rifle
Barrel Length: 22"
Magazine Capacity: 3 rounds
Length of Pull: 12.5" to 13.5"
12.25" to 13.25"
Overall Length: 41.75"
42" for the .308 Win.
Twist Rate: 1:12"
Trigger Adjustable: 3.5 to 5 lbs
Trigger pull on review rifle measured an
average of 4.0 lbs
MSRP Accessory Barrels & Magazine Group: $250
MSRP Bolt: $162
MSRP LOC Bridge Mount: $88
This review is broken down into multiple
parts with this page providing links to each part along with an
overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom
comments. Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts
of the review because they contain many photos and
lots of commentary. Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those
parts which is not covered on this page.
As you read these Pros and Cons below,
keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the
equation. Therefore, it is important that you take the time to
look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on
items which may be more of a personal preference.
One of the first features you notice when you look at the rifle
is the generous amount of space between the barrel and forend of
the stock. Clearly T/C was planning on floating larger
calibers barrels and heavier barrel profiles with this extra
space. In my opinion, more space is better and there is no
doubt the barrel is fully floated in all situations.
I feel most people will be pleased with the smoothness of the
bolt action when chambering a round and this smoothness along
with the slightly oversized bolt handle should make it easy for
anyone to chamber another round from the shoulder.
Both configurations (.308 Win and .223 Rem) proved to easily be 1 MOA
capable as advertised.
A very reasonable repeatable accuracy was
proven when removing and installing the barrels multiple times.
It is possible to use a single scope with
multiple calibers as long as you record offsets and make
Pro/Con/Comment? You Decide:
One thing worth pointing out is that the bolt cannot be pulled
directly back with the bolt handle in the normally open
position. The bottom of the firing pin assembly will
contact (and potentially scratch) the ARMORSOFT® coating on
the stock. To remove the
bolt, you will need to press the bolt stop and rotate the bolt
down so the handle is nearly touching the stock as you pull the
I'm a fan of non-traditional looking firearms, I really like the
look of the Dimension Rifle. The combination of the gray
accents on the interesting shaped black composite stock, along
with a sleek looking barrel/nut/receiver/bolt configuration,
seems to make this rifle stand out from the rest.
I wasn't able to loosen the trigger pull
adjustment screw any further to achieve a 3.5 pound pull as advertised, but
I am not disappointed with the 4.0 pound crisp pull that came
with the rifle. Although the trigger did have a little
creep, it still had a good feel.
I was impressed with how well the scope
was able to hold zero using the LOC™ Bridge Scope Mount Base.
There was less than 1 MOA shift in group centers for three of my
four groups evaluated. I did have one group that did not
match the other three, but in this case I intentionally decided
to see if changing the order of assembly would cause a shift in
impact. It did shift the point of impact, so I feel the
key to using this bridge mount successfully will rely on the
user always following the same steps during reassembly. If
you plan to use the bridge mount, I suggest you spend some time
studying the repeatability of your shots when removing and
reinstalling your barrel and scope assembly using the bridge
I feel the key to using this platform
will be selecting ammunition that shoots best in each caliber
then creating an average zero for each caliber from a "group of
groups" where you remove and reinstall the barrel between each
Switching the safety from
"safe" to "fire" or vise versa on this rifle actually makes a loud click so you
will need to do it early if you have game moving in on you fast.
One thing that might need a little tweaking is that the bolt
stop lever pin and trigger assembly pins will work themselves
out of their holes when the receiver is removed from the stock.
This creates a chance you could lose one of the pins when
changing barrels. As long as you are aware of this
condition it shouldn't be an issue, but a little thread locking
compound on the head of the pins might be a good move towards
preventing an issue in the future.
The Thompson Center Dimension Rifle lives
up to T/C's claims. I was very impressed with the accuracy of
each caliber tested and the repeatable accuracy when removing and
installing barrels was impressive. The key to using this rifle
with multiple calibers while at the same time having a single
receiver mounted scope will be spending some time at the range to
ensure you have mapped out the best possible zeros which would
include the effects of small deviations in group centers due to
removing and installing barrels.
After shooting a couple of range sessions,
the bolt feels smoother and I really like the feel of the rifle.
Only time will tell, but so far I think T/C has produced another
winning switch barrel platform. I hope to see some other
caliber and barrel profiles in the future along with stock and
magazine capacity offerings. If you like the thoughts of
having a switch barrel rifle, do your research, read other reviews,
visit other forums, and take a close look at the Thompson Center
Dimension Rifle the next time you are in a gun store. I think
you will be impressed.
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