The Thompson/Center Omega 50 Rifle
A simple action, easy to prime and de-prime, a light (3-1/4 lb.) trigger that has little take-up, easy to clean and maintain, excellent iron sights, and 1-1/2" repeatable 100 yard accuracy sum up the Omega Stainless / Laminate's many fine points. An excellent owner's manual is included as well as effortless breech plug access.
The cocking is a bit scratchy and noisy. The gun is somewhat muzzle heavy. The buttstock needs an extra 1/2" LOP, at least for me. The recoil pad is not horrid, but could certainly be thicker and less mushy.
The sintered-metal trigger has a very slippery face. A wider, straighter trigger face (closer to the Encore) and a quality Kick-Eez or Terminator pad would correct this rifle's two most obvious faults.
Thompson released this rifle in 2002; it quickly caught on, and demand exceeded Thompson's ability to produce. The drop-action, reminiscent of the Civil War "Burnside Carbine," seems like an old idea, and so it is. But, it is a very good one. This gun propelled Thompson/ Center Arms to an all-time record in sales and profits for 2002.
The design of the Omega prohibits blowback residue from coming anywhere near the trigger group. Additionally, it is a one-piece stock design featuring two recoil points. Again blowback-free, happily accepting the Warne Maxima QR bases and rings, and super-easy to maintain, it is not hard to understand why T/CA scored a home run with this rifle.
The optimistically measured 28" Omega barrel is identical in muzzle to breech plug length to the Encore's so-called 26" barrel. The breech plugs, bases, and sights are interchangeable.
The gun originally tested was purchased shortly after the Omega was introduced in 2002. Since then, what was initially a home run by Thompson Arms has turned out to be a grand slam.
The buying public has spoken, and the Thompson Omega is the most influential muzzleloader of the decade. Though I cannot speak to all the running production changes in the Omega, the breechplug is worthy of a few remarks.
To summarize, the original Omega breech plugs were deeply concave at the face, offering a short path from primer to powder. Some shooters, using pellets and hard-to-load sabots, were crushing their Pyrodex pellets. In response to the "too heavy on the ramrod" muzzleloaders, Thompson changed the breechplug by adding a solid ring of metal around the perimeter of the plug to offer pellet support (a ".50 caliber" Pyrodex pellet is about .45 caliber in diameter). Now pellet shooters are happy, and with no exorbitant fouling build up. If your Omega has a buildup problem with fouling residue or you are crushing pellets, an update breechplug from Thompson for about $20 delivered may relieve your headache.
Here we are, a year and one half later, and Thompson still has Omega demand that outstrips its production capacity. Congratulations to Thompson / Center Arms for introducing the gun that most consumers want.
Note: A complete review of the T/C Omega rifle can be found on the Product Review Page.
Copyright 2003, 2006 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.