First Look: The Thompson/Center Compass 6.5mm Creedmoor Bolt Action Rifle

By Randy Wakeman

T/C Compass rifle
Photo courtesy of Thompson/Center Arms.

At a surprisingly low price ($399 MSRP), the T/C Compass has a lot to offer. It joins a very crowded field of low priced, bolt action, centerfire rifles, but offers several features that might well sway customers.


  • Manufacturer: Thompson/Center Arms
  • Model: Compass
  • Model #: 11703
  • Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
  • Capacity: 5+1, detachable magazine
  • Barrel Length: 22 in.; muzzle threaded 1/2x28
  • Sights: None
  • Metal Finish: Blued
  • Stock: Black Synthetic
  • Rate of Twist: 1 in 8 in., 5R rifling
  • Length of Pull: 12.5 in.-13.5 in.
  • Overall Length: 41 in.
  • Weight: 7.25 lbs.
  • Country of origin: USA
  • 2017 MSRP: $399

The receiver is apparently drilled out of bar stock, with a reasonable size, basically rectangular, ejection port cut out of the upper right side. The assembled bolt is a three lug design, which currently seems to be all the rage, with a 60 degree bolt rotation. The bolt handle is bent down and swept back, with a long, semi-cylindrical knob marked by three rings.

The muzzle of the barrel is threaded, so this gun is compensator / muzzle break ready. The threads are covered by an obvious knurled cap.

A touted feature is 5R rifling. According to T/C:

"The 5R rifling's unique design provides benefits to the shooter by causing less bullet deformation. The edges of each land do not cut into and deform the bullet jacket. When the bullet jacket is less deformed, there will be less jacket fouling in the grooves. This results in accuracy from shot to shot, greater bullet stability over multiple shots, and ultimately, a rifle that is easier to clean thoroughly."

Unlike many bolt action rifles, the T/C Compass has a three-position safety. With the three-position, wing type (Mauser) safety fully engaged, the bolt will not open, so an angry branch or thick brush will not open your action for you.

It is supplied with a cheap thermoplastic stock, but a well designed one with a cheek piece and a soft durometer recoil pad. The appearance of the stock is degraded by the "shower matt" style chevrons molded into the pistol grip and fore end, in place of checkering.

The trigger guard is plastic, as is the rotary magazine, which fits flush with stock and holds five rounds. Detachable sling swivel studs are supplied. The sample rifle weighs right at 7-1/4 pounds.

My only serious quibble is with the trigger, which out of the box breaks at an unacceptably heavy 5-1/2 pounds. While it is technically user adjustable, adjustment requires a lot more than just turning a screw.

Pages 24-27 of the T/C Compass owner's manual are devoted to adjusting the trigger. Here is a direct quote from the Owner's Manual:

"You will need two (thin) 1/4 inch, open-end wrenches and a small screwdriver. Also, have a bottle of finger nail polish handy to lock the screw and nuts in place after you have finished all the adjustments.

Note: You will also need a generous supply of patience!

T/C claims the Compass will shoot three shot, 1 MOA groups at 100 yards with premium ammunition. Even with the heavy trigger, my example shot MOA with Hornady 120 grain factory loads, so there isn't anything to carp about in the accuracy department.

With factory loads, the 6.5mm Creedmoor cartridge comes close to duplicating the ballistics of the previous .260 Remington. In addition to 6.5 Creedmoor, the Compass is offered in .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, 7mm-08, 7mm Rem. Magnum, .308 Winchester, .30-06 and .300 Win. Magnum.

You can get the T/C Compass today for about $300 or so discount retail price and there is a $75 rebate until the end of 2017. This makes the rifle a screaming deal in the low end bolt action market.

The T/C Compass is a lifetime warranty, MOA guaranteed bolt action rifle. It has never been easier to outfit the entire family with new, American made hunting rifles.

Back to Rifle Information

Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.