Lipsey’s Exclusive Thompson/Center 7mm-08 Icon Bolt-Action Rifle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

September 30th, 2008




The Thompson/Center Icon bolt-action rifle is relatively new to the market. T/C took their time introducing the new bolt gun, but it was definitely worth the wait. Instead of just copying another bolt-action design, T/C has incorporated a whole raft of unique features into the design of their bolt gun. I have previously handled the Icon rifles, but until recently had never fired one. The one shown here is a very limited edition that T/C is building to be sold exclusively through Lipsey’s dealers. Lipsey’s is a firearms wholesaler located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and they are constantly commissioning exclusive firearms to be built for their dealers. This new Icon is one of their best. There will only be 250 of these rifles built, and each has a “1 OF 250” stamp on the barrel. They are all chambered for the wonderfully efficient 7mm-08 cartridge, which is one of the all-time best whitetail cartridges ever developed. Based on the .308 Winchester case, but with a .284 inch diameter bullet, the cartridge has mild recoil and muzzle blast, but a relatively flat trajectory. The 7mm-08 ammunition is readily available, and with this cartridge, premium bullets are not necessary. Good old Core-Lokts and Power Points work just fine, and the cartridge has a good reputation for accuracy as well.

This Lipsey’s Icon is built using the Icon Weather Shield metal coating, which looks like a stainless matte finish, and is impervious to bad weather. Instead of the synthetic stock as used on most Weather Shield finish rifles, this limited edition Icon has the T/C Ultra Wood stock. The Ultra Wood is unique to Thompson/Center, and is a laminated walnut stock. Instead of the thin layers in most laminated stocks, the Ultra Wood has only three pieces of walnut laminated together with two very thin layers of carbon fiber material separating the layers of wood. The carbon fiber adds rigidity and stability, and the result is a very good-looking laminated stock that does not have that plywood look to it as do many laminated rifle stocks.

The receiver of the Icon is machined from a solid billet of steel, and has some unique features of its own. The bottom is flat, and has three integral recoil lugs, which is about three times as many as most bolt action rifles. The bottom metal is a one-piece unit incorporating the trigger guard and magazine well. The magazine is plastic, holds three rounds, and is quickly released with the push of a button, dropping handily into the shooters hand. The receiver is mated to the stock with three bolts that pass through the IBS Interlok bedding block, an aluminum block that is glued into the stock, providing for a very rigid connection. The receiver does not have front and rear bridges held together with thin sidewalls as do many bolt-action rifles, but instead is more of a solid receiver with an ejection port. By using the removable magazine, the Icon can have a solid top receiver, as the cartridges are not loaded singly through the top of the receiver. The result is a receiver that has a more solid, rigid design, which strengthens the action and should improve accuracy. The top of the receiver has integral scope bases which are compatible with any Weaver or Picatinny rings or mounts. I love the scope bases. They have multiple slots, and offer great versatility in mounting a scope properly. The bolt of the Icon is also unique. It is very robust, and weighs a full pound. The cylindrical body measures .851 inch diameter. There is a visual and tactile cocking indicator, and a sliding T-slot extractor. The bolt is of the three-lug configuration, resulting in a low sixty-degree bolt lift, which allows mounting a scope low without the bolt handle or the shooter’s knuckles hitting the scope. The rifle comes with a tool to make disassembling the bolt quick and easy, and the bolt handle can be interchanged for other styles available from T/C. The trigger pull on the Icon was very good as delivered, measuring just over three pounds and releasing crisply. There is a tool included to adjust the trigger pull, and the stock does not need to be removed to do so. The safety is a two-position fore and aft unit, and the Icon has a separate bolt lock to secure the bolt handle, and it is automatically flipped off with the safety lever. That is a very useful and unique feature. The barrel measures twenty-four inches long, and is of a sporter taper, measuring .652 inch at the muzzle, which has a recessed crown. The barrel is without sights, and is free-floated into the stock.

Shooting the Icon was a pleasure. The low bolt lift and buttery-smooth feeding made for quick and reliable cycling of the action. Feeding was flawless, as was ejection. I mounted a Leupold 3.5 to 10 power VXL riflescope, which is one of the more useful scope innovations of this century so far. The VXL has a crescent-shaped section relieved from the bottom of its objective bell, allowing the scope to be mounted as low as a 32mm bell, but with almost as much brightness as a 56mm scope. This is very useful at dawn and dusk when most game is moving, and allows a lot of light to enter the scope without having to crane your neck like you were looking over a wall. I like a scope mounted as low as possible, and the VXL design and the sixty-degree bolt lift allow for this to be done properly on the Icon rifle. For accuracy testing, I kept things simple. The local hardware store had no 7mm-08 ammo in stock, so I picked up two boxes of Remington 140 grain Core-Lokt at the WalMart in Paris, Tennessee while on a bacon run. I get all my bacon from Trollinger’s Store in Paris. It is about thirty-five miles away, but worth the trip. I hate that thin slimy little bacon that comes in a package. Trollinger’s has an old-fashioned meat case, just like butcher shops had fifty years ago. If you want a steak, they slice it off of a big chunk as you wait. They also have some mighty fine barbeque, almost as good as my own! Anyway, there is a WalMart in Paris, so I picked up the ammo there. As mentioned above, the 7mm-08 does just fine with standard ammunition, and the Core-Lokt is a very good bullet. The 140 grain bullets averaged 2812 feet-per-second over the chronograph set twelve feet from the muzzle. Accuracy was outstanding. T/C promises one minute-of-angle (MOA) accuracy from the Icon, and the test gun beat that handily. It would consistently place three of the Core-Lokts into one-half inch or less at 100 yards from my Target Shooting, Inc. Model 1000 rifle rest.

I was well-pleased with the accuracy, reliability, and handling qualities of the T/C Icon. It is not an ultra light rifle, weighing in at seven and three-quarters pounds, but it is very well-balanced, and comes to the shoulder quickly. It would make an excellent deer rifle, and is suited to antelope and sheep hunting as well. This 7mm-08 Icon is only available from a Lipsey’s dealer. To find a Lipsey’s dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at, or if your favorite dealer is not a Lipsey’s dealer, have him to call 1-800-666-1333 to correct that problem.

For more info on the extensive line of Thompson/Center products, go to

For a look at the VXL and other quality optics, go to

Jeff Quinn


For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to:




Integral scope bases.





Warne quick-release scope rings.



Leupold VXL scope.





Remington's 140-grain Core-Lokt factory ammo proved to be very accurate in the Icon.



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Click pictures for a larger version.


Lipsey's exclusive T/C Icon 7mm/08.



Integral trigger guard & magazine well.



Detachable box magazine.





Flat-bottomed receiver.



Trigger adjustment tool.



Safety & bolt lock.



Bolt release.



Sixty-degree bolt lift.



Bolt disassembly tool.



IBS Interlok bedding block.



Ultra Wood stock.



Free-floated barrel.



Equipped with sling swivel studs.