The Thompson Omega is a muzzle loading rifle developed and produced by Thompson Center Arms. Unveiled in 2002, the Omega is one of Thompson's best selling firearms, breaking their sales record for the year it was released.
The Omega has formed the basis of several other of Thompson's designs. The main feature of the Omega is the drop-action mechanism which allows access to the breech. Operated by a lever on the trigger guard, the drop action closely resembles the Burnside Carbine of the American Civil War, although the Omega system is modified to tilt the barrel forwards rather than drop the breechblock.
The Omega, having been designed with a 140 year old mechanism, is designed around simplicity. The hammer needs to be cocked for each shot and the cartridge can be slid down the barrel. The trigger is designed to be as simple as possible, while the overall design has been intended to be as light as possible. For example the stock is made from laminate or composite materials with a recoil reducing pad. The Omega's sights consist of an adjustable rear sight with a metal ramp front sight, both fitted with fibre optics.
The Omega is further outfitted with sling swivel studs to allow a sling to be fitted, while the receiver is drilled and taped to allow scope mounts to be fitted. The Omega is also sold with several of Thompson's range of innovations, such as their QLA (Quick Load Accurizor) and the Weather Shield (on more recent production models). The ramrod/cleaning rod is manufactured from aluminium.
The Omega, having been inspired by Thompson's production of the Hawken Rifle, fires a relatively large .50in (12.7mm) calibre bullet. The cartridge is primed by a 209 Shotgun Primer, while the Omega can also effectively fire three Pyrodex pellets in one trigger pull (this is due to the redesigned breech plug, which was modified by Thompson to better work with pellets).
The Omega has remained as Thompson Center Arms most popular muzzleloading rifle, having originally broken their sales record in the year it was released (2002). The Omega spawned several other muzzleloading designs from Thompson, such as the Triumph. For several years Thompson's production could not compete with the demand for the Omega.
The Omega's success is perhaps best summed up by Randy Wakeman at Chuckhawkes.com.
|“||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.||”|
–Randy Wakeman, Chuckhawkes.com