I have killed a good number of deer 50+ with the 125 Nosler ballistic tips at 2670 fps from my T/C Contender pistol 14" 30-30AI and my 30X47 rifle at 2850 fps and 308 Win at 3000 fps. Excellent bullet. Never tried the 125 AB. Only box of them I ever saw for sale was in a little gun shop/pawn shop and they wanted $50 a box. I have a good stock of the BT so if it ain't broke don't try to fix it.
I've seen some BIG calibers in the Contenders....You sure the little 7mm STE is too much pressure? I've seen some very large magnum calibers, and even some of the safari "dangerous game" calibers, and big Weatherby calibers in them...Yes the 30-30AI is awesome in the pistol. You can equal or surpass the velocities of a standard Win 94 30-30 rifle with all bullets in a 14" barrel and do it while shooting under MOA. You can also shoot factory 30-30 ammo in a pinch, and is actually a good way to get your fire formed cases, and it is accurate. I got my barrel from Match Grade Machines (MGM) 14" Shilen SS. It has a nice and tight chamber and the cases never need trimming and they are lasting a long time. The 125 BT is awesome on deer. I always place the bullet into or have it exit a shoulder and 90% of the time they drop in their tracks and those that don't have not gone over 30 yards and have been bucks all fired up during the rut. The bullets have always exited even through both shoulders and as close as 30 yards.
The 7 STE has too much pressure for the Contender action but the 7-30 Waters is a good one. It is the 30-30 necked down to 7mm basically.
I've seen some BIG calibers in the Contenders....You sure the little 7mm STE is too much pressure? I've seen some very large magnum calibers, and even some of the safari "dangerous game" calibers, and big Weatherby calibers in them...
I think you may be confusing the Encore with the Contender. The Encore frame is made for the BIG calibers. Contender is made for 30-30 Win pressures. I have seen Contender frames that have been stretched by trying to push the pressures. The newer G2 Contender frame is a little bit stronger than the original Contender but they are still limited to the 30-30 Win class pressures.