I really like my Encore's. But I would not buy a Pro Hunter. IMO they are overpriced and a bit of a marketing gimmick. For example why would they charge so much more for a barrel that is 2" longer and has flutes. They had to figure out a way to raise the price so the made cosmetic changes.
IMO the best way to go is to order a frame by itself. All the Encore's I have ever seen needed a trigger job. So I bought my frames from a gunsmith and had them do a trigger job. This saved me alot on freight.
Second you can choose a stock. There are a ton of options out there. And there are a ton of used stocks for sale out there also.
Then I would order the rifle barrel that I wanted. Whether it be a custom or a factory barrel. Just get the one you want.
Then I would buy a good used MZ barrel. There are a bunch of them out there. Or just order a new one. But there is nothing wrong with the plain old 209X50 barrel. You may have to use a wrench to take out the breech plug. But is that really a big deal??
You can put together a custom for about the same price as the ProHunter. Take your time and buy the rifle in components. After all that is the beauty of the system. Below are a couple of mine. Tom.
I bought my 50 cal.Encore when they 1st came out. Mine has a S.S. barrel with a black syn. stock.
I shoot 125 gr, Barnes expanders w/ 120 gr, 777 and she's a tack driver. I've shot it out to 200 yards at the range with some impressive groups. But remember not all guns are built equal. My group at the time bought 5 guns all at the same time and 4 shot well, 1 did not. The 5th gun finally ended up shooting 95 gr. bullets w/ a different powder charge, That gun took some time to figure out what it liked. In the end all the guns shot well.
I take her out during rifle season because I like her over some of my center fire rifles.
Prohunt system is suppose to absorb the shock of larger calibers... So if your planning on owning something thats going to kick a bit in the Encore system that might be A reason to get the Prohunter Encore.
However "I Never Met A Encore System That I Didn't Like!"
I like them so much that I have been considering even getting one of the turkey barrels. They are suppose to kick like a mule..So I would put it on the Prohunter system...
Also year after year of $50.00 rebates if you buy an Encore barrel ain't half bad either... Take some Cableas Earned Dollars (reward card) and maybe a few $50.00 Cabelas gift cards from your family at Christmas...Then Cabelas give you $20.00 promotion if you spend $150.00 Um how about a Prohunter barrel for about $113.00 including tax from Cabelas..