I've shot both and I don't know that there would be any differences if you're shooting the same calibers. The one thing I like about the Contender versus the Encore is the Grips. The wood grips on the Encore are too thick for my hands. The Contender grips are slimmer. I also like the rubber piece that is on the back of the Contender grips. It keeps it from sliding around in your hand as well as cushioning recoil.
The Encore has so many more choices in chamberings,if a hand cannon is what you're after. The rifle calibers can be quite a handful. I don't know that I'd particularly want to shoot some of the larger ones.
The Encore is designed to withstand much higher pressures than the Contender which is why it can be had in many centerfire rifle chamberings. I have fired both an Encore and a Contender in .223 Rem but as it is a rather mild recoiling cartridge they are pretty much the same. In either model yu will find the same tendencies; lighter cartridges kick less, heavier ones kick more, and some are just plain brutal. Grip is a component of percieved recoil also, one may fit you better than the other though I think they are both pretty similar. I have seen wood and synthetic versions of both in the store so a bit of looking can turn up a couple of examples.