Last month I attended the Wanenmacher’s Arms Show in Tulsa,
Oklahoma. As usual, it was a very fine gun show. My plan was to ride out on
the Harley and just look around for a couple of days, never intending to
purchase anything. However, I ended up hauling home two rifles, a revolver,
lots of empty brass, an electronic powder trickler, and a Ruger/Bianchi
flap holster on the motorcycle. It was a great show.
One of the benefits of attending the Tulsa show is the interesting people
that are found there. One such gentleman that I met on this trip was Jim
Fleming. Jim is the brains, muscle, talent, and CEO of Fenris Wolf
Arms of Red Oak, Oklahoma. Displayed on his table were a few examples
of good-looking single shot rifles which immediately piqued my interest.
Talking with Jim further revealed that he builds each of these rifles by
hand in his own shop, and even does his own casehardening of the receivers
and levers. His rifles are of the falling block design, but displayed a
variety of different lever shapes and sizes, to suit individual tastes.
One really interesting feature of the Fenris Wolf rifle is that the barrels
can be easily switched on the same action, offering wide versatility in
chamberings and configurations. The barrels are threaded into the receiver
by hand, and are then secured by a set screw, reminiscent of the old Stevens
single shot rifles. However, the Fenris Wolf rifle can handle center fire
cartridges from the .22 Hornet up through the .577 Nitro Express, according
to Jim, and even the .22 rimfire can interchange on the same action. The
rifles can be set up in a variety of styles, depending upon the
customer’s desires, from a sleek hunting rifle to a full-blown Schuetzen
style. Looking over the guns on his table, I was impressed, and arranged
for Jim to send a rifle for testing.
A couple of weeks after returning home from Tulsa, a cased rifle with two
barrels arrived from Fenris Wolf. The rifle shipped to me wears a beautiful
walnut stock with a curved steel butt plate, casehardened action and lever,
and what appears to be a fire-blued pivot pin. Pushing the pivot pin out
the side of the receiver allows the falling block, hammer, and extractor to
slide easily out the bottom. The barrels supplied with the test gun each
have their own sights and unique scope mount attached. The scope mount is
of a channel design, with the elevation adjustable rear sight incorporated
into the front face of the mount. The front sight is windage adjustable by
moving it laterally in its dovetail mortise. Each barrel had its own
extractor and fore arm wood, and were chambered for the .22 Long Rifle and
the .38-55 cartridges.
Fitting the barrels to the trim little action revealed that the .22 Long
Rifle barrel had an off-center bore to allow the same firing pin to be used
for the rimfire and center fire cartridges. While the rimfire bore is
off-centered at the breech, it is centered at the muzzle. Assembling the
barrels to the action is simple and quick, and even changing extractors
took only about one minute. The barrels supplied measured twenty-four
inches in length. The .38-55 barrel measured 1.228 inches diameter at the
breech, tapering to .645 inch at the muzzle. The .22 Long Rifle barrel
measured 1.113 inches at the breech, and .747 inch at the muzzle. The
assembled rifle weighed in at six pounds and six ounces in .38-55, and one
ounce more with the .22 rimfire barrel attached. The overall length
measures a trim 39.5 inches. The width of the receiver is 1.365 inches
thick. The lever on this rifle is of a unique style, being somewhat of an
open lever, but having a rear hook that is very handy for carrying the
rifle one-handed. The effort to open the action and cock the hammer, which
stays in the cocked position after the breech is closed, measured just over
six pounds. The crisp trigger pull measured just one pound and five ounces,
and later proved to be an aid to accuracy.
For shooting the Fenris Wolf rifle, I assembled ammunition using a 260
grain hard-cast lead flat point bullet from Cast
Performance bullet company. I have used this bullet before in the
.38-55, and have found it to be very accurate. For the .22 Long Rifle
barrel, I grabbed some standard velocity UMC ammunition that was
loaded for the Army Marksmanship Program several years ago.
I tried the rifle first using the unique open sights, and found them to be
of a very easy to use design, but I do my best accuracy work with a scope
installed. Shipped with the rifle for testing purposes was an old J.C.
Higgins four power scope intended for use on rimfire rifles. It has a
small tube and cloudy optics, but Jim explained that he threw it in the
case at the last minute, and that I should give it a try. I seriously had
my doubts about that scope! I would not give ten bucks for a case of them.
However, it was the only scope that I had available to fit that unique
mount, and I was determined to try it. After I got used to the thin
crosshair and lousy optics, I noticed that the gun was grouping
exceptionally well. The .22 Long Rifle barrel I tested at fifty yards, and
every bullet was going into one ragged hole. I was very impressed with the
accuracy of the rimfire barrel. The ten shot group pictured measured just
three-eighths of an inch, and was representative of the accuracy displayed
by this rifle throughout the tests.
Moving the target out to one hundred yards, I began testing the .38-55
barrel, and attached the same scope atop its mount. While not a
particularly punishing cartridge to fire, the .38-55 does have a bit of
recoil in a light rifle, but that danged little scope held its setting
perfectly. The accuracy of the .38-55 barrel was equally impressive. The largest
group fired measured just nine-sixteenths of an inch. Again, that was the
worst group of the day. Firing three-shot groups and allowing the barrel to
cool between strings, I was cutting several little cloverleaves on
the 100 yard target. The best group measured just three-sixteenths of an
inch, and that was using that three dollar scope! I was wanting desperately
to try the rifle with a decent scope, but I do not see how the accuracy
could be any better. Perhaps I had better rethink my prejudices towards
these little rifle scopes.
Overall, I remain very impressed with the Fenris Wolf rifle. With different
barrels, it is a trim little gun that can be used for black powder
cartridge competition, Schuetzen, and long range Cowboy competition, and
then taken out hunting for anything from ground squirrels to bison.
It is one seriously accurate rifle.
For ordering and contact information, go to: www.fenriswolfarms.com.
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