Freedom Arms Model 2008 Single-Shot Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

June 9th, 2008

UPDATED June 22nd, 2013




Click pictures for a larger version.



UPDATE June 22nd, 2013: The Freedom Arms Model 2008 is better than ever, as FA continually seeks to improve the design and add new calibers.



The venerable and excellent 45-70 Government cartridge is right at home in the Model 2008. Garrett Cartridges of Texas offers a selection of 45-70 loads to suit any sportsman.





Action is easily opened by using the thumb lever or pulling rearward on the slide latch.





Positive, cam-actuated extractor.





Rimfire barrels attach to a separate action block using a single screw.





It was probably around a year ago that Bob Baker, President and CEO of Freedom Arms, Inc., told me that he was working on a single-shot pistol design. I have never before got too worked up over single-shot pistols, as I find most of them to be heavy, cumbersome, bulky, and uncomfortable to shoot when firing ammunition that has power capable of cleanly taking large game at a distance. With heavily-recoiling cartridges, I find most single-shot pistols downright painful to shoot. However, I was excited about the Freedom Arms project. The famous Freedom Arms revolvers are comfortable to shoot with hard-kicking cartridges, and I had high hopes that the shooting qualities of their revolvers would carry over to their new single-shot as well.

Until now I have been sworn to secrecy, but the folks at Freedom Arms have been testing the new pistol, and are looking for input from shooters and hunters as to what features and cartridges they would prefer in the new single-shot. Last week at the Shootists Holiday, which is an annual invitation-only event held at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico, I was able to shoot the prototype Freedom Arms single-shot pistol. The one that Bob Baker brought to the event was not a crude prototype in any way, but looked like a finished production gun, displaying the renowned Freedom Arms quality that we have all come to expect from that manufacturer. The pistol shown to us was fitted with four interchangeable barrels; one each in .22 Long Rifle, .357 Magnum, .375 Winchester, and 6.5 JDJ chamberings. The pistol has an exposed hammer, which must be manually cocked before firing. The design of the pistol allows for both rimfire and centerfire cartridges to be fired without fussing with separate firing pins. The accommodation for the rimfire cartridge is in the design of the chamber block into which the barrel is mounted. Changing barrels takes only a minute or so, and the use of a screwdriver. Bob is looking into a quick-release forearm, similar to the lever type latch as found on some double shotguns. Either way, it takes little time to switch barrels on the new FA pistol. The pistol is made primarily of stainless steel, with the grip panels and forearm on the test pistol made from laminated wood.

The chamberings exhibited cover a wide range of uses from small game hunting, to target shooting, to big game hunting. The .22 LR is perfect for close range target shooting and small game hunting. The .357 Magnum in a single shot works very well for metallic silhouette shooting and deer hunting. I was mainly interested in the long-range capabilities of the .375 Winchester and particularly the 6.5 JDJ cartridges, and it was those two chamberings that captured my attention. Starting out on paper targets to get the pistol sighted in, the 6.5 JDJ barrel was topped with a Burris 3 to 12 power pistol scope. I found that the 12 power was too much magnification for my ability, and did best with the scope set at a lower power, with around five working best for me. The 6.5 JDJ barrel displayed excellent accuracy on paper, but especially shooting long range at rocks and such. The dry New Mexico landscape made spotting misses easy on the distant hillsides, and after the proper hold was established and the pistol sighted in properly, misses were few. Hitting the famous “banana rock”, which was 580 yards from our shooting position, was easy with the 6.5 JDJ, but it was also fairly common to hit the same spot on the rock repeatedly. Same thing when shooting the heavier .375 Winchester loads at the same rock. Hitting that rock was done with regularity by every shooter that I observed shooting the Freedom gun.

The following day, while I was working with a rifle on another range, Bob Baker placed a long-range base on the 6.5 JDJ pistol using the same scope, and he and our friend Mark Hargrove were shooting into a 24 inch circle at a distance exceeding 1000 yards! Mark is a fellow Shootist who is very familiar with the grip of a Freedom Arms revolver, as he owns a few of them and hunts with them on occasion. He is a pretty fair shot for a Texan, and like myself, he became very fond of the new Freedom Arms single-shot in short order.

Back to the particulars of the pistol design, the action is a break-open configuration, using a sliding top latch that is very easy to open, either by pulling rearward on the latch, or by using the lever on the side. The action opens effortlessly, unlike some designs that require the use of both hands and one leg to open. The Freedom pistol opens easily using just one thumb on the side lever. No extraction problems were encountered at all. The pistol uses a positive extractor system that uses a solid cam action to extract the cartridge. It does not depend upon a spring to extract the fired cartridge case, but as the action is opened, the extractor positively slides the case from the chamber. The trigger pull is light and crisp, and the design of the trigger blade is perfect, and it never pinched the trigger finger as happens with some other designs. The trigger guard has ample room to accommodate a gloved finger, and is shaped well for comfortable use. Making revolvers for decades that chamber hard-kicking cartridges, the folks at Freedom Arms know how to shape a grip that is comfortable to hold and comfortable to shoot. No matter how many cartridges were fired in a shooting session, and we burned up a lot of ammunition, the Freedom Arms single-shot never became painful to shoot. Unlike many competitive designs, the Freedom pistol doesn’t bite the shooter.

Right now, everything is still in the development stage. Bob Baker is taking the pistol to shoots around the country to get input from shooters. He has been working on this pistol for a long time, and wants everything to be perfect when it goes into production. I think that he is there now, but he is wanting as much input from shooters as he can get. If you are interested in the new Freedom Arms single-shot pistol, let the folks at Freedom Arms know which cartridges would interest you. My personal favorite is the 6.5 JDJ. It offers a wonderfully flat-shooting trajectory, with ample power to take most game animals. It is a cartridge based on the .225 Winchester case necked up and fire-formed. For a dandy varmint cartridge, the .225 Winchester itself would be an excellent choice. The .375 Winchester is a good choice for larger game, and I like it also.

I have never been a single-shot pistol fan, until now. The design of the new Freedom Arms pistol is just so much superior to anything that I have ever shot before, that this pistol has made a convert out of me. I like it. I highly recommend it. I want one.

Check out the Freedom Arms revolvers and accessories online at

To let the folks at Freedom know your thoughts on the new single-shot pistol, email to or call 307-883-2468.

Jeff Quinn

Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.

Click pictures for a larger version.



Freedom Arms' Model 2008 single-shot pistol.



Author (top), Freedom Arms president & CEO Bob Baker (center), and our friend & brother Shootist Mark Hargrove (bottom) have a go with the 6.5 JDJ.



Whether punching paper out to 200 yards or informal targets out to 1000 yards, the Freedom Arms single-shot pistol proved to be exceptionally accurate.



Cartridges tested (top to bottom): .22 Long Rifle, .357 Magnum, .375 Winchester, 6.5 JDJ.