Fenris Wolf Arms Single Shot Rifle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

November 27th, 2004




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.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Fenris Wolf cased single shot rifle with accessories.





Author appreciates the handy size and easy portability of the Fenris Wolf rifle.



The Fenris Wolf is cleverly designed for quick and easy take-down.



Removal of a single action pin allows falling block, extractor and hammer to slide out the bottom of the receiver.



The bore of the .22LR barrel is offset at the breech and centered at the muzzle. This is an elegant solution for allowing a single firing pin to be used for both centerfire and rimfire cartridges.



Iron sights and scope mount are hand-fabricated and intelligently designed.



The Fenris Wolf proved itself to be a real performer from an accuracy standpoint. With the .22LR barrel installed, the Fenris Wolf grouped 10 shots into a ragged 3/8" cluster at 50 yards.



Jeff's favorite bullet for the .38-55, Cast Performance's 260 grain FNGC, proved to be an exceptional performer in the Fenris Wolf.



The Fenris Wolf was also exceptionally accurate with the .38-55 barrel installed. The smallest 100-yard group measured 3/16" at 100 yards (top), and the LARGEST group measured a scant 9/16" (bottom)!