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Old 07-24-2006
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Cesare Cesare is offline
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Post The Whitney Wolverine

Here is a little info on a little spacegun

Manufactured by Whitney Firearms Co., North Haven, Connecticut beginning in 1955 massproduction started in 1956 and it was finally discontinued in 1957. The Whitney Wolverine (see pic.1) was created partially as a result of new aluminum alloys developed in World War II. It was a huge hit with the consumers. The radical 'space age' design was ergonomic o*n the hand, and pointed quite well for most shooters. With new technology in cast aluminum available after WWII, the Wolverine was a very lightweight and strong handgun. It's shape alone attracted many consumers.

Most were stamped with the name "Whitney Autoloader", but originally J.L. Galef, the wholesaler, named it "The Lightening", the Wolverine name was added later. After a complaint by Lyman, who made Wolverine rifle scopes, the Wolverine name caused a trademark conflict. In a marked difference from how companies do business today, when a reloading press company informed Whitney that the Wolverine brand name was owned by them, the two companies made a "gentleman's" agreement for Whitney to simple stop using the name. No law suits, no money changing hands, no legal papers, just a hand-shake. Thereafter, the gun was simple the "Whitney Autoloader".

Designed by engineer Robert Hillberg, this .22 pistol was cast from aluminium with a sandwiched steel tube holding the barrel and breech block. It was a semi-auto pistol with a 10 cartridge magazine and a 4.75" barrel.Markings on the gun was missleading because the Serial numbers machine started at 100,000. About 14 000 were made in all, before a bad marketing campaign caused severe problems. Unfortunately, the Whitney Wolverine pistol quickly went out of production because of distribution problems.

The company made the mistake of signing a contract with Galef to be the SOLE distributor of the pistol, and for some reason, Galef just wouldn't "push" the sales of them, and wouldn't allow anyone else to. The company decided to offer the large hardware/department stores like Wards, Sears, Western Auto. Gambles, and True-Value a store-brand .22 pistol. Since the Whitney "frame" is really nothing but a cover for the action, the outer appearance of the gun could be easily changed to almost any form wanted. Whitney wanted to offer the stores a Whitney pistol with a store-specific appearance. The basic gun would be the same, only the appearance would be different for each.To make problems worse a rival pistol was introducted shortly afterwards that sold for just a few dollars less than the Wolverine (remember 1956 dollars). The plan was well along, when Galef threatened legal action, since his contract stated that the guns could only be sold through him.Galef being unwilling to sell the guns for some reason, and unable to go around him, the company was forced to shut down. Before closing, the company had plans for an adjustable rear sight, a slide stop, and other improvements. The person who developed it, Robert L. Hillberg eventually went on to work for High Standard, and the company was sold to avoid bankruptcy. It was on the retail shelves for a scant one year.

Still, this little aluminum pistol captured the imaginations of so many people it could not be forgotten. The legendary Gharlane of Eddore once said: "Or how about the Whitney "Wolverine," the .22 pistol from about forty years back that looked like it had come from sixty years in the future? I once helped out a friend in dire need of hand-props for a SkiFfy movie by suggesting he use some of those. Saved him a bundle.... the problem was prying them loose from the actors so we could return them to the folks we'd rented them from!". Once called, "The most reliable, best shooting, best pointing little .22 pistol ever handled" by the late Rex Applegate. Lately there are modern re-procuctions made by both Samson ( & Olympic arms ( Samson is selling parts & complete pistol from an inventory of original parts (fr. Whitney) manufactured in the 1950's. The Wolverine by Oly-arms (see pic.2) is made with a polymer frame and ventilated rib. The magazine shell is all metal for strength and durability. All mechanical parts are contained inside the frame shell and are easily disassembled without tools.

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File Type: jpg Oly-Arms_Wolverine.jpg (41.4 KB, 10 views)
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Old 07-24-2006
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UZI4U UZI4U is offline
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Wow, suprising I haven't seen one of these before, a .22lr that actually looks like a .22lr should.

Simple, toy-ish, and attractive.

I might have to get one of these...


.22s need to look friendly and astetically pleasing, due to the fact this is the firearm most novice shooters will be introduced to.

You don't start new drivers out in huge, 3/4th ton 4X4 ranch trucks, now do you? Nor should you start them out on Yugos...

Last edited by UZI4U : 07-24-2006 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 07-25-2006
JCoyote JCoyote is offline
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As far as .22 pistols go, this is more like an MG B... small, sporty, attractive... but still a little low end car.

I'm more interested in a .22 revolver right now. Something that can shoot colibri's without doing anything extra between shots, and can store with SSS in it just in case. (In case I actually wanted to shoot it before resorting to throwing it at the badguy.)

But, yeah, this could make a great training pistol, a good gift for a first time shooter. I wonder how fast the barrel twist is on the new ones?
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Old 07-25-2006
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Good post Cesare. Thank you.
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