One Good Shot

Freedom Arms Model 2008
6.5×55 Single-Shot Pistol.

I’ve experienced several single-shot pistols in my time starting with the Sheridan Knockabout back in the 1950s. In the late 1970s I discovered the Thompson/Center Contender when my wife gave me a .30-30 Super 14 for Christmas. Up to that time it was pretty much only sixguns for me, however I soon discovered how accurate a good single-shot pistol can be.

Over the years I used the Contender for both silhouetting and hunting and for the latter especially with several custom barrels from SSK Industries. My favorite is the 6.5 JDJ which is formed using an expanded and blown out .225 Winchester. It has proven to be exceptionally deadly on big game especially with the Speer 120-grain SP at 2,400 fps. For some reason that long 0.264-inch bullet kills all out of proportion to its paper ballistics, with this combination giving me 24 straight 1-shot kills on everything from aoudad to zebra and such things as Colorado mule deer in between. I definitely thought of this when I selected my latest, and newest single-shot pistol.

At the Shootists Holiday in 2008 Bob Baker of Freedom Arms unveiled a prototype single-shot pistol, which as with other Freedom Arms firearms is now given a model number commensurate with its year of introduction. So the Model 83 and Model 97 revolvers have now been joined by the Model 2008 single-shot pistol.

Freedom Arms has always been known for high quality and that carries over to the Model 2008. The frame itself uses the same basic grip as found on the Model 83 5-shot revolver. It also has an exposed single-action-type hammer that has been reshaped to provide easy access to the thumb when reaching under a scope and also to provide very easy cocking. The hammer itself is a rebounding style with a hammer block safety. If you cock the Model 2008 and then decide not to fire, the hammer is let down carefully to this safe position. The action opens by either pulling the top slide to the rear or pushing down on the top slide lever found on the left side of the action. It can also be fitted to the right side for left-handers. The action will not close unless the hammer is in the safety position.

The Freedom Arms Model 2008 is a sleek, streamlined single-shot pistol.
The hammer is low and easy to cock even with the scope mounted low.

Currently Freedom Arms offers 11 different chamberings, .223 Remington, 6.5×55 Swedish Mauser, .260 Remington, 7BR, 7-08 Remington, .308 Winchester, .338 Federal, .357 Magnum, .357 Maximum, .375 Winchester and .454 Casull. Three different barrel lengths, appropriate to the chambering, are offered in 10, 15 and 16 inches. Barrels must be fitted at the factory. Base price with one barrel is $1,495 with extra barrels at $495. Because of my most positive experiences with the 6.5 JDJ, I chose the 6.5×55 Swede with a 16-inch barrel, which comes with a 1:8-inch twist. I will be adding a 10-inch .357 Maximum barrel in the future.

The Model 2008 features a positive extractor, which works for both rimmed and rimless cartridges. The barrel is drilled and tapped to accept the Freedom Arms scope mount. This is a solid 1-piece mount with integral rings. The top half of the rings fasten to the mount with two screws on each side, and for a scope I pulled a long used and trusted 2.5-7X Simmons LER scope off one of my Contenders to scope this 6.5×55. For those interested in long-range competition shooting, silhouette sights will be available on some barrels.

Finish of the Model 2008 is a matte stainless steel, which matches nicely with the hardwood grip and forearm. The forearm is held on with two screws entering through the bottom and this forearm also serves to capture the pin, which fastens the barrel to the frame. To change barrels simply remove the forearm, tap out the pin, and replace the barrel, pin and forearm. The trigger pull is factory set at 4-1/4 pounds. It can be factory adjusted down to a minimum of 3 pounds. For hunting convenience, a sling and swivels, which attach to the base of the grip and forearm, are available.

The accessible action-opening lever is located on the left side of the frame (above).
Depressing it slides back the top cover allowing the barrel to tip down. You gotta love
the barrel marking: “6.5×55 SWEDE.” (below)

My test gun, as mentioned, is a 6.5 Swede with a 16-inch barrel. Test firing was done in not so pleasant winter weather. In spite of this subjective handicap I was able to come up with some excellent groups at 100 yards using both factory loads and handloads. My favorite hunting bullet in the 6.5 JDJ, Speer’s 120-grain SP, also proved to be exceptionally accurate in the 6.5 Swede. Using 42 grains of Hodgdon’s H4350 gave me 2,332 fps with three shots in 7/8 inch at 100 yards. All of the loads tested, results are in the accompanying chart, proved to be more than adequate for hunting with the Federal factory 140-grain SP being the fastest at over 2,450 fps. Shooting in more pleasant weather I would expect these groups to be even smaller.

John shot these targets at 100 yards with the
6.5×55 Swede Freedom Arms Model 2008.

With its easy-to-cock hammer, excellent trigger pull, and relatively light recoil, the Freedom Arms Model 2008 “Swede” is very pleasant shooting. The typical single-action grip allows it to roll up in the hand and keeps felt recoil at a minimum. Freedom Arms has come a long way since that first .454 Casull left the factory in 1983. Realizing everyone didn’t want the power of a .454, the Model 83 was soon offered in such chamberings as .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, and even .22. With the rise in interest of really big-bore cartridges, the .475 Linebaugh and a totally new cartridge, the .500 Wyoming Express were added. For those more interested in an everyday packin’ pistol Freedom Arms came up with the Model 97 offered in such chamberings as .45 Colt, .44 Special, .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .22, and even .32 Magnum and .32-20 with the latest offering being the .327 Federal. The addition of the Model 2008 to the Freedom Arms catalog opens a whole new list of possibilities and I expect many other chamberings be offered as time goes by.
By John Taffin

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