The Whitney Wolverine was an American made semi automatic pistol, originally produced between 1956 and 1958. The Wolverine was thought to have been almost "space-age" in its design (still considered futuristic by modern standards), being manufactured from aluminium. Olympic Arms began producing their own version of the Wolverine in 2005, which remains in production to this day.
The Wolverine was designed by Robert L. Hillberg in 1953, during his time in a factory producing machine guns for the P-47 Thunderbolt, before working as a research engineer for High Standard. The Whitney Wolverine name came from two origins: Eli Whitney, creator of the Whitney Navy Revolver and the original Whitney Arms Inc., and the University of Michigan Wolverines (Hillberg's favourite American Football team) respectively. The Wolverine entered the market in 1956, focusing on the .22 Long Rifle pistol market.
However, the Wolverine was caught in a quickly developing market, one which was becoming increasingly dominated by the Ruger Standard. The Wolverine's original price of $39.95 ($44.95 for nickel plated versions) was marginally more expensive than their rival's designs, while its design seemed to be too futuristic for the market at the time. This meant that only 14,000 or so Wolverines (900 of which were nickle plated) would be produced before production ended in 1958, although sales continued until 1962.
The name "Wolverine" also caused issues for Hillberg's pistol. The Lyman Gun Sight Company had previously copyrighted the name "Wolverine" for one of their products, and are thought to have been preparing a legal challenge to the Whitney Firearms Company. However, a gentlemen's agreement between Hillbery and Lyman saw the Wolverine name dropped, shortly before production ended.
Yet in the closing years of the 1990s, Olympic Arms Inc.'s owner, Robert Schuetz announced that they would be reintroducing the Wolverine to the market. Delays of various natures meant that the new Wolverine would not enter production until 2005, although it had a number of changes made to its design. The most significant of these changes was to the frame, which was made from a light-weight polymer instead of aluminium and a re-designed safety.
The Wolverine was instantly recognisable through its destinctive, a futuristic looking, frame, made from a light weight aluminium alloy. The frame and slide, which were normally cast as separate elements, were cast in a single piece, with the slide held within the frame. The slide itself housed the barrel, which was given a rifling pattern of six grooves of 1:16in twist ratio, and breechblock, and would move within the frame.
Other elements of the Wolverine included a push-down safety (as well as a magazine release safety), and a grip which was similar to that of the Luger pistol. The design was slightly modified by Olympic Arms when they began producing the Wolverine in 2005, with a polymer frame instead of aluminium and a ventilated rib. Olympic Arms have also began to introduce new accessories for the Wolverine, including a silencer and colour themed frames.
The Wolverine was chambered to accept the .22 Long Rifle cartridge, held in a ten round magazine. The magazine itself was unusual, in that it did not have a follower knob. Instead, the shooter was required to push an emtpy .22 cartridge into a hole to set the magazine through drawing down the follower (the empty cartridge would then be removed before shooting).
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 http://www.nramuseum.org/the-museum/the-galleries/the-new-prosperity/case-44-the-mother-of-invention-cartridge-technology/whitney-firearms-corp-wolverine-semi-automatic-pistol.aspx
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 http://www.olyarms.com/shop/pistols/pistols-whitney/ww.html
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 http://smith-wessonforum.com/lounge/210508-ahead-its-time-whitney-wolverine-pistol-pics-box-now-included.html
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 http://stevespages.com/pdf/olympic_whitney_wolverine.pdf