Review: Fierce Firearms' Fury Bolt Action Rifle
April 23, 2018
Have you ever picked up a gun with an unfamiliar name and were overcome by déjÃ vu? It happened to me recently when I picked up a Fierce Firearms bolt action. I looked at the action, worked the bolt, removed it from the receiver, then turned it over to check out its bottom metal and detachable magazine setup. It was all familiar, right down to the tri-lug locking system and the two-position side safety with a bolt lock bypass button. Though it had been a while since I last had a Sako 85 in my hands, my memory told me that, except for the absence of the integral tapered dovetails for direct scope ring attachment, that's what I was holding.
As it turned out, I was right, and the striking similarity to the iconic Finnish-made Sako was anything but happenstance. John Mogle, Fierce's founder and CEO, was a big fan of the Sako 85, so when he decided to get into custom/semi-production rifle manufacturing in 2014, he simply cloned what to him was the best action.
The Fury is built by Fierce in Quebec, Canada, a company with 25 years' experience manufacturing precision components for industry, including companies like Winchester and Marlin, and the finished product is imported here by Fierce Firearms of Gunnison, Utah.
For a young company, Fierce has a surprisingly diverse product line consisting of six models — all based on the same Sako clone action, fitted with PacNor barrels and set into hand-laid carbon-fiber stocks. The original (and flagship) model is called the Edge, but there's also a Carbon Edge, featuring a carbon-wrapped barrel, and the CT Edge, which in addition to its wrapped barrel has a titanium action.
The Fury and the Fury Long Range are more economical versions of the Edge. And, of course, no rifle line these days could be complete without a tactical rifle, so there's one of those, too.
The model I requested for review was the Fury in 6.5 Creedmoor, which at $2,050 is the least expensive rifle to wear the Fierce name. The only added cost option on the test gun was a muzzle brake, which added $175. Other chamberings offered in the Fury are 7mm Rem. Mag., .28 Nosler, .300 WSM, .300 Win. Mag. and .300 Ultra Mag.
The Fury weighed 7.25 pounds, and with a 24-inch barrel, it measured 43.5 inches overall with the muzzle thread protector in place. Fitting the brake adds 1.7 inches. The stainless receiver, barrel and bottom metal unit carried an attractive bead-blasted matte finish Fierce describes as Titanium.
The Fierce action differs from the Sako 85 action in that it lacks the Sako's tapered dovetail for direct scope ring attachment. In its place is a conventional-looking receiver ring and bridge that are of the same geometry as those of a Remington 700.
However, they will not accept Remington bases because Mogle wisely decided to go with the stronger 8-40 base screws rather than the 6-48 that are industry standard. Why is that significant? Many of today's high-magnification scopes weigh two or more pounds, and that puts additional strain on 6-48 screws. In fact, some have been known to shear on heavy-recoiling super magnums.
The Fury's bolt handle and machining details on the bolt shroud also differ from the Sako, but both are minor details that change nothing. The same can be said of the Monte Carlo stock, which is of Mogle's own design. It's fitted with the highly effective Limb Saver recoil pad and finished in black with white webbing.
This is a tri-lug action, but it is not of the "fat bolt" genre as so many of today's three-lug actions are — such as the Ruger American Winchester XPR, Thompson/Center Venture, Browning A-Bolt and others. With those, the span across the locking lugs is actually slightly less than the diameter of the bolt body behind, which averages around 0.850.
Not the Fierce bolt. Its bolt body measures 0.700, which is more or less the standard for conventional Mauser-type actions, and its three locking lugs protrude out beyond that diameter. Because of this, the Fierce requires raceways in the receiver — whereas other fat bolts require only a round hole. Just off the top of my head, the only other similar action that comes to mind is the Browning X-Bolt.
While Mogle readily admits to the Sako origin of his action, he claims his is different in that it is machined to the tightest tolerances in the industry using the most sophisticated CNC and EDM processes. If tight tolerances mean a smooth action, then my example qualified in spades. The bolt glide was incredibly smooth — to the point where, with the help of a little Break Free, raising the muzzle about 20 degrees allowed the unlocked bolt to slide open.
This is a controlled-round-feed action fed by a staggered column, detachable box magazine. As such, the bottom half of the bolt face is rimless to allow the rim of the feeding cartridge to slip up behind the Sako extractor. Inertia ejection is courtesy of a static, pivoting blade housed in the bottom of the receiver bridge. A pivoting lever at the left side of the bridge serves as the bolt stop/release. Working in conjunction with a two-position side safety is a bolt lock bypass button, which, when depressed, allows the bolt to be cycled with the safety engaged.
The adjustable trigger innards are contained within a machined aluminum housing that's cross-pinned to the underside of the receiver. The trigger on the test gun was quite good, breaking cleanly at an even three pounds with no discernible creep.
As for the magazine system, it's one of the best. The trigger guard and mag frame are separate components but are joined together. The sheet metal magazine, which fits absolutely flush with the belly of the stock, stores cartridges in a staggered column, which allows four rounds of .308/.30-06 girth to be stored; capacity for magnums, belted or otherwise, is three.
Not only is this the easiest magazine to charge — you simply snap the cartridges straight down through the feed lips — but also it can be loaded through the ejection port, which is a great feature and something you can't do with most detachable magazines.
The carbon-fiber stock is the work of Mogle, whose background is in that technology. It's hand-laid and appears to be rigid despite its light weight. A steel plate with a hole in it is embedded in the stock beneath the receiver ring. This hole engages a projection on the underside of the receiver, thus addressing the recoil issue.
The two action screws pass through aluminum pillars, but the receiver is not pillar bedded in the true sense of the term. The barrel is fully floated. The comb line has a slight forward slope to it to minimize cheek slap on recoil. All in all, it is a good rendering of a Monte Carlo stock.
I was expecting great things at the range because every 6.5 Creedmoor that's passed through our hands has been uncannily accurate with Hornady factory ammo. Though this cartridge has been around less than a decade, Hornady already offers 10 different loads for it ranging from a 120-grain GMX to a 147-grain ELD Match.
Wanting to give the test rifle every chance to show what it could do, I mounted a Nikon Monarch 6-24x50mm scope using Millett rings. With the Nikon aboard, the range-ready rig weighed nine pounds on the nose.
As the accompanying accuracy chart shows, my high expectations were more than fulfilled. This was one accurate rifle, but half the credit has to go to the ammo. I don't know what those Hornady folks are doing out there in Grand Island to make their 6.5 Creedmoor fodder so accurate, but I hope they keep doing it. Only if I were involved in serious competitive shooting would I even consider handloading this caliber.