IMI Timberwolf .357 pump, red dot or irons?


April 30, 2012, 12:24 AM
I just bought an IMI Timberwolf .357 magnum pump carbine. I've wanted one for a long time :D.

I plan to use this lightweight, takedown carbine as a "grab it from the truck when you go walking in the bush" rig here in BC.

I won't know until I've carried it around a bit and shot it, whether or not I'll put a red dot on it. The angle of the stock is adjustable for either the irons or optics.

If I go with a RD I'm thinking about a Vortex Sparc.

Any opinions or thoughts would be welcomed.

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April 30, 2012, 03:36 PM
I'd look into the little Bushnell TRS25 (I think). Best $100 I've ever spend on a cheap red dot.

May 12, 2012, 09:24 PM
I have handled the "new" rifle and have decided to go with the irons.

At first I thought that I'd have to go with a red dot as I couldn't get low enough to use the irons.

The rifle was like this.

I thought that the stock was in the lowest position but decided to check. It wasn't. After lowering the stock it looks like this now.

And those low buckhorn irons line up instantly as I shoulder it. The setup is just like an anorexic 870 so it feels very natural.

The front sight has been painted pink, I like it.

The wood is very nice.

I don't like that the action has to be open and out of battery in order to reload.

It has a serious feel to it.

I haven't had a chance to get out with it. It cycles A Zoom .38 Sp snap caps just fine.

May 13, 2012, 12:26 AM
Lucky man. I've been looking for one of those since 1995 and haven't found a single decent one.

May 14, 2012, 10:08 AM
I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when you finally get it to the range. I've owned mine for a bit over 20 years now, and wouldn't part with it for diamonds. It is the most consistently accurate of my several different makes of .38/.357 carbines and a truly great woods bumming companion.

One small accessory item that you may want to consider is a set of QD sling/carry strap swivels from Uncle Mike's. The front is a split ring which attaches to the magazine tube and the rear is the usual wood screw type.

It's been my experience that best function requires that the action be operated 'briskly'. Otherwise positive ejection tends to become problematic.

FYI: The sights are regulated for POA/POI to coincide at 50 M by the factory using 158 gr. .357 ammo. The rear sight elevator is calibrated in 50 M increments out to a max of 250 M based upon that load's ballistic characteristics. IME, most 158 gr. 38 Spl. +P loads hit closely enough to the factory setting to be perfectly adequate for my usual purposes out to around 35 yds or so.

Owen Sparks
May 14, 2012, 10:21 AM
I had two of them in .44 Magnum but sold them due to accuracy problems. Every time I started on a good group it would be spoiled by flyers that could not be explained.

May 14, 2012, 01:49 PM
I have never seen one of these but I am duly impressed. That is a cool little rifle and ideal for your intended use. I would think an aperture sight would suit it very well. A simple Williams rear aperture zeroed for 75 yards would do well while a Skinner with the brass highlights would look very sharp on it.

May 14, 2012, 03:15 PM
I too have been looking for one for 20 years. I have heard from others that the .357 is the good one and the .44 one so-so.

May 15, 2012, 03:29 PM
I have a bushnell redot on mine. And wouldnt go back to a scope for this guns range capabilities. I have had mine since the early 90's as well.
I have been able to shoot 1" groups fairly consistantly (50yards)with some cast bullets.

I have also taken a 4-5 bears, a few whitetail and Mulies.
Everyone of them were one shot kills. great little rifle, and accurate.
Ranges from 30-125 yards.

I have noticed that the action needs to be cylcled deliberately, not gently, to be 100% dependable.

May 15, 2012, 03:51 PM
Awesome-looking piece...I've always wanted a .357 Timberwolf...


May 28, 2012, 12:25 AM
Got to the range today. I only had 125 gr FMJ SWC .357 reloads. The rifle is setup for 158 gr .357 magnum loads and it showed.

I shot it off the bench with a front rest, no sandbags at 25 yards, slow fire, single loading rounds through the ejector port. I was disappointed by my group but this isn't a target rifle. The lighter 125 gr bullets printed high and left with a POA at 6 o'clock on the small circle.

The .22 group in the black is a warm up group from my SW 17.

I then fired a 5 round group from my 4" Llama to compare to the carbine. I gotta practice more.

Moving out to 50 yards the sights were still printing high. I didn't adjust the sights as I'll wait till I can shoot some 158 gr bullets.

I then shot this 10 shot group at 25 yards, freehand, standing, no sling, rapid fire, the way the carbine was meant to be used. It cycles perfectly, the recoil is negligible and is a pleasure to shoot.

May 28, 2012, 12:59 AM
Notice how much better standing fire pumping was! Adjust those sights after you decide what load you want. A brass drift about 1/2" and an 8 oz hammer while somebody holds onto the unloaded gun should do it!

Old judge creek
May 28, 2012, 02:24 PM
MAN! Congratulations on your find!

Those T-Wolf rifles are hard to find these days.

I was going to suggest that you consider using the iron sights because doing so simply keeps the rifle cleaner for "packing" and the sights work very well for 95% of the work you'd expect the T-Wolf to perform.

Mine wasn't in nearly as good condition as yours but it was a dandy and served me more than well... and then I went to 44 magnum for my serious outdoor excursions (prospecting more often than not).

I'm not sure how many 357 mag Timber-Wolf rifles were brought into the US but several sources I've read insist that there were LESS than 1000 44 magnum rifles brought in. I actually had one in my hands but the seller wanted much more than I was willing to part with to own one.

Aside from the fact that (IMO) the Timber Wolf was a dandy woods rifle, I thought that it's take down features made it a natural for a bug out bag. Even better, the way the receiver was cast, with the mounting rail elevated, you could still use the iron sights when an optic was mounted. In all, it was a very nice piece to have.

I kept it in a zipped bag along with a Taurus M6 22 rifle and a S&W M38

Four Knives
May 28, 2012, 02:34 PM
Cool stuff guys, thanks for posting.

Glad to hear you stuck with the irons.
I understand the utility of a red dot, but I personally loathe the looks of anything electronic on a lever or pump.

May 28, 2012, 02:46 PM
I had mine drilled and tapped to mount a Williams rear peep. The rifle has a lot of accuracy potential and will be well served by a good set of iron or a scope/red dot.

May 28, 2012, 05:39 PM
I've gotten to wondering if one of those receiver/peep aux. rear sights that NECG made to fit Weaver bases, the Ruger, CZ , etc. integral scope mounts would work. Gotta check the Brownell's book again, just to make sure I'm remembering correctly about a Weaver model. IIRC, the Ruger and CZ models are designed to be able to work with the stock front. Kinda in the salty end of the price category, but they make first-rate stuff with elegant designs.

With my now bifocal-clad eyes, it just might help get some of my lost iron sight Mojo back.

Addendum: Appears I was either mistaken about the NECG model for Ruger bases or they're no longer offered. All Brownell's lists now are models for the CZ 550 action, Weaver/Picatinny bases and a nifty looking little clamp-on number for 3/8" .22 RF dovetail bases. Item # for the Weaver model is 661-000-035WB. Before I shell out my $85 though, I'll give Brownell's tech help line a call to see if I'd have to replace the front and/or completely remove the existing open rear to use it.

May 28, 2012, 06:36 PM
I thought about that NECG Weaver peep sight but would need to find a higher front blade.

May 29, 2012, 10:24 AM
That's one of the things I'll want to ask the tech help folks at Brownell's. From what little I've seen in the way of pictures showing an NECG sight mounted on a rifle it appears that the body of the sight is designed so that the aperture assembly actually sits "down" inside the deep, wide center groove of a Weaver-style mount. Whether that design factor and the sight's range of available elevation adjustment would be enough to allow for obtaining a positive zero with the existing front blade at, say, 50 yds with my loads is something I'd like to get their input on before I buy.

Assuming (and yes, I'm aware of the old saw about that word) that the front sight dovetail is of the "standard" nominal dimensions for width at the base and included angle obtaining a replacement of the proper height to compensate should, IMHO, be no problem. There are dozens of options in a wide variety of configurations out there and a DIY installation is entirely feasible if one owns a few basic hand tools and is reasonably familiar with their use.

While I do like the way the stock front sight is set up with the white line in its center, if I had to go to something like a FO bead it wouldn't faze me. The combo of an aperture rear and a FO front has proven to work extremely well for me on several of my other rifles.

Now that bifocals are a necessity for me, an aperture rear with addition of a FO front bead gives me much sharper definition and is faster to acquire a than the same set-up and a "gold" or "ivory" bead. Those differences are even more pronounced when compared to a plain ramped, post or Patridge type front blade. With traditional open irons, adding a FO front bead has made the difference between "can" and "can't" where being able to obtain a decent sight picture is concerned.

From my experience, a call to the extremely savvy tech help folks at Brownell's has saved me a good deal of money and hours of grief and frustration on several projects. They have access to a vast data base of gunsmithing experience from their professional customers and have been able to provide insights and options for alternative solutions that I wouldn't have been aware of otherwise.

May 30, 2012, 01:28 AM
I wish someone would produce something like this again. My ideal would be stainless, synthetic, with ghost ring sights.

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