With Australian gun laws, for the most part, banning self-loading rifles, options for those wanting something ‘close to an AR’ are very limited. Sure, you can spice up a Remington 7615 Pump Action, or drop a bolt gun in a chassis but it still felt a little lacking. Enter Warwick Firearms Australia.
Warwick Firearms Australia, a Melbourne-based, community-orientated firearms manufacturing company, produces several firearms, including what they have dubbed the WFM4 LVC (Low Visibility Carbine). The WFM4 is available in semi-automatic or select fire with a full range of caliber, barrel and hardware options. Sadly, due to legislation, that leaves out a solid 98%+ of Australia’s several million strong licensed firearm owners.
Enter the WFA1
Fortunately, Warwick Firearms Australia launched their flagship civilian-orientated rifle, the WFA1, back in 2015. The WFA1 operates as a spring-assisted straight-pull bolt action rifle, that upon releasing the bolt at the rear of the pull causes the bolt to fly forward and pick up a round from the magazine, similar in style to the Browning Maral. The WFA1 was available in either .223 Wylde or .300 BLK, in a range of colours and options which can still be found on the Warwick Firearms Australia website. Production on the WFA1 has now ceased, with only 400 rifles made.
As you can see, the WFA1 draws its ergonomics and design from the venerable AR-15 rifle. However, the WFA1 is mechanically incapable of semi-automatic, or fully-automatic fire. There are no working parts to facilitate this. The WFA1 uses a proprietary ‘upper’; this means it cannot accept regular AR-15 semi-automatic uppers.
User feedback was generally positive, but complaints about the weight of the rifle (approximately 8.8lbs/4kg) were predominant.
Centre stage – the wfa1 L
Thankfully, Warwick Firearms have listened to the market feedback, and have revealed the next offering in their line up. The WFA1L (L being for ‘Lightened’). Warwick Firearms Australia were kind enough to give me a hands-on of the WFA1L at their factory in Melbourne.
Gone is the quad rail forend, instead replaced with a far more comfortable M-LOK/KeyMod handguard. A lighter, 14-inch barrel profile helps reduce the weight further down to a far more manageable 6.6lbs/3kg. The WFA1L’s updated bolt carrier has been milled out to save weight. A groove has been added to the bolt face to assist with clearing debris. The bolt release has been re-designed to be ambidextrous (much to the delight of southpaw fans of the WFA1). The WFA1L also features printed carbon fibre parts, such as the safety selector and brass deflector. A Titanium Nitrate coating has been applied to the bolt and other working parts.
Warwick Firearms Australia will offer a multitude of Cerakote options for the WFA1L, as well as type III anodizing. So far, the Warwick Firearms Australia WFA1L is offered in the original .223 or 300BLK configurations. Warwick Firearms Australia states that they are working on a replacement bolt and barrel set in .458 SOCOM. Research is being conducted into .224 Valkyrie and 6.5 Grendel options.
What’s next for Warwick firearms Australia?
As an extra teaser of things to come, Warwicks say that a similar .308 Win based platform has finished the first prototype stage. As you can see in the photos below, the forend has gone a different direction compared to the WFA1L.
Warwick Firearms Australia contracts out its manufacturing to local businesses and has built up a positive community around assisting each other. The WFA1L is slotted in for a 9/1/2019 (That’s the first of September for our down-under fans), with an MSRP of AUD$2850.
I’ll definitely be in line to pick up a Warwick Firearms Australia WFA1L, and put it through its paces on both the range and out hunting in the bush. Stay tuned!
For up-to-date updates, follow Warwick Firearms Australia on Facebook here.