POTD: Because He Could – Wilfred Ellis Fort Ellis XR86 Experimental Rifle


POTD: Because He Could – Wilfred Ellis Fort Ellis XR86 Experimental Rifle

Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have an absolute Frankenstein Monster. This is an Experimental Wilfred Ellis Fort Ellis XR86 Rifle. This was made by Wilfred Ellis who was an ordinary home gunsmith of the master class. This was, unfortunately (for history) just a project. It had no further iteration or considerations beyond this rifle; it was just for fun. The Fort Ellis XR86 was manufactured by Mr. Ellis in 1986. It was an obvious mishmash of military-style rifles. starting at the muzzle we have an M60 flash hider, an M14 gas system, the charging handle is an AR15 trigger welded to an operating rod, the trigger is a double action trigger from either a revolver or a 1911 style pistol, and the grip and stock are from an M16. Allegedly Mr. Ellis put 900 or so rounds through this before he began having any malfunctions.

“Designed and manufactured in 1986 by Wilfred Ellis at his home shop commonly referred to by him as Fort Ellis. Ellis was a career police officer and master gunsmith from Abington, Pennsylvania. This truly unique rifle features components from a number of different firearms including the AR15 and M14. Manufactured without sights and with M60 style slotted flash hider, M14 type gas piston assembly, vented round steel handguard, AR15 style barrel nut, fixed Picatinny rail carry handle, right side charging handle (fabricated from an AR15 trigger), AR15 style bolt carrier group, magazine well marked “CAL 5.56M/M FORT ELLIS/ABINGTON PA 3-15/1986/XR86 NO.0001″ checkered M16 style pistol grip, wide trigger designed for 1911 double action conversions, and fixed buttstock with AR15 style buffer tube. The operation is similar to that of an AR15 type rifle except rotated 90 degrees clockwise. With round feeding from the left, and spent cartridges ejected from the bottom, and the trigger engaging the sear via a transverse transfer bar.”


Lot 786: Rare Wilfred Ellis ‘Fort Ellis’ XR86 Experimental Rifle – Rare Wilfred Ellis “Fort Ellis” XR86 Experimental Semi-Automatic Rifle. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/75/786/rare-wilfred-ellis-fort-ellis-xr86-experimental-rifle.

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Writer | TheFirearmBlog Writer | AllOutdoor.com Instagram | sfsgunsmith Old soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.

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