TRIPLE PLAY: Standard Manufacturing turns three classics into 21st century fun guns.
Standard's take on the SAA was built to endure the test of time.
STANDARD'S SINGLE ACTION, i.e., SA, is a tribute to the Colt SAA. I'm among those who are a bit jaded by the fact that so many modern-made replicas of Colt's legendary wheelguns are not built to the same degree of quality.
I've found that replicas usually have coarse triggers, lackluster fit and finish, and a hammer that cocks back without spelling "C-O-L-T" with each click. Some of the hammers don't have the integral firing pin and rely on a transfer bar safety system instead. Certainly, it's safer to carry a full six rounds in such a gun with a transfer bar system, but I can't help but feel that such guns were designed to be more a novelty or cheap historical souvenir, if you will. That wasn't the case with Standard Manufacturing's new SA sixgun.
The SA boasts neatly diamond-checkered, rosewood-colored grips that features lots of flame and color, and the wood-to-metal fit is absolutely superb.
The carbon-steel frame is said to be given color-case hardening in-house (the old way), which is set off by brilliant bone-and-charcoal bluing. G&A is sample arrived with optional engraving that intricately covered several surfaces with a classic wave motif that spanned the surface of the frame, the left side of the barrel and the ejector rod housing. The cylinder, barrel, triggerguard and ejector rod housing were given a high-polish blue, which contrasts nicely with the color-case-hardened frame assembly and hammer. Like any true-to-form SAA revolver, the sights on Standard's SA were basic. The topstrap was grooved to provide a U-notch rear, while the front sight is the familiar fixed blade.
Beyond the aesthetics, when you study the SA in the hand, you quickly realize that it's very well built. Working the action, timing and lockup are smooth, secure and confidence inspiring. There was no evidence of grit when cocking the hammer or even while operating the ejector rod. Likewise, there are no gaps in the fit of the gun that leave the shooter wondering about build quality.
Standard Manufacturing's SA is a fine tribute to the Colt SAA as it should be. It's a gun that looks the part and should last as well as any other vintage Colt.
"There's nothing held back on these guns," said Louis Frutuoso, president of Standard Manufacturing. "All the parts are machined, and everything is built to a meticulous high standard. We have set out to build the finest single action available at any price."
Frutuoso believes, as do a whole host of SAA fans, that the 1873 remains a solid design that doesn't need many improvements to be a superb revolver. As stated before, there are no transfer bars or external safeties to deactivate prior to sending lead down the bore. And, rightfully so, Standard's first offering in the SA has been chambered in .45 Colt.
The SA Engraved model that G&A was sent for evaluation arrived with a 5 1/2-inch barrel. However, the 4%- and 7 1/2-inch barreled models that are popular configurations with many are also available. With the 5 1/2-inch barrel, the overall length of this revolver measured 11 inches and weighed 36 1/2 ounces while unloaded.
As many readers have experienced, SAA replicas sometimes sport abysmal triggers. A bad trigger tends to make such wheelguns appear inaccurate and less fun to shoot. By contrast, the Standard SA trigger was smooth and precise. On my trigger gauge, it measured an average of 3 3/4 pounds. Such a trigger lends itself to producing good accuracy from a range of 25 yards when shot on a bagged rest. Most groups I've fired averaged near 1 1/2 inches when the shooter did his part.
Despite the SAs 140-year-old grip geometry, Standard's take on the SAA was no worse for managing felt recoil. When shooting slower-moving target loads, I found the Standard SA was a real pleasure to shoot.
The entry level version of this revolver is offered at $1,595. To add engraving and still have a shooter for $2,000 reads like a fair deal, in my opinion. I realize that the SA Engraved is not inexpensive, but for a great looking and functioning gun, it's hard to argue that Standard Manufacturing's SA is worth more than the asking price.
1911 Case Colored #1 Engraved .45 ACP
Vintage treatments make for a contemporary Model 1911.
THERE'S NO GROUP of firearm loyalists as passionate about their favorite pistol as the 1911 fan base. Despite its advanced age, this century-old design remains popular among competition shooters and concealed-carry permit holders, and can still be found on duty with many of America's law enforcement.
Today, however, there appears to be two camps within the aforementioned group of 1911 enthusiasts: Those who like the classic original--with either a blued or Parkerized finish, basic sights and walnut grips--and those who believe that John Browning's most prolific design needs updating to be relevant. Then there is Standard Manufacturing's Case Colored #1 Engraved. This example blends both.
Traditionalists can appreciate Standard's choice of double-diamond, rosewood-colored checkered grips. Like Browning's original, there are only rear slide serrations. Giving the overall pistol a vintage appearance is the bone-and-charcoal, color-case hardening with intricate scroll engraving. (Even the slide stop is given this engraving treatment.) Modernists will like the gun's extended beavertail, wide extended thumb safety and slide stop lever, skeletonized hammer, as well as the lowered and flared ejection port. But there are a lot of features about this gun that everyone can appreciate. For example, the slide-to-frame fit is exceptional. The trigger really is match grade. And if you're interested in the metallurgy of parts, you'll be pleased to know that the frame and slide are machined from 4140 carbon steel and that the barrel and bushing are machined from stainless. Still, it's the color-case hardening that catches the eye.
"I think the 1911 is a great canvas for case coloring," Frutuoso said. To that, I must agree. While it's not exactly a traditional 1911 finish, it's striking and evokes thoughts of the era that the original Colt 1911 spawned from. The mainspring housing is also classically checkered, but the frontstrap is not.
As far as sights, this area received the modern treatment. Standard Manufacturing elected to install drift-adjustable dovetail black-on-black sights at the front and rear. From the shooter's perspective, both have been given horizontal striations to kill glare and improve contrast when aligning them. Further, the rear sight is a Novak LoMount with a front ledge design for one-handed racking of the slide. Together, these sights are a functional enhancement to an otherwise classy pistol.
Given that this pistol costs just shy of two grand, I believe that Standard Manufacturing configured a smart contemporary to the 107-year-old semiauto. Serious shooters are not going to want rudimentary irons, hammer bite or a loose fitting slide and barrel.
Is the Standard a shooter? Yes, it is. From 25 yards off the bench, it produced some admirable results with an array of ammunition. And it did not have a single feeding, extraction or ejection malfunction. Its favorite fodder was Winchester's 160-grain Super Clean zinc-core load, and the pistol clustered five shots just under an inch with that particular ammunition.
All the loads tested--including target and defensive loads--produced groups that averaged sub-1 1/2 inches, which is exceptional performance in a 1911 running on off-the-shelf ammunition.
Standard's combination of quality machined components, a smooth and precise trigger and attention to detail make this #1 more than just a handsome .45 under glass in a gun store. It shoots good, too.
1922 Semi-Automatic .22-Caliber Tommy Gun
High-volume plinking fun.
IT'S ABOUT HALF the scale of a real Thompson Model 1921 submachine gun that it mimics. If you've ever shot an original "Tommy Gun" or owned one of Auto-Ordnance's M1927A1 semiautos, it could be argued that the best reason to own one that fires .22LR is that it doesn't require a fortune to shoot. It's all about having fun--and what fun it is.
There are other benefits to owning a Standard Manufacturing Model 1922, as well. For example, the receiver is made from aluminum, which means that there is considerable weight savings as compared to a similarly configured ,45-caliber Tommy Gun. (The last we checked, an M1928A1 or semiauto from Auto Ordnance averaged near 11 pounds. This scaled-down rimfire weighs half of those, which makes it more endearing to shoot.
Different, also, is that the Standard Manufacturing 1922 operates using a blowback action that contains a semicircular bolt. There is a large extractor and fixed ejector. Since rimfire ammunition varies greatly in pressures and velocities, building a gun that effectively cycles a range of ammunition deserves credit be given to engineering, especially when having to work another firearm's appearance and ergonomics. In our hands, this .22 Tommy ate everything it was fed from both the 10-round stick magazine or optional 50-round drum magazine.
Predictably, Standard's 1922 worked with standard and high-velocity loads. The real challenge was the lower-velocity benchrest loads that don't break 1,000 feet per second (fps). If a gun cycles light target loads--in my case Lapua and Eley's match loads--it will cycle anything found in a gun store.
The Thompson's design is actually comfortable and stable to shoot. It helps to have the front, grooved vertical pistol grip that compliments the rear. Naturally, the furniture on these are shaped walnut.
If you're unfamiliar with the Tommy Gun's controls, take a few minutes to read the owner's manual. Once you understand the safety and magazine release, you'll find this plinker to be very intuitive to operate. The bolt handle is positioned at the top of the receiver and the knurled knob has a cutout so it doesn't obscure the sights. The three-position safety is located on the left side of the receiver and it moves vertically to cycle from safe to fire to lock positions.
With the lock mechanism engaged and the bolt held open, you can remove or insert either the stick or drum magazines --but there's a trick to that as well.
A magazine lock lever is located on the left side of the receiver just ahead of the triggerguard, and when the lever is rotated completely downward to the vertical position, the magazine is locked in place. Rotate the lever 90 degrees to the horizontal and the magazine slips to the left out of the gun. Magazines are held in place by an extension that fits into a cutout in the rifle so that there's no chance they'll loosen. With a full magazine in place, you can pull back on the bolt handle and release to chamber a round. Now, you're ready to fire.
The trigger was good but heavier than expected at 5.2 pounds. Also good, if not surprising, was its accuracy. Limited to iron sights at 50 yards, groups averaged at or less than 2 inches!
While this country may have moved past the periods of frontier expansion, Prohibition, as well as wars in Europe and the Pacific, these three new offerings from Standard Manufacturing still deserves a place in the heart of America's shooting public--and in your gun safe.
PHOTOS BY MARK FINGAR
Standard Manufacturing SA Revolver Engraved Type: Single action, revolver Cartridge: .45 Colt Capacity: 6 Barrel: 5 1/2 in. (as tested) Overall Length: 11 in. Width: 1 3/4 in. Height: 5 1/2 in. Weight: 2 lbs., 4.5 oz. Finish: Bone-and-charcoal, color-case hardened; blued Sights: Fixed blade (front); U-notch (rear) Trigger: 3 lbs., 12 oz. MSRP: $2,000 Manufacturer: Standard Manufacturing Co., LLC, 860-225-6581, stdgun.com PERFORMANCE BEST AVG. VEL. GROUP GROUP LOAD (FPS) ES SD (IN.) (IN.) Hornady LeverEvo. 225-gr. FTX 866 32 1.60 1.85 Federal Champion 225-gr. SWHP 765 41 15 1.64 1.76 American Eagle 225-gr. JSP 791 48 15 1.94 2.10 Notes: Accuracy results are the average of five, five-shot groups at 25 yards from a fixed rest. Velocity is the average of 10 shots recorded by a Shooting Chrony digital chronograph placed 10 feet in front of the muzzle. Standard Manufacturing 1911 Case Colored #1 Engraved Type: Recoil operated, semiautomatic Cartridge: .45 ACP Capacity: 7+1 rds. Barrel: 5 in. Overall Length: 8.625 in. Width: 1.375 in. Height: 5.5 in. Weight: 2 lbs., 8.6 oz. Finish: Case color (hardened); engraved Sights: Post, serrated (front): Novak LoMount, U-notch, drift-adj. (rear) Trigger: 3 lbs., 12 oz. MSRP: $1,900 Manufacturer: Standard Manufacturing Co. LLC, 860-225-6581, stdgun.com PERFORMANCE BEST AVG. VEL. GROUP GROUP LOAD (FPS) ES SD (IN.) (IN.) Winchester Super Clean 1,016 39 14 .92 1.18 160-gr. FMJ Hornady Crit. Defense 927 30 10 1.14 1.22 185-gr. FTX Remington 230-gr. FMJ 794 37 14 1.19 1.30 Barnes TAC-XPD 185-gr. JHP 903 36 12 1.24 1.40 SIG Sauer V-Crown 200-gr. JHP 872 29 9 1.25 1.45 Notes: Accuracy results are the average of five, five-shot groups at 25 yards from a fixed rest. Velocity is the average of 10 shots recorded by a Shooting Chrony digital chronograph placed 10 feet in front of the muzzle. Standard Manufacturing 1922 Semi-Automatic .22-Caliber Tommy Gun Type: Blowback operated, semiautomatic Cartridge: .22LR Capacity: 10+1 rds. (stick); 50+1 rds. (drum) Barrel: 16.5 in. Overall Length: 34.5 in. Weight: 4 lbs., 12 oz. (w/ 10-rd. magazine); 5 lbs., 11 oz. (w/ 50-rd. drum magazine) Finish: Matte black Sights: Blade, fixed (front); aperture, adj. (rear) Trigger: 5 lbs., 4 oz. MSRP: $1,100 (w/ stick magazine), $ 1,450 (w/ drum ana stick magazine) Manufacturer: Standard Manufacturing Co., LLC, 860-225-0581, stdgun.com, PERFORMANCE BEST AVG. VEL. GROUP GROUP LOAD (FPS) ES SD (IN.) (IN.) Lapua Midas+ 40-gr. LRN 998 11 7 1.35 1.52 Federal Hunter Match 40-gr. LHP 1,130 21 11 1.55 1.84 Remington Club Xtra 40-gr. LRN 979 15 8 1.55 1.80 Fed. Gold Medal Target 40-gr. LRN 1,084 16 9 1.59 1.79 CCI Velocitor 40-gr. LHP 1,265 32 15 1.86 2.08 Notes: Accuracy results are the average of five, five-shot groups at 50 yards from a fixed rest. Velocity is the average of 10 shots recorded by a Shooting Chrony digital chronograph placed 10 feet in front of the muzzle.