column By: Brian Pearce | April, 19
As such, it is easy to understand why it is the world’s most-collected handgun. I am therefore happy to announce that Standard Manufacturing is offering a new Single Action Army pattern sixgun that is of particularly high quality, handsome, accurate and manufactured in the U.S.
Standard Manufacturing is a division of Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Company located in New Britain, Connecticut, and both companies are under the same roof. The company was established in
In July 2018 I had the opportunity to tour this facility. I was extremely impressed with the tooling, skilled craftsman and production capacity, as well as the wide variety of firearms produced. I was also able to put in my two cents’ worth regarding specific features required to make this new sixgun appeal to SAA connoisseurs.
Upon returning home, Standard MFG sent me a “Single Action” (as they call it) with serial No. US7, the third gun produced. As requested, it arrived chambered in .45 Colt with a 4.75-inch barrel and standard blue and case colored finish. Rather than the company’s standard two-piece walnut stocks, the more traditional one-piece walnut was requested.
The barrel is button rifled, straight and beautifully finished and was shiny after firing loads containing cast bullets. It should be noted that some guns will be fitted with high-quality, FN-produced, hammer-forged barrels, but eventually all will be manufactured in-house and button rifled. Chamber throats measured ideally at .452 inch, and each ranges perfectly (using a Brownell’s Range Rod). The barrel is cut with an 11-degree forcing cone.
Timing is good, with the locking bolt dropping perfectly into the bolt notch approaches. Cylinder lockup is tight, with minimal side-play and end-shake, while the barrel/cylinder gap
Early guns are fitted with qualified screws, with the screwhead slots all facing the same direction lengthwise with the gun. This includes the three frame screws, six backstrap and trigger guard screws and the ejector rod housing screw. This is a fairly time-consuming feature to build into all guns, which will be dropped on future production; however, it can be requested by the customer if desired.
Overall fit and finish is outstanding. Each part of the Y assembly that includes the backstrap, trigger guard and frame, are assembled and polished as a single unit, resulting in precise fitting and workmanship reminiscent of prewar Colt quality. The trigger guard features beveled edges and is gracefully rounded. The metal is highly
Many of the fine double guns produced by Connecticut Shotgun bring prices of $25,000 to $100,000 or more. Guns of this quality feature high-grade exhibition walnut. This same wood is finding its way onto the stocks of the Single Action revolver, which further dresses up the gun.
As indicated, the test gun is the third one produced, and it features a rather short trigger and a Colt-style, 1960s-era hammer spur. However, shortly after this revolver was completed, a longer trigger and late
The Standard MFG revolver is an old-style, single action with the hammer placed in the half-cock position for loading and unloading. While it has a so-called safety (or first cock) hammer notch, it should never be relied on as a safety, as a bump to the hammer can cause the revolver to fire. Rather than loading six cartridges, it is advisable to load five, with the empty chamber resting directly under the hammer. The best way to accomplish this is to load one round, skip the next chamber by leaving it empty, then load four cartridges. Next, bring the hammer to full cock and then lower it all the way down. If done correctly, the hammer will rest on the empty chamber. This method has been used since the early days of the Colt SAA and can be accomplished without looking at the gun during loading, nor will it cause the bolt to leave a drag line on the cylinder.
One departure from all Colt SAA revolvers includes the frame and cylinder size. The Standard MFG SA features a cylinder with an outside diameter of 1.670 inches, more or less, while the Colt SAA is about 1.650 inches. The frame shares the same measurement as the Colt SAA from the center of the basepin hole to the axis of the bore. This is significant as it adds .010 inch more steel over the cylinder’s bolt notch, which is the weak link, and effectively doubles the gun’s strength when compared to the Colt. Readers who have seen my articles regarding the now-defunct USFA SAA revolver will recognize that the Standard MFG sixgun shares identical frame and cylinder dimensions. As a result, I recommend .45 Colt loads that duplicate the pressure levels of the .45 ACP +P that is listed with a maximum average pressure of 23,000 psi. (Incidentally, by the time this article is published, Standard MFG will be offering a second single-action revolver with a frame and cylinder [1.650 inches] that is identical in size to the Colt SAA.)
The test revolver was accurate, with select 25-yard groups measuring around one inch. For example, using Hornady’s 225-grain FTX load, the first five shots clustered into .86 inch center to center. Switching to Black Hills’ 250-grain RNFP, groups averaged about 1.5 inches. Buffalo Bore’s 255-grain Standard Pressure Keith load reached 982 fps and was the most potent factory load tried.
Several handloads were also tried. For example, 5.2 grains of Hodgdon Titegroup powder were loaded with Oregon Trail 250-grain RNFP bullets in Starline cases with CCI 300 primers for 731 fps. This load consistently grouped into 1.25 to 1.5 inches. For a bit more power, 7.1 grains of Accurate No. 2 powder were tried with the same bullet, which produced 884 fps and groups under 1.5 inches.
Switching to jacketed bullets, the Speer 250-grain Gold Dot HP (now DeepCurl) was tried with 9.3 grains of Alliant Power Pistol for 899 fps, with the best groups measuring 1.63 inches. The Nosler 250-grain JHP was loaded with the same powder charge, which yielded 922 fps with an impressive .81-inch group, the single-smallest group fired.
The Standard MFG Single Action reviewed here is the base model; however, it is available with factory engraving, various plating options, etc. Soon it will be offered in .44-40 Winchester, .44 Special, .45 ACP and possibly other calibers as demand warrants. I am pleased with the accuracy and overall precision of this U.S.-made sixgun.