Index Home About Blog
From: Doug White <>
Subject: Re: advice on 22 autoloading handguns
Organization: MIT Lincoln Laboratory

In article <>, <>

# writes...
# (Ken Leung) writes:
# ##Another good choice are the Mitchell Arms are producing the High Standards
# ##.22 pistols again, and the High Standards is another good choice, but I
# ##don't know how good are the Mitchell Arms copy.
# #In one word: BAD. Do avoid them. The original High Standards were much
# #better in their time. If you can get a used one, that might be a fine buy.
# What is wrong with the Mitchells?

The ones I've seen don't have any detents on the rear sight adjusting screws
(contrary to their literature), and the screws look pretty coarse compared
to the threads on a 'real' High Standard.  They clearly expect everyone to
dash out and buy an electronic sight and scrap the iron sights.  The only
problem is if you want to shoot UIT, you're screwed (so to speak).

The other problem is that they apparently have a feeding problem.  This has
been 'solved' at the factory by grinding a radius at the bottom rear edge
of the chamber (sort of like the feed ramp on a .45).  The problem with this
is that your cases come out severly bulged in this area, because they're
unsupported.  I've had enough cases split in a properly made chamber over
the years that I am very nervous about this.  I was in a gunshop where
someone had brought back a Mitchell for this reason, only to discover that
they were ALL like that.  He was not amused.

Doug White
Satellite Communications Technology Group
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
244 Wood St.
Lexington, MA  02173-9108

From: Doug White <>
Subject: Re: Recomm for a smallbore target pistol
Organization: MIT Lincoln Laboratory

As a rabid fan of High Standard pistols (REAL ones, NOT Mitchells), I would
like to add to the fray.  There are also several comments I would like to
make about barrel length and trigger-pull terminology.

The real High Standard pistols are back in production (email me if you haven't
seen my earlier postings).  I have no first hand info yet, but all reports
are that they are every bit as good as the old ones, and with the aid of
more modern manufacturing processes, probably better.  They are less expensive
(in blued steel) than Mitchell's equivalent SS models, and have REAL sights.
The Victor (my favorite) is considerably less expensive than a Model 41, and
IMHO a much better pistol (YMMV).  The grip is much more like that on a .45,
and they are much less picky about ammo.  I had a 41 years ago and sold it to
buy a Victor, a move I don't regret for a second.  The fit and finish aren't
as spiffy as on a Smith, but it's a much simpler, more reliable, design.
I teach pistol classes with Model 41's at MIT, and we have a great deal of
trouble getting an entire class through a string of timed fire without someone
having gun trouble.  The 41's have seen a LOT of abuse, but the High Standards
MIT had in the '70's saw just as much, and held up much better.  They are
every bit as accurate as a 41, and the balance of the Victor is quite
similar to the bull barrel 41.  Although many people will claim otherwise,
I think the HS Victor is every bit as good a pistol as a Walther GSP,
Domino, Unique, Hammerli, etc. and for a LOT less money.  The High Standards
are more than capable of shooting a 300 in Standard Pistol, or NRA bullseye.
Whether or not you can do it depends much more on you, and how well a
particular pistol suits you.  Modern manufacturing makes most good target
pistols fairly indistinguishable from a rest.  The trick is finding a pistol
who's grip, balance, trigger, and sights make it easy for you to approach
the pistols basic accuracy.  This largly boils down to personal preference.

There have been several questions about barrel length.  If you want to shoot
UIT, you can't shoot anything longer than 15 cm (about 5 1/2").  All of
the typical 'bull' barrels meet this requirement.  A longer barrel doesn't
necessarily mean better accuracy, but it does mean a longer (and more precise)
sight radius.  Unfortunately, many people find that the apparent motion of a
long sight radius is distracting.  Your angular error is the same, but it
LOOKS worse.  Putting more mass at the end of the muzzle increases the
angular inertia of the pistol, which can help to reduce muzzle swing.  Of
course, this also affects the balance and 'feel' of the pistol.

Concerning trigger terminology:  There is a lot of confusion in this area,
and I've heard many experienced shooters use the same terms to describe
different things.  Most US target pistol triggers have 2 distinct 'stages'.
There is some 'slack' at the begiining, which is a light pull, frequently
with a fair amount of travel.  Then the trigger stops, and the pull
increases abruptly.  As the pressure is increased, there is no significant
motion.  When the release pressure is reached, the trigger 'breaks', and
the gun fires.  The trigger will move slightly at this point, and the
'overtravel' is frequently limited by a screw.  The other style of trigger
pull usually starts with the same 'slack', but once that is taken up,
the trigger moves (sometimes quite a bit) as the pressure is increased.
This is what I call a 'rollover' trigger pull.  I think some european
shooters call this a 'two stage' trigger pull, which can be confused with
what most US shooters call the first type.  The 2nd stage of a rollover
trigger pull should be smooth.  The term 'creep' is usually used to describe
a roughness in the motion of the trigger, and it can be very distracting.
I find it easiest to get a 'surprise shot' (the holy grail of top notch
pistol shooters) with the breaking trigger, with no discernable travel in
the 2nd stage.  Many top shooters prefer the 'rollover' trigger, and most
european guns come set up this way.  The better guns all have several
screws to adjust the amount of 'slack' (sometimes called 'takeup'), trigger
weight ('pull'), and aftertravel.  Many can be adjusted for the amount of
2nd stage motion before firing, others take some cafeful work by a gunsmith
to adjust.  The one other thing you may run into in a trigger is 'play'.
This is used to describe a side-to-side looseness in the trigger.  This
indicates worn or cheap parts.  I have heard that the factory aluminum
triggers on Rugers are prone to this, which is why every serious Ruger
shooter I know has had a 'trigger job' done.  This invariably involves putting
in an after-market steel trigger.

Doug White
MIT Lincoln Laboratory

From: (Doug White)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: .22 target pistol?????
Date: 12 Feb 1998 08:39:55 -0500

In article <6bsv0i$rp7$>, S35Tac <> wrote:

#The service and support from High Standard has been nothing short of
#exemplary and the quality and accuracy of my Victor has been nothing
#short of amazing.  I've got nothing but praise for the new High Standards
#and concur with Doug's assessment.
#Anyone can trash HS, Ruger, S&W, or Browning on just about any fault; and
#they all have them to one degree or another.  But regardless of the
#'consensus' of opinion, the fact of the matter is that they're still in
#business and that speaks volumes about the 'consensus.'
#To me, the term 'consensus' is a lot like watercooler surveys...only the
#disgruntled speak up and not accurately reflecting the silent majority of

There are problems that can arise with any new firearm, and High
Standard's are no exception.  I've talked to the folks at the new factory
severla times and have been very impressed with their eagerness to 'make
things right'.

I suspect a lot of the bad press High Standard has received is the result
of several issues:

1) The Mitchell/Stoeger/Higher Standard clones are junk.  Many people
have bad-mouthed High Standard for pistols they never made.  If it's
stainless steel, it isn't a true High Standard.

2) The first production pistols from the new factory had some problems.
Most of these were the normal 'teething' problems of getting a new
factory on-line and getting all of their parts vendors up to snuff.  I
know that they had problems with their magazine vendor and their firing
pin vendor.  These have been corrected.  The first guns also had some
cosmetic problems.  Some of this was a problem with the blueing process
not working well with the heat treated frames, resulting in a
brown/purple finish.  I think this has also been taken care of.

3) The new High Standards have a MUCH tighter fit between the slide &
frame than the old ones.  They tell you up front to run 500 rounds of
high velocity ammo through them to break them in.  Many people ignor this
and then complain when the gun doesn't function reliably out of the box.

4) High Standard magazines ARE a little fussy.  There is no feed ramp to
guide the cartridges into the chamber, and they use a tight chamber to
boot.  The magazine feed lips have to provide just the right amount of
drag to avoid having the bullet nose hit too high or too low going into
the chamber.  If you abuse your magazines, or even swap them between
different guns, you can have problems.  Once set up properly, they will
work flawlessly for decades.

I don't know much about the Buckmarks, but I've never heard of a Ruger
that didn't need a trigger job before it was really ready for
competition.  The sights & grips S&W is putting on the new Model 41's are
also a big step backward.  Nothing is perfect, but I'm still a High
Standard fan.  If you don't want one that will eventually have a crack in
the frame, and that looks like the innerds were hewn out with an axe,
you are better off getting one of the new ones.

There is a big mystique built up around the old High Standards.
Depending on when & where they were made, a lot of them were junk.  I got
a good deal on one because the hole for the takedown plunger had been
drilled right through into the trigger area.  The plunger spring was
pushing on the trigger, resulting in an absolutely awful trigger pull.  A
gun dealer in CA received one in the early 80's (just before they went
belly up the first time) with the barrel on backwards!  There was a
chamber under the front sight, and the breech was neatly crowned.  This
coming from a company that swore they test fired every pistol that left
factory.  Yeah, right!

Doug White

Index Home About Blog