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's 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 5½-inch barrel. However, the 4¾- and 7½-inch barreled models that are popular configurations with many are also available. With the 51/2-inch barrel, the overall length of this revolver measured 11 inches and weighed 36½ 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 3¾ 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 1½ inches when the shooter did his part.
Despite the SA's 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.