Not a Sako, but too cool not to share

Discussion in 'General Sako Discussions' started by icebear, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Apart from collecting and shooting Sakos, I have a thing for .22's. Rifles, pistols, revolvers, single shots, semiautos - you name it. So I was at a local show and found this little gem. It is a custom High Standard Supermatic Trophy customized by John Giles, a Florida gun builder who was a contemporary of Jim Clark. While little known today, he had quite a well-deserved reputation in his time. He specialized in competitive 1911's with a sideline in High Standard .22's.


    The old-style Colt and High Standard .22 semiautos shared a problem when you were going for maximum accuracy. The design was such that the normal position for the rear sight was on the slide - which, of course, led to some slight inconsistency in sight position. Nothing huge, but competitive target shooters are always looking for the slightest edge. Anyway, there are three possible solutions:
    1. Put the sight on a rib, like a High Standard Victor. A bit more awkward to cock, but not too bad.
    2. Put the sight on a bridge, like the High Standard Citation. Less expensive than a rib, but a real PITA to rack the slide.
    3. If the barrel is long enough, put the sight on the barrel, as on the High Standard 8" and 10" "Space Guns."
    plus the obvious alternative:
    4. Do nothing and live with it, like the Colt Woodsman Match Target.

    Giles favored the rib. This pistol resembles the rare and highly sought-after slant-grip High Standard Victor in appearance and handling. The barrel, however, is slab-sided with a distinct, rounded taper toward the muzzle. Balance feels neutral, maybe a tiny bit muzzle-heavy. Trigger pull is a perfect 1 pound, 6 ounces with no creep or overtravel. Giles supposedly guaranteed 1/2 MOA accuracy from this model. I can't shoot well enough to test that claim, but I'm looking forward to test firing it. I'll never be a competitive target shooter, but I enjoy shooting .22 target pistols. I generally prefer the slant grip, but I do have a Victor with the military grip (same angle as a 1911).

    The photos exaggerate the wear and scratches on the gun. The edge highlights are from reflections, not edge wear.
    Giles Custom 1.JPG Giles Custom 2.JPG Giles Custom 3.JPG
     

  2. Malcolm B

    Malcolm B Member

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    I think you have a really nice pistol there. I’m sure it is capable of the 1/2” groups. Congratulations on a nice find.
     
  3. kevinlg

    kevinlg Well-Known Member

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    Have always liked target pistols, revolvers, etc. Started my pistolsmithing hobby with them.....back in the 70's.

    M41, M52, Gold Cups, Victors, Supermatic Trophys, etc.

    Heck.....I even used to be able to shoot them. :)

    Here's one I built around 1980.
    (Kart said their units were capable of 5/8" groups of ten shots, at 50 yards from a Ransom Rest.)

    [​IMG]
     
  4. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    It's been a long time since I've seen a Kart setup like that - or even heard the name Kart.
     
  5. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Took the Giles custom High Standard to the range today. It was accurate and reliable with several brands of ammo, and the nice sights and perfect trigger made it a real pleasure to shoot. Also shot my H-S Space Gun with a SIG red dot sight on it. What a hoot! It's dead accurate and the red dot makes it easy to put all the bullets in one ragged hole. I got it cheap because the Weaver rail installation had destroyed the collector value.
    Space Gun 1.JPG
     
  6. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    I used to have a High Standard Victor and a S&W 41, but eventually lost interest (to further Sako acquisitions) and sold them. I liked the more vertical grip angle of the High Standard which allows a more natural position of the wrist when shooting -- much like the Bisley grip found on some single action revolvers.

    These days a Browning Buckmark fills my .22 auto utility needs, while my son has his grandfather's Colt Woodsman. Both are reliable and amply accurate for everything other than competition shooting. But a pre-72 Ruger Bearcat I picked up a few years ago is even better due to its compactness an utility for things like rat shot and sub-velocity ammunition (much quieter and less hazardous when you have to dispatch a racoon attempting to take up residence in your garage.)
     
  7. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    I have a thing for .22's, and especially .22 pistols. I just enjoy handling and shooting the little things. The High Standard "Han Solo Blaster" is just a ton of fun to shoot. I still have my Victor, which I bought 40 years ago for $175 (a bargain even then). Back about 20 years ago I had an extra barrel made for it, a 5-1/2" bull barrel with a Weaver rail on it. I've had all kinds of red dots and scopes on it, but I finally settled on a 2x Leupold, which seems just right for the gun. The barrel was made by a long-gone outfit called Green Frog Barrel Company in Northern Virginia. The good thing is that with the High Standard interchangeable barrel system, I can go back to the standard configuration any time I want. The other advantage of the H-S system over a Colt Woodsman is that it makes it much easier to clean or work on the gun. You have to clean a Woodsman from the muzzle or with a pull-through; with a High Standard you just pull the barrel. A Woodsman is a nightmare to work on, especially the later models. You have to take half the gun apart to remove the slide. There's some kind of extra gizmo in there that was inserted at the behest of the U.S. Marine Corps that makes it even harder to reassemble. I once had to change the springs on a Woodsman and I hope to never do it again. As much as I revere the Woodsman for its classic status (I have two, a Target and a Match Target), the High Standard is a better gun.

    I don't have a strong preference between the 1911 grip angle and the slant grip on the older High Standard guns. My first handgun was a Ruger Standard Model, so I got used to the slant grip and I'm happy shooting either style. By the way, the Victor was originally built with a slant grip, but very few were made before H-S switched over to the "military" grip. A slant grip Victor is now a valuable collector's item, worth a substantial premium over the later style. The Giles custom is very similar in appearance and handling to a slant-grip Victor, but I believe Giles built his customs before the Victor came out.

    I very much agree with the utility of a compact .22 revolver for dispatching rats, plinking with shorts and CB caps, etc. I fill that niche with a Smith & Wesson Model 63 Stainless Kit Gun. I've had three of these; for some reason I would buy one, keep it a while, then decide I didn't need it and sell it. This one I'm hanging on to. I found it at a gun show at a price well under market, and decided it had my name on it. I wish I still had my second one. It was a custom run for some distributor or shop, with a 3" heavy barrel, Pachmayr grips, and a smooth combat trigger. Never should have let that one out of my sight.

    High Standard Victor with custom barrel and scope.
    Victor-1.JPG

    Colt Woodsman Target and Match Target (with custom grips). Both are Second Series, with the 1911-style magazine release.
    Woodsman Pair 1.JPG

    Ruger Standard Model with Micro aftermarket sights and tulipwood grips. This is an original from the 1970's, complete with the frustrating 9-round magazine (later models hold 10).
    STD-1.JPG

    Smith & Wesson Model 63 Stainless Kit Gun. Grips are made in the Philippines of some exotic tropical wood.
    M63-1.JPG
     
  8. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    I have always and still do admire the Colt Woodsman. I came real close to collecting them, but since I was already into Browning Superposed, I decided to acquire the Browning Challengers. Here's a couple you might like. The Goldlines have a unique success story. They were introduced in 1962 and sales were a failure. Most were returned to Browning by dealers because the public thought that at $197 it was too expensive. For perspective, the standard grade Challenger was $65 and a Safari rifle was $180 or so. Browning sit on the returned Goldline 22's until 1969 and reissued them to dealers at $254. They sold quickly, partly because sales were so low at release, they stopped production at 146 pistols with the 6" barrel. The pistols quickly disappeared into collector's safes. There is even fewer Goldline 9mm Hi-Powers and it is said that most encountered are reproductions. I'm still looking for that elusive 28 ga. Goldline Superposed Superlight. With less than 10 made, I'll probably never find one.

    Browning Challenger Goldline 22.JPG Browning Challenger Renaissance 22.JPG
     
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  9. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    That Goldline is a really impressive piece, conservatively done and in excellent taste. I like it much better than the Renaissance grade gun in the lower photo, which is way too ornate for my taste. Congratulations on having a rare and desirable handgun. Do you shoot the Goldline?

    I have read in online sources that the Challenger is basically a Woodsman with a few minor changes. It certainly looks that way from the outside. As a Browning collector, what say you?
     
  10. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    Well since the Colt Woodsman is a John Browning design, most Browning collectors think the Woodsman is basically a Challenger. :) They have identical frames. I don't known about the parts and pieces because I've never had ANY trouble with the ones I shoot, so I've never tore into one for the fun of it or to study it. I don't shoot my graded pistols. I do shoot standard grades. I like the Goldline the most also. Browning has written that Goldline engraving is reserved for the top engravers in their custom shop, and have made statements that the lack of game scenes or scroll to cover mistakes is the main reason Goldline work requires the top masters. Brownings method of goldline is, gold wire is hammered into a groove cut in the metal. When you touch it you cannot feel it.
     
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  11. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    While we're on this subject: The Browning Buckmark I mentioned is marked "Made in USA". Does anyone have any idea who made it?
     
  12. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if they still do, but Arms Technology in Salt lake used to make the Buckmark.
     
  13. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie Formerly known as bloorooster

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    While I don’t own any vintage.22 pistols any more, I do enjoy plinking and small game hunting with rimfire pistols. Used to have a Red Label Ruger , long ago, it was a fun gun.
    Now days I use the Kimber .22 conversion kit. It has a match grade barrel and adjustable target sights. It shoots like a rifle at 25 yards. 8944B368-3825-41A1-85B4-A392A2642818.jpeg

    Not as sweet as a Colt Woodsman or High Standard, but very fun to hunt squirrels with!

    Bloo
     
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  14. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Thanks for the enlightenment. I never heard of that company, but the Buckmark seems to be a well-designed and well-made handgun. Being in Salt Lake, I wonder if the company is somehow associated with the Browning company (which is now owned by FN if I'm current).

    Edit, here's what I found on Arms Technology, Inc.:
    Arms Technology Inc operates out of Utah and according to the NSSF graphic, Arms Technology mostly produces pistols – more than 35,000 Arms Technology pistols to be exact. As to what the models are called and their prices is anyone’s guess. When Guns.com contacted a company spokesman he told us that he could not reveal what products or brand that Arms Technology Inc manufactures.
     
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  15. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    A .22 caliber 1911 is a lot of fun to shoot and can be quite accurate. I have a Colt conversion unit that sat on my Gold Cup for years until I finally decided it deserved its very own frame, so I picked up an old target gun on a Caspian frame and fitted the lower to the Colt kit. Colt is now marketing a ".22 Gold Cup" made by Walther. It isn't really a Gold Cup and it isn't really made by Walther. It's made by Walther's parent company, Umarex - an airgun maker that bought the Walther company several years ago. Umarex makes a lot of the .22 clones of military-style semiautos. The "Gold Cup" is accurate enough, but the trigger is God-awful and parts don't interchange with a real 1911. I've improved the trigger on mine, but I'm going to sell it and an Umarex-made PPK/S the next time I have a gun show table.
     
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  16. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    This ownership/holding company/ parent company thing in the firearms world is enough to make my head spin. Didn't Walther buy S&W and didn't S&W own TC, which they recently announced they were divesting all interest in. CZ just acquired Colt, but Walther is making a Colt "22 Gold Cup"? I also heard the rumor that Ruger may buy TC from S&W. Seems Herstal, Umarex, CZ & Beretta will be making everything before long. Bean counters at holding companies will be deciding what is on the market soon. Future looks bleak!
     
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  17. Old Hippie

    Old Hippie Formerly known as bloorooster

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    Umarex eh? That is thought provoking…but , I suppose if Singer was able to make 1911’s … anything is possible.
    Bloo
     
  18. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Don't forget that General Motors made M1 Carbines, and Smith-Corona made Springfields. There are more such unlikely companies that a dedicated fan of military arms might name.

    By the way, Iver Johnson probably made more revenue off of bicycles than guns. A hundred years ago gun shops were frequently also in the bicycle business, too. My wife's grand and great-grandfather had a shop that sold (and made) guns, ammunition, bicycles, and Victrolas. How those old guys who never used ear protection could even hear a Victrola would seem a mystery.
     

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