After playing with my newly-aquired High Standard Duramatic for a week, I was both impressed with the quality of what was sold as a budget .22 and very interested in finding one of their competition guns. Prices for the Victors and 10X guns, which were High Standard's best and most accurate, run $800-$1,200 and more, with especially collectable models going for several thousands of dollars, but the various Supermatics are very affordable.
There were so many different High Standard models it's sometimes hard to keep track. Add to that the evolution of the designs over 30 years and it gets even more confusing, but this is an (over) simplified and incomplete list of models that probably misses number of details:
1. Top level competition guns: Victor, 10x, Olympic.
2. Competition guns: Supermatic Tournament, Supermatic Citation, and Supermatic Trophy.
3. Fixed sight guns: Sharpshooter, Field King and Sport King
4. Budget model: Duramatic
HS produced several successive generations of guns between the 50s and the 80s, ranging from the "Letter" models, through the numbered series (101 through 104, 106, and 107) and finally the SH series, the last series made, and the basis of the contemporary High Standards. The earliest guns used a hammer action; later guns use a striker mechanism. Guns through the 105 series have a more angled grip, similar to the Ruger Mark guns. The 106, 107, and SH series guns use the so-called "Military" grip that matches the 1911 in angle. The Olympic was a Supermatic version designed for Olympic rapid fire competition that was chambered for the .22 Short cartridge and had a muzzle brake.
This particular gun is a 107 Series, made in 1980, according to the records. It's in exceptional condition, with almost 100% of its blue and only a few nicks and scratches. The two stage trigger breaks cleanly, with just a minuscule amount of creep that could probably be eliminated by a good gunsmith or perhaps better lubrication. There's too much over travel in the trigger, too; there's a screw in the trigger to limit that, but it looks like it hasn't been adjusted by the previous owner:
One thing I like about older guns is the amount of visible hand work of the sort that's just about unaffordable these days in factory guns. Take a look at the stippling on the front of the grip:
That's done with a hammer and a punch, and it takes time. There is similar stippling on the rear of the grip. Everything about this gun tells you it was made by gunsmiths, not just machine operators.
The sights are the best iron sights on any gun I've ever owned- sharp edges, perfectly square, and sized so you get a narrow band of light either side of the front post that makes it easier to center. I took the gun to my club's indoor range, and got these results with Aguila Pistol Match shooting two handed, resting my arms on my shooting bag:
That's with the gun right out of the box, as I bought it. It probably hadn't been fired in years, from the looks of it. My offhand shooting was not quite as good ;-)
Real bullseye shooters will not be impressed, but me, I'm thrilled that I got five out of ten in the black. Besides having a pretty wide wobble, I'm obviously pulling the trigger too hard; over travel adjustment should help that. Next step is to do a proper clean and lube, and mount a red dot sight to accommodate
Update: I took it to the range again, after some air pistol practice at home, and shot much better with it, getting all my shots in the black. Surprisingly (or perhaps not) I shot it better with the stock iron sights than I shot my tuned and customized Ruger Hunter (which sports a Volquartsen trigger, Clark hammer, and Herrett target grips). I think the Ruger might go up for sale soon.