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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ruger's Standard Model .22 Automatic Pistol

The Ruger Standard Model Pistol has been a staple of that firm's product line since 1949. Reliable and exceptionally accurate, they are excellent 'working guns' and I've owned a number of them over the years. Back in the 80's, I used to buy up old blue-worn Standard Models cheap; didn't matter whether they were the 4 3/4 or 6 inch version. I'd re-work the triggers and put a stop in them. Then I would clean up the crown and file & drift the OEM sights until they would stay on a D cell battery at 50 yards from the bench.

The end result was a target-grade hunting pistol with a great trigger and indestructible sights that could always be counted upon to work and shoot where it looked. I rebuilt several like that for squirrel hunting buddies around Lexington, MO and a good pile of squirrels lived short lives along the old river bluffs as a result. It was all great fun.

 My ex-brother in law passed away last year. He was a good guy and we stayed on speaking terms even after an unpleasant divorce. A lifelong bachelor, Larry always had a few extra bucks and he accumulated a number of decent guns over the years. Back in the early 70's I was in the height of my gun-swapping and I sold him a few spares when I needed 'fix' money- for whatever 'gotta have it' that caught my eye. Larry hunted, fished and was a favorite uncle of my two sons. When he passed, he left them each several guns and among them was an early 70's Ruger 'Standard' .22 Pistol with a 6" barrel.

Like a lot of folks, my younger son dislikes the 'feel' of these pistols. The Standard’s slick grip straps, and  its Luger-esque grip angle, have long conspired to require extra effort for me to shoot it well. Of course Ruger eventually 'corrected' this with the 22/45 Series and there are aftermarket grips available for older guns like this one. Anyhow he was looking to move it so I gave the old pistol a home... funny thing is that I sold Larry a 6" Ruger 'Standard' .22 about 1975 and he hardly ever sold a good .22 pistol, once he had acquired it. I'm 99% certain this is that very gun.

The first trip out burned about 75 rounds of Federal, 38 grain bulk HP's through it. It fed flawlessly and shooting from the hood of my pickup at 55 yards, the gun proved capable of keeping its shots in 1 1/2 inches at that distance- when I could hold up my end. It did group abut 2" left but this is easily corrected.

 Opportunities to shoot are rare during the firearms deer season, but Thursday held one so I did a little shooting with the old Ruger Standard Automatic. Over the past couple of weeks I scrubbed & oiled the internal mechanism and filed & drifted the fixed sights for a 50 yard zero with Federal bulk-pack HP’s. I raided Ebay for an old set of Pachmayr Signatures, made specifically for the A100 frame.

I only had  a couple of magazines along, but getting some traction on the naked areas of the grip definitely helped. I fired the last five rounds at a 2” target dot at 25 yards, one-hand unsupported. It turned out to be the best group of the day. Now if I could just do this all the time…

But of course I cannot.

Still, the Standard is proving accurate enough to be interesting. I’m convinced that it’s worthy of a Clark trigger and Volquartsen hammer and/or sear. I’ve always had an affinity for informal bullseye shooting and this pistol is only feeding that fire. I believe with a few refinements and a lot more practice, I'll be able to worry that 2" dot with a whole lot more consistency- and become a better pistol shot, in the process.