S&W Model 41 or High Standard "Victor"?


January 15, 2009, 01:26 PM
Which one of these would you say is a better gun and why?

Smith and Wesson Model 41


High Standard 1970's "Victor" model

(Both Brand new and cost not an issue...)

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January 15, 2009, 02:01 PM
Try posting it in the "autoloading handguns" section.

January 15, 2009, 02:31 PM
The High Standard is no longer available new, unless you make a very lucky find. The last one I saw was about 45 years ago. There are no flies on the S&W and it has the advantage of being able to change out barrel/sight unit in a matter of seconds. I'll stick with my S&W!

January 15, 2009, 03:03 PM
Never had a Victor, but I like my High Standards.:)
American made hand fitted craftsmanship from a bygone era.

Jim K
January 15, 2009, 03:55 PM
I will vote for the S&W for several reasons, mainly because I prefer the "feel", but the H-S is one of the best.

On dollar value, that depends in part on which of the four Victor-named pistols you have. There were three Victor models from the old H-S and one (I think currently in production and obviously not 1970's) from the new company.


January 15, 2009, 04:01 PM
High Standard, hands down, all the way, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Get it NOW before someone who knows what it is, gets it first. You can get a 41 whenever you want, but not a good Victor.

I shot both of those guns side by side a couple of weeks ago. I just joined a local club with a Thursday night bullseye pistol league, so some of the old guys have range boxes full of incredible equipment. They really get into it, and they sure can shoot!

The 41 is a great gun, but the trigger feels like a Heritage Rough Rider by comparison to the HS, and the HS I tried had an untouched factory trigger.

This HS had the big rest on the bottom of the grip for one-handed bullseye match shooting, as did the 41. Both guns had red dot, unmagnified optics on them.

I took the HS, and put one round on the outside of the target because the trigger was so easy, it went off before I expected. The other two rounds I fired went straight through the X ring, one-handed, at 25 yards, with a gun I'd never tried before -- and while I guess I'm an okay shot, in that club I'm mediocre at best and I'm sure no Olympic contender or anything.:)

I used to want a 41...

January 15, 2009, 04:29 PM
My grandpa has 4 HS Victors. I'm hoping he's remembered me in his will.

January 15, 2009, 04:31 PM
I have a Ruger Mk 1, a M41, and a HS. I am positive that one is as accurate as the other.

The Ruger is about as reliable as a machine can be, and the M 41 is about as good as it gets for this geezer. Fact is though, that I just flat shoot my HS better. I do not know why.

The Victor, like the 10X, seem to be marketing strategy.


I do know that magazines that reliabily feed your ammunition of choice are danged important.

I would NOT buy a HS w/o a range session with provided maqs.


January 15, 2009, 04:35 PM
First, my background...

In the 70's, I bought both a brand new HS Trophy (bull bbl.) and a Victor about three years apart from each other. That (as most know) was back in the days when HS made good pistols. :D
I bought the Trophy first, and then decided to get the Victor "just because" (I think it's because I liked the ribbed barrel and use of weights thing).

And boy did I fall in love with those pistols. I'm a big fan of .22 shooting, and both of those High Standards were tack drivers and a real joy to shoot.

Then along came the end of the hayday of High Standard, so I knew that (whether I liked it or not), I had a couple of "collectables" on my hands.
They were both still in 100% condition with original boxes and paperwork, but while I wasn't afraid to shoot them once in a while, I really didn't want to shoot them so much as to degrade their condition.

I then shopped for a pistol that I thought would be a good stand-in for my High Standards, but one that I wouldn't be afraid to shoot the hell out of since I enjoyed .22 shooting so much.
The pistol I settled on was a brand new Model 41 (5-1/2") that I bought in the early 80's.
I found right away that while it really did shoot as well as the High Standards, it didn't quite have that really comfortable "Olympic" feel to it.
Still, I also fell in love with that 41 and still shoot it at about a 10 to 1 ratio compared to my High Standards.

So, I have both the Victor and the 41, and I really like both and wouldn't let either one go.

But finally, here's the answer to the OP question from my perspective:
If you really can get a NIB early 70's Victor made in Hamdon or Hartford, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Just be aware that the "new" High Standard in Houston isn't the same company that made your pistol and you may or may not be able to count on them for quality repairs if ever necessary.
On the other hand, the 41 really is as nice a pistol as the High Standards, and since they're still available brand new, it's a pistol you can shoot the crap out of and still be able to have it repaired and maintained by the same people who made it.
If the choice was between a well used old Victor and a new 41, I'd choose the 41 without a thought and never look back. The 41 is also the kind of pistol you can pass on to your (very grateful) grandkids, and they can pass it on to their grandkids.

January 15, 2009, 04:54 PM
I shot & gunsmithed both on the Army AMU teams about 40 years ago.

The H-S is a nightmare to work on as opposed to the S&W.

The H-S is chock full of tiny springs that I'm not sure anyone has figured out the total function of! :D

As an example, the S&W can have the trigger weight adjusted by simply taking the barrel off, (A 10 second job) reaching in with a pick, and moving a spring arm on a ratchet tooth thing-ama-bob.
The H-S is a half-day job to do the same thing.

In a Ransom rest, the S&W would outshoot most of the H-S by a slight edge.
Individual shooters may shoot better scores with one or the other, depending on preferance & practice.

Brand new S&W M-41 magazines are available.
New H-S magazines in all models are not.

I guess you pays your money and takes your choice.
I still have my old Model 41.


January 15, 2009, 05:02 PM
As an example, the S&W can have the trigger weight adjusted by simply taking the barrel off, (A 10 second job) reaching in with a pick, and moving a spring arm on a ratchet tooth thing-ama-bob.
The H-S is a half-day job to do the same thing.

...the difference being, if it doesn't break, you don't have to work on the HS trigger, whereas the 41 probably won't ever feel quite as good, no matter what you do.

In a Ransom rest, the S&W will outshoot most of the H-S by a slight edge.

I don't usually shoot with a Ransom Rest, though.:)

Here's the deal: if you buy the 41, and you want to resell it, you will lose money. If you buy the HS, and you decide you don't like it and want to resell it, you won't.

Do people hit the bullseye with 41's? Every day.

Is the 41, being current-production, a more practical frequent-use gun? Sure, though a stainless Ruger is probably much more so, for a lot less money.

That said, the competition shooters here who get a hold of a good HS Victor, use it when they're shooting for scores.

The thing is, you will find a 41 any day of the week. Some people don't like the new ones, but I've shot 'em, and I can't see any reason I wouldn't get a new one -- or an old one.

If you have a shot at buying a perfect Victor -- assuming it really is perfect -- you may not see another one for a long, long time.

January 15, 2009, 06:45 PM
The High Standards are extremely nice guns. You won't regret buying it, especially if you intend to keep it as a collector's item.

The biggest marks against the HS is availability of spare parts as well as magazines. They're going to be almost as rare as the few remaining gunsmiths who still know how to work on them.

The Model 41 is going to have the backing of Smith and Wesson, so if you have trouble with it, you just send it back to them.

Ultimately, it boils down to how often you want to shoot either gun. Both will probably fire many tens of thousands of rounds with no trouble, but the HS will be more difficult to fix in the event something goes wrong.

I don't know, were I in your position, I'd have a hard time picking one or the other, too. I'd probably get the HS, just to have as a collector's piece.

Peter M. Eick
January 15, 2009, 07:55 PM
I was recently (a few months) back faced with the same problem. The 41 fit my hand better then the high standards. I bought the 41 and liked it so much I bought another about a month or so later. Go handle both and see what works for you. I would recommend the 41 though.


Here is my 2 and a pile of mags.

January 15, 2009, 08:12 PM
My Hi Standard Victor is an absolute joy to shoot.



Nail Shooter
January 16, 2009, 10:10 AM
I've owned both of those guns for some time.

My Victor is a late 60's Hamden gun with the red bottom mags, IIRC. The 41 is about 10 yrs newer. Both great guns--trigger on the Victor might be just a touch better as is its accuracy. I'd never part with either. Get the High Standard first (an older one) if you can find one, the Smith you can always get later. Regards,


January 16, 2009, 11:18 AM
The 41 fit my hand better then the high standards.

Custom grips are common. Not sure I've seen either gun being used seriously with the stock ones.

If you intend to use the gun exactly as-is, I would vouch for the 41's ergonomics.

Like Nail Shooter, I just figure that you can buy a 41 whenever you want. A Victor in near 100% condition does not come along often.

January 16, 2009, 02:01 PM
An original High Standard and a Model 41 are equally good. It's a matter of personal taste. I learned to shoot a handgun shooting Model 41s in college. I prefer the High Standard because the grip fits my hand better.

The current Texas High Standards are decent guns. The local High Standard expert likes them. The Texas magazines are also quite good, although they sometimes require adjustment to the baseplates.

I compete with an original Citation and wouldn't use anything else that would go for less than $1500 or more, out of the box.

Avoid the Mitchell guns like the plague.

January 16, 2009, 05:12 PM
I own a supermatic from the fifty's passed to me by my father. I taught my daughter how to shoot with it. She's asked me to leave it to her. You couldn't ask for better to teach someone to shoot. Fantastic trigger, excellent balance, simple construction, expertly put together. If you talk to someone who owns one ask him/her.. when was the last time they needed it fixed? Except for the magazines these pistols don't require much maintenance, unless you throw it at someone.

That said the S&W41 is a first rate, excellent pistol. Hard to go wrong with either. I think you ought to get both.

January 16, 2009, 07:57 PM
There are no flies on the S&W and it has the advantage of being able to change out barrel/sight unit in a matter of seconds.

can you tell me how this differs from the barrel/sight on the Victor?

John Stimson
January 17, 2009, 08:40 AM
The shooters at the national matches generally preferred the High Standard over the other brands based on the line counts that all manufacturers conducted to see how they compared.

We are all different and have differnt opinions based on what we have and what we like. I have had both and have just gotten rid of 3 41's a 41-1 and two 46's. I still have my High Standards.

January 1, 2010, 02:16 PM
Almost a year after the last post, I find myself with the same question.

If you also wanted to be able to carry the .22 for plinking in the woods, would that alter your suggestions?

My preference is to find a pistol from the better days of USA manufacturing and obtain one with a soul as well as accuracy. Thus, I would tend to look for a HS or Woodsman first.

Is the HS Olympic model worth considering? Which Woodsman would you suggest considering? How do you all rate the Woodsman versus the older HS' or S&W's?


January 1, 2010, 02:37 PM
the top of the line Colts have never been thought of, out of the box, as accurate as either the HS or S&W

the HS "Olympic Model" was only chambered for the .22 short...not very useful as a woods gun.

my personal favorite is still the HS Victor, but because of mag issues, would default to the S&W M-41 as a better all-around .22lr for outdoor use

January 1, 2010, 03:05 PM
They all are good. If your going to put a red dot scope on one don't get a frame mounted sight HS due to rear sight limiting access to the slide. This makes it hard to clear the weapon.
There are several after market barrels made for optics for the S&W.
The cost of magazines is much less on the M-41's. About $22.00.
If you own a 1911 style weapon the HS and the Marvel might feel better with factory stocks. Swapping stocks is easy. There are lots of after market grips for 1911's and M41's.
You can dry fire the MARVEL and the M-41. If you ever fire your HS and it does not pick up another round and you pull the trigger you will ding the chamber edge.
At the last gun show, good steel HS magazines were $65.00 each.

A skilled gunsmith can put a fine trigger on each of the guns.

January 1, 2010, 04:05 PM

Is there a date range when the S&W 41's were better made and, thus, preferred? Same question re: the High Standard.

Thanks again and Happy New Year!!

Nail Shooter
January 1, 2010, 04:28 PM
"If you also wanted to be able to carry the .22 for plinking in the woods, would that alter your suggestions?"

Well, it would. I own a 41, a Victor, and a Colt Match Target--they are all blued guns in very good condition to excellent condition. I would not holster any of those expensive 22's. (If you found one in beater condition then I suppose it wouldn't be of much concern) For doing what you describe, I'd go with a stainless Ruger MK II Government Match Target. I have on of those too, I'd rate it at being in the next tier down but still pretty darn accurate. The trigger is just a little heavier and you can run high velocity ammo thru it all day long. The older HS, Colts, and even the 41 can batter themselves with hyper or high velocity ammo. I only run std velocity target ammo thru those to prolong their lives. Best Regards,


January 1, 2010, 05:20 PM
I gunsmithed both Model 41's and H-S match guns in the service.

The Model 41 is a much easier gun to work on, if you ever find one that needs working on.

The H-S guns have some tiny little springs & things in there that nobody has figured out for sure exactly what they do yet!!! :D


January 2, 2010, 11:49 AM
great guns

I prefer the Smith

January 3, 2010, 01:22 AM
I've owned both and had good luck with both. I've shot both in bullseye competition. In my opinion the "best" choice would be the M-41. Less maintenance and parts won't be a problem. My M-41 has the best trigger of any pistol I've ever shot.

January 3, 2010, 03:39 PM
Have owned both, but for a woods knock around I would go with the H&S just due to the fact I picked up a 22short kit for mine and with 22 high speed shorts it kills squirrels DRT.

For a general purpose accurate 22 auto I would lean toward the Ruger with the polymer grip and 1911 angle

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