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

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by philsgun08, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. philsgun08

    philsgun08 New Member

    Jan 15, 2009
    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...)
  2. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Senior Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Try posting it in the "autoloading handguns" section.
  3. jkingrph

    jkingrph Senior Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    E. Texas
    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!
  4. bluetopper

    bluetopper Senior Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Northeast TX
    Never had a Victor, but I like my High Standards.:)
    American made hand fitted craftsmanship from a bygone era.
  5. Jim K

    Jim K Senior Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    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.

  6. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Senior Member

    Sep 8, 2005
    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...
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  7. Olympus

    Olympus Senior Member

    Jul 14, 2008
    My grandpa has 4 HS Victors. I'm hoping he's remembered me in his will.
  8. saltydog452

    saltydog452 Senior Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    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.

  9. CDH

    CDH Member

    Aug 18, 2005
    South Texas
    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.
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    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.

  11. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Senior Member

    Sep 8, 2005
    ...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.

    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.
  12. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    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.
  13. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Senior Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Houston, TX
    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.
  14. justadad

    justadad New Member

    Jan 11, 2009
    On the red side of a blue state
    My Hi Standard Victor is an absolute joy to shoot.


  15. Nail Shooter

    Nail Shooter Member

    Oct 6, 2005
    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,

  16. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Senior Member

    Sep 8, 2005
    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.
  17. Deanimator

    Deanimator Senior Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    Rocky River, Ohio
    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.
  18. Furncliff

    Furncliff Senior Member

    Dec 10, 2005
    Western Slope of Colorado
    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.
  19. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Dec 27, 2002
    northern california
    can you tell me how this differs from the barrel/sight on the Victor?
  20. John Stimson

    John Stimson New Member

    Mar 18, 2008
    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.

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