Monday, December 6, 2010

Gun Q&A: Should I buy an old High Standard Victor .22 Target Pistol?

Guess I've started a new series as I keep getting questions about guns. Might as well do another Gun Q&A.
Q: I enjoy your writing and the straight forward responses you have for the various guns and purchases.  I need your objective advice before I spend $$$ on an old Victor High Standard .22 in 98% condition and 4 clips. It is a good looker. Many of the reviews on it list mag feed issues, lack of repair services, and warnings against high power ammo.

What do you know of these HS Victor target .22’s? Would the $500 be better spent on a new Ruger III Hunter? I like my old Colt Woodsman and SW K-22 for target shooting. 
A: High Standard Victor models are rare and $500 is a good price. If you're looking for a collector .22 that may have some problems as a shooter, buy it. Any competent gunsmith should be able to fix any common ailments, such as spring replacements and perhaps even magazine springs or followers. But anything requiring manufacturer's parts could be an issue.
High Standard has a new owner selling guns under the HS name, but finding parts for old guns will always be a problem. You probably have some experience in that area having work done on your Colt Woodsman, which is also long out of production. But there are a few sources for hard-to-find parts, Numrich Gun Parts is one.

If you're looking primarily for a reliable shooter that can handle high-velocity ammo, a new Ruger Mk III or S&W 22A-1 would be a better choice. I would also add a Browning Buck Mark onto your list to consider for new .22 hunter/target pistols. Use should be your standard.
But speaking for myself, I doubt I'd pass up the chance to get an old High Standard Victor in good shape for $500. It's one of the great .22 target pistols of all time and was used for championship bullseye competition from Camp Perry to the Olympics.

High Standard under new management has brought the Victor model back into production with an MSRP of $800. Ouch. Patrick Sweeny reviewed the new HS Victor for Guns & Ammo Handguns magazine and he liked it a lot. And Sweeny points out the new HS Victor magazines also fit the old models. Nice to know.

Sweeny looks at the price tag for the new model Victor and asks:

Why would you want a Victor? In a world where you can buy any number of plinker-grade .22 LR pistols for half the cost of a Victor or less, why spend more than what it costs to get the basics? Because you get more, that's why.

You get more accuracy than you can shoot, more reliability than you can believe, a link to the past and incredible durability--a pistol that even if you won the lottery tomorrow you could not afford enough ammo to wear out. It's a pistol, like so many others that have been seen on the line at Camp Perry, you can leave to your heirs in your will.

If that's not enough of a return on your hard-earned cash for you, then I don't know what to suggest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would totally agree sinc i purchased one today for 900.00 And i dont regret. it is a victor 1981 and it is in the box , 1400.00 take or leave it, Im sorry but it is the best target pistol ever.