Monday, September 20, 2021

Featured Gun: Standard Arms Model G

This month's featured gun is the Standard Arms Model G

The story of the Standard Arms Model G starts with the man who designed it. 
Morris Ford Smith was born on September 29th, 1846 in Philadelphia. Smith was, like many in his day, an inventor. He had at least 13 patents awarded to him at the time of his death, among them firearm designs and inventions for tooling to install rifling on a cannon barrel (retrofitting?).

In his lifetime he had witnessed the change in firearms from muzzle loading to breech loading, from black powder to smokeless powder, from single shot to repeater and from repeater (manual) to fully automatic. It seemed that every change opened doors for more inventions.

If you know the history of the U.S. Military Ordnance Department, you know that they were a finicky bunch and on a near constant search for a better weapon. We can't really blame them, guns were changing at a very rapid rate.
In the span of 30 years the U.S. Military adopted three different rifles (1873, 1894, 1903).
After the turn of the century the Ordnance Department was looking for a possible semi-auto rifle for infantry troops.

Morris Smith was working on designs and had received several patents. Some of these designs went into limited production, but one design, refined over the years, showed promise.

Smith worked with W.D. Condit create a firm to manufacture his designs. 
He and Condit had previously created the Smith-Condit Arms Company of Philadelphia (which failed) and they were ready to have another go of it.
They decided to call their new company "Standard Arms". The word standard became much more common in the American lexicon after the start of the Industrial Revolution. A "standard" was the model of product or design on which others would be judged, a perfect example.

On May 16th, 1907 the company was organized in Wilmington, Delaware, they had an investment of $1 Million and had already purchased a factory at 102 F Street in Wilmington (on the corner of F and Spruce streets south of the Christina river). The address on the advert above showed 116 F street, which was probably the company offices. Neither of these addresses exist anymore.

They had plans to hire 150 employees and produce 50 rifles per day. Their goal was to win a lucrative military contract, but also to offer commercial guns for American hunters.

To help promote sales among hunters, the civilian version of their rifles were given a bronze forearm that were cast with wildlife scenes on them

The butt plate, also cast in bronze was adorned with the company logo and foliage. 

While the guns did not fare well at the 1910 military rifle trials, the company forged ahead and went into production of the commercial guns. The initial offering was a gas operated rifle, that could also be used in manual mode, manual operation was much like a pump action shotgun.

The chamberings were .25, .30 and .35 Remington, which were loaded via the spring loaded floor plate. Chambering a weapon utilized the manual operation and required the depressing of a locking button on the forearm.

Later a manual model, the model M, was added and the gas operated model dropped due to problems with cycling. It seemed to be in the design of a pin in the gas system that was the weak link that often failed.
The company reorganized in 1911, I assume some investors wanted to pull out after the guns failure to perform at the military trials

By 1914 the company was closing up shop. Some 12,000 or so rifles were produced.

Rumor has it that an additional 3500 or so rifles were put together from the parts by the party that purchased what remained of the company. Some say it was a Texas gun shop, others say it was an import/export firm in New York or possibly R.F. Sedgley in Philadelphia. This period of production ended around 1920.

At any rate the guns soon slipped into obscurity, only to surface once in a while due to the attention given to them by blogs like this one.

I have posted links at the bottom if you wish to do some research on your own and let me know if you find anything additional.

As it is with the majority of my featured gun posts, I actually owned one of these rifles for a short time. It was a model G, chambered in .30 Remington (rimless 30-30 Win). The serial number was 5198, I was told this put its manufacture date around 1910, but there is no way to verify that.


Williams, David (1907, May 23rd) Iron Age, Vol 79, page 1615

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Interesting Firearm Photos #54


In the Great War we needed these kind of innovations

Have you got your tickets to the Boogaloo?

I don't know much about this pistol.....but I want one

Gotta love the girls of the IDF

A family armed with what appear to be a Remington Rolling Block and a Volcanic Rifle, state of the art for 1866

The photos above were found on the internet and used here for educational and entertainment purposes under the fair use doctrine of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. If you hold the rights to any of the above photos and would like them removed or credited, please contact me immediately.

Friday, September 10, 2021

A Tribute to Sharps40

 I started this journey a long time ago and then life pulled me away from working on guns. What led me back to it was people like Sharps40. 

His typical medium is the Ruger Blackhawk single action revolver, over the years he has built quite a few of them. I posted some of his work years ago with some other custom Blackhawks, since then he has added to his assemblage and I thought I would include all his work to date in one post.

We'll start with one that inspired my Old Model Blackhawk Project.

People had told Sharps40 that you cannot put a Colt grip frame on a Ruger Blackhawk....well Sharps40 is not the kind of person you tell something like that to....he'll just prove you wrong.

He called this project the 1860 Army Blackhawk

This particular Blackhawk is a new model, the list of modifications include the aforementioned 1860 Colt Army grip frame with custom bloodwood grip panels which was a project all in its own. If you didn't know the 1860 Army Revolver was a .44 caliber cap and ball firearm. It was built on the frame of the 1851 Navy, but with a larger grip to help manage the additional recoil.

The other mods to this Ruger include:

  • Barrel was shortened to 5.1" and re-crowned
  • The base pin was modified to allow cylinder removal
  • The front of the cylinder was given a "black powder chamfer"
  • The frame was "flat topped" to mimic the old models
  • A stainless Bisley hammer was polished and jeweled
  • A steel ejector rod housing was installed on the shortened barrel
  • A Storey "bullseye" ejector rod was installed
  • A new ramp front sight in a dovetail
  • Matte rust blued finish

The remaining project are in no particular order.

This next one also included a custom grip frame....he called it the Tiffany Blackhawk. The grip frame was originally intended for a Colt Single Action Army tribute to the Civil War, combined with a modern Uberti trigger guard. The two were mated and then adapted to work with the Ruger's action.

The remaining mods included

  • Barrel shortened to 4" and re-crowned
  • New dovetailed front sight
  • Ejector rod housing from a Colt copy made by Armi San Marco
  • Colt style crescent ejector rod

This next one is a 3-screw old model that has an NC Ordnance brass grip frame (styled after the Colt Lightning grip frame), thus giving it the nickname Ruger Lightning. The grip frame was designed for a Ruger New Model Blackhawk, so Sharps40 did some custom work to make it work on the old model. 

The other mods include:

  • Barrel shortened to 3.5" and re-crowned
  • Ejector rod housing shortened
  • Modified base pin
  • Chamfered cylinder front
  • Thinned loading gate
  • Custom brass ejector rod, mimicking the shape of the grip frame
  • hand made curly maple grip panels
  • matte rust blued finish

This next one he called the New Model Old Model or Rusty

It started life as a New Model 50th Anniversary Flat-Top Blackhawk

The mods include:

  • Barrel shortened to 3.75"
  • A new front sight was dovetailed into the barrel
  • A modified Vaquero Montado ejector rod housing was installed
  • A Bisley trigger and hammer installed, both had their mating surfaces polished and the hammer is jeweled
  • A custom hammer strut base was built to replace the factory lock
  • Bearpaw Amboyna burl wood grips were installed
  • A two-tone rust blued and browned finish was applied 

This next one had the strangest name of all: Thasunke Khoiphani, which is the name of a famous Chief of the Ogala Souix tribe.

This one started life as a standard 3-screw .357 Blackhawk. The mods include:

  • Colt 1860 Army brass grip frame adapted to fit the Ruger
  • Barrel shortened and re-crowned
  • Steel ejector rod housing with custom shim to make barrel & ERH flush
  • Custom brass horse head front sight
  • GP100 rear sight blade
  • Crescent ejector rod
  • Custom grips

This next one started life as a New Model Blackhawk in .45 Colt. He originally called it the "Undecided Project", then gave it the moniker The Gentleman's Workhorse.

Project modifications include:

  • Barrel & ejector rod housing cut down to 3.5"
  • Base pin modified to allow cylinder removal
  • A Ron Power grip frame was modified into a Birds head
  • Scalloped recoil shields
  • Top of the frame "flat topped"
  • Custom ejector rod button
  • Super Blackhawk Hunter rear sight
  • Custom front sight made from a buffalo head nickel
  • Handmade Bloodwood grip panels
  • Matte rust blued finish

This one was built for a relative of Sharps40 that needed something for self defense, but suffered from Arthritis. So the mods were designed with her special needs in mind
The mods include:

  • Barrel shortened & re-crowned 
  • High Viz front sight dove tailed into barrel
  • Modified stainless base pin
  • Stainless Bisley hammer with thumb attachment
  • Crescent ejector rod
  • Hogue rubber grips

This next one is called the .45 Sheriff, it started out as a New Model 45 Convertible (with cylinders in both .45 Colt & .45 ACP).
This one was designed from the beginning to be a concealment gun with no onboard ejector.

Mods include:
  • Barrel shortened to 2 7/8" and re-crowned
  • Custom front sight made from a buffalo head nickel
  • NC Ordnance Colt Lightning style brass grip frame
  • Bisely Hammer & Trigger
  • Modified base pin
  • Scalloped recoil shields
  • Cylinders given a "black powder chamfer"
  • Two tone rust blued/browned finish

Another compact gun was this one named Mr. Belly Gun. The gun was a standard 3-screw 6.5" Blackhawk

Mods include:
  • Barrel and ejector rod housing shortened to 3.5", barrel re-crowned
  • Customized base pin to allow for ejector travel
  • "Flat-Topped" frame
  • New Model Blackhawk stainless grip frame modified into a round butt and adapted to work with the 3-screw trigger
  • Custom front sight made from a buffalo nickel
  • Smoothed barrel (no roll marks)
  • Bullseye ejector rod
  • Scalloped recoil shields
  • Cylinder given "Black Powder Chamfer"
  • Loading gate thinned with a back cut
  • Custom grips made from Afezelia Xylay wood
  • Matte rust blued finish

This next one is the only one in 44 Magnum that I have seen Sharps40 build, he called it The Pack Horse.
The gun started as an old model/3-screw Super Blackhawk, the list of mods includes:
  • Shortening the barrel to 3.6" and giving it his signature re-crown
  • A rifle barrel banded front sight with brass faced patridge blade
  • A New Model Bisley Grip frame
  • A SBH Hunter rear sight
  • Brass accent rings on front sight and erh
  • Lanyard loop
  • Matte rust blued finish

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you would like to know more about Sharps40's work, you can see his posts on the website.