Special Single Action Revolver: Standard Manufacturing Improves America’s Iconic Firearm

Aligned screw slots may be an expensive custom upgrade for many single action revolvers but comes standard on Standard Manufacturing’s Single Action Revolver.

It’s not often that a classic is improved. However, when the stars align, and you have a company focused on quality, anything is possible. Such is the case with the Single Action Revolver offered by Standard Manufacturing.

I first became aware of Standard Manufacturing when I saw one of its Single Action Revolvers in a local gun shop. It had been special ordered and engraved. The customer was going to have it fitted for ivory stocks, and it was one of the more impressive looking single-action revolvers that I had seen in a while.

Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver left profile with a stone background
Whether in a display case or on the range, the Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver sets a new standard for single-action revolvers worldwide.

Immediately, I thought that this was what became of the machinery and parts of the former company known as U.S. Fire Arms (USFA). Both companies are, or in USFA’s case was, located in Connecticut. The similarities end there, though.

“Our guns are made on better machinery and use better materials than (USFA) used.” I was informed by Lou Frutuoso, who runs things at Standard/Connecticut Shotgun. The company is otherwise known as Connecticut Shotgun, which explains the exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail paid to these revolvers. Eventually, while reviewing another revolver made by the company, the good folks at Standard Manufacturing decided to ship me a Single Action Revolver.

What’s in the box?

If you were expecting a Pelican Case or typical plastic foam-lined affair, think again. The Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver ships in a sturdy two-piece vintage-style cardboard box lined with foam.

It comes with an instruction manual and a soft bag with Standard’s logo on it in which to store the revolver. Also included is a silicone gun cloth for giving the revolver a good rub down after handling or cleaning.

The sample I received was a case-hardened Gunfighter-length Single Action Revolver chambered in .45 Colt. With beautiful case hardening, walnut grip panels, and fire-blued screws; this was no ordinary single-action revolver.

Standard Manufacturing Single Action revolver
Rich case hardening, fire-blued screws, and deep bluing throughout make this one beautiful sixgun.

Features and Construction

The steel itself is a tool grade of 4140. This is one of the most common, and frankly one of the best steels, for manufacturing firearms. The steel is tough, durable, and it takes finishes such as gun bluing as well as case hardening well.

A Gunfighter-length barrel means the barrel is 4.75 inches long and is perfectly even with the end of the ejector rod housing. This is about the ideal length for my own purposes. However, Standard Manufacturing offers the revolver in 5.5- and 7.5-inch barrel lengths as well.

The case hardening is beautiful and vibrant enough that you can almost see fire and flames in the frame. The golds, blues, blacks, and bronze reflects throughout the top strap, hammer, and sides of the frame like something a true 19th century artisan would craft at the top of his game.

Close up of the three case hardened screws on teh Aligned screw slots may be an expensive custom upgrade for many single action revolvers but comes standard on Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver
Aligned screw slots may be an expensive custom upgrade for many single-action revolvers, but it comes standard on Standard Manufacturing’s Single Action Revolver.

The barrel, cylinder, and grip frame are finished in a nice blue/black, as is the ejector rod housing. The handle of the ejector rod has the same fire bluing as the trigger and every other screw in the frame.

Speaking of screws, once I got over the initial shock of how beautiful this revolver was, I noticed the slots in all three of the screws in the left-side of the frame were all perfectly aligned horizontally. A small touch, but spectacular, nonetheless.

The trigger was extremely smooth and crisp, and broke at a clean and easy 2.5 pounds. At this point there was not a bad thing I could say about the fit and finish of this piece. That is, until I got to the grips.

The grips felt fine and looked great; my issue was that they were panels attached by a screw and escutcheon. A revolver like this deserves a true one-piece grip. Maybe the intent is for the customer to add that final custom touch with an expensive set of ivory stocks, or some other exotic material, but I’m sure the craftsmen who build these revolvers at Standard Manufacturing are up to the task of custom grip work.

There is no transfer bar-type safety in this revolver. Many modern clones and copies of the Colt Single Action Army utilize a transfer bar to prevent the gun from firing if it is accidentally dropped or struck. It goes without saying that because of this, the shooter should only carry five rounds in the revolver with the hammer resting on an empty chamber.

Aligned screw slots may be an expensive custom upgrade for many single action revolvers but comes standard on Standard Manufacturing’s Single Action Revolver.
Picking up a Standard Manufacturing Single Action revolver is far from a roll of the dice. These revolvers are a sure thing.

To safely load five live rounds, it is advised to load one round through the loading gate, skip the next chamber in the cylinder, load the remaining 4 rounds and when the hammer is lowered, it will be on the empty chamber.

At the Range

You can have the most beautiful revolver in the world, but it’s little more than an expensive paperweight if it isn’t accurate.

We may be in the midst of an ammunition crunch, but I always have a good supply of .45 Colt on hand. I chose a few hundred rounds of Aguila .45 Colt loaded with a 200-grain lead semi-wadcutter Cowboy Load.

This is sometimes referred to as .45 Long Colt, and it should be said that revolvers such as this are capable of firing any load within SAAMI (Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturing Institute) specifications.

The Colt Single Action Army revolver is not a dainty or delicate handgun capable of only meek powder-puff loads. While it is true that there are some magnum level loads with regard to velocity, and higher pressures that are referred to as “Ruger or TC Contender Only,” +P indicating that the pressure is higher — anything else within SAMMI specifications including Winchester Silvertips or other defensive ammunition are perfectly safe for a single-action revolver such as this.

At 50-feet, I set up some silhouette targets and went to work.

Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver right profile with a stone backdrop
The Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver will make the Single Action Army a continuing American icon for the next century and a half at least.

Initially, the rounds were striking lower than I intended. I adjusted my point of aim slightly to bring up the hits. When I figured out where I was hitting, it was easy to shoot a 2.5-inch pattern consistently. I shoot single-actions one-handed. I readily admit that I could get better accuracy if I were to use a traditional two-handed hold like I would with a double-action revolver or semi-auto pistol. Some habits, I just can’t seem to break, however.

Recoil is the same as most other single-action revolvers chambered in .45 Colt. A nice and gentle push with an audible thump! when it hits something solid.

Aftermarket Accessories

Aside from perhaps a trigger and action job, the only accessories you really need for a revolver such as this are a good holster and a set of proper, hollow-ground Grace screwdrivers to perform maintenance.

This revolver will fit in any holster made for the Colt Single Action Army revolver. That is an almost 150-year legacy of leather holsters in the supply chain.

Final Thoughts

The Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver is a one-to-one homage to the classic Colt Single Action Army Revolver of 1873. If a shooter were to travel back in time to the late 19th century, he would not find himself out of place with a revolver such as this worn on his hip — apart from being the envy of his new set of peers.

Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver
As beautiful as the Standard Single Action Revolver is, one-piece grips would have put it at a whole different level.

It is superior in every way that matters to the original and leaves just about every other clone in second place. The attention to detail expressed in the final fit and finish of these revolvers is better than many custom-worked revolvers of the same type.

The price reflects this as these revolvers are not cheap, but they are in line with just about every other higher-end handgun on the market today. It can be considered a bargain — at just a few hundred dollars more than a Colt Single Action — when one considers that custom or even semi-custom 1911 pistols cost much more than 100% of their Colt counterparts.


Make: Standard Manufacturing
Model: Single Action Revolver
Caliber: .45 Colt
Capacity: 6 rounds
Barrel length: 4.75, 5.5, 7.5 inches
Hammer type: Spurred and bone and charcoal color case hardened
Grips: Two-piece Walnut
Engraving: None
Sights: Fixed
Weight: 40 ounces
Finish: Frame is bone and charcoal color case hardened. The barrel cylinder and metal parts are deep blued, and all screws and pins are fire blued.
MSRP: $1,895+

As a collector of Old West revolvers, I’ve had just about every type of single-action imaginable: Antique First Generation Colts, Vaqueros based on the Ruger Blackhawk, Italian clones from Uberti and Pietta, USFA, Second and Third Generation Colts, etc. Some have been used in competition, others have been used as carry guns. None were the equal of the Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver.

This is a revolver that would be equally at home in a Cowboy Action Shooting match as it would on the belt of a hunting guide or on display in a collection of fine firearms.

Cowboy guns aways bring a unique bit of mystique, but the Standard Manufacturing Single Action adds an element of beauty that is hard to match. What’s your favorite cowboy gun? Share your answer in the comment section.

  • Aligned screw slots may be an expensive custom upgrade for many single action revolvers but comes standard on Standard Manufacturing’s Single Action Revolver.
  • Close up of the three case hardened screws on teh Aligned screw slots may be an expensive custom upgrade for many single action revolvers but comes standard on Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver
  • Standard Manufacturing Single Action revolver
  • Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver left profile with a stone background
  • Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver
  • Standard Manufacturing Single Action Revolver right profile with a stone backdrop
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (6)

  1. I have spent the last week reading about The Standard Single action. It seems to good to be true.
    I am sold. First thing Monday morning I will order mine..

  2. Beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder, and it is almost always true “you get what you pay for”. I have always loved the single action, especially Colt, USAF, BFR and several others. Two thousand dollars is a large sum to many of us from my era ( when the minimum wage was a buck 25) yet I feel this beautiful piece of artwork is well worth it. Single action, cowboy guns are in a class all their own and if you question the guns ability, just go to a cass shooting match. One can always spot the single action out of the crowd, not so much with today’s plastic cookie cutter auto’s and ARs, the same holds true for the lever guns. It is true when SHTF these massed produced weapon would be everyone’s first choice, but for pure enjoyment and pleasure, there is nothing better than a single action and a lever. To each his own, enjoy the freedom of choice and thank you for the well written article

  3. I came across a beautiful color-case hardened, brass grip-framed SA revolver years ago in a pawn shop, marked EAA but made by Uberti. Like most traditional SA revolvers it shot low, and I understand that you’re supposed to file down the front sight until you get your point of aim set. I later stupidly sold it, and now have only a Ruger Old Model 3-screw convertible in .45LC and .45 ACP. It shoots great, but the adjustable sights don’t look quite authentic. I agree that for this kind of money it should come with a one-piece grip. I want a matched pair so think I’ll have to look elsewhere, perhaps Vaquero’s. Taylor’s firearms makes some nearly comparable SA revolvers for less money as well. Thanks for the look at a beautiful revolver.

  4. I own a USFA and a Blackhawk in .44 Rem. Magnum. Both are 7.5 inch barreled and are accurate and dependable.
    I have owned several Blackhawks and my favorite was an early 70s model in .357.
    Happy shooting !!!

  5. ALIGNED SCREW SLOTS, says it all As a former machinist, that is not an easy task, but sure adds to the beauty of this piece. A single action revolver is the best made for learning firearm basics, as it is obvious to everyone around, when the hammer is back, it is ready to go, and the primary focus then is accuracy, instead of magazine dumps, which are also fun, but only after the basics and accuracy performance skills are mastered first.

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