Finally. Doing the new gun happy dance. Picked up an unusual .22 wheelgun, a High Standard Sentinel Deluxe (R-107).
It's a 6" bbl. nicely made blue steel model, said to resemble the Smith J-frame. Marked "High Standard Mfg. Corp. Hamden Conn. USA." not mine pictured, but one just like it.
High Standard made some fine, little-bit-different firearms back in the day. I know CW04 has a few of their shotties... the .22 autos by HS are really, really good.
The Sentinel has a remarkable feel to it. According to Ed Buffaloe (http://unblinkingeye.com/Guns/Sentinel/sentinel.html)
"by Ed Buffaloe
High Standard introduced their Sentinel revolver line in 1955, probably at the request of Sears Roebuck, which was a major customer and owned quite a bit of High Standard stock. Sears wanted a low-cost kit gun or “tackle box” revolver to sell under their J.C. Higgins brand. It was sold by Sears as the J.C. Higgins Model 88.
The Sentinel was a 9-shot .22 revolver. It was advertised to have an anodyzed aluminum frame, a high-tensile carbon steel barrel and cylinder, single-stroke multiple ejection, a swing-out counterbored cylinder, a movable square-notched rear sight, a non-slip scored trigger, a diamond-checkered grip (though they didn’t mention it was plastic), and target accuracy."
"The innovative design was completed by Harry Sefried in a mere six months. Sefried wasn’t afraid to incorporate good ideas wherever he found them. The squared-off grip on the first model was modified from the Colt New Model .36 Pocket Pistol of 1862, and one shooter was said to remark that it was “the first decent grip on a revolver since the Civil War.” It remains to this day one of the most comfortable pistol grips I have ever encountered. The simplified cylinder lock design was taken from Hugo Borchardt’s experimental revolver of 1876, which he designed while working for Winchester and which was observed by Sefried during his own five years at Winchester. The gun, like the Broomhandle Mauser, is screwless but for a single grip screw.
There is an integral thumb rest molded into the frame behind the cylinder housing, making the gun feel quite natural in the hand. The grip section and frame are die cast from aluminum. There is no thumb release for the cylinder to interrupt the smooth frame or complicate manufacture and assembly. The gun can be broken down into four main component groups: (1) the cylinder and crane, (2) the trigger-guard/grip, (3) the barrel and frame assembly, and (4) the hammer, trigger, and other lockwork components. Everything is held together by the hammer pin, which runs through both the trigger-guard/grip and the main frame. Coil springs are used throughout.
Sefried designed a unique ratchet mechanism that utilizes nine holes drilled into the rear of the extractor, worked by a traditional pawl that extends from the frame. The holes give the pawl a positive interface, providing flawless cylinder rotation and reducing the machining necessary on the frame and cylinder. The design reduces wear to the ratchet mechanism that eventually causes problems with more traditional designs. The gun also has an extended forcing cone that nearly eliminates lead shaving as the bullet enters the barrel. I hate it when a revolver spits hot lead out the side when I stand next to the shooter--it could be a fatal distraction in a fire fight.
The Sentinel was originally available in a blued finish (which actually looked more black than blue). The nickel finish was available at least by 1958 (if you have an early serial number with an original nickel finish, please email me*). In my experience the nickeled guns are somewhat less common--they cost $5 to $6 more than the blued guns. The MSRP for the blued gun in 1955 was $37.50. The Sentinel had a one-piece wrap-around plastic grip. Originally the blued guns had a brown grip and the nickel guns had a white grip.
Spacek says the original Sentinel had a 3 inch barrel. A 1955 catalog says the gun was available with a 3 or a 5 inch barrel, but Spacek says a 5 inch barrel was never listed in their parts lists, so he thinks it was a misprint, though I suspect they may have at least planned to manufacture a 5 inch barrel but went with a 4 inch instead. A parts list circa 1957 or 1958 shows 3 inch, 4 inch, and 2-3/8 inch barrels were available. Later, a 6 inch barrel was also available. The 3 inch barrel was dropped in 1964.
In 1957 a snub-nose model of the Sentinel was introduced, with a rounded butt on the grip. There were models with both a spur hammer and a bobbed hammer. Color finishes in gold, turquoise, and pink, known as Dura-Tone colors, were offered for the snub-barrel Sentinels. The Dura-Tone guns came in a deluxe presentation case and had white grips.
In 1958 a line of western-style revolvers was spun off the Sentinel line, the first model of which was called the Double-Nine. It was sold by Sears as the J.C. Higgins Ranger Model 90.
Sentinel Series Numbers
* R-100. The first Sentinel series was called the R-100.
* R-101. After about a year, the hammer and trigger mechanisms were slightly modified for the R-101 series.
* R-102. In 1960, for the R-102 series, a return spring was added to the ejector rod. On the earlier models, if you didn’t remember to manually retract the ejector into the cylinder before closing the cylinder you would put a nasty scratch on the left side of the frame.
* R-103. The R-103 series had slots milled into the ejector instead of drilled holes.
* R-104. In 1962 the R-104 Sentinel Imperial was issued with two-piece checkered walnut grips, a ramp front sight, and a target-style trigger. (The regular Sentinel was still available with one-piece plastic grips and blade front sight, and I believe it retained the old R-103 designation.)
* R-105. This series may have been a prototype that was never issued. (If you have one, please write to me.)
* R-106. In 1965 the Sentinel Imperial was renamed Sentinel Deluxe and given the R-106 series number. The ramp front sight was replaced with a blade, but the gun retained its checkered walnut grips.
* R-107. This was also a Sentinel Deluxe. I have been unable to determine the difference between the R-106 and R-107. Externally they appear to be identical, but there must have been some internal change.
* R-108. In 1967 the Snub-nose Sentinel was given a two-piece grip and the R-108 series designation.
* R-109. The Kit Gun was introduced and given the R-109 series designation. This was the first model with a fully adjustable rear sight.
* MK I and MK IV. In 1974 the series numbers were eliminated and the Sentinel MK I and MK IV were introduced. These guns had optional adjustable rear sights, wrap-around walnut grips, and the first steel frames to appear in the Sentinel line. The MK I was chambered for the .22 long rifle, and the MK IV was chambered for the .22 Winchester magnum. The MK I and MK IV were available with 2 inch, 3 inch, or 4 inch barrels. The Camp Gun, which was identical to the MK I and MK IV, came with a standard 6 inch barrel and adjustable sights, and was available in either .22 long rifle or .22 magnum.
* MK II and MK III. These were rebranded Dan Wesson .357 Magnum revolvers. They were sold in 1974 and 1975 only.
The 9 shots are a big plus, as is the 6" bbl. The SA trigger pull is crisp as hell and the DA, though tough, is short. Haven't had a .22 revolver since trading my Single Six for an '03 couple years back; liking this little guy.
Damn, the grip feels great and it points naturally. Tight lockup and perfect cylinder indexing. Think I did good for $125. All my mom let me spend.
Comments on the late, great High Standard? or the Sentinel?