Three rounds, three yards, three seconds. That describes the average defensive gun use for a civilian. With this in mind, Standard Manufacturing set out to create a gun ideal for this kind of situation. Not only something that can generate a high volume of fire in a short duration of time, but also something that can be wielded by anyone, regardless of their skill or strength. This gun is the S333 Thunderstruck Volleyfire.
The S333 Thunderstruck Volleyfire is a revolver, but one that sticks out from the crowd in a drastic way. It is a double barrel, double action, .22 Magnum with an 8 shot cylinder. Everything about this gun is designed to aid the less experienced gun owner be successful in defending their lives. Does the gun live up to the marketing?
S333 Thunderstruck Volleyfire Design
The first thing people notice about the S333 Thunderstruck Volleyfire is its long, paintball style, double finger trigger. Shooters pull this trigger simultaneously with both their index and middle finger in order to gain more leverage than with solely the index. This is theoretically supposed to help those with low hand strength, where a normal trigger would be too much to handle. Unfortunately, the trigger is so heavy that this extra leverage is almost entirely negated. You must use both fingers, or the weight is nearly impossible to overcome.
With the two fingers being at different angles, a straight rearward press is virtually impossible to execute. With only two fingers left to grasp the gun, stability is all but totally lost. There is a noticeable hump during the trigger press, with weight growing while rotating the cylinder, then dramatically dropping off once the chambers are aligned with the forcing cones. This allows the shooter to stage the trigger for more accurate shots, but this is unrealistic in a defensive encounter for most.
There is a safety tab (dingus) in the middle of the trigger, similar to a Glock. This helps to prevent the trigger from being pressed accidentally. I tried to get the gun to fire without depressing the dingus, but was unsuccessful. This dingus is important, as there is no trigger guard on the S333 Thunderstruck Volleyfire, just a slight downward protrusion below the barrel. One shooter tried using this protrusion to get a grip with his support hand. This placed his index finger just below and forward of the muzzle. The muzzle flash ended up flame-cutting his finger, but did not seriously injure him. In short, don't put your hand there.
A solid two handed grip is nearly impossible to get with the S333 Thunderstruck Volleyfire. Your firing hand grips the gun with only the ring and pinky fingers. If you try to get a full grip with your support hand, you impede the travel of the long trigger. This means that your support hand is only wrapping around those bottom two fingers, nearly tea-cupping the gun. This provides very little stability, resulting in virtually the same accuracy with one handed shooting as two handed. Standard Manufacturing makes a grip extension that screws into the bottom of the factory grip, but I don't think that will do much to remedy the situation.
In addition to the shoddy trigger noted above, the action leaves much to be desired. The cylinder sometimes won't rotate after several trigger presses. This happened during the second cylinder fired, and multiple times during the remainder of shooting. The trigger will still fire without cylinder rotation, making you think the gun is having light strikes.
This issue is resolved by opening the cylinder and fiddling with both the hand and the cylinder stop. There seems to be no consistency to this issue, nor its resolution. Another remedy is pressing the trigger a few times with the cylinder open. Interestingly, this is the first revolver I've seen that is able to be dry fired with the action open.
Upon first loading the gun, I thought there may have been a mistake. That maybe I had received a .22LR version which I thought didn't exist (it doesn't exist). I thought this because none of my rounds would properly seat in their chambers. Throughout shooting, at least 4 chambers required rounds be pressed flush with the rear of the cylinder with my thumb every time. This continued no matter what brand of ammunition was used.
The ejector rod is capable of traveling about 1/4 of an inch. This is a massive problem when trying to eject spent cases. Every cylinder fired ended up only ejecting about half or less of the spent cases. Most are extracted roughly 1/4 inch, which requires substantial force to do so. Then cases must be plucked from the cylinder by hand, which also requires substantial force. The grips get in the way of ejection depending on the orientation of the cylinder. When ejecting rounds, press the rod with your thumb, as there is not enough real estate for a traditional palm strike.
During the review process I fired 300 rounds out of the Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck Volleyfire.
- 50x Armscor 40gr JHP
- 50x CCI Maxi-Mag 40gr TMJ
- 50x CCI Maxi-Mag Varmint 30gr VNT
- 50x CCI Gamepoint 40gr JSP
- 50x CCI TNT Green 30gr JHP
- 50x Hornady V-Max 30gr
Hornady had one bad round that would not fire despite repeated strikes. Outside of this, all ammunition performed flawlessly. The gun was cleaned and lubricated before firing, after the first 50 round range trip, and again at the 200 round mark. This was done to try and remedy reliability and functionality problems to no avail.
Recoil is hard to describe. It's snappy and sharp. It is not enough to hurt or be startling, but it also is not insignificant. All rounds aside from Armscor rounds seem to be loaded inconsistently, with some offering Tokarev style booms and flashes, and others being quite mild within the same box. There is a substantial amount of blast, which garners attention from everyone else on the range. Recoil is noticeably more harsh with Hornady V-Max, but is less harsh than a S&W 642 with mild .38 Special. The guns' rubber grips are comfortable and do a good job at taming the snappy recoil.
Sights on the Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck Volleyfire are thick and imprecise. The blocks are painted dark red in an attempt to aid in aiming, but colors are dark enough to not draw the eye.
There is an issue with accuracy. Rounds frequently keyhole as close as 3 yards, which I believe is a result of the 1-1/4" barrels. Interestingly, the promotional video from Standard shows rounds beginning to tumble before impacting the gel block set just a few feet away. Hornady and CCI Maxi-Mag 40gr seem to be the most accurate loads with the gun, but still fall victim to tumbling and rapid separation. Hornady was able to keep almost everything within a 5.5" circle at seven yards, which no other load could do.
There is next to no consistency regarding shot placement, spacing of rounds, or orientation of rounds. Sometimes the two bullets will impact horizontally aligned, other times they are vertically aligned, with most rounds being some sort of diagonal angle. Deviation happens rapidly, with only a single round of eight landing on an entire SI-5 target at 25 yards.
Ten yards is about as far away as a man sized target (B-27 and IDPA torso) can be to reliably get rounds on paper. The gun shoots high, whether at three yards to twenty five, you will be several inches above your point of aim. Maxi-Mag offered the best accuracy, but it was meh at best. Any attempt at making accurate head shots, or training with a B-8 bullseye is out of the question.
Final Thoughts on the Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck Volleyfire
Overall I do not recommend this gun for serious use. I compare this to a Desert Eagle; Something that is unusual and fun and grabs attention, but is only a range toy. I'll be keeping mine as an example of what not to buy. If you need a revolver for personal defense, look into something from Ruger, or a solid used Smith & Wesson.
MSRP on the Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck Volleyfire is $429.00, and the gun is available now on their website.