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Veeb
April 15, 2012, 04:16 PM
I have another question about the Webley Mark series of revolvers: what would their grips have been made of? For the later ones, Marks IV-VI, some of which I have seen, I should have thought Bakelite or some other fairly hard, brittle forerunner of modern plastic; but I have read that some grips were of horn, or staghorn. Was there a synthetic product called staghorn? Real horn seems to me unlikely for a military weapon, but I don't know, and I'd be interested in any comments.

James K
April 16, 2012, 11:14 AM
AFAIK, they were made of hard rubber, or gutta percha. It is a natural product that was used prior to the invention of true plastics. When new it is fairly soft and flexible, but as it ages it becomes brittle. That is not a big problem with Webley revolvers because the grips are well supported, but in the Webley auto pistol grips which are hollowed out for the recoil spring and thus are very thin, breakage is common.

Jim

Veeb
April 17, 2012, 07:20 AM
Thank you, Jim. That sounds like the stuff. Interesting how it changes with age. You see a lot of them online with cracks or chips. Very helpful, and thanks again.

gyvel
April 17, 2012, 01:49 PM
I'll second what Jim has to say about Webley auto grips. If you have a Webley auto, and you wish to shoot it, you are money ahead by buying a pair of repro grips to use when you shoot it.

Many years ago, my first experience with a .455 Naval auto resulted in a broken grip. It was an expensive lesson, and one that I never forgot.

I have also found that the grips on Enfield revolvers, which I believe are Bakelite, are also fragile and tend to break a piece out at the bottom where the locater pin is.

Every time I have to install a grip on a Savage auto. I hold my breath as the grip needs to be bent slightly in order to allow the retaining ridge to clear the frame before it snaps into its corresponding groove.

James K
April 17, 2012, 10:37 PM
Not just Webley, of course. Almost all the handgun makers used gutta percha, and all show up with chipped/broken grips. It was simply the best material available at the time, and no one had any idea how it would be affected by the passage of 100 years. I wonder how today's polymer pistols will fare in the next century.

Jim