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View Poll Results: Which grip material for a S&W N-frame?
Stag or elk with 50% or more bark 9 50.00%
Stag or elk with little to no bark 1 5.56%
Imitation ivory 2 11.11%
Buffalo horn 6 33.33%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 5, 2013, 08:03 PM   #1
chaim
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Which grips for a S&W N-frame

I am thinking about putting some premium grips on my S&W N-frame. I have some really nice carved leather for it, and I want to complete the package. This gun has the original Hogues and some cheap wood grips from Thailand for when it comes in the woods camping with me and for the occasional CCW use (I do need a cheaper, less ornamental holster for that purpose still) so beating up the grips isn't a worry. They will be mainly for range use and just to have and look at (though if I ever have occasion to open carry, I'll probably use my nice holster and premium grips).

My gun is a stainless S&W 625MG. I love stag and elk and would love those materials on one of my guns. I like some polymer ivory (I will never afford the real thing), but I'm not sure about putting plastic on my gun as a "premium" grip. Also, for both the imitation ivory, or the stag/elk, I'm thinking that a darker grip may be more striking on my stainless revolver. Maybe buffalo horn would look better on the lighter finish stainless revolver, and the white or light colored imitation ivory, stag or elk would look better on a blued gun? If I go elk or stag, another question (assuming I go with a grip maker that gives the option) is how much bark I should request. I've seen elk grips with no bark and they are beautiful, but so is a lot of bark. The bark is darker though and may provide more contrast against the stainless and thus a better look.

So, which grips would you do if it was you?
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Old May 5, 2013, 09:01 PM   #2
Bob Wright
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Stag with a lot of bark looks good on nickel plated guns or blue guns. I'm not really wild about buffalo horn as grip material, though haven't really seen that many.

Though you didn't include it, dark walnut, rosewood, or gaboon ebony all look very nice on nickel plated guns.

And I'm assuming stainless would look pretty close to nickel.

As for me, I prefer wood, stag, ivory, or bone; all natural materials, over plastic anything.

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Old May 5, 2013, 09:23 PM   #3
chaim
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Quote:
Stag with a lot of bark looks good on nickel plated guns or blue guns. I'm not really wild about buffalo horn as grip material, though haven't really seen that many.

Though you didn't include it, dark walnut, rosewood, or gaboon ebony all look very nice on nickel plated guns.
I've never actually seen buffalo horn in person, only in photos. At first (as in for a few years) it didn't do it for me, but it grew on me and now I think it looks pretty good and I can see it looking pretty nice on stainless.

As for the wood, I am a fan of wood grips. I've had them on enough revolvers (including the cheap, but decent looking, Thai grips on my 625MG now) that they don't seem very exotic to me (I'm looking for something special for this gun, not something that "just" looks good). I haven't done ebony yet though, and that may be a good option this time.

Quote:
As for me, I prefer wood, stag, ivory, or bone; all natural materials, over plastic anything.
Yeah, me too. I wish ivory was just a little more affordable. I do like what some of the better imitation ivory looks like, but I still probably won't put it on my "flagship" revolver. I'll probably put some imitation ivory on my blued Taurus 85CH, or if I keep it, my S&W 442. Though, some do look pretty good, and if I don't like them they aren't that much money and I can always put them up on Ebay or Gunbroker. Maybe if I decide to go this way, I'll buy some for the Taurus as a trial and if the grips are nice enough I can then order some for my 625.
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Old May 5, 2013, 11:41 PM   #4
newfrontier45
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Buffalo horn looks good but becomes really slick if your hands sweat at all. I don't use it on anything anymore.

Elk or stag would look really good and I like mine with 20-30% bark. An ivory substitute would also be attractive and for this, antique paper micarta is hard to beat. Don Collins would be a good choice for this.
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Old May 6, 2013, 08:51 AM   #5
Zhillsauditor
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I bought some buffalo horn from Vietnam for a rather crazy low price IMO. The fit isn't great, but the look and feel are. I've never been a fan of stag grips--probably because I have too much exposure to cheap plastic imitation stag grips.

Wood grips are really my favorite, however, especially on my S&Ws. I like blond wood on SS/nickel, darker woods for blued guns.



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Old May 6, 2013, 08:57 AM   #6
Bob Wright
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Chaim said:

Quote:
I've never actually seen buffalo horn in person, only in photos.
Boy, my wife has! She was sitting on Fishing Bridge at Yellowstone NP guarding my camera equipment, when she heard what she thought was a horse approaching. Turning about, she was face to face with a bull buffalo!

This buffalo horn, I think, comes from SE Asia. And I've seen those in person, too. Pulling honey bucket carts in Korea.

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Old May 6, 2013, 11:10 AM   #7
newfrontier45
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I'm 99% certain that buffalo horn grips are made from those of the Asian water buffalo.
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Old May 6, 2013, 02:34 PM   #8
PetahW
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When I installed premium grips on my N-frames, I passed on stag, Imitation Ivory, etc, and instead bought Rosewood Heritage grips from Eagle grips - which made my blued guns look outstanding.




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Old May 6, 2013, 05:57 PM   #9
Bill Akins
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I have big hands so I like a grip that fills my hands adequately. I have four S&W 1917's and didn't care for the thinner width grips that came on three of them, the fourth one (my nickel and gold plated one) had acceptable width imitation stags on it, but they weren't Jay Scott's, but nice and wide enough for me to keep. So I put Jay Scott imitation stag grips on three of them. The Jay Scott grips are much thicker in width and fill my hands just right. Here's a few pics to show the width difference between the Jay Scott grips and other grips. If you have big hands and are interested in getting a pair of Jay Scott grips like mine, here's the info on them. I believe I got them as new old stock from Sarco. They are listed as number 21 and called 38144 Heavy Duty Outdoorsman Highway Patrolman and fits model N Frame S&W.

Two S&W 1917's side by side. The Jay Scott grips (noted above) are on the right in the below photo. See the big difference in how wider the Jay Scott's are compared to the other grips on the left?


Same thing only a little closer up.


So I put them on all my S&W 1917's (except for my nickel and gold plated one).

Same thick width Jay Scott grips on my commercial model S&W 1917.


Same thick width Jay Scott grips on my brushed nickel S&W 1917.


Same thick width Jay Scott grips on my "in the white" snubby 1917 I restored.


I left these imitation stag grips on my nickel and gold plated 1917. They weren't as thick as the Jay Scott ones on my other three 1917's, but they were thicker than others and looked so good and felt okay in my hands that I left them on. Not sure what make or model grips they are. They almost match my Jay Scott grips in looks though. This is one of my favorite 1917's. It is polished nickel plated with a gold plated cylinder, gold plated ejector rod, gold plated trigger and hammer, gold plated grip screw and escutcheon, gold plated cylinder release and gold plated lanyard loop.




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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; May 7, 2013 at 01:24 AM.
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Old May 6, 2013, 06:31 PM   #10
newfrontier45
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Guy says "I am thinking about putting some premium grips on my S&W N-frame" and you suggest Jay Scotts???
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Old May 6, 2013, 06:38 PM   #11
Bill Akins
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Quote:
NewFrontier45 wrote:
Guy says "I am thinking about putting some premium grips on my S&W N-frame" and you suggest Jay Scotts???
I didn't "suggest" nor advocate anything to anyone. I simply posted what type of N frame grips I like and use on some of my N frame S&W's that fill my big hands well. The title of his post said "Which grips for a S&W N-frame". Well these are the grips I use on three of my four S&W N frame 1917's. I don't suggest he use them, but I also don't suggest he not use them. I presented them for his perusal and consideration without suggesting anything other than they fill my big hands very well.

Also the OP said..." I like some polymer ivory (I will never afford the real thing), but I'm not sure about putting plastic on my gun as a "premium" grip. Also, for both the imitation ivory, or the stag/elk, I'm thinking that a darker grip may be more striking on my stainless revolver."

So clearly by what the OP wrote, he was not yet sure, and not strictly ruling out POLYMER or IMITATION ivory grips nor POLYMER or IMITATION stag grips. Well my Jay Scott grips are POLYMER (with wood inlet spacers under the surface polymer) and are IMITATION stag grips.

Again, I wasn't suggesting anything other than to show what grips I use since the written subject line of this thread is..."Which grips for a S&W N-frame".

But I do suggest you learn to more carefully read and retain what the OP actually wrote before you criticize what I wrote.


Further, what defines "premium"? Is "premium" defined by form and expense, or by function?

I had a set of fairly expensive genuine India Sambar stag grips on my 1917 N frame "snubby" (pictured below as I received it) before I restored it.


Same revolver as above after my restoration with 1960's vintage Jay Scott grips on it.




I still have those India Sambar stag grips but don't use them. They were too thin for my hands and didn't hold recoil well in my hands. The Jay Scott grips I replaced the so called "premium" India Sambar stags with, are nice and thick and are actually a "premium" set of polymer grips from 1960's vintage new old stock that I acquired. The Jay Scotts I use also have a nice inletted section of wood in them which thickens them further in width, so they are not all polymer. Plus my Jay Scott grips will not chip nor break as easily as the India Sambar stags I replaced them with. So to me, in my mind, the Jay Scott's are a "premium" 1960's vintage set of polymer and wood grips that for the increased width function I need surpass the function of the more expensive India Sambar stags I had. I didn't "suggest" the OP use them, but I also didn't suggest he not use them.

So it all boils down to what one wants regarding what they consider "premium". Is "premium" simply form and cost or is it function? It boils down to what size one's hands are, what grip angle/feel one likes and ultimately one's OPINION.

If one says they have a "premium" set of original bakelite grips on their antique say 1880's S&W, are they incorrect in calling an antique excellent condition set of bakelite grips "premium"? It all boils down to opinion.

I like what I like due to my personal experience. I don't care what someone else thinks if it works for me and I like it. Ultimately that's all that really matters.




.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; May 10, 2013 at 04:13 AM.
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Old May 6, 2013, 07:40 PM   #12
Zhillsauditor
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Two words: Mammoth Ivory.
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Old May 7, 2013, 01:43 PM   #13
newfrontier45
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Quote:
I do suggest you learn to more carefully read and retain what the OP actually wrote before you criticize what I wrote.
I would suggest you listen to what I'm about to say, you might learn something.

TruIvory and Eagle UltraIvory are both a polymer ivory substitute and are typically considered to be premium grip materials. TruIvory is as close to real ivory as you will get and it gets hand-fitted by BarS. Not cheap plastic like your Jay Scotts that can be had at any gun show for a few bucks. Ivory micarta is also a pseudo-synthetic that would be considered a premium material. It is the material of choice for many custom guns and is what is used for the factory grips on a Freedom Arms Premier model. Particularly the earlier Westinghouse micarta or the current antique paper micarta from Sheffield Knifemaker's Supply. Expect to pay $200-$300 for a set in the modern stuff. The old Westinghouse micarta has pretty much dried up and is very difficult to obtain. Real Sambar stag or elk antler would be considered premium materials, with stag commanding a steep premium due to scarcity.

It also appears that your definition of "restoration" differs from that of the rest of the firearms industry.
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Old May 7, 2013, 07:52 PM   #14
chaim
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Quote:
So clearly by what the OP wrote, he was not yet sure, and not strictly ruling out POLYMER or IMITATION ivory grips nor POLYMER or IMITATION stag grips.
Oh, I'm sure about the imitation stag. No offense, and it is terrific that you like them, but I definitely don't. Also, not to beat the point that newfrontier already made, but I was clear I'm looking for premium grips to make this revolver special. There is cheap polymer artificial ivory that is not considered a premium material, but there are some nice artificial ivory materials (especially micarta) that are and that is what I was considering. Personally, I hate the look of polymer stag. The two sentences from my post you quoted do not imply that I'd consider imitation stag, and made a clear differentiation from the stag/elk and the polymer/imitation ivory.

Now, I am glad you like your grips. I am open to suggestions, so I am glad you posted them. However, they aren't for me.
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Old May 7, 2013, 11:22 PM   #15
Blue Duck
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I love Elk and sam bar stags, but on hard kicking double actions, they look good but don't seem to work as good for me, when actually shooting them. But on singleactions, I wouldn't hardly have anything else, other then a good piece of walnut. Love ivory but too expensive.
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Old May 8, 2013, 11:55 AM   #16
newfrontier45
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I've never used Don Collins but his reputation is very good. He used to make them from the old Westinghouse micarta but the supply ran out. I contacted him a year or so ago about using the new stuff from Sheffield and he hadn't heard of it. I never spoke to him again but you might want to shoot him an email and inquire about it.

http://www.collinscraftgrips.com/smi...ps+%28S%26W%29

Here's a shot of the antique paper micarta from Sheffield:

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Old May 8, 2013, 12:30 PM   #17
Revolver1
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Try Hogue wooden monogrips w/fingergrooves. You'll never buy anything else!
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Old May 8, 2013, 12:52 PM   #18
Grant D
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I'm pretty sure I had stag grips on my Fanner 50's when I was a kid.
I still think they look pretty cool.
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