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Old January 14, 2014, 06:50 PM   #1
spacecoast
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Remington New Model Army - original grips?

I have a Remington New Model Army percussion revolver, manufactured in June 1864 (76xxx serial #), and have a question about the grips. They look old enough to be original to the gun, but have a wood inlay that I wouldn't have guessed to be standard equipment in 1864. Pics are shown below.

The left grip appears to have the proper cartouche, however it is very faint and almost appears to be stamped on the surface of the wood rather than by making an impression in the wood.

Are these original grips?





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Old January 14, 2014, 10:19 PM   #2
James K
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The grips look original; they may have chipped at one time and a previous owner used the inlay as a patch.

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Old January 15, 2014, 11:49 AM   #3
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Well, that's interesting. I can't comment on the originality of the grips to the revolver itself (I know nothing about them), but the "inlay" (which is more of a plug than an inlay) is very, very interesting. the last photo is really throwing me. How is it that the plug line is so curved and wavy and yet the fit between the original wood and the plug so smooth and seamless?

This is obviously not factory work, nor that of a skilled artisan, but it's not crude either. Very, very odd. Can you add a straight-on shot of the inside of the grip(s)?
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Old January 15, 2014, 06:21 PM   #4
spacecoast
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Here you go. I could almost believe the area that's lighter was just left unvarnished, but it appears to have little or no grain, unlike the wood surrounding it. It's hard to tell, at least to my untrained eye.


Last edited by spacecoast; January 15, 2014 at 06:27 PM.
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Old January 15, 2014, 06:37 PM   #5
csmsss
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And you're absolutely sure it's real wood and not wood filler, putty or epoxy?

Just so weird. I see no out of the ordinary tool, grinding or sanding marks anywhere
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Old January 15, 2014, 07:07 PM   #6
spacecoast
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I guess it could be some kind of filler, not really sure of anything. My guess is that they are original grips that someone decided to "enhance". I know the gun has been unchanged since at least the mid-1970s.

Last edited by spacecoast; January 15, 2014 at 07:13 PM.
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Old January 15, 2014, 07:58 PM   #7
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I just don't see how that could have been done with anything but a viscous material like putty, epoxy or wood filler, then carefully sanded down flush with the wood. Look at how non-linear the division between dark and light colored material is, and yet there are no voids. Whenever you see inlay, the cuts are as close to perfectly round or square/straight as possible, because that is the only way the inlay can be perfectly fitted into the host material. Yet in this case the cuts are anything but perfect. They're wavy and nowhere close to uniform.

Mind you - I'm NOT criticizing the work - someone had to spend a great deal of time doing this with probably minimal training and tools. I'm just trying to figure out how it was done. And the way I think it was done is that the artist cut out the plug holes with a knife or chisel, without any sort of guide or edge. He/she then clamped the two grips together with a strip of plastic stock (greased or oiled so the plug material wouldn't stick to it) to form a primitive sort of mold, then poured opaque epoxy or filler material into each grip. Once it was dry, he/she unclamped it then used an XActo or similar edge to scrape away any proud spots.

Do I know this to be the case? Nope...but I don't know how else this could have been done.
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Old January 15, 2014, 08:11 PM   #8
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If it's wood and not putty it might be heartwood or sapwood. Looks way to yellow for walnut though.
Here's a couple of pics.
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_bas...Heartwood.html

The main part of the grip looks authentic. Hand sawed and looks like it's from the same piece of wood but not bookmatched.
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Old January 15, 2014, 08:35 PM   #9
spacecoast
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Just a wild guess... but in a unit of soldiers, could this be a readily visible but unobtrusive way of identifying your revolver, since the only other places the serial # appears is under grip itself or on the underside of the barrel under the loading lever? It's actually nicely done so the visible parts of the light wood pattern match very well on either side of the frame.

To be conviced, though, I'd have to see that others did something similar.
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Old January 15, 2014, 11:04 PM   #10
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Its probably filler that was put in to fill in a gap cut into the grips for a lanyard. I've seen several Civil War era handguns for sale that have cutouts in the same place as the filler in your grips. By notching the grips a lanyard could be slipped under the grips to secure the pistol in lieu of a lanyard ring.
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Old January 16, 2014, 05:50 AM   #11
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Thanks tater - very plausible! Much more so than my theory.

Last edited by spacecoast; January 16, 2014 at 06:34 AM.
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Old January 17, 2014, 02:18 PM   #12
mark clausen
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Gutta Percha filler maybe?
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Old January 17, 2014, 08:14 PM   #13
Hawg Haggen
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The grips look original and the escutcheon that's showing is correct. Have no clue about the inlay tho, never saw one like it before. Soldiers usually marked their rifles so they could be quickly identified in a stack.
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