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Old November 10, 2013, 10:35 PM   #1
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why birds-head ?

I briefly handled a birds-head grip Colt clone today (Uberti I think).... It left me a bit puzzled.

What is (was) the point of the birds-head grip? Was it for concealment? If so, that makes some sense. Was it for shooting comfort? If so, it must depend on the shape of each individual shooters hand...

But I think I might be missing the point... please enlighten me?

Thanks.... Jim
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Old November 11, 2013, 03:56 AM   #2
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If it was an Uberti (which is the OEM for Cimarron Arms among others) could it be that you were handling a Thunderer? This is just a little bit different from the basic bird's head which you would find on a Ruger Vaquero. The difference is in how the backstrap is shaped - the back of a Thunderer grip re-curves to a vertical surface then into a 90 degree corner back towards the pistol frame.

From what I have read about the original Colt Thunderer/Lightning frame was that it was designed for DA fire - the firing hand needed more purchase on the back of the grip to pull the heavier trigger. Of course the Cimarron Arms versions, as well as the similar EMF Great Western, were SA only.

I happen to own one of the Cimarron Arms Thunderers and do enjoy the grip shape. Different from the plow handle but it doesn't seem wrong to me.
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Old November 11, 2013, 08:20 AM   #3
Doc Hoy
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I recently bought...

A revolver made in Belgium. (Cowboy Ranger) around the turn of the last century.

It is based very heavily on the Model 1877. The caliber is .38 and so I would say it is kind-of between Lightning and Thunderer. In fact the opinion of many is that it was deliberately patterned after the 1877 as a marketing ploy. It was made by the same company which made revolvers to the 1860 Colt spec as licensed by Colt. (FAUL)

A notable feature of this revolver is that it has a grip like a Peacemaker rather than a Birds head shaped grip. From the limited reading I have done, it appears that all such revolvers had the larger grip in spite of the fact that Colts 1877 (AFAIK) all had birds head grips.

I am having a tough time finding ammunition for the revolver so I have only run fifty poorly fitting rounds through it. It is deadly accurate in SA mode, reliable and high in quality.

The point of this post is that in DA mode, I can't hit anything with it. I am not even sure the rounds ever hit the ground. Maybe different grips would change the situation.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
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Old November 12, 2013, 01:42 AM   #4
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I have a birdshead New Vaquero, one of the TALOs with a 3.75" barrel.

Concealment is the one advantage I can think of, adn why I bought mine.

Regular plow handle grips let me use my entire hand to grip the gun. With the birdshead I get sore where my index finger and thumb join up with my palm very quickly, but I can conceal that thing under a loose Tshirt.
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Old November 13, 2013, 01:07 PM   #5
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I've got one like Poindexter's, and I got it for concealment. Turns out that the gripframe fits my hand remarkably well, and it handles the recoil of the .45 ACP in which my New Vaquero is chambered just fine.

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Old November 14, 2013, 07:09 PM   #6
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Birds head grips are all about concealment... just the same as any roundbutted revolver.
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Old November 14, 2013, 09:01 PM   #7
James K
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Not totally. In fact, the round and "birdshead" grips (not the same thing) provide a good hold on the gun. The wide bottom grip (Colt SAA, S&W & Colt square butt) is not a good shape for holding onto the gun since most of the grip is at the bottom of the hand (opposite the thumb) and there is little gripping force in that area. The more modern versions of the "birdshead" are the Hogue grips favored by many people (not by me) on small revolvers, and they are not chosen solely for concealability.

Jim K
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