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Old March 14, 2014, 07:16 PM   #1
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"Birds Head" vs "Plow Handle"

In my searching for a used Uberti/Cimarron 1872 open top Colt . . I have a lead on a Uberti 1873 "Hombre" and also a Uberti 1873 "Birds Head" grip frame SAA - both of them in .357 and 4 3/4" barrels. I've been keeping my eyes open for the last couple of years for either of these in .357 with the 4 3/4" barrel as I want a short barreled one for carry on the farm. Plus it would allow me to play with reloading the .38 spl., 38 Colt Long & Short - in BP / smokeless.

I like the looks of the Hombre - brass trigger guard and back strap - reminds my of my favorite Uberti '51 Navy . . I also like the looks of the "Birds Head" grip. Kind of neat looking and different . . which leads me to my question.

I've never handled a Birds Head to know what they feel like (other than an original Lightning many, many years ago). Both of the revolvers I have a lead on are not near me so either one would be a buy it and transfer it to a local FFL - i.e. "buy a pig in a poke". For those that have or have had a SAA with a Birds Head grip . . what are your thoughts on them. Obviously the grip profile is different from the traditional "plow handle".

I'm not really interested in the "looks" as much as I am in how the birds head feels in your hand . . . how it affects your "hold" and "aiming", etc. Are these being marketed based on the "unusual and cool factor" or is there an "advantage" as far as hold, comfort in hand, bringing the hand gun up on target and POA etc.?

So for those who have a "birds head" . . can you educate me on them? Comfortable hold and aim or awkward? Would you get another one or stick with the traditional "plow handle"? Ease of reach in terms of cocking the SA hammer with the birds head as opposed to standard plow handle? Do they improve all of the above enough to warrant trying one or stick whit what I know? Etc.

I know there are a number of CAS on here so hoping perhaps they can chime in as well. Thanks for your thoughts - greatly appreciated!
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old March 15, 2014, 05:51 AM   #2
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I don't have a birdshead, but IMO there's no real point to one unless you plan on concealing it. The rounder shape means the gun will roll up in your hand more during recoil and there's less material to grab onto while drawing from a holster.

The 1877 Lightning/Thunderer grip that Cimarron offers might be a more stable grip, since it has that 'knuckle' at the back to keep your hand positioned consistently. I don't know how it would effect thumb-cocking, though.
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Old March 16, 2014, 09:00 AM   #3
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i have that little snubnose colt that Dixie gun works sells, it is a natural pointer, and surprisingly accurate, which i had not expected out of that short of a barrel.
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Old March 18, 2014, 12:01 AM   #4
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I bought a pair of those snubbies from the Pietta vendor at Winter Range this year. They are very nice for shooting gunfighter, the hammers are just a little higher than a pair of Super Blackhawk hammers, but the grips make them easy to reach. And the fun factor is WAY HIGH.
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Old March 29, 2014, 08:48 PM   #5
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I can shoot my Birdshead Vaquero Match Guns just as fast as my Blackhawks. I LOVE the feel of the Birdsheads. I will say though that after more than 10 years of CAS, more folks disagree with me about the feel.

Not too many cotton to them Birdsheads for Main Match Guns. Be sure you coon finger 'em well before you buy them!

Good Luck
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Old April 1, 2014, 11:12 AM   #6
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I have a bridshead because it is so easy to conceal, but for volume practice I reach for a standard plow handle every time.

YMMV, my hands are normal length but fairly thick.
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Old April 1, 2014, 01:31 PM   #7
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I got the chance to handle a birdshead Colt clone at my local gun shop. I really enjoyed how it felt. I haven't shot one though, so I can't comment on that.
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Old April 1, 2014, 02:41 PM   #8
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I have had a couple of birdshead single actions (a New Vaquero, which I still have and love, and a Cimarron/Uberti which I traded away) and find them to fit very well in my hand and point very naturally for me.

I do not feel they're the best answer for heavy recoil, but that's not what I was doing with them. I do think they are very handy for concealment, and don't think anyone can deny that. However, whether they fit and point naturally is subject to debate - they work for me, but which shape works for each person is going to depend on him.

So, none of us can tell you how the respective grip frames are going to work for you. Some people like flip-flops - I am most comfortable in Danner boots. Some people love the road-hugging feel of a sports car, others prefer a big truck. None of them are wrong . . . my advice is that you go find nearby examples where you can handle the two grip frames side by side and see which suits you, because no one can tell you which you'll prefer.
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Old September 20, 2016, 08:40 AM   #9
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birds head handle vs plow handle pistol grip

Ive been debating the same thing.Ive held both but not shot the birds head.Im wanting to know if the Ruger Convertible 357 / 9MM comes with a or can be made with a Birds Head.?? Does any one know.???? Thanks in advance.

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Old September 21, 2016, 08:20 AM   #10
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NabbUQuick - after much debating over it,I had the opportunity to handle a couple of Birds Head revolvers and for me, I didn't like them. I actually ended up going with a Uberti 357 4 3/4" Bisley. I love it. The Bisley isn't fore everyone and I'm sure that probably a lot has to do with the size of a person's hands. It took some work to get used to it but once I did, I really enjoy shooting it with both my BP and smokeless reloads.

The Bisley was followed up with the purchase of a Uberti 7 1/2" 45 Colt Cattleman. It is s great shooter as well with both 200 and 255 gr traditional RNFP that I cast. I haven't done a lot of BP shooting with that one but it does very well with my Red Dot loads (smokeless).

If you've had the opportunity to hold them and know that you like the BH grip - I'd suggest giving Ruger a call and see what they say. I'm not that familiar with all of their offerings - they may or may not make it might be done as a Distributor's Special?
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old September 21, 2016, 08:59 AM   #11
Eric N.
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I have a Pieatta "Thunderer" 1860 Colt Army 44cal with a "Birds Head" grip,and a 3 inch barrel. Its a natural pointer,and a joy to shoot. I have smallish hands. As far as heavy recoil with these grips,I have no idea how they handle that,but I don't think that would be a problem. Might be fun. I also have a Ruger Super Blackhawk Bisley in 44 Mag. That handles 44 Mag. real good. My next gun will have "Birds Head" grips, in 357 Mag,or 44 Special. A Colt clone with a shorter barrel, and these grips, would make a great carry gun.
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Old September 21, 2016, 03:18 PM   #12
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The birds head is a little hard to hold on to with full loads in a .44 or .45, I don't like the straight back recoil of a Bisley. I like the way the plow handles roll up in your hand.
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