Coltwood vs. real wood
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Thread: Coltwood vs. real wood

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    Coltwood vs. real wood

    Hey guys.

    Just curious around what time period Colt grips transitioned from real wood to "Coltwood" plastic.
    I just picked up a 1951 detective special with Coltwood plastic grips. They move around and have a gap even when tightened as tight as I feel comfortable tightening...so I'm wondering if they are the wrong grips for the period..or maybe just warped a little?
    Either way I think I might get wood grips for it.
    I thought I have seen original Colt wood grips for second series detective specials, so I'm curious if wood or plastic would be correct for a 1951.

    Just curious when the changes occurred.
    Thanks!
    Last edited by comma; 01-11-2015 at 12:49 PM.

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    They're correct. I recently purchased this 2nd Model DS in 99% condition with its original COLTWOOD stocks: https://www.coltforum.com/forums/colt...ecial-nib.html Yes, with temperature and humidity changes, they can warp and I believe there's a thread about that.
    Life/Benefactor Member NRA since 1962, Former Navy Nuclear Weapons Officer, OIC Base R&P Team, OIC Base Armory. Collector, shooter, amateur gunsmith. Life Member NCGCA, Member CCA

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDNAVYNUKESPOOK View Post
    They're correct. I recently purchased this 2nd Model DS in 99% condition with its original COLTWOOD stocks: https://www.coltforum.com/forums/colt...ecial-nib.html Yes, with temperature and humidity changes, they can warp and I believe there's a thread about that.
    Thanks!
    I do like the plastic grips, but this one is going to be a user, so I'll probably buy an old pair of worn in wood grips and just keep the plastic grips for if I sell it down the line.
    The movement they have is driving me nuts!

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    Colt is believed to have begun using Coltwood plastic grips very early in WWII.
    The first model known to use Coltwood was the Colt Commando, which was nothing more then the Official Police made with a parkerized finish and the Coltwood grips as a war-time model.
    These war-time Coltwood grips were a solid brown color.

    After WWII, Colt used Coltwood on all their standard production pistols, with the Coltwood having a swirled plastic that resembled figured wood.
    Then they changed back to a solid brown color.
    Colt discontinued the Coltwood plastic on most all revolvers around 1953.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dfariswheel View Post
    Colt is believed to have begun using Coltwood plastic grips very early in WWII.
    The first model known to use Coltwood was the Colt Commando, which was nothing more then the Official Police made with a parkerized finish and the Coltwood grips as a war-time model.
    These war-time Coltwood grips were a solid brown color.

    After WWII, Colt used Coltwood on all their standard production pistols, with the Coltwood having a swirled plastic that resembled figured wood.
    Then they changed back to a solid brown color.
    Colt discontinued the Coltwood plastic on most all revolvers around 1953.
    Thanks!
    Ya, I actually have a WW2 Commando with the coltwood grips, but I know I had seen colts from the 60s with wood, that's why I was confused.

    Thanks again guys.

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    Plastic stocks and sandblasted surfaces weren't exactly hallmarks of the pinnacle of Colt craftsmanship.
    Hawk Eye Tom likes this.

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    Pinnacle of craftsmanship or not, I'm sure I'm not the only one old enough to remember when plastic was widely believed to be the eighth Wonder of the World. And, in some regards, it panned out as such.

    I suspect that Colt really thought it was being "innovative" when they tried out what they might have thought (or were told/sold) was probably a better material. I don't know that building cheap for cheap's sake was on their minds in 1949, especially when you consider the cost and availability of walnut at that time. There were plenty of other ways to cheapen the product available to them that aren't apparent in Colts of that vintage.

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    Before you condemn plastic, may I point out that poorly treated wooden grips can look pretty 'ratty' also. The
    correct 'care and feeding' of any material is important. Having said that, I prefer wood, but I made a living working
    with plastic.

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    Fair point.

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    Many of the early Colt plastic grips were either acetate-based or a nylon. Both are sensitive to many solvents, oil and even
    prolonged exposure to moisture. The benefit of those plastics over what the Germans used in WW-2 was they were not brittle.
    The Germans used mostly phenolic-based plastics that tended to be brittle so they chipped or broke quite easily. The Germans
    enhanced the toughness of their plastics by filling them with fibers of glass or asbestos when they experienced problems.

    Todays plastic grips on guns such as the Colt SAA are proving to be quite durable.


 
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