SAA grip fitting
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Thread: SAA grip fitting

  1. #1
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    SAA grip fitting

    I'm interested in purchasing grips, either stag or some kind of antler material. I would really like to find stag with colt medallions but understand thats a tall order. What exactly is involved in fitting them to the frame? Do I need special tools, techniques? I would like to diy but have never done it before. Any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    Grippity doo dah.

    I’d say to cut two slabs of some kind of hard wood and use that as your practice.
    Antler material cuts and sands fairly easily, but you have to be aware of the grain direction and thickness to make them look just right. The nice thing about antler and bone is it’s cheap and readily available.

    Here’s grips I made for a ahh umm...Ruger for a local Wyoming rancher with a moose Antler his son found. I think from this photo you can see how the antler cut was made.
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    When buying stags off the secondary market, the big thing is achieving fit to the frame corner with no gaps while having complete coverage over the backstrap and trigger guard side flats.

    There are some matters of geometry that can get tricky.

    You could get grips that have say an 87-88 degree frame corner and a revolver with a 90 degree frame corner... this may end up a discernibly sloppy or unnatural fit at the corner just because of the angle mismatch, but fixing it requires a very light touch with a sanding fixture that can sand flat, and if you go too much, you can screw up your grips, make them too small.

    At that point you have accomplished good fit to the corners you may need to redrill alignment holes. This is not terribly difficult, is intuitive... take the pin out, have grips clamped on, drill through the hole with a 1/8 drill bit.

    When installed, you trace around with an exceedingly sharp pencil.

    Remove excess material. Good Sambar stag or elk crowns are quite hard, and removing manually with a file / hand tools is very labor intensive, but if you are new at it I'm not sure I would contemplate the step up to power tools. A dremel with sanding wheels is kind of inexact for grip work, but can accomplish some things when used with mindful restraint.
    Last edited by gazelle; 12-01-2019 at 06:03 PM.
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    Thank you gentlemen for your insight. I appreciate the knowledge. I'm going to practice with wood ( so I can learn to make my own ) and with a set of cheap imitation stags I have from another gun ( so I can learn to fit properly ). I am looking for a new hobby to expand my Colt SAA love, and this gives me the opportunity to learn a skill and personalize my 3rd gen guns ( I will be leaving my 1st and 2nd gen guns unmolested ). Thank you again and wish me luck, I will post samples as I do them and ask for honest critique.

    BTW... beautiful grips Bill. I hope I can get to that point sooner rather than later.

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    I have a Navy 51 and a SAA with Ivory grips in my collection. Is it normal that Ivory grips are shrinking?
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    Hans Maag, Switzerland

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    Quote Originally Posted by hmaag
    I have a Navy 51 and a SAA with Ivory grips in my collection. Is it normal that Ivory grips are shrinking?

    Are the grips original? I'm guessing not. Yes ivory does shrink over time. Usually over decades to get any where close to that much shrinkage. But typical on a pair of ivory that fits that poorly I would suspect it was just a badly fit pair of grips originally and not issue of shrinkage.
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    Be sure you use proper dust protection when working with antler. The fibers can cause serious lung damage. It like breathing glass shards.


 

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