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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm just making a quick post hoping anyone with experience could give me some input. It's sort of hard finding this information through google.

Basically, I know there are hundreds of alternatives, but I've got my heart set on getting my 1936 detective special a pair of classic style white ivory grips. I don't support the death of animals or any of that nonsense. However, if it's done legally and responsibly, I'm not too concerned about using grips made from that material.

Either way though, the question I have is what are the major differences in feel, texture, durability, and all else between Elephant Ivory, Mammoth Ivory, and Walrus Ivory? Personal and professional opinions welcome. I've been looking around at my options, and what I can't find is what are the true differences between these when it comes to usage, shooting, feel, strength, etc. Not really aesthetic, because pictures do that answer wonders. Elephant Ivory is the go to standard, but if that's not an option (due to laws), which other type of ivory is the closest alternative? I've heard of modern walrus, pre-ban walrus, fossilized walrus, ancient walrus, fossilized mammoth, regular mammoth, and the list goes on. I know half of these are probably synonymous with each other, thus why I am here to ask you all! Some have also said camel bone is more durable than ivory, so I'm not sure if anyone has experience with that?

EDIT: While we're at it, I'll throw in Giraffe Bone and Rams horn. That's what the fellows over at Nutmeg are currently using for grips, and while I really like what they do, I'm not sure how I feel about giraffe bone for grips. Is it any good? Does it compare to ivory? I was told by a reputable individual that giraffe bone is just a name and not even guaranteed to be giraffe bone, which makes me iffy. Not sure how true that is.

EDIT2: For those browsing, page 5 has some good information about the specific question at hand.

Thanks!
 

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Well I got a pair of giraffe grips for my .45 IMBEL M911A1 (th Brazilian Colt Government clone, made by the same factory that used to provide Springfield Armory parts until 2012 I guess) for $75.00 at e-bay sometime ago.
It really looks good in hand and also has a great looking. I only wish it could have a more "yellowish" color, but I am quite happy.
I am curious about the other options like Mammoth Ivory and Walrus Ivory, but these are somewhat expensive.
 

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Nothing beats real elephant ivory. It's actually quite durable as well as good looking. I dropped a 1911 grip panel several feet onto a tile floor and to my amazement (and relief) it did not break or chip. Mammoth ivory, being thousands of years old, can be brittle and to me it just did not feel the same. Depending on the surrounding minerals where it was buried it can also be colorful. I don't know anything about Walrus and not much of a fan of bone grips.

Jim
 

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This Colt SAA has Giraffe Bone grips. For one, it is at least half the price of ivory. I also like the different colors (some of which is resin injected into the bone to give it strength) and grain. Ivory can be to stark white for my tastes, I like a little age on them. I have seen some giraffe bone that did not look good and I just happened luck out with mine as I like them better than ivory. Don't get me wrong, I love ivory grips and have had them in the past when it was more affordable, now it is just to expensive, as they can cost more than the gun! Good luck! Tom

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Discussion Starter #6
@Douglas Thanks for the input. Those grips aren't bad looking at all! Especially for 75 dollars, not a bad deal. How would you describe the feel of them? And how durable do they seem to be?

@Jim Thanks for your input too. That's what I hear! Unfortunately, I don't know where to get any real ivory grips. The only guy I knew who sold any in my state (Ohio) ran out of them sometime recently and didn't have them when I went to get a pair. :( I imagine mammoth ivory is still very nice, but my fear is it'll be somewhat more brittle than regular ivory and lack the same feel. I know it can be colorful, but I like the classic plain creamy white look. That's why I'm wondering about Walrus, though. Their tusks can still be sold interstate and aren't thousands of years old like mammoth. I'm not much interested in bone, but I'm leaving it on the back-burner as a fallback choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This Colt SAA has Giraffe Bone grips. For one, it is at least half the price of ivory. I also like the different colors (some of which is resin injected into the bone to give it strength) and grain. Ivory can be to stark white for my tastes, I like a little age on them. I have seen some giraffe bone that did not look good and I just happened luck out with mine as I like them better than ivory. Don't get me wrong, I love ivory grips and have had them in the past when it was more affordable, now it is just to expensive, as they can cost more than the gun! Good luck! Tom

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That's definitely one of the appeals of giraffe bone! Much cheaper for sure. You've got yourself a nice set, and I'm glad you like them. :) Everyone has their own opinion. I happen to like plainer white rather than streaks of colour, but they look good both ways. For now, I'm still keeping my eyes out for real ivory, but I'll keep giraffe on my mind. It definitely looks good. I just know some people say it doesn't fully compare. Also, thanks!
 

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I am going to be contacting Paul P next week and hopefully he is feeling better and has been cleared to work. Going to get a set for my new 2020 Python. Nothing feels like elephant ivory.
 

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Don't know what state you are in, but some states are moving beyond federal law in banning ivory, and that could continue. If you get ivory, you might find that someday in some states you cannot sell or transfer it. So far, the anti ivory people have not gone after ivory of species that are already extinct.
 

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I'm not a fan of Giraffe bone. I had a set on my 1911, and they always felt ice cold in my hand. And they were real smooth to the touch. Never quite felt comfortable. I went back to wood. My elephant ivory on my SAA does not have this effect. It seems natural and warm in my hand. And i have a good grip on it. Feels amazing to be honest. I have no experience with mammoth or Walrus. But I've read other threads that say Walrus isn't very strong. Being sea based, its a different kind of ivory and more brittle or something. Wont stand up to the test of time like Elephant. I'm sure Rick will give a much better description of the composition and feel of the different ivories.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm in Ohio. So far the worst of the laws don't seem to have hit here yet, thankfully, but yeah sadly that's the direction we seem to be going overall.

Thanks for the input, Chiz. That's one of the reasons I want to find real elephant ivory if possible. It's hard to duplicate the natural and warm feel I hear about that comes with it. As for walrus, I hadn't heard that argument, but I could definitely see being sea-based as a cause of being inferior in strength. I'd love it if Rick could drop by. I'm not familiar with him, but he sounds like he knows his stuff. Hopefully he finds this!

Also, @BusaDave, who is Paul P? I'm sure he's located in a different state, but I'm curious about any grip makers still working with elephant ivory. A set for your python sounds lovely!
 

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If you are in Ohio, it will make it easier if you can find someone in Ohio making Elephant Ivory stocks or with a pair for sale.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you are in Ohio, it will make it easier if you can find someone in Ohio making Elephant Ivory stocks or with a pair for sale.
Oh, I know. I mentioned in another comment there was a local grip seller who had ivory grips, but he apparently sold out of them by the time I went to buy a pair. And being ivory, it's unpredictable if he'll get more. Other than that, I haven't found anyone local who makes things out of elephant ivory yet.

Also, thanks for the resources guys!
 

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Sorry to be late to the party. First, all ivory is tooth and except for any exterior texture, should "feel" the same if they are polished to the same degree. That feel should be cooler to the touch not warmer. Green or new Walrus ivory is controlled under MMPA. Mammoth ivory tends to seperate like the rings of an onion making it difficult, though not impossible, to find a suitable piece for revolver stocks. Most Mammoth is used for model O style panels. Since you are in Ohio, contact David Warther (330-852-6096) ask for David and tell him I sent you. He will know any Ohio stock makers, he can sell you the ivory and should have some. I would also go to some of the great gun shows put on by the OGCA. I imagine you could find some ivory stocks there. Lastly, if you want Elephant ivory you may not be satisfied with second best.
 

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I may be shunned for this, but my favorite "look" has always been the jigged bone as shown on the closing scenes of Gunsmoke or the guns that Roy Rogers always toted. That look was also on the plastic fake stag grips by Franzite many years ago in their advertising.

These are genuine fake plastic Franzite from ca. 1959 or so:




But then, there are these from Patrick Grashorn, of which I'm mighty proud:








Bob Wright
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sorry to be late to the party. First, all ivory is tooth and except for any exterior texture, should "feel" the same if they are polished to the same degree. That feel should be cooler to the touch not warmer. Green or new Walrus ivory is controlled under MMPA. Mammoth ivory tends to seperate like the rings of an onion making it difficult, though not impossible, to find a suitable piece for revolver stocks. Most Mammoth is used for model O style panels. Since you are in Ohio, contact David Warther (330-852-6096) ask for David and tell him I sent you. He will know any Ohio stock makers, he can sell you the ivory and should have some. I would also go to some of the great gun shows put on by the OGCA. I imagine you could find some ivory stocks there. Lastly, if you want Elephant ivory you may not be satisfied with second best.
No worries! I'm just happy you came. People speak highly of your opinion, so I appreciate you taking the time to reply. :) Thank you for the information! It makes sense that any ivory (interior) should ideally feel the same when polished to the same degree. I looked around, and I did find a couple sources that might supply the type of mammoth ivory I would need for my stocks, which I didn't realize it separated into layers like that. Definitely explains why most slabs/blanks sold are fairly small and larger ones are expensive.

I agree with your last statement though, that if I want elephant ivory, I fear I won't be satisfied with second best. With that being said, thank you for providing David's information and mentioning the OGCA. Having resources like that will make it immensely easier finding a pair or having some made within my own state! Unfortunately, I looked at the website and OGCA seems to be fairly exclusive. Unless you're invited to attend an event by a current member, you can't go to the gun show. :( However, I will definitely give David a call and mention your name. That'll get me started in the right direction for sure.

Thanks again, Rick. It's much appreciated!
 
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