Mammoth Ivory Grips


December 6, 2007, 05:13 PM
I just broke down and bought a set of mammoth ivory pistol grips for a M1911.

Does anyone have any long-term experience with how this will hold up in a real shootin' gun and not just as decoration for a BBQ gun?

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December 6, 2007, 05:27 PM
Where I was last week, a hunting guide who makes knives had some mastodon ivory knife handles. He uses them to skin and bone out game. They seemed to be okay.

But I'd research it first.

Mad Magyar
December 7, 2007, 08:46 AM
How about a pic when you can? Many grips are extremely attractive but their inherent properties leave much to be desired in a feel good grip & recoil absorption....:)

Flame Red
December 7, 2007, 11:18 AM
I have seen posted on various grip maker web sites that they do not recommend shotting mammoth ivory - too brittle. Elephant Ivory can be shot.

December 7, 2007, 11:31 AM
I have to agree with Flame Red. I work with ivory extensively. Mammoth tends to break apart in layers, more so than elephant ivory, which in my experience is more stable (but still not stable enough for shooting). If one knows their mammoth materials one can find more stable parts in a tusk, but based on my experience I would say that being subjected to the impact of recoil is going to eventually, in many cases, result in a failure. The problem becomes even greater as the material is used in greater lengths where stability is lost the greater the length used. CA glue can be used to impregnate the material for some added stability, but I don't believe that it will soak deep enough to add all that much stability where cracks/scaling are likely to begin. I have found elephant ivory to be less of a layered type of material (in terms of risk), but there are other types of cracks that can happen at any time, and certainly with age if the material isn't properly maintained or is used for shooting.

Knowing what I know about elephant and mammoth ivory I'd spend my money elsewhere.

Detachment Charlie
December 7, 2007, 06:44 PM
Thanks Flame Red and Storm. I damn near plugged that pesky Mastadon that's been at my carrot patch.:cuss:

December 7, 2007, 06:52 PM
Just as I feared. It is such a rare material and I got a great price on this pair of grips. I was informed by the supplier that mammoth ivory is extremely dense -which is why it probably cannot be stabilized like wood or regular bone.

I guess I'll go with stag or micarta for heavy shootin' but I'll still be packing these for BBQ purposes. This will go on a full house gun I got from Bob Rodgers, I'll post pics when they arrive.

July 26, 2008, 01:52 PM
Mammoth Ivory comes in several types. Mammoth Tooth is terribly unstable and is unsuitable for gun grips or knife handles, except for those which you do not intend to use. On the other hand, Mammoth Tusk Ivory is quite a bit more dense than Elephant Ivory. You have bark Ivory, which is the exterior of the tusk, which exhibits grain, sometimes Stag-like texture and, of course, cracks. Bark Ivory can be stabilized quite easily with epoxy (usually mixed with Ivory dust). As long as the Bark Ivory has nothing more than superficial grain cracks, it can be used as 1911 grips, and are fairly durable. The interior Tusk Ivory is completely different. When finished it has a smooth buttery feel, is gorgeous and very durable. I have 4 1911s with interior Tusk Ivory grips that I have shot extensively over the past 3-4 years without any problems whatsoever. I also have a very large Bowie style camp knife with Bark Ivory scales that gets used every hunting season to cut firewood, quarter elk and deer, and whatever else comes along. I have used and abused this knife for 5 or 6 years and have had no problems with the Bark Ivory. If you use the Russian Mammoth Ivory that has been preserved in the permafrost, you won't have any problems with your beautiful Mammoth Ivory grips. Enjoy them. I know I have.

July 26, 2008, 05:34 PM
They aren't maintenance free - many people will use an O-ring or a piece of aquarium tubing under the grip screw head - the O-ring squish may spread some strain - to sort of shock mount and maintain the tension while the ivory shrinks (or grows) Carnuba wax or your choice should be used regularly but not necessarily often.

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