Old grips on newer Smiths?


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Gunner Mike
March 10, 2010, 02:42 AM
Just curious. Would old grips like these fit on a modern K/L square butt frame? How far back can I go for a retro look?

Thanks ahead of time.

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Oro
March 10, 2010, 03:38 AM
To get those to fit properly, you'd have to reshape them and likely shorten them slightly. They may also be too thin and not fully cover the backstrap to the edges.

The grip strap shapes on both N and K changed right at the end of WWII. Mostly, they just shrunk about 1/16th" in height - not a *huge* deal. But older grips also shrink over time and it's unusual to find a pair that will meet the grip straps fully in all dimensions. For most of the 20th Century, the S&W grips were custom finished to each grip frame (thus the s/n), and even within the same period, grips from one gun won't match perfectly to another.

The "safest" You can really go back for a retro look I would say is post-war diamond Magnas. They will reliably fit OK; prior to that - they might, but it's a 1 in 4 or less chance in my experience. Those particular grips are worth picking up if cheap enough; they date to a desirable era and are some of the better looking grips S&W ever made in my opinion. The large brass medallions of that period were unique and attractive; I think I have a pair of those in my S&W grip box (or at least I used to!). A tip is that while you can swab some Flitz or similar on a q-tip and really clean up the medallions, it's a disaster to try to strip and refinish the wood. After about a century, the wood has lost much of it's moisture and it has been replaced with oils from the initial finish or subsequent oiling/waxing. If you strip it, you will turn the outer layer of wood to a soft pulp. It's not worth the risk. The oldest grips you can safely bank on refinishing are WWII era; past that it's a judgment call on whether they can be stripped or not based on your experience. Those, based on color and what it implies to me about oil/wax content, should not be touched.

Gunner Mike
March 10, 2010, 03:44 AM
Yeah, they are good looking. Guess custom is probably the only way to go. Big bucks!

Old Fuff
March 10, 2010, 10:16 AM
Back when quality was affordable, Snith & Wesson, as well as Colt and some others, would individually hand fit a set of stocks to each frame, and then mark them with the frame's serial number to be sure the right stocks got back on the right frame after both were finished. So not only can you not be sure a pair will fit on a more recent revolver, you can't be sure they will fit on another gun made around the same or an earlier time. Nothing will prevent you from trying them on to see how they fit, but don't expect that they will until you do try.

Dangerman009
March 10, 2010, 10:50 AM
Nice looking grips. A couple years ago I found a pair of 1917-1929 vintage S&W grips in an antique shop. I figured they were meant for a K frame gun as they didn't quite fit the N frame in the front. The back fit was just fine. They didn't quite fill out the corners of the new frame though.

http://i592.photobucket.com/albums/tt3/Dangerman009/Guns/22-4VintageGripsL.jpg

Interestingly, with a t-grip adapter and these grips, this was the most comfortable configuration (for me, at least) to shoot with.

http://i592.photobucket.com/albums/tt3/Dangerman009/Guns/22-4VintageGripsandT-GripL.jpg

The closest to these that I ever found new were THESE (http://www.gungrip.com/detail_RCG27__031__smith%20&%20wesson%20grips.html). You could also get THESE (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=64963&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=45303&training=) directly from S&W. Of course, they're for the N frame.

Thaddeus Jones
March 10, 2010, 11:33 AM
I've found that the older grips won't fit the new frames. Frames have been altered to incorporate the lock, and the curves at the top of the grips sometimes leave gaps when mounting older grips. That or they won't line up right.

I found this out trying to help a guy at my shop get some nice grips to fit his wind up 686-6.

In addition, on this 686-6, one side of the grip frame was thinner than the other side!! Innovative. :rolleyes: TJ

Gunner Mike
March 10, 2010, 12:45 PM
I've found a customer maker that does these every once in awhile for modern K/L frames. $50. (see pic) Needs the medallions, but hey, you can't have everything.

Thanks for the pic Dangerman. That helps me visualize it. With the T grips, it'd be an easy carry piece. Hiding the butt is the most important part.

My 686 is a dash-one. The more I hear, the more I'm glad I bought an older one. Not to put down your piece, but that's what I'm gathering.

Dangerman009
March 10, 2010, 06:45 PM
Those grips look good too. The 686 is a K frame, right? I know a lot of people don't like new S&W revolvers because of the key lock and the MIM parts. This was my first real handgun, and it never bothered me. I never had a problem with it at all. Although the checkering on the top of the hammer is SHARP. I am considering selling/trading it (the gun, not the grips).;)

Gunner Mike
March 10, 2010, 07:38 PM
The 686 is an L frame, but uses the K grips.

I don't worry about the new changes too much. There were probably tons of old timers, back in the 60's, complaining about how you don't need a shrouded ejector. They probably said it threw the balance off and made them unworthy of the name.

I can just see them on here (if they could log on) saying, "Well I've been shooting my whole life and dang nab it! If you're bending the ejector rod, you're doing something wrong!"

Someone might reply that the weight helps fight muzzle flip. That person would then be called a candy-ass.

There's good and bad to everything. Everything except those stupid billboards on Rugers! LOL!

Dave T
March 10, 2010, 08:30 PM
The grips pictured have always been called the "service stocks" as far as I know and that distinguishes them from the "Magna stocks". The Magna come higher up, to the top of the recoil shoulder. They're called Magna for a reason. They were introduced with the advent of the Registered Magnum because those service stocks are very uncomfortable under magnum recoil. The narrow hump slams into the web of your hand and will make you wish you had 38 Specials in your 357 Magnum.

Dave

Dangerman009
March 10, 2010, 08:44 PM
Gunner Mike, I think you may have hit the nail on the head. :D

madcratebuilder
March 11, 2010, 08:48 AM
The 686 is an L frame, but uses the K grips.

I don't worry about the new changes too much. There were probably tons of old timers, back in the 60's, complaining about how you don't need a shrouded ejector. They probably said it threw the balance off and made them unworthy of the name.

I can just see them on here (if they could log on) saying, "Well I've been shooting my whole life and dang nab it! If you're bending the ejector rod, you're doing something wrong!"

Someone might reply that the weight helps fight muzzle flip. That person would then be called a candy-ass.

There's good and bad to everything. Everything except those stupid billboards on Rugers! LOL!

When I first started hanging out in gun shops in the late sixties that is exactly what I heard. Lot of bickering about fit and finish and poor quality. You should have heard them when stainless hit the market:what:

If some of those old boys walked into a gun shop today they would fall over dead from shock of all the tupperware:eek:

I sure miss them.

Gunner Mike
March 11, 2010, 02:00 PM
I figured as much. People don't like change. On plastics, the old timers would be thinking of old bakelite radios and such. (Ha!)

Plastics are freaking amazing today. While a Glock has never pointed well for me, a person could get quite used to it or its kind. It is within 1% of the reliability of a revolver. If I expected trouble for some reason, the revolver would be the backup to something a little more ready for lengthy combat. May sound dumb, but covering fire at the door, after it smashes in, can be a big help and buy you that extra second or two. Every shot is needed in a revolver.

Everything depends on what it is to be used for. I mean, I love M14's, but if I was on a real battlefield? Hand me an AK, even if they ARE unpolished and "poorly made".

I've owned all sorts of pistols but revolvers make more sense for sitting around collecting dust and value. They are harmed, in no way, by time, especially in stainless. They are constantly ready. My girlfriend is on strict orders, that when I'm gone, the revolver is the gun she keeps forever and passes down.

This versus that, that versus this? Use your own judgment. Period.

___________________________
Newsflash!! Glock to introduce pink Glockenfrau for lady shooters.

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