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Old January 4, 2015, 11:46 PM   #1
bernie
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Am I the only one that does not like "hog leg" grip frames?

I read all the time about people that love the classic single action grip frame on Colts and Rugers. I will be honest, I do not like it. I have never fired a Colt single action, but I have shot Rugers in .44, .45, and .22. They just do not seem to provide enough "control" for me when the gun in in recoil, and I cannot hold it securely enough for my tastes. It may be because to me, the ergonomics of a 1911 grip are awesome. What really pains me about this, is the fact that I love the Ruger Blackhawk. They are robust and accurate, but I do not like the way they feel in my hands. I have tried rubber grips, wooden grips, plastic grips, as well as others, and not found anything that changed the feel in my hand. Knowing that, and I know this is just opinion, do you think the Bisley grip frame might work for me?
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Old January 4, 2015, 11:56 PM   #2
Deaf Smith
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It is not the cowboy 'plow' handle that bothers me the most.

It's the very long hammer fall.

Hence I use DA revolvers, not 'cowboy' guns.

Deaf
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Old January 5, 2015, 12:02 AM   #3
pps
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I much prefer the Bisley grip frame over the standard Blackhawk. You will just have to try it. only you can answer the question on if you might prefer the larger grip.
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Old January 5, 2015, 12:04 AM   #4
bernie
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Deaf, I appreciate what you are saying, long hammer fall is not the problem for me, I just do not like the way they feel in my hand, primarily during the recoil impulse, and the fact that I do not feel like I have a good "purchase" or grip on the revolver.
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Old January 5, 2015, 12:31 AM   #5
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While I can use a SAA style grip decent enough, it sure doesn't seem like it was built for the human hand. At least a human hand made in the 20th or 21st century.

Edit to add, I think I'd like a Ruger type Bisley. In the mean time, I do like the feel of Herret's stocks for Ruger single actions. They look ungainly compared to the standard set up, but they shoot so nicely, IMO.

Finding old stock Herret's could be a bit hard though.
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Old January 5, 2015, 02:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bernie View Post
I read all the time about people that love the classic single action grip frame on Colts and Rugers. I will be honest, I do not like it. I have never fired a Colt single action, but I have shot Rugers in .44, .45, and .22. They just do not seem to provide enough "control" for me when the gun in in recoil, and I cannot hold it securely enough for my tastes. It may be because to me, the ergonomics of a 1911 grip are awesome. What really pains me about this, is the fact that I love the Ruger Blackhawk. They are robust and accurate, but I do not like the way they feel in my hands. I have tried rubber grips, wooden grips, plastic grips, as well as others, and not found anything that changed the feel in my hand. Knowing that, and I know this is just opinion, do you think the Bisley grip frame might work for me?

Keep in mind what the design standards for the SAA style pistols evolved from. They work great, ergonomically speaking, when it came to recoil control. Recoil control, that is, without beating your hands to death firing the gun. The design allows the revolver to naturally roll up both in and with your grip.

A semi-automatic pistol, however, demands a different grip for at least two very good reasons:

1. The magazine well is inside the grip.
2. A firmer grip is required for increased reliability for cycling the slide during recoil. (Note that some firearms exhibit reduced reliability due to loose hand gripping or "limp-wristing".)

Obviously, there are traditional esthetics to be considered in grip design, and history plays a tight role in this. But semi-automatic pistols require a different grip by design.

I imagine it's a matter of what one is used to as well as personal esthetics, like most anything else about guns.

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Old January 5, 2015, 04:49 AM   #7
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Well I agree with you on the poor grip Bernie.

The reason they had such a poor grip is cause generations of muzzle loaders before them had even poorer grips! It actually was an improvement. They did have a few glimmers of future grips with the 'sawhandle' style dueling pistols but for the most part they kept their plow handle style.

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Old January 5, 2015, 09:11 AM   #8
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I don't mind the single action type grip frame if the gun is chambered in a mildly recoiling cartridge. But I hate them when there is some kick. Many years ago I bought a Ruger SBH because I read, and believed, all the press about how great they were.

I shot one box of mags through that revolver and sold it. Switched over to a Smith Model 29 and have never looked back. I do like shooting my Colt single action in .44wcf though.
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Old January 5, 2015, 09:43 AM   #9
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I found that the regular frame single action revolvers didn't suit me well either. I have sold every one of them, EXCEPT: Uberti El Patron .45 Colt, with checkered bird head grips. It is a pleasure to shoot, and accurate as can be. It's the one keeper out of all I collected over the years.
It's also the prettiest one, in my opinion. After a few hundred rounds, you still can't see the turn ring on the cylinder. The heavy bluing has never marred a bit. And the grips....well, I wish there were more types of guns with those style of grips.
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Old January 5, 2015, 10:33 AM   #10
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Note to those of you who want to sell single action western style revolvers:

Please send me a personal message when you decide you are going to sell it!!
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Old January 5, 2015, 12:06 PM   #11
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I've never liked it. The usual human grip is bigger at the top and gets smaller as you get near the little finger and the SA grip is smaller at the top and gets bigger at the bottom. This makes the gun rotate in my hand under recoil. Some consider this a feature, but I'd prefer to absorb recoil by rotating at the elbow and not have to reposition the gun in my hand between shots.

Last edited by natman; January 5, 2015 at 12:15 PM.
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Old January 5, 2015, 12:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
The reason they had such a poor grip is cause generations of muzzle loaders before them had even poorer grips!
Poor grip? Is that why the Colt SAA and the 1851/1861 Navy revolvers are considered of the best handling handguns of all time???


Yes, the single action has a completely different feel than more "modern" handgun types. It's all a matter of what you get used to. If you're accustomed to DA's and autos, then it will take some time to become comfortable with a single action. If you were born with a Colt SAA in your hand, then that's just what a handgun is supposed to feel like. If the single action feels awkward, uncomfortable or unwieldy, it's probably due more to a lack of familiarity with it than any deficiency in the design. Don't blame the gun for your own deficiencies. There are very good reasons why these guns have been in production for nearly two centuries.


Quote:
I've never liked it. The usual human grip gets smaller as you get near the little finger and the SA grip gets bigger. This makes the gun rotate in my hand under recoil. Some consider this a feature, but I'd prefer to absorb recoil by rotating at the elbow and not have to reposition the gun in my hand between shots.
Have you not noticed that DA grips get larger towards the bottom as well? If the grip is slipping through your hand, you're doing something wrong. You're probably shooting with your arms stiffened. If you try to manhandle it and fight the recoil, it will slip in your hand. If you allow your hand(s) to roll 'with' the sixgun, causing your wrists, elbows and shoulders to absorb the recoil, the problem with go away. If you're shooting isosceles, don't.
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Old January 5, 2015, 12:32 PM   #13
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bernie,

I shoot a lot rounds in SAA style revolvers. Shooting them requires a different technique than double action revolvers and semi-autos.

First there are two different sizes of grip frames for Colt SAA and clones., The Navy and the Army.

The third type is the Bisley grip frame.

With the smaller Navy most shooters find it more comfortable to curl the pinky finger under the grip. With the longer Army it is easier to wrap all of the fingers around the grip.

Second is how are you gripping the gun? SAA's are designed for a one hand hold. In combat on horseback one hand is needed for the reins. With a one handed hold the gun should rotate upwards in your hand thus placing the hammer closer to your thumb for easier cocking. Rubber grips do not allow the grip to rotate upwards thus increasing the felt recoil. it also makes for a longer reach for the thumb to cock the gun.

The Bisley grip was designed for target shooting so it does not rotate in the hand. It is a matter of preference.

Ruger Blackhawks / Vaqueros are much larger and heavier guns to help soak up some of the recoil. The grip frames are different size and slightly different design than the Colt SAA. Their larger size and strength makes for hotter loads to be used so more recoil.

I use to participate in Cowboy Mounted Shooting so I learned to shoot one handed. I replaced the hammers on my Vaqueros with ones for the Super Blackhawk. The Super Blackhawk hammers sit lower and makes for shorter reach and faster recocking. I prefer the Super Blackhawk hammers on my Rugers.

Hopefully Driftwood Johnson will chime in. He can explain it much better than I can.

Last edited by BSA1; January 5, 2015 at 12:38 PM.
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Old January 5, 2015, 12:32 PM   #14
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I have a larger than average hand and the Blackhawk fits well. As such I can't imagine it fitting normal folks very well. I also REALLY like the feel of a birdshead grip and the control it gives me...too bad they are in large part dead, and the remaining guns offered with birdshead grip are limited to calibers I have no interest in.
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Old January 5, 2015, 12:43 PM   #15
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What CraigC said in post #12...

Only thing I can add is that if you don't like the grips...

Change them...

There are a host of commercial aftermarket grips for most single actions, and there are a handful of really good custom grip makers that will listen to what you want/need...

I was OK with stock Ruger wood on my SA's, but was never thrilled...

I taught myself to make grips, and have now tossed my factory grips in a box in the shed...
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Old January 5, 2015, 01:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Keep in mind what the design standards for the SAA style pistols evolved from. They work great, ergonomically speaking, when it came to recoil control. Recoil control, that is, without beating your hands to death firing the gun. The design allows the revolver to naturally roll up both in and with your grip.
The above from NavyChief hits it I think.

The Plow Handle style grip frame are really very well shaped grips for most shooters. This is with understanding that there are a few variations of it and many different styles of stocks to fit these frames.

It is also with the understanding that they are intended to roll in the hand under recoil, the muzzle coming up, and by doing so make cocking the hammer faster and easier. This is best done with smooth grips that allow the gun to roll in the hand. With lighter recoiling loads the pinky finger goes under the grip helping to stabilize it.

Neither rubber stocks nor checkered stocks help in this.

With single action revolvers there is no way around shifting the grip when they are cocked that is what you do. Unless the off thumb is used for cocking.

The grip frame of a double action revolver is shaped differently in order to allow for a da pull of the trigger.

The problem many shooters have with the Ruger Dragoon grip frame is the second knuckle being rapped by the rear of the trigger guard under recoil. That can be remedied.

The Bisley grip frame originated in the target shooting matches in Bisley, England around the turn of the previous century, the late 1890s or so.

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Old January 5, 2015, 02:02 PM   #17
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I believe the "plow handle" grip is just a passing fad. Won't last long.






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Old January 5, 2015, 04:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobWright View Post
I believe the "plow handle" grip is just a passing fad. Won't last long.
Humorous sarcasm...your posting drips with it!




Nice collection, but the way!
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Old January 5, 2015, 11:43 PM   #19
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The factory wooden grip of the Super BlackHawks are the best grips to handle the recoil of, say, a full house 44 Mag. Handled properly, the sixgun will roll upward and the grip will slide a little down in your hands.

A Smith M29 will recoil almost straight back and will sting the hands easily. The factory checkered grips can be very uncomfortable.

Got 'em both.
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Old January 6, 2015, 12:23 AM   #20
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Yes, and yes. The trick to the SBH (and most other big bores) is a firm but not rigid grip with no body parts locked. That really let's the gun move and move you without the feeling that your holding a fully armed platoon of wasps after a day at the range. Not so much unlike the DA guns, firm but not rigid the difference is that SA guns try to twirl around the trigger finger making you feel the recoil in the wrist whereas DA guns shove back into the fatty part of the palm and buck your whole arm up rather than just the wrist...you feel DA guns with the whole arm when done properly because the whole arm acts as a shock absorber.
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Old January 6, 2015, 12:24 AM   #21
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Bob...you forgot the labels!...

Nice pic though!

I like the Hog leg grips myself. Also as some have mentioned it's a different beast that needs no taming for me. Just like rocking a baby to sleep..
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Old January 6, 2015, 11:39 AM   #22
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Yep, the plow handle does rotate in yore hand. this I think is a heavy loaded Bisley in .45 Colt:



(Photo made many years ago)

As to labels:



Top row are Super Blackhawks, the two on far right are Three Screw guns. Bottom is a 5" Super Blackhawk Three Screw, next an ex-.357 Magnum Three Screw Blackhawk .44 Special, and a Uberti Model P .44 Special.

These guns are .45 Colt:



Ruger Blackhawks except for the Colt New Frontier in top row, and Vaquero and Uberti Flat Top in bottom row.

And .357 Magnums:



Ruger Blackhawks, two on left are Three Screw, middle is New Model, then a Colt SAA and a Hy Hunter.

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Old January 6, 2015, 11:53 AM   #23
natman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natman
I've never liked it. The usual human grip gets smaller as you get near the little finger and the SA grip gets bigger. This makes the gun rotate in my hand under recoil. Some consider this a feature, but I'd prefer to absorb recoil by rotating at the elbow and not have to reposition the gun in my hand between shots.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
Have you not noticed that DA grips get larger towards the bottom as well?
Yes I have noticed that DA grips do get often get larger at the bottom, but nowhere nearly as much as an SA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
If the grip is slipping through your hand, you're doing something wrong. You're probably shooting with your arms stiffened. If you try to manhandle it and fight the recoil, it will slip in your hand.
The grip is slipping through my hand because it doesn't fit my hand. I'd like to suggest that I'm probably in a better position to determine how a gun fits my hand than you are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
If you allow your hand(s) to roll 'with' the sixgun, causing your wrists, elbows and shoulders to absorb the recoil, the problem with go away.
I agree, that's why I said: "I'd prefer to absorb recoil by rotating at the elbow and not have to reposition the gun in my hand between shots." Unfortunately, the problem does not go away, because the gun does not fit MY hand.
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Old January 6, 2015, 11:55 AM   #24
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BobWright

That's one fantastic single action collection you've got there! Thanks for sharing.
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Old January 6, 2015, 12:44 PM   #25
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I love 'em. Hang your pinky off the bottom - they shoot better that way.
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