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Grip material for heavy recoiling SA?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by eldon519, Apr 1, 2013.

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  1. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    I'm having issues with a lightweight .45 Colt that has micarta grips on it, and I'm considering getting custom grips made to see if that helps sort things out. It's a Freedom Arms 97, and with Ruger loads, it is really hard to hang onto. Even with standard loads, I find it slips around in my hand a little making consistent accuracy a challenge. The micarta is just so smooth, and since it doesn't absorb water, a little sweat exaggerates the issue. There is no pain when firing unless it rolls hard enough to cut me or get me with the hammer spur; I just feel like I'm trying to hang onto an angry squirrel or something to that effect.

    So I'm curious, is there a grip material or finish that is often used to help give some control with the big bore single actions out there? I see all these beautiful 5-shot conversions with beautiful grips to match, but I wonder if there is some trick to leaving that ultra-smooth-sanded wood with some traction. Does a glossy varnish-like finish give more or less traction than an oil finish? Are antlers or bone the way to go and do they absorb water at all?

    If I had to guess, a wood grip left with an open grain and an oil finish might be the way to go.
     
  2. osteodoc08

    osteodoc08 Member

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    Depends on what you want. I've got a set of badger walnuts on my 41 mag BH that do awesome. It's all about your hand. I prefer the gunfighter style of grips and fairly thick. I do not like hogue grips on a blued gun. Gotta find a style that fits your hand. Go to the next gun show and find someone selling grips. Try em out.
     
  3. BADUNAME2

    BADUNAME2 Member

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    I've got buffalo horn on my .44 Mag Super Blackhawks. It's about as smooth as glass. I find that it moves just enough to keep from tearing the skin up, (checkering on a big bore magnum is for masochists,) but not so much as to cause accuracy issues.

    IMG_20130401_185520_zps7dd191f4.jpg
     
  4. Deer_Freak

    Deer_Freak Member.

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    Wood is the best grip for a revolver. Plastic and rubber grips just don't work as advertised.
     
  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I would say wood grips, custom made to your hand shape and size (maybe even a little oversized as well), would work well for you. A friend of mine has a Ruger Super Blackhawk that has a set of slightly oversized grips that are lightly checkered walnut and they do wonders at controlling muzzle rise and felt recoil.
     
  6. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Best grip for a heavy kicking SA? Trade it for a Bisley.
     
  7. smkummer

    smkummer Member

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    Yep, the Bisley grip is so much more comfortable. But have you tried and padded shooting glove? This works with my Ruger SBH. I of course don't use the magnum loads for extended range use or plinking.
     
  8. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Member

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    A wood grip with open grain and not much finish on it would probably be the best, without actually getting into something more grippy like checkering or rubber. All the checkering is going to do is abrade your hand, same with rubber.

    For extended shooting at the range, I'd recommend getting a thin leather glove. Something like a golf glove, or a batting glove.
     
  9. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    Well the Freedom Arms 97 does have a very Bisley-like grip, it is just smaller, slicker (with the micarta) and only about 35 ounces compared to roughly 48oz for my Bisley (I have a .45 Colt Bisley and absolutely agree with you guys about comfort).

    The problem isn't pain for the most part unless I let it over rotate and stab me with the hammer spur or bang my knuckle on the trigger guard, it's just that it is so hard to keep from moving in my hand with these slick grips. And being smaller, there isn't as much room to keep your hand away from the painful bits. At the moment, it takes nearly a death grip to control. I'd just like to get something with a bit more traction so I could get it down into the firm or extra-firm handshake grip level to control it. I think taking some of the bell out of the width of the grips at the bottom might help too.

    I'm thinking I may try to put some surf board wax on it just to see if that helps. Ought to give it more grip without requiring any irreversible changes or real money spent. As much as I like the gun, the grip frame may just be too small for me though I don't have giant hands or anything like that.
     
  10. BADUNAME2

    BADUNAME2 Member

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    I can't speak for the rest of the shooting fraternity, but I quit trying to "control," or "hold down," or "strong arm," a pistol at anything much above the .44 Special power level. I switch from meeting force with force, karate style, to guiding the gun's force, aikido style. The more your arms can roll with it, the less the impact is gonna be concentrated in your hands and wrists. Also, the less grip tension you need to keep a hold on the gun.
     
  11. Piraticalbob

    Piraticalbob Member

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    Micarta is usually finished on a buffer for a smooth, glassy finish. It's easy enough to rough up the surface a bit with 600-grit wet-or-dry sandpaper, which will give you a more secure grasp on the gun. If that doesn't suffice you're better off switching to wood, either smooth or checkered, depending on how much friction you want on your grip. And the black synthetic rubber grips as made by Pachmayr or Hogue will give you an even better grip, although they don't look authentic on a single action.
     
  12. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I would've said micarta. Micarta usually has a smooth finish but it doesn't get slippery like plastics or buffalo horn. The problem could be your technique. If you're trying to manhandle it, that could be your problem. I don't grip my sixguns any harder than I would my wife's hand (without getting slapped) and my elbows are loose enough to bend during recoil.
     
  13. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    I appreciate the continued advice. I do keep my elbows bent and pretty loose in an isosceles stance. My wrists are fairly locked mainly because it is hard to mentally separate those muscles when squeezing hard. As much as possible, I try to keep the man-handling limited to my kung-fu grip. I'm used to getting small amounts of roll from my Bisley if I shoot it with a really high hold, and a little roll doesn't bother me. Somehow with these grips, it just feels like if you give an inch, it takes a mile. Some of it could be the grip shape which was a very belled bottom from front to back and side to side. I think because of this, as soon as it slips down some, it takes the pressure/friction out of the hand-to-micarta connection. I have even experienced some torquing side to side where after a shot with a Ruger-level load, the gun may be aimed a few degrees to the left (I'm right handed).
     
  14. Drail

    Drail Member

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    The original plow handle SA grip was designed in the 19th century when handguns did not really generate much recoil and they cause the grip to rotate in your hand. That's fine for black powder cartridges but when you chamber a SA in .41 or .44 magnum something more is required. I started shooting SAs back in the 80s with a Blackhawk in .41 magnum with my own handloads, some of which were fairly heavy and no matter what I did as far as grips and gloves and different holds and trying to "muscle the gun", the gun would just take skin off of the palm of my hand. With heavy leather gloves the glove would take the skin off. The gun is going to rotate regardless of what the grips are made of or how they are finished. I finally got sick of fighting it and bought a Bisley. Problem solved 100%. I can shoot very heavy (but safe) loads all day with the Bisley with no strain. It really does make a huge difference.
     
  15. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    Something smooth.

    Have you tried a thin calf,buck,or goatskin full finger glove? You would be suprised at the reduction of felt recoil,and it helps hanging onto the grip without shifting your hand for a follow up shot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
  16. popbang

    popbang Member

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    Try using Paste Wax on it. It will give just a little stick to it.
     
  17. S&Wfan

    S&Wfan Member

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    Soft "rubber" grips actually have the same effect on the hand, during recoil, that one can simulate on the shoulder by holding the butt of a light 12 gauge slightly off the shoulder before firing it.

    PROPERLY fitting wood stocks on a revolver, with a good firm grip, is best when shooting any revolver in a hot caliber. OTOH, a set of wood grips that poorly fit the shooter's hand can hurt about as much as "rubbers" that allow those rubber grips to compress during recoil only to slam the hand hard after the compression of the grip is maximized.
     
  18. bikemutt
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    bikemutt Member

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    Pachmayer Decellerators always worked for me. Not all "soft" rubber is the same, the way in which materials dissipate energy is complex.
     
  19. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    I found some tight fitting garden gloves with a rubberized palm that I am gonna try out to see if it is a traction issue. If that doesn't work, I may try to re-shape the grips some. If that doesn't work, I'll have to figure out something else to do with it.

    I hadn't shot my Bisley in a while and took it to the range today. Shot 100 rds of 255gr cast over 27.0 gr H-110. As had been said, with that gun, I didn't need much more than a handshake grip to control it and didn't really have much pain until about the last 10 rounds when I started getting a small blister on my palm. I compared the grips side by side, and it really is amazing how different the shooting experience is because they are fairly similar grip shapes between the Bisley and FA 97.
     
  20. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    If you've got bigger hands that take Large to X-large gloves then it might be that the upper area of the grip scales is simply too small.

    I ran into this same issue when I got a Super Blackhawk. The stock scales were just too small a circumference around the upper area for my hand. As a result I wasn't able to get a sufficient hold to control the rotation in my hand. In addition the smaller area around the rear of the "neck" of the shape pushed back into my hand farther.

    I ended up making a new set of scales that provided a larger circumference around the bent or "neck" of the scales. Suddenly the gun stayed in place better with both less rotation in my grip and less distortion of my hand and "push back". I can now shoot full power max .44Mag loads with a normal grip strength and do so without the dreaded "dragoon guard bite" and with less short term trauma to my hands. The gun still rotates up within my grip. But it does this in a manageable way now compared to the drastic way it did with the smaller stock scales.
     
  21. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    That's an interesting thought BCRider. I do not have particularly large hands, but the FA97 grip is a bit smaller. Almost a mini Bisley. I have not liked the taper from the bottom of the scales to the top, but I had been thinking that maybe the bottom is too wide. In fact maybe the top is too thin. When gripping it, my middle finger does wrap all the way around the thin part of the grip neck to where it touches my palm on the other side. Also there is a little space on both my thumb and index finger sides where they don't exactly wrap around the top portion because it might be a bit thin.
     
  22. murf

    murf Member

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    try wrapping tape around your hand. cheap way to find out if you need a bigger grip at the palm-swell area.

    murf
     
  23. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    Larry at gripmaker.com can furnish you with semi finished grips that you can "fit" your self, he even adds an extra panel for practice.

    I bought a smooth set for a NMBH 4 5/8" 45 Colt, left them wider at the top ,as I have long narrow fingers, about twice as thick as the OE hard rubber, fills the hand better, and gives more control.

    +1 to popbangs tip on the pastewax, that and a buckskin glove ,shoot all day with 45 Colt pushing 30,000 PSI loads of H110, no blisters, but what a FLINCH ! :D
     
  24. GyMac

    GyMac Member

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    I have a Ruger SBH and was having trouble shooting it as accurately as I thought I should. I tried Pachmayr grips and the improvement was noticeable. It was also more controllable for me. I don't like the appearance so much, but when I've tried switching back to the originals my accuracy drops off. So my gun wears Pachmayrs.
     
  25. tahoe2

    tahoe2 Member

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    laminated finger groove grips on my 41mag Blackhawk
    and a shooting glove for "full house" loads.
    182339
     

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