Mammoth/Mastodon teeth/ivory handgun grips.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Accessories, Holsters, and Optics' started by JellyJar, Jan 5, 2016.

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  1. JellyJar

    JellyJar Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    Has anyone here ever had handgun grips made from Mammoth/Mastodon teeth or ivory? Or know of someone who has?

    If so are they suitable for every day use or just good for show?
  2. aarondhgraham

    aarondhgraham Member

    Sep 28, 2012
    Stillwater, Oklahoma
    It's really old stuff,,,

    According to Wikipedia they went extinct 10 to 11 thousand years ago.

    Back in the mid 60's,,,
    My Pop found a mammoth skeleton in NW Oklahoma.

    He was looking for old dump sites to excavate,,,
    And found some bones in a recent washed out gully.

    He called someone at Oklahoma University,,,
    I remember being amazed when they weren't excited at all.

    Apparently that's not a rare find in that part of the state.

    Anyways, we went back and dug up as much as we could find,,,
    It was no means intact but we found about 3 feet of tusk.

    I tried making some knife handles from a piece of tusk,,,
    But it was too far gone to be of any decent worth,,,
    The pieces crumbled under the slightest stress.

    So I suppose it all depends on the condition of the ivory,,,
    I have seen examples for sale over the years,,,
    So someone has had more success than I.

    Type, mammoth tusk pistol grips, into a Google search,,,
    It came up with hundreds of images like this one.


    In fact the company in the image exists,,,
    And has a nice website.


  3. Bullet Bob

    Bullet Bob Member

    Feb 4, 2003
    Piedmont, NC
    As far as I know they're all stabilized with a resin or epoxy. Several people in the Wilson section of the 1911 forum have them.
  4. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

    Jul 21, 2005
    Gary Reeder works with mammoth ivory grips and his page recommends against shooting with them on the gun.
  5. mokin

    mokin Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    Western Colorado
    I've had a piece of mammoth ivory, about the size of a deck of cards, now for ten years waiting for something to do with it. The ivory looks pretty solid but has many small cracks in it. The guy who gave it to me said knife handles were popular. Evidently, when working with the material one has to consider the cracks and "work around" those. I guess that would be the reason to stabilize with epoxy. Something like that would certainly be cool though.
  6. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

    Feb 12, 2011
    They are expensive and meant for looking at. I prefer wood grips for their functionality.
  7. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

    Jul 26, 2007
    Pullman, WA
    Not Teeth but Tusks

    I was looking at gripps for 1911s on the Wilson Combat web site
    and found a pair made fromm Mastodon (I believe) tukss. Looked
    ok, but at $300 I have better things to spend money on a 1911

    Be a shame with a oops to crack them grips Rosewood and other
    exotic hardwoods are more forgiving and I would think warm to the
    touch much better.


  8. Iron Sight

    Iron Sight Member

    Sep 16, 2007
  9. dogrunner

    dogrunner Member

    Dec 13, 2006
    E/Cntrl Fla.
    Back in the mid-60's I was in the Army and stationed in central Ak. Found a curio/antique shop just south of Fairbanks that had several nearly intact tusks, lotta cracks tho, but still much that was easily large enough make a couple pairs of SAA grips from. Stuff cut (and smelled!) just like modern ivory and was not stained and blackish as much on the market now appears. Both sets took an excellent polish and showed no disposition toward crumbling or cracking.

    As I recall the shop owner said that the material came from a mining operation near Ester, Ak...near FB. According to him, the stuff was c/14 dated at 18000 plus or minus.....said that came from the U of A...Fbnks.

    As I said, made two sets, one for a buddy's New Frontier .357 and another for my flat top .44 set split the left rear section in half while I was shooting it in extremely cold weather, probably due to my workmanship and not the friends gun held up well and last I heard he still had those grips..

    I guess it just comes down to the quality of the particular material you are working with.

    Did see an ad in the Amercan Handgunner mag. a few years back wherein somone in Ester was offering Mammoth ivory for sale.......might be worth a check.
  10. PRM

    PRM Member

    Apr 14, 2008
    My daily carry gun has pre-ban elephant ivory on it. They are about 6 years old now and there have been no issues what so ever. They do color with age and handling. The pic below is about 4 years old, the grips started out white and today have a nice creamy yellow color.

    I have also put pre-ban elephant ivory on several of my single actions going back over a decade and none have been a problem in any way. Ivory is kind of habit forming.

    Attached Files:

  11. kBob

    kBob Member

    Jun 11, 2006
    North Central Florida
    I have played with primitive ekonafront bone in the hopes of getting something interesting and so far no joy. I dream of finding a tusk or teeth, but have only ever had bits of a shattered thigh bone to work with and small bits of that. So much iron in the water in Florida that even teeth are stained.

    Every bit of fossil I have ever recovered was taken to the Florida museum of Natural History in Gainesville and offered to the state. They gave almost everything I took in back to me. They have kept one piece.....and then gone out and scowered the river bottom around where I found it. An intact thighbone ( both ends) of a Turkey sized Terror Bird. As I expected they found no more of that beasty as most of what you find is stuff washed down stream over the millinia, but plenty of bits of other things to keep students busy with. Been a good 20 years since those days and I no longer dive for the state or at all of late.

    There was some discussion of getting together a school group to go wading for primitive sharks teeth though now a days even that takes permitting and a fee if you fan or sane rather than just picking up off the bottom and so it fell through. Local streams produce everything from teenie tiny needle pointed primitive sharks teeth to hand sized Charchadon Megla- I had best stop even trying to spell....but most of the time folks find nothing in the places everyone knows about.

    Oddly I have only ever found one early human artifact diving, a "hand Knife" and oddly enough right near it some butchered fossilized Manatee bone bearing cuts that fit the edge. This was given to the folks at Hommassassa Springs (were it was found on a state sanctioned dive I actually got paid for)when the county owned it. Since being taken over by the state I have been told neither knife or bone are in the collection. For all you divers, there was no graffiti or trash in Hommassassa when I dove it multiple times in around 1987 absolutely pristine ....of course no one had been in the actual spring tunnel since Cousto in the 1960's......

  12. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Dec 24, 2002
    Forestburg, Texas
    Tusks are teeth, upper canine teeth in the case of elephants.

    And they really need to be. Even modern ivory is subject to chipping as is the nature of the micro crystalline structure of the teeth. The problem can be even worse for fossil and subfossil versions depending on the level and type of fossilization and how much cracking occurred in the material before fossilization.

    Given the similarity of stone tools, you could have found a lot of specimens that would fit the cut marks on the manatee and would also fit cut marks on a plains bison. Still, very cool finds.
  13. Rodentman

    Rodentman Member

    Oct 22, 2008
    I have these mammoth grips on my Nighthawk:


    And these ivory on my DW, but the photo shows them on the Nighthawk:

  14. Stony

    Stony Member

    Feb 11, 2014
    East Texas
    I guess maybe I should maybe try my hand at making some goodies. You never know what you can find around my house or shop...for that matter, I don't know either sometimes. A guy can certainly collect some strange stuff over a matter of years.
  15. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

    Jan 27, 2006
    West Tennessee
    When I researched it, I found that much of a fossilized tusk goes to waste. Difficult to find material suitable for basically anything. The good stuff that gets used gets stabilized which makes it very durable. I love elephant ivory but have a hard time warming up to most fossil ivory. If I did, I wouldn't hesitate to shoot a handgun with fossil ivory grips.

    Yes but they use both tusks and teeth and the finished product made from teeth looks very different from that made from tusks. The pics in post #2 are teeth.
  16. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

    May 29, 2010
    Medina, Ohio USA
    Glad I found this thread. I have a set of Mammoth teeth grips coming for my BHP. I will not shoot the gun with them on.
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