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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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Old 06-09-2010, 11:38 PM
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The earliest listing I have found for the Target Stocks is in the All Model Circular (AMC hereafter) dated Jan 1950. Take note of the phrase "WITH BUILT IN ADAPTER" because we shall be discussing that point later:


_______________________________________
In the AMC dated June 1950, that phrase is still present:


_______________________________________
Now, here is an AMC still dated June 1950, but they obviously overprinted it because changes have been made in pricing. I can date this AMC to Feb 1951 because there is a letter stapled to it. The letter is also pictured below for your amusement:




________________________________________
The AMC below is dated Dec 1951, and the phrase "WITH BUILT IN ADAPTER" has been deleted:



Below are pictured the first variant of S&W Target Stocks.
Note that the two halves are flat on the frame with a plastic ADAPTER that fills the gap between the overhang at the frontstrap, bottom strap, and behind the trigger guard.
I believe the factory abandoned This idea VERY quickly. More on this in a moment.

This is only the second pair of these grips that I have ever seen. I have heard of a third pair, but I have not seen them.

It is very interesting that the factory tried this method. We know they had seen Roper and other grip makers fill this area with wrap-around grips fully 15-20 years BEFORE this debacle. Roper had worked at the factory, and we know a few Reg Mags shipped with Roper Grips, so suggesting the factory did not know about all wood Target Stocks would be ludicrous.
I can only assume it was an attempt at mass production of an acceptable product at low cost.

Enjoy.












Ok, so far so good.
Getting the first half on- no problem
Getting the adapter in place on the first half- difficult enough to make one nervous with the old brittle plastic.
Getting the second half lined up and snapped over the TWO pins- a major pain!



Success, with nothing broken-










NOTE the grooves on the little bit of plastic backstrap.






So, how many pairs of these stocks shipped?
Good question.
The AMC's above can only give us a clue by dropping the phrase "WITH BUILT IN ADAPTER".
I believe VERY few pairs shipped. Obviously, the fit and even the functionality is not up to The Swede's standards of excellence for his new line of micro sighted, ribbed Masterpiece's.
Remember I told you that I have only seen one other pair? That pair had a broken plastic piece.
Bear in mind that I have removed the grips from THOUSANDS of S&W revolvers, and these were making me nervous. They were that difficult to line up, and I was waiting for that awful SNAP.......
They are so ornery, I doubt that I will ever install them again. Matter of fact, I started the pics AFTER I got them on the gun. The pics of the components were made as I took them off.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:47 PM
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Thanks for posting Lee.
A member on the Forum asked about a pair he had a few months back.............I noticed he just sold them on ebay recently for two bills - are these the pair?
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:51 PM
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Yep.
I totally missed his post.
Got a link?
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:58 PM
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These were quite a contraption, eh?
Thanks, I always enjoy grip info!
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:02 AM
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Lee - the thread didn't bring any discussion and then I forgot about it until your post.

I'm glad you ended up with the grips!

Mike

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Old 06-10-2010, 12:07 AM
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Well, I'll just be damned.

Totally missed it. Spend too much time running this *&&^&^$ board to talk guns.

I've hunted a pair for years- since I saw that first pair. Figured it was a forlorn hope.
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:09 AM
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Thanks for the history lesson. I don't recall ever seeing or hearing about anything like this until now, so I also missed the thread with this type of grip package. When I saw the phrase "with built-in grip adapter" on the first all-model circular several months ago, I figured it was just a marketer's way of saying that the all-wooden target stocks both filled in the space behind the trigger guard and thickened a set of stocks -- in short, incorporated the functions of the old prewar grip adapter in a completely wooden product.

Now I see why that would be the wrong interpretation.
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:01 AM
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Lee, I know of only two pair, one I owned back in 2006 but traded it to some one, maybe Lyle, at the SLC meeting. The insert though had a crack in the bottom near the grip pin. This was probably caused as you stated, trying to put it in place on the gun. The other pair was in the last Amoskeag auction fitted to its original K-38 and numbered and factory lettered to the gun having shipped in 1950 to of all places, the Salt Lake City Police Department. I almost bid on this but resisted the urge somehow.
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:33 AM
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Gosh, that is neat and to think the ones we saw years ago ,looked "home made" to us, so we "passed".....duh
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:46 AM
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Wow. I just LOVE stuff like this. I'd never seen or heard of this type of grip.
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:55 AM
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Congratulations and thank you for the education.

Any idea what kind of plastic it is?
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:08 AM
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Well,I'll be damned! Learn something everyday.
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:09 AM
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Thanks for posting this Lee. I had never heard of or seen this thing before. And when you mentioned "plastic", I had to take a second look. I assumed they were steel. Seeing the fit, or lack of, after all the work you went through to get them on, it's understandable why not many exist!
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:13 AM
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Neat stuff, Lee. Thanks......
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:23 AM
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Very interesting. Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:37 AM
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Great info. Another bit to store away until the memory goblins get to it and I forget I ever saw it.

Very interesting - thanks!
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:01 AM
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Learn something every day! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:22 AM
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Very interesting post. I've never seen these before.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:26 AM
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Wow! Just when you begin to think there's not much left to see or learn about standard factory offerings.

Now that is really interesting.

Thanks for sharing that with us Lee.

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Old 06-10-2010, 10:58 AM
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I swear I just saw a set of these for sale on ebay last week. They jumped out at me because they were very unusual and I'd never seen them before. I'm going to take another quick look, auction may be over and I think the starting price was $199.

Okay, just went back and checked ebay, they appear to be long gone. I do remember now, I was scrolling thru when I saw them and noticed the price, I thought they were cokes for $200 bucks so I put them on my watch list. Later I went thru my watch list and read the detailed description. I remember the plastic insert between the grips distinctly and decided these weren't for me since I knew nothing about them and actually wasn't sure if it was a legitimate sell for that kind of money, so I deleted the watched item.

Anyways, I learned something and I'm a little smarter for the future.

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Old 06-10-2010, 11:45 AM
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Thanks, Lee. What an interesting nugget of S&W history.

Jerry
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:17 PM
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Lee, this was a great report. Thank you..
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:19 PM
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I missed seeing the ones on eBay, too, but unless they were pictured and described properly, I would most likely have written them off as some some basement *******ization of factory grips.
Thanks for the great info. Now I have another hen's tooth to keep an eye out for.
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s&wchad View Post
Any idea what kind of plastic it is?
Not really, but I would not be surprised if it is bakelite or something very similar.
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:16 PM
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Amazing. Thanks for the posting, I never knew or heard of this until now.
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:09 PM
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The stocks on ebay that sold for $200 last week were correctly described. There was only one bid (not mine) and the stocks sold for the starting amount of $200. I believe most collectors had no idea what they were.

The K-38 that sold on the Amoskeag auction a couple of weeks ago actually lettered with the early, three piece, target stocks. It is probably the only revolver that ever will. I think David Carroll had a K-38 with those stocks for sale in Salt Lake City in 2006, but I may be mistaken.

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Old 06-10-2010, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
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The stocks on ebay that sold for $200 last week were correctly described. There was only one bid (not mine) and the stocks sold for the starting amount of $200. I believe most collectors had no idea what they were.

The K-38 that sold on the Amoskeag auction a couple of weeks ago actually lettered with the early, three piece, target stocks. It is probably the only revolver that ever will. I think David Carroll had a K-38 with those stocks for sale in Salt Lake City in 2006, but I may be mistaken.

Bill
Bill,
This IS the ebay pair.

That sounds about right on DC's pair- that is the other pair that I mention having seen.
The pair Chuck speaks of trading to Lyle I DID see now that he refreshed my memory, so I have now seen three pair.
So, total, I now know of 4 pair- the ebay/my pair, DC's pair, the Chuck/Lyle pair, and the Amoskeg pair.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCWilson View Post
When I saw the phrase "with built-in grip adapter" on the first all-model circular several months ago, I figured it was just a marketer's way of saying that the all-wooden target stocks both filled in the space behind the trigger guard and thickened a set of stocks -- in short, incorporated the functions of the old prewar grip adapter in a completely wooden product.

Now I see why that would be the wrong interpretation.
I was thinking like David. Very interesting.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:06 PM
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Howdy Lee, Pretty strange setup, kinda the long way around the barn! With a stock department, skilled workers and aftermarket grips of the period to look at it seems odd that they would even have tried something like that. Neat to look at and a true piece of S&W history though, sounds like you got them for a nice price.

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Old 12-01-2011, 02:14 PM
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You know what would really be cool? How about a set of these for a Regulation Police, only using anodized aluminum (a la Tyler T-grip style) instead of the fragile plastic. Of course since the old I-frame RP with the rebated round grip strap hasn't been made for about 60 years or so, who would bother? But a guy can dream, can't he?

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Old 12-01-2011, 02:34 PM
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That is an educational post. Thanks, Lee.
Mike
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:13 PM
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Thanks for the post, Lee. Interesting they were offering it on the K38. They appear to have the Coke checkering pattern, and I'm curious if they have the Coke profile as well. My understanding was that original Cokes were only offered on a couple models of the N frame, this may have been the factory's attempt to expand the pattern to other frame sizes at a reduced cost.
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Brown View Post
Howdy Lee, Pretty strange setup, kinda the long way around the barn! With a stock department, skilled workers and aftermarket grips of the period to look at it seems odd that they would even have tried something like that.
Keith
Keith,
I think they were after "cheap, fast, and easy". Note that the wood panels are merely two flat surfaces per side with no real inletting. The sides don't even have to be sanded to match each other. In effect, you merely have to make two wood panels to set dimensions that are never put together till on the gun- "cheap, fast, and easy".
I think they decided it simply did not meet their quality standards for looks or fit, and they probably had plastic getting broken in assembly. Kinda like the plastic grip medallions- you're lucky if you get a pair off the gun without pulling the circles off!
They could see the complaints coming.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:05 AM
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Not really, but I would not be surprised if it is Bakelite or something very similar.
Bakelite is a phenolic and pretty brittle.

My guess would be PE (Polyethylene). I don't think they would be Lexan as the definition is not sharp enough, or Polypropylene as it's pretty soft. Non-filled Nylon is also a possibility.

A couple of things to think about should you encounter another pair. These kinds of early postwar plastics are want to shrink and 60 years ago they may have fit alot better. They are mildly hygroscopic so soaking them for a few days in tap water may help make them more pliable and preserve them somewhat. Just be sure to oil any metal surfaces they may come into contact with.

Also, it may behoove you to warm them slightly (not enough to cause them to distort) while going through the gyrations of trying to put them back one the grip frame.

Drew

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Old 12-02-2011, 12:23 AM
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Drew,
I don't think PE. They are hard and brittle. At least one of the pair I have seen had broken plastic. Remember- these date to late 40's in developement. Bakelite was common in electrical items well into the later 60's. I handled a lot of bakelite. Dad was an electrical contractor. It really resembled high grade bakelite to me.
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:12 AM
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Hmmm.... never having taken them in hand, I may be wrong then. If it were possible to measure their wieght vs. displacement you could probably get a better idea by determining their specific gravity.

I can't the property tables without checking for sure, but it seems to me that Bakelite has a SG of much more than 1.0 if so they would not float. Unfilled PE, PP have a SG of less than 1.0 and will float. Polycarbonate (Lexan) is greater than 1.0, but only slightly so...
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:31 AM
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Could they be "Vulcanite", a trade name for the hard rubber used in bowling balls and smoking pipe mouthpieces or stems?

I collect old tobacco pipes and it sure looks like a very similar material.


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Old 12-02-2011, 03:08 AM
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Not vulcanite. Definitely not.
Believe me, if you ever handle it, you'll know how easy it could break. It feels inflexible, though it will actually flex slightly, of course.
Trust me- I was sweating trying to get them on the gun.

I did not check SG, but I'm certain it would be above 1 and the piece would not float. I no longer have them, so I can't check.

Note the textured surface on the part. It was not polished or machined after molding.
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:48 AM
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Thanks Lee for putting this up..... Looks like you put alot of time and trouble into adding to the knowledge base. I really appreciate it....

Drew
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:19 PM
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Wow, just when you think that you know everything, along comes this.
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Old 04-13-2022, 07:18 AM
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Re read this thread and it reminded me of the 3rd Model HE I have that has been modified and wears a similar grip adapter.

Modified or altered Firearms............
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Old 04-13-2022, 09:24 AM
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Not really, but I would not be surprised if it is bakelite or something very similar.
I will bet money that there was a thread in the distant past that pictured that exact style of target stocks complete with the plastic insert, but I am really bad at finding old threads on the Forum.

Bakelite was mostly out of favor by the end of WWII, replaced by thermoplastics. Thermosets were a very brittle form of plastics, which was a big complaint about Bakelite from the very start of production in 1909. By the 1930s, several companies were working with thermoplastics and Dow Chemical is credited with the first successful commercial launch of polystyrene, tradename Styron 666, marketed in 1938. Dow manufactured Polystyrene for the WWII effort and by the late 1940s, a high impact Polystyrene was developed, improving elastic properties of the product.

Many companies stopped using Bakelite in the mid-1940s as the demand for new and improved World War II related products took hold. By the end of the War, new technologies in the world of plastics had made Bakelite obsolete. My guess is that those inserts could have been made from polystyrene, partially because of what you noted, they did not break when stretched to fit the frame of your K frame.
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Old 04-15-2022, 12:58 PM
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So, I have a set of these grips. But, were they for all masterpieces or just the k38 like in the post
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Old 04-15-2022, 04:03 PM
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I will bet money that there was a thread in the distant past that pictured that exact style of target stocks complete with the plastic insert, but I am really bad at finding old threads on the Forum.

Bakelite was mostly out of favor by the end of WWII, replaced by thermoplastics. Thermosets were a very brittle form of plastics, which was a big complaint about Bakelite from the very start of production in 1909. By the 1930s, several companies were working with thermoplastics and Dow Chemical is credited with the first successful commercial launch of polystyrene, tradename Styron 666, marketed in 1938. Dow manufactured Polystyrene for the WWII effort and by the late 1940s, a high impact Polystyrene was developed, improving elastic properties of the product.

Many companies stopped using Bakelite in the mid-1940s as the demand for new and improved World War II related products took hold. By the end of the War, new technologies in the world of plastics had made Bakelite obsolete. My guess is that those inserts could have been made from polystyrene, partially because of what you noted, they did not break when stretched to fit the frame of your K frame.
You better look again. Bakelite was widely used in electrical components well into the 1980s, and probably longer. I haven't worked in the trade since then.
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Old 04-15-2022, 04:03 PM
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So, I have a set of these grips. But, were they for all masterpieces or just the k38 like in the post
They will fit any K frame.
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Old 04-15-2022, 07:35 PM
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Since Roper, Sanderson, and others were making all-wood target grips prior to WW II, and there were apparently no patents involved, I’m having a hard time understanding why S&W in 1950, went to the additional effort of making those oversized grip panels and then adding what must have been even then a tricky plastic? Bakelite? Hard rubber? “Adaptor”.

Was Rube Goldberg in the design department back then??
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Old 04-15-2022, 09:12 PM
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I got pointed in the direction of this thread a little over 3 years ago for some info about my set that I stumbled across on my K-38 (unfortunately broken, yet still quite functional) Ö good read, again!


Even with the plastic in 2 pieces, it feels solid and comfortable in the hand.
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Old 04-15-2022, 10:09 PM
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I had a shot at acquiring a set of these grips a couple years ago.

They were valued at 1200.00 or more by the seller. I found them interesting but not that interesting. For a factory offering they were a bit clumsy to put on and the fit wasn't that great.

I wonder how many sets they sold.
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Old 04-22-2022, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paplinker View Post
I had a shot at acquiring a set of these grips a couple years ago.

They were valued at 1200.00 or more by the seller. I found them interesting but not that interesting. For a factory offering they were a bit clumsy to put on and the fit wasn't that great.

I wonder how many sets they sold.

I picked up a K38 a few years ago that has the 3 piece stocks and truthfully I bought the gun for the stocks. Over the last handful of years Iíve actually seen 3 pop up for sale but was only able to get my hands on the one.
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Old 04-22-2022, 10:04 PM
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I was lucky to find a set that lettered to a trophy gun I had stumbled upon. Below is the link to the post I submitted in 2015.

New to me - K-38 Target Masterpiece w/ 3-piece target stocks

I did get it lettered and was overjoyed by the outcome. I took them off for the picture and they went back on after that. I don't think I will take them off again for fear of breaking them!
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