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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 10-21-2011, 02:42 PM
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Default Help with old Yellow Grips Please

OK, I can't find the old threads about these.
I seem to remember Texas.
I think I remember a doctor made them as a hobby or sideline.......
What's the story, fellas?
These are K frame, but I've seen N frame, Colt N.S and S.A. examples.
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Old 10-21-2011, 02:50 PM
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here you go

My gunshow finds 2/6/11

Mine has the same finger grooves on the left side.


Charlie
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:09 PM
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Lee,

I have seen pairs of these before but I have no idea of their origin. They very well may have come from Texas, however, your statement that they may have been made by a doctor got me to thinking in detail.

Some have said that they think the grips are of Bakelite or Catalin. If my memory serves me correctly, Bakelite is a much more brittle substance and it has been around since the early part of the 20th Century. A similar material called Vulcanite (aka Hard Rubber) was used during that time for the construction of full dentures. The material of the grips seems to be much more dense to me than the Vulcanite.

In the decade preceding WWII, a new product called Vinylite was produced and used in dentures. This was followed by the methyl-methacrylates, some of first polymers that we now call "plastics".

Since the grips are of the Magna style, I am of the opinion that they are of one of those 1930 era resins.

I believe that any one of thousands of dentists or dental laboratories who made dentures then could have produced those grips because the material and the finish on the grips is what one could have expected with a good set of pre-war dentures. It would have been a simple task for a dentist who was familiar with the processing of acrylics to have made a mold for the grips if he was so inclined. So, unless we ever turn up a set with a direct link to someone, the innovative maker will probably remain unknown.

The workmanship on both grips is excellent. I suspect that they were both made by the same operator. The subtle variations in shape of the finger grooves on your set and Charlie's tell me that each set was individually finished. Although the number "7" is crudely scratched and the semicircle is badly fitted, that only indicates that an existing metal circle was cut in half and the number was quickly scribed to keep the two halves together.

As an aside, when I first started practice I made a set of acrylic target grips for a revolver fitted to my hand. I made it from a self curing polymer rather than the more dense ones that are cured under high pressure and heat so mine wasn't as pretty but it fit me nicely...(wonder what ever happened to that one?)

Bob
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:48 PM
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There was an article in the American Rifleman within the last couple of years about John Wayne's guns, specifically the SAA with the yellow grips he carried in his later movies.. I recall the left side grip on his gun also had the finger grooves, and yours look an awful lot like the grips on Wayne's gun. I don't recall exactly when the article was published but I do recall it discussed the grips. Might be if you can find it you can learn something more there.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:57 PM
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Wyo: You are correct on the John Wayne grips. I have had several pairs that came on Pre-War Colt Single Actions. We always called them at them Bakelite at that time. The ones I had were all marked inside with Roman numerals - I,II,III etc. Leads me to think there might have been several assembly workers involved or more than one machine.
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Old 10-22-2011, 12:25 AM
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IIRC the John Wayne grips were made of the catalin material, mentioned earlier. Seem to recall that from the article about his guns.
And those k grips look very much like the catalin.

Last edited by hiram2005; 10-22-2011 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 10-22-2011, 03:36 AM
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I remember seeing these same Stocks ( Ginger indents, same color ) on a pre-War Colt 'Official Police' Revolver and I really lked them...I almost bought the Gun for that reason, but Seller ( Gunbroker ) would not reply to questions about Bore, Timing and Lock up, and, his price was high, so...I passed.

I like how they are not 'hollow' as the Franzite examples are.
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:16 AM
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In regard to Leo's comment above, the Roman numerals are usually associated with grips made by Wolf & Klar. In those cases, close examination will reveal that the individual marks of the numerals are made with a circular grinding implement. (i.e. they are deepest in the middle and shallow on the ends.)

The only pair of "polymer" grips that I have seen the insides of are those of Lee's at the start of this post. It is obvious that the Arabic numerals are hand scribed so I doubt that those are from W&K.

If my theories previously posted are right, each of these "polymer" grips are individually made and hand finished. No mass production here.

Bob
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:40 AM
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I agree with bettis, they don't seem to be made of catalin. I looked at the pairs of catalin grips I have and they seem to be more translucent. They may be of a bakelike or vynil material. I had a pair similar to what you have that I bought at an estate sale long ago and they weren't catalin, which I thought they were, so I sold them, wish I hadn't done that. Very nice grips though.
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:57 AM
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pics of inside of my grips.




below is the Wiki info on Catalin.

Catalin is a brand name for a thermosetting polymer popular in the 1930s. Developed when the American Catalin Corporation took over the patents for Bakelite in 1927, Catalin is a cast phenolic which can be worked with files, grinders and cutters and polishes to a fine sheen. Chemically, it is a phenol formaldehyde resin. Catalin has a different manufacturing process (two-stage process) than other types of Bakelite resins (without using fillers such as sawdust or carbon black). Catalin is transparent, near colorless, rather than opaque, brown, so unlike other bakelite phenolics it can be dyed bright colors or even marbled. This has made Catalin more popular than other types of Bakelite. In the 1930s-1950s it quickly replaced most plastic consumer goods.

Catalin is heavy, quite greasy in feel and as hard as brass. It is heat resistant and does not soften under boiling water. Like Bakelite it gives off a distinctive phenolic odour when heated, and can be tested using Simichrome - which turns from pink to yellow. Due to oxidation, older Catalin items darken in color with white fading to yellow. This caused some very interesting effects when radio cabinets were made from Catalin. [1] Catalin radios were often made in stylish Art Deco designs and are highly sought after by collectors.

Catalin is a trademark of the Catalin Corporation of America.
[edit] Uses

Catalin bakelite is perhaps the most worldwide recognized plastic and was used in the 1930s to 50s for many household objects, jewelry, small boxes, lamps, cutlery handles and desk sets. Catalin jewelry, more commonly referred to now as Bakelite jewelry was made from the 1930s until the end of World War II when it became too expensive as every piece had to be individually cast and polished. The Catalin Corporation introduced 15 new colours in 1927 and developed techniques to create marbling. The colours included yellow, orange, red, greens, blue and purple, with clear, opaque and marbled versions. In the 1930s jewelry made from these colours were very popular with sets of beads, bangles, earrings and rings being worn together. Even though the jewelry made out of this material is referred to as bakelite in the antique trade, the household items, radios, cutlery ,etc is accurately referred to as Catalin.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:54 AM
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Hard to see all the detail, but there is a number 1 scratched on the top inside of each grip, where Lee's has a 7. There is also a "pie" looking mark or could be J I on the right grip, on the left is N , then 44 S&W, then initials HEC.


Charlie
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Old 10-22-2011, 12:32 PM
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I believe they are Catalin. In hand, the material looks exactly like the old "bakelite" jewelry which is actually Catalin.
Mine do make simichrome turn yellow, but the grips are yellow......
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:12 PM
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I have a similar set of grips except they appear to be darker more of a butterscotch color. And there is no number on the inside. And they are on my Model 10 from 1969.

a chip has broken off. how can I glue it back on?
thanks
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:37 PM
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Superglue.

My guess is these were "fake" ivory and started out a white/ivory color. This material darkens with age and oxidation, yours just darken more than the others. Obviously, the same stuff.


Charlie
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Old 10-23-2011, 10:14 AM
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I agree with Charlie; I'd try superglue...but VERY cautiously! I also agree that the originator was seeking something akin to ivory color.

I continue to believe that all of these grips are from the same maker since they all show the same finish and workmanship. This last pair shows even a slightly different finger groove pattern that confirms the hand finishing.

We have seen several different names here (Bakelite, Catalin, Franzite, Vulcanite, Vinylite, Ivorine,etc.-all were Trademarks) so what we need to remember is that during this time, probably the 1930's-1940's, there were many types of polymers developed.

We need to remember that even Smith and Wesson and Colt had their own synthetic products (Tuscoid and Coltene). In a recent SWCA Journal where his dream pistol is discussed, Doug Wesson is quoted as saying: "I am inclined to further investigate such materials as Plastics", so the search was developing on many fronts.

Each of these products had slightly different characteristics, (color, density, hardness, flexibility, workability, etc.) as their developers were trying to achieve a material directed to a specific or a general purpose. But in general, most had some characteristics in common; they involved the joining of a monomer and a polymer in a chemical polymerization process involving heat and pressure.

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Old 10-23-2011, 10:28 AM
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I think our best clue to the maker may be the "HEC" in Charlie's grip. Note that the first stroke of the "H" is done with the same hand as the "7" in Lee's grip. Note, too, that there are also similar pen or pencil marks (on the horn of Charlie's and around the metal circle of Lee's). I also believe that Lee's grips may be one of the earliest from this maker because of the added metal circle as he experimented with one of the most difficult parts of the grip to fit to a gun. He put the grip,without the circle on the gun, marked the position of the semicircle with his pen and then added the metal half circle.

Bob
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:47 AM
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Nothing substantial to add except what seems to be the same without the finger grooves.I always assumed them to be Catalin.

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Old 10-24-2011, 05:43 PM
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I'll toss in my vote for catalin, as well. Back in the 1950s/60s Wilkinson Sword ordered a batch of catalin grip scales for USMC officer's swords and British/Commonwealth forces general officer's swords. The started out a lovely Ivory white, but with the passage of time turned an amber/orange colour.

I also seem to recall catalin grips being commercially available in the 50s and 60s; someone with a bunch of old gun magazines may want to check out the small ads in the back...

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Old 05-12-2012, 02:12 PM
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Thought I'd update this thread for future reference.

Recently bought this old 1930 HD from Lee (it's a reblue and I knew it and don't care).
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Lee said it was a Texas gun, which adds credence to the stocks being made in Texas.

The backs are "oily feeling" which says they're probably that Catalin stuff. No markings on the back side except an "X".
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:38 AM
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The use of scratched in Roman Numerals was traditional in many categories of Artisan endevors for hundreds of years, whenever needing to identify parts which would be on-the-Bench more or less at the same time or in close succession, for multiple same-kind assemblies or sets of something.

One sees this in all sorts of applications, old Clocks, Watches, insides of Guns' Mechanisms and their internal Parts, Old Shotguns similarly with the Barrels so marked also...Cabinetmaking, on and on.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:52 AM
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A local gun shop had an old Colt with yellow grips; he called em Derlin?Prolly not the same, but sure looked similar.
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:41 PM
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Coiler666,

I would imagine that the term "Derlin" that the shop was using was a corruption of the word "Delrin".

Delrin is the trademarked name of one of DuPont's products and is another of the cyanoacrylates. All of them are similar but have specifically different characteristics to fit them to different uses (i.e. more resistant to wear, or easier to work, or more resistant to solvents, etc.)

Bob
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:38 PM
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I just saw a set of these finger-grooved grips on a Smith on G.A. a short time ago and wondered about the grips. I put around on the puter and whammo, here it is.........thanks
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:06 PM
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Default Surelac? grips

Lee,

They look like Surelac grips. I'm not positive on the spelling from my notes, but have a pair with manufacturer label on the inside of one panel. They were from South Texas, perhaps Corpus Christie?

I don't know about the doctor part....

I don't know what the material is, but most pairs I've seen had a chip somewhere, making them seem less durable than the Bakelite grips made by Pointer, Murad, and Southwest Cutlery.

They are very popular among Colt buffs, not so much with others. I consider an unbroken pair to be a nice find, no matter what they fit.

There are more recent copies made by Tyler TruFit (about the 1980s) of a more durable yellow plastic, and similar aftermarket creations of several varieties. Not everything yellow plastic will be Surelac.

Hope this helps.

Jim King
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:15 PM
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Default Oops, not Surelac?

Should have looked closer, as these are not like the Surelac grips I have on the inside. I don't know who made them. I don't think they are Tyler, either. I've seen stag and ivory grips made like this, too. So who's the doctor who made them?

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Old 05-13-2012, 03:34 PM
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Jim,

I don't know who the doctor was but I would bet he was a dentist. All of them were trained in processing acrylics in the making of full dentures. The young practitioners now don't do it but any of the old timers had the skills and the equipment to do it.

Bob
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Old 05-13-2012, 04:09 PM
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I had a post up a few months ago about a 1905,4th change, .32-20 with those stocks on it. The shop owners thought they were Ivory. Now that they know they are not the price has changed, but not low enough. I also saw one with original stocks at another shop with a price of $1045.00. I didn't make an offer.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:57 PM
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Thanx Bob, im sure your correct. Looked like a very good material for grips. I love all the information you all have collected over the years...thanx again sir
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:39 PM
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100_0206.jpg picture by deduke1907 - Photobucket
these were made by ajak grips with out the picture or name refer to as jw yellow. also try VINTAGE GUN GRIPS
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:16 PM
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I recently picked these up. They were incorrectly advertised as for S&W (they're for a Ruger Bearcat) but I figured I'd add them to the collection anyway. They appear to be the same material as the others in this thread.



I've also got these, for a smaller revolver. They're a bit darker, more a honey color, but appear to be the same or similar material.

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Old 07-06-2012, 08:56 AM
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Hey guys, I just stumbled across a Colt SAA 1st gen from around 1910. It was wearing these catalin grips with the finger grooves exactly like one of the Duke's movie guns. They are in perfect condition and are a pleasing yellow/orange color. Any idea as to the value for just the grips?

The gun is a .45, 4 3/4" barrel with oak leaf and acorn engraving (simply done, I would say journeyman level, with extensive coverage) and no caliber markings or Colt roll marks on barrel. The barrel is mostly engraved too. Whenever the engraving and reblue was done, it was a long time ago. Could this gun have been shipped in the white (to outside firm) with no markings except serial number and patent dates? Any insights greatly appreciated. No photos yet.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:14 AM
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I remember mentioning grips like this to you, when we were in Tulsa, that I had seen on a 1905 at a pawn shop.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:17 PM
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Question Value?

I'm anxously awaiting some answers. I saw a set on Ebay last week for a K-frame and there was a hole in the butt of one panel (for a lanyard ring, I guess). Opening bid was $45, and no bids at that time.

Reckon they're worth the price of Cokes?
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:44 PM
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Decided to buy this .32-20 HE Model of 1905,4th change. Gun shop thought the grips were Ivory. I had been looking at this for while.
This set of grips has finger grooves plus a thumb rest and half moon metal washers.


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Old 07-08-2012, 07:07 AM
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I bought a 2nd model hand ejector with those same grips on it, I never seen the grips before and was also wondering about them.
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Old 06-15-2013, 06:01 PM
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Default More Catalin

A couple recent finds:




The larger set, for a High Standard .22 pistol, I found over the winter. They're unmarked as to maker but have finger grooves on one panel and a lot of interesting swirling in the material the picture doesn't quite capture. The smaller set I found just the other day and haven't figured out what they fit yet (maybe a Colt 1902?) but these have an old sticker on the back and, upon researching this, was pleased to find out they were made by Maurice D. Scharlack (most resources online misspell his last name) of Corpus Christi, Texas who supposedly was the developer of Catalin material and made the grips for John Wayne's famous movie pistols.

From the Internet Movie Firearms Database: http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/True_Grit_(1969)

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All three of these guns were fitted with ivory-style grips (manufactured by Maurice D. Scarlac out of a material he developed called Catalin). Wayne like them so much that he took these grips home and personally "tea-stained" them to give them that desirable "mellow aged ivory" look. Two sets of these grips were made for Wayne (the second set being a spair just in case if the first set broke). These grips all had three finger grooves in the left-hand side of the grips for Wayne middle, ring, and "little" fingers of Wayne's right hand for as they wrapped around the revolvers grip frame. The grooves can be clearly seen in the climactic gunfight between Rooster and "Lucky" Ned Pepper and his gang when Rooster has the gun tucked in his waist band.
Further online research tells me Scharlack, a lawyer, was a rather infamous numismatist, or collector (some say a hoarder) of coins among other items.
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Old 10-12-2015, 11:52 PM
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I am a brand new user here, and not computer smart. However, in the late 60's there were riots and my father purchased a Smith model 60 for my mother. Long before there were "Lady Smiths", he tried to make it more appealing to my mother by having the shop put on "Ivorine" grips. Long story short, the pistol has been sitting in the box with both the original and Ivorine grips, un fired since 1969. But the white grips are definitely S&W.
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Old 10-13-2015, 12:05 AM
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On older Colts they were called 'Buttermilk' grips. They get brittle with age. I have a set that came off of an older S&W. One side was broken and repaired the other has a small crack. I always thought they'd look good on an older retired gun. If I remember I'll take a photo and post it.
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Old 10-06-2016, 03:50 PM
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Old 10-06-2016, 04:09 PM
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I have two pair, both with finger grooves on the left side. I always figured them for Bakelite. I love them.

Regards,
Bruce
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Old 10-10-2016, 12:58 AM
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What are these? Later, obviously, but I never really knew what they were. Micarta, maybe? I don't have them any more but wish I'd kept them. Unusual.
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Old 10-10-2016, 11:02 AM
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6GUNSONLY,

Judging by the grain that I see, those are made of micarta.
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