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Old 10-05-2012, 12:00 PM
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Smile The Many Faces of "Rosewood"

I have always been interested in S&W stocks made of rosewood and have acquired quite a few pairs over the years. Without getting into the family, genus, and species discussion, below are photos (with years made when known) of stocks sold by S&W as rosewood.

Bill











1977 (note lacquer on S&W monogram that is common)




1974 with lots of dark figure in the wood





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Old 10-05-2012, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
... Without getting into the family, genus, and species discussion, below are photos (with years made when known) of stocks sold by S&W as rosewood.
Glad you did omit said discussion. Too much Latin makes my head spin.

There is an incredible range of grain and color shown in those photos. Some look like "rosewood" to me, but if you had said some were Goncalo Alves or walnut, I never would have given it a second thought.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:02 PM
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Rosewood is highly utilized in musical instrument fabrication, especially quality acoustic guitars, and there are sub-species and woods that are known locally and commercially by other monikers that are of the rosewood family, so there is a wide range of grains, textures and colorings that qualify technically as 'rosewood'.

Your photo array demonstrates this quite graphically.

I just wish S&W would put the money they pour into wood grips for these new styles/profiles back into true 'classic' configurations that we saw in the 50's through the 70's. If their aim is to produce something that looks similar but doubles more utilitarian as a wood grip that more folks will leave on the guns to shoot them with, then at least in my book they haven't filled the bill.

But due to world development and the voracious appetite for resources a lot of these woods have been/are being over harvested and we who lived through what I believe will come to be known as a "Golden Age" (post WWII up into the 1980's) miss those days. Time marches on and 'change' is the only constant, but you see what custom grip work costs today to produce what many took for granted and threw in a drawer, gave away, or just dumped for lack of storage space in a few short years past. Those who complain abut the rising prices of the revolvers, grips, and whatnot from those days don't seem to appreciate that while the newer offerings may (to some) be technically cheaper, more uniform, and made of superior materials, they lack an unquantifiable 'class' that spawns the word and concept of CLASSIC. I fear in many such things we will never see the like again and newer isn't always better.
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:25 PM
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I have always liked the looks of the darker color.Got lucky
and found this set for a K frame, Pete




These dark cokes on my 29 may be rosewood,they look nice,
although the letter says Goncalos---I may not have the
originals.

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Old 10-07-2012, 10:16 AM
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Great topic, dear to my heart!
Beautiful grips!
In the late 1970's and early 1980's I purchased every pair of smooth rosewood S&W grips I could find at a reasonable price and put them on my revolvers. When the quality declined and prices became unreasonable, I stopped.
I think a nicely figured and colored pair of smooth S&W Rosewood grips looks just as good as ivory!-Dick
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:46 AM
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Correct me if I have this wrong, but isn't goncalo alve just a South American variety of rosewood?
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:55 AM
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Geoff...Per my book on World Woods In Color, Goncalo alves is similar to rosewood in many aspects, but is not considered part of the rosewood family.

Bill
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:11 PM
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Great reference photos Bill, thanks for posting them. Those looking closely at the different sets of stocks might notice that how the wood is cut greatly affects it's "look" when finished.
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:23 PM
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Pretty Stuff Bill...

I love Post War fancy Targets no matter where it comes from or which species it is....



















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Old 10-07-2012, 12:58 PM
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Great post Bill...this needs to be a sticky.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoff40 View Post
Correct me if I have this wrong, but isn't goncalo alve just a South American variety of rosewood?
We had our entire home floored in goncalo alves







We call it tigerwood, rosewood was a different wood to select. Rosewood had less striping.

Goncalo Alves is VERY light sensitive. Our floors darkened tremendously after 6 months.

Can I make grips out of 3/4" thick wood? I got a big pile left!!
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Can I make grips out of 3/4" thick wood?
Sure...laminate it.
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:21 PM
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Rosewood is highly utilized in musical instrument fabrication, especially quality acoustic guitars, and there are sub-species and woods that are known locally and commercially by other monikers that are of the rosewood family, so there is a wide range of grains, textures and colorings that qualify technically as 'rosewood'.
You got that right. Guitars are my other hobby and the topic of wood species is a huge one. Brazilian Rosewood vs Indian Rosewood is a topic of major discussion in the guitar world......good thing I actually prefer the sound of Mahogany over Rosewood.

Back to the topic at hand, I've always thought these were rosewood but I can't confirm.



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Old 10-07-2012, 04:24 PM
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Someone's holding out on you guys....
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:58 PM
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civil1977...You have a nice pair of rosewood stocks.

Bill
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:44 PM
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Great topic and illustrations. Love the early smooth stocks with the bottom flare.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:06 PM
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Doc 44,
Those 1959 diamond rosewoods are exceptional! Thanks for the pics.
Drew,
Those in your 5th picture down are equally amazing!
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:13 PM
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Those are beautiful Bill.
Love the darker colored ones the best.
Those days are gone when "factory" grips
like these we're the norm rather than the rule.

Chuck
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:00 PM
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Beautiful stocks Bill. I had several more but am now down to these two pair:

I would love a set of rosewood RB J-frame (smooth or checkered) for this one:

I would not put targets or bootgrips as they would cover Mr. D'Angelo's art work on the back strap.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:52 PM
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Default I love me some Rosewood.

Here's what I have gathered up so far. A couple of these came to me via members here. Maybe Bill can help me on dates as I am not sure.
All are Rosewood regardless.


Factory Presentation Coke Profile Targets



Non-Factory Unknown maker but old. Check the plam swell on the right panel. These feel great on a gun.


Factory Presentation N frame Magnas, older flush hardware.
(Thanks again Steve)


Factory Presentation N frame Magnas (Not as old as the previous pair)


Craig Spegel grips, 2003


Factory Presentation J frame Magnas
(Thanks Skipper)

I hope to never have to part with any of these.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:07 PM
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Fine looking Stocks Daniel

I've only been at this for a short time..Had some great help from folks here.
One in particular who I bug often.

Some of my rosewood and one Goncalo because it was angry it didn't get to go shooting with me today








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Old 10-07-2012, 09:21 PM
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Here are a few. The upper left are a very dark rosewood for sure. The lower right I used to think were walnut until I saw Mr. Cross' 1974 set in his first post. Now I'm not sure.
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:49 PM
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Default Smooth GA Magnas

This gun shipped Dec 1956, serial number K280XXX. Its a special-order nickel
3" barrel, with polished front sights ( whatever that means ). It has smooth Goncalo
Alvez ( I assume ) rosewood stocks.





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Old 10-07-2012, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetMK View Post
We had our entire home floored in goncalo alves







We call it tigerwood, rosewood was a different wood to select. Rosewood had less striping.

Goncalo Alves is VERY light sensitive. Our floors darkened tremendously after 6 months.

Can I make grips out of 3/4" thick wood? I got a big pile left!!
It's no wonder S&W can't make Goncalo Alves grips any more.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:52 PM
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It's no wonder S&W can't make Goncalo Alves grips any more.
I love to vacuum the house!!

As I do, all I can think is "Ah, S&W Heaven!!".



The kitchen.

Do you think my wife selected this floor over other woods to get me to clean the house as much as I clean the guns!!

I gotta have a talk with her!!
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:41 AM
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:34 PM
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civil1977...You have a nice pair of rosewood stocks.

Bill
Thanks for the confirmation, Bill!
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:47 PM
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Darker rosewood has always been my favorite grip material other than very black and solid ebony(.i.e. no streaks etc) A very good post keep those nice pictures coming.Its like looking at candy in a candy store.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:25 AM
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The darkest pair I have . . . just right on stainless . . .
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
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Yeah 410 bore I know you can do better
I'm not sure if these are Rosewood or not but they sure look like it....

N Frame



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Old 10-09-2012, 11:20 AM
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Looking at the S&W Store really complicates figuring out what wood is what.

They list these grips (they call them grips) as rosewood;



They list these as cocobolo



Ruger said these grips were cocobolo when these anniversary special guns were sold;



I kind of think the Rugers are rosewood.

This makes ordering grips kind of tricky, I would hate to select a nice "color" and end up with "muddy" looking grips.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-FRAME View Post
Darker rosewood has always been my favorite grip material other than very black and solid ebony(.i.e. no streaks etc) A very good post keep those nice pictures coming.Its like looking at candy in a candy store.
I fully concur especially on a Stainless Steel revolver.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
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Ruger said these grips were cocobolo when these anniversary special guns were sold;I kind of think the Rugers are rosewood.
Cocobolo is rosewood. Not synonymous - a type of . . .
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:48 AM
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Those S&W grips are laminates, probably made out of the wood as described.

Mike Priwer
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:54 AM
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This shows the problem of using common names.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NFrameFred View Post
Cocobolo is rosewood. Not synonymous - a type of . . .
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Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
Without getting into the family, genus, and species discussion, below are photos (with years made when known) of stocks sold by S&W as rosewood.
That is like saying that Red Pine (Pinus Resinosa) is White Pine (Pinus Strobus) or Red Oak is White Oak. There are 2 different trees, one is Cocobola (Dalbergia retusa) and Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra)

Bill - Great photos. Glad you added the statement about not getting into a species discussion.

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Old 10-09-2012, 04:05 PM
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That is like saying that Red Pine (Pinus Resinosa) is White Pine (Pinus Strobus) or Red Oak is White Oak. There are 2 different trees, one is Cocobola (Dalbergia retusa) and Brazilian Rosewood (Dalbergia nigra)

Bill - Great photos. Glad you added the statement about not getting into a species discussion.
No, that's like saying Red pine and White pine are types of pine - I knew what I said when I wrote it - I said it was not synonymous with "rosewood", that it was a type. Bob Taylor writes extensively on all types of wood and it has been enlightening to see what has to be done to get a lot of these woods from the forest to the pistol grip or guitar back.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:47 PM
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I'm not sure if these are Rosewood or not but they sure look like it....

N Frame



I don't believe these are Rosewood despite being very nice looking. I say no because the pores are too tight together. Rosewood has larger spaces between pores like some demonstrated on pics above. But of course, I am not the expert and could be wrong.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:00 PM
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Default Two more pairs smooth K-frame magna rosewood stocks

Here are two more pair of very nice smooth magna rosewood stocks. The dark pair has
shades of brown in it, so I think its a very dark rosewood. The lighter pair is similar to
the ones on the nickel 38, but these have more grain figuring.







Regards, Mike Priwer
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:12 PM
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Here's mine.
DLB



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Old 10-09-2012, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mikepriwer View Post
This gun shipped Dec 1956, serial number K280XXX. Its a special-order nickel
3" barrel, with polished front sights ( whatever that means ). It has smooth Goncalo
Alvez ( I assume ) rosewood stocks.





Regards, Mike Priwer
Mike,
That pic of the right grip shows the texture of rosewood to me, but calling the grips Goncalo Alves confuses me somewhat. I have never seen a set of grips like those before seeing your pics. Can't really make out the left panel. I sure am not one to come to regarding these things, but want to learn what I can if for nothing else but knowing. The lighter color with that texture has me confused. Can anyone further elaborate?
Mike?
Edit to note the assumption.

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Old 10-10-2012, 08:34 AM
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Stocks are either Goncalo alves or rosewood. It is incorrect to call a wood both types. The stocks on Mike's revolver are rosewood.

Bill
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:49 AM
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Arrow

My friend a woodworking/cabinet maker and friend of all things S&W gave me a lesson on wood types.

We said that the same tree grown on different sides of a mountain in South America will have different grain tightness and color do to it's location to the sun's rays. Their heights will vary do to ability to draw water thus another variation in color and/or grain tightness.

WE WENT ON & ON for about 20 minutes as he went thru exotics and what makes them different.

The wood grips here are examples of what he was talking about. dan
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:01 AM
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Back when many S&W exotic wood stocks were manufactured, exotic wood was readily available. Heartwood was preferred, since it was dense and had a natural rich color. Since the governments started to limit the purchase of these woods, more and more sapwood was being used, which is almost always lighter shade and less dramatic grain pattern.

That, coupled with Dan's comments on where the tree grows, gives the same species of wood many different grain characteristics.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:41 PM
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But to truly understand or be completely confused one must get down to the species of wood.

Rosewood is a broad term and the Cocobolo and other names are in the same Genus with many similar characteristics. Either/or they all are really nice!!

Yes, it's only Wikipedia but is easy to read.

Rosewood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dalbergia retusa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dalbergia nigra - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:22 PM
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I am not sure what these are on my 25-5. I do know that they were made by Altamont.

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Old 10-12-2012, 09:43 AM
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I am not sure what these are on my 25-5. I do know that they were made by Altamont.

They be PURDY!
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:05 PM
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Back when I was too poor to be able to afford many of the S&W guns I wanted, I used to prowl the gun show tables for old S&W grips. Up until about 5-10 years ago, you could still find a nice set of grips for $20 or less. Since I couldn't afford the guns, I made a hobby of collecting the grips instead. Here is a sampling of some grips I collected that have not found a gun to call home yet:


One of the most interesting set of grips I bought was a set of N Frame Targets from the 1970's or 1980's. They were actually striped with a greenish colored when I bought them, but after I wiped them down with a light coat of Arrow Oil, they turned a brilliant Orange stripe. I wish I had before and after pictures, but I did not take pictures before and the grips went with a gun some years ago.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:26 PM
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Great pictures of so many nice grips and good explanation of differences in woods. I know it is difficult to tell the difference in the woods used at times and confusing to say the least. So much information on this forum and guys willing to share and discuss. Great place to be and participate.

Thanks

_________
James
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clang444 View Post
Back when I was too poor to be able to afford many of the S&W guns I wanted, I used to prowl the gun show tables for old S&W grips. Up until about 5-10 years ago, you could still find a nice set of grips for $20 or less. Since I couldn't afford the guns, I made a hobby of collecting the grips instead. Here is a sampling of some grips I collected that have not found a gun to call home yet:


.
Holy Moley , thats a "Small sampling" !?!? .....I think I just peed a little ....
You have a small fortune in that treasure chest of grips there !
Do you realize that you can sell those grips off and buy many of the guns you wanted but couldnt afford?
I see at least 2 pairs of pre war Magnas worth a couple hundred each and the diamond targets now sell for $100 and up a pair.

Buying those stocks when they were cheap was Genius ,
I on the other hand removed them and tossed them in the trash along with the original box.
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