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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 01-04-2020, 09:30 PM
mrcvs mrcvs is offline
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I collect mostly antique stuff, with the exception of Triple Locks and the occasional Registered Magnum.

I tend to prefer originality, so Ropers are generally after market.

Having said that, I certainly admire the workmanship of "Ropers" and "Roper like" stocks.

My understanding is that Ropers are, unfortunately, not marked as Ropers in any manner or form.

How does one determine true Ropers vs Roper like stocks and how is a valuation assigned?

Any good references relative to Ropers and Roper like stocks?
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:55 PM
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Sack Peterson put together a good essay on Roper grips several years back. See what Google can come up with for you, and if not, let me know; and I'll send a copy to you.

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 01-04-2020, 09:57 PM
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jesting here.... but curse you I was sorely disappointed not seeing a set.
Just saving you from the next guy as bad as me.



Many have the jig marks....not all.
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Old 01-04-2020, 10:01 PM
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See this thread; especially Keith Brown’s post# 5:

Kearsage vs. Roper
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Old 01-04-2020, 10:05 PM
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Altamont is doing a Roper copy. Not Keith Brown’s, but definitely a nice, practical alternative. I have some in Rosewood, olive wood, and santos rosewood.
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Old 01-04-2020, 11:00 PM
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I have a pair of walnut Altamont “Ropers” on my K-32 recreation. They have been in use for almost a year now, so I feel qualified to evaluate them. The checkering looks very close to the original, but that’s where the similarity ends... if you look at them from the rear they look way too thin and narrow to have been made by Gagne for Roper. They are OK for mass produced grips but they aren’t Ropers.

I wrote to Altamont to ask whether they would be willing to take a pair of their Coke-style grip blanks and use the Roper-style checkering on them. They told me in no uncertain terms that they didn’t accept special orders! More’s the pity though, because that would make a far superior product than either of the current uses to which they are putting those two components.

JMHO, of course... YMMV.
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Old 01-05-2020, 08:40 AM
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To add a bit to my previous post (I lost some when my iPad had a hiccup ) if you look at original Roper grips or the faithful repros like those from Keith, you will note that they display some profiling when viewed from the rear that is somewhat foreshadowing of the much loved “Coke-style” stocks the factory developed in the Fifties. I feel like the current Altamont “Coke Bottle” offering, if paired with their relatively well done interpretation of the Roper checkering pattern would make a product which, while still not up to the original or current handmade offerings, would provide a set of stocks that would catch a lot of the Roper spirit in an affordable factory offering. Am I the only one who sees this possibility?

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Old 01-05-2020, 09:48 AM
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I have just one pair now.

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Old 01-05-2020, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rct269 View Post
Sack Peterson put together a good essay on Roper grips several years back. See what Google can come up with for you, and if not, let me know; and I'll send a copy to you.

Ralph Tremaine
Thank you, Ralph. Here is that to which you refer, very informative: newindex
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Old 01-05-2020, 12:46 PM
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I'm pretty sure that these are original Ropers on an RM once owned by Clark Gable. Gable was a "gun guy" and further modified this gun with work on the hammer and trigger.

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Old 01-05-2020, 03:04 PM
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Thank you, Ralph. Here is that to which you refer, very informative: newindex

One thing not mentioned in Sak Peterson’s article, but which I know Keith Brown has mentioned somewhere in a Forum Roper thread, is that Ropers always (I believe Keith said “always”) slightly wrap around the rear of the trigger guard. I know that has been the case with the 4 or 5 sets of original Ropers that I have owned.
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Old 01-05-2020, 03:15 PM
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A set of reproduction Roper stocks by Keith Brown on my (only) Registered Magnum. Click on the photo for a much better look.

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Old 01-06-2020, 12:41 AM
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For as long as I can remember, the quick check to determine if a set of grips were made by Roper ( or Gagne) was to see if the back side had the little square holes created for the blanks to be held by the jig while the checkering & finishing was being done. All the genuine Ropers I have owned exhibited those little square holes on their back side. Ed.
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Old 02-29-2020, 07:38 PM
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How do you value a set of original Ropers? Few sales out there to compare to.

Some seem rather flush and others more 3 dimensional.

I bought a more 3 dimensional pair today off of the forum and went with gut instinct in that $500 or $600 was a real deal and $750 was probably too much.
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Old 02-29-2020, 07:48 PM
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Also, these were produced 1934 to 1952. What was production numbers like?
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Old 03-01-2020, 01:32 AM
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One thing worth mentioning is that there are Ropers, and then there are Gagne made Ropers. Typically when anyone talks about Ropers it's the latter they are thinking about. If Keith has a chance he can much more authoritatively fill you in on Ropers then I can, but I do think I can add some value regarding valuation, as I've been watching prices for years. My observations are as follows:

- Condition: as one would expect for any fine rare collectible, the curve is steep when original Gagne made Ropers approach perfect. I wouldn't be surprised to see the *right* set break 2 thousand in the near future.

- Wear: Due to the rarity, less a factor in reducing price then I would have thought. For some a little wear is desirable to match a gun they intend to place it on. Honest wear may reduce a very lightly worn set 20%.

- Abuse: Many ropers have deliberate modifications, often brutal and ineffective, requiring repairs. This can tank the value, but still only to maybe 1/3rd of the price if it had been unmolested. The wood wizards around can bring many such sets back to life.

- The ribbon being present of course adds to the attractiveness, and certainly the price, a non-ribbon set may sell for half of a ribbon set that is otherwise the same.

- S&W Ropers are less common, and more fought over, and always seem to sell for more then their colt counterparts. Not quite double, but certainly knocking on the door.

- Despite the increased rarity, K frame seem to sell for the same or less then N frame.

- Thumb rests (unless coupled with finger grooves), are about third to a half less valuable then non-thumbrests

- Odd features, and ropers for odd guns, can reduce the value as it seems much of the market is populated with people looking to buy a set for their gun, often for some classy shooting, and not to collect the stocks themselves.

- As legend has it, some of the premium Ropers that are rumored to exist are perched atop dragon like stock hoards, as prized crown jewels (ivory for example). Such stocks don't hit the open market and if you have the opportunity to buy them the price will just be the price, and worth it.
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Old 03-01-2020, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SixgunStrumpet View Post
One thing worth mentioning is that there are Ropers, and then there are Gagne made Ropers. Typically when anyone talks about Ropers it's the latter they are thinking about. If Keith has a chance he can much more authoritatively fill you in on Ropers then I can, but I do think I can add some value regarding valuation, as I've been watching prices for years. My observations are as follows:

- Condition: as one would expect for any fine rare collectible, the curve is steep when original Gagne made Ropers approach perfect. I wouldn't be surprised to see the *right* set break 2 thousand in the near future.

- Wear: Due to the rarity, less a factor in reducing price then I would have thought. For some a little wear is desirable to match a gun they intend to place it on. Honest wear may reduce a very lightly worn set 20%.

- Abuse: Many ropers have deliberate modifications, often brutal and ineffective, requiring repairs. This can tank the value, but still only to maybe 1/3rd of the price if it had been unmolested. The wood wizards around can bring many such sets back to life.

- The ribbon being present of course adds to the attractiveness, and certainly the price, a non-ribbon set may sell for half of a ribbon set that is otherwise the same.

- S&W Ropers are less common, and more fought over, and always seem to sell for more then their colt counterparts. Not quite double, but certainly knocking on the door.

- Despite the increased rarity, K frame seem to sell for the same or less then N frame.

- Thumb rests (unless coupled with finger grooves), are about third to a half less valuable then non-thumbrests

- Odd features, and ropers for odd guns, can reduce the value as it seems much of the market is populated with people looking to buy a set for their gun, often for some classy shooting, and not to collect the stocks themselves.

- As legend has it, some of the premium Ropers that are rumored to exist are perched atop dragon like stock hoards, as prized crown jewels (ivory for example). Such stocks don't hit the open market and if you have the opportunity to buy them the price will just be the price, and worth it.
I think sixgunstrumpet is spot on with everything I read.

I would add value wise depending on the type of wood used. Roper grips can be all over the board from very plain to harder to find ornate.

Also personally I prefer the larger checked Ropers that are a bit harder to find.
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:40 AM
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I’m going to have to post my only set of Ropers which are attached to a 71/2” Triple Lock. If you take note of the picture from behind the grips you’ll see the shaping of the grip to really fit the right handed shooter. Bill
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Old 03-01-2020, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by SixgunStrumpet View Post
- Thumb rests (unless coupled with finger grooves), are about third to a half less valuable then non-thumbrests.
Why would this be the case? This is an increased level of workmanship, and I like their quirkiness.

What is an example of a thumb rest coupled with finger grooves?
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Old 03-01-2020, 12:28 PM
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Why would this be the case? This is an increased level of workmanship, and I like their quirkiness.

What is an example of a thumb rest coupled with finger grooves?
Thumb rest Ropers while having graceful lines can bring on a few issues. Because the thumbrest was made for a very specific hand with different angles they can have a greater chance of not being comfortable in your hand. You better like the thumb placement angle as you can not adjust.

Second many thumbrests are quite wide, this makes access to the cylinder release a bit more awkward.

Ejecting center fire ammo, your clearance is pretty close and you can easily dent or even chip your rest.

That said if you buy a set that fits your hand perfectly, you will likely keep them forever.
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Old 03-01-2020, 12:32 PM
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I’m going to have to post my only set of Ropers which are attached to a 71/2” Triple Lock. If you take note of the picture from behind the grips you’ll see the shaping of the grip to really fit the right handed shooter. Bill
Bill,

Those are one of my favorite Ropers!!

The grain and wraparound style are quite a combo.

Every time you post them I am enamored more.
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:19 PM
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Why would this be the case? This is an increased level of workmanship, and I like their quirkiness.

What is an example of a thumb rest coupled with finger grooves?
Rich has the right of it.

I'll just add that if you are Ok with buying, and later re-selling any that aren't fit to your hand (assuming you have a big envelope stuffed with cash and lots of time), with a little luck you will find yourself a set of Thumb Rests that were made for someone with your hand size. In which case they are heaven.

Most of them though? Basically unusable. The non-thumb rests are much more functional for nearly everyone, regardless of what sort of hand they were made for.

Personally, I've only had one set of non-thumb rests that were a bit of an issue for me. Interestingly they seem good when in the hand, but I found them to be slightly awkwardly oversized for actual shooting.

Regarding an example of thumb rest coupled with finger grooves, a set of K-frames sold recently. I was surprised the seller had a buy it now on them, I think about 900? Anyway, they sold quick, and I expect they will show up on the market again at the 1500+ mark.

I don't have a set of revolver thumbrest/finger groove stocks, but I do have a set for a 1911. I lucked out getting them in that no one else (even the seller) recognized them for what they were. They were actually in an ebay auction which was a pile of "Various Plastic Grips". It's a real testament to Gagne that even when someone is holding them they would assume they were just plastic, the thought that someone would, or even could, execute such a thing in walnut doesn't occur to people.

The real luck though was that they fit me, near perfectly.





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Old 03-01-2020, 06:40 PM
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- Odd features, and ropers for odd guns, can reduce the value as it seems much of the market is populated with people looking to buy a set for their gun, often for some classy shooting, and not to collect the stocks themselves.
Depends on the "odd" gun. I had a set years ago for the Colt Model P- the SAA. Only set I have seen to this day. Can't remember where I got them.
This was 10-12 years ago. (more, maybe?)
I stuck $1000 or $1200 on them. Can't remember. Took them to Tulsa. This was when nice N frame Ropers could be had for $250-350 all day long. Colt Ropers for $200-325. A guy looked at them. Haggled with me, but I wouldn't budge. He called me a day or two after I got home. I can't remember who paid the postage.
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:47 PM
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This was when nice N frame Ropers could be had for $250-350 all day long.
I wonder what that would be like.
Seems I am always a day late when it comes to collecting.

When they were bringing that did you have any thought or indication that they may take off in value years later?
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
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- Thumb rests (unless coupled with finger grooves), are about third to a half less valuable then non-thumbrests.
Why would this be the case? This is an increased level of workmanship, and I like their quirkiness.

I don't think thumbrests are popular with lots of folks. I hate everything about them-
I don't like them for shooting, one or two handed.
They are awkward when drawing a holstered gun, and make the gun too tight or impossible in some holsters.
Opening the gun and ejection problems as others said.
Try toting a thumbrest gun stuck in your belt....
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:53 PM
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I wonder what that would be like.
Seems I am always a day late when it comes to collecting.

When they were bringing that did you have any thought or indication that they may take off in value years later?
It is all relative to the dollar of the day.
Remember when gas was a quarter a gallon? 15 cents in a gas war? I still had trouble feeding those four barrel carbs.
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:02 PM
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Depends on the "odd" gun. I had a set years ago for the Colt Model P- the SAA. Only set I have seen to this day. Can't remember where I got them.
This was 10-12 years ago. (more, maybe?)
I stuck $1000 or $1200 on them. Can't remember. Took them to Tulsa. This was when nice N frame Ropers could be had for $250-350 all day long. Colt Ropers for $200-325. A guy looked at them. Haggled with me, but I wouldn't budge. He called me a day or two after I got home. I can't remember who paid the postage.

Thought you might like a few pics.
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:18 PM
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Great thread and great photos !
Determining original Roper/Gagne grips requires considering a number of features, the "feel" of a set is one indicator for sure but you have to handle many other stocks to be able to get that part of it I think. The jig holes are what most people seem to think is the single best indicator, I disagree completely with that. If someone shows me a set that kinda look Roper-ish, maybe even close in a feature or two including the "jig marks" but lack that delicate little fingernail like sliver at the trigger guard or remnants of it and the "feel" is questionable then to me the likelihood of them being authentic to me is very very small. I've also looked at a few sets to confirm what the owner wants them to be and when stating, I don't think so, its taken as a personal insult.
Disclamer: I ain't no expert !! but do consider myself a student of it all.
Opinion:
The most popular and valuable Roper/Gagne stocks are N frame, no thumb rest, and fingertip pattern on both sides is the most popular.
There are many one off or near one off Ropers around but they most often fall short in dollar value.
There are plenty of Colt Ropers around but again the cash value falls short IMO.

Roper had made a marketed the stocks but Gagne made them, a few others made a few, but the lions share are by Gagne, again IMO.

Mathias Gagne made them over a long enough period the his style developed, changed with time, age probably played a part also.

paplinker mentioned a large checked type that he prefers, if its the set I think he is referring to, its not so much the the checking is large, but coarse, these are the purest Gagne/Ropers to me because they were undeniably from the masters hand, the checkering is cut with a V chisel !. Very few would try it and most would fail miserably. Very sharp tool, strong steady hand, good eyes and the confidence to keep going row after row knowing that a slip could run it all. Mathias Gagne was the Master !
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:18 PM
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Depends on the "odd" gun. I had a set years ago for the Colt Model P- the SAA. Only set I have seen to this day. Can't remember where I got them.
This was 10-12 years ago. (more, maybe?)
I stuck $1000 or $1200 on them. Can't remember. Took them to Tulsa. This was when nice N frame Ropers could be had for $250-350 all day long. Colt Ropers for $200-325. A guy looked at them. Haggled with me, but I wouldn't budge. He called me a day or two after I got home. I can't remember who paid the postage.
I wouldn't really call a Colt SAA an odd gun. I would say that you have brought up an example of a very popular gun, but with very few ropers ever made for it. That pony tax has been crazy for a long time now. It has kept me almost entirely out of the Colt market, outside of the "wrong" guns I've bought (such as those defiled by D.W. King or the Colt Service Department with icky icky modifications). I just look at good examples and think...thats just way too much money. Let some guy who has a big pension and grew up watching Gunsmoke as a child fight a guy who sold the Bay area house he paid 22,000 dollars for in 1980 for 73 million fight the guy who's favorite show was Rawhide for it. I can't compete against them.

When I mean odd gun I'm thinking mostly sets for Automatics. I've seen a couple sets go by that the seller couldn't figure out what they went on, and I couldn't either. I got a pretty good price on a set for a New Model 3. If a set for something like a broomhandle mauser, which does exist, would I think, sell for less then a set for an N frame. At least based on what I have observed.

I think the thing about the Roper market is that the high prices are for the stocks that people have a gun that needs them. I know I have had my fair share of great old Smiths...that came with some completely wrong modern rubber grips on there. It feels like the gun deserves a set of appropriate target stocks, especially with a fine old Smith. With the small number of them out there, and an increasing number of folks seeing all the great ones that folks post on the internet, the price is bound to climb.

I don't know that Roper Collecting proper is going to be the thing. When a market has so few examples it kind of chokes it off, ad makes it inaccessible. But given their fine craftsmanship, historical interest, and general attractiveness I expect their price will just continue to climb.
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:21 PM
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Howdy Lee !

Thats the third set of SAA Ropers I've seen. The other two were one set seen at an OGCA show, and another shown in a book I have written by Charlie Askins.
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:27 PM
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Great thread and great photos !



paplinker mentioned a large checked type that he prefers, if its the set I think he is referring to, its not so much the the checking is large, but coarse, these are the purest Gagne/Ropers to me because they were undeniably from the masters hand, the checkering is cut with a V chisel !. Very few would try it and most would fail miserably. Very sharp tool, strong steady hand, good eyes and the confidence to keep going row after row knowing that a slip could run it all. Mathias Gagne was the Master !
Below are two sets of Ropers. The set on the right have the coarser checking and seem to be much harder to find.

I notice the stumpier looking diamond on the coarser also.



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Old 03-02-2020, 01:17 PM
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The real luck though was that they fit me, near perfectly.





Whenever I see these, they definitely peg the coolness factor for me!!
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:21 PM
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Thought you might like a few pics.
Lee,
Have you ever seen another pair?
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:37 PM
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I have a set of Ropers for a 1911 that are made for a left-handed shooter. I’m right-handed but I bought them because they’re the only pair I’d seen, I wasn’t likely to see another, figured someone would really want them someday, and I love and collect Ropers. I also have a set for a Colt SAA though I don’t own an SAA. I likely paid way too much but I knew they weren’t common and it seemed like a good excuse to find the right gun to put them on. Ideally, I’d like to find a flattop or one with King sights, especially one with a rib.
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:27 PM
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Here's a set on a 1950 pre-27. Not a big fan of non-factory stocks but will make an exception when they accentuate a revolver like these do.
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Old 03-02-2020, 05:33 PM
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Those may be the best looking original Roper's I have ever seen! I wonder what wood that is?
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Old 03-02-2020, 05:57 PM
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paplinker, that’s the set I was talking about, extra special IMO.

29-1, I remember those !
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Old 03-02-2020, 06:01 PM
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Wink

This is a different view of the set I posted earlier. I'm not much on thumb rest ones but this mini works great for me.

You still couldn't holster it though Lee.
Not with the big honking heal support.
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Old 03-02-2020, 10:13 PM
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Great thread! Here is a picture of my 1938 RM with the Ropers which came with it from Abercrombie & Fitch. I also have the 1938 A & F catalogue page offering the Roper stocks custom ordered for $8.00 in 1938. The wood is Circassian walnut, possibly sourced from Turkey.

BTW, Roper grip with thumb rest, add a buck. $9.00

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Old 03-03-2020, 10:26 AM
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Here are some of my Roper grips. The one with the "Palm Rest"
is signed on the back "W. ROPER E. LONGMEADOW MASS" it looks like he used a screwdriver blade to sign it. The display of grips is from my display at the Columbus annual.
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Old 03-03-2020, 04:16 PM
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I ran into this pic online yesterday, and I'm still not breathing right... are these Ropers?

Also - is this trigger twisted to the right? Was this ever popular?
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Old 03-03-2020, 05:03 PM
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Here are some of my Roper grips. The one with the "Palm Rest"
is signed on the back "W. ROPER E. LONGMEADOW MASS" it looks like he used a screwdriver blade to sign it. The display of grips is from my display at the Columbus annual.
This post and others...

I am ASTOUNDED at the variety and quality of Roper stocks out there, and the number some have collected.

But, then again, I am "late to the party". As they are after market, and thus, not factory original, plus tend to be later (1934 to 1952) than much of what I collect, by rights, I should not at all be interested in them. But, I am... How can you not be? Fine craftsmanship at its best!
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Old 03-03-2020, 07:52 PM
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I ran into this pic online yesterday, and I'm still not breathing right... are these Ropers?


Yep those would definitely be Ropers and it looks like a possible king super police sight conversion (might have the name wrong as I’m going from memory)
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Old 03-03-2020, 09:41 PM
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I ran into this pic online yesterday, and I'm still not breathing right... are these Ropers?

Also - is this trigger twisted to the right? Was this ever popular?
Yep, those are ropers.

The sights were modified at D.W. King, those are their Super Police Night Sights.

The trigger has a shoe on it, which looks to have been maybe modified a bit.

Then of course the thing was engraved, and has a Fitz special job to the trigger guard.

This gun is so close to a dream gun of mine, but I just don't care for the Fitz job or the engraving. This was one gun that I don't regret not having a chance to buy at auction, but I am sure whoever owns it is very pleased.
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Old 03-03-2020, 09:41 PM
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I ran into this pic online yesterday, and I'm still not breathing right... are these Ropers?

Also - is this trigger twisted to the right? Was this ever popular?

Roper stocks-sw10fitz-jpg
That King Modified (Super Police), Griebel Engraved, Roper Gripped, 2" Barreled M&P with a Fitzed Trigger Guard and Bobbed and Jewelled Hammer is one of my favorite modified guns of all time (although I could do without the Fitzing of the trigger guard and jewelling of the hammer). It also has a "trigger shoe" on it (which I could also do without), giving it the "twisted" look that you describe.

[I see Caleb and I were responding at the same time - basically covering the same ground - but as he and I have discussed before, we differ in that I would love to have that one in my collection ]
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Old 03-05-2020, 04:37 PM
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To reiterate, it's remarkable that I, personally, would ever appreciate anything after market, so I guess I have really made an exception when it comes to Roper stocks.

And, I had never actually handled a pair until this fine set arrived by USPS earlier today. Purchased from a fine member of this forum. I did not know at the time of purchase a set with a thumb rest was less desirable. But it really doesn't matter in the end, as the price point on these is completely arbitrary. Basically, a fair and reasonable price as negotiated between seller and buyer.

As you can see, the fit relative to the thumb rest is good. And I appreciate the extra workmanship that went into the creation of the thumb rest and the resulting quirky appearance.

I have a few Triple Lock revolvers that shed their original stocks to which I have placed pre war N frame stocks, but it's simply more fun to locate a quality Triple Lock sans original stocks. And so the search begins!

The original intent of the creation of this thread was proper identification of original Roper stocks. I thank the many members of this forum for their responses to assist me in my quest. Mission successfully accomplished!
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Old 03-05-2020, 05:20 PM
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I forgot to mention. No 47135 is carved into the right and left stocks. As these are N frame stocks, presumably these were for Registered Magnum serial number 47135. Reasonable hypothesis...or not?

Last edited by mrcvs; 03-05-2020 at 06:17 PM. Reason: 47135 in both stocks, not just one.
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Old 03-05-2020, 05:38 PM
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Ian, serial number 47135 was assigned to a registered magnum with reg 648 and shipped on Dec 16, 1935 originally with matching numbered Magna grips. This info is from the "Magnum" book.
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Old 03-05-2020, 06:52 PM
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Great thread. I can always help anyone with Roper Authenticity. I do consider myself a Roper collector. Owning over 30 pairs now I am after the unusual. He made some that have some special features that you don’t see on average Ropers. I own a pair still in the original shipping box. And a very unique pair that I would value over 2k.
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Old 03-05-2020, 08:15 PM
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Great thread. I can always help anyone with Roper Authenticity. I do consider myself a Roper collector. Owning over 30 pairs now I am after the unusual. He made some that have some special features that you don’t see on average Ropers. I own a pair still in the original shipping box. And a very unique pair that I would value over 2k.


Let’s see some of these unique Ropers!
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