Disappointing grips from Shop Ruger

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I've had this .41 Magnum Bisley for a while now. I really do like the .41. I think I might like it better than the .45. However, since I've had this Bisley, I've tried many different grips (about 4 sets). To date, I've not found a set of grips I like on the gun. These are the best so far, however the fit is sub par at best. I got them yesterday, and first the hole for the locating pin was off so I had to carefully enlarge the hole. Then there are these protrusions on each side of the gun's grip frame. All the other grips have a little notch cut out for them, and I've never really noticed it before. These grips did not have a notch cut out for those little ramps. Not sure what they are called. I made a notch as best as I could with a dremel. It's ok, you can't see my work though. Luckily at least, more like a hack job really.

Anyway, as you can see, one side fits very nicely, the other side is off at the top and too long at the bottom.

I'm not complaing too loudly though, I do really like them. They have a more slim fit than other grips. It makes the large frame revolver more comfortable and actually makes it feel a bit lighter in weight. I know the gun weighs the same, perhaps the grips just fit my hand a little better, since they aren't so fat.

I'm thinking about trying to age these grips. I've heard steel wool and some shoe polish perhaps? Scuff them up just a bit and get some shoe polish to fill in where the scuffs are?

Any other method to make them look more aged? Perhaps if they had some patina, I could overlook the bad fitting. I'm not a snob, although I do have some custom grips, with absolutely perfect fitment. I suppose it is easy to get used to nice quality grips. Besides, I gotta keep up with Mr. Bob Wright and his pretty grips and guns. :D

But I'm open to suggestions about these grips?
 
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Oh, some pictures.

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And here is a close up of those protrusions on the grip frame I'm talking about. I'm not sure what they are called, or what they are for except to cause grips to not fit correctly.

ULwFQpsl.jpg
 

Cholo

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Ugh, that's pitiful. I know Zane, LSCG, states that his grips are fit to a stainless grip frame and will probably fit a stainless GF better than a blued or aluminum one. I'm sure it's just loose tolerances, but still...

You can sand the high spots. I don't think you can hurt them much by trying for an antique look.

I took some Springfield Armory 1911 fully checkered walnut grips that were sharp enough to cut leather with and went to work. Once I lightly sanded and oiled them to make them darker I was simply amazed! Amazed that they were now slippery and, all the checkering was filled in, and because of all the coats of oil--they looked like **** LOL I was out a total of $13 so they were worth playing with.

Just have fun with them! :)
 

G2

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FWIW; Your Gripframe is correct for the time period of manufacture. The “angle” pieces are actually “boss/lugs” that protrude into the cylinder frame, this was the design for many years, even from the Old Model era.

Yes grips now days are all over the spectrum in fit. However there are many quality custom grip makers out there that would have you pull and send the Gripframe to them ($8 USPS) and then the grips come back fitting near perfect.
 

powder smoke

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Disappointing grips from Shop Ruger

Why did you not send them back? If you fool with them you own them!
I would of called Ruger and ask for a return shipping! Holy Cow I'd expect decent fitting grips!!
Once you do and alterations you own em!
 
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Oh I know, I decided to keep them, as I said, of all the grips I’ve tried on this gun, I like these the most so far.

I’ve thought about the custom grips, I do have several pairs of custom grips, but usually Bisley custom grips cost more.

And I do like the slim fit of these…
 
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Kevin said:
Oh I know, I decided to keep them, as I said, of all the grips I’ve tried on this gun, I like these the most so far.

I’ve thought about the custom grips, I do have several pairs of custom grips, but usually Bisley custom grips cost more.

And I do like the slim fit of these…

I understand doing whatever it takes to make them work.

We've got two problems here...we are chastised for expecting the grips to fit, and, when we let Ruger get away with this issue, their bean counters win.

I have completely given up on their plywood grips, but the plastic grips have been quite good.
 

diffy40

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"These grips did not have a notch cut out for those little ramps. Not sure what they are called. I made a notch as best as I could with a dremel. It's ok, you can't see my work though. Luckily at least, more like a hack job really."

Kevin, are you sure you have enough cut out where you made this modification? If you haven't cut low enough in the grip, that notch won't allow the grip to go up all the way. Might have to work on the centering pin hole some more. The panel looks like it will fit the frame better if you can get little higher.
 

RSIno1

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Many different grip frame castings over the years. They have to come up with a one size fits all which just means they don't fit anything well. Then you have to add in the minimum wage kid standing at a drill press thinking about his next smoke break drilling the locating pin hole. I wonder if Ruger takes the ones that don't fit well on the assembly line and sends them off to Shop Ruger? Customs made on your grip frame are best - but also 3+ times the price of generic.
 

Johnnu2

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Kevin, I've posted this before, but thought it might help you so here it is again. I bought three sets of Shop Ruger grips for my three Bisley's. TO make them fit, I mixed and matched to get the closest fit for each gun and grip set and THEN: I cut out those notches at the top to accommodate the thingie/fitting boss on the grip frame. Next I used Acra Glas as seen in the first picture to lock them into proper position. Then, I hand sanded around the edges and bottoms to get the closest 'custom-looking' fit to the frame(s). Finally, I used a 3 or 4 inch, cloth polishing wheel with white polishing rouge to polish the edges back up to factory sheen. Here are three pics to show what I'm talking about (p.s. I'm no craftsman and have moderate to low skills):







Hope this helps...
J.
 

jdowney

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I agree that this is not acceptable. There is something to the argument that there has been a lot of variation over the years, making fitment of aftermarket grips difficult. That is somewhat inevitable, though it is aggravated by Ruger's many little changes over the years.

But the grip QA on Ruger's new, factory guns is just plain awful. Both of the ones I purchased last year required new grips, lucky for me I can simply make them. I would never have bought the second gun if I could not make new grips. There is NO excuse for this. Ruger built its brand loyalty on better quality than it is currently delivering, and there is only one place that it's current path ends and that place is where Remmington ended up.

These are easy problems to solve for a manufacturer with the grip frames at hand. If the frames are inconsistent in shape that is a problem they must solve. I don't think that is the problem however. Another poster told me that they were subbing out grip production, and if that is the case they are not holding their sub to a high enough standard. Given how bad the fit is on the guns I've seen, I marvel that a contractor would ship those grips at all - its like they never test fitted on anything close to the production gun (perhaps they fit a supplied prototype well?) and Ruger just accepts them and says that is as good as it gets.
 
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jdowney said:
These are easy problems to solve for a manufacturer with the grip frames at hand. If the frames are inconsistent in shape that is a problem they must solve. I don't think that is the problem however. Another poster told me that they were subbing out grip production, and if that is the case they are not holding their sub to a high enough standard. Given how bad the fit is on the guns I've seen, I marvel that a contractor would ship those grips at all - its like they never test fitted on anything close to the production gun (perhaps they fit a supplied prototype well?) and Ruger just accepts them and says that is as good as it gets.

As long as Ruger accepts and pays for incoming subcontracted parts, there is little incentive for improvement. :?
 

needsmostuff

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Ale-8(1) said:
As long as Ruger accepts and pays for incoming subcontracted parts, there is little incentive for improvement. :?

Nope , subcontractor is not the problem , it's the grip shaped by Ruger varies that much. If you hold new grips side by side the dimensions do not vary a bit and I believe they are CNC cut.
Grip frames on the other hand vary all over the map.
I have made my own grips for years and if I carefully fit to one gun there is a solid chance it will fit on another gun but will not fit well.
What Ruger NEEDS to do is have grips made with proper profile but just slightly over sized on the edges . Then with a slight trim at assembly time problem solved .
 

seasterl

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As one of a thousand or more owners unhappy with Ruger’s quality control, in general, the only thing that kept me coming back to purchase their revolvers was the distributor exclusives that listened to what customers wanted and brought guns to market with much personality and variation (blued, matte black, stainless, high-polished stainless, several different grip frames, fixed sights, adjustable sights, barrel lengths, etc). But Ruger clearly left a lot on the table for local gunsmiths to improve on (or fix) any new gun. The problem now is that Ruger is producing guns too fast and quality is slipping even more, and the number of good local smiths is drying up and a guy that wants a quality revolver has to ship his gun to a good smith and wait times are measured in several months or years. Plus, the usual savings (since Ruger was less expensive than their competition) that a buyer would put toward fixing or customizing has now eroded due to current GB market prices. So now we spend retail or well over retail for a gun that still needs lots of attention. Poor grip frames quality control is the biggest issue. Any reason why Ruger can’t takes cues from S&W there and just make it better. If they can do that, and another sub can make grips, then they will have fixed most complaints. Then, if they can properly clock their barrels and ensure all good holes (chambers) in the cylinders and we’ll be well on our way to a might fine revolver. If I’m being honest, if Freedom Arms made half the styles as Ruger, I’d probably be happy to own fewer quality revolvers. Hats off to skilled folk like JDowney to help us out when we need high-quality custom grips to further enjoy the guns.
 
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Johnnu2: Thanks for the ideas!

I’ve tried making my own grips. They didn’t turn out so great. They weren’t bad, and with some practice they could have improved, but i just never had the time to keep going.

Lots of discussion about how Ruger could increase quality. All great methods too. But they will all drive up costs. I wouldn’t want Ruger to turn into a custom gun manufacturer where a revolver is several thousand dollars.

For the record, I am happy with Ruger’s quality. This is really only the second set of factory grips which haven’t fit properly. The other set being those plywood laminated grips on a stainless revolver.

And with all the aftermarket custom grip ideas, different woods etc. I’d even be happy if Ruger gave the option to buy a gun without grips at all.
 

contender

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To say it's frustrating to find poorly fitting grips on a Ruger SA is a understatement to many.

Yes, there have been changes in Ruger MFGing over the years. But one thing that has NOT changed is the 5 grip frame mounting holes to the mainframe. OM, NM Bisley, all the same. THANKFULLY!!

But that begs the question; "Why do the grips not fit the profile of the gripframe correctly?
For many years,, Lett made Ruger's grips,, off the pattern supplied by Ruger. By far,, they had a better fit overall than much of the current stuff.
Lett closed down, and Ruger had to find another grip maker.

Once found, Ruger supplied the specs for grips, based upon what they had at the time. Machines & tooling etc were built & set for those specs.
That costs MONEY. Lots of money.

Next,, due to lean manufacturing, and the assembly line fast building of guns, Ruger started HAVING to employ machine operators instead of gun craftsmen as workers to fulfill the demands by consumers. (Remember the times we'd hear about a model of gun, only to have to wait 1-3 years to actually see many?) Nowadays,, models are introduced AND in the market a lot quicker because of this mfg practice.
BUT,, gone are the craftsman types, who understand guns & what SHOULD be produced. It has been replaced by the demands to produce the numbers of the product to meet consumer demands.

Less time polishing a g/f. Less time in fitting grips. More guns made & shipped out the door.

It takes time (read, costs money) to find a g/f & matching set of grips. And to have to hand fit the grips on each gun would slow PRODUCTION way, way down. And employees are expected to meet production demands. And most of them do not have the skills anyway to actually polish a g/f to where a set of grips actually fit properly.

Next,, a lot of the market isn't as "critical" as those of us who are dedicated true handgunners, where we expect better.
Heck, the SA market has taken a back seat to the "black, plastic, tactical" types by a longshot.

So, where does that leave us?

If we want a product to be "right" we HAVE to let Ruger know of our problem. It may take a few phone calls, a shipping of the gun or maybe just the grip frame to them or whatever to get a properly fitted set of grips.
But they can't make it right without knowing there is a problem.

And yes, they are fully aware of how poorly grips fit some guns. I have personally spoken with a few of them myself.
And while many of us around here lament the old ways & complain about such things, remember,, we are a SMALLER segment of the market share anymore.

And if Ruger can't sell something, then the incentive to build something goes away. We could lose many models of SA handguns easily,, if they didn't sell.
So, a polite but firm demand for a correct "fix" is the easiest way to get something done. That, or just forgo the Ruger factory & have some customs made.
 

seasterl

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I think we’re addressing the symptom of poorly-fitting grips rather than the root case, and I think that’s something in their manufacturing process that does not make their grip frames consistent from one frame to the next. It’s not just the SA revolver but also their DA. For example, I bought some Nill grips for my Redhawk, and after talking to two smiths about why they wouldn’t fit properly, they said because Ruger makes their frames with the sides not flat and true. After I stared at my Redhawk frame without the grip panels, I was amazed at the poor craftsmanship. But none of my S&W (with square butt frames) suffer from “this” problem or other grip frame quality control issues. So imo, Ruger wouldn’t have a grip fit problem if they address the differences in the molds or whatever they’re using to make the frames. Just doing it correctly the first time should not add time or expense to the customer. Anything worth doing is worth doing it right the first time, IMO. If they do that, then grip panels will all start fitting. Then maybe they can offer two sizes: standard and thicker. Imagine if only that could happen one day.
 

jdowney

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Well, what I have seen is that with the two recent manufacture birdshead frame revolvers I bought last year the factory grip fit was horrible in the same places on each gun. One is a 357 vaquero and the other a 327 single seven. The grips I made for each cross over to the other pistol a lot better than the factory grips fit. That is why I say there is no excuse for this. The factory grips are just a lousy fit and a lousy shape.

These grips are just not that hard to make, I don't really buy the tooling excuse. Drill press, chop saw, band saw, and sanders is all I use, and except for one sander they are all common home shop tools. If I were making a large run I would use my 4x duplicator to rough them out and then sand. A CNC producer could make a run a lot easier than I could, with less hand work.

Anyone with an industrial CNC should have zero trouble copying one or half a dozen different patterns for different revolvers. When I was getting rubber palm shelves made for HK91 grips a couple years ago they scanned a sample I provided and made a .stp file from the scan, then CNC'd the mold. A .stp file for a set of these grips would cost about $500, then the CNC can do the cutting. This just isn't that hard, same tooling can make multiple grip variations with little or no change to tooling or fixtures.

I get that we're a small market share, but I really think Ruger is taking the wrong path here. They should be following Freedom Arms, instead they are becoming Heritage Arms. One thing I learned very early in life, if you don't value the product of your efforts, no one else is going to value it either.
 

seasterl

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jdowney said:
Well, what I have seen is that with the two recent manufacture birdshead frame revolvers I bought last year the factory grip fit was horrible in the same places on each gun. One is a 357 vaquero and the other a 327 single seven. The grips I made for each cross over to the other pistol a lot better than the factory grips fit. That is why I say there is no excuse for this. The factory grips are just a lousy fit and a lousy shape.

These grips are just not that hard to make, I don't really buy the tooling excuse. Drill press, chop saw, band saw, and sanders is all I use, and except for one sander they are all common home shop tools. If I were making a large run I would use my 4x duplicator to rough them out and then sand. A CNC producer could make a run a lot easier than I could, with less hand work.

Anyone with an industrial CNC should have zero trouble copying one or half a dozen different patterns for different revolvers. When I was getting rubber palm shelves made for HK91 grips a couple years ago they scanned a sample I provided and made a .stp file from the scan, then CNC'd the mold. A .stp file for a set of these grips would cost about $500, then the CNC can do the cutting. This just isn't that hard, same tooling can make multiple grip variations with little or no change to tooling or fixtures.

I get that we're a small market share, but I really think Ruger is taking the wrong path here. They should be following Freedom Arms, instead they are becoming Heritage Arms. One thing I learned very early in life, if you don't value the product of your efforts, no one else is going to value it either.

Well stated!... especially the part about Freedom vs Heritage. (I wish Freedom made a blued birdshead fixed sight!)
 
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