Vaquero Grips and Why Black Rubber

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mulder

Bearcat
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Mar 8, 2009
Messages
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I have just purchased a New New model Vaquero in stainless, 357mag, and was wondering why the black rubber grips? I have seen many photos on here with nice wooden grips and faux ivory that look so nice so why put black rubber grips on a stainless gun like this? To me its like putting steel wheels on a New Camero.
I have been looking for replacements but most are very $$$$$$. I know they range from around $50 to $200 for a nice pair of grips but I dont have $200 to spare plus getting someone that will send to Australia is a pain in the butt.
Can anyone suggest a retailer for the New Model Vaquero?
David
 

Silent Sam

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
728
The black grips are like the rest of the gun, a "replica" of the original. On some special models Ruger uses different/nicer grips. I remember when new Camaros did come with steel wheels . :shock:

I changed all mine out. I think Holly and Buffalo Horn are two top choices depending on whether you want light or dark grips. The buffalo is a bit slicker than wood. You can have them made from almost anything hard enough and that can be worked. I have mine made so I don't know any off the shelf source.
 

BlkHawk73

Hunter
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I use Klamath River Woodworks for most of my grips. Not sure about international shipping but worth a try.
 

Driftwood Johnson

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I have seen many photos on here with nice wooden grips and faux ivory that look so nice so why put black rubber grips on a stainless gun like this?

Howdy

Because they are cheap to make! Despite what the advertising says, the grips are not 'black rubber'. They are black injection molded plastic. If you turn them over you can see the raised bosses where they are ejected from the mold. Once the investment in a mold has been amortized, it is very cheap to pump out zillions of injection molded plastic grips.

As has been said, along with being cheap, it is simply a nod to history. Way back when the Single Action Army was first introduced in 1873, they were available with either walnut or real black rubber grips. The rubber available at the time was known as Gutta Percha. It had many industrial uses at the time, including electrical insulation, and was what early golf balls were made of. Gutta Percha has mostly been replaced by synthetic rubbers today. WWII sparked the development of synthetic rubber when it became difficult to obtain Gutta Percha.
 

gak

Buckeye
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Someone else beat me to the Ruger site reference for replacment wood grips--give 'em a try. (For 50th .357 and .44 Sp folks, you'll want to look at the various New Vaquero-referenced ones, wood and faux ivory, same frame). I'm one of the apparent few that actually like the "black rubber grips." As the one gent alluded to, about 75%--if not more--of all Colt SAA production from 1873 to present day has been the "black rubber grip" as stock equipment, and the two became synonymous. Ruger (originally in the 50s and now) was capitalizing on that history/connection--and cheaply as has also been said. Like cheap factory wheels on a new 4x4, they also know that a good percentage of owners are going to want to swap out to fancy wheels of their liking from the get-go anyway, so why bite into costs by doing it themselves with what *they* think individual folk will like? Factory wheels are nicer nowadays and fewer people are bothering the extra cost/hassle on their own, but you get the idea.



Btw, for those that don't mind the look, but don't cater to the feel--or just want to buy time tolerating them 'til your replacements come in, the Ruger "black rubbers" can be made to feel less plasticky/ more "rubber" (i.e., less cheap) with a few rigorous minutes of 000 wool over the sink. Take the grips off or do it on the gun. You'll want to mask off the already smooth border lines anyway, so I just do it on the gun (in the process, masking off metal as well of course). This takes the harsh points off the "checkering," but--depending on how far you go--still leaves them "new" looking but without the new plastic sheen. Have also done this on the USFA which suffers (but less) from the harsh sharpplasticitis. Take as much--up to "antiquing" them (00 as well maybe)--or little off as your objective is. In any event, you'll be surprised how much "rubber" dust comes off with just a few minutes...and they do look and feel a bit more "quality."
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
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Rugers early revolvers had "black" grips, as well. Here's a '55 Vintage .357 along with it's direct descendant, a 50th Anniv. .357.

89556884.jpg


And, I agree with your assessment.....and will always install a better looking and feeling grip!

flatgate
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
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Feb 22, 2007
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So. Florida
flatgate":ji3tcmed said:
Rugers early revolvers had "black" grips, as well. Here's a '55 Vintage .357 along with it's direct descendant, a 50th Anniv. .357.
flatgate

WOW, great pic. Sometimes you can't improve on perfection. How many 1955 can openers are still in production??

...Jimbo
 

mulder

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
9
Thanks for all the information. I appreciate it and tyhe history lesson was great. I enjoy learning about why things are the way they are.
Also I cannot understand why I have only the one or two posts to my name. I have posted before this topic but thanks for the Welcome.
Due to the law here I cannot pick my pistol up until my Permit to acquire arrives which I hope will be in two weeks. I didnt notice any Ruger emblems in the grips like the photos supplied (and very nice indeed) by flatgate. I hope I get it soon as I get my shoulder operated on in 3 weeks and Im out of shooting for about 3 months so the doctor said.
Heres to hoping and thanks again everyone for your input.
David
 

Silent Sam

Blackhawk
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Those medallions are "early" and "early style" that currently come on the 50th Anniversary models. Current production medallions have a silver eagle(different shape) on a black background with letters SR. There have been several variations over the years. I'm sure some collectors here know them all. I prefer the looks of the 50th Anniversary myself. If you have some made you can inlay anything you want and/or have them carved and cut to any shape you want. Do a search on "grips" and you'll get a few hours of reading.
 

gak

Buckeye
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Aridzona
Good luck on your surgery. The New Vaqueros come without any extra adornment of emblems, just their "embossed" oval Ruger logo in the upper quadrant per the Colt SAAs black rubber grips--where the emblems on the originals (OMs)and 50th and 44 Specials are.
PM me if you're wanting a set of the emblem-adorned ones. I've got a few.
 

mulder

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
9
Thankyou gak for your well wishes for my operation. That is very kind of you.
I like the medallions very much and would like a set with them but finding a decent pair for my budget is not that easy. I am looking seriously at a pair on the Ruger site but I have yet ot make a decision. I cannot justify $200 for a set from some other sites no matter what they are made of. That would be 25% of the cost of the gun and I cannot justify that.
Still looking.
David
 

mulder

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
9
Thankyou pvtschultz for tthe info. I received an email today from woodgrips.com. They do send to Australia. I will look at what pvtschultz has sent me before I make my mind up.
Cheers
David
 

KWYJIBO

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Utah
One thing no one mentioned, that I think came into play in addition to the nostalgia and cost: they went to black plastic grips as the only offering about the same time they started putting in the internal lock. I think they figured it would be easier for consumers to drill the keyhole in plastic grips than in rosewood. The locating mark is molded into the plastic but would require an extra production step on wood grips, and I would NEVER drill a hole in the wood because it would ruin the aesthetics. With the plastic, I might consider drilling the hole in case I ever wanted to use the lock. I think the hole would be less noticeable on black plastic.
 

gak

Buckeye
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KWYJIBO, I think I can buy the nostalgic/cheap (production) combo. Not so sure about the key hole. I know of no one--and certainly not me--that is further marring their grips--black plastic or otherwise--by drilling a keyhole to access the lock. Can't imagine, though I'm sure it's possible that someone is or that it was a product design consideration.
 

KWYJIBO

Blackhawk
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609
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You're right, gak. I'd be surpirsed if .1% of people (that's one in a thousand) who own internal-lock-equipped Rugers have drilled the grip panel.

But I still theorize that the ability to easily drill it was a consideration in Ruger's discontinuing the rosewood.

No one believes that Ruger is 100% in touch with their consumer base in opposition to the wishes of lawyers/accountants/gov. regulators. They pay attention to what buyers want, but they have to balance that against other considerations. Hence, they put a lock in their guns, but make it invisible/unobtrusive. This does not mean they didn't consider how to make the lock easy to use for those who may wish to.
 

gak

Buckeye
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Messages
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Location
Aridzona
KWYJIBO, you may be onto something there, and though very few actually use, if you're going to have a lock, it is a more elegant solution than others have chosen. I think I am noticing, however, that they're putting the rosewoods on the stainless .44s just introduced? Maybe just too many folks clamoring for nicer stock panels (stock stocks?) to ignore any longer.


LATER EDIT: correcting myself: It was the wood panels on the new .44 Bisley I was thinking of. Lipseys has yet to post a pic of the new plowhandle SS flattop, but lists the grips as still "black." While we're at it...
In addition to the mid-frame rosewoods available through the Ruger online store, I'd also like to see the "black" laminate (or black-silverwood as some panel-pushers have called them?) panels made available for the mid-frames (and large frame BH/V too), and not just the larger frame/square-trigger SBH, Bisley and Hunter models that they list. I've got a set of similar other-maker ones (maybe the now defunct Ajax?) on my large-frame Vaquero and they seem to go equally well with blued and stainless.
 

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