Grips
Fit & Shape Acclivity Finish  
 
    Part 1 - Fit & Shape  

All grips are one-piece, including ivory ones. They were custom shaped to each individual gun's backstrap during production. During production the brass straps were rough cast, then ground down, bent, and adjusted as needed to fit the walnut block of wood that was to become the grips. After final sanding and polishing, the backstrap, front strap, and grips fit together as a single unit. This makes it reasonably easy to spot replacement grips, as they rarely fit as closely to the backstrap as originals, As noted in the section on Serial Number Locations, they generally have the gun's serial number handwritten in black ink (pencil on ivory grips) along the backstrap channel.

Shapes vary throughout the range, particularly in thickness (as viewed from the back). Among the Baby Dragoons, early grips were relatively thick; getting slimmer as production progressed. Those with the thinnest top section, and usually also with high degrees of "acclivity" (see below) are described as "Slim Jim" grips. Side view of a "Slim Jim" grip is given under "Acclivity" below; the thickness is indicated in the right-hand example here:

   
   

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Part 2 - Acclivity

 
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Acclivity - a term used to describe the angle of the butt part of the grip (from the latin word 'acclivis' meaning "ascending slope"). In extreme cases it is an obvious difference. In more moderate examples it can best be seen by holding the butt flat on a horizontal surface, and looking at the angle of the barrel compared with that surface. Zero acclivity would have the barrel almost perfectly parallel to the surface, "great" acclivity would produce a significant downward angle.

Most examples of acclivity occur in the Baby Dragoons, particularly the rammerless ones. In those cases the acclivity is usually "small" to 'great", but rarely ever "reverse" . Reverse acclivity is seen occasionally on the later Pocket 49's - and commonly on Belgian manufactured or "Brevette" models.

Early Baby Dragons had zero acclivity; then a wide range of acclivities are found; until serial # 14152, when it generally returned to zero.

Great Medium Small Zero Reverse

This gun has "Great" acclivity.

It also of interest as a "Belly Gun". These have shortened barrels to make them more concealable - a feature reputed to be favoured by gamblers. The short barrel meant they were only accurate for about the distance across a card table!

It also has the "Slim Jim" style of grip described in "Fit & Shape" above.


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  Part 3- Finish  
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By far the majority of grips are varnished walnut, followed by burr, or select walnut, and ivory. The following table indicates the proportions of the most common finishes for each model. This is based on the guns viewed by Jordan & Watts while preparing their book. Note, however, that it is entirely possible that more variety does exist outside this sample group. Often, the fancier grips are associated with engraved guns.

Many of the fancier grips, though not all, are aftermarket enhancements. Further below are examples of some of the more elaborate grip finishes, largely taken from J&W's book.

 
Model
Grip Material
Walnut
Burr Walnut
Ivory
Other
Baby Dragoon without rammer
87%
10%
3%
-
Baby Dragoon with rammer
77%
23%
-
-
"Short Frame" Wells Fargo
100%
-
-
-
"Long Frame" Wells Fargo
95%
3%
2%
-
"2-Line New York"
76%
12%
<12%
<1%
"2-Line Hartford">
85%
<3%
12%
-
"1-Line New York"
95%
<2%
3%
<1%
"London"
83%
16%
-
1%

 

 
Fancy Grips
 
 
 
 
Checkered Walnut
Carved Ivory
Pearl
Tiffany
 
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Burr Walnut
Ivory
Checkered Ivory
Rosewood