column By: Mike Nesbitt | February, 21
Triple K Vintage Grips & Buttplates
These are made in the shape and style of the old hard rubber grips that Smith & Wesson (S&W) used to put on their New Model 3 revolvers. S&W actually had two colors for these rubber grips. Black was probably the most common, but they also had mottled red-colored rubber grips. I think the red grips (and forearms) were most often used on the Model 320 revolving rifles, making them look rather outstanding. Triple K has even more color options, far too many to list here, but they do include both a red and a deep red color plus a burnt orange “flavor.” The black grips are priced at $37.50 and selecting an optional color raises the price by $17.50. There is also an additional cost for the screw and escutcheon kit, which includes three screws of different lengths plus the two brass escutcheons for holding the grips to the gun. That screw kit is priced at $16.00.
Triple K makes these grips for the original S&W guns; however, they are not specifically made for the reproductions or copies of those guns which are being made today. In their lineup of S&W grips, they also have grips for the old top-break .44 double action models and those had a slightly smaller grip when compared to the single actions. If you plan to place an order for grips to go on the New Model 3 be sure to look for “SA” instead of “DA” in the description. The grips I bought were Triple K’s part number 3917G.
A bigger problem was that the indexing holes at the bottom of the grips on the inside were not in the right places for the indexing pin in the revolver’s grip frame. This is most likely a difference between the old Smith & Wesson revolvers and the modern replicas. The fix was simply to drill a new hole in both of the grips to receive that indexing pin, but drilling those holes was not simple. This can be tricky because the inside of the grips at that point is on a slant that will invite the drill to travel by sliding downhill. This problem is compounded by the fact that the face of the grip is rounded, so getting a properly located hole going straight down without letting the grip “teeter-totter” can be tough. Allen Cunniff had a good solution to that. He removed the indexing pin from the gun’s grip frame, then selected a drill that was just about the same size as the pin. Next, he positioned one of the grips to the gun where it should be and “anchored” both the gun and the single grip in a padded vice. Then, with a hand drill, he drilled through the gun’s grip frame and into the replacement grip. Once that was done, taking care to not drill through the grip, the same thing was done to the grip for the other side.
Attaching the grips was then completed with the installation of the escutcheons and the longest grip screw in the kit. Then it was time to admire the “new gun” look that the new grips made possible.
The fit of the grips is not perfect as they are quite small, but still not too small. Notice that in the photos where a sliver of the grip frame can be seen around the edge of the grips. To me, that’s okay and it can’t be felt while holding the revolver. Now my .44 revolver looks more like the real thing and I couldn’t be more pleased.
Of course, the replacement grips for this S&W-style revolver are just one of the many vintage pistol grips and rifle buttplates offered by Triple K. They offer a wide assortment and the best way to look at their offerings is to visit their web site: vintagegungrips.comBottom of Form.
Their contact information: Triple K Manufacturing Company, 2222 Commercial Street, San Diego, California, 92113. Phone: 619-232-2066 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mike Nesbitt
The Narrative of William H. Bonney
Easterbrook was a lifelong and dedicated student of the Old West, having previously published two works, Reflections of a Gunfighter and The Time Traveler in Old Colorado. Billy the Kid was a particular interest of his, and he exhaustively researched Billy’s life; especially that time that he was involved in the Lincoln County War. The Narrative of William H. Bonney was his final work and reflects his passion for the Old West in general and the Kid in particular.
Nelson is another serious student of the Old West as well, being an early member of the American Mountain Men, as he has a particular interest in the early Rocky Mountain fur trade. Russell gained editing experience from working on his college newspaper. While in college in Oklahoma, he was enrolled in graduate studies in history, which furthered his practical working knowledge of the frontier and the skills needed to survive in those perilous times. Nelson is a retired U.S. Army infantry officer, a life member of Disabled American Veterans and the NRA as well as the author of a Western novel entitled Pals.
The Narrative of William H. Bonney is an interesting and insightful read into the life of this colorful outlaw; I would place it in the “historical novel” category. It definitely challenges some long-held assumptions about the Kid, especially the generally accepted one that he was indeed killed by Pat Garrett. I’m not going to give a spoiler-alert and ruin your enjoyment of the book; let me just say that you will need to put on a pot of coffee when you sit down with this one. The cover alone is enough to pique an Old West buff’s interest, being a previously unpublished photo of the Kid and many of his companyeros. Purchase price of The Narrative of William H. Bonney is $28.00 plus $7.00 shipping and handling. Contact information: WHB Associates LLC, 450 Hwy. 1 West, Suite 149, Iowa City, IA 52246 or www.billythekidlivedon.com.
- James O. Easterbrook and Russell G. Nelson, Reviewed by Steve Garbe