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Why can’t Ruger make grips that fit? They used to, but I haven’t seen a Blackhawk or Single Six in years where the grips fit even remotely close to where they should be. I understand manufacturing tolerances and all that, but it looks like they don’t even try any more. I have a set of grips for a Blackhawk from an aftermarket custom maker (not custom fitted, BTW) that look like they grew on the pistol, and older models fit well, so I know it can be done, so why doesn’t Ruger do it?
 

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IMHO, you can have an affordable revolver, or you can have finely fitted grips but not both. Ruger doesn't make grips, they have always contracted it out. When two components are made separately, there's going to be imperfections. The grips must not just fit the gun they ship with but EVERY gun imaginable.

Uberti sands their grips to the grip frame of the gun they're made for. As does Colt. USFA's guns were so finely machined that the parts fit together perfectly. They were also $2000 guns. None of this doesn't jibes with Ruger's manufacturing methods or price point.

Bottom line, if you want grips that perfectly fit the grip frame of a $500 sixgun, they have to be made for that frame and that's at least a $200 custom proposition. Everybody's factory grips suck so for me, custom grips are mandatory, this is just the way it is.
 

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For one Ruger doesn't make their grip panels - never did, even back in the OM era. The old guns had panels made by Lett and nowadays it seems Altamont is the supplier.

Grip frames are fitted to main frames and finished from rough casting to final product by hand so there will always be variances between grip frames. Normally a grip maker would fit custom panels to a specific frame but Ruger has to do it the other way - finish a frame and grab a set of panels from stock, assemble and down the line it goes. No way they can fit the frames to a set of panels or vice versa.

This has been a common complaint for years. If you want a set of panels that really fit perfectly you have to get a set made by sending the maker your grip frame. Sometimes you get lucky and an original fit is pretty good or a set of generic aftermarkets fit well. Sometimes not. Plenty of threads about aftermarket panels not fitting all that great either. I've bought take off custom panels that were made for a specific gun and had perfect fit on that gun and I put them on mine and the fit was terrible. Again, it goes back to the hand fitting of the factory frame. Some of the factory panels look awful others look fine. The last new Ruger I bought late last year was a SBH and the fit of the factory panels is on par with my old models. It's a hit or miss proposition and the only solution under the present method of manufacturing is to spend a lot more time fitting grip frames to specific panels and that won't happen unless we want to see the price go up substantially for a new Ruger SA.

I have a half dozen old models and none of them have what I would consider great fitting panels. On one Blackhawk the panels are proud of the backstrap on another they don't meet the inside curve. The bottoms are close but not perfect meeting the edge. One has a pretty obvious gap where the top meets the main frame. They don't bother me, they're fine for what they are - a mass produced product put together on an assembly line.

Maybe one day things will be more standardized when the grip frames are all made by additive processes (3D printed) and each one is identical. Today's panels are already done on a CNC machine judging by the back side appearance so perhaps eventually the two will come together in a nearly perfect fit. Until then I think if you want a really nice grip panel fit you have to go custom.
 

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Guess I am one of the "lucky" people. The grips on my Single-Ten (one year old) fit absolutely perfectly. My hands are large, though, and I was torn when I made my own larger grips (top to bottom). Luckily I got them to fit ALMOST as good as the factory ones.
 

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Your one of the 'lucky' ones alright. I don't think I'd class 'any' of my Ruger stock grips as fit 'perfectly'. The only grips that fit 'perfectly' where the ones when I sent in the grip frame and the grips were made to fit. I even had a grip maker slightly over size the grips so I could sand down myself to get the 'perfect' fit.
 

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I've been buying Ruger single-action revolvers since the mid 60's and I didn't use to notice such poor fit of the grips. To me it has just gotten steadily worse, or I'm becoming more picky, not sure which.:eek:
 

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I'm becoming more picky,
I think that is part of it for me. I never cared as a young guy. Now I look at my first o' .357's grip panels from back when and see where they don't quite match up.... Best way to put it is: They are functional, just not perfect.
 

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As others have said Ruger's grip frames are hand finished once they are cast. It all depends on the guy finishing them. Maybe he's not feeling so well on a Monday morning.

I've had a lot of Ruger grip frames sent to me and I've seen all the differences in them. Below are some pictures. One is of how the bottoms (butt) corners are done. I've seen them come in with almost sharp corners and others with a large radius on them.

In the other picture you see two New XR3 steel grip frames. Notice the difference in how the grip pins are placed. This has a lot to do with how the grips fit. You see how the same stock Ruger grip fits both frames.

As others have said, face it you're not paying for a two thousand dollar gun. You're getting a gun built like a tank. If you want perfectly fitting grips, send your grip frame to a customer grip maker. I was in business for over ten years and 95% of my orders were people sending me their grip frames for a custom fit. Click on the Frames link for pictures of the pin placement.

Frames

 

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In general, I think you crushed it OP with the "...looks like they don't even try anymore."

I like my Rugers, but if I'm thinking of buying one now days I'm factoring in the idea that it may (in my experience WILL) have to go back for repair OR I'm gonna have to do some 'fitting' to get things the way they should be.

Pretty sad, I've spent a good chuck of change elsewhere because of their poor initial quality. But, have been very happy with my alternate purchases.
 

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In general, I think you crushed it OP with the "...looks like they don't even try anymore."

I like my Rugers, but if I'm thinking of buying one now days I'm factoring in the idea that it may (in my experience WILL) have to go back for repair OR I'm gonna have to do some 'fitting' to get things the way they should be.

Pretty sad, I've spent a good chuck of change elsewhere because of their poor initial quality. But, have been very happy with my alternate purchases.
You get what you pay for. Simple as that.
 

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Most of the grip frames that I have (or have handled recently) have sharp edges, and the factory grips weren’t blended to the grip frame at all. The panels are usually undersized. However, 20 min with some sandpaper can do wonders, depending on how the grips fit your frame. Some custom, aftermarket grips will be slightly oversized to allow for this fitting. I personally find the back strap to be the most crucial area for a seamless fit, as a proud edge from a grip panel can be painful under recoil. It’s just a matter of taking your time and checking the fit often when you sand. I’ll sometimes start with a 220 grit and then go to a 400 to finish (maybe 800 grit even).
 

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I have four Ruger SA's. Three use the XR3-Red grip, one uses the "new" XR3 grip without the notch - one with the factory lock. Both XR3-Red .22's, a Single-Six and a Wrangler, fit every grip I've tried with about 1/16" of the frame exposed. No exceptions. My other two, both Vaquero .44's, fit everything to the bottom of their frames. One is an XR3-Red, a .44 Mag standard. Any grip fits perfectly. The second - a .44 Spl Sheriffs, has the lock, and the XR3 without the notch fits fine. All four frames are the same size within millimeters. But the .22's are longer, and I have tried grips on the Vaqueros that were short, and didn't buy them.
 

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Two expressions fit here. "You get what you pay for" and "you're damned if you do and damned if you don't". If Ruger started doing their grips like Uberti and charged an extra $200 for the guns, for every person who complained about grip fit, there'd be 100 complaining about the price increase.
 

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Two expressions fit here. "You get what you pay for" and "you're damned if you do and damned if you don't". If Ruger started doing their grips like Uberti and charged an extra $200 for the guns, for every person who complained about grip fit, there'd be 100 complaining about the price increase.
You hit the nail right on the head there.
 

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I dunno, if I spend $500-$600 for a Blackhawk, I expect the grips to fit.
Then don't buy a Blackhawk, buy a Freedom Arms. I know what it takes to hand fit and finish a pair of grips and for what Ruger charges for a gun, they just can't do it.
 

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Or a double action with rubbers.

I have always looked at factory grips on revolvers as just something they put on them to get the guns out the door. Even if they fit the gun perfectly, odds are very good they won't fit your hand worth a crap. Fitment to the gun is only part of the reason why I put custom grips on all my sixguns. Fitment to my hand is the other.
 

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That last is true for me, with my large palm and stubby short fingers.

On both the S&W J-frames I have the factory rubber grips are much better than the factory wood grips as far as fit to my hand and comfort shooting are.

The factory wood grips on my Single Sixes (1968 & 1985) and the Blackhawk (1980) fit my hand well, and are great to shoot.

So are the wood grips on the Enfield No2 Mk1 (1938 production with the hammer spur still present).

The H&R 999 Sportsman has very thick grips that are not comfortable - I've held other 999s where the grips were thinner and much more comfortable - so I will have to set up the disk/belt sander and sand down the inside of both panels some.
 

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I have trouble with wood grips as they seem to slip in my clammy hands when shooting hotter loads. I have Hogue grips on my SP101, which work really well, but don't really want to put rubber grips on my beautiful stainless Blackhawk.

Any recommendations for nicer looking grips that won't slip?
 

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The grips on my bisley are ls grips. He sells them finished or unfinished. I had him make me a set in curly maple unfinished. They come all sanded bare wood. I stained and finished with tru oil. Even when the tru oil is completely dry, it has a tacky feel. Hope this helps.......Mike
 
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