Prototype Grips

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Cirrhitidae
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Prototype Grips

Post by Cirrhitidae » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:23 am

I obtained these prototype grips from another collector at Tulsa. They are in perfect condition. As instructed, I asked Chad Hiddleson about them and here is what he had to say. There are a few omissions for privacy reasons regarding other collectors.

"The first of those were made about 1976 and those were believed to have been black, although several different colors could have come out at that time. One of the old guys at Ruger by the name of Jack Behn would help out at Ruger's display booths at NRA or S.H.O.T. and every once in a while he'd dig certain goodies out of his pocket and give to interested people who visited the booth. Turns out, Jack also had access to the mold and mold material to make those grips so whenever he needed some handouts he'd make more. I've had them in black, gold metal flake (in a yellowish type plastic) and a gray/white swirl. Don't quote me but I think they are also known in red with white swirl and white with red swirl."

I chose to leave that last sentence even with his disclaimer just for others future reference.

"There are a couple of collectors that have put different versions of these in their collections.
Black is the most common, followed by gold metal flake in my opinion. Then everything after that is super rare.
Chad"

This is really neat to me as I do have some other items from Mr. Behns collection. I sure would like to find those other colors now!
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d findley
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Re: Prototype Grips

Post by d findley » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:36 am

Jack Behn was the purchasing agent at Ruger. He could do just about anything (at Ruger) he wanted. He would order samples which he kept to sell to us Collectors. No one questioned Jack as to what he did. Powerful man!

Cirrhitidae
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Re: Prototype Grips

Post by Cirrhitidae » Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:28 pm

I received an email from John Dougan today also regarding these grips that I wanted to share. It seems that there are some slight irregularities to the story on these. As always, I appreciate everyone's input and in no way wish to start drama by posting them. I am only approaching this with a researcher, collector, and historian viewpoint and wish to share all relevant information with those interested. Personally, I'm fascinated by these things and appreciate everyone that assists me in my quest for knowledge.

Below is what John had to say with a few omissions for relevancy.

"I saw your prototype grip post on the ROCS forum this morning. I knew Jack Behn very well and we were longtime friends, Jack helped me a lot over the years and was an encyclopedia of information. He even took me with him one day to visit a half-dozen vendor shops around the Southport area where I learned first hand how parts are made. I spent time with him at his home a bunch of times. It was funny, the Ruger people would always know beforehand that I was coming for a visit and Jack made it pretty clear that I was to spend some time with him while I was there, he was entertaining for sure, I miss him a lot.

A couple of critiques; Jack did not have an injection mold or access to one to make more grips as needed. Jack told me himself that before they could mold the black grips, they had to clear the injection machine lines of the material being used to mold the previous products. These machines inject hot liquid material into a steel die that will cast maybe as many as 12 pieces at a time. They probably molded a couple dozen colored pairs of grips before the black material began to flow. Jack was there while they were molding the grips and instead of throwing the colored grips away, he took them with him. The black grips are not prototypes, they are samples and were shown to Mr. Ruger, he did not like checkering and rejected them, so "packrat Jack" took all of them home with him. The colored grips were not samples, they were trash and I'm sure Mr. Ruger had no knowledge of their existence. Jack had tons of samples of all kinds, I know because I sold it all for him back in 1995, a pickup load of stuff, most to a collector in Houston.

The colors I am aware of are gold metal flake, black and white/blue swirl. There may be others, I don't know. In those days Ruger revolver production was up and the wood grip vendor (Lett Manufacturing) could not keep up, so, they had the idea to supplement with the plastic grips."

I think that it is plausible that the lines were flushed more than once over the duration of their use and that some of the other known colors could have come from those PMCS type events later in the timeline of production. That is only speculation on my part but it would lend validity to all of the color variations known and both very informative accounts given so graciously by Chad and John.
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gunman42782
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Re: Prototype Grips

Post by gunman42782 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:54 pm

Interesting grips and story!
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Cirrhitidae
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Re: Prototype Grips

Post by Cirrhitidae » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:10 pm

Thanks, Gunman. I nerd out on this stuff.
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Re: Prototype Grips

Post by LIBERTY FOREVER » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:23 am

I have a pair of gold metal flake and I believe a pair of black but not certain on the black.
I bought them from John D a year or two ago but they are deeply boxed up at the time as I'm re-doing my basement/vault room. I will dig them out and photo when I can Chuck. The black ones I remember wanting a pair and not realizing they were a part of this process, I think Bill (FT44) or (Don F) sold a pair on ROCS and I was late to the "i'll take them". It could be I was waiting on one them or someone to pop another pair I cant recall, but I definitely have the yellow metallic sparkly ones. I will say they are a bit distasteful or even unpleasant looking and wouldn't put them on any Ruger I own. As for a collectors piece or one interested in memorabilia there +100.

lol. :roll: :P
Last edited by LIBERTY FOREVER on Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Cirrhitidae
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Re: Prototype Grips

Post by Cirrhitidae » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:58 pm

No rush Gene but I'm certainly interested in seeing them when you get around to it.
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Re: Prototype Grips

Post by LIBERTY FOREVER » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:23 am

Chuck, I believe I may have something different after researching. I know your familiar with the memorabilia list, I have the 1953 Gold Anodized XR3 grip frames Prototype sample that I purchased from John D in a lot of collectibles. I'm assuming this is completely different from what we are discussing in the cleansing process of the injection molding.

Does anyone have a copy of the Red or Green ones?

Memorabilia from the 1950's
1953 Plastic Single Six Frame Prototype sample of the alloy grip frame
1953 Red Anodized XR3 grip frames Prototype sample, 2 known
1953 Green Anodized XR3 grip frames Prototype sample. 1 known.
1953 Gold Anodized XR3 grip frames Prototype sample. 1 known.
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Re: Prototype Grips

Post by LIBERTY FOREVER » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:40 am

Chuck, after researching the inclusive by-year collective memorabilia sheet put together by many members from RCA/ROCS I came up with the following years of colored (prototype grips). I know your familiar with the memorabilia list, I have the Black Grips which are listed as 1976 only and the 1953/1976 Gold Anodized XR3 grip frames Prototype sample that I purchased from John D in a lot of collectibles.

Does anyone else have copies of these?

Memorabilia from the 1950's
1953 Plastic Single Six Frame Prototype sample of the alloy grip frame
1953 Red Anodized XR3 grip frames Prototype sample, 2 known
1953 Green Anodized XR3 grip frames Prototype sample. 1 known.
1953 Gold Anodized XR3 grip frames Prototype sample. 1 known.


1962 Gold anodized XR3-Red grip frames 6 or 7 produced
1962 Gold Anodized XRN-3RED grip frame


1976 Black plastic grips prototype
1976 Grips gray
1976 Grips gold
1976 Grips gray/white swirls Prototype. 4 known
1976 Grips gold/metal flake Prototype. 4 known.
1976 Grips black/gold flake Prototype. 1 known
1976 Grips red/white swirls Prototype. 1 known.
1976 Grips white/red swirls Prototype. 1 known.
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