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Thread: Just bought a S&W 581 w/wierd grips(pics)

  1. #1
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    Default Just bought a S&W 581 w/wierd grips(pics)



    I just bought this 581 on GB from one of my usual dealers (sorry if I outbid anyone here, I REALLY needed a 581!!) I guess $303 was enough to take it, I was in the field when the auction ended so I was thinking I would be outbid by some deep-pocketed S&W junkie, but got lucky I guess. I know once I receive it I'm gonna want a 681 too, and then probably a 4" 586 and 686 to go with the 6", man the addiction continues!! Never had so much fun being broke all the time though

    Looks solid from the pics, as a cop revolver fanatic this was on my short list of "must haves". Anyway, it looks like the grips have either been altered or came this way, the work looks well done and it's an obvious attempt to make a more efficient use of a speedloader, these look like they were the older extractor "dished" target grips, not the later speedloader cutout ones. It would have to mean that the whole grip was then refinished, to cover up the cut.

    No big deal, just curious if this was a wierd oddball factory S&W grip. I will probably put a set of Magnas and a T-Grip on this anyway, but you never know, the big clunky S&W targets might grow on me yet

  2. #2
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    Default

    Its a post-factory owner modification to ease speedloader use.

    It is a rather unusual method of increasing clearance, but everyone has different ideas for these things.

  3. #3
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    Agreed, it looks like something done after it left the factory. Nice looking example you have there.

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    Right, post factory. I've seen many variations on this theme, from cut outs like this one, to 'thinned' at the top, leaving just a very thin veneer of wood.
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    Default Thank you

    Thanks for the input and the comments on the gun!

    I bought this from a dealer who does police trade ins, so it's likely a "cop alteration" but it looks like they did a decent job, even refinishing the grip so there was no raw cut marks. I'll have to wait until I get the revolver to decide if I like the feel of the target grips on this one, or if I want to put a set of magnas on it. I put targets on my 4" 67-1 and I hated the "back heavy" feel, but the heavy lug on the 581 may make the big grips feel more natural plus make the relatively few magnums I'll shoot through it more manageable. I usually just shoot semi-hot .38's in my S&W .357's, the newer GP100's are for the all day magnum sessions. I know the 581-6 series can take lots of hot magnums but IMO I see no need to put undue stress on these neat guns that aren't made anymore, when Ruger cranks out new GP100's every day that will eat anything you want to feed them.

    Most of the "semi gun people" I showed the pic to were like "that's a wierd looking revolver" it takes a wheelgun fan to really know how cool these things are!

  6. #6

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    [QUOTE=stantheman86;1144851]Thanks for the input and the comments on the gun!
    I see no need to put undue stress on these neat guns that aren't made anymore, when Ruger cranks out new GP100's every day that will eat anything you want to feed them.

    FWIW, after 19 years of shooting exclusively .357 loads in a _lighter_ Model 19, the cylinder axis pin became peened and needed replacement. So its been my experience that the fragility of medium sized .357 S&Ws is exaggerated. But no one ever hurt a weapon by downloading for it.

    .

    Most of the "semi gun people" I showed the pic to were like "that's a wierd looking revolver" QUOTE]

    You need to start associating with a better class of people.

  7. #7
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    Default 581

    The people I showed the pic to are "wannabe gun people" who only think guns are cool because they play Call of Duty and if it doesn't have a 40 round mag and a red dot dight it's "wierd".......yeah, these are my "army friends" but I'm getting out soon and can again begin to associate with people who actually know what they're doing when it comes to actual shooting.

    I needed a 581 because S&W made the 586 design with fixed sights in an attempt to make the "ultimate police revolver" which it seems like it would be. I don't think it got the popularity because most cops didn't want to carry the big, heavy piece of steel that is a full-lugged .357 revolver! I know I sure as hell would love to carry one if I were a cop.

    I don't have this gun in hand yet and I already want a police trade in 4" 586 to go with it.

    Also, as a new founded fan of stainless revolvers a 681 is now on my "need" list! Yeah it never ends with me

  8. #8
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    The cut out does look a little wierd but whoever did it did a pretty nice job. Nice looking piece.
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    It wouldn't be difficult to find an unmodified pair of grips if you wanted to keep some handy just to return the revolver to factory original configuration. They have clearance for speed-loaders but perhaps not as much as the previous owner of your revolver desired. It's perfectly usable as is and it is interesting to see the manner in which the modification work was accomplished.

    The Model 581 is a really nice, practical handgun. I like fixed sights. These revolvers don't turn up as often as the Model 486. The L-Frame is the only Smith & Wesson I've never owed and I think I'd like a Model 581 or Model 681. I like blued revolvers best so think your new one looks keen.

  10. #10
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    I think these might be the factory version of that. They appear to be slightly different, but the same idea.

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    Default Probably keep 'em on

    Thanks for the comments, I'll probably keep them on there unless for some reason they are really jacked up on the fit or finish......

    Given the fact that it was a police duty gun and not a "safe queen" or just a piece a civilian kept around, the grips are an interesting practical modification, as in a cop wanted to make the grips work faster with speedloaders so he either had the work done or did it himself. Not every cop is a "gun guy" but I'm guessing this came from a cop who was, who apparently cared about making the gun work better for him.

    I know a lot of ex-cops and some of them could care less about the firearms they used except it was something that hung off their belt and they had to shoot it twice a year good enough to qualify. I also used to shoot a few pistol matches back when I lived in NJ, they were police only but I was able to get the range to let me shoot in them because I was a federal contract armed security guard........and the cops who shot in these matches were certainly gun people! Their scores blew mine out of the water, and I tried once to use my stock S&W 67-1 revolver against guys with Glocks, etc. and got blown away......hard to do a tactical type shoot for time, with a 6-shooter and speedloaders when the other guys have 18 rounds in their pistols.

    I like "form follows function" and especially in firearms used as service guns. I don't know where this 581 came from, but maybe it gave the cop who used it that much more confidence in his sidearm, that he had the beefy target grips for aiming and control and also the unhindered use of a speedloader. I'll take these grips any day on an older cop gun, rather than the pre-reqisite rubbers that are usually found on trade in revolvers.

  12. #12
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    "I'll take these grips any day on an older cop gun, rather than the pre-reqisite rubbers that are usually found on trade in revolvers."

    Amen to that!

  13. #13
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    Default Age of the revolver

    Unfortunately the age of the wood-gripped revolver is all but over, as new S&W's and Rugers now come with OEM Uncle Mikes and Hogue grips. Even Ruger stopped putting the awesome wood insert grips (the only rubber grip I actually like) on their revolvers. It saves them production costs to just contract out for a "fits all" grip rather than fitting each set to the frame of each revolver. I did have to buy a newer model S&W 64-7 with the putrid lock just to have a "new" example of a MIM part rubber grip S&W just to see what they were all about........I definitely prefer the vintage stuff.

    Now original S&W woods are going for $50+ on EBay and GB unless they are beat up, pretty sad. I have had to pay $30-50 to make a $200 revolver "right" again.

  14. #14
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    mainstay of NY state police for years

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by stantheman86 View Post
    Thanks for the comments, I'll probably keep them on there unless for some reason they are really jacked up on the fit or finish......

    Given the fact that it was a police duty gun and not a "safe queen" or just a piece a civilian kept around, the grips are an interesting practical modification, as in a cop wanted to make the grips work faster with speedloaders so he either had the work done or did it himself. Not every cop is a "gun guy" but I'm guessing this came from a cop who was, who apparently cared about making the gun work better for him.

    I know a lot of ex-cops and some of them could care less about the firearms they used except it was something that hung off their belt and they had to shoot it twice a year good enough to qualify. I also used to shoot a few pistol matches back when I lived in NJ, they were police only but I was able to get the range to let me shoot in them because I was a federal contract armed security guard........and the cops who shot in these matches were certainly gun people! Their scores blew mine out of the water, and I tried once to use my stock S&W 67-1 revolver against guys with Glocks, etc. and got blown away......hard to do a tactical type shoot for time, with a 6-shooter and speedloaders when the other guys have 18 rounds in their pistols.

    I like "form follows function" and especially in firearms used as service guns. I don't know where this 581 came from, but maybe it gave the cop who used it that much more confidence in his sidearm, that he had the beefy target grips for aiming and control and also the unhindered use of a speedloader. I'll take these grips any day on an older cop gun, rather than the pre-reqisite rubbers that are usually found on trade in revolvers.
    Where did you shoot pistol matcehs in NJ?

  16. #16
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    Default CJRPC

    I used to shoot at Central Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club in Jackson.

    I worked armed security at Oyster Creek power plant so they let me and another guy I worked with "slide" for a couple of the LEO pistol matches.

    I also was good freinds with a guy on the board who shot in a lot of the plate matches so he let me know what was going on.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by stantheman86 View Post
    I used to shoot at Central Jersey Rifle and Pistol Club in Jackson.

    I worked armed security at Oyster Creek power plant so they let me and another guy I worked with "slide" for a couple of the LEO pistol matches.

    I also was good freinds with a guy on the board who shot in a lot of the plate matches so he let me know what was going on.
    Very cool, thanks I'm in North Jersey, Exxex county. I'd like to do IDPA one of these days

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    Default NJ

    I used to live in Toms River,in Ocean County, but I moved to PA about 4 years ago. The small rod and gun clubs around me don't offer any matches besides trap shooting though so I may have to drive a couple hours to shoot in some pistol matches, not a problem though.

    If you're not too far from Jackson it's a nice gun club, they have just about everything. Hi Power rifle matches, pistol matches, indoor and outdoor pistol ranges, probably one of the nicest trap ranges you could find at a semi-public range.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by stantheman86 View Post
    I used to live in Toms River,in Ocean County, but I moved to PA about 4 years ago. The small rod and gun clubs around me don't offer any matches besides trap shooting though so I may have to drive a couple hours to shoot in some pistol matches, not a problem though.

    If you're not too far from Jackson it's a nice gun club, they have just about everything. Hi Power rifle matches, pistol matches, indoor and outdoor pistol ranges, probably one of the nicest trap ranges you could find at a semi-public range.
    very cool. I appreciate it. There are a surprising number of Jersey or former Jersey shooters on this forum. I have gotten great advice about ranges. Thanks. Enjoy your 581!

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    Default Nice

    Very good Stan, I like it. You will find, when you get it, that the custom cut-out is not there to ease use of speedloader, IMHO...but instead , to ease ejection of spent cases when the operator gets too excited and pushes too hard on the plunger driving the empties against the grip and getting them bound up. S&W had the grips relieved to allow for loading with speed loaders, they just forgot about speed unloading. I have done thusly on many occasions and scratched up some nice grips, usually only one will hang,at the very spot yours has been relieved.

  21. #21
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    Default Good info

    I never thought of that at all, maybe the shooter used the revolver for "tactical matches" or some kind of timed shooting and liked to really slap the ejector to knock those empties out, and it was a "dual purpose" to ease both loading with speedloaders and unloading.

    Not for this reason, but I never use the big target grips on my straight "duty" revolvers, simply because I prefer the slim, minimal grip of the magnas, my absolute preference for re-gripping an ex-police revolver is the standard square or "PC" magna grip with either a Tyler T-Grip or the Pachmayr grip filler. The grip is perfect for me, I have square magnas and a T-Grip on my 6" Model 10-5 and there is no better grip out there that I prefer better, and it has the much added bonus of being "vintage correct" for the older Smiths. The T-Grip on my Ruger Speed Six made it feel and shoot like a whole different gun.

    I can't stand rubber grips on a blued gun, or an older stainless revolver, and also hate how the big target grips leave like 1" sticking out below my hand. I only use these grips on my Model 14 8 3/8" revolver.

    I have a feeling this 581 will be wearing square bottom magnas and a T-Grip soon after I get it from the dealer, unless for some reason these target grips work for me.

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    Default grips

    Yeah I hear you, do post a pic with new grips when you have time, again I think you got a real nice weapon!!!!

  23. #23
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    Default Sure will

    I'll post a pic of the revolver when it's "right" again, I'm pretty much out of spare Magna grips, so it's back to trying to avoid being sniped on EPay or GB again!

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