Grashorn’s Gunworks American Elk Handgun Grips


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 26th, 2006

UPDATED February 23rd, 2011


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Five years after outfitting his square-butt S&W Model 63 22 Long Rifle "Kit Gun" with Grashorn American Elk grips, Jeff acquired a set of American Elk grips, complete with S&W medallions, for his round-butt Model 651 22 Magnum.






I love a good sixgun. Always have. I presently own several, and have owned many others. Every one of them that I have ever bought, borrowed, or traded for came with a good, serviceable set of grips on it. Some wore grips made of gorgeous walnut, some wore grips made of some other type of wood, and others came with either synthetic rubber or plastic grips, but each and every sixgun that I have ever used had something to hold on to while firing the thing.  However, more likely than not, I have always wanted to change the grips on my revolvers. Sometimes the reason was to get a better hold on the weapon, but more often it was to dress the gun up a bit. Sometimes, the new grips improved both the handling and aesthetics of the sidearm.

I like highly figured wood to dress up a handgun, but my favorite choice is always some type of antler or horn material, whether it be Sambar stag, buffalo horn, mammoth tusk, or more recently, American elk antler. It has become one of my favorite grip materials. Elk antler has a few things going for it that I really like. First of all, it is found in America. I like homegrown stuff, being a prideful American by birth. It just seems natural to me to put an American antler on an American handgun. I also like the lighter colors usually found on the elk antler as compared to the darker colors on Sambar. Nothing at all wrong with Sambar stag. It is excellent grip material, strong and beautiful, and I want to clarify that I dearly love a good set of Sambar stag grips, but they are getting harder to find, and I like a little variety in my handguns, grips included.

I sometimes hear it stated that elk antler is not durable enough for handgun grips. That is false. These things were made for fighting between a couple of 800 pound animals, and they do just fine for handgun grips. They must be properly cut, fit, and crafted, as any good natural material must be, but if properly done, they are as durable as any material, and more so than most.  American elk antler looks good on most any handgun; blued, nickel, case-hardened, or stainless. No matter the finish, the richness of the colors looks great to me on any sidearm. I have yet to figure a way to mount a set on a Glock, but on most any other handgun, American elk is a good choice. I also love the feel of a good set of elk grips. They are smooth, but not slick, and the bark area adds both character and texture to offer a secure hold in any weather.

I recently received from Patrick Grashorn a set of  American elk grip panels to fit one of my all-time favorite sixguns; the Smith & Wesson Model 63. The Model 63 is an all-stainless J-frame chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge, and the earlier ones had a square butt, as do both of my Sixty-threes. The compact little Kit Guns are ideal trail guns, and I carry one often while in the woods. When not carrying a Model 63, I sometimes carry the identical sixgun chambered for the .22 magnum cartridge; the Model 651. When packing a centerfire rifle, I want a rimfire handgun.  It adds a lot to the versatility of the armament. I never was one for wanting to carry a rifle and handgun chambered for the same cartridge.

Anyway, the stainless Kit Gun looks great with the American elk grips. The cream color of the smooth part, with the light brown color of the bark looks perfect to me on a stainless sixgun, lending a bit of character to the weapon. I like the look much better than even ivory on a stainless gun. While Patrick did not have my Model 63 to precisely fit the grips, the fit was near perfect. As can be seen in the pictures, the Grashorn elk grips fit much better than do the factory walnut grips on my other Model 63.

Grashorn Gunworks is a family owned operation, with Patrick and his wife Rose making custom grips from elk and moose antler to fit most any single action Ruger revolver, S&W double action revolvers in all frame sizes, both square and round butt, Magna or service style, and Colt I, E, and D short grip frame guns.  Colt Single Action Army revolvers and replicas require the gun for fitting, as they do tend to vary somewhat. Grashorn’s makes the grips to the customer’s specifications, from a slick ivory look to almost full-bark coverage, and anything in between. Before ever seeing any of Grashorn’s work, I had heard good things from many of their customers. They sell a quality product at a very fair price. I like mine about one-third to half bark, and the ones pictured here are just the way I like them. Enough bark to add color and give a secure hold, but not so much as to be too rough.  Grashorn’s also makes gun carts for Cowboy Action Shooters. Check out their website for more details and ordering information at:

If you have questions about a specific gun that you would like to dress up with a set of beautiful and practical grips, email Patrick at:

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Author's two S&W Model 63 .22 "Kit Guns".



Grashorn's American Elk grips add a touch of distinction to one of Jeff's favorite sixguns.



The fit of the grip panels was excellent, especially since Grashorn's did not have the gun in hand for fitting.



A look at the inside shows that the grip material used is nice and solid, with very little pith.