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This raises a lot of questions. As I understand it there are six types of grips. Were all made by the same company? If so way did they change. Did some types not work out like come loose or break. Did the the material change. In looking at modern reproductions they had one thing in common they were all finely finished, smooth with nice polished look. It would be interesting to see a chemical analysis of the different types to see how they varied. It appears that Russia made them, along with East Germany and the Ukrane. Trying to figure what happened 70 years ago is impossible, especially when all the manufacturing facilities were blown apart. Too bad the Germans could not look into the future and see how much stock was put in a slab of plastic. Every thing we know is speculation, opinions and guesses. Any item made in quantity by different manufacturers is going to vary. It would be nice if a individual who looked at hundreds of grips both real and reproduce grip to write a book but that is not going to happen. I now two prominent dealers who when you show them a gun always say it has been reblued. They never vary you can show them a brand new factory gun that you just got from the distributor and they say reblue. Same with grips sometimes they are right sometimes wrong.
 

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Here are the so-called Russian grips, found on 1990s imports.

View attachment 677671
View attachment 677670
Yes those are one type and the ones most encountered but when those Lugers were imported back in the early to mid 1990s I went through hundreds of them and found 4 variations of grips on them: vertical grooved composition like the ones above, original German wooden checkered, original German black composition and poorly cast soviet black composition checkered similar or identical to the OP of this thread IMO cast from mold made from originals but lacking fine details and very slightly under sized. The vopo grips were and are a very different animal. There were probably some brown HK style grips also used on the soviet reworks but I don’t recall seeing them in the fairly small sample of maybe 200-250 I looked through l
 

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I am curious as to what is the process by which the repro Bakelite grips are made?(as opposed to plastic). Wouldn’t the molding process be much more expensive that the injection molding for plastics?
 

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The grips in post 21 are completely different. They definitely were NOT cast in the same mould.
Same mould as what? No I was not there when the Soviet copies were made, probably back in the 1950s, but the moulds they made and used were certainly an attempt to copy the German composition grip and I suspect German grips were used to make the form. Past that you have to consider that generally a lot of hand clean up is done on the mould which changes details and the depth and clarity of the checkering will suffer as the technology then and there was not what is common today or even by the 1960s in the most modern environments. I do not know for sure if the OP grips in this thread are in fact 70 year old soviet copies or not. I know reproduction black composition grips for Lugers have been made since the mid 1970s, I handled them then, and maybe they were made 10 years before that. I would also bet that at least 10 different firms have made them in the US and elsewhere over the last 50 years with some going through several generations of variations. It’s a lot to unwind.
 

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I am curious as to what is the process by which the repro Bakelite grips are made?(as opposed to plastic). Wouldn’t the molding process be much more expensive that the injection molding for plastics?
I’m not sure that the originals were actually made from Bakelite which is a very specific patented material. Almost every credible source on the subject states the material is not Bakelite but rather one of the many dozens resin materials that were being used at the time in which plastic in the modern definition was brand new and generally not very stable.
 

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I ordered a set for closer inspection.
 

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12 bucks. So I'm not expecting a lifetime warranty. :unsure:
 
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Here's a 2005 vintage post on this subject. The first post in the thread still has the photos of details available.


The original Bakelite resign grips were made by Ritzmann and used with Krieghoff and then Mauser pistols. The Mauser Parabellum book by Don Hallock and Joop van de Kant has a good chapter on the variations of these grips and their detailed characteristics.

Jason, I believe your grips are reproductions. I've seen similar mold work on reproduction grips for the early M1929 Swiss Lugers that have the delicate Canvesite (red) grips which are chipped and broken so often.
 
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Hello All,

I want to see if I can offer some clarification around "Bakelite" and how parts, like grips, are manufactured. I have a bit of experience in this area and will try to keep things basic, as I have been cringing with some of the comments I read...humor me please:

"Bakelite" was invented over 100 years ago and over time the name was applied to various forms of the "material" which is typically referred to as "resin" (don't necessarily think "liquid.") For our reference, it is actually in a powder form. Using the word "resin" often causes some confusion, because people tend to think of modern epoxies, coatings, etc. as "liquid resins." In reference to hand or long-gun grips, "Bakelite" typically refers to a "filled" (cellulose, wood flour, talc, etc.) form of the (powder) resin that under heat and pressure undergoes a chemical reaction to form a thermoset plastic. (I really should be saying "thermoset polymer" here, but "plastic" is acceptable, and I will continue to use it). The key point is that Bakelite is a plastic. It is in a category known as thermosets. That is, once they are formed (after having undergone a chemical reaction) they cannot be reformed. This is why people advise to use the "pin test" where you heat a pin and try to push it into the subject part. Thermosets are impervious, (most) thermoplastics are not. Thermosets have some great positive properties: dimensional stability, large part molding, heat and chemical resistance, electrical resistance, cost, available in colors, and limitations: brittle, transparency, intricate/complex designs, lack of consistency, recyclability.

Manufacturing with Thermosets: Our subject, grips, would be manufactured through a compression/injection molding process. A (likely) multi-cavity (enclosed) mold is created into which either 1.) the raw bakelite powder could be measured and manually dumped into each cavity (compression molding) or, 2.) given this is a high-volume need, calling for an automated process - the material would be delivered to the mold via an automated "injection" molding machine. I deliberately state these two methods to demonstrate why some people might think that "you pour a liquid resin into an open mold and it just hardens to the shape of the cavity" - No. This is not how it is done in this case of authentic grips. I dislike having to use the word "injection" in this description because most people automatically think of "high speed squirting of melted plastic" into a mold. With thermoset injection molding, the thermoset resin (powder) is heated and mixed with a "screw inside of a barrel" injection molding machine and injected into the mold, but, the key difference between this and the next discussion around thermoplastic injection molding, is that it is only heated enough to cause the resin to start to clump together to the consistency of a gooey cookie dough mix so that it can be more easily delivered to the mold. The real curing of the thermoset resin takes place in the mold under much higher heat and pressure, which activates the catalyst. The mold opens and the parts are ejected out of the mold quite hot to the touch, but cured and "set," permanently, then is finished to final appearance. You can easily see the evidence of at least two ejection pins on the reverse of the grips in the previous pictures.

Thermoplastics: I am not going to go in-depth here. These are the "plastics" modern society is familiar with today. They are all around us, there are many, many types of thermoplastics, each suited for specific applications/cost use cases. The biggest difference between thermosets and thermoplastics is that thermoplastics can melt after curing, thermosets cannot. Thus, most thermoplastics are recyclable, and, politics aside, they are generally cheaper to produce and are more environmentally "acceptable" than thermosets. As alluded to above, the process of making final parts is similar, in that there is a mold with cavity(-ies) representing the "negative" of the final part(s), and under high temperature and pressure, thermoplastics are melted in an injection molding machine and the resulting "melt" or liquified plastic is shot into the mold, where it cools to form the final part, which is then ejected from the mold for finishing.

The key difference between the two injection molding processes are:
  • Thermoset - lower temperature and pressure injection process, high temperature and pressure molding.
  • Thermoplastic - high temperature and pressure injection process (creating a "melt" or liquid), lower temperature molding.
The question was raised about "testing" the plastics to determine authenticity. I wish there was an easy, cheap and convenient way to do chemical analyses, as we'd put a lot of counterfeiters out of business in a variety of hobbies. Even the "pin test" can be fooled with modern thermoplastics. Until then, our best weapon is to use these type of forums and share examples, ideas and discussions...

Hope this provides some insight.


Regards,

KK
 

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The above is excellent. Thank you for taking the time to educate me.
Tim H.
 
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