Gutta Percha

by
posted on March 13, 2012
wiley-clapp.jpg

Remember back in the 1970s when Smith & Wesson offered a series of beautiful die-struck belt buckles? A full collection of these handsome artifacts from a never-to-return era would be worth a lot more than what a 70s-era collector paid for them. Sadly, mine does not include every buckle in the series. It does, however, include the famed “gun box” buckle. This variation was a metal rendering of the top of the boxes found in the first few years of the Smith & Wesson partnership. The top of those boxes portrayed the tip-up revolver contained in the box. The original boxes are of course quite valuable, but the belt buckle is also collectible. Original boxes were made from a material known as gutta percha, a form of sap from a particular tree.

The tree grows on the Malay Peninsula and some of the East Indies. Collected by harvesters, the substance has been used commercially for a variety of applications. It was essential to the sealing of underwater cables that established telegraph and telephone service between continents, was used for inert containers to hold various kinds of chemicals and was once the basis for the fillers that took up the space in a root canal in dentistry. To say the least, this was a very flexible material.

For gun folks who admire the old shooters, gutta percha is best known as a material for handgun grips.

Sometimes used interchangeably with “hard rubber,” gutta percha is actually a little different. It molds well and produces a marbled swirling black intermingled with veins of reddish-brown. It is very exotic and old fashioned—a part of firearms history.

Latest

Kel-Tec Weapons
Kel-Tec Weapons

Firearm Companies Support Ukraine With Donations

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a number of firearm, ammunition and accessory companies stepped up to support the embattled nation, sending donations of guns, ammunition, optics and cash.

Sniping In Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen a proliferation of snipers—equipped with a variety of rifles—on both sides. Here, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject of military sniping takes a look at the combatants, along with their arms and ammunition.

Preview: KORE Essentials Garrison G1

The Garrison G1 is a 1¾"-wide tactical gun belt rated to support up to a 10-lb. load.

Silencer Central Holds New HQ Grand Opening

Silencer Central held a grand opening of its new headquarters building in Sioux Falls, S.D., on June 28.

The Armed Citizen® July 4, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

2022 Accessory Of The Year: Mantis Blackbeard

American Rifleman is pleased to announce the 2022 Accessory Of The Year Award goes to Mantis.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.