Belgium Bulldog from France

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by GuildGun6, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. GuildGun6

    GuildGun6 New Member

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    I am looking for learned information in regards to a revolver which my father in law, who was in the Navy (CBs) brought back from LaHarve, France in WWII around 1945. This revolver is a 6 shot, and it appears to be a smaller caliber than a .32. I have identified it to be a Bulldog, and has a Belgium proof mark "Rifled Arms Definitive Proof" on frame along with a Star w/larger C beneath.The cylinder release has a large "43" stamped on it
    The cylinder has an oval with a crown on top with ELG and a star on the bottom all within the oval which the Gun BB describes as a "Definitive Proofing"; it also has two "C" with stars on top on the cylinder.There is also a "4" stamped on the cylinder.
    I believe this to be Belgium, made between 1925-46.
    I am looking for some history of the gun and the caliber. Possibly the Manufacturer and the year. I am not looking to sell this gun, as it will have sentimental value for my grand children someday, but would love to have some history on it for them. Any help will be greatly appreciated, I have taken numerous photos and can email more if necessary.

    Attached Files:

  2. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    I suspect it dates earlier than you list. The crown was added to the Liege ELG proofmark in 1893, and a great many such anonymous "Bulldog" revolvers were made in Belgium until curtailed by WW-1 in 1914.

    Caliber is probably .320 European, aka .32 Short Colt in USA, which is very similar but slightly smaller in diameter than the more common .32 S&W.
  3. GuildGun6

    GuildGun6 New Member

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    In the BB it shows the proof which is the R with a crown over it. My crown is wider and larger than the one in BB in comparison with the R.
  4. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    BB = Blue Book, or? I wouldn't consider size of the crown significant.

    At any rate, the crown over R was a black powder and semi-smokeless proof, and that also dates the gun earlier.

    Many older foreign guns of all types were "liberated" by American GIs.
  5. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The actual proof/acceptance marks on guns will often not conform exactly to those shown in the drawings (as opposed to photos) in books. The most obvious reason is that the books often show a "generic" or idealized mark that was not duplicated when the actual stamps were made. Then in older times there were many stamps, even in the same proofhouse at the same time, that were supposed to be identical, but were hand made and not exactly alike. Stamps also broke and would be replaced, often with one far from identical to the broken one.

    Nor can we rule out counterfeits. While not common in Europe, fake proof marks and manufacturer's marks are normal in guns produced in the Middle East.

    In modern times, stamps are made from a master die, so there is more uniformity.

    Jim
  6. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Active Member

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    I have one that is similar, circa 1890 or so. I think these guns were pretty much phased out by the early 1900s. It is a bulldog type, but I think to be branded a bulldog, it would have bulldog stamped on the top strap--and it may have at one time. It looks like the top strap may have been ground flat as I see no evidence of a rear sight to be used with the front sight. . If you Google "bulldog revolver" you will see quite a few very similar to yours.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The term "Bulldog" likely originated in England, where the British bulldog (the animal) was a symbol of England itself. It was natural that a short, stubby and very dangerous revolver would be called a British Bulldog or just Bulldog. The Liege makers, who would copy any gun if they could make a Franc by doing so, soon turned out "bulldogs", both marked as such and unmarked, while Bulldogs were also made in the U.S.

    The general characteristics of a Bulldog are double action with a solid frame; a separate trigger guard and non-folding trigger, a large center fire caliber, a short barrel, and a bird's head grip.

    Jim
  8. GuildGun6

    GuildGun6 New Member

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    According to what I have read about Philip Webley of Birmingham, England who introduced the Bulldog, he did made smaller scalled versions later, but did not mark them with the British Bulldog name.
  9. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Webley's smaller caliber "bull dogs" were scale models of the full size original, and never used the folding trigger design:

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