Iver Johnson American Bulldog 1st Type?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by colt49, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. colt49

    colt49 New Member

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    I have seen a picture of an Iver Johnson American Bulldog that has the 1st model frame, rounded end cylinder pin, eagle rubber grips, 2 3/4" barrel in
    .442 calibre and stamped American Bulldog on the frame.

    What is odd is that the grips are all black not marbled with red and the barrel is octagonal as in the 2nd model.

    Has anyone got any ideas about this, is it a transitional model? About how many of the 1st types were made and what should I expect to pay for such a gun with about 60% nickel, good grips, shiny cylinder chambers and a good bore?

    Thanks for any information you can give me.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  2. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    the round barrel of the first model american bull dog revolvers are for all models except for the extra large frame 44 webley/44 bulldog models. all the short barrel of this caliber seem to be octagon while the longer barrels (4 1/2 and 6 inches) are part octagom and part round. also some late production models of the medium frame 32 will have octagon barrel. the trigger guard attachment and location of model name markings are a better incication of the different models. first model have name on top strap of frame and second model have name marked on barrel.

    all the first models will have the eagle grips (which there are two version of) while the extra large frame 44's and large frame 38's second models use the dog's head grips the medium frame 32 and small frame 22 most still used the eagle grips.

    i am not sure i under stand your comments on the grips as all the eagle and dog's head grips are black hard rubber. the exact production numbers of any of the american bulldogs will probably never be known. iver johnson numbered these early guns in batches with a new batch being started every year or so. it is my belief that the batch numbers went from 01 to 99,999 before starting over again at 01. this is based on known factory serial nembers (batch number) used on later models (model 1900 and safety automatic revolvers).

    chapter 2 of my iver johnson book covers the american bulldog revolver. the information on the american bull dog revolvers is hard to come by because they only appeared in iver johnson company catalogs after 1895 and were discontinued in 1899. the catalogs they did appear in were other companies mail order catalogs, like those put out by the J.P. Lovell Co. these mail order catalogs tended to list the products in inventory and sometimes it took several years after the introduction of any newer model before they appeared in these catalogs. also somtimes when new modesl were available they just never changed their illustrations to match the newer models. there are even some american bulldog large frame 38 caliber models that are marked "MODEL 1900".
    bill
  3. colt49

    colt49 New Member

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    Thank you so much for such a detailed reply. The comment on the eagle grip was prompted by the George Layman book on the British Bulldog. In there he states that the red and black hard rubber eagle grip was "a trade mark of the 1st Model Iver Johnson American Bulldog" this is what confused me. He also states that the 1st Model "is by far the rarest, as it was made for but a single year (1883-1884)".

    I wonder if these statements are correct. Is this 1st Model a rarity? I have seen one for sale for close to $1,000, is this a record in itself?
  4. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Bill, those I believe are earliest 2-1/2" extra large frame .44s also have round barrels, photo attached of one I presently own.

    And there are first models with red marbled eagle grips, as on gun #2 in attached old inventory photo of guns once owned, all .44 Webley caliber.

    #3 is identical to #2 except plain checkered grips without eagle.

    #4 and #5 are 2nd models IJs.

    #7 and #8 are H&R's American Double Action model.

    #9 is the scarce I. J. British Bulldog, that shares some parts with the first model ABD.

    #10 is a first model I.J. with variant marking British Bulldog and smooth rosewood grips.

    #11 is a Forehand & Wadsworth British Bull-Dog.

    Attached Files:

  5. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    HRF,
    thanks for the update on the round barrel 44 caliber models they must be very early i have not encountered any yet or have i seen any of the red eagle grips. i appreciate the pictures. i know you have been studing and collecting these revolver longer than i have.

    colt49
    i do have to take exception to Mr. Layman's dates. my research indicates the first model was manufactured 1882-1886 and were sold by some mail order companies several years after that. the iver johnson "American British Bulldog" as pictured in the 1884 E.C. Meacham catalog is the rare variant but it was maufactured at the same time as the first model american bulldog and most likely had a production run of over 100,000.

    i can think of only one iver johnson revolver that was only manufactured for one year only. the i.j. petite manufactured in 1910. even the 'uncle sam' percussion derringer was manufactured for three years and several hundred thousand were produced.

    in my opinion $1000 is at least twice what any Bull Dog revolver is worth.
    bill
  6. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Gun shown is the 4th round barrel .44 I've had, all 2-1/2" barrel and black eagle grips. I've had 3 with plain black grips with no eagle and they may be last made, as internal shafts of cylinder pins were slightly larger diameter then others.

    Thought this box label might be of interest: Worcester library said no record of such company so probably in name only, maybe to be sold with the ABD .44s. Cartridges had longer case and odd flat nosed bullet, shown with .44 rimfire short and .450 Webley rounds for comparison.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  7. colt49

    colt49 New Member

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    Many thanks to you both for all your help. These guns certainly offer a fascinating area for research. The $1,000 gun was in the UK. Here we are very limited in the guns we can collect; calibres deemed obsolete are our only chance. This restriction always tends to inflate prices, but double is a bit much. Interestingly, with a lot of searching, you can pick up early obsolete calibre Webleys at similar prices, so all is not lost.
  8. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    3 of the guns in my photos were advertised in 1884 catalog of E. C. Meacham, St. Louis:

    #844 is the round barrel first model .44 (large photo)

    #845 is #10 framed guns

    #102 is #9 framed guns (#101 .38 version shown)

    (Note also the .44 Webley cartridge pictured is same unusual variant shown my earlier post)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  9. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Hi hrf......a very big welcome to TFF. :)

    It's great having real experts like you and Bill Goforth here!!!

    I hope you'll stick around and help us out here on "Ask The Pros"......we need all the help we can get!!! :D
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