Oddball British Bulldog w/proofmark pics

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by Buffalochip, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Active Member

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    These pics compliment those in my earlier post "Oddball British Bulldog." The photos here show one of the proof marks on the cylinder and the letters ACIER on the barrel, the initial LA on the frame under the cylinder, and 450 also stamped on the cylinder.

    It does not look like it was cobbled together, as has been suggested. Although worn, all of the pieces are fitted nicely. It may very well me a "one off". Any help identifying the proof marks would be appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. 45Auto

    45Auto Active Member

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    Without more images, it looks like a revolver made of Belgian parts, circa 1880-1910, with British proof marks, might have been finished in England, who knows. Most Belgian revolvers of this era tended to be made in small batches by small shops. Interesting but not a big seller.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I didn't really say it looked "cobbled together" though that might be as good a description as any. I think it looks like what is sometimes called a "tool room" model, a gun put together by an inventor to demonstrate his idea. If he can convince a maker to produce the gun then the model becomes the guide for a production gun. If the gun is never produced, the model becomes a curiosity and a source of puzzlement to collectors.

    The proof marks in the flutes are the old Birmingham proof marks, pre-1904. Not a surprise, given the probable age of the gun. I see no Belgian proof marks, but maybe I haven't seen all the pictures. The maker may have been British and I think he had invented a new way to secure the latch at the time of firing by locking it down with the hammer, not a new idea, but the method is different from the usual. He decided to make up a revolver showing the concept, using an older frame and cylinder and a latch taken from another, possibly American, revolver.

    Since I know of no similar production gun, I can only conclude that the great idea went nowhere.

    Jim
  4. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    Correct me if i"m wrong but looks like on the barrel just ahead of the cylinder is the word acier. I believe this is French or Belgian for steel. Odd they would use the phrase British Bull Dog, I thought P. Webley & Son had a patent on that.
  5. jondar

    jondar New Member

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    Follow up. I just read the first posting down below and see this has been covered already. Sorry about that. Drat those multi postings!
  6. Blizzard

    Blizzard New Member

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    Hi Buffalochip. I'm new to this forum but your post inspired me to write. It may not be much help to your particular gun but the 2010 Gun Digest has an interesting article in it starting on page 58 titled "When Bulldogs Ruled" by George Layman. While it may not be full of the information you are looking for it does have a variety of pictures of different types of "British Bulldogs". British, American, and Belgian made. It seems everyone who wanted to use the name did so.

    I seem to recall that this name or similar plays on the name "British Bulldog" were used in the late 1800's and early 1900's on a variety of what we would now see as cheap small framed nickle plated pistols by H&R, Iver Johnson, etc.. usually in .22, .32, and .38 S&W calibers. But I'm sure this isn't news to anyone. Just my two cents, I guess. Good luck on your mystery.
  7. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    I knew I had read it somewhere, from the 2010 "Gun Digest " When Bulldogs Ruled, pg 60. -"new design" English British Bulldog and has a remarkable resemblance to the later Webley series of military break -open revolvers. No pictures but the info came from an 1884 Meacham catalog.:)
  8. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    What does that screw in the top strap do? If it holds a spring, that is one thing, but if it holds the top strap together, the gun is likely not intended to stand up to firing, which could indicate a model or prototype gun (the top strap would be made one piece in production).

    Jim
  9. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Don't know, but in Black Powder 38, there would be as much pressure as in the 44's. That is an awful small screw , isn't it.
  10. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Active Member

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    Jim,
    The top screw anchors a spring for the top-break latch. The top strap appears to be integral with the barrel.
    Thanks,
    Chip
  11. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The reason I asked is that the gun has an English look, but the latch is distinctly American. I thought it possible that someone had tried out an experimental "marriage" and the latch part was just screwed on to see if it would work. Enough speculation, though, as I really don't know any more about it than you do.

    Jim
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