British Bulldogs


July 24, 2014, 07:36 PM
I'm developing a bit of an obsession with these things. Here's the two I currently have. The one with the plain cylinder is Belgian I believe. The one with the fluted cylinder is American made. I have lost my book on Bulldogs and just ordered another one so I should be able to get a little more info on that one when it comes. I remember reading about this particular variation. The odd thing about it is that it is a smoothbore but the crown is stamped so it looks like it has rifling. Very strange. It wouldn't hold full cock when I got it as the single action sear spring was broken. I made a new sear spring out of a piece of old pocket watch spring and now it functions as it should. These guns are just so cool.

If you have a British Bulldog post it here as well. ( ( ( ( (

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July 24, 2014, 07:50 PM
Those are cool. How old are they?

July 24, 2014, 07:52 PM
Interesting guns....

IIRC didn't George A. Custer have a Bulldog revolver when he met up with the Plains Indian Nations at the Little Bighorn?

July 24, 2014, 10:03 PM
They would be somewhere between the late 1870s and 1890s

July 25, 2014, 01:48 AM
"When Bulldogs ruled":

July 25, 2014, 08:17 AM
Interesting thread Johnny. And thanks Mack for that GunDigest download. A real good read. Thanks Guys.

July 25, 2014, 10:09 AM
mackg, thank you for posting that link! Very good and I have it saved. Its interesting to note that my American variation of the British Bulldog is the same style as the one shown in the 1884 Meacham catalog. I suspected it was probably an Iver Johnson. I will know more when my Bulldog book arrives.

July 25, 2014, 10:55 PM
You're welcome. GD had two recent pieces on Bulldogs, ...can't remember the other's year...

August 1, 2014, 12:56 PM
I only have one, but although it says ''British Bulldog'' on it , and it looks just like the upper one in JC's picture, I think it's Belgian, circa 1888. Partially this idea comes from a jeweler buddy looking at every mark on it through a jewelers loupe, and partially because I also own two Nagant revolvers. Comparing them, it's pretty obvious that the Bulldog is actually an antique Belgian Nagant revolver. it uses the same loading gate/lock up system, and the same cylinder pin and manual ejection. I believe it's pre gas seal, but the cylinder does seem to move forward to lock the gun a little tighter at the moment the trigger is pulled. If you compare them side to side, they pretty obviously share ancestory.

Jim K
August 1, 2014, 01:19 PM
The original British Bulldog revolvers were (surprise!) English. The Bulldog has long been a symbol of England, and the name for a stubby, powerful revolver seemed appropriate. They were later made in Belgium and the United States. Originally, they were made for the .442, later for the .450 and even .455. Many in the latter calibers brought into the U.S. were rechambered for .45 Colt where the cylinder length allowed.

Collecting Bulldogs can be fascinating and historical, if similar revolvers like the Webley RIC, are included. And the collection won't be small; Iver Johnson and other American makers produced both Bulldogs and more conventional revolvers, marked as "Bulldog", "British Bulldog", "American Bulldog", "Boston Bulldog". A complete collection would be impossible; even a truly representative collection would include dozens, if not hundreds, of guns.

American cartridge makers produced the .442 as the .44 Bulldog, and also marketed longer versions as the .44 Webley. The .455 was made as the .45 Webley.


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