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British Lion

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Michael Tinker Pearce, May 13, 2018.

  1. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    I have obtained a British Lion 'bulldog' style revolver chambered in .450 Adams. There is no serial number or manufacturer's mark on the gun, but both the frame and cylinder are marked '45' and there are Birmingham proof marks on the barrel, frame and each chamber on the cylinder. The 'British Lion' name and apparent british production indicate that the gun was likely made after 1878, when Webley trademarked the name 'British Bulldog.'

    The gun is original and in excellent order. It is a robust, high quality firearm. I have seen one other 'British Lion' for sale at auction that was in .44 caliber and was marked with the patent for the joint-Stanton patent for it's rebounding hammer. Mine does not have a rebounding hammer.

    I have been able to find out very little about this or other 'British Lion' revolvers, except that they are viewed as a near-equal to Webleys, and I found a literary reference to one from around 1900.

    If anyone knows anything about who manufactured these revolvers, when and where etc. I'd love to learn more.
    KqcdkD5.jpg byKDIzs.jpg i5R7BGd.jpg 1A7P31U.jpg T3QDcfc.png This appears to be the mark stamped in various places on the gun. It is from the Birmingham Proof House and was in use from 1813-1904, so it's no real help in dating the piece...
     
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  2. entropy

    entropy Member

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  3. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    [QUOTE="entropy, post: 10834547, member: 9189"

    It appears to be the same externally, different caliber, but yours is probabaly a Stanton, too.[/QUOTE]

    Interesting- Stanton is actually the inventor of the rebounding hammer mechanism for the gun- he was apparently a firearms engineer that patented mechanisms for revolver, hammer-guns etc.
     
  4. Odd Job

    Odd Job Moderator Staff Member

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    If you don't find the info elsewhere, you can try the Leeds Armouries. They have one of the largest historic collections of firearms anywhere.
    They have helped me identify unusual firearms in the past.

    https://royalarmouries.org
     
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  5. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    Stanton was a shotgun lockmaker and there is no information I can find that he ever designed a DA revolver mechanism. Furthermore, both revolvers appear to have the same non-rebounding, to say Webley style, DA mechanism. I suspect, but only suspect, that Michael's revolver might be a Belgian import - imported as parts and only assembled in the UK thus the absence of Belgian proofmarks. British trade law allowed such imports to be labeled as to be made in England.

    P.S. I imagine that little revolver with bright polished bluing and restored grips with shellac finish on them. What say you, Michael?
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
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  6. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    Here's what I found after an absurd amount of late-night searching- the 'JOINT PATENT / STANTON & Co' appears on a number of guns and indicates (so I am told) that the manufacturer licensed the rebounding-hammer mechanism, not necessarily the entire lock. The mark appears in this form on longarms as well as the revolver linked above and some Webley-Pryse and Francotte Pryse revolvers. The mechanism was copied in the US by Forehand & Wadsworth on their 'British Bulldog' models. As to Belgian parts who knows? It is rumored that even Webley occasionally outsourced parts to meet contract obligations, and many a fine 'English' double has barrels born abroad- usually in Belgium. Hopefully more information will come to light.

    As to refinishing this gun- I think not. It doesn't feel right; usually when I re-work, refinish or customize an antique it's because it's far-gone and has lost it's collector value. This gun functions very well and wears it's history honestly, so for now it stays as-is. My Forehand & Wadsworth might be a different story...
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
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  7. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    Well, I guess you are correct about Stanton. There seems to be even a Webley revolver with rebounding hammer via the mainspring, marked "JOINT PATENTS STANTON & Co" - the Webley-Pryse... I'm sorry I can't be of any help - even checking Zhuk's catalogue found nothing. The only revolver closely resembling yours was a Belgian made "British Bulldog" without any mentioning of the manufacturer.

    P.S. Don't you find it strange that the gun is bearing only a Birmingham view mark, but not a definitive proof one?
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
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  8. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    Yes, that is odd. I just don't know enough about proofing revolvers or the meaning of the marks to know how odd.
     
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