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Here's an odd one for the history buffs

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by armoredman, Nov 7, 2013.

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  1. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    A gunsmith friend of mine has a hobby - he likes restoring the old Suicide Specials as a hobby, and mounting them in very awesome looking shadow boxes. One he is refurbishing is a British Bulldog, itty bitty little nickle plated thing that loads through a side gate, but can be SA/DA. He has an SA only hammer in it right now, made from scratch to replace the original.

    Here's the goofy thing - it's .34 caliber. Says 38SW, but the barrel slugs to .34. So he handmade .340 ammo from cast .355 9mm slugs, and it worked very well out today.

    Anyone heard of a .34 barrel?
     
  2. Tophernj

    Tophernj Member

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    I can't help you with the history of such a thing, however I'd LOVE to see a pic of it.

    C
     
  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Webley produced smaller versions of the Bulldog revolver in .320 and .380 but I'm not aware of any in .34 caliber.
     
  4. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    Hmm...I have slugged .38S&W groove diameters from .355" to .360", but never one at .340"...

    I have a PDF copy of an old Lyman manual (#44) that calls for bullets from .354" to .360" when loading .38S&W...
     
  5. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Member

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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  6. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I will ask him for some pics. What he does to bring the relics back to life is nothing short of amazing.
     
  7. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    What cases were used with the .34 bullets? I have heard of .34 caliber in percussion pistols but not in cartridge revolvers.

    Jim
     
  8. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    Who is the maker, the name British Bull Dog was used by three makers, Forehand and Wadsworth, Iver Johnson{ Johnson and Bye } and an unknown Belgium maker.
     
  9. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Possibly a better question would be how the .34 caliber measurement was obtained.

    Jim
     
  10. Ash

    Ash Member

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    What about 38 rimfire? Perhaps the pistol barrel was made on machinery used originally for that - most suicide special manufacturers also made such rimfire revolvers. A slow-moving soft-lead bullet might not have been that big a deal.
     
  11. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Definitely NOT rimfire - it's marked 38 SW. I think a barrel made with bad machinery. The barrel measurement was obtained by slugging it - he is a gunsmith.

    No idea of the maker, but I don't think it's a Forehand - he has another one that is a F&W being rebuilt. Here's some pics he took yesterday for everyone. First is with another one he rescued - that one was welded shut by a bar owner for display. Fully functional now, and will be used to create a shadowbox display.


    38SampWsuicidespecials004_zps30d0f197.jpg

    Bulldog by itself. The hammer he built himself from bar stock. That one is an SA only version, but he'll be making a SA/DA one shortly.

    38SampWsuicidespecials005_zpsed308b36.jpg

    Bulldog with slug sized for it.

    38SampWsuicidespecials006_zps5e7a48d4.jpg
     
  12. Ash

    Ash Member

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    I knew you could tell the difference in rounds, just wondering about the revolver. If it was originally a 38 Rim Fire design that was, through the life of production of the design, introduced in 38 S&W, then perhaps the diameter reflects that?
     
  13. Twmaster

    Twmaster Member

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    Now that's neat. Thanks for the pics AM.
     
  14. Ash

    Ash Member

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    That Bulldog isn't American and didn't come from Forehand, H&R, or others. This one is almost certainly Belgian. There were a bunch of European rounds close to the 38 in diameter, and Belgian revolvers of the day could be good or dismal with a very lackadaisical concern for precision.

    Here's an ammunition chart I stumbled across:

    http://www.lignod.com/ammo.htm
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  15. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    What do the throats slug?

    Is there a 'rim' at the beginning of the throats where a 'rimless' cartridge could headspace on the case mouth?

    9mm is damn close to your measurement (0.354331)

    Wondering if it was designed for an outdated version of an auto round...

    Just thinking out loud...
     
  16. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    I would use a micrometer to measure the slug, not calipers. A micrometer is more accurate.
    My buddy's dad had some sort of "British Bulldog" revolver chambered for .32 S&W or S&W Long.
    Don't remember. Only saw it once, in the mid 1980s.
     
  17. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    The caliper reads .400", which would be bigger than .38" not smaller. .38 S&W bullets usually run c. .360-370, not .400. Perhaps there is something wrong with his measurements.

    Jim
     
  18. Ash

    Ash Member

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    The dial is at .40, but the caliper looks to be at 3, so I can see the .340.
     
  19. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Please understand I did not take or pose the pictures. I am looking forward to taking some photos myself, though - I like that little oddball. The hammer he completely built himself from bar stock, so don't take the hammer design into account when estimating where it came from.;)
    Slamoneye, I have no idea, sorry. I'll see what I can find out.
     
  20. justashooter in pa

    justashooter in pa member

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    this gun was made for 320 revolver ammo. 320 is like a shorter version of 32 colt, with heel type bullets that have hollow base and are same diameter as the case OD (heel type). i have one with folding trigger that i bored out to accept 32 S&W short cases and shoot watered down reloads. the barrels on these belgian made palm/pocket guns vary wildly.
     
  21. Two Old Dogs

    Two Old Dogs Member

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    There is a .340 Revolver cartridge (8.5X21.5 mm English Kal.340)) that was listed in the Austrian G. Roth catalog circa 1913. References indicate that it was made in England and Austria as early as 1882 and loaded in Germany ands Austria in the late 1890's and early 1900's.

    The .340 Revolver C.F. was loaded with heel type bullets of 85 to 100 grains weight. The rimmed case was 0.66" long and loaded with black powder.

    Information from "Pistol and Revolver Cartridges, Volume II" by White, Munhall and Bearse
     
  22. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Hi, Ash. Correct. I have been using a digital caliper too long.

    Jim
     
  23. LAGS

    LAGS Member

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    Belgian British Bulldog

    Hello all.
    I am Armoredmans personel gunsmith who owns this revolver.
    It is a Belgian Made F&C that has a proof stamp of a circle around a E over LG
    It has two pistols crossed at the stamping F&C.
    The serial # is 20 and is a five shot.
    The chambers take a 38 S&W casing but the barrel is .340 groove diameter and the bore is .332.
    The front opening in the cylinder is only .350 so it doesnt fit the .358 bullets in the 38 S&W nor will the barrel.
    I have got this one firing, by crimping the neck down on 38 S&W casings and running .355 lead bullets thru a homemade .340 sizer.
    It is NOT a converted 38 rimfire as I have two 38 rimfire Prescott revolvers from 1872 in that caliber, and the chambers are different, and the firing pin hole in the frame is not modified.
    The revolver is not stamped 38sw he was going on what actually did chamber in the cylinder.
    I had to make the hammer from scratch seince the original one was missing, and am now working on a Hammer fly to make it double action.
    I am a Firearms Recycler , and like to restore old P.O.C.'s that gunsmiths say will never fire again.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  24. Ash

    Ash Member

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    I wouldn't think it was rechambered from rimfire to centerfire, only that the barrel could have been made on such machinery. Yet you have two pinfires in 38, what of their barrel dimensions?

    My guess is that this revolver either simply chambers some obscure round as mentioned or was just not made well - the Belgians put out a bunch of junk in the late 1800's, from shotguns to revolvers. I'd guess the former, perhaps even a round that is now lost to antiquity that the manufacturer was trying to advance with his own revolver.
     
  25. LAGS

    LAGS Member

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    @ Ash
    The Prescott .38 rimfires have a Bore Groove diameter of .360 .
    and the cylinder chamber is the same diameter as a .38 Spl .379.
    Just a tiny bit smaller than the .38 S&W.
    The barrel in the Bulldog looks to be Broach cut rifling and does look complete.
    But the front of the cylinder is only .350 diameter opening.
    I wouldnt think you would try to fire a .358 bullet thru the .350 opening and then have it go thru the forcing cone and sqeese down to .340 unless you were using a Hollow base soft lead bullet like the old Black Powder Mini Ball bullets.
    A few years back I bought a plastic tub with six disabled old guns in it at a gun show.
    The lady said they were disabled or missing parts and had been on the wall in her friends Bar.
    She said they had taken them to 5 gunsmiths, and they all said the same thing, the guns could not be repaired, and you cant find the parts.
    There was one Presscott revolver 38 RF , and Owl's Head 38S&W , a H&R Americal 38S&W, a Forehand Wadsworth .32, this Bulldog and a 44/40 Belgian
    I have got the Owls Head the American and the Bulldog firing.
    The Prescott I bought for parts to repair my other one, and this one will be converted to 22LR
    The belgan 44/40 is being converted to .38 Long Colt
     
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