View Full Version : Positive ID on very old revolvers!

H2o Buffalo
02-13-2010, 7:40 PM
I received an early birthday present, My great great grandfather's pistols.The first pistol is a Harrington and Richardson five shot hammerless revolver It seems to be a .38 caliber. I am pretty certain that this would be a black powder cartridge...It was made in 1896...not a typo. :grin:

The second is an engraved five shot revolver labeled "New British Bulldog" It has really interesting hard rubber grips with a cute bulldog face on both sides. It seems to be .44 caliber but i am not sure. It too would be a black powder cartridge.

I have compared it to several other photos and drawings but could not positively identify the exact make and model and more importantly the caliber.

My goal is to get the right tooling and brass to load and fire these old boys once again. :grin:

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks and now the photos!

02-13-2010, 8:03 PM
The H&R is possibly a .38 S&W but, without having them in hand, it is really imposible to be sure.

02-13-2010, 8:21 PM
The Bulldog is probably in 44 Webley, ammo is amost impossable to get.Interested in Selling? Is the bore any good? It's 10-1 the H & R is in 38 S & W, that was a standard for those kind of pistols.Both are Antiques, even in CA.A Bulldog was used to kill President Garfield, by the way.Average price was probably $10 in 1890 or`so.

02-13-2010, 9:50 PM
I agree that the Bulldog is a Webley and Scott. I think the caliber to be .455 Webley. Both are breaktops and are not strong actions. .455 Webley ammo can still be obtained -- but I would not recommend shooting either revolver.

Just as an FYI -- even the .38 Special was originally a black powder cartridge... that's why it has a relatively large case volume.

H2o Buffalo
02-14-2010, 6:06 AM
Thanks for the replies. This Bulldog is not a top break style. It is very solid. Rifling is deep and looking great. I have done a little research on this. Many were made in Belgium as copies of the "British Bulldog" type I Don't think it is a Webley and Scott as there is no manufacture name. There are tiny makers marks that may help Id this pistol. A star with a letter q beneath it, and the letters E L G with a star surrounded by an oval both are located on the load side of the revolving chamber.
If I can find the correct model and maker Then I can be certain of the caliber. My goal is to re-load and fire this lil' piece of family history. And as soon as I safely can.

Great Great Grandpa was a shooter, and would approve.:)

02-14-2010, 8:48 AM
Looking at one of my books on Webley... full of information but poorly organized.

The British Bulldog was made in several large calibers... basically .44 and .45 -- and in both centerfire and rimfire.

I cannot match yours to any of the photo plates in the book. The flat side of the hammer doesn't appear.

The fluted cylinder puts it as a later model as early models did not have flutes.

There is an interesting paragraph that says the rimfire version was highly engraved and plated. So, check to see where your firing pin falls relative to the cartridge -- is it center or rim?

I can find no reference to the markings you mention.

H2o Buffalo
02-14-2010, 9:57 AM
I appreciate the replies and insight.

This is a centerfire pistol. Placement of the tapered firing pin is dead center of the chamber. The engraving was done post plating. I am going to take off the grips and look for more makers marks. I will post the results.

My local gunshop knows next to nothing about these old pistols. So I appreciate all info.

the quest continues..

H2o Buffalo

02-14-2010, 10:19 AM
This may give you some insight to your Bulldog. It's not an exact match.. does have a flat side hammer.


Seems ELG is a reference to Belgium.

02-14-2010, 10:47 AM
The 44 is not a Webley. They built large heavy top break revolvers. It is most likely Belgian built but could also be American. These guns were built specifically for the American market to give people an inexpensive alternative (like Taurus) to the Colts and Smith's of the day. You can manufacture any of the old revolver ammunition these days, or just buy it from Buffalo Arms in Sandpoint Idaho. They have everything in stock. There has been a lot of interest in reloading with black powder the last years and they also have books on it. The metal work on these old guns looked good superficially but was not tempered well and when you find them they are usually shot loose. They would not be a gun to shoot a lot today either. The Herring ton has better metal and many shoot well. I have 2 of them in 22 and one in 32 that my great grandmother carried. Your photos are fine, search around the antique gun sites on line. There will be plenty of information about them there.

H2o Buffalo
02-14-2010, 11:23 AM
Thanks for the update,

This revolver looks and feels great, I will eventually shoot it, perhaps with my kevlar gloves and lexan face shield. I just have to try it out. If I can shoot my brass framed black powder replicas then surely a steel frames production pistol with a lighter load and soft lead cast bullets would be fine.

Keep the history coming gents


H2o Buffalo

02-14-2010, 11:40 AM
As long as the cylinder registers (times) properly with the barrel (a common problem with these old girls) it should be safe to shoot occasionally with original loads. Get out your calipers and see what caliber it is. If you measure the rim width, thickness case diameter and length in the cylinder you will be able to figure out what the actual cartridge it is made for. If the cylinder does not time, it will shave lead out the side. Another resource might be Track of the Wolf, They have a lot of Black powder stuff.

H2o Buffalo
02-14-2010, 2:07 PM
Thanks again Argonaut,

I am going to another gunsmith tomorrow to mic it out!

Timing appears to be on the nose.

I was guessing toward the Belgium side for manufacture as they did not really put Company names on their pistols but still made proof marks.

I'll post the results.

H2o Buffalo

02-14-2010, 6:49 PM
The ELG is a belgian proofmark used before 1893, most of the Bulldogs were not imported after 1900 or so due to domestic production being cheaper and better-alas the good old days are gone forever, good luck I doubt it's .455, maybe .450 adams or 442 Webley.The .442 was first used in Webley RIC Revolvers-General Custer took a pair to the little Big Horn and they've been missing ever since.

H2o Buffalo
02-14-2010, 9:16 PM
Wow, thanks singleshotman,

Older than I originally thought with the ELG proof.

I really want to know more about this bulldog in particular as I have lots of info on the H and R .38.

Ever seen any others with the bulldog figure on the grips?

H2o Buffalo

02-16-2010, 3:09 AM
The Bulldog is a Belgian made copy of the RIC Webley. The shorter barrelled one's were known as a "bulldog".

Nothing wrong with them when they were made and for what they were made for. Many years ago I heard of a "bulldog" described as a gun that "fires a hefty slug and brooks no arguement". Designed for close in personal protection.