Rebuilding an old Bulldog revolver

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      This video is only half done. Also the project is only half done, but I wanted you all to see where I am in this project and decided that since there is over a half hour of usable film already, why not share it? I hope some of you find this useful.

      I begin with a Bull Dog revolver of Belgian make in caliber .442 Webley made sometime between 1870 to 1892. Historically the manufacture of these in 44 caliber peaked sometime in the early 1880s and thereafter the bulk of these were thereafter in lesser calibers with fairly few being offered in .442 Webley after 1890. So hypothetically this one is probably from before the sales of the 44 version began to decline. The reason for the decline in sales and manufacture of the larger caliber becomes obvious once someone fires one. .442 Webley in a tiny pistol becomes a fairly stout cartridge in a small pistol like this. Recoil is sharp. So too are the edges of the gun’s loading gate and other areas. More than once after firing these things my hands or fingers are torn and bleed.


      No doubt in the 1870s consumers soon found this can discourage target practice. In the lesser calibers such as .380 Webley these guns are fairly mild to shoot. European society had few enough gun fights so that modern concepts like the stopping power of larger, more powerful cartridges were slow to percolate through society. Consequently from the 1880s on the bulk of sales were in the lesser calibers. None the less, .442 Webley is a potent cartridge and a fairly good choice in the 19th century for a last ditch close range self defense cartridge.

      In my tests from the revolver pictured above the gun hurls a 200 grain bullet at speeds just over 500 feet per second and at that speed at 20 feet the bullets just blast through 2 inches or more of pine wood. If your life is in danger, you fired this with the knowledge the recoil is a momentary discomfort, but the recipient of the bullet would probably receive discomfort of a more permanent nature.

      I begin this project with a Bulldog in poor exterior condition as shown below and with a broken trigger spring and a missing screw in the ejector housing.

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