British Bull Dog revolver
|British Bull Dog revolver|
Webley .450 "The British Bull Dog" model - 1870s
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Designer||Philip Webley & Son|
|Manufacturer||Webley and various manufacturers in Europe & USA|
The British Bull Dog was a popular type of solid-frame pocket revolver introduced by Philip Webley & Son of Birmingham, England in 1872 and subsequently copied by gunmakers in Continental Europe and the United States. It featured a 2.5-inch (64 mm) barrel and was chambered for five .44 Short Rimfire, .442 Webley, or .450 Adams cartridges. Webley produced smaller scaled .320 Revolver and .380 caliber versions later, but did not mark them with the British Bull Dog name.
Designed to be carried in a coat pocket, many have survived to the present day in good condition, having seen little actual use.
Numerous copies of this design were made in Belgium, Spain, France, and the USA during the late 19th century. American copies were manufactured by the firms of Forehand & Wadsworth, Iver Johnson, and Harrington & Richardson. Belgian and American versions were also produced in smaller calibers, but all large caliber American copies were chambered for the .44 Webley (.442 British) cartridge.
A .44 caliber Belgian-made British Bulldog revolver was used to assassinate US President James Garfield on July 2, 1881 by disgruntled lawyer Charles Guiteau, who was angry that Garfield had not appointed him to a Federal post. Guiteau reportedly wanted to purchase a British Bulldog revolver with ivory grips instead of wooden ones (as he believed they would look nicer when the gun was displayed in a museum) but decided not to spend the extra dollar that the ivory-gripped model would have cost. In all, he paid $10 for the revolver, a box of cartridges, and a penknife, before spending the next day familiarising himself with the revolver's operation and firing 10 practice shots with it into trees along the banks of the Potomac River. He eventually used the revolver to shoot Garfield a week or so later in the Sixth Street Railway Station in Washington, D.C. After Guiteau's trial, the revolver was placed in the Smithsonian Institution but some time later the revolver disappeared.
The large caliber British Bulldogs are now considered collector's pieces, since their ammunition is no longer commercially manufactured.
- Dowell, p. 68.
- Ficken, Homer R. "Webley’s ‘The British Bull Dog’ Revolver: Serial Numbering and Variations". Retrieved 2011-03-28.
- Kekkonen, P.T. "British Bulldog revolver". Gunwriters. Retrieved 2006-08-03.
- Elman, p. 166.
- Elman, p.171.
- Elman, Robert (1968). Fired in Anger: The Personal Handguns of American Heroes and Villains. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company.
- Barnes, Frank C. (1972). ".44 Bull Dog". In Amber, John T. Cartridges of the World. Northfield, IL: DBI Books. p. 170. ISBN 0-695-80326-3.
- Dowell, William Chipchase (1987). The Webley Story. Kirkland, WA: Commonwealth Heritage Foundation.
- Henrotin, Gerard (2013). Bulldog revolvers explained. Belgium: HLebooks.com.
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