'New' 44 Bulldog
The pistol on the bottom arrived in my mail on Friday. Of Belgium manufacture I can date it as being between 1877 (from the presence of a controller's star stamp) and 1892 (due to an ELG without a crown on the cylinder (and also the lack of an R stamp).
The top strap bears the stamp 'Western Bulldog' and there are no other observable marks. An interesting thing about this one is that unlike most Bulldogs it lacks the rebounding hammer and although it is of 3 screw pattern, there is no rebound lever. Instead internally it is a clone of the RIC second model and has a half cock notch. The hammer must be pulled back to the half cock position in order to rotate the cylinder for loading or unloading. Like the early Colts one is smartest to leave the chamber under the hammer empty since there is no rebound lever and the firing pin rests in the fully down position.
The functioning is good and the timing seems to be still in tune. The bore is has noticeable rifling and only a little light pitting inside.
I have learned the 44 Henry Flat molds from Old West Bullet Molds being heeled of .438 caliber (at the max) and having a decent meplat and weighing 200 grains seem to be perfect for the Bulldog 44 class. Several I cast today are in the picture along with a light plinking load I made from a .45 ball swaged down to .438 .
I am thinking this is an early Belgian Bulldog as all of the other Belgian Bulldogs I have seen incorporated the rebounding hammer of the Webley pattern, but here the maker was still turning out a pistol with the older RIC lockwork.
The number 3 has been found in two places on this gun. This is probably not a serial number but rather instead an assembly stamp to identify which part belongs to which pistol and is not recorded when the gun leaves the small shop where the pieces are being fit together and blued. This means a few weeks later another gun's parts can be given the same number because the first one has already gone off to a customer.
I will detail strip the pistol and clean it sometime later on Saturday and hopefully will test it out on Sunday,
It is also worth noting this particular bulldog has the large frame size even though I have others of the same caliber with the smaller frame sizes,