Help to identify this one please

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by cooch, Apr 7, 2010.

  1. cooch

    cooch New Member

    4
    0
    0
    Hiya Firearms talk,

    I hope you don't get annoyed by newbies posting requests such as this, but any assistance would be welcome.

    This has been in the family for a long time, and has just come to light after being lost for years. It was my Grandmothers or Grandfathers - unfortunately with my dad passing away last year there is no one left to tell its tale.

    thanks in anticipation...
     

    Attached Files:

    • gun2.jpg
      gun2.jpg
      File size:
      33.2 KB
      Views:
      594
  2. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,345
    224
    63
    Well, if'n I were a betting man, would betcha a beer that somewhere on that little revolver is an oval with the letters ELG. That is the proofmark from Liege, Belgium. Every revolver I have seen with that type of scalloped fluTe in the cylinder is Belgian.

    Obviously a folding trigger, similar to the Baby Hammerless. Have seen this type of revolver in .22 Velo Dog ( a center fire .22) and in .320 European Revolver (similar to .32 Short Colt, NOT .32 s&w)
     

  3. Jynx

    Jynx New Member

    230
    0
    0
    Haven't got a clue, but man I bet that little piece would have some great stories to tell

    Hope you're able to figure it out :)
     
  4. cooch

    cooch New Member

    4
    0
    0
    Thanks for your help. You are almost certainly correct.

    About half way down this page there is one extremely similar.

    Maybe a later model of the same revolver?
     
  5. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,345
    224
    63
    Run a google IMAGE search for "belgian folding trigger". Found a half dozen that look like yours.
     
  6. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,345
    224
    63
    Yep- I think you are both correct. Very good likelihood that is a Clement Baby Revolver- or a copy of the same- gunmakers in Belgium had a somewhat "incestuous" relationship between makers. I have a little .320 revolver that is a Belgian copy of a French copy of an Irish copy of an English Revolver.
     
  7. cooch

    cooch New Member

    4
    0
    0
    cool. Thanks c3Shooter. Appreciated.

    cooch
     
  8. superc

    superc Member

    782
    7
    18
    There is a site, littlegun.de or be or some such that specializes in information about the Belgian bulldogs and velo dogs. I am sure your gun is there somewhere. You don't indicate what caliber yours is and there is a broad spread of possibilities. Spain, France and Belgium were notorious in the late 19th and early 20th century for the many makers turning out illicit clones of guns by the big makers such as Webley, Colt, Browning, etc. Some of the little pistols were very good, many weren't. It was one of those deals where every family in a 40 mile circle has at least one member making bushels full of just one part (such as triggers or hammers), then they sold them to an assembly point and all of it was fitted together into a gun. If a piece wasn't just right for one design, it could be tried in a second design. Dozens of makers made thousands of them then shipped them off to a proof house for a test firing, then they sold them wherever they could. For this reason, incredible luck is involved in finding an exact match spare part if one in missing a part. As c3shooter states, an ELG proofmark on the rear cylinder face is a high probability. So too is a St. Etienne or a Spanish proof mark.

    These little guns were very popular world wide and as the writer of a book about the Bulldog clones notes probably much more common in the early days of the Wild West than was a Colt or a Schofield. A lot cheaper too, easier to conceal and available in double action which took the big boys another 20 years to offer. Both Colt and S&W sponsored ads and editorials against these guns alluding to a natural inferiority of quality going along with the much cheaper price. Regardless, these and the SA spur trigger guns captured the market and if not for US Govt. contracts in the same period to keep them going they would have probably put Colt and S&W totally out of business. By 1900 of course the coming of the semi-auto pistol changed the rules yet again.

    Often makers marks can be found on the frame under the grips. littleguns spends a lot of effort trying to identify each maker by their mark and manufacturing hallmarks. Many of them had patents of one sort or another. Unfortunately patent offices were usually in govt. buildings and WWI and WWII were hard on those. Still some records do survive.

    Fifty or sixty years ago these were the kind of guns (without ammo) that people gave their kids to play cops and robbers with if mom and dad couldn't afford cap pistols and many didn't survive. Thirty or forty years ago gun dealers here in the US were charging $5 - $30 apiece for them in fair to good condition and they were basically ignored because ammo for many of them hadn't been made since the early 20th century. Sometime in the 80s a company called Western Scrounger rocked the shooting world by reintroducing ammo for many of the defunct calibers and the little things became hot again. I think they start around $250 on Gunbroker, but I have seen them go for much higher depending on condition and their features. Quality, fit, finish, barrel length and reliability and accuracy of the little things vary wildly. They are fun to shoot (most are in blackpowder calibers as smokeless wasn't around yet), but we should remember their springs are about 120 years old and it is possibly a good idea to have spare springs on hand if attempting this.

    General rule of thumb, DA with a normal trigger mid to large caliber, call it a bulldog. Folding trigger (usually but not always in a small caliber), call it a Velo dog. Some odd balls (such as my own pictured below) can contain features of both.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
  9. cooch

    cooch New Member

    4
    0
    0
    Thanks superc, very informative.

    cooch
     
  10. superc

    superc Member

    782
    7
    18
    Happily. I like those little things, especially the better made specimens. Here's a view showing just how tiny someone's nasty 5 shot surprise could be in 1880 (or even today for that matter). :)



    Actual headstone in a Tombstone, AZ graveyard..
    "Here lies Lester Moore, four shots from a .44, no
    less, no more."
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010