P. Webley & Son British Bull Dog

posted on November 29, 2010
20101129141829-img_2203_2_f.jpg

Made by P. Webley & Son of London & Birmingham, England, the British Bull Dog, a scaled-down version of Webley’s Royal Irish Constabulary Model, was introduced in 1872 and made until 1914, when World War I put an end to a revolver already becoming obsolete. But during the 1870s and ’80s, it was one of the most popular double-actions in Europe and America.

It was squat and compact like a bulldog, and its 2½-inch barrel produced a loud “bark.” Moreover, its five shots were capable of inflicting a lethal “bite” at the close ranges dictated by a shallow-grooved top strap and small front sight blade. Chamberings included .44 Webley, .450 C.F., and .455 Webley.

With its bird’s head grip, large trigger guard, and prominent hammer spur, the British Bull Dog was an ergonomic revolver, although recoil from its big bore was stout. The Bull Dog’s popularity was enhanced by its compact size and affordable price, which ranged from $9 to $15, depending on chambering. Naturally, it was copied, primarily in England and Belgium, as well as by firms such as Iver Johnson, Harrington & Richardson, and Forehand & Wadsworth in America. Spurious stampings included American Bulldog, Western Bull Dog, California Bulldog, and my favorite, American British Bulldog. None of these have the value of guns made by Webley.

Finishes were blued or nickeled, and grips were checkered walnut, ivory or pearl. The cardboard boxes were usually discarded, some guns were engraved, and cased versions are scarce. There is no logical order to serial numbers, although three models were produced: No. 1 with a fluted cylinder; No. 2 with an unfluted cylinder; and No. 3 with an enlarged grip.

In his excellent book, “The British Bulldog Revolver” (Andrew Mowbray Publishers), George Layman mentions a Belgian copy of a .38 British Bulldog selling for $390 at auction in 2004 and authentic Webley versions selling for $175 to $1,800, depending on condition. According to Layman, No. 1 and No. 2 models are more desirable, and a No. 2 gun ranges from $400-$750.

The gun shown here is a nickeled No. 2 in 85 percent condition with ivory grips. As such, its value is $700 and destined to go up, given the increasing collectability of these guns.

Gun: P. Webley & Son British Bull Dog
Caliber: .44 Webley
Condition: 85 percent—NRA Excellent (Antique Firearms Condition)
Manufactured: 1880s (est.)
Value: $700

Latest

H&K P7
H&K P7

Heckler & Koch P7: H&K's 'Squeeze-Cocking' Pistol

First designed in 1976, Heckler & Koch's P7 gas-delayed blowback pistol stand out from most all other handguns with its unique squeeze-cocking mechanism.

M1903A4 Development: The U.S. Army’s Search for a Sniper Rifle

Despite the lessons learned during World War I, the U.S. Army lacked a purpose-built sniper rifle throughout the interwar period, even after efforts were made to develop one. The need became more apparent as World War II loomed, leading to the adoption of the M1903A4, with its developmental history explored here.

The Rock Island Arsenal Model of 1903

Although the names “Springfield” and “’03” are virtually synonymous, that gives short shrift to the other
government facility that made the venerable “U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, Model of 1903”—The Rock Island Arsenal.

NRA Gun of the Week: Hi-Point Firearms C9

On this week’s “Gun of the Week” video preview, American Rifleman staff examines a budget-friendly semi-automatic pistol from Hi-Point Firearms.

The Armed Citizen Sept. 24, 2021

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Building A Takedown Pistol In .308 Win.

With the large amount of components available for the AR-10 platform, along with a new trend of more compact AR pistols, constructing your own foldable, compact, takedown AR-10 pistol is possible.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.