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Old October 17, 2011, 06:26 AM   #1
Magnum Wheel Man
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44 Bulldog gun... OK... not 44 Bull Dog cartridge... what the heck caliber ???

you've seen my other thread no doubt...

I reciently bought what looks like an unfired American Bulldog revolver... the cylinder pin was stuck, & we finally got it out, but that's where the questions begin...

the cylinder is stepped, so it's not for a heal seated bullet like the 44 Bull Dog, ( I have an original 44 Bull Dog cartridge ) the cylinder throats & barrel slug .430", & the step in the cylinder is much longer than the Bull Dog cartridge... infact, about .010" shorter than the 44 Russian cartridge

any thoughts as to what caliber this might have been ???

the barrel cylinder gap is quite large, so unless I have my guy remove the barrel & mill the end enough to screw it in one more thread rotation, & correct the barrel cylinder gap, I'll just be shooting round balls... the head space is fine for using shortened 44 special cases... I'm going to have my buddy make me a custom expander die & a custom seater die for the cartridge, but will be building a case around the measurements of the chambers... the cartridge will be much longer than the original Bull Dog cartridge
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Old October 17, 2011, 10:52 AM   #2
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maybe this is a later gun, & they were going to make a Bull Dog without the heal seated bullet ???

the closest cartridge my buddy could find in his reference materials is the 10.4mm Montegrin #4, but the bullet diameter would have been like .425"... clearly smaller than the bore
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Old October 17, 2011, 04:27 PM   #3
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I thought the American Bull dog was an Iver Johnson in 38RF? My error, 32,38 and 44 centerfire.
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Old October 17, 2011, 05:34 PM   #4
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OK... fair enough... this one was next above the other thread for 1/2 of the day... the other thread had been at the top of the page for a week or so...I guess I expected a couple responses earlier...

heres a link... ( 3 topics below right now )

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=464793

Quote:
I have no idea what you're talking about and it's not like you're famous or something.
sheesh... tough croud
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Old October 18, 2011, 05:37 AM   #5
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Thanks OKIE... at least someone knows who I am...
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Old October 18, 2011, 11:11 AM   #6
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44 S&W American?

And don't you fret none, MWM. You's famous t'us.
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Old October 18, 2011, 12:14 PM   #7
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well... without checking the serial number... ( BTW... the gun is unfired ) I'm going to assume ... er maybe, that it's a later gun, & that they chambered it for an experimental 44 Bull Dog without the heal seated bullet, & they just never made a cartridge to fit the gun...

so I'm going to call it a "44 extra special" since the special is a shorter version of a longer cartridge ( or at least thats how it ended up )

we did run the barrel in one more turn, which gives me a .005" barrel cylinder gap, instead of a .033" gap as found... so I'll be loading my shortened 44 special cases with 160 grain cast lead bullets... velocities will still have to be tame, as it's definately a soft steel era gun...

I got a great deal on this gun in the 1st place, then to find it unfired, & in an easy to load unique chambering +++

thought I better attach a pic...

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Old October 18, 2011, 04:09 PM   #8
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I don't think it's 44 S&W American... the numbers don't match



my cylinder throats & bore slug .430"

also my buddy has several different 44 Bulldog cartridges, & only about 1/2 of them will go into the gun, so my chambers are tighter, & there may have been quite a varriance in the specs of the 44 Bulldog
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Old October 19, 2011, 05:04 AM   #9
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fit

MWM: Which cartridges fit?

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Old October 19, 2011, 09:31 AM   #10
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Long shot, but: .44 Webley?
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Old October 19, 2011, 10:51 AM   #11
32 Magnum
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I'm with Gyvel. That's an Iver Johnson and it was chambered for the .44 Webley cartridge - just like the H&R American Double Action extra large frame revolver. According to the late Bill Goforth's Iver Johnson research the IJ AMERICAN BULLDOG could handle either the .44 Webley or the .44 (American) Bulldog.
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Old October 19, 2011, 02:45 PM   #12
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Webley bullet at .444 ( acording to WIKI ) would not go through ( safely ) my .430" chamber throats, or my .430" barrel

my gun smith buddy slugged both a cylinder throat & the barrel... the barrel might actually even measure .429 at the tightest point...

I'd find it hard to believe they used .430" cylinder chamber throats & barrel on a heal seated bullet... they'd have to get squeezed down alot

here's another pic, with a mocked up cartridge ( bullet is actually the round ball that was slugged through the chamber throat, then inserted into one of the shortened 44 Special cases... it should be seated a few .001's" if loaded )

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Old October 19, 2011, 03:23 PM   #13
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Hmmm

The .44 American used a heeled bullet of .440" diameter according to Ken Howell in his "Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges".
The .44 Webley, also known as the .442 Webley or the .442 RIC or the .442 Revolver, used a bullet of .446" diameter, according to Howell, though I have seen references to diameters as small as .436".

Donnelly in his "Manual Of Cartridge Conversions" has the .44 American bullet at .434" and the head diameter as .440" - as it used a heeled bullet and a straight walled case, the bullet should be .440".
Donnelly has the .44 Webley bullet at .436" dia. and the .44 Bulldog (which has the same rim - .503"- and head - .455" - diameter as the slightly longer Webley) at .440". The only substantial difference otherwise is case length - .69" for the Webley, .57" for the Bulldog.
Cartridge data from William C. Dowell's "The Webley Story" refers to a .442 diameter for the first model British Bulldog (.450 for later models).

So...if the barrel slugs at .430" (is that land or groove diameter?) then you are closest to the Webley (maybe). What does the cylinder measure at it breech end? The difference between head diameters of the .44 American and the two Webleys is significant.
The .44 Evans Short (.419"), the .44 Henry (.423"), the .44 Russian, all have bullets smaller than .430. The Russian at .429" is the closest match.
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Old October 19, 2011, 03:55 PM   #14
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the Russian cartridges are about .010" longer than my chambers, but otherwise seem like they should have fit better than the Webleys or the 44 Bulldogs

... & BTW... the rifling is quite shallow, even though we are sure the gun at least appears unfired... & it has a very slow twist rate ( slower than typical .429" barrels )
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Old October 19, 2011, 06:06 PM   #15
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Perhaps foolish question on my part. Did you examine the firing pin position and shape to determine if it is rimfire or center fire?
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Old October 19, 2011, 06:10 PM   #16
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not a foolish question... but it is a centerfire
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Old October 19, 2011, 11:53 PM   #17
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bit of a long shot here, but could it be 44 magnum?
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Old October 20, 2011, 04:33 AM   #18
darkgael
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Groove

MWM:
Quote:
the rifling is quite shallow,
What is groove diameter? How many lands and grooves are there?
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Old October 20, 2011, 06:13 AM   #19
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Winchester... not magnum... chambers are about .010" shorter than 44 special...

Dark... I had the barrel slug & gun here at work yesterday... today it's at home... I'm leaving for vacation in a day or so, so I won't have time to do anything with this until I get back
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Old October 20, 2011, 10:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Winchester... not magnum... chambers are about .010" shorter than 44 special...
I was obviously kidding lol!

Its a cool gun even if you never find the caliber.

Since these guns were made for carry, with pretty weak cals for the most part IE 32 rimfire, etc, do you find that you enjoy shooting say a 6 in K frame 38 special more or do like the whole experience of shooting these old smaller pistols? Just wondering. Its hard to build skill with such little guns, and I like the thrill of like a 357 magnum or even a 38. I always wondered this MWM, so I figured I'd ask you. I have a lot of vintage revolvers too but shooting them just doesn't seem interesting to me compared to say a P38 or anything else.
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Old October 20, 2011, 12:27 PM   #21
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my revolvers range from 454 Casull Alaskan, 357 Maximum Dan Wesson... on down to my NAA Mini in 22 lr, & a H&R solid frame in 22 short, with lots of inbetween...

the big bores & the Magnums are definately fun to shoot... but I also find I enjoy shooting the small frame 32 S&W's... enough so, that I have almost 1000 cases for the 32 S&W... I find that Mrs. Magnum like shooting these lower power, lower noise guns, more than the magnums, so if I'm looking for her to join me on the range... we're shooting the antiques...

I try to find time for some long range revolver work... using like my custom fast twist 8 shot 22 Hornet revolver, or my S&W 610 now chambered in 10 mm magnum...

right now, the revolvers I'm shooting most, are my Montados in 45 Colt, as I've been using them in CAS, which I've been trying to shoot every other week

so... I can't really answer which I enjoy more... I guess I enjoy them all
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Old October 20, 2011, 12:54 PM   #22
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Quote:
so... I can't really answer which I enjoy more... I guess I enjoy them all
I do too. I guess I collect more than I shoot nowadays, but with a good laptop, gunbroker, gunsamerica, and numerous classifieds, a C&R license and a little money, it ends up being easier than taking the time to shoot sadly. I don't have the opportunity to shoot at my house due to it being residential.

I do enjoy your threads because often its a gun I don't know much about and its usually a special situation IE the gunsmithing and altering of calibers. Its not like everyone does that stuff, so I find it all interesting. I love when my older guns are original but thats at the sacrifice of not being able to shoot them. Keep on keeping on MWM.
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Old October 21, 2011, 04:54 PM   #23
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While it may be a long shot, the dimensions you describe almost match that of 11x17.8R which was the chambering of the French Chamelot-Delvigne revolver. As far as I can tell, this cartridge had a bullet diameter of .425" and a case length of .71".
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Old November 6, 2011, 11:52 PM   #24
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I own quite a few British, Belgian and U.S. bulldog pistols in .44 calibre and I think it is most likely to be the .442 Webley round. Old catalogues suggest this.
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Old November 9, 2011, 06:59 AM   #25
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well here are a few more pics, with my 1st handloads

handloads consist of shortened 44 special cases, decapped with my 44 special dies ( head stamps have been knurled out ) BTW, the rims did not need to be thinned to go round in the gun... did up 2 test loads using both 2 & 3 grains of Trailboss case mouths belled with a custom die made by my buddy, Hunters Supply 160 grain FP's measuring .430, seated with my 44 special die, & then taper crimped with another custom die made by my buddy...

I'll be trying them out this weekend, but the bullet is sized correctly for the bore, so I expect at least belly gun accuracy





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