Retailed by James W. Rosier, Melbourne
This nice Webley British Bull Dog revolver has a 5 shot cylinder chambered in .450CF along with a 2 3/8" barrel. It is marked on the top strap with "THE BRITISH BULL DOG" and on the barrel with the retailer "James W. Rosier, 66 Elizabeth St, Melbourne"
The left side of the frame is marked with the Webley flying bullet trademark along with the serial number 61077. Interestingly, it is not stamped with the "Webley's No.2" marking which is common on most Webley Bull Dog revolvers of this style. Surveys of surviving Bull Dogs indicate there's a batch of revolvers all in the low to mid 61,000's serial number range which are all missing this "Webley's No.2" marking. Researchers have speculated that it may indicate a period around 1884 where Webley was outsourcing production of these revolvers to a third party.
Webley's popular British Bull Dog revolvers were introduced in the early 1870's and continued to be sold through until WWI. There are numerous variations in frame shape, grip length, cylinder style (smooth or fluted), extractor rod style, and markings.
With a few rare exceptions almost all Webley's British Bull Dog revolvers were chambered originally in either .442CF or .450CF. Although Webley later produced numerous styles of small pocket revolvers in .320CF and .380CF none of these ever carried "THE BRITISH BULL DOG" inscription. Interestingly there is no caliber indication marked anywhere on this revolver. Nothing on the frame, cylinder or barrel. The caliber has only been confirmed as .450CF through measurement.
Research into Webley's British Bull Dog revolvers indicates that serial numbers were used in blocks rather than in a continuous sequence. The earliest examples from around 1872 - 1876 are in the 20,000 to 25,000 block. Then the serial range jumps to the 50,000 to 55,000 range from 1877 to 1880. From about 1881 the serial numbers became much smaller and it appears two ranges were used concurrently, one with serials from 600's through to 1600's, the other from 4000 to the 4600's. This continued through to mid 1884 when Bulldogs in the 60,000's appeared which continued through to the low 100,000's by 1914.
The research on Bull Dog serial numbering was conducted by Homer Ficken and is explained in much further detail in the book "Webley Solid Frame Revolvers: Nos 1, 1½ , 2, Bull Dogs and Pugs" .
Webley's British Bull Dog revolver became extremely popular both in Great Britain and internationally. As a result numerous copies and imitations were made by other British, European and American companies. Some of these are well made and highly collectable in their own right, whilst others were cheaply made and lack the quality of the Webley product.