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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Custers Guns - 'Galand & Sommerville'?:

At the Battle of  Little Bighorn - June 25/26 1876 - was Custer carrying 'Galand & Sommerville' .450" calibre revolvers (made by Braedlin & Sommerville in England) - or Webley British Bulldog Revolvers - or Webley Royal Irish Constabulary Revolvers?  - And were they .450" Calibre?

This Webley? .44"? calibre Galand & Sommerville was given to Custers' Brother Tom Custer and was sold for $77,000 in 1995.
- Both of them may have been given these by Lord Berkeley Paget in 1869.
(Not .44"? - but likely .450"?)
The Galand Revolver was first made in France 1868.
 
We will likely never know - as his guns were absent from his recovered body.
 
Charles Francoise Galand (1832-1900) was a French gun maker designer - also made the 'Velo-dog'.
 
Webley BBD - British BullDog .450" Revolver (1872)
 
Webley RIC Royal Irish Constabulary Revolver 1868? ,1887?.
 
 Yes - there seems to be conflicting dates that may or may not eliminate some candidate guns. - Some early RICs were built for the  .500" Tranter cartridge (with a .510" diameter 'heeled' bullet).

These revolvers were made in various named differing calibres from .320", .380",  .44" , .450" Adams, .442" British, .455" etc., etc., and they were built in Europe (Belgium) by various copiers - and many revolvers seem to have been called "Bulldogs" that were not named such by their maker, or by Webley.
 
The various 'Top Break' or Self-Extracting Webleys were too late to have been possible Custer guns .. also not being made until 1887 - but did begin production / development in the 1870s - so there may be a chance. - I need to again point-out that I have no expertise in these matters - I just like to pass-on interesting stuff!
 
                                     
 
Webley Mk 1 .455"
 
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Webleys roots go back to 1790 - so they had a very good run up till the 1920 UK Firearms Act put the brakes on handgun sales and they went-over to air guns in 1924 with their excellent Mk 1 Air pistol (and the Mk 1 Air rifle in 1926.) - Beautifully made and finished.
 
 .. I bought a Webley Mk3 "under-lever' Air rifle way back 1962 (ish) and it would completely shatter its lead pellets on impact with a hard metal surface (an old 'Iron').. It could readily smash  matches at 25 yards - sharp eyes as a teen!
 


Marty K.