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Connecticut Arms Company Hammond Bull Dog - Rare in Nickel

Connecticut Arms Company Hammond Bull Dog - Rare in Nickel

  • Product Code: FHG-2087
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $1,495.00
  • $1,295.00

On October 25, 1864, Henry B. Hammond received his first patent for a firearms design, #44,798. The patent covered a unique pivoting breech system to load single-shot metallic cartridge firearms. Over the next dozen years, Hammond would receive no less than seven additional patents related to firearms. Henry, in conjunction with his brother Lewis, formed the Connecticut Arms & Manufacturing Company in Naubuc, CT circa 1865 and attempted to obtain US military contracts for a breechloading long arm utilizing their patented pivoting breech. The end of the American Civil War, and the need to find a way to alter the huge stocks of muzzleloading arms already in inventory to breechloading cartridge arms, meant that the Hammond brothers were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time in terms of obtaining US military contracts. The firm produced a limited number of sporting and military style long arms based upon their patents but met with minimal success. Then they hit on a design that achieved a modicum of success and insured that the company would not be simply a footnote in firearms history.

Sometime in late 1865 or early 1866 they introduced a single shot cartridge pistol design based upon their pivoting breech patent. The pistol also included their patented extractor (#54,147 – issued April 24, 1866) and a patented sight (#61,007 – issued January 8, 1867). The standard production model was produced with a 4” octagon to heptagon barrel, where the top flat tapered to a point at the muzzle, leaving only seven instead of eight sides of the barrel at that point. The pistol was chambered for a .44 rimfire cartridge similar to the .44 Henry Flat, but shorter. The barrels of most of the production were brightly blued, and the receivers were case hardened in mottled colors. However, a small number of the pistols were produced with factory nickel finishes, which are very scarce today. In both cases the hammers case hardened, and the spur trigger was blued. The grips were typically checkered gutta-percha, although some were made with checkered wood grips as well. Standard markings were a one-line manufacturing address on the top barrel flat and patent marking around the pivoting breechblock referring to the October 1864 patent. The single action pistol was operated by cocking the hammer and then pressing down on a checkered button on the top of the breechblock. This allowed the block to be rotated to the right, revealing the chamber. After the cartridge was loaded, the breechblock was rotated back to its upright position and the pistol was now ready to fire. A slot in the top of the breechblock release button served as a rear sight and a small German silver blade served as the front sight. After firing, the action could be opened in the same fashion and the patented extractor would pull the casing partially out of the chamber, allowing the user to remove it the rest of the way with their fingers. Over the years, the guns have received the collector nickname Hammond “Bull Dog” but it is not clear if that was a period appellation. Some few examples are known with the name “Bull Dozer” on the side of the barrel. While nearly all of the Connecticut Arms & Manufacturing Company pistols were of the pattern described above, a handful were made in other calibers and different barrel lengths, including .22RF, .32RF and .50RF with barrels as long as 12” on the “target model”. Some of the guns were also produced with detachable, skeletonized metal stocks, allowing the pistols to be transformed into ersatz rifles. While the total production numbers for the guns are not known, most references place the number produced at somewhat around 7,400 guns, and certainly less than 8,000 pistols, before the company failed in 1868. Apparently enough of the guns were produced during the brief time that they were manufactured that they were still being offered for sale as “new old stock” well into the 1880s.

Offered here is a FINE example of a Connecticut Arms & Manufacturing Company Single Shot Derringer – aka “Hammond Bull Dog” with the rare, factory original nickel finish. The top flat of the barrel is clearly marked in a single line: CONNECTICUT ARMS & MANFG CO NAUBUC CONN. The top, front edge of the breechblock is marked in single line: PATENTED OCT. 25. 1864. This mark is quite clear as well. The pistol bears no additional marks but is serial numbered 5411 on the grip frame, under left grip. The barrel of the pistol retains about 75%+ of the factory nickel, with some minor edge wear and some loss dues to some scuffing and handling marks. The portion of the barrel immediately in front of the pivoting block shows the most loss, where the nickel has thinned and worn due to handling. The block shows the most loss, as it is the part of the action that sees the most use, and only retains about 30%-40% thinned nickel. The rear portion of the frame shows some thinning and wear as well, and rates about 60%. Overall, the pistol retains about 65%+ original bright nickel. The metal of the pistol is nearly all smooth, other than some tiny flecks of lightly oxidized surface roughness that is scattered here and there. The areas where the nickel has worn away or thinned have developed a smooth, lightly oxidized brownish patina. The hammer retains some strong traces case coloring, with most of the loss due to fading and dulling. The trigger retains some traces of blue, with a mostly smoky blue-gray patina. The hammer spur and trigger face are both checkered, as is the action release button on the top of the breechblock and in all cases the checkering remains quite crisp. The pistol is mechanically functional and the breechblock’s pivoting and locking mechanisms both work appropriately. The bore is in about NEAR FINE condition and remains mostly bright with crisp rifling. There are some patches of darkness and some surface oxidation in the bore, but this could probably be improved with a vigorous cleaning. The two-piece checkered gutta-percha grips are in a NEAR FINE as well. They are solid and complete with no breaks, cracks or chips and retain fairly crisp checkering, showing only some minor wear and smoothing. They also show some light handling marks from carry and use. 

Overall this is a really nice example of a scarce factory nickel finished Connecticut Arms & Manufacturing Company Single Shot Derringer, better known as the “Hammond Bull Dog”. The gun is in very nice condition and all of the markings remain very crisp. These factory nickel Hammond Bull Dog pistols do not often appear for sale and in this condition. As such, this would be a wonderful addition to any collection of single shot pistols and derringers from the period of America’s western expansion.

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