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  #1  
Old 06-26-2009, 05:05 PM
haggis haggis is offline
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Default Italian Bodeo Revolver

I picked up this Italian 1889 Bodeo service revolver the other day.



It's a bit finish-challenged, but it fits into my WWII pistol collection. It fires the 10.4mm Italian Ordnance cartridge, a S&W .44 Russian-equivalent round, which is widely available on your local dealers' shelves. It is a six shot, gate-loading, rod-ejecting, solid frame revolver that appears to be well-made. This version is for enlisted personnel as it has a folding trigger with no trigger guard. Contrary to many erroneous sources, it is double action, not single action. The trigger clips to the underside of the frame, and can be pulled down, or it releases as the hammer is cocked.

Here's another picture with the trigger in firing position.



That little lever at the top of the left stock is not a safety - it's a takedown screw that removes the sideplate. The action is a simple, Chamelot-Delvigne type with a positive rebound lever. The action is only completely locked when the trigger is back (like the Japanese T26), but it locks up very well and times correctly. B/C gap is 0.005" with about 0.002" endshake.

This picture shows the other side.



The loading gate cams backwards, not out. The cylinder has recessed chambers for the cartridge rims. When the loading gate is open, the hammer is locked, although working the trigger revolves the cylinder. The double action is heavy, but smooth. Sights are robust with a surprisingly good sight picture.

So how will I feed this beast? The picture below shows two 10.4 mm cases next to the parent .44-40 case they came from.



Case length is 0.89", and the required taper on the case is done with a .303 British sizing die. Bullet diameter is 0.422"-0.425", and weight is 200 grains. I have some on order. Seating will be done with a .45 ACP seater, and crimp will be with a die yet to be determined. Loading will be .44 Russian levels, 200 grains at 800 fps.

It's an interesting old gun. I'm kind of anxious to get it to the range.


Buck
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Old 06-26-2009, 05:55 PM
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I believe that Fiocchi sells loaded, Boxer primed ammunition.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:19 PM
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I believe that Fiocchi sells loaded, Boxer primed ammunition.
Yes, Mort, but where's the fun in that? Thanks for the heads up.

Part of the fun in these old guns is figuring out how to run them with home-brewed ammo. I've seen the Fiocchi 10.4 for sale at ~$40/50, and for someone that didn't reload. that would be fine. But it's going to cost me less than a quarter a round, even including the .44-40 cases I already had.

And there are some rounds that you can't get commercially. The 7.65 Mannlicher pistol and 7.65 French Long are examples. It's a lot more trouble than the 10.4. You start with .32 S&W long cases, trim the rim, cut an extraction groove, trim to length, and taper form the case. If I didn't like doing this it would be a PITA.


Buck
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:22 PM
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Thanks for posting. I like seeing the Smiths, Colts and Rugers etc, but it's nice to see something not so common.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:30 PM
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One more piece of information. This revolver was made by Bernardelli in 1930, one of many contractors who made this pistol. Bodeo was the chairman of the commission that designed it.


Buck
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Old 06-27-2009, 12:05 AM
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WONKY! I love wonky. Thanks for shareing!
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haggis View Post
One more piece of information. This revolver was made by Bernardelli in 1930, one of many contractors who made this pistol. Bodeo was the chairman of the commission that designed it.


Buck
Haggis,

Look a little closer and I believe you will see what the stamping on the frame really says is "V. Bernardelli, Gardone, Modif. 1930".

Interesting because I just bought one today in about the same condition yours appears to be. It is marked as above, except the date is 1932. I wonder what the modification was? Mine is the Officers version.

Are you still using .44-40 brass, or have you gone to .44 Spl/Mag? The .44 Spl. has a base diameter closer to the 9.4 Italian than .44-40 does. Although cosmetically it appears different it is virtually a shortened .44 S&W Russian. I can't see any reason to not use .44 Spl/mag brass and dies and load the Lyman 42798. Crimping can then be done using a Lee .44 Carbide FCD. Maybe you have already discovered all this though!
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Last edited by Alk8944; 06-11-2011 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:31 PM
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I loaded up 50 of the 10.4 mm Italian Ordinance cartridges based on the .44-40 case. The results were fine - the pressure was low enough that the slight size differential doesn't appear to cause any problem. I was able to get some 200 grain .44-40 bullets sized to 0.425", and while they might have worked OK at that size, I built a punch to size them, using the revolver's cylinder, to the exact dimension of the cylinder throats, 0.422". This is what the finished cartridges looked like:



I loaded the cartridges with two loads, 3.5 and 3.8 grains of TiteGroup. Velocity data are shown in the regression curve below.



The preferred charge was estimated to be 4.0 to 4.1 grains. Accuracy was acceptable for a combat gun at 10 yards This is the 3.8 grain target.



The flyer at 10:00 was my first DA shot. The rest were SA. The only problem was that the POI was 8" above the POA due to the 200 grain bullet. The sights were regulated for the standard 10.4 mm bullet weight of 175 grains, and I had to sight at the bottom of the target to get the shots near the bull.

I have put this project on hold until I can find a proper bullet. The results so far have convinced me that the round and gun were adequate for their intended purpose - emergency short-range defense. Recharging the gun would not have been practical under those conditions.

Buck
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:26 PM
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Interesting so far.

I have spent hours on the 'net today and I am beginning to wonder if mine isn't possibly one of the Spanish produced variants. I have seen variations of barrel length from nearly 6" (151mm) down to, it looked like 3 3/4" or so. The "snubby" had the trigger guard. The officer's seems to be standard at 114mm, and the enlistedman's at 124mm.

The vast majority I have found were the Infantry or enlisted man's variant with the folding trigger. It seems the officer's variation with triggerguard are not nearly so common as the folding trigger guns.

There appears to be a lever of some sort in the front of the frame of your revolver, is that the latch for the folding trigger, or what?

One last question if you can help. I saw these referred to as the 1889a and 1889b. I assume one is the officer's and the other is the enlistedman's variant, but the references were not consistent as to which was which. Do you have any idea?

That group looks good for what the gun is, even for 10 yards!
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:39 PM
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I've wanted one of those things ever since I first saw Cemetary Man in the late 90s. For those that haven't seen it - Italian Ord. Revolver vs. Zombies. Solemn nod.

The recent ammunition was made so recently is that these things seem to turn up in odd corners in Italy and still see some use. A few are kicking around in Italy's former colonies in Africa as well. At least they were still seen in the early 90s in Somalia from time to time.

They somtimes turn up on the auction sights, since many (most?) are pre1899, they are non FFL items.
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Old 06-11-2011, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
I have spent hours on the 'net today and I am beginning to wonder if mine isn't possibly one of the Spanish produced variants.
I haven't seen any of the Spanish contract pistols, but I would expect them to have some sort of Spanish markings.

Quote:
I have seen variations of barrel length from nearly 6" (151mm) down to, it looked like 3 3/4" or so. The "snubby" had the trigger guard.
The last variants of the Officers Model made in 1915 had firing pins in the frame and 95mm barrels.

Quote:
There appears to be a lever of some sort in the front of the frame of your revolver, is that the latch for the folding trigger, or what?
That is the latch for the folding trigger.

Quote:
One last question if you can help. I saw these referred to as the 1889a and 1889b. I assume one is the officer's and the other is the enlisted man's variant, but the references were not consistent as to which was which. Do you have any idea?
I have never seen any model designation that differentiated between the two types, including the one you mention.

Quote:
That group looks good for what the gun is, even for 10 yards!
Single action was crisp although heavy. The sights are high profile and visible. I shot that group two-handed with my forearms on sandbags. There was quite a bit of luck in that group size.

Buck

Last edited by haggis; 06-11-2011 at 11:30 PM. Reason: Correcting for my bad memory
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Old 06-12-2011, 12:48 AM
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Buck,

Here is a link that seems to probably correctly describe the "Type" question. Antique Italian Revolver | Antique Handguns

The 95mm barrel sure explains the short one! It was an Officer's type as you say.

The only marks are a nearly obliterated "Crown" under the loading gate, the number 210 between the loading gate pivot and right stock, an N on the frame face below the base pin, an assembly number 502 in several places, a small 1 and a "lazy" 9 or maybe lower case g on the bottom barrel flat. And, of course the "V.Bernardelli/Gardone/Modif. 1932 on the left side of the frame where yours is marked. There are a few other stamps internally including an oval "Cartouche" with the letters RY or BY. There is a 3787 inside the sideplate, and 3781 on the mainspring support, probably an error since the 502 is on every part including the stocks.

Other than these there is absolutely nothing to indicate manufacturer or country of origin.
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Old 06-12-2011, 06:48 AM
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Hope this helps.

Love this project.http://www.littlegun.info/arme%20ita...bodeo%20gb.htm

Last edited by Thuer; 06-12-2011 at 06:49 AM. Reason: missing link
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
Buck,

Here is a link that seems to probably correctly describe the "Type" question.
I have not seen that before. It might even be true.

Quote:
The only marks are a nearly obliterated "Crown" under the loading gate, the number 210 between the loading gate pivot and right stock, an N on the frame face below the base pin, an assembly number 502 in several places, a small 1 and a "lazy" 9 or maybe lower case g on the bottom barrel flat. And, of course the "V.Bernardelli/Gardone/Modif. 1932 on the left side of the frame where yours is marked. There are a few other stamps internally including an oval "Cartouche" with the letters RY or BY. There is a 3787 inside the sideplate, and 3781 on the mainspring support, probably an error since the 502 is on every part including the stocks.

Other than these there is absolutely nothing to indicate manufacturer or country of origin.
It looks sufficiently identified to me. Manufactured by Bernardelli in Gardone, Val Trompia, Italy.



Thuer,

You do have that translated into English, don't you? Maybe Dutch? Thanks much for the link.

Buck
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:09 AM
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An interesting find. In the 1966 edition of "Small Arms of the World" the Smiths note how long that revolver was in production and in service and note its use in WWII would be comparable to the US still using the M1873 Colt SAA.
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Old 06-13-2011, 04:30 AM
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Hi Haggis, You can find a lor of information in English on Litlegun.be about all kind of guns. You can find a part of my collection to.

The translation of the Italian article wouldend be a big problem for you becouse there are living a lot of American -Italian people in America.

My Italian doesnt come closer than Pizza.
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Old 05-15-2016, 01:30 PM
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Too long for me to translate, but if someone needs the translation of some paragraph, I'll be happy to help
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Old 05-17-2016, 03:38 PM
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That pistol is a 127 years old,i'd have it refinished and put it up!
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