C&Rsenal Primer 019: The Bodeo Revolver

This week, C&Rsenal takes a look at the Italian Bodeo revolver, an interesting transitional type that served all the way through the 1960s.

Today, the revolver is a gun that has been virtually perfected for well over a century. While it may seem like this was always so, the evolution of the revolver was a slow process that took decades to get from the Colt Patterson of 1836 to the Colt M1889 and S&W Hand Ejector series that form the bedrock of modern revolver design. The Bodeo is one of the last of its breed, being introduced in 1889 just before the introduction of the revolutionary swing-out cylinder. As Othais explains in the video below, it’s combination of features also makes it one of the best revolvers of its type, a rugged, simple weapon that would endure despite being almost immediately made obsolete:

The Bodeo combines the Adabie gate-loading system with a simple v-type mainspring based on Jean Warnant’s patent, with additional simplifications to make for a relatively safe, lightweight, compact revolver that stayed in service well past its sell-by date. Interestingly, the Bodeo was one firearm of the period that infringed on multiple patents that were in effect during its production, similar to the Ruby discussed in another episode.

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Below is Othais’s animation for the Bodeo revolver, used with permission:

View post on imgur.com

The Bodeo would be eclipsed by both newer revolvers and more modern semiautomatic pistols, however the demand for guns during World War I meant the Bodeo not only continued to serve the Italian military, but also continued to be produced through the 1930s.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Kelly Jackson

    No trigger guard? These are the same low speed / high drag crowd that impress upon you their overwhelming firearm drilling, but still don’t think striker fired guns need manual safetys.

    • gunsandrockets

      A single action revolver with a good design doesn’t require a trigger guard, like the NAA micro-revolvers.

      Besides, it seems this revolver was designed for the trigger to be folded(!) out of the way for normal carry, rather than use a trigger guard. An interesting design feature.

      • Kelly Jackson

        I just imagine a bunch of open carry types blogging around a bar stool about how having to deal with a trigger guard will get you killed

        • Don Ward

          I’d imagine its 438 pound trigger pull in DA helps offset the chance of a negligent discharge…

          • nova3930

            I think you’re referring to the Nagant revolvers with their svelte 55lb trigger pull lol

          • DaveP

            I’ve handled one of these. The trigger pull is maybe twenty pounds and long with it. Adding a trigger guard isn’t going to improve safety all that much.
            OTOH, they make a great trainer: if you can manage a smooth pull consistently with this thing, you can do it with anything.

          • nova3930

            They’re nifty little pistols, trigger pull and all. One of the few revolvers you can easily suppress because of how good the cylinder/barrel gas seal is with the cam forward design….

      • nova3930

        The old Colt Patterson was like this with the drop down trigger.

    • iksnilol

      No trigger guard but the trigger folds away.

  • Don Ward

    I kind of laughed at the 21st Century complaints in the video about having a “high bore axis”. With that said, great video.
    It’s a pity that quality content like C&Rsenal gets overlooked on YouTube for tactical Derptard channels on YouTube like Larry “FireClean” Vickers, NutnFancy and James “Meth Not Even Once” Yeager.
    Hopefully that will change in the future.

    • Don Ward

      Another point that was brought up was comparing this handgun to that of other military pistols in 1914. And I think the appropriate question is not whether this was the best, middle of the pack or worst handgun available for any of the belligerents. But rather, was this the best handgun available that Italy was able to produce by 1915 when all of the other major industrialized powers were already scavenging anything that could go bang in order to arm their troops.

      At any rate, it is a handgun. I a war that saw Italian troops being pushed indifferently into helllish Alpine battles in the snow against barbed wire, machine guns and Austrian artillery at places like Isonzo, you could replace every Bodeo revolver with a Beretta M9A3 and it wouldn’t make a difference on the battlefield.

    • The_Champ

      I second your comments about YouTube firearms enthusiasts. C&Rsenal and Forgotten Weapons are head and shoulders above anything else that I’ve found out there.

      Yes I am biased towards the oldies but Othias and Ian both ooze in depth knowledge without any of the know-it-all tough guy vibe so many others give off.

      • oldman

        Plus they don’t bore you to death they present the information well.

  • Xeno Da Morph

    I forgot about this guys vids. Great stuff here!!!

  • Bucho4Prez

    Really enjoying the spirit of collaboration between C&Rsenal, The Great War, and Forgotten Weapons. You get to see the primordial ooze of modern firearms development and their use on the modern battlefield. If you don’t already throw them a few bucks for their efforts.

  • One of my favorite channels on Youtube. The amount of research Othais does, buying old books, translating them, is staggering. He doesn’t use the internet very much for research. The x-ray animations are something Othais actually developed and this also sets the channel apart from other historical firearm channels. Best of all, Othais and Mae actually read your comments and will reply to you.

  • Zebra Dun

    Another Kill-O-zap gun. From it’s appearance there was only one place to be that was safe, and one place that gave no impression of being safe. Clearly a front and back and lethal area defined by looks.