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:

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    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]