I'd bet these were worse than yours when I started (but feel free to post a few pics I'd love to see other other variations). Normally I just do mechanical restorations, but the condition on these were pretty low, so sometimes there's nothing to lose on restoring a $500 gun, which is about what I paid for each one. If they were military collector pieces I likely would have done the mechanicals and nothing else.
The seller was pretty non- negotiable on the book because I didn't buy the Smith and Wesson book he had with it ( a mistake in hindsight) so I had to pony up the full $79 vs. 2 for 150. I've seen two copies for sale in the last year. One was on ebay starting around 600, but later reduced and priced at 399 but sold at best offer. The other was on gunboards and IIRC sold for $250 quickly. There are 500 copies. It's a good book, but that's a lot of dough. Between that and Speckin's book there's a lot of good info, but neither offers much on working on them or details on parts or photos of internals which would be a great help.
I just shot what was commercially available from buffalo, Load X, and Reeds. They seem to offer one load only, so I had to stick with that. I haven't reloaded anything in years, due to time constraints, but will be ready at some point to get back into it. What is pictured is in .32 .35, .351, and .401. Generally if I can't get ammo commercially I tend to stay away from purchasing a gun. Looking for a source for 44 bulldog right now if anyone knows who's making it? HTH