English Trade Gun

Big-Un

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This is an 1830's era English Trade Gun (20ga) made by a friend of mine and engraved by me. I tried to keep my style out of it, as it needed the style of the era. After studying several resources of original guns, this is what I came up with. The customer is very pleased and has decided to keep it and show it at reenactments and shoot it rather than sell it. Any comments/critiques are welcome, as they only inspire me to better myself.

Thanks,

Bill
 

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DakotaDocMartin

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Serpent side plate

I've never seen the serpent side plate done in flat stock before. And, I've been into muzzle loading for 40+ years now. As far as I know, they were all cast and in 3D like this one:



But, flat and engraved will work.:)
 

CJ Allan

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Nice work.. :)

The only long BP gun I still have is my old .62 cal smooth bore Trade gun.

and Doc is right as far as i know...every one i've ever seen has a cast side plate..
All the furniture on mine is steel, except for the brass side plate, & a few brass tacks...
A guy named Curley made it for me a long time ago....now a "keepsake"...
He also made me a cut down blanket gun to match...but someone needed it more than i did....

& that .62 cal ball makes a hole ya wouldn't believe.. :)
 

CJ Allan

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Hahahahah.....

Yup....
I was gonna say North by North east, but i figgered that would be a little too much.......

Dang..I was just told it's now my birthday..
Looks like i beat em out of another year. :)
 

mtgraver

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CJ, That wouldn't have been Curley Gustomski, of Dayton Oh. area? He was one of the first guys I knew in Ohio when I started shooting BP and was a fixture in the Rendezvous world. He was always a friendly fellow and greatly missed by many.
I concur with the comments of cast hardware, but I believe I saw some dug parts that were flat/engraved, just can't remember where I saw the info. But in the words of former women in my life " you're probably wrong". Hmmm go figger, all in all, a nice job there, Big-Un.
Mark

www.MarkThomas-graver.com
 

KSnyder

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Any gun that was engraved was generally called a "Chiefs grade".
These guns were sold as cheap game getters to trade for furs, their life, or whatever was on the line at the time.The French made them too. Commonly called Tulle's for the arsenal they were produced at.
As far as screw position, I doubt that mattered at all.
And brass is the correct furniture for the period. Iron parts generally were scavenged from older military muskets & refitted.
Steel/ iron fitted longrifles while popular today are not correct for the period.
Kent
 

CJ Allan

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The screw is what holds the breech plug to the stock...so I guess it does matter a little..........
I've seen several original Trade guns and none of them had any brass other than the serpant....
The trigger guard is very distintive so I don't know what gun they could have been "scrounged" from
The triggerg guard has the large shape to accomadate mittens in the northwest......

I guess that's why they were called Northwest trade guns.... :)

and the french Tulles i've seen were different.

But you are probably right.... :)
 
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KSnyder

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CJ, I wasn't referring to the tang screw, I was talking about the sideplate screws heads facing "north & south". The tang screw buttons up the triggerguard, trigger plate, strenghtens the wrist & passes up through the tang of the breech plug. On these guns the furniture was generally mixed with the pipes being thin brass & the triggerguard being iron.The brass buttplate was held on with square head nails. I have seen these guns up at Fort Michilmackinac in northern Michigan where many of these "trade guns" were sold & used on a daily basis.
We compete with these guns a few times a year at the local club I'm a member of.
The scrounged parts from military muskets were generally reworked at the gunsmiths whim or choice.
I did get a bit ahead with myself on the iron furniture issue. It refers to the modern builders using iron parts on PA. longrifles which is not correct if one is trying to do a historical replica.
all the best,
Kent
 

Big-Un

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Most all the pictures I researched for the project were on flat stock, with a few sculpted. These were traded to the Native Americans and it seemed only engraving that could be done quickly were done for the trade guns. I took several styles from several examples and tried to get the best representation of the era.

I've never seen the serpent side plate done in flat stock before. And, I've been into muzzle loading for 40+ years now. As far as I know, they were all cast and in 3D like this one:



But, flat and engraved will work.:)
 

terry95917

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big-un posted by DakotaDocMarten

In reference to Dakotadoc posting ot the serpent side plate in brass flat stock.
Clonial Frontier Guns by T.M. Hamilton printed by The Fur Press 1980 Chadren Nebraska

On page 66,67 showes a number of serpent sideplates .Eight plates on that page five of which are flat,I quote here from paragraph A.(1736-1743) the writing "The outer faces still show the ripples left on the surface as the brass cooled apparently in an open mold " & paragraph D."from Fort Frederica 37 C above theise show how the ENGRAVER (capitals mine) could change the direction& character of the head at will." also Paragraph E." A stanard Type G sideplate.All of the above (A.B.C.D.& E.) were made flat brass ,presumably cast in an open mold, but the exact technique is not knowen.The engraving on 37 B. thruogh E. was done freehand" this book is 176 pages mostly all of Trade guns ,with information on types of ball & flints
In The Trade Muskets or Northwest Guns by Pryor Mt. Bill Newton A Work ShopManual printed by Eagle Printing,Cody,Wyoming on page 20 Pryor Mt. showes how to make a brass sideplate of sheet brass 1/16 inch in thickness cut out & engrave.
I can rember other references ,but theise should be of help in answering the question about them being ever flat ,basicly the early ones were flat & the later ones cast more three demensional

If I can be of more help ,I maybe contacted at ottt@sbcglobal.net please feel free to do so.
Bull Frog
 

Big-Un

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I talked with the maker the other day and I misunderstood him. The gun is called a "G" type gun (?) and is of the mid 18th century (1730-1750) and his is called a Carolina Gun, as it was sold from Charlston, SC. Sorry about the misinformation.

Bull Frog....that information sounds like the book he gave me to study the patterns for the sideplate. I need to pay more attention to what I'm reading....or else my fergetter is working really well!

Bill
 

laffindog

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Hello all. I've never posted here before but have been admiring the work of you craftsmen and picking up hints and ideas for some time now. This is a great site.

This thread on English trade guns is something that I have knowledge of as I am the owner of Curly Gostomski's North Star gun business since 2002. English trade guns prior ot 1760 utilized flat engraved brass serpent sideplates as shown here. With the introduction of the Northwest Gun approx. 1760-1770 British gunmakers (Barnett in particular) used cast sideplates to reduce the time and labor to produce them. As noted earlier the odd angle trigger guard screw is correct for a Northwest gun before the use of trigger plates.

Matt Denison aka laffindog
North Star West, Inc.
northstarwest.com
 

Buck Conner

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I find this subject interesting guys, most of your replies are correct and a few slightly off when talking about trade guns whether built for the North American trade or else where in the world.

I'm brand new here (1st post), but have been around antique weapons my whole life of 81 years (family was involved in collecting, selling, swapping or trading antiques for over 150 years. At one time I had over 400 antique weapons (a half dozen trade guns) was always at the gun shows in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico swapping, selling or trading until my health was going to pot because of the cleaning supplies I was using, time to get another hoppy.

I see a few names I know, have camped with, belonged to clubs together or other connections with and around this subject - Trade Guns, NW trade guns or whatever you wish to call them. Back east in the '40s many older collectors referred to them as "cheap squirrel guns".

Let me say "Hello" to some of you folks I know; CJ Allen (AMM brother), Matt Denison (connection with Curly Gustomski who helped me when writing my book "Success In The North American Fur Trade"). Between Curly, and Charles E. Hanson, Jr. (I had an 80% pre 1816 Sharpe trade gun that he wanted for the museum - I drove him crazy over that one and several others). At the time I was picking these two brains for information for my book along with several other writers on the same subject. We (Curly and Charlie) have spent many afternoons at different tables in the museum talking trade guns. Once the book was published it was one or the other sent a copy to "The Library of Congress" for review, we referred to it as just a book, they came back listing it as a research book.
_______________________________________________
"Success in The North American Fur Trade" is a collection of company records, reviews, and thoughts on the subject along with the history of the Northwest Trade Gun. Now listed in the "US Library of Congress" as a research book for students of the fur trade. Most of my work involves research (documented) on the wares used with in the borders of North America, found in museums and private collections. Publishing date 2005 Macon, Georgia Blanket Series Books by Barry 'Buck' Conner. Now in its third printing.
_______________________________________________
I can tell you a few funny stories about some of these gentlemen from years pasted.

Sorry for joining the party late, guess better late than never. If you wish I can copy the pages on side plates for you guys and show them here. By the way all of you are correct, there were flat brass sheet plates (hand engraved) and cased plates (no real handwork) seen on different manufacturers guns (different years).

Hope I didn't tramp on any toes.

Buck Conner
.
 

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Buck Conner

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Here's a new project built by Doc White [GRRW Collectors Association] of an H.E. Leman NW Trade Gun was seen in the late '60s in the Denver metro area, the gun caught my eye because of the caliber, most originals are .60 or .72 calibers. This one was in .50 caliber and as close to new as an antique could get, Hanson tried to purchase this weapon several times. I took pictures of the gun and got to take measurements. 60 years later Doc and myself got together and built this project, then it was sent to a young man I know for test .... see videos.

Be sure to stop by and check out our videos!

 

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