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Login Name Post: fusil or fowler        (Topic#232702)
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
04-02-09 08:09 PM - Post#702858    

    In response to TANSTAAFL

Okay: Who made the gun??? And how does it compare to the replica fusils being sold on the market? I can only speak for what I see available to buyers, and not to those who want to build their own, and do a far better job of making the gun balance. Custom guns are always another matter.

I think you can see that from the comments of other members here. The gunmaker who made my fowler has been familiar with both fowlers and fusils for years, and if you are willing to pull it out of him, he is a wealth of knowledge about the guns. But he builds gun that are slim, balanced, and point beautifully. He makes no attempt to build a fusil like those being offered, unless that is exactly what the customer wants. And then, he tries to talk them out of their choice!

 
Okwaho 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1864
04-02-09 08:38 PM - Post#702875    

    In response to Russ T Frizzen

  • Russ T Frizzen Said:
I have a fowler very similar to the one Track sells. It is a lovely, light thing with great balance and is a good fowling piece and handles ball well. too. It weighs about seven pounds. The English gun should have a walnut or maybe cherry stock--maple isn't really right.

The "French" guns are way too thick in the forestock and the butt stock is all wrong too. The lock resembles nothing ever found on a French trade fusil and looks awkward as a result. A bit of research will show you that the French fusils were slim and light guns not pudgy and heavy. You might consider one of Mike Brook's "Carolina" guns. One of these would make a fine companion and offers historical accuracy as well.



Russ you are entirely correct here but allow me to add a few thoughts.

In the 17th and part of the 18th century the French used the term "Fusil"[pronounced Fuzee} to denote any flintlock longarm as opposed to "Mousquet" for matchlocks.This term eventually fell into disfavor being displaced by the term Musket, but the English adopted it to denote light weight or scaled down muskets.The term evolved into another term for English Fowling pieces and the later Fowlers.It is easier to define these guns so I will use the terms musket and guns except for the Fusils de chasse and when historically necessary.

18th century French guns prior to 1761 used in America can be divided into two basic groups;guns manufactured by Tulle under contract to the King through his Ministry de la Marine and trade guns {"Fusils de trait"}.The Tulle guns were manufactured from 1691 to 1741 and are classified by contract dates. These guns were further divided into the marine military muskets,{common and grenadier muskets} hunting muskets{the famous Fusils de chasse}and buccaneer muskets issued for a variety of uses.
Fusils de chasse were not PER SE trade guns although many were given to Indians.They were slim, graceful,lightweight yet sturdy guns which were highly prized by whites, Indians,and British alike In addition Fusils de chasse were made by other manufacturers such as St. Etienne and various private makers.The are easily identified by their roman nose comb called pied de vache.They were predominately iron mounted although some fancier Tulle guns were gift or presentation guns to selected Indian chiefs and are referred as Fusils fin{fine guns}de chasse.

Tulle military guns issued to the Companies Franche {incorrectly referred to by some reenactors as "French marines"}. They generally fall into two arms,the common musket and the grenadier musket They are basically identical except that grenadier has a middle barrel band and sling swivels and there is a slight difference in barrel length.

Fusils de trait began to make their appearance in the late 17th century and were made by a variety of makers including St.Etienne and the shops in Liege.Some were iron mounted and many so mounted were made by St. Etienne.The majority were brass mounted and had straight combs and slim graceful architecture rather than the pied de vache style.Hamilton believed that there two types based on differences in the mounts and called them Types C and D. I do not quarrel with him here but almost no one makes a "Type C or D with what I associate with correct architecture of the early 18th century. See Torsten Lenk, Plates 86-88,90,91 The problem is that the Type C and D kits and precarves today seem to be based soley on archaeologically recovered materials rather than complete guns.R E Davis offers two kits, the Type D and the fine fusil kit These are very similar but the flat faced Jaeger styled lock in the D kit is ,in my opinion incorrect.The only kit that I can recommend is the fine fusil kit although without the Jaeger style lock the D kit would probably be OK.

The French guns led the way in the 18th century and their influence is seen in New England fowlers and Kentucky rifles especially from Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley.
I'm sorry for the length but when I get going it's hard to stop.
As always I welcome reponsible opposing comment.
Tom Patton
Heaven is a Tulle Fusil de chasse.




 
Russ T Frizzen 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4762
04-03-09 06:48 AM - Post#702965    

    In response to Okwaho

Thanks, Tom. It's true about the French influence in American guns and particularly so with the New England fowlers to their benefit.


And the fusil de chasse is a fine example of a firearm designed for its purpose. Light and finely balanced, it is a fine companion to carry afield in search of game. Or to use as one's longarm on a raid far afield if need be.

 
Mike Brooks 
Cannon
Posts: 6686
04-03-09 06:57 AM - Post#702969    

    In response to Okwaho

Good stuff as usual Tom, I'll pontificate when I have time this evening on the subject......gotta run now!

 
Okwaho 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1864
04-03-09 09:01 AM - Post#703000    

    In response to Mike Brooks

  • Mike Brooks Said:
Good stuff as usual Tom, I'll pontificate when I have time this evening on the subject......gotta run now!



Not to mention ruminating and cogitating



 
Greenmtnboy 
62 Cal.
Posts: 2582
Greenmtnboy
04-03-09 10:26 AM - Post#703032    

    In response to Swampy

  • Swampy Said:
A French influenced New England Fowler is something to behold.


no doubt,
Growing up in old New England on the Quebec border afforded me many chances of seeing some really cool french influnced firearms. Very beautful!

 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
04-03-09 01:30 PM - Post#703110    

    In response to TANSTAAFL

". Rarely are Fusil owners willing to remove wood or cut the barrel length to get better balance"

If built properly there is no reason to chop of the end of a gun to get it to balance, the Fusil De Chase from Tulle parts sets TOW sells can be made into a rather well balamnced gun if one takes the wood off as needed when working on the project, the Pied de vache stock can be worked on to "fit" as needed as well,mine balances rather well and is quite accurate,it is just under 8 lbs( some originals in Neumans books are only a bit lighter than this) had I went with a .62 bore it would have been even better, there is no reason why most any of the parts sets cannot have the extra wood removed when putting everything together, I don't know that I would buy a gun with that stock style allready finished, it is best to work the buttstock/comb as you go IMHO, when I bring mine up to the shoulder with cheek on stock and open my eyes the front sight shows with only a small section of the oct barrel is in the sight picture and this puts the ballwhere the top of the sight is at 50 yds,maybe that is not the way others do it but it works for me.
I think Tanstaafl finds these guns to be satifactory as well it appears.
The smoke's blown out the vent till there is no more,then a charge of powder I pour, patch&ball go down the bore, shoulder the gun and fire some more


Edited by tg on 04-03-09 01:32 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
TANSTAAFL 
Cannon
Posts: 6528
04-03-09 01:37 PM - Post#703113    

    In response to paulvallandigham

  • paulvallandigham Said:
Okay: Who made the gun??? And how does it compare to the replica fusils being sold on the market? I can only speak for what I see available to buyers, and not to those who want to build their own, and do a far better job of making the gun balance. Custom guns are always another matter.

I think you can see that from the comments of other members here. The gunmaker who made my fowler has been familiar with both fowlers and fusils for years, and if you are willing to pull it out of him, he is a wealth of knowledge about the guns. But he builds gun that are slim, balanced, and point beautifully. He makes no attempt to build a fusil like those being offered, unless that is exactly what the customer wants. And then, he tries to talk them out of their choice!



Who made the gun?

Me, and I am the user of it.






 
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
04-03-09 03:15 PM - Post#703139    

    In response to TANSTAAFL

Then, WADR, you are comparing a custom made fusil to the stuff that is being sold commercially. Only the current Fusil "FIN" guns seem to have the balance and light weight I have seen on custom made guns. The fusil traits, and other "tulle fusils " I examined, when they first came on the scene, were not an example of grace.

From what I can see of your gun from the pictures, its looks terrific. I would want that gun, too.

Best wishes. Paul

 
doctor syn 
Pilgrim
Posts: 1
04-03-09 03:22 PM - Post#703144    

    In response to Golfswithwolves

i don't think the french were allies of america more enemys of the british.

 
Bryan Brown 
40 Cal.
Posts: 133
Bryan Brown
04-03-09 04:01 PM - Post#703164    

    In response to Golfswithwolves

Well now one could argue with some merit that the "classical" lines of an American Longrifle are borrowed from the French Fusil du Chasse. Especially as we get into the Golden age arms and away from the "transitional" styles. They do tend to wander from the British or German lines in many cases

http://www.trackofthewolf.com/(S(wqocwe45tzt031u00zx5b045))/categories/partDetai...

http://www.trackofthewolf.com/(S(wqocwe45tzt031u00zx5b045))/categories/partList....

But that is why ice cream has flavors, we all get to pick our favorites.

Bryan K. Brown
www.gunsmithy.com
www.jaegerkorps.org
bryankbrown@sprintmail.com
bryanbrown@jaegerkorps.org

Alle künst ist umsunst wenn ein Engle auf dem Zundlocke brünst.

 
Anonymous 
04-03-09 07:33 PM - Post#703251    

    In response to TANSTAAFL

Right on Tans. lookin good.

 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
04-03-09 07:46 PM - Post#703255    

    In response to Bryan Brown

The profile of the guns is often swhat most lok at when at first studying the longrifle comapered to the Grman.English and French guns, Spanish,Dutch also have contributed in some circumstances, but there is a lot more to look at that carries more weight like the style of carving in a region, the type of furniture, and other little quirks that when put together seperate a Lancaster from one of the other Penn. schools some of the schools did not fully develope untill we were deep into the Golden age,the smoothbores of most European guns was a fairly long gun, one could argue the the development of the American longrifle was a result
of adding rifleing and the things that go with the rifle concept, rear sights, grip rail and cheekpiece to the fowler styles of the time rather than just making the barrels of exsisting guns longer.the earliest gun that most feel is pretty much an American rilfe is dated 1761 some Ameriacn rifles are thought to go back to 1740 but we are not sure. I think it would be safe to say the American longrifle was around at least by 1750, and what some call transitional are just early American longrifles, these having been influenced by the European guns depending on where and who in the colonies was responsibe for the particular style, there are regional trends that the guns took dependant on where the makers of the area hailed from.
The smoke's blown out the vent till there is no more,then a charge of powder I pour, patch&ball go down the bore, shoulder the gun and fire some more


 
Okwaho 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1864
04-03-09 09:46 PM - Post#703296    

    In response to tg

Good post,TG You are right the Schreit rifle is dated 1761 but there are doubtless some earlier guns.I can think of at least two that I believe could date into the 1750's and there are several which date into the 1760's.The problem is that these very early guns are almost always unsigned and therefore cannot be compared to a signed gun making identification extremely difficult.the years prior to the Revolutionary War saw styles of decoration and architecture constantly changing. The identification of rifles by schools would not come about until Joe Kindig Jr.'s monumental "Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden age"was published in 1960.He showed some early guns but it wasn't until 1980 when George Shumway brought out "Rifles of Colonial America" with it's many early rifles and multiple images, that the early rifles began to come into their own.It is with some of these early rifles that we see the French influence on early Pennsylvania rifles especially those from Bucks County,the Lehigh Valley and to some degree those rifles made in Reading.It should be noted too that French Hugenots fleeing France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 were showing up in America in the early 18th century.The Hugenot Ferree family of Lancaster County produced a number of gunsmiths beginning in the early 18th century.
Tom Patton

 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
04-04-09 10:02 AM - Post#703425    

    In response to Okwaho

I would like to see the complete works of the Ferree family over the years to see how they started out and what they ended up with style wise, I think there are several guns in RCA of Southern flavor that the author believes could go back to the 1740-50 period, the traits of these guns even though dated on speculation would be good sources for a pattern to build an early gun, and they and most others thought to be early are very much more than a stretched out German Jaeger, in time I hope this over simplification of gun evolution from grade school history books will fade away.
The smoke's blown out the vent till there is no more,then a charge of powder I pour, patch&ball go down the bore, shoulder the gun and fire some more


 
Mike Brooks 
Cannon
Posts: 6686
04-12-09 05:40 PM - Post#706950    

    In response to paulvallandigham

  • paulvallandigham Said:
Its a question of style, and personal preference. Both guns can be well made, and great shooters. Some prefer the French style, while others prefer the balance and style of the American fowlers.

Personally, I believe those who want the French style ( fusil) are more tuned into military re-enactments( Purists) that put actual replication ahead of performance, or balance. Rarely are Fusil owners willing to remove wood or cut the barrel length to get better balance.

The American Fowler took elements from the French, English, German, Dutch, and added elements unique to the American experience to make a slightly different fowler. It may not be a better gun than the French fusil, but many prefer it.


I told you guys I'd get back to this..... It's awfully difficult to nail down the term "American Fowler". It really depends where they were built. Many of the new england fowlers are french in profile due to the heavy french influence. Fowling guns made in PA. tend to look like PA rifles with out a cheek piece of patch box. Still others look like an english fowler...then you have to consider the club butt fowlers out of Massachusetts.
Then there are the french terms..."fusil" "fuzee" cripes they go on and on...Tom Patton seems to be able to say these words even with his Tennessee accent.
I have never and I mean NEVER seen a production built fowler (ie. Caywood, Center mark etc. you name it)that was properly shaped. Wether french, english or american, there is way too much wood left on these guns. Most custom guns are left with too much wood also.
These days we start with barrels with breeches that are too small with the balance of the barrel too thick, just backwards to what the old guns had. The old guns rarely had ram rods bigger than 5/16" and the web between barrel and ram rod is always about 1/8" sometimes less. Many of our locks today have bolsters that are way to thick resulting in a fat area through the breech area.
Keep in mind, original french barrels with breeches less than 1 1/8" are unheard of. Other than one kit offered today I don't know of one french kit that has a breech over an inch...it's an important detail in how the gun handles and looks!
Anyway, back to the original question. Until we start making guns like they used to be it's really a moot point. The "fusil de chasse"(french hunting gun) looks cool, but bash me in the face. This is an architecture thing, I believe that roman nose is designed to do just as it does, bash the cheek bone. (silly french, just as long as their guns look cool that's all that counts).
Personally I shoot a gun best that has a straight upper land lower buttstock with about 2 5/8" drop at the heel and about 1 1/2" drop at the comb. I don't get bashed in the face and recoil is dispersed well.

 
Russ T Frizzen 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4762
04-12-09 07:25 PM - Post#706976    

    In response to Mike Brooks

And then there are all those Hudson River Valley "Dutch" fowlers. I expect there is a lot of foreign influence there.

Fusils often look like a very plain fowler with later ones sometimes having provision for a bayonet. A true military fusil built for an officer resembles a lighter and more finely made musket of the same period.

It seems to me that the term was misused early on to describe any light trade gun as well as the original military pieces--it became a somewhat generic term and lost much of its meaning as a result.

To me a fowler is a civilian smoothbore used primarily as a hunting gun, but often could serve as the owner's militia weapon too.

A fusil is a light military smoothbore usually carried by an officer.

And a trade gun or trade musket is just that: a trade gun or musket, with the exception of the fusil de chasse, which actually is more of a sporting gun anyway. And the fusil de trait--well fusil is a French word, so they can use it as they wish--but it's really just a trade gun. IMHO



 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
04-12-09 07:51 PM - Post#706988    

    In response to Mike Brooks

"Personally, I believe those who want the French style ( fusil) are more tuned into military re-enactments( Purists) that put actual replication ahead of performance, or balance"

The French hunting guns are hardly military in nature,I have a fusil de chase .58 and it is a hunting gun and I hunt with it and it has become the best shooting, best gun to shoot I have ever had, they are lighter and of smaller bore than the military versions, and one can make one with fair balance from some of todays parts, though as Mike mentioned the barrels are wrong to start with but mine came in a little under 8 lbs with a thick walled barrel (1 1/6" at the breech same as a .62 but mine is .58 which is where a lot of my weight lies) and it handles quite well, I don't know that I would buy one of these pied de vache stocked guns off the rack so to speak, fit is pretty important with that profile. I was lucky with mine and also fitted it to shoulder and eye as I worked the wood down.
The smoke's blown out the vent till there is no more,then a charge of powder I pour, patch&ball go down the bore, shoulder the gun and fire some more


 
Okwaho 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1864
04-12-09 08:41 PM - Post#707008    

    In response to Russ T Frizzen

  • Russ T Frizzen Said:
And then there are all those Hudson River Valley "Dutch" fowlers. I expect there is a lot of foreign influence there.

Fusils often look like a very plain fowler with later ones sometimes having provision for a bayonet. A true military fusil built for an officer resembles a lighter and more finely made musket of the same period.

It seems to me that the term was misused early on to describe any light trade gun as well as the original military pieces--it became a somewhat generic term and lost much of its meaning as a result.

To me a fowler is a civilian smoothbore used primarily as a hunting gun, but often could serve as the owner's militia weapon too.


A fusil is a light military smoothbore usually carried by an officer.

And a trade gun or trade musket is just that: a trade gun or musket, with the exception of the fusil de chasse, which actually is more of a sporting gun anyway. And the fusil de trait--well fusil is a French word, so they can use it as they wish--but it's really just a trade gun. IMHO





The term Fusil came abut during the early 18th century in France where the true flintlock was invented Ca. 1620-30. Other guns seen in that early period were the matchlock,snaphaunce and wheelock. The French term Fusil pronounced Fusee/Fuzee was used to denote any long arm other than a matchlock.The wheelock and snaphaunce were fairly scarce and were used primarily by civilians. The military preferred the matchlock and it was used until the early 18th century. It was usually referred to by the French as a Mousquet.The term "Doglock" appeared around the early 17th century and was almost never seen outside of England,it was, contrary to popular opinion, never an ignition system but rather was used when applied as a "dog catch" serving as a safety on snaphaunce conversions to flintlock where there was no half cock notch on the tumbler.In the mid 17th century the "English Lock" appeared in response to the French true flintlock.The English lock appeared in three forms; 1. as a snaphaunce converted to flint,2.a flintlock constructed using a blank snaphaunce plate and 3.in the same basic form as the French true flintlock.Many English gunsmiths were reluctant to abandon the horizontal sear of the snaphaunce and preferred not to use a half cock notch on the tumbler. Their solution was retaining the dog catch as a safety.The dog catch remained in use on some English guns until about 1680 when the Samuel Oakes pattern flintlock began to be found on Hudson's Bay trade guns. S.James Gooding,"trade Guns of the Hudson's Bay Company 1670-1970",PP.38-43. The Oakes pattern gun was probably the embryonic North West gun and signaled the emergence of the true flintlock on British guns.The English, ever emulating the French, began to use the French term,"fusil" to denote a scaled down or lightened version of an infantry musket as well as using it to denote a fowling piece.

The French retained the term "Fusil" much as the British used the term Musket.thus a Fusil de chasse means a musket for hunting and a Fusil de grenadier means a musket for a Grenadier as opposed to a Fusil ordinaire or common musket Both of these last two are Marine muskets used by the French Companies de Franche incorrectly called the French Marines.
I hope I haven't muddied the waters too much.
Tom Patton.




 
Okwaho 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1864
04-13-09 06:58 AM - Post#707089    

    In response to Okwaho

Please note the error in my above post.

In line 8 the words "the term doglock appeared" should have read "The use of trhe dog catch appeared"
Sorry about that
Tom Patton

 
Mike Brooks 
Cannon
Posts: 6686
04-13-09 07:45 AM - Post#707103    

    In response to Okwaho

Thanks Tom. So, the terms "fusil and Fuzzee" are the same thing and basically mean musket or gun... I guess I have always referred to anything that was intended to kill birds a fowler....I'm SOOOO Anglo...

 
Stophel 
75 Cal.
Posts: 5185
Stophel
04-13-09 12:05 PM - Post#707181    

    In response to Mike Brooks

I've seen a restocked early French (probably late 17th century) "trade gun". Done in the early 19th century, probably New England, with an early 19th century lock. Iron hardware with big, bulbous shaped finials. The barrel had a massive breech, an inch and a quarter at least. DEEP square proof/maker mark on the left oblique flat at the breech.

R.E. Davis sells a barrel this big (and 48" long). I keep intending upon getting one (but not to do a French gun), but haven't gotten around to it yet.

 
Russ T Frizzen 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4762
04-13-09 01:35 PM - Post#707220    

    In response to Mike Brooks

Mike-you can also call your fowler a birding piece if you like. I've always thought it has a nice, archaeic ring to it!

 
Russ T Frizzen 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4762
04-13-09 01:41 PM - Post#707222    

    In response to Okwaho

Tom-I've sometimes wondered if the English did refer to locks with dog-catch safeties as dog locks. I suppose we'll never know, but to my mind the dog-catch is one of the best safeties ever devised for a muzzleloader. I'd really like to see a fancy, high end one, but all I've ever seen are military locks and some very basic fowlers.

Dan
















 
Okwaho 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1864
04-13-09 11:21 PM - Post#707437    

    In response to Russ T Frizzen

  • Russ T Frizzen Said:
Tom-I've sometimes wondered if the English did refer to locks with dog-catch safeties as dog locks. I suppose we'll never know, but to my mind the dog-catch is one of the best safeties ever devised for a muzzleloader. I'd really like to see a fancy, high end one, but all I've ever seen are military locks and some very basic fowlers.

Dan, the reason one doesn't see many dog catches on high art guns is that its use seems to have been largely confined to English guns.and then you find the dog catch primarily on converted snaphaunces, snaphaunce lock plates used with English lock internals and externals,and finally on pure early "English locks" which were common from about 1650-1684 when they began to be supplanted by the Samuel Oakes pattern locks,{see Gooding in previous post}I don't have much material on mid 17th century English guns but Beverly Straub who may still be associated with Historic Jamestown has done some great research on the "English lock" and its relationship with the snaphaunce and related material.
Tom Patton





















 
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