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Login Name Post: Northwest trade gun        (Topic#306743)
Bo T 
40 Cal.
Posts: 352
03-04-18 11:58 AM - Post#1672604    


Were any of the NW trade guns made with straight round barrels (breech to muzzle)? Or any for that matter (1750-1830)?

 
Black Hand 
Cannon
Posts: 7611
Black Hand
03-04-18 12:21 PM - Post#1672608    

    In response to Bo T

Doubtful...

 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7902
tenngun
03-04-18 01:14 PM - Post#1672614    

    In response to Black Hand

How the guns should look, barrel, sideplate, proof stamps were so standardized that American and Belgium gunmakers made exacting copies. The very first ‘bench reproductions’ as it were.
By the 1780s some of the southren tribes became adept at restocking and repairing guns. So as a ‘just maybe’ a round musket barrel got married to some random parts and was used by one of these Indian gunsmiths.

 
Black Hand 
Cannon
Posts: 7611
Black Hand
03-04-18 02:38 PM - Post#1672628    

    In response to tenngun

  • tenngun Said:
So as a ‘just maybe’ a round musket barrel got married to some random parts and was used by one of these Indian gunsmiths.


The OP asked about "Straight Round" barrels. The closest Barrel to that description would be the tapered barrels seen in certain cases (The Brown Bess barrel or those seen on an "Officers" musket). Straight round barrels, to the best of my knowledge, weren't used until recently (Please correct me if I am incorrect, but I've not seen one).


 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7902
tenngun
03-04-18 04:23 PM - Post#1672646    

    In response to Black Hand

Wasn’t thinking of that when I read it. When he said ‘straight” I was thinking tapered like a musket barrel. I took it to mean all round instead of half round. I can’t recall seeing any old round barreled gun that wasn’t tapered of old.

 
Loyalist Dave 
Cannon
Posts: 6847
Loyalist Dave
03-06-18 06:55 AM - Post#1672911    

    In response to Bo T

I'm not aware of any "pattern" of a tradegun or guns "traded" that had barrels that were not at least octagon-to-round.

Military muskets such as the LLP and SLP King's Musket, The French "Charleville" (though some early French carbines were octagon to round and some extant French full sized muskets go "octagon" about 3" from the breech), The Spanish, and the German, and the Swedish, were round barreled. Curiously, the Dutch were also octagon to round.

There are American made muskets based on French designs, that are round, and some also have the transition (without the "wedding band") to octagon at the breech. There are also fowlers and even contract muskets (such as the New England militia muskets c. 1820's) that were fully round barrels.

So can a trade gun of some sort have been made with a round barrel..., sure. Could a fusil or a musket have been traded to natives or civilians, sure. Could a musket have been modified, and then sold to civilians or trade to natives, again yes.

Here is a website with a wide variety of different flintlock smoothbores, plus some rifles, with good photos, and you can see the variations in barrels. Antique Arms Gallery

LD

 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7902
tenngun
03-07-18 11:22 AM - Post#1673109    

    In response to Loyalist Dave

At the end of the western Indian wars the losers were disarmed. All manner of guns were turned in. Interesting to note that at archeological digs at eastern Indian sites rarely find any old muskets.
In spite of siezures of British forts we just don’t see a lot of evidence of military arms getting in to Indian hands. I wonder why.
Now I think the Brown Bess 1st and 2ed model are about the most beautiful guns ever made. And it had a full round barrel...except for a flat to fit the lock against. You have to make a flat. So it just seems aesthetically pleasing to make a half round.

 
Loyalist Dave 
Cannon
Posts: 6847
Loyalist Dave
03-08-18 06:42 AM - Post#1673214    

    In response to tenngun

  • Quote:
In spite of siezures of British forts we just don’t see a lot of evidence of military arms getting in to Indian hands. I wonder why.

Natives were pretty savvy and probably didn't want to feed such guns, when smaller, lighter guns would do the job..., the folks who supplied the components probably didn't want to be shot at with military weapons and ball. A lot of South American countries are like that today..., you can't get modern firearms in calibers reserved for the government and military.

Might also stem some pilfering. You can't steal a keg of .675 musket ball and sell it to traders to sell to the Indians if the Indians are all armed with .62 fusils or smaller. (yes I know they can be melted down and recast...takes time) To get the lucrative monopoly on furs, maybe the HBC's agreement had a part not to sell fusils larger than 20 gauge to the natives ??

LD

 
Rich Pierce 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4228
03-08-18 10:53 AM - Post#1673245    

    In response to Loyalist Dave

I have a round original barrel with London engraved on top. 46”, about 20 ga, converted to percussion. No way of knowing what the rest of the gun was. Very plain, though.

 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7902
tenngun
03-08-18 02:20 PM - Post#1673279    

    In response to Loyalist Dave

I had never heard of such a deal. I had assumed it was just a numbers game. Europe loved to think in sets of numbers. A dozen is one set. ( Twelve tribes of Isreal, Twelve tablets of Roman law, Twelve men on a jury, a dozen donuts) the French pound was heavier then the English. A twenty bore in English is a twenty four bore in French, two dozen. It is a handy cross over since 1/10 th and 1/20 were also handy numbers. The next step down in English trade guns was to a 1/24 th.
In popular lore Indians got the short end of the stick in trading , but in fact they were sharp traders that got what they wanted. One can picture a young warrior picking up a kings musket and Thanking the powers that be for the gift, a gift he traded for a “real” gun just as quick as his moccs could get him to the trading post.

 
Loyalist Dave 
Cannon
Posts: 6847
Loyalist Dave
03-10-18 08:38 AM - Post#1673582    

    In response to tenngun

Might have stemmed from the Roman way of thinking.

£sd comes from the Latin, Librae, Solidi, Denarii, though the English use pound, shilling, and pence.

12 pence to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound....,



LD

 
smoothshooter 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1100
03-11-18 11:13 AM - Post#1673761    

    In response to tenngun

I suspect the Indians may not have been too fond of muskets because they were not as economical to shoot as smaller gauged guns.
Also, the lighter weight of the .50 to .65 caliber smoothbores with their thinner barrels may have been more pleasing to cultures accustomed to carring around lighter weight weapons like bows, arrows, and spears.

 
Luzur 
40 Cal.
Posts: 179
Luzur
07-07-18 02:46 PM - Post#1692898    

    In response to Loyalist Dave

  • Loyalist Dave Said:
I'm not aware of any "pattern" of a tradegun or guns "traded" that had barrels that were not at least octagon-to-round.

Military muskets such as the LLP and SLP King's Musket, The French "Charleville" (though some early French carbines were octagon to round and some extant French full sized muskets go "octagon" about 3" from the breech), The Spanish, and the German, and the Swedish, were round barreled. Curiously, the Dutch were also octagon to round.

There are American made muskets based on French designs, that are round, and some also have the transition (without the "wedding band") to octagon at the breech. There are also fowlers and even contract muskets (such as the New England militia muskets c. 1820's) that were fully round barrels.

So can a trade gun of some sort have been made with a round barrel..., sure. Could a fusil or a musket have been traded to natives or civilians, sure. Could a musket have been modified, and then sold to civilians or trade to natives, again yes.

Here is a website with a wide variety of different flintlock smoothbores, plus some rifles, with good photos, and you can see the variations in barrels. Antique Arms Gallery

LD



Actually, earlier Swedish 1700's barrels where octagon-to-round, it changed to round barrels around middle 1700's.

 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7902
tenngun
07-08-18 10:29 AM - Post#1692956    

    In response to smoothshooter

I think another part is killing power. Indians were already master of the close hunt. And they seemed to have figured out things modern traditional muzzleloaders take a while to learn. That we don’t need the wrath of God to put deer in the pot. As our .45 cal hunters will point out that a .45 PRB is plenty for a deer. A .54 smoothie within range is more then enough for most American game. Economy works when you discover you don’t need 1/12 of a pound of lead and 1/50 of a pound of powder to have feed the family.

 
Native Arizonan 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1541
07-08-18 11:23 AM - Post#1692958    

    In response to tenngun

  • tenngun Said:
I had never heard of such a deal. I had assumed it was just a numbers game. Europe loved to think in sets of numbers. A dozen is one set. ( Twelve tribes of Isreal, Twelve tablets of Roman law, Twelve men on a jury, a dozen donuts) the French pound was heavier then the English. A twenty bore in English is a twenty four bore in French, two dozen. It is a handy cross over since 1/10 th and 1/20 were also handy numbers. The next step down in English trade guns was to a 1/24 th.
In popular lore Indians got the short end of the stick in trading , but in fact they were sharp traders that got what they wanted. One can picture a young warrior picking up a kings musket and Thanking the powers that be for the gift, a gift he traded for a “real” gun just as quick as his moccs could get him to the trading post.



It may not have been worth anything, except good will on the part of the trader, if that. I would think the bessies belonged to the crown, and just because they were found somewhere other than in the hands of the military, didn't change that fact. I would think an Indian who carried one would likely have it taken away from him, and he would find himself suspect of a foul deed.

 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7902
tenngun
07-08-18 05:32 PM - Post#1692993    

    In response to Native Arizonan

The European powers were unpredictable how they would deal with tribesfrom time to time. I think your points pretty solid. The French did get some victories over the Brits from time to time, I’ve oft wondered what became of those captive muskets.
We know some vessels did end up out of the military from time to time, and then offercers fusillade were largely light blesses, lastly guns abound march ships were often Bess like. Those guns did get sold off. Yet we don’t see them in archeological sites of Indian villages. In the words of Heth ‘the situation is very confused’.

 
Elnathan 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1263
07-09-18 10:29 AM - Post#1693059    

    In response to tenngun

According to Russell in "Guns on the Early Frontiers," British military aid to the Cherokee and other SE peoples 1776-78 did include Brown Besses (page 50). He gives three separate sources for this, but all of them are secondary as far as I can tell. The footnote mentions that some of these guns were captured when Dragging Canoe's village Chickamauga was raided in 1779.

 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7902
tenngun
07-09-18 12:06 PM - Post#1693072    

    In response to Elnathan

Yes indeed. We see this reason that would put Bessie’s in Indian hands, however we don’t see the remains in archlogical sites.
Now ball comes to mind also. I can shoot a 20 bore ball out of a Bess, but not the other way around. So absence of fat Bess ball at sites proves nothing. Of corse absence of proof is not proof of absence. Given that fact that blesses show up all over the world in private hands and blesses have a pathway in to Indian hands makes me think some warriors had to have a few.
I would just like to see some.

 
satx78247 
Cannon
Posts: 6207
07-09-18 06:46 PM - Post#1693117    

    In response to tenngun

Fwiw, the Bess was by far the most common firearm in EARLY Texas & a Bess fired at a bison from the back of a fleet-footed "buffalo pony"/mustang (whether by a NA, a Tejano or an Anglo immigrant) was "quite suitable" to that task, as the "range to target" could be less than 5-6 FEET out to 10-15 yards.
I suspect that a NW Trade Gun would serve admirably in that same task.

Note: Perseverance B. Willis, who was an early resident of Nacogdoches, New Spain/Mexico/TX & a commercial market hunter, claimed that he could fire/load/fire his musket from a running pony 3X a minute, when "running buffalo".
(Readers will note that I said: claimed.)

yours, satx


 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7902
tenngun
07-09-18 07:14 PM - Post#1693121    

    In response to satx78247

Some time ago there was a thread about guns on the Texas frontier and the record was of picking up guns from freebooters and in the gun was at lest one bess

 
satx78247 
Cannon
Posts: 6207
07-09-18 08:36 PM - Post#1693131    

    In response to tenngun

The curator of the Alamo Shrine told our class, when I trained as a "living history docent", that likely 50-70% of longarms in TX during our revolution were Bess muskets of varied sorts.

MOST immigrants to New Spain & Texas-Coahuila were DIRT POOR & a Bess was CHEAP/available/would fire all sorts of "loads" & worked as well as any other flinter in 1800-36 did.
(According to "Colonel" Josias Williams of Karnack, TX, a "usable Brown Bess could be bought for a single Spanish silver coin".)
"Colonel" Williams did NOT say what sort of silver coin.
(I put quotation marks around "Colonel", as Williams seems to have appointed himself, as the AL Militia has NO record of his service, much less of his ever having been a commissioned officer.)

yours, satx


Edited by satx78247 on 07-09-18 08:37 PM. Reason for edit: typos

 
tenngun 
Cannon
Posts: 7902
tenngun
07-09-18 10:35 PM - Post#1693140    

    In response to satx78247

That’s interesting. And of course the boys on the other side had old blesses.
Then to it’s easy to mistake an officers fusil for a bess until you start looking close.

 
satx78247 
Cannon
Posts: 6207
07-09-18 11:25 PM - Post#1693147    

    In response to tenngun

That's correct for certain.

In TX, as well as I presume other locales, "good 'ole Bess" was rebuilt, recycled, cut-down, sometimes relined/rifled & after 1830 frequently converted to percussion.
"Sweet Baby", the famous (or notorious, depending on your opinion of "Our Harriet") about 16 gauge rifle that was owned by "our very own East Texas Wildcat", Harriet Ames Potter was made from parts of at least 4 Bess muskets, according to Harriet Potter.

Nacogdoches had 2 "musket conversion shops" by 1834 & CPT Shreve's Port (now Shreveport, LA) had at least 5 such shops that repaired/modified/remodeled the Brown Bess.

yours, satx


 
satx78247 
Cannon
Posts: 6207
07-10-18 12:08 AM - Post#1693149    

    In response to satx78247

Btw, "Sweet Baby" was built by Mrs. Sybil Goldstein, "the famous Lady Gunsmith of Galveston" about 1833-34.- That rifle is said (It disappeared sometime after Robert Potter was murdered & Harriet fled to New Orleans.) to be "one of the most handsome of rifles that was ever built in Texas".

yours, satx


 
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