Frizzen Bridle?

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Boston123

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Can someone please explain to me what this is?

Apparently it isn't period for a gun used in New England in the late 1600s-early 1700s to have a frizzen bridle. Since that is the time period I am interested in reenacting, I purchased a gun that, according to the description page, fit the period. (K-11 Early English Trade Gun)

However, I still am unsure if it has a frizzen bridle or not.

Here is the lock on my gun

lock.jpg


As far as I can tell, and according to the photos on this page (Clothing and Gear of the Recreated Snowshoemen – Harmon's Snowshoemen), my lock does not have a frizzen bridle..... unless I an misunderstanding what a frizzen bridle is.

Maybe you fine folk can point me in the right direction
 

Grenadier1758

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The bridle provides support to both sides of the frizzen.

The lock on my Land Pattern is unbridled. The frizzen screw is directly supported on the frizzen.

Bess Lock.JPG


You have a support projecting from the pan. The frizzen screw in your lock is supported by that extension and the lock plate.
 

Loyalist Dave

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Unbridled English Lock

Unbridled English Lock.JPG


Unfortunately, to back-engineer your lock takes a lot of work, and in the end, it will cost about the same as fitting a new lock manufactured as unbridled..., providing that you can find a compatible lock to do so.

LD
 

plmeek

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Apparently it isn't period for a gun used in New England in the late 1600s-early 1700s to have a frizzen bridle. Since that is the time period I am interested in reenacting, I purchased a gun that, according to the description page, fit the period. (K-11 Early English Trade Gun)
I'm sorry you didn't get what you thought you were ordering. There's been another recent post by someone that wasn't satisfied with a gun they ordered from Sitting Fox, too.

It looks like Sitting Fox substituted an L&R "Queen Anne" lock for the R.E. Davis English fowler flintlock they mention in their description. The R.E. Davis lock does not have a frizzen bridle.

Unfortunately, that's not the end of it. The gun that Sitting Fox has pictured and described as an "early 1700’s version of the English trade gun" is not what it is represented to be. That particular style trade gun was one the British started making, possibly during, but definitely after the F&I War (Hanson & Harmon 2011: 202-205). The British likely gifted and traded these guns to Indians that had been supplied by the French and preferred certain French characteristics such as the shape of the butt and the finial on the butt plate extension. The fact that this style of trade gun has a serpent sideplate with cast-in scales very much like what was used on the Northwest trade gun definitely dates it post-1750 as that style of serpent sideplate did not exist before 1749.

We really don't know much about the English trade guns made in the late 17th and early 18th century. We have some vague descriptions from period documents and archeological artifacts, but these are just the metal parts of the guns. Practically no known trade guns have survived from the 17th century. Below is a line drawing of what S. James Gooding believes the Hudson's Bay Company were trading to Indians in the late 1670s and early 1680s (Gooding 2003: 39). This trade gun had a flat lock.

17th Century HBC trade gun.jpg

In 1681, the HBC asked gunsmith Samuel Oakes to make up a new pattern trade gun. The Oakes' pattern trade gun had a round lock, a stylized serpent sideplate, and a trigger guard that was common on English guns of the period (see below).

Samuel Oakes sideplate
Gooding Ft Albany Samuel Oakes sideplate.jpg


Samuel Oakes trigger guards
Early TG parts Ft Albany Gooding pg47.jpg



"For a gun used in New England in the late 1600s to early 1700s," you might want to study Tom Grinslade's Flintlock Fowlers: The First Guns Made in America. His New England Fowler #1 is probably close to a trade gun that would have been used in New England late in the 17th century.

English Club Butt Fowlers were also traded to the Indians in New England. Tom Grinsade's CB #2, CB #3, and CB #4 are probably good representations of the type common in the early 1700s. CB #4 has a flat, engraved serpent sideplate similar to what was used on the Type G or Carolina trade gun.

These English club butt guns were likely copied from the French Buccaneer guns that were also traded to Indians in the 17th and early 18th centuries.

The Sitting Fox gun shown below would be a good choice for the post-F&I War period up through the Rev War.



There are several of these guns that have survived. Most have locks and barrels marked "WILSON" and "RW", respectively. Richard Wilson was born in 1703 and apprenticed under Thomas Greene from 1718 to 1725. Wilson probably continued to work for Greene until Greene's death in 1728 and took over Greene's firm from his widow in 1730 and registered his mark, "RW", with the Gunmaker's Company in that year. Richard Wilson made trade guns for the Hudson's Bay Company from 1730-1756. His firm also made trade guns for the British Board of Trade. One of Richard Wilson's sons, William, joined the firm in 1757. William carried on the business after Richard died in 1766 and continued to use the mark "RW". William's son, also named William, took over after his father died in 1808 and kept the family firm in operation until his death in 1832. This particular trade gun was not likely made before 1730, and most probably after 1760.

T. M. Hamilton's Colonial Frontier Guns has a detail description and pictures of one of these Wilson trade guns (Hamilton 1980: 73, 78-79). It has been personalized by an early owner with seed beads inset into the wood. Included is the date "1777".

Sitting Fox is using deceptive marketing in calling these an "early 1700’s version of the English trade gun".
 

Boston123

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I have already cleared the use of this K-11 "Early English Trade Gun" with the reenactment-group leader, as well as the use of the Queen Anne L&R lock with the frizzen bridle, so I am clear on that front.

...I am glad that my gun isn't nearly as bad as the one in that post. I have some issues with mine (some of the fittings on parts is.... weird), but at least it is functional and looks decent.

I am just upset that I tried to do my research and found Sitting Fox to have a pretty good reputation from what I read. Getting started in muzzleloading alone is difficult enough, now I find out that what I spent a lot of money on isn't what I thought it was? I didn't even know enough to ask about the lock having a frizzen bridle when it arrived.

Man, what a bummer.

On a side note, do you know if it is possible to purchase that Samuel Oakes sideplate? Maybe I can finagle a fit...
 

Musketeer

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It looks like Sitting Fox substituted an L&R "Queen Anne" lock for the R.E. Davis English fowler flintlock they mention in their description. The R.E. Davis lock does not have a frizzen bridle.
It does look that way. Interestingly, the completed gun in their pics has an unbridled frizzen, but the last pic of just the parts shows a bridled one. :dunno:
 

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dave_person

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Hi,
Let's get this pan bridle stuff cleared up because there is a lot of misinformation being presented. First, Boston, your lock is probably a L&R Queen Anne lock, which is a historically confused bit of modern work. It is not from the 17th or early 18th century, not because of the pan bridle, which it has, but because of the two screws showing behind the cock and the frizzen spring finial. L&R created this lock to superficially look early but they did not follow through with the details. At best it represents a livery quality lock from the late 1760s to 1770s. Even then it is a poor reproduction. Pan bridles were used for turn off pistols as early as 1690 but were not common on most English locks until after 1730 or so. For any New England guns from the late 17th and early 18th century, you need to have the lock built from proper cast parts either by The Rifle Shoppe or E. J. Blackley. Leonard Day passed away recently, but his family might still have proper locks for sale as well. There are no other commercially made locks that will do for the period you are considering. Below are photos of locks appropriate for your time period. The L&R Queen Anne is not nor is it really accurate for any period.







dave
 
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toot

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I think gun's without a bridle, look just great. and they work just as good as one with one? no?
 

plmeek

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I have already cleared the use of this K-11 "Early English Trade Gun" with the reenactment-group leader, as well as the use of the Queen Anne L&R lock with the frizzen bridle, so I am clear on that front.
That's good. Then you will be able to use the gun as you intended.

On a side note, do you know if it is possible to purchase that Samuel Oakes sideplate? Maybe I can finagle a fit...
I don't know of any commercially available sideplates like the Samuel Oake's version.

One other option, if the sideplate on your gun is thick enough and has enough relief, is to carefully file, or grind with a Dremel tool, the scales off the existing serpent's body. You don't need to change its shape, just make the body of the serpent as smooth as you can.

Below are examples of serpent/dragon sideplates that were common on many 17th and early 18th century guns in England and Europe. Similar sideplates to these have been found in early to mid-18th century archeological sites associated with Indian burials. These are not common but obviously were traded to the Indians, possibly as fowlers that were used by civilians as well as Indians.

Pistol by Robert Harvey c. 1710 (Neal & Back 1984: 356).
Robert Harvey Serpent sideplate 1710.jpg

Unsigned pistol, c. 1690, with a very similar side plate (Neil & Back 1984: 222).
unsigned Serpent sideplate 1690.jpg


Fine Germanic rifle, with “GAM” on the lock but date unknown. (Jim Gordon collection)
Germanic Rifle Dragon sideplate.jpg



Similar sideplates with the smooth body and no scales have been found in archeological sites in New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

Lock and sideplate recovered from a Mohawk grave in New York. (Hanson & Harmon 2011: 129); (Brown 1980: 180)
Early Dragon sideplate Hanson pg 129821.jpg


From Rock Turtle site near Fort Prince George, Pickens County, South Carolina. (Hamilton 1980: 108)
Rock Turtle sideplate.jpg


If you can modify the serpent sideplate on your gun to more closely resemble these smooth body versions, then you will have a very unique gun.
 

Boston123

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Looking at some other trade-guns from the time period, I am seeing some that just don't have sideplates at all, with the lock-screws sitting on the wood of the stock. I am considering just taking the serpent off and using greased leather washers under the screwheads.
 

FlinterNick

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Does a lock with a pan bridal work better than one without?

No, not nessesarially a very well made bridaless lock are known to work very well, the pan bridal can improve or mitigate the action of the lock, it really depends on how well the lock is assembled.

French Locks showed very good improvements with the pan bridal, and additional reliability can’t only be credited to the bridal but also to the increase in spring quality.

The initial production of the 1728 musket was made with a pan bridal and was found to be of minimal improvement, however the french didn’t attempt to improve the springs of that period, so there’s relevance in the complete quality of the lock. The pan bridal was subsequently abandoned on the 1746/48 model as a cost measure, had it worked very well, the French likely would have retained it. The 1754 lock saw improvments in lock with both a pan bridal and spring quality.

The British use of a pan bridal on the upgraded 1730/40 muskets saw a good deal of improvement in the lock quality, the bridal enabled te British to change the shape of the pan and frizzen As a cost measure.

I had purchased a used 1803 rifle by the Rifle Shoppe some years ago, the lock was in vast need to work, part of the issue was the frizzen set up with the bridal was wobbly, the assembler of the lock simply didn’t fit the frizzen well to the pan and or removed too much steel While polishing.

Historically the 1803 was known as an excellent working lock.
 

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