Fusil de Chasse?

Muzzleloading Forum

Help Support Muzzleloading Forum:

AtlatlMan

36 Cl.
Joined
Nov 24, 2022
Messages
65
Reaction score
79
Location
Ruritania
Would there still be Fusil de Chasse floating around in the Rendezvous era or had they fallen out of use by that time, never making it that far west?
 

rich pierce

70 Cal.
Joined
Nov 27, 2004
Messages
6,009
Reaction score
2,971
Location
Andover, VT
The Rocky Mountain fur trade rendezvous were in the 1820s-30’s. Fusils de chasse would be on average 50 years old. NW trade guns are much more prevalent in the fur trade rondy era.
 

Red Owl

45 Cal.
Joined
Jan 26, 2021
Messages
867
Reaction score
783
Location
Florida
NW Trade guns definitely would be more common but I'd say a fusil de Chase could turn up as a lot of French trappers were around. Manual Lisa used a cut off Brown Bess. The early years obviously would be the better.
Don't misunderstand what I'm saying. If you have one, I'd use it but if you are looking to buy one just for a mountain men persona, then I'd go with the NW Trade gun.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
23,346
Reaction score
22,426
Location
Republic mo
Almost all surviving FDCs were owned and in use up until the early twentieth century and being bought up by collectors and museums.
And a young man could well be gifted with grand dads gun.
Cared for a fifty to hundred year old gun is going to be fully functional.
Howsomever
People bought new stuff when they could. A twenty to thirty year old gun is one thing a fifty becomes another.
Most people that went west were supplied a gun by the company. The By God Mountain Man free trapper was rare, and most servers for some time working for a company before they got free. After all they owed the company a ton of money for outfit and transporting to the mountains, and was often in debt by the time rendezvous was over.
 

rich pierce

70 Cal.
Joined
Nov 27, 2004
Messages
6,009
Reaction score
2,971
Location
Andover, VT
Keep in mind the FDC was French and primarily used in French-claimed or ruled territories, which were not under French control by the Rocky Mountain fur trade era. If you’re doing a Great Lakes or Canadian or even Illinois territory impression pre 1800 a FDC makes sense. Otherwise, you’re carrying a gun with 40 years of hard service on it.
 

Notchy Bob

58 Cal.
Joined
Apr 6, 2014
Messages
2,463
Reaction score
5,165
Location
Florida
I think the American mountain men, free trappers and company personnel, as well as the eastern tribesmen who went west, generally preferred rifles. The northern and western natives, British, and Canadians liked smoothbores.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
1,253
Reaction score
2,346
Keep in mind the FDC was French and primarily used in French-claimed or ruled territories, which were not under French control by the Rocky Mountain fur trade era. If you’re doing a Great Lakes or Canadian or even Illinois territory impression pre 1800 a FDC makes sense. Otherwise, you’re carrying a gun with 40 years of hard service on it.
The FDC would have certainly made it that far west as the French Voyagers were trading as far west as their canoes would take them throughout the mid 1700's, starting from Montreal or Kaskaskia and staying out sometimes over winter before returning the next year.

Rich is correct in that while there may have been some still around in the 1800's they would have been pretty used up by then. Those still involved in the trade would probably upgrade when returning with their furs.
 

Notchy Bob

58 Cal.
Joined
Apr 6, 2014
Messages
2,463
Reaction score
5,165
Location
Florida
I guess it would be a question of likelihood versus possibility. Would it be likely to have found a fusil de chasse at a Rocky Mountain fur trapper's rendezvous? Probably not. Would an American mountain man have carried one? Even less likely. But would it be possible? I think so... A few more or less intact French fusils have survived into the 21st century, so there were probably even more of them floating around 200 years ago, and these guns did get around. A TVLLE marked lock plate was recovered from the Apalachicola River here in Florida a few years ago. Who knows how it got there... We had a few Frenchmen down this way in colonial times, but not very many. In any event, I don't think it would be too big of a stretch to imagine a French voyageur, a real hivernant, carrying his trusty old fusee to a trappers' gathering in the Rockies. After all, rendezvous is a French word, and we know some Frenchmen attended them. We recall Kit Carson's famous duel with "Shunar," which was a corruption of the French surname, Chouinard.

I'll still maintain that the American trappers preferred rifles, though. This is mentioned several times in the literature of the period.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 

freedom475

40 Cal.
Joined
May 22, 2008
Messages
391
Reaction score
579
Russell Osborne, during the rendezvous period, mentions many times, the "fusil ball" being fired from an Indian gun. Maybe that was common slang at the time for all smoothbore round-balls that are fired in your direction from the enemy(?)

Then years later A Rough Trip Through Paradise mentions that it was considered a treasonous act to give a "needle gun" to the Indians, who were still allowed muskets.
I'll bet there were a few FdC's out there on the plains and in the mountains.. Just maybe not in a white man's hands.
 
Last edited:

Notchy Bob

58 Cal.
Joined
Apr 6, 2014
Messages
2,463
Reaction score
5,165
Location
Florida
The word, fusil, is French. I don't speak French, but from what I have learned, I believe it is a pretty generic term for a long gun, and it is still part of the vocabulary. If you Google fusil de chasse ("gun for hunting"), you will find a variety of images. There will be a number of flintlocks, but you will also find a lot of pictures that look like this:

2022-12-12.png

Fusil, as a French word, is pronounced something like "foo-SEE." In the literature of the 19th century, writers generally spelled it as "fusee." Uncle Dick Wootton gave us one of the best defintions:

Wootton, p.42.png

This was from "Uncle Dick" Wootton (p. 42), edited by Howard Louis Conard and published in 1890.

Caspar Whitney didn't call it a "fusee," but he illustrated the type of gun carried by the northern natives:

Old Flint-Lock (2).jpg
My take on it is that the trappers and frontiersmen used the term "fusee" in reference to smoothbored Indian trade guns in general, and not necessarily only the French guns.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 

smoothshooter

50 Cal.
Joined
Nov 6, 2005
Messages
2,914
Reaction score
1,507
The Rocky Mountain fur trade rendezvous were in the 1820s-30’s. Fusils de chasse would be on average 50 years old. NW trade guns are much more prevalent in the fur trade rondy era.

How many of us still hunt and shoot with guns that are 50 years old and older?
 

smoothshooter

50 Cal.
Joined
Nov 6, 2005
Messages
2,914
Reaction score
1,507
How many of us that do use 50 year old guns used hard every day under some awful conditions? I’ve seen and worked on original flintlock and percussion guns used hard for 30 years. They are a mess. Not shootable.

Sometimes true, but not all guns in the old days got that much hard use.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
23,346
Reaction score
22,426
Location
Republic mo
Sometimes true, but not all guns in the old days got that much hard use.
But specifically this question related to a TFC in the mountains during the late years of tge beaver trade.
The mountain man lives outdoor in poor shelters only in winter would they have ‘good’ housing, and that might be a half shelter or old tipi
We know company men and most likely free trappers took good care of their guns, however they lived a life ‘rode hard and put up wet’ and their guns were right beside them
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2020
Messages
340
Reaction score
376
Location
Queensland
Interesting topic.
As mentioned, the free trappers were the minority. However that’s the image we think of…a solitary man or maybe a pair, and the equipment they could carry. And rifles in our popular imagination.

I suspect smoothbores were more common than we think because of their versatility and affordability (Especially if they were ‘milsurp’ military muskets)

We don’t often remember the ‘brigade’ system of hunting and trapping, which went well back into the 18th century. Fairly large groups of a few dozen men and quite well supplied, some financed by investors back east. These brigades could include a doctor, a blacksmith (and a forge and tools), camp-jack general labourers, a cook or two, a carpenter, and heaps of supplies and spare parts; sometimes an accountant/bookkeeper etc…. Everything needed to sustain men for lengthy durations in the wilderness.

Pardon my rambling.
 
Top