Northwest trade guns

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Treestalker

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Before you waste money on that Pedersoli junk from Dixie, look up Pecatonica River Muzzleloaders, webpage and look at their Northwest Gun on the Stocks and components page. With a fully inletted stock, barrel in 20 guage, L&R trade gun lock, and all the other furniture, for a price of $544 and change. Now they do charge extra for shipping, etc, but they are great to deal with, often upgrading their wood, I can't say enough good about them. If you get their parts collection,. you will have to do more gunsmithing, it's not drop in, but you will have a Real NW gun that actually shoots and is historic. I would recommend a good book with plans, The Trade Gun by Charles Hanson is great, with actual size drawings from two historic guns, a Whately and a Barnett. Good luck on your journey, don't forget to customize your gun with NA decoration, tacks, trade silver overlays, and horsehair drops, Hoka Hey! George.
 

toot

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Just went and looked up. It seems Henry was making .60,.65 and .70NWG. Museum of the fur trade has Belgian trade guns from .59 to .65 HBC sold premade ball in 28 bore and 30 bore size
thank you for that info!!
 

tenngun

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Before you waste money on that Pedersoli junk from Dixie, look up Pecatonica River Muzzleloaders, webpage and look at their Northwest Gun on the Stocks and components page. With a fully inletted stock, barrel in 20 guage, L&R trade gun lock, and all the other furniture, for a price of $544 and change. Now they do charge extra for shipping, etc, but they are great to deal with, often upgrading their wood, I can't say enough good about them. If you get their parts collection,. you will have to do more gunsmithing, it's not drop in, but you will have a Real NW gun that actually shoots and is historic. I would recommend a good book with plans, The Trade Gun by Charles Hanson is great, with actual size drawings from two historic guns, a Whately and a Barnett. Good luck on your journey, don't forget to customize your gun with NA decoration, tacks, trade silver overlays, and horsehair drops, Hoka Hey! George.
That price is for the parts only, the stock is sold separately and runs $150 or so
 

FlinterNick

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Not sure if I should ask this here of or a different section. Contemplating getting a NWTG kit from either Caywood or Sitting Fox. Any opinion on who makes the best kit? Which is easier to assemble figuring I get the lock pre-cut out? I know there is a big price difference between companies. My gun will be used for hunting, getting scratched and nicked up, not a gun just to be used on the range where it will be handled with care.
Well first thing on Northwest Trade Gun Kits.

They’re often thought of as a kitchen table kit, this is completely wrong, these kits however can be modified to be high level kits or beginner kits. Sitting Fox does a good job of customizing their kits to demand DetailS Such as lock inletting, they even mark punch where the pin holes are located, this is great if you don’t have a drill press and are working with a hand drill and jig.

Track, and Caywood are known for being more complicated kits.

Clay Smith makes the finest kits I’ve ever seen, very easy and detailed to work on Too, he also can customize the kits. You’re also dealing with one of the best blackpowder gunsmiths in the country.

Without question the easiest trade gun kit is the pedersoli kit. This kit can be completed literally on a kitchen table or office desk with minimal tools. Just check over the kit, Dixie Gun Works is known for holding on to very old stock, so check it over.
 

tenngun

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I would ask if you have ever built a kit.
The Track of the wolf or Pecotonic guns do requires a lot of work.
Sitting Fox will do a lot for you, I think other companies offer similar service. How ever. Some work is dicey.
For instance, locks need to look nice in fit. And also in placement. It’s very easy for the mortise to be cut to far forward or back, and we are only talking a 1/16” here.or just slightly too big. But it makes a big difference.
I don’t have a drill press. But I do have a mini press for a dremol. I used it to cut a pilot hole for a pin and then followed up with a hand drill. Big pain
 

3Setters

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No, never built a kit. My experience would be with redoing stocks and barrels of unmentionable shotguns. Thus looking for a kit I can learn on, without it overwhelming me. Thats why I'm here asking questions trying to learn something. Appreciate all the information everyone is passing along, and will hopefully keep passing along. Hopefully this doesnt turn into a whizzing match about which kit is best. To my untrained eye, I see a lot of good in them. The weight of the Caywood guns really drew me to their kits, although I assume other kits are similar in weight to carry around. I know the current Pedersoli SxS guns we more than the model I'm using, so I have to assume their Trade Gun has also gained weight over the years.

One thing I noticed about some of the Trade guns was the short LOP at 13.5 inches. Is this normal?
 
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longcruise

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@Notchy Bob
I noticed in the photos of the Barnett gun that the butt seemed much narrower than what is usually depicted for an NWG. What do you make of that?
 

stephenprops1

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Military guns were built bigger, but civilian smoothbores of all types tended to be smaller. I don’t know if a NWG was made above 20 bore, but 24 and 28 bore were made.
We see even 8 10 and 12 bore top end fowling guns and doubles, but bores around 20 were ‘run of the mill’ gun sizes back in the day.
I have a 16-gauge (66 caliber) Rogers Rangers, smoothbore, flintlock by Larry Zornes. I got it in May of this year. I have not shot it yet.
 

Notchy Bob

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@Notchy Bob
I noticed in the photos of the Barnett gun that the butt seemed much narrower than what is usually depicted for an NWG. What do you make of that?
@longcruise ,

Thank you for your comments. I think that gun in the "collage" of photos was re-stocked, using most of the original hardware, likely by a gunsmith at one of the frontier trading centers. James Josiah Webb, a Santa Fe trader, reported that his rifle had been re-stocked at Bent's fort, and Lewis Garrard stated that his rifle had been re-stocked by "an enterprising Dutchman" with limited tools on the frontier. So, we know this type of work was done.

Looking at the Barnett gun, I agree with you about the buttstock. Other unusual features are the absence of the "baluster wrist" that was always seen on English trade guns, as well as on the Brown Bess. The subject gun has what I would describe as a simple "shotgun butt." The buttplate on this gun appears to have more rounded corners than you normally see on Northwest guns, and frankly it looks more comfortable. I think somebody either "improved" or replaced it. Finally, the carving around the lock looks very crude to me, suggesting the possible re-stock was done by someone competent but not a master of the craft. Maybe a blacksmith who did some gunsmithing when necessary. Northwest guns were relatively cheap, but they weren't this crude. I'm not certain of the wood on the Barnett gun, either. It doesn't look typical to me. Maybe a local Canadian wood like birch? I can't say.

It is an interesting gun!

Notchy Bob
 

Runewolf1973

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I have two .62 caliber NWTG's. One is from Caywood and the other one is from Track of the Wolf both bought second hand. Both are nice guns, but what makes the Caywood stand out is the barrel thickness/weight and size of the thimbles. The gun we got from Track has a thin profile stock, but it has smallish diameter thimbles and a rather thick barrel. It is smaller, heavier and has a thinner ramrod. My Caywood has a thinner, lightwieght barrel and very genrously sized thimbles allowing for a nice, sturdy ramrod that I feel is far less likely to break on me. The Track gun is all fancy and emellished with tacks and a buffalo inlay, but it just seems too "pieced together". With the Caywood, everything just feels perfect...proportions, balance, weight. I love that gun.... Love, love, love that gun.
Screenshot_20200305-085131_Gallery.jpg
Screenshot_20200305-084917_Gallery.jpg
 

Steve Martin

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Caywood is a very fine Trade Gun but I couldn't afford one. Got a chance to buy a Sitting Fox for less than half the price of the Caywood and it has been one of the finest flintlocks I have owned. Handles and shoots great. Might not be quite as HC as some other makes but I promise you - a time traveler from back in the fur trade days would still recognize it in an instant!
 

Notchy Bob

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One of the biggest confused topics on the NW trade gun is the position of the tang screw, as it is drilled on 45 degree angle from the trigger guard to the tang. Often mistook for sloppy work or short cuts for a lack of a trigger plate.
Yes! I showed my NSW Northwest gun to a knowledgeable shooter who was unfamiliar with trade guns. He spotted that tang bolt head right away, and pointed it out as a flaw. I did my best trying to get explain that was how they were supposed to be. @FlinterNick 's picture also illustrates the point made earlier, that the tang bolt might not be the best way to secure a peep sight on one of these guns.

However, flintlock Northwest guns remained in production until well into the 1870's, I believe, and some of the later ones were made with the tang bolt coming down from the top, and threading into a trigger plate or trigger stop. I believe the percussion Northwest guns were made that way, also.

Notchy Bob
 

FlinterNick

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Yes! I showed my NSW Northwest gun to a knowledgeable shooter who was unfamiliar with trade guns. He spotted that tang bolt head right away, and pointed it out as a flaw. I did my best trying to get explain that was how they were supposed to be. @FlinterNick 's picture also illustrates the point made earlier, that the tang bolt might not be the best way to secure a peep sight on one of these guns.

However, flintlock Northwest guns remained in production until well into the 1870's, I believe, and some of the later ones were made with the tang bolt coming down from the top, and threading into a trigger plate or trigger stop. I believe the percussion Northwest guns were made that way, also.

Notchy Bob
i had the same circumstance. I had traded a NW gun and the buyer was livid about the bolt and Had argued it needed to flush. I asked him to show me how without a trigger plate ? Lol then i showed him my pattern and that historically this is correct.

a lot of kit builders will use a square bolt in front of the trigger to secure the tang screw, to detract from the offset tang bolt. This was a common feature of early british sea service and militia muskets.
 

Runewolf1973

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Caywood is a very fine Trade Gun but I couldn't afford one. Got a chance to buy a Sitting Fox for less than half the price of the Caywood and it has been one of the finest flintlocks I have owned. Handles and shoots great. Might not be quite as HC as some other makes but I promise you - a time traveler from back in the fur trade days would still recognize it in an instant!

Yah, I consider myself really lucky to have.this gun. I found a guy on the local classifieds up here in Alberta selling this Caywood trade gun for $1000 so I scooped it up without hesitation. I honestly didn't know what I had at the time...apparently what I have is one of Caywood's earlier guns made before he was well known.
 
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Rudyard

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.62 CAL, 20 gauge smooth bore seems to be the norm in NW- TRADE GUNS, why is that the HAPPY MEDIUN? were they made in larger CALIBRES? just courious?
Dear Toot I believe they where more 24 bore originally ( 58 cal) today seem set with the 20 bore . Curly G used to offer 24 bore.
Regards Rudyard
 

Travler

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I have a North Star West trade gun and I love it. I shoot 20 gage shotgun wads etc and .600 patched round ball. Both over 70gr FFG powder. Also look at French or English Fowling guns as well. They are somewhat similar with finer furniture and not the mitten sized trigger guard. They would load an shoot similar to the trade guns. To me most important is a good fast lock.....
 

Coinneach

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Well first thing on Northwest Trade Gun Kits.

They’re often thought of as a kitchen table kit, this is completely wrong, these kits however can be modified to be high level kits or beginner kits. Sitting Fox does a good job of customizing their kits to demand DetailS Such as lock inletting, they even mark punch where the pin holes are located, this is great if you don’t have a drill press and are working with a hand drill and jig.

Track, and Caywood are known for being more complicated kits.

Clay Smith makes the finest kits I’ve ever seen, very easy and detailed to work on Too, he also can customize the kits. You’re also dealing with one of the best blackpowder gunsmiths in the country.

Without question the easiest trade gun kit is the pedersoli kit. This kit can be completed literally on a kitchen table or office desk with minimal tools. Just check over the kit, Dixie Gun Works is known for holding on to very old stock, so check it over.
Can you provide a link to the Clay Smith site please ?
 

Coinneach

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I have a North Star West trade gun and I love it. I shoot 20 gage shotgun wads etc and .600 patched round ball. Both over 70gr FFG powder. Also look at French or English Fowling guns as well. They are somewhat similar with finer furniture and not the mitten sized trigger guard. They would load an shoot similar to the trade guns. To me most important is a good fast lock.....
I bought an earlier North Star Trade gun in the 80's when Curly Gostomski was still running the business, still have it and it still delights me.
 

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