Northwest Trade Gun,
.58 caliber rifled 37" octagon-to-round barrel,
Enfield percussion lock, curly maple
brass & iron trim, used
Stocked in curly maple this percussion rifle is assembled in the style of a Northwest Trade Gun from the late 19th and early 20th century. Barnett, I. Hollis and other firms were still manufacturing Northwest Trade Guns well after the invention of the metallic cartridge rifle, due to demand. Many of these later Trade Guns were assembled with mid 19th century Enfield style percussion locks. Traditionally smoothbored, this example has a .58 caliber rifled octagon-to-round barrel.
The curly maple stock is stained to a golden brown to best display the stripes in the maple. The Enfield percussion lock is stamped Barnett / London / 1900
and finished to a bright blue. The rifle appears lightly used with a few small handling marks.
The Colerain .58 caliber octagon-to-round barrel is cut rifled with six deep round bottom grooves. Called "radius groove rifling", Colerain eliminates the sharp inside corner that accumulates fouling. Radius groove rifling cutters are a bit more expensive to make, but Colerain's customers agree that the accuracy, easy loading, and easy cleaning are worth the cost. The tapered octagon breech is 9" long, with a sixteen flat transition to a double wedding band to round. A brass turtle front sight is soldered behind the muzzle. A long base Germanic style rear sight is dovetailed 7" ahead of the breech.
The long baluster wrist of the trade gun runs from the lock panels to the toe. The comb seems to sit on top of the flowing wrist. This is classic architecture for early English muskets, especially the early Sea Service muskets, which apparently served as a model for the North West Trade Gun. The design is simple and functional. Historically these guns were imported and sold by the Fur Trade Companies for over a century. Percussion guns were still popular long after the Winchester arrived, due to the low cost of ammunition.
The triggerguard has a wide open bow to accept the classic post 1840 era style North West trigger. Trigger reach is 14-1/2" to fit a larger or taller shooter. Weight is 7.8 pounds.
When viewed from above the thumbnail finial of the flat brass buttplate can be seen. The buttplate is mounted with screws, which were used on both late and early trade guns. The tapered comb stands above the baluster wrist, wide at the butt it comes to a point just behind the wrist.
The breech end of the barrel is stamped with a oval London proof mark with a crown over GP, 24
marking for gauge, oval London view mark with a crown over V
and a marker's mark TB
indicating the work of Thomas Barnett..
From below the rounded toe of the trade gun can be seen. Moving forward. the iron triggerguard has been properly screwed into position, using a trio of wood screws to hold the triggerguard to the stock.
Out of the picture the tapered wooden ramrod is held in position by a pair of brass forward pipes, as is correct no entry pipe has been used on the gun. The ramrod pipes are corrugated for strength similar to modern cardboard. The ramrod is fitted with a cleaning jag cover over a worm.
The blued steel lock has the classic Enfield shaped percussion hammer. For a sure grip, the hammer is checkered at the thumb spur. The lock plate is stamped with a tombstone fox over EB on the tail. The lock plate is stamped BARNETT / LONDON / 1900
on three lines. Barnett was a major manufacturer of Trade Guns
This replica Enfield musket is fitted with a 1/4-28 threaded musket nipple. We can supply a similar 1/4-28 threaded nipple for standard #11 caps, but we prefer the larger musket caps, since they are easier to press on the nipple.
Our final look at the gun shows off the brass serpent sideplate that is retained by three screws. Serpentine sideplates were common on early English guns, especially English Sea Service Muskets, where the serpent probably represented strength and stealth at sea. The brass serpent became a standard feature on trade guns made in England, Belgium, and America.
While we recognize a strong family resemblance of the trade gun and sea service muskets, they also resemble earlier Queen Anne dog lock muskets. Made obsolete by the Brown Bess, earlier Queen Anne muskets had a simple serpent sideplate and similar architecture. The gunmakers who made those early military muskets used the same skills, tools, and techniques to make these similar trade guns. They passed this working knowledge to their apprentice gunmakers. Thus the Northwest Trade Gun is steeped in tradition, where it was made and where it was used.
This rifled Northwest Trade Gun has a bright bore. If you desire such a piece for your collection, consider this well priced gun today.