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Re: MtMan-List: Trade gun!1750's to 1770's
One thing about shooting a Charleville is the lock springs guarantee sparks no
matter if your rock is sharp, if you've got almost any hunk of flint
the cock jaws you are going to get sparks. I've always felt the springs on
reproduction Brown Bess's were too soft and slow, they still seem to work
The main problem with many Trade Guns is the locks have soft slow springs;
need a real sharp flint. Some of the frizzens aren't tempered well and some
makers drill the flash hole too close to the bottom of the pan, or too far
forward or rear of center. I've seen some really thin barrels that concerned
me. Stocks are light (often poorly grained) and tend to break at the wrist.
Too many "first, and sometimes only, guns" were trade guns because there were
some cheap kits some years back.
Hawk has it right about going for quality, and the Italian made Charleville's
are bullet proof, my horse thrice tried to bend mine around a tree, took a few
hours of careful smithing on a rock with an axe butt to straighten the ramrod
but she still shoots straight, a few cracks in the fore stock, a little
wood. Been abusing it since 1978. I tripped a hand forged beaver trap
a couple of times to leave a few more period marks on the butt stock.
Many years ago I owned incredible Mulford, Bivens, Smola and other fine makers
arms. Every time I took one in the field I was too concerned about injuring
the fine finish carving, inlay and detail. then I got my Charleville. First
thing I did was throw it on the ground, throw rocks at it, left it out in the
rain and personally wet it down in the hot sun to rust the barrel and lock,
stomped on it, beat it with chains, and never worried about hurting its fine
finish again. I rub it down with my Improver once in a while and it is
beautiful. The iron is nearly black and the wood rich. I've had several
"experts" at gun shows swear it's an original.
I also carry a (20 to the pound) buffalo runner cut down from an old Green
River Forge kit and like it a lot. Ain't nothing left to break off.
iron in the barrel. The best parts then available.
The fine tuned crisp springs in a quality rifle/fowler lock don't exist in
muskets. Too spend a lot of time fine tuning a musket lock seems a little
its not what a musket was. I prefer stouter springs on mine.
The kit the blanket gun was made from cost $325 in 1981. The stock was
out and not even close to inletted or drilled for the ramrod. Hated to whack
off so much nice wood. Traded a bunch of prime plunder to Mike Wilson to
it for me. A blanket gun takes as much to build as a full length trade gun.
Buy the best you can afford and look around a little first. You'll soon
develop an eye for quality.
At 09:12 PM 7/28/98 -0700, you wrote:
>You might consider a Tulle' fusil in 20 ga. I have had one I put
>together a few years ago and I love it. It is light and handy and quit
>accurate with a patched ball. It shoots shoot very well with simple
>wadding. The best part is that it goes way back to the mid 1700's and is
>not out of place in the early 1800's.
>I also have a Charlleville Musket that I got somewhere back in the late
>70's or early 80's and only went to the Tulle' cause the ammo is lighter
>for the Tulle' with it being 20 ga. and the Charlleville being 14 ga.
>The Charlleville shot every bit as good as the Tulle' if not a smidgen
>better and I had a heck of a lot of fun shooting with the rifle boys
>around WA. Give em a good scare whenever that Charlleville came out of
>its case, I did!
>I have some friends that carry Northwest trade guns and they have their
>share of problems with them. That's why they usually don't go for all
>that much money. Be real careful if that is what you are looking to buy.
>My best advice to anyone getting ready to invest some money in a gun is
>get as much quality as you can afford and quality will start at well
>over $500 (in my opinion). That is for a quality kit that isn't too hard
>to put together.
>Well that is my bit of advice. Let us know what you come up with. Good
Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.
John Kramer <email@example.com>