Access Heritage Logo (formerly the Discriminating General)

You are here: HOME> ARMS COLLECTION> MUSKETS AND BAYONETS >Northwest  Fur Trade Musket

Other Sections of Interest: Swords Artillery Helmets and Armour Sword Knots Other Muskets and Bayonets

The Famous Northwest Fur Trade Musket
1775 to c.1860

 American Indians or First Nations -  American Revolution - War of 1812  - Fur Trade and Westward Expansion

northwest fur trade gun
northwest fur trade gun opposite sidenorthwest fur trade gun locknorthwest fur trade gun lock and buttnorthwest fur trade gun muzzlenorthwest fur trade gun stampingsnorthwest fur trade gun Serpent plate
Northwest Fur Trade Musket: 549.00 699.00 (MTS-046)


Introduced in 1775 the "Northwest gun" became instantly popular with American natives.  The British mass manufactured them to secure alliances with the various North American tribes from Canada to the border of Mexico.  From contemporary art of the late 18th and early 19th century, the longer 42 inch barrel "fusil" was the most common (barrel length varied between 41 and 42 inches).  Contrary to popular belief a fusil was not a shorter firearm but a lighter one.  Lewis and Clark in 1804 make reference to the natives they encountered as being armed with "fusees" or fusils.

 Woodland natives armed with the Northwest Fur Trade Muzzleloader
Woodland natives with this musket in 1807

With war on the horizon and American settlers pushing into the Ohio and onto the shores of Lake Michigan, the British reacted by arming the Shawnee and other tribes in the area with thousands of this musket in 1811.   By the time of the Battle of Tippecanoe at the end of 1811, the natives were completely supplied with this firearm.    When war broke out in 1812, tens of thousands of Indian trade muskets were transported and distributed to the natives by the British through the Indian department and the Northwest Fur Trade Company.  The fur trade gun offered here is marked like those during this period, complete with ordnance approval markings, along with the northwest company fox.

Mohawk Chief Brant with Northwest Trade Gun
The famous Mohawk Chief Thayendanegea or Joseph Brant in 1806 with 42 inch trade musket.  Brant fought in the American Revolution and lead the Six Nations north after the war. 

 

mohawk with Northwest Trade gun in the War of 1812
Mohawk warrior in the War of 1812

British Treasury records show the shipping of both the "common" longer barrelled trade guns and the shorter "Chief's" pattern gun (reproduction available here).   It is suspected that it was at this time that the shorter 36-inch barrel Northwest gun was introduced in more significant numbers.  The shorter chief's pattern owned by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh has survived and is in the Museum of the Fur Trade.

Many of the fur trade muskets were branded with a large I D and board arrow on the wrist of the stock to indicate that they came from the British Indian Department.     By the end of the War of 1812 this flintlock had became the standard for trade guns.  So much so the American Fur Trade Company had to copy the British pattern because the native tribes would accept no other model.   Fur traders, mountainmen, and other frontiersmen also adopted this firearm, since it was both tough, accurate and quick to load.  The mitten-friendly size of the steel trigger guard and the durable lock that did not freeze, made it ideal for hunting in the winter.  Unfortunately artists of the 19th century were more interested in documenting the native tribes than illustrating the trapper, and mountainman, so frontierman imagery is scarce.  

The longer version remained popular throughout the first half of the 19th century.   It was not until the late 1830s that the shorter version started to really challenge the longer version's dominance.  While the percussion cap began to replace the flintlock, photographs of west coast natives as late as the 1870s, show the longer flintlock Northwest trade guns still in use.   Interestingly enough this model of trade musket was also distributed in Africa.

The following images so the longer version in use:

northwest fur trade gun used by Lake  Huron hunting party in 1815
Huron hunting party in 1815

 

Prairie Natives in the Winter using the northwest trade gun
Prairie Natives in the Winter c.1821


Native Duck Hunting c.1821

    
Metis Buffalo Hunting c.1825


Quebec First Nations, c1840 with the longer trade musket

Specifications

This smooth-bore musket has a 42-inch octagon-to-round barrel with a 20 gauge bore (.625 calibre).   Archaeological finds (example David Thompson's musket balls in 1811)  point to a .57 of .58 ball being most commonly used.  Overall length of reproduction is 58 inches.

Because the browning varied from original to original, and is dictated by personal preference, we have left it in the bright steel.   The British made trade guns manufactured before 1816 were most likely browned naturally and were not blued.   Read more about browning of arms by the British here.  Of course the lock screws go through the iconic brass coiled serpent / dragon patterned plate.  The stock butt is squared like the originals.  This style of butt was popular with sea service muskets and was presumably considered more durable. 

As the photographs attest, this replica is quite well assembled with a case hardened frizzen cover (hammer) producing good sparks. The seamless tempered barrels are made of polished high-carbon steel (type:BS970 no.080M40- auto industry foundry) and the breeches are threaded. We use a cyanide case-hardening factory process that makes sparking both more reliable and longer lasting. Presently no other musket provider uses this technique.

As with all our other flintlocks, the vent is not drilled (read details below) so we can ship easily to your door throughout North America and to Europe and the UK. Aside from that they are exactly like the originals. A fine addition to any collection.

*What our Customers said*

Northwest Fur Trade Musket: 549.00 699.00 (MTS-046)


- Money-back Guarantee - Shipped to your Door - Lowest Price Commitment -

$45.00 Shipping anywhere in North America
(HI, AK, and Territories please inquire)

 Shipping costs at bottom of our main Muskets and Pistols page

Our Guarantee

If upon receiving your musket you are not completely happy with your purchase, you may return it for a refund. All we ask is you cover the shipping costs. It has to be returned in two weeks of receipt and be in its original state (unaltered and unmodified).

Non-Firing State

We sell historically accurate muskets and pistols in a non-firing state. This allows us to comply with various local, state, national and international firearms regulations, along with shipping company policy restrictions.   A certified gunsmith may decide to alter a musket or pistol to a firing state by drilling the vent hole and test firing it. We are not legally responsible for any alteration from its present non-firing state.  Please read our Conditions of Use and Legal Disclaimer.  The customer is expected to be aware of the laws of their locality that govern products of this nature.

 


About Us: Our Mission and Clients / Privacy and Security Policy / Contacting Us

Our Sites: French and Indian War Website / The Napoleonic Wars Collection / War of 1812 Website / The General's Arms Collection / The Victorian Soldier / Military Heritage Magazine / Military Music Sound Clip Gallery / Heritage Film Services: Bringing History to Life

Our Products: Seven Years War Products / American Revolution Products / Napoleonic Wars Products / French Napoleonic Headdress / British Army Products 1793-1815 / British Army Products 1816-1856 / Artillery / Cavalry Helmets and Armour / Leather Goods / Military Buttons / Military Belt Plates / Muskets, Pistols, Bayonets / Swords and Sabres / Sword Knots / Military Drums and Bugles / Gifts, Collectibles / Custom Die Stamping and Plating Service / War of 1812 Prints / 18th Century Maps / 19th Century Maps / Wool / Additional Products...

Copyright 1995-2014: Unless otherwise noted, all information, images, data contained within this website is protected by copyright under international law. Any unauthorized use of material contained here is strictly forbidden. All rights reserved. Access Heritage Inc (formerly The Discriminating General) is in no way to be held accountable for the use of any content on this website. See Conditions of Use.