Northwest Trade Gun


Assembly Tips


Assembly for trade gun pic

If you are building or ordering an authentic recreation of a pre 1810 NW Trade Gun here are some tips you’ll need to know.

The North West Trade gun was ordered by the fur trade companies to be built to a standard pattern. They were produced by over 100 companies throughout Europe.

They had a uniquely peculiar way of attaching the tang bolt thru the trigger guard from below and threading into the tang from beneath. The rear of the guard was held with one or two screws. This method was used until well into the 1800’s.

The large trigger was simply pinned in the lock mortice in a narrow slot cut into the stock. The pivot hole was located high, for maximum leverage, as these trade gun locks had a hefty mainspring and a hard pull. The pivot hole went all the way thru to the side plate for removal. A brass wedge was sometimes driven into the wood at the front of the slot to limit trigger movement too far forward. The large trigger allowed a gloved or mittened finger pull and was natural for the natives who were used to a two fingered pull on their bows. These un-plated triggers were the norm until well into the1800’s.

The cut sheet brass butt plates were nailed on with square head nails until about the same time. Locks of this period were polished bright and held by three screws.

Most smooth bore barrels were 24 ga. (58 cal smooth) and 36” was the most popular.

Early English trade guns favored the longer barrels of 42-48”.

 Good Luck!