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Revolutionary War Period Flintlock Trade Gun, Ca. 1780

Stocked in walnut this semi-military smoothbore is a composite of foreign and American made parts. During this era of our gun making history some of the most interesting and collectable firearms were made to meet wartime demand. Smiths would stock up guns from any parts available and creatively repair those with minor damage.

An attractive and unusual creation the gunsmith used the English Brown Bess musket for its stock architecture. The wrist extends well into the butt stock and is accentuated by the notched comb. A noticeable swell at the rear ramrod pipe is also indicative. Though diminutive in scale to a military musket it is lightweight, short, and easy to handle. The 69 cal. American made barrel has a pseudo touch mark, a crude wedding band 9 inches from the breech, and a bead front sight. It measures 40 inches and is the original length for this gun.

The brass ramrod pipes are probably crafted by the smith and accommodate an iron ramrod which originally had a worm. The front pipe is trumpeted and the rear is nicely designed with a pointed finial.

Another part made by the smith is the lock bolt plate of simple design. The same sheet brass was used by him as that of the ramrod pipes; both retain original patina of the same color.

Of special note is the trigger guard; it really sets this gun apart. Originally from a German gun of the mid 18th century it exhibits some fine Baroque engraving. The rear extension was quickly attached with a square nail rather than a screw.


“Ketland” is stamped on the inside of this unconverted flintlock, which is original to the gun. The hammer is not original to this lock but probably used to repair it for use on this gun.

No butt plate was ever present on the gun. The gunsmith didn’t have one on hand and chose not to make one. Other small details suggest quick manufacture indicative of the era. Other than wood restoration between the lock and the barrel tang the gun remains in nice old condition, never cleaned or severely damaged.


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