1750 - 1800ish... What would have been in Michigan


November 14, 2007, 12:51 PM
In attempting to decide what kit to put together I figure since I reside in the Great Lakes I'd like to know what firearms most likely were here in the 18th century. You see a lot of mention of New England, PA, OH and South of the Mason-Dixon influences but never have I read anything pertaining to the Great Lakes areas...

Anyone want to give me a firearms history lesson on this subject?

thank ya


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November 14, 2007, 12:57 PM
dunno, but I do know that the Midland public library (name after one of the Dows, of course) has a phenomenal and huge collection on Michigan history, mostly Saginaw Valley/Mid-Michigan history of all kinds. Have used it extensively for a couple projects. Lots of self-published memoirs and other neat stuff you won't find anywhere else. If you're within several hours' drive, it is worth checking out.

November 14, 2007, 02:19 PM

Do your research and I think you'll find that .62 through .75 caliber flintlocks are the order of the day, Charleville and 'Brown Bess' frequently cut to shorter bbl lengths, and of course built to purpose "the Northwest Trade Guns'.

The Great Lakes WAS the 'Northwest Territories' in the 1700's and the fur trade had been underway since the 1600's, peaking sometime in the early mid 1700's. routes up and down the rivers and all the way to the Rockies even then.

The 'Mountain Man' fur trade of the early 1800's was the last gasp of the fur trade, movies and popular belief to the contrary. Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota was the heart of the early fur trade, as well as southern Canada of course.

Well all FWIW and IMHO of course.

But that's how I justify the money I shelled out for my beloved Pedersoli 'Northwest Trade Gun' :D


November 14, 2007, 02:40 PM
Until after the revolution Michigan was first in French hands then in British. So the Pennsylvania rifles that were by then working their way west into western PA, and what is now Ohio and Kentucky had not yet arrived in Michigan. But, as 5knives said, some early fur traders were in that region making their deals with whomever was in power and no doubt some of them carried PA rifles.

November 14, 2007, 03:34 PM
Another nod to the trade rifles.
Also will offer that Ohio and PA and NW NY are part of the Great Lakes area.

4v50 Gary
November 14, 2007, 11:40 PM
The Red Man did prefer rifles over smoothbores. Accuracy was part of their hunting culture. However, I'm given to believe that most of the guns traded to them were smoothbore trade guns.

November 18, 2007, 12:57 PM
A Tulle Fusil de chasse would be quite appropriate for that time and area, both. I'm sure the French left a lot of them behind.


Loyalist Dave
November 20, 2007, 08:09 AM
He's right about the fusil de chase. You can get them in .62, .58, or .54. I'd opt for the .58 or .62. Great guns, and yes you can reach out and hit at 75 yards, plus you can use shot while the rifle guys are limited to round ball only.


November 20, 2007, 05:36 PM
The Tulle would have been most prevailent in the time period closer to 1750 being teh frenc were the main ones in the great lakes regoing at that time. Also the English Dog lock would be tehre as aa trade gun that the English as well as otehr countries would have traded to the natives. The early frenck military musket, the forunner of teh Tulle, was another good bet as to what was being carried. Most were cut down from original lengths due to being carried in canoes a LOT. I do Reenactments form teh time period 1770 to just shy of 1800 as a long hunter/pioneer on the Frontier of what is now KY, Ohio, and TN. I carry a NW trade gun as well as a 45 caliber long rifle. what is ironic is you will also find a lot of Spanish guns that came UP the Mississippi River from the New Orleans port as well and,many were smooth bore as small as 32 caliber. Do some research on the net as to units in the area you want to re-enact in to see what you need to portray as accuratly as possible. the frenck Traders would be wearing and shooting what the Natives in their area were being they married into various native tribes.

November 20, 2007, 06:46 PM
If you had a sizable German community, then rifles would have been present. German gunsmiths, at least some of them, brought rifling technology to America. Now I am not stating that the Germans were the first to introduce rifing here, but German gunsmiths did make rifles in this time period.

I also suspect you would find an interest in the Brown Bess muskets and other popular guns of empire, meaning both the French and British empires in that region.


March 21, 2009, 09:01 PM
Something to ponder: another name for the Northwest Trade Gun was "Mackinaw Gun" (another was "Hudson Bay Fuke"). Michilimackinac and later Mackinaw Island were major fur-trading hubs on the Great Lakes. I would not be the least bit surprised, given the above mentioned nickname, if the Northwest trade Gun was common at one time.

Nice to hear from a fellow Michigander, BTW!

April 7, 2009, 05:49 PM
Ran across this article about an archaeological dig at Mole Lake, Wisconsin. Not all that far from the border with the U.P. (the county it's in DOES border on Michigan). Enjoy!


April 7, 2009, 06:24 PM
Great read DutchmanDick. An absolutely amazing match between the relic muzzleloader and the trade gun image from the book!

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