Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: St. Louis, MO area.
Now that is an interesting gun. And as Fernando mentions, a bit of a riddle.
The overall profile and hardware of this gun look very similar to the English made trade guns exported to North America by the thousands, and sold by companies such as Hudson Bay and others, as you noted. Sometimes referred to as a "hardware store" gun. Plain and rugged for the early North American frontier. Your's looks very similar to ones from the late 18th to the first half of the 19th Century that were so popular during the North American fur trade period. And as you noted, there was little change in these guns for a long period. It seems most were traded to the North American Indians. The Indians would even paint the stocks, usually blue or red. Sometimes even painting a decoration on top of that in a vine pattern. I thought of this when you mentioned the "orange" stock. LOL The locks were usually English made and the barrels (made in various lengths) were often of Belgium make.
Now the Riddle: The 1904 and latter proof date on the barrel paints a different picture than above. While the gun shows definate use, it appears to be in reasonable condition. This could be one of the earlier variations of the trade guns sent to South Africa during the first half of the 20th Century, utilizing surplus parts - as was often the case. If so, it does not surprise me it ended up in your neck of the woods. LOl The orange-ish stock stain is a mystery to me. But all of the original South African trade guns I've seen look different. The stocks look more like European or North American 1860's. This gun looks like a knock off of the early 19th Century. Curious.