J. Henry Trade Rifle

Eastern suppliers made up a variety of arms, like this small game rifle for emigrants heading west.

Circa 1860 Henry (U.S.) Fur Trade Percussion Plains Rifle (single-shot/ muzzle-loading/ black powder/ ball ammunition)  In terms of manufacture date, the display gun was not made before 1860.  Yet, it looks like a half-stock rifle of the 1850s. This anachronistic small caliber rifle was produced in Philadelphia by J. Henry and Son for fur trading or treaty payment to Native Americans.  Because of its small caliber, it lacks the killing power of the half-stocks which it imitates.
Obviously, in 1860, Natives were not given powerful arms.  They were, however, being provided with arms that were sufficient for small game hunting and for short-range self-protection.  During the Civil War, Native American raids on frontier settlements increased in scope, requiring diversion of military forces and/or self-protection by settlers.    - Dr. William L. Roberts, THE AMERICAN LIBERTY COLLECTION; #69The NRA Firearms Museum.

The Rifle presented here is the same type as the rifle noted above.  It was found with the stock broken into 9-12 pieces.  The barrel was drilled and tapped with 3 holes into the bore.  It looked like the barrel key was lost and the owner decided to bolt the stock to the barrel with ¼ x 20 bolts.  The tang was broken off and someone tried to braze it back in place.  Interesting enough the bore was blocked and I drove the obstruction towards the breach plug and when it passed the hole closest to the breach plug it was a ball wrapped in ticking.  Somehow the powder was removed without the rifle going off.  

The percussion lock doesn’t have a half cock notch.  The rifle has a set trigger.  The bolster breach is applied to the barrel either with brazing or solder,  The breach plug is a standard flint type breach. The wood is plain walnut with a very elegant cheek piece and shadow line. The caliber is 28 to 30.  

I decided to use it as a pattern rifle and tried to duplicate it as best as my skill would allow.  I used a 1 inch unrifled 40 caliber barrel.  I used a drum and nipple because I don’t know how to apply a bolster breach.  The nose cap is brass so I used a poured cap in the same shape.  The rest of the furniture is browned steel.