Mid 18th Century Club Butt Fowler Modified for Militia Usage
The distinct profile of the Colonial "Club Butt" Fowler was extremely common place in early America. The "fish bellied" stock has roots in European design elements from France and Germany but is considered uniquely "New England" in overall appearance. These fowlers were popular in Massachusetts from the 1750's through 1800 and were used by Militiamen in the French & Indian War, Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812. Because of their popularity as hunting guns and the fact that many militiamen used their personal guns during their military service, Club Butt Fowlers are considered by many to be the most under-represented weapon in Early American reenacting.
This fowler was built by master-builder Steve Krolick. The design was directly influenced by Tom Grinsdale's book Flintlock Fowlers (Chapter 5, "Club Butt Fowlers"). Besides its fish bellied stock, the most notable feature of this custom-built smoothbore is the way in which it was altered to accept a bayonet. Many original fowlers that saw military use had their forestocks cut back and a lug brazed to the barrel to accept a bayonet. This fowler has had the same treatment and will accept most reproduction Brown Bess bayonets.
This smoothbore is brand new and unfired. It features a 42" Colerain .62 cal (20 gauge) barrel with a decorative flute cut into the top of the breech. The RE Davis lock throws an excellent spark with about 3 1/2 lb trigger pull. The length of pull is 14".
Every historical detail was considered while building this piece. The American Black Walnut stock was shaped by hand using traditional hand tools - no power tools. The stock was also scraped - not sanded, just like original guns. The stock was also stained using traditional methods and several coats of oil were rubbed into the stock to seal it. Also like original fowlers, the furniture is cast brass and the ramrod pipes are hand made. The furniture is also hand engraved using original style tools in a period correct "non-symmetrical" style; a type of engraving typical of early gun builders who weren't professionally trained in the art of engraving. The figures and flourishes cut into the furniture of this fowler are nearly identical to those seen in Grinsdale's book.
The most impressive feature of this fowler is its versatility. The popularity of Club Butt Fowlers in Early New England makes them acceptable for any early American living history impression or reenactment. Its shortened stock and bayonet lug make it appropriate to either a military or civilian impression. Its unique stock profile makes this flintlock incredibly natural to point and shoot; and its match-grade Colerain barrel and lightning-fast RE Davis lock will make it a real contender at traditional shooting matches.