December 09, 2021
By Garry James
Question: I bought this .50-caliber blackpowder pistol in the early ‘70s at an estate auction for $50. What attracted me first was the perfect pattern of the grain in the stock. I know it was made by the Green River Rifle Works, now long out of business. I would like to know if any production numbers exist and what it is worth. The workmanship is far above average. It has never been loaded but has been capped and dry fired as noted by the residue on the nipple.
-J.F.W. via email
Answer: I agree. The Green River Rifle Works turned out some very nice pieces, the Trapper’s Pistol — which is what you have — being one of them. Their arms, which as I recollect were largely designed by “Doc” Gary White, had a much more authentic period look than some of the other mass-produced muzzleloaders of the period. Quality was excellent. I remember we featured one on the cover of the “Guns & Ammo Complete Guide to Blackpowder” published in 1974. Green River Rifle Works offered a nice selection of longarms at that time. I believe the company started business around 1972. Its pistols are scarcer than the longarms, many of the former being custom or semi-custom pieces. There is healthy interest in GRRW guns, and even a collector’s group, which you may want to check out. The Trapper’s Pistol came out in 1974 and sold for $250. It was available in .45, .50, .54 and .58 calibers with various barrel lengths and a choice of percussion or flintlock ignition. As I haven’t seen a Trapper’s Pistol for sale in some time, I’m afraid I really don’t have a feel for what they are going for right now. Not a lot of them were made, so they don’t often turn up for sale.
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