The stocked matchlocks were in use from the late 1400’s until the early 1700’s. Most of them were made with smoothbore barrels, however some were made with rifled barrels. The earliest known rifled matchlock was made for Emperor Maximilian I between 1493-1508. It is also interesting to know that cloth patching was already a common thing by the early 1600’s. Around the year 1500, front and rear sights were more common, even on smoothbore guns. By the 1700’s, the British and French removed all the matchlocks from their forces. The shape of these early stocks may look odd, however they hold extremely well. In American writings of the early 1600’s, there were more references to matchlock muskets than firelocks. Many shooters today use cotton rope soaked in salt peter, but Nathaniel Nye wrote in 1647 on making good match cord, “Take cords of hemp that’s not very fine, or of toe, which is better, although it will sooner consume, and let every cord be as big as a mans little finger, this done, boil the cords in strong lye, ashes and a little salt peter till all the lye be wasted, then dry”. We have tried match cord from twisted hemp rope and it works much better than cotton rope. The majority of original match cord that we have observed is between 7/16" and 1/2" in diameter, both twisted and braided. We have always thought it would be a real challenge to actually hunt with a matchlocks. We have a few customers that actually do bird and deer hunt with them. Craig Knobbe informed us that he has shot a deer every year for the past few years with his matchlock Many of these early firearms were stock in Ash, which we offer in addition to walnut.