Hello Michael !!! And Fernando!!!
I'm returning to this tread rather belatedly.
Michael: Thank you so much for your reply. This is what us collectors/shooters have always thought. But your explanation put things in exact perspective. On behalf of myself and others, THANK YOU!!
Also, the photos of that matchlock revolver and barrels was a big hit!
Fernando: Thanks for the photo. What I found most interesting when I dis-assembled my original Japanese matchlock long gun was that the entire gun was assembled with pins. Not a single screw on the gun. It was actually a clever way to assemble. The pins that held the barrel to the stock were bamboo!!
Another question for Michael: Most European mathlocks I've seen have the serpentine pointing towards the shooter. But some have the serpentine pointing forward toward the muzzle (like Japanese guns). In your opinion, is the forward pointing serpentine a later design change? Or just a different design? The question arouse in trying to determine when the forward serpentine started to evolve. Thanks for any help. Rick.