Once again Master Fernando won a duel against someone who may way too often think of himself as a great warrior ...
By handling those early monsters you also understand why musket rests were indispensable for the musketeer. On the other hand, I have avoided putting a rest next to a musket that obviously did no longer require its support, which is from ca. the 1630's; the Thirty Years Wars had virtually put pat all of Europe from 1618 till 1648.
Actually my latest/'youngest' musket that required the support of a rest is dated 1636 on a bone plaque inserted in the stock oposite of the lock, together with the city arms of Regensburg, Bavaria. It is a very remarkable piece as it weighs 9 kgs, at a length of 156 cm and a bore of 19 mm, and the barrel mark IB over a star was attributed by Johan F. Stockel to a Suhl barrelsmith active in ca. 1610. The assigned date is absolutely correct in my eyes, considering the enormous thickness of the barrel walls and the heavily swamped muzzle section which almost revoke the swamping of Late Gothic barrels of ca. 1470-80.
Thus, the present stock is not the first made for that barrel, which must have been quite a normal thing in times of war. In those days, they did not painstakingly repair a split or cracked stock as we would in restoration; they just restocked the piece, and maybe the next day it came back to the armory cracked once more. Nevertheless, there are two guns in my collection showing old traces of stock repair done by delicate nails.
The lock is of typical Regensburg make and was certainly manufactured by a locksmith working for the armory of the Imperial City (German: Freie Reichsstadt
) of Regensburg. It, just like a heavy matchlock wallgun, ca. 1645, in my collection re-using a Gotic barrel of ca. 1490, shows some characteristics that make them easily recognizable. It is displayed on the right to the musket in discussion in my chronological array attached at top. In those years, at the high time of the Thirty Years War when most mass products like the Suhl muskets (which were sold to nearly all the states in Central and Northern Europe) would do with less than half of that thickness of the lock plate, Regensburg could afford to employ double that material. The unique shape of both the serpentine and trigger guard (the latter being just nailed into the stock at the rear!) as well are identical on both guns, at the same time proving what I have stated before: during the 'Great' War, as it was called by its contemporaries, big centers of mass production like Suhl, Thuringia, generally only furnished barrels and (mostly) lock mechanisms; the stocks were made in the respective local armory and differed slightly in style. The historic armory inventories of many towns and cities still record the sums paid for both such furnishings and the jobs of the local or armory stockmakers. Smaller centers like the Zella, a neighboring town of Suhl, mostly furnished complete muskets.
Anyway, that huge beast of mine once must have greatly contrasted to the average shorter and lighter muskets of the other musketeers around, using guns of a total length of only 1,41 m and a weight of only 4-5 kgs.
I fired my monster in 1985 and I still recall the slow and rather soft recoil it remitted to my shoulder, thanks to its great weight.
I will post more on it here soon.