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GUNS Magazine January 2013 Digital Edition - Page 48

rifle rifle stock stock Materials haVe Materials haVe eVolVed eVolVed oVer oVer the the last last 8 8 centuries. centuries. JoHn Barsness John’s had a number of High-Tech lay-up stocks on his hunting rifles, partly because their classic buttstock fits him quite well—this .300 Winchester Magnum was built by Texas gunsmith Charlie Sisk. Two-piece wood stocks (below) aren’t as big a disadvantage on hunting rifles, since the short pieces can’t warp as much overall as single-piece stocks. “S tock” comes from germanic words meaning stick or tree trunk. The term first appeared in the 1500s, not long after rifled barrels were developed in central Europe, but firearm handles had already been around for several hundred years. The earliest were spears called firelances, fitted with a tube full of gunpowder rather than a sharp point, and used primarily as flame-throwers, though sometimes a little shrapnel was mixed with the powder. The earliest bronze “hand-cannons” were also often mounted on poles, though some were simply carried in the shooter’s hands. The developments of the matchlock in the early 1400s made actual stocks possible, since all the shooter had to do was aim and pull the early form of trigger called a serpentine. Hardwoods worked best, since they were better able to withstand the battering of recoil. Walnut became the wood of choice in Europe, and then again in America after Europeans moved here, though other woods were frequently used, especially 48 W W W. G U N S M AG A Z I N E . C O M • JA N UA RY 2 0 1 3

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