Eric with IV8888 goes back in time to bring you that most deadly of firearm from the 15th century– the classic .72 caliber European matchlock.
Although the Chinese had gunpowder and primitive firearms before that date, the matchlock, which uses a slow burning match lowered by a trigger arrangement to set off the charge, first popped up in Europe around 1440 or so and spread to Asia and the Americas from there.
While replaced in firearms development by the friction wheellock (trivia: the first gun control laws were set up by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in 1517 due to the brutal effectiveness of the new wheellock “assault weapons!”) snaplock and the snaphance after the 1500s, the matchlock held on around the world for centuries and is still used by subsistence hunters in places like Central Asia and Mongolia.
While few of us ever thought we’d have a blacked-out lever-action hunting rifle on our wish list, here we are with not one, but two. The Marlin Dark series was followed by the Henry X-Model, both American-made levers.