Collecting 19th Century firearms has the tendency to just drag you in deeper. Just when I think I've seen everything, something new pops up. On Euroarms Italia's website is a cool little Westley Richards Martini military carbine. Looks to be made around the 1870's or so. Westley Richards was a pretty neat guy, another iteration of the classic Birmingham gunmaker who started in the early 1800's trying to make a better gun than the guy next door. By the end of the 19th Century, the firm was building guns by machine like everyone else, but they just couldn't keep their hands off their product, and still hand fit, filed and polished the end result. The company as a whole has succeeded wildly, as their shotguns and African Express rifles are second to none.
They also made guns for the British military, especially during the Crimean War, and also supplied the Boers before they got a taste for Mausers. They made an improvement on the Martini action, which is their claim to Martini fame, that makes dissassembly a lot easier. This little carbine seems to be made in Westley Richard's Bond Street works in London, which he set up soon after opening for business in Birmingham. They've had their ups and downs as a company, but they are still around and still making high end guns for discriminating sportsmen.
Before the wreckage of Henry the VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose, was discovered, there was one English longbow still in existence, now there is over a hundred and seventy. The longbow was such an important part of the armament of the Mary Rose in part because they were very effective, they could easily outshoot the guns of the day, and partly because that's the way it always had been. These men were trained for life to shoot the longbow, and it took a lifetime's worth of training in order to handle a 200 lb. pull on a bowstring. However, guns would get better quickly, and it didn't take a lifetime's worth of training to shoot one. Replacing an archer killed in battle wasn't an easy proposition, but you could replace the gunman in a relatively small amount of time.
They have found only parts of fifteen matchlocks aboard the Mary Rose. She did have big guns, but the tactics of using them were still evolving. Men mostly fought boarding actions with knives and bows and arrows. It wouldn't be long before the weapon lockers on board English fighting ships would be filled with gunpowder weapons, and the use of the broadside would be commonplace. The gundeck would be the new fighting space, not the top deck.