Hi Nick,Hi Gus I’m having a hard time seeing that the p 1742 stock and 1755 stock were shaped to gain more economic use walnut planks. Side by side, I have both stocks the drop is not very significant in reduction. For french guns after 1755 there was a significant reduction in drop allowing them to increase production nearly 3-1. But for the bess the differce is 2 1/4 to say 2 3/8 or 2 7/16 Or 2 1/2 if you compare the Initial Brown Bess model Not the 1742.
The reduction of the forearm webbing is easy to understand to accommodate the smaller rammer pipes. However the comb area and breech area were bolstered up.
Typically muskets of the 1750’s - 1760’s era (British, French, English and Spanish) began to take a straight profile, because prior generations of muskets with increased drop caused the wrist areas to weaken and break when the guns were handled in military form. This was the main motivation for the French to abandon the 1717 series Of muskets For the straighter 1763/66.
I might be overthinking this perhaps, then again 18th economics isn’t my strongest subject.
I may have been a bit confusing, so let me try to clear it up. The P1742 Musket stock has more drop at the toe of the buttstock than the straighter P1756 Musket stock. I understand it is not at all easy to see when one looks at photo's, as the muskets are rarely the same scale, but it is there. What also makes it more difficult to perceive is the forearm of the P1742 is thicker up and down to accommodate the wood ramrod.
If you know to look for the difference in the drop, it is a bit easier to see, even in these photo's.
Pattern 1742 Land Service Musket – Works – The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (history.org)
Pattern 1756 Land Service Musket – Works – The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (history.org)
However, I do understand even with these photo's it may not be easy to see because you can't draw lines on the stocks of the photo's to better see the drop.
Another way that might make it more understandable to envision when you don't have original muskets side by side to compare, is if you are familiar with the butt stocks on M1861 American Springfield Rifle Muskets vs P1853 British Rifle Muskets? The drop of the toe of each butt stock also looks fairly similar, but you really notice how much straighter the P1853 Rifle Musket Stock is when you shoot both of them, one right after the other.