using smoothbore muzzleloaders. The fact is, the TOP men all use smithed pcs, even when it AINT for blood. there's NO reason to settle for less than the very best, other than being an apathetic cheapskate, that is.
When I started in Service Rifle competition in 1986, there were only 2 modifications allowed on the rifle, it was a competition where marksmanship won the match, not who had the most expensive toys or had the best armourer. That said I have a nice selection of both stock firearms and those loaded with "bells and whistles". I am very capable with both.
All firearms used to be custom, and there was no interchangeability between weapons. Everything was handmade, and alot of variations exsisted between arms made by the same smith, let alone different craftsmen. Eli Whitney changed that when he sold the "Department of War" on the concept of having machine made parts, and could assemble 12 weapons from a bundle of parts. Rifling was omitted on military weapons as a unecessary expense due to the way wafare was stylized at that time.
Kind of like what Holland and Holland still do. Just about everything on them is a one-off. If you need a simple pin replaced, you have to send the gun back, because there's no way to know the exact size they need.
But to be honest, I tend to like stock guns, and have spent some $$ on a few (Enfields) to return them to such condition.
Although I DO want a couple of Sharps rifles, decked out. Nothing wrong with "heirloom" guns.