Leather covering a recoil pad
Stockmakers have been using any kind of material to put on the end of a stock. Ranging from buffalo horn to steel. No wonder that as the use of rubber became widespread somewhere in the latter part of the 19th century, gun makers started putting it on their stocks.
The English gun makers were probably first in using rubber. In the early years, when the vulcanisation process was not yet perfected and the only rubber used was purely natural, under the influence of the elements, rubber started to deteriorate. This was more apparent in the colonies with their tropical climate. So soon after using rubber to lengthen stocks, they started covering them in leather. And we must admit, it looks irresistible.
Almost any type of leather has been used. From ultra thin goatskin to elephant or buffalo hide. The leather can be finished in such a way that it has a firm grip on the shooting jacket which suits rifles or trap guns. Or, on the contrary, it can also be finished very slick so it does not hang onto the clothing for shotgunning.
The most common types of leather currently being used are goatskin, calfskin and pigskin. Goatskin is known for its strength though very thin. Pigskin is almost as strong but has its caracteristical pore structure. And calfskin is nown for its fine structure, velvet like feel and flexibility.
Traditionally, the pad is finished with a double border which has no function at all but to looks very nice.
Some recoil pads come with a nib. These pads with a nibs can be covered in leather too. It is not easy though.