Reading books like 12 golden rules of gun safety is not enough. An article on Motherboard has revealed that a study in 2012 regarding first-person shooters training players to use firearms in real life has been retracted, with the reasoning of irregularities with its data. The study was created by Brad Bushman of Ohio State University, and his Ph.D student, Jodi Whitaker. The study makes the argument that those who play a violent video game focusing on headshots could accurately get headshots on mannequins with a real handgun. Bushman has also produced several other studies of the effects of violence in the media, and believes that such media does have an effect on aggression in people. In 2015, the study actually came under some criticism from Patrick Markey of Villanova University, and Malte Elson of Germany’s Ruhr University Bochum. Both of their findings on video game violence had different results compared to Bushman’s.
Markey even produced a book to counter Bushman’s views, which is set to come out in March. Their problems with the study focus on “severe errors” and “irregularities in some variables of the data set”. They had tried to get others take action with regards to these findings, but Bushman’s original research records vanished. They did eventually get a retraction from Ohio State University, with Bushman initially seeing the move as a personal attack to ruin his reputation, though did eventually agree to the retraction. Bushman has also previously made corrections to a data set, such as with his study in 2010. It should be noted that there is a small chance that the retraction may not result in a change in the findings, with the retraction notice. The results for that study are currently unknown.
I love single-shot breech-loaders. Today we take for granted that our primers, powder, and projectile come conveniently packaged in a small bit of drawn brass, but it took a huge advancement in chemistry, metallurgy, and material science to arrive at what today seems like an obvious solution. While metallic cartridges today all have uniform composition, early examples used pin fire systems or rim fire ignition for large calibers. But eventually, the oh-so-crafty French developed smokeless powder.
That’s another thing modern shooters take for granted, that is to say on battlefields prior to smokeless, which was introduced to the world with the Lebel rifle in 1886. When hundreds of men at a time all fired their rifles alongside cannons and artillery, the amount of smoke made seeing a few feet in front of you impossible. It also gave away the position of anyone trying to be stealthy. That said, the metallic cartridge brought us a smorgasbord of interesting rifles like the Snider, Trapdoor, Martini-Henry, Sharps, and to me, the king of them all, the Remington Rolling Block. Remington was not in a great financial position after the American Civil War. There was a huge amount of surplus rifles left over from the conflict involving 3 million soldiers, which many historians argue was the first modern war. Because of this, the market for new rifles, especially in a military application, was small.
Arms makers went from 60 to 0 as soon as Appomattox happened, and the need for new, advanced rifles was small. The U.S. went the way of the Trapdoor rifle instead of the superior Rolling Block because existing Springfield rifles could be converted to breech-loaders, but Remington found over 40 customers abroad who wanted to have a piece of this new, fantastic rifle. This was unheard of back then, a company in the 1860sand 70s selling rifles to so many nations abroad in 20 calibers, a feat that would not be matched until the Mauser company’s dominance set in, largely in 1889 and lasting until the 1940s. The mechanism is elegantly simple and smooth to operate, and I get a tremendous amount of enjoyment pulling the hammer back and letting the breechblock fly to the rear, letting the spent shell casing shoot out of the chamber.
The fact that Number Fives can use powerful smokeless cartridges like seven-millimeter Mauser, eight-millimeter Lebel, or 303 British, means also that you can reap the benefits of nitrocellulose andes chew the corrosiveness of black powder. Rolling Blocks are accurate as hell, fun to operate, interesting to shoot, and their nature as a single-shot means that it is up to the marksman to make every shot count, and that is why the Rolling Block makes the list.