Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Alexander Rose

Alexander Rose, a New York historian, is the author of American Rifle: A Biography (2008).

From his Q & A with Randy Dotinga at The Christian Science Monitor:

Q: When did the rifle first appear?

A: The rifle made its first appearance in Europe in the early-modern era, around the 16th century, but there were exceedingly few of them. German immigrants to Pennsylvania in the early 18th century brought their gunsmithing skills and blended English-style muskets with German rifle technology to create a specifically American hybrid, popularly known as a "Kentucky rifle."

At that time, the distinctive difference between a rifle and the standard musket was that the former's barrel was grooved and the latter's was smooth. Among other things, the grooves imparted spin and stability to a bullet as it hurtled through the barrel, allowing it to fly farther and truer than a musket's.The downside was that it took much, much longer to load a rifle than a musket, so it was really a question of quality versus quantity.

Q: Was the rifle initially used for hunting or for military uses?

A: Paradoxically for a gun so closely identified with the military, the rifle began life as a weapon...[read on]
Learn more about the author and his work at Alexander Rose's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: American Rifle: A Biography.

--Marshal Zeringue