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Russian roulette is a stupid game, but did you know old and well-oiled revolvers are not suitable for it?

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Posted July 22, 2019

Russian roulette is an extremely stupid lethal game, made popular by movies and TV. Essentially, each player takes turns pressing the trigger of a revolver, which has only a single round inside. It is all about luck and being ready to die (as we said – very stupid). But did you know that the older and the more well-oiled the revolver is, the less likely you are to lose this game? Still, don’t try this at home.

A very well-oiled and worn revolvers are not the best for the Russian roulette. Or they are actually better – chances of death are lower. Image credit: Mascamon via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0 lu)

Russian roulette is probably a very old game, but it started getting its name just before the Second World War. There are some different variations of this game, but the main idea remains the same. You load a single round into a revolver, which leaves the other 5 spots empty. Then you spin the cylinder, aim at your own head and pull the trigger. If you are lucky, the loaded chamber will not be in front of the barrel and you will survive. Then another player takes turn.

Older and very well-oiled revolvers are not really suitable for this game. Essentially, a loaded chamber is heavier and it is more likely to settle at the bottom, meaning, away from the striking pin. Unless you are playing with Chiappa Rhino, of course, which shoots from the bottom chamber. Typically, revolvers have stops, which click and do not allow chamber to spin freely. But the more oiled the gun is and the more worn the mechanism is, the more likely you are to play this game forever without anyone losing.That does depend on the rules as well, though.

Some variations of the Russian roulette require for the player to stop the cylinder himself. For example, it can be spun just by rolling the gun down your arm. In some other version of the game the cylinder is spun just once and then players take turns trying to shoot themselves. In this case someone is going to lose in 5 turns or less. If the gun works properly and players agree not to spin the cylinder between rounds, mathematicians expect someone to die in 3.5 trigger pulls. If the cylinder is spun every time, the number of pulls of the trigger before a round is expected to discharge is 6.

Surely, you have better, less lethal things to do with your life than play Russian roulette. But it is possible to enjoy the thrill of this game without the risk of death or permanent brain injury. For example, there are several different drinking games, based on the principles of the Russian roulette. And then there are some simple online flash games, designed to emulate the experience. If you want a physical penalty for losing the game, you should look into one of the electric shock Russian roulette games. There are options – don’t think you are very tough and manly for choosing the most dangerous one.

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