Help support TMP

"SF small arms" Topic

21 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the SF Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest

Science Fiction

518 hits since 25 Nov 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Allen5725 Nov 2018 8:12 a.m. PST

What is the weapon and how do you differentiate its effect from each other?

1. Bolter
2. Slugthrower
3. Needler
4. Lasgun
5. Blaster
6. Raygun

Which ones did I miss?

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2018 8:17 a.m. PST

Plasma gun

Aethelflaeda was framed25 Nov 2018 8:44 a.m. PST

With a handwave

Garand25 Nov 2018 8:50 a.m. PST

1 Bolter: weapon that fires rocket-propelled bullets
-Advantage: can be used in space. Can be explosive.
-Disadvantage: strength increases with range; ineffective at short ranges.

2. Slugthrower: shoots bullets using chemical explosives.
-Advantage: very simple tech. Reliable.
-Disadvantage: strength decreases with range. Cannot be used in space.

3. Needler: uses tiny slivers of ballistic plastic.
-Advantage: superb anti-armor performance. Can be used in space.
-Disadvantage: low damage; short range.

4. Lasgun: shoots laser beams.
-Advantage: simple reliable & mature tech. Can be used in space.
-Disadvantage: low damage (higher than a needler though).

5. Blaster: shoots bolts of plastma contained in a magnetic field.
-Advantage: high damage & AP potential. Can be used i space.
-Disadvantage: bulky. Power hungry.

6. Raygun: shoots a ray of electromagnetic energy at things.
-Advantage: lots of damage. Area of Effect (cone). Can be used in space.
-Disadvantage: damage decreases with range. Indiscriminate.

That's my take…


Legion 425 Nov 2018 9:08 a.m. PST

Garand +1

But don't forget Hammer's Slammers' "Power/guns".

From Wikipedia

In the Hammer universe, a powergun is a weapon which projects high energy copper plasma toward its target. This plasma is created by inducing an electrical field in a precisely aligned group of copper atoms; the atoms' alignment causes a resonance which greatly amplifies the field energy and ionizes the atoms. The resulting plasma is directed by a firing chamber and barrel made of refractory metal, such as iridium; the chamber and barrel are cooled between shots by injected gas (typically nitrogen). The copper atoms are stored as individual charges, with the atoms held in the correct alignment by a plastic matrix which is mostly consumed by the firing. All the parts of a powergun require extremely precise machining and advanced materials, which makes powerguns very expensive; only the most successful mercenary units (or technologically advanced planets) can afford large numbers of powerguns. Powerguns are easily identified by the extremely bright cyan color of their plasma bolts; the electrical field also generates a broadband radio frequency discharge which can be picked up by the appropriate equipment. A powergun's recoil is far lower than a projectile weapon of equivalent size or firepower, as the copper atoms have low rest mass; the primary limit for powergun rate of fire is its ability to dissipate heat. Many smaller rapid fire powerguns use a multibarrel configuration, either a rotary gatling or a multi chamber mitrailleuse (the latter called a "calliope" in Slammer's military slang.)[4]
Powerguns are line of sight weapons. As a general rule, if you can see it, you can hit it. The upper limit of their range is not known. However, in one story a politician is killed with a shot to the head from a 1 cm pistol in the hands of a master marksman at a range of more than a mile.[5] In another, part of a plot revolves around disabling the powergun equivalent of a heavy flak gun battery capable of hitting a spaceship in orbit. However, the plasma projected has one failing: the energy in the plasma will expend itself on the first object it hits, whether that is a leaf or an enemy soldier. Precision in aiming is key when using a powergun.
The operating characteristics and tactical employment of powerguns were chosen by the author, David Drake, to be roughly equivalent to the firearms he was familiar with; specifically, the M14 rifle, the M1928A1 Thompson submachine gun, the M1911A1 .45 ACP pistol, and the Browning M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun. This allowed him to easily translate his experiences in Vietnam to a science fiction context. The specifics of the powergun are inspired by Drake's interest in Fortean phenomena; the mechanism by which powerguns produce destructive plasma is similar to the working of a Tesla coil, and the destructive power of copper plasma is said (in the Slammers universe) to have resulted in the deaths of thousands in the 1902 eruption of Mount Pelee. (In reality, this was the result of a pyroclastic surge.)
evil grin

I would love to see some of all types on Sci-fi Infantry weapons made in 6mm regardless … evil grin

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2018 9:12 a.m. PST

Plasma gun – shoots bolts of plasma
Advantage – big hits!
Disadvantages – tend to blow up

Melta – shoots a super-heated energy stream that pretty much melts through anything
Advantage – like it says
Disadvantage – short range

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2018 10:25 a.m. PST

1 Bolter: weapon that fires rocket-propelled bullets
-Advantage: can be used in space. Can be explosive.
-Disadvantage: strength increases with range; ineffective at short ranges.

The bolts themselves can be exploding and/or armor-piercing.

Another advantage is lower recoil than a comparable slugthrower, because the rocket engages after the bolt leaves the weapon. So it's a good choice for zero-G combat.

2. Slugthrower: shoots bullets using chemical explosives.
-Advantage: very simple tech. Reliable.
-Disadvantage: strength decreases with range. Cannot be used in space.

Modern gunpowder contains its own oxygenator so it will work in vaccuum. In vaccuum, strength won't decrease with range, because vaccuum won't create friction.

Gauss weapons, which use a series of electro-magnets in the barrel to propel an iron-based round, are another kind of slugthrower. They can be used in vaccuum. Rate of fire exceeds that of comparable gas-operated weapons. Bullet velocity, and thus penetration, probably exceed comparable gas-operated weapons.

3. Needler: uses tiny slivers of ballistic plastic.
-Advantage: superb anti-armor performance. Can be used in space.
-Disadvantage: low damage; short range.

What propels the tiny slivers?

In vaccuum and free-fall, range is probably unlimited.

I would add shotguns as a category. They can fire slugs, but their primary function is to fire a slowly expanding pattern of small metal balls.
Advantage: High probability of a hit. At low tech levels, any hit to a spacesuit may be catastrophic. Also, nothing says Traveller like shotguns in space.*
Disadvantage: High recoil, so difficult to use in zero-G, at least after the first shot.

*Attributed to Michael Hensley. See link

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2018 10:39 a.m. PST

1. Bolter- .75 caliber APHE capable of sustained burst fire. A H&K MP5 on steroids as is the shooter.

2. Slugthrower- a chemically propelled kinetic energy weapon firing jacketed metal slugs. Primitive, noisy and suprisingly lethal. A myriad of types and styles. A energy weapon using race usually finds their armor and force fields are easily penetrated by these.

3. Needler- a gauss/inear accelerator long 'rifle-(smoothbore) that propels a 5mm flechette at extreme velocity that can be highly accurate. A sniper's dream weapon.

4. Lasgun- Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. May be continuous beam or pulse fired. Pretty lights.

5. Blaster- Fires pulses of plasma. Reputedly inaccurate but poor training is the real fault. Can 'powder' a organic target.

6. Raygun- Any energy beam/pulse firearm. Stay away from Acme designs. My favorite is the Photon Phanny-Whammer.

MajorB25 Nov 2018 10:47 a.m. PST

How could you forget to include the phaser?

MajorB25 Nov 2018 10:49 a.m. PST

But don't forget Hammer's Slammers' "Power/guns".

I don't think there are small arms versions of the powergun?

emckinney25 Nov 2018 11:16 a.m. PST

<quote>I don't think there are small arms versions of the powergun?</quote>

Sure are. The matrix cartridges work in pretty well any size. Powergun SMGs are pretty scary.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian25 Nov 2018 1:19 p.m. PST

FWIW: Slug throwers will work in vacuum. The oxidizer is in the powder.

Legion 425 Nov 2018 4:27 p.m. PST

Sure are. The matrix cartridges work in pretty well any size. Powergun SMGs are pretty scary.
Yep read all the books and the wargame rules "The Crucible" for Hammer-verse … Powergun Rifles, SMGs and pistols are standard issue to the Slammer Grunts …

Lion in the Stars25 Nov 2018 11:17 p.m. PST

But don't forget Hammer's Slammers' "Power/guns".

I don't think there are small arms versions of the powergun?

Sure are!

1cm pistol and SMGs, 2cm semi-auto 'rifles' (shooting same ammo as the tribarrels).

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2018 3:41 a.m. PST

Nerve disruptors and stunners. (Bujold, the Vorcosiverse.)
Sigma ray guns. (Piper, the Paracops stories.)

From a miniature wargamer's POV though, how many can you expect a manufacturer to make? And can you make different manufacturers each commission the same weapon--or tell them apart in someone's hand at 28mm, much less 15mm?

I'd say a max of three hand weapon types per universe, two or three rates of fire and two or three ranges. That gives you between 12 and 27 hand weapons. Above that, and you'll just drown in your own detail.

Ghostrunner26 Nov 2018 5:03 a.m. PST

As much as 'wild card' weapons are fun, I do like the way Tomorrow's War handles them.

At anything above the individual level, TW rationalizes that troop quality has far more of an effect on fire effectiveness than the characteristics of the firearms.

It makes some allowances for weapons optimized for short range or very close combat, and if one side has objectively superior firearms and equipment. It also gives squad support weapons some varying effects based on type.

But for the most part, it doesn't worry about if you're carrying 'blasters' or 'machine guns'.

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2018 4:16 p.m. PST

What about the flamer? Specifically, the gel flamer, which lobs self-contained fuels that are inert until they pass through the muzzle of the weapon, when an electromagnetic field activates them. They then continue in projectile form until they burst, whereupon they ignite and incinerate whatever they touch. Kind of like very angry paintballs.

The gas needler: Instead of plastic darts, the gas needler fires super-frozen slivers of nitrogen or hydrogen at high velocity. Short range, but very lethal and ammo is almost unlimited.

Meson gun: A heavy support weapon, the meson gun projects a harmless stream of mesons which can pass through matter without any loss of integrity or power. Where the mesons reach a critical point of decay, however, there is a wicked explosion with residual radiation effects. The meson gun is the Travelleresque replacement for the grenade launcher, since it is often used to shoot through hills, buildings, and other obstacles.

Stryderg26 Nov 2018 8:57 p.m. PST

Cone rifle: fires a glass projectile down a barrel that tapers down from the chamber to the muzzle so it squeezes the round as it travels down the barrel. That squeezing causes the glass to melt and increases the pressure behind the round.

What you get down range is a projectile that doesn't do much damage to people, but will punch through, melt and fragment any armor or gear it hits.

Lion in the Stars27 Nov 2018 7:06 a.m. PST

What is the weapon and how do you differentiate its effect from each other?

1. Bolter – higher powered than a typical infantry rifle, typically a rocket-boosted APHEI warhead like the Raufoss round, which makes the ammunition expensive.

May be so powerful only strong humans or power-armored troops can carry and fire one.

2. Slugthrower – older, classic technology. a firearm of today. Solid, reliable, and ammo is cheap. Weapon will outlive it's user. Can also refer to a large-bore coilgun throwing, well, anything that can fit into the bore.

3. Needler – some variety of flechette weapon, often shooting a 'needle' of frozen poisons that will melt in the bloodstream. May also refer to a small-bore coilgun that throws a tiny bit of metal the size of a grain of sand at a significant fraction of C, but usually refers to an assassin's weapon.

4. Lasgun – the 'flashlight'. requires an immense power supply to do anything, and that power supply would be better served feeding a railgun/coilgun for a personal weapon or even a tank's main gun.

5. Blaster – usually some variety of particle beam or plasma gun, often never specified. depending on exact nature, may have some significant anti-armor capabilities. Alternatively, may have minimal anti-armor and massive anti-personnel effect.

6. Raygun – older term for a lasgun. may fire odd frequencies like microwaves or X-rays instead of light.

Which ones did I miss?

7. plasma gun/cannon – launches a massive blast of extremely high energy (whatever, sometimes it's even fusing hydrogen, sometimes it's only 5 grams of Cadmium Telluride flash-heated past vapor and launched at 5km/sec). usually very high strength and good armor penetration. may have significant thermal bloom and other radiation to the shooter or people in the path of the beam. The best versions can double as a plasma rocket and have an 'ominous hum' as they power up.

8. Powergun – basically a cartridge version of the plasma gun. shoots laser-straight and dumps all it's energy into the first thing it hits. With a good targeting system, a 20cm powergun as used on a main battle tank can snipe a satellite out of orbit as soon as it clears the horizon. Ammunition manufacture is limited to very high-tech worlds, so is expensive. available in sizes from pistol to tank cannon or even larger.

9. Bead Carbine – electromagnetic accelerator, shoots small, non-bulkhead-piercing metal/ceramic beads or darts at impressive velocity. *ALWAYS* called a carbine.

10. Beam Rifle – shoots same flavor of high-armor-piercing beam (not specified, probably a particle beam), will make big holes in spaceships even from an infantry weapon. Though usually carried by power-armored troops due to size and weight (and significant backscatter in atmosphere).

11. Gauss-Gunfoam hybrid pistol – standard sidearm. Can fire large iron-core flechettes at just-subsonic speed, nearly silent in that application. Gunfoam is the advanced version of gunpowder, used to launch things that would not like strong electromagnetic fields (like the electronics for explosive warheads) at twice the speed of sound.

12. Multicannon – final evolution of the 20thC firearm. large bore, launches anything that will fit in the bore, from non-lethal 'goober' restraint rounds all the way up to megaton-range antimatter explosives. Typical loadout is with antitank breacher rounds, though laser-seeker rounds are also an option. And it does all this at high cyclic rates of fire. Can also act as a laser target designator. Full-size versions include some level of auto-aiming or aiming assist, but cutting the barrels down will remove that capability. Still portable by a single trooper (if wearing powered fullerene combat armor)

13. 'Nutcracker' – multi-stage anti-armor weapon, capable of breaching Post-Trans-Uranic armor around things like annie plants and letting all the neutronium inside evaporate. Starts with a plasma blast to soften the surface, then fires multiple small missiles to resonate the armor apart. Roughly large-rifle sized.

14. Phased-plasma gun (PPG) – this is a shipboard-combat weapon, incapable of penetrating bulkheads or skin, but with fairly good effect on living things. Ammunition is carried in a small 'cap' at the back of the weapon. Has a distinctive sound when charging up or taken off 'safe', takes about a second for initial charge-up but can fire very rapidly after. Ranges from holdout pistol to light machinegun size.

Stryderg27 Nov 2018 10:34 a.m. PST

Gravity guns – fires a ball of super compressed matter. Causes nearby objects to be pulled towards it. Very bad if the ball hits a person and sucks all the matter towards one place.

Zephyr127 Nov 2018 2:30 p.m. PST

Extremely effective at near range… ;-)

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.