The world's first commercially available 'Gauss Rifle' reviewed

Originally published at: The world's first commercially available 'Gauss Rifle' reviewed | Boing Boing


Fans of the Traveller RPG are rejoicing!


Fancy newfangled Gauss rifle.

Back in my day we just used rail-guns.


“you don’t want to use this within 50 feet of someone who has sensitive electronic … stuff”

Yeah you don’t say. My first thought here was there was no way this was shielded enough to not fry a pacemaker.


And Mechwarrior/Battletech fans. Was a huge fan of the Gause rifles back in the Mechwarrior: Mercenaries days.

So, this is odd, this is the 2nd Guass rifle/rail gun I have seen in as many weeks. The other one though sends metal disks at slower speeds. (ETA maybe not much slower, as it is a smaller disk). More of a plinking gun, but it does look fun (link at bottom).

The Gauss Rifle Ian has is a much more powerful one shooting larger projectiles. The problem with it is: it isn’t really a rifle. A rifle has rifling which spins the projectile and makes it much much more accurate. There are some shotgun slugs with rifling on the slug and is made to give it some spin when going down the smooth bore of the barrel. But I don’t think that would work in a gauss gun due to the friction it would need. Maybe fins on the projectile and a sabot as it goes down the tubes? I think that is what the big rail guns the Navy is working on uses.

(ETA - and I looked up the 70 m/s speed, is basically 230fps - which is really slow. Like paintballs go faster than that. So they got a long way to go.)

Well it is brand new stuff. I think it is neat!


This is just a fancy Nerf gun.
It’s amazing how quiet it is - but as others have noted - once the slugs hit hypersonic speeds they will make a sound.
Still - probably the start of something more deadly.


That’s true, but that is also true of suppressed firearms that have supersonic ammo. But there are other reasons having a quiet gun at the shooters level that are beneficial, mainly safer on hearing.

And from a military point of view, the crack of the projectile going faster than sound is harder to locate as the crack of a sonic boom isn’t a single event, but a continuous wave. The muzzle report is a single bang.


And Car Wars fans…


“the muzzle energy of… a 22 long… it weighs about 20 pounds”
LOL. Ok, that’s a lot less useful than I assumed. Now I’m questioning whether its “great [great, etc.] grandchildren” will be that much better. Batteries will always be of a certain weight, the coils can only get so small and gunpowder holds a lot of energy for its weight, on top of which you have capacitor charging issues that limit the rate of fire - so how could there even theoretically be a big enough advantage to justify its existence? Being able to change the slug size and set the velocity don’t seem like big enough differences to make it worthwhile.


This is a first generation. Think of an old blunderbuss style gun and compare that to a modern rifled hunting weapon. A lot of the things that make this prototype a bit silly (weight, charge capacity, lack of rifling) will get better. And if humanity’s history of making better and better ways to destruct soft tissue is any indication, it will get MUCH better MUCH faster than you’d initially guess.


I’m not doubting it’ll get better - it’s just there are theoretical maximums to how much better each element can get, and I wonder if that’ll be sufficient to justify the technology. Because it doesn’t seem like it.


I think shoulder fired rail guns won’t ever be worth it - at least not in my life time. Even if you get the performance to that of a modern rifle, I don’t think you can beat the energy density of smokeless gun powder to batteries. One caveat would be niche applications.

I think they may be mounted on ships or vehicles. But it is all in its infancy yet. The Navy has been working on one. though as I went to look it up, it looks like the pulled the funding on it. For now.

They are making lots of changes to modern firearms right now. The Army has a new directive and testing new rifles they want to fire a specific 6.8mm projectile. There is a new company making polymer cased ammo that can shape the internal structure unlike a brass shell, making burn rates different, meaning less powder and less overall weight. So it isn’t like the tech on that side is standing still either.


Yeah, I think a lot depends on battery technology, and I suppose some radically new tech that sort of redefines what a “battery” is could be a real game-changer. Anything less than that seems like it would limit it to extremely niche applications (e.g. anti-drone guns onboard nuclear-powered vessels or something).


I haven’t seen that channel in a few years, no shade. I still respect Ian but after a few high profile mass shootings i just had a hard time working up any enthusiasm to watch vids on guns from this and Ian’s other channel. Still i’m glad to see he’s out there still making vids on cool stuff


Think I’ll just stick with my good ole maula pistol for now, it’s never let me down.

Ah, yes, the idea of someday killing people with magnets. Fascinating.


Why is it that whenever there is a gun target it’s always in the shape of a human torso?


Oh man I dislike gun culture but I love guns as objects of science, specifically. This is so cool. I’m still surprised we don’t have caseless ammunition in widespread use by now:


Keep your coils dry!