GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby Ryujin » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:32 am

Speaking of which, I'd like to note that there are situations in which caseless ammunition would be more desirable. Situations that usually involve machinery that do not take kindly to debris being caught between gears or paper-thin turbine blades whirling at thousands of rpm's. Or you can just stick a canvas bag over the ejection port to catch all the casings.

Granted, you're already tossing around lots of high-velocity projectiles at each other, but at least the bullets tend to embed themselves in whatever they struck instead of floating around in zero-G.


I'd like to note that, so far, we've mainly talked about weapons on a Mobile Frame's scale. Given projected linear advances in materials science, there's no reason why colonists wouldn't have access to a tougher caseless cartridge for their small arms. The weapons themselves don't have to be monuments to Teutonic engineering such as the G-11; Smith & Wesson already managed it back in 1968 with an M76 submachinegun modified for electronic ignition (too bad the 9mm ammo they cooked up was pretty sensitive to moisture). There's still the same old issues but it's highly unlikely that an average colonist's daily routine consists of engaging the local wildlife in a firefight.

This would be of some importance to colonies that haven't established the production & support facilities needed to process cartridge cases from raw ores and are at the end of lengthy transit routes. I'm also assuming that the colony would have some sort of basic 'starter kit' that includes a chemical processing plant. Here, the factor is logistics, not technology.
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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby Hackjob » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:17 pm

Ryujin wrote:...

Great points! It hadn't occured to me how the shell casings from rapid fire weapons would quickly make a cloud of debris. I know it's a bad thing when a modern astronaut drops a bolt or tool during a spacewalk. In orbit, every spent piece of brass becomes a dangerous mini-asteroid! On the subject of building ammo I think once caseless ammo is perfected it would be much easier for a "homebrewer" to make. Modern brass cartridges start as a punched disk which is then machined 7 more times! These machines are not cheap or small, and that's before adding a primer (another hard to make component), gunpowder and bullet. Theoretically, with caseless ammo all you would have to do is pour the chemical concotion that makes the powder/case into a mold with a projectile in it.

The more I think about it, I feel that lasers or other energy weapons (once perfected) would be a superior weapon. No moving parts, no extra ammo to haul, no ammo to be manufactured at all. I'm pretty sure that it has been found that modern, well made circuts have superior durability to moving parts, that's why fighter planes are now "fly-by-wire" and not controlled by a series of cables and levers. This would indicate superior reliability over modern "machine" guns. Also with energy weapons you (mostly) have unlimited ammo while your frame has power to operate. For those of you who like magazines on your guns, you could have two or more batteries that plugged into the frame to recharge while not on the weapon, or you could have a non-detachable battery on the gun which acts like a resevoir of energy being constantly recharged from the frames powerplant. At both the human and frame scale you could also just haul around extra battery/magazines like we do now with gunpowder.

I just wanna reiterate that I'm not against cased weaponry. I hunt (for food) and target shoot recreationally, and the spent brass is one of the things I enjoy when shooting a firearm.
-Hackjob


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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby CmdrRook » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:27 pm

Capacitors are basically this and would probably be necessary for the joules per second of output needed to damage an armored target in a short time. Rifts, a post-apoc/sci-fi/fantasy RPG by Palladium posited the idea of an "E6 Round," a capacitor attached to an emitter that functioned as a self-contained, one-shot laser that could be loaded into a cartridge-firing weapon, provided it shared its caliber. It was one of the few (non-magical) ways to get firearms to deal Mega-Damage. In lore, they also somehow cycled the weapon normally, but I'm unsure how they presumed that would work, as they went "Hard sci-fi" with the lasers; no noise, no noticeable beam or particle effect, just the stench and sizzle of cooking flesh and a cauterized hole through your target.
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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby Red_Robot » Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:18 am

I apologize for the wall of text. All opinions are my own.

William Gibson wrote:I put the shotgun in an Adidas bag and padded it out with four pairs of tennis socks, not my style at all, but that was what I was aiming for: If they think you're crude, go technical; if they think you're technical, go crude. I'm a very technical boy. So I decided to get as crude as possible. These days, though, you have to be pretty technical before you can even aspire to crudeness. I'd had to turn both those twelve-gauge shells from brass stock, on the lathe, and then load them myself; I'd had to dig up an old microfiche with instructions for hand- loading cartridges; I'd had to build a lever-action press to seat the primers -all very tricky. But I knew they'd work.


This is one of my all-time favorite passages from the cyberpunk genre in literature. And I quote it here because it seems very appropriate to the spirit of the discussion.

Firearms are machines that you want operating within certain tolerances, and thus "simple" metal cartridge rounds aren't exactly simple. But I think what is being said is that metal cartridges are technology that has been around since the mid-1800s and it is a reliable tech that humanity in many disparate situations can resource and use. And it is certainly simpler from our standpoint than building a laser rifle. And at the end of the day a hole punched in something is still a hole, no matter how you do it.

At the same time, a society capable of the chemical engineering feats that make cylinder fluid ubiquitous is also probably capable of solving the modern problems with caseless ammunition. I don't think anyone is saying caseless ammunition doesn't exist in the Solar Calendar. There are caseless assault rifles referenced in the artwork, so caseless ammo is SC canon. But, I think what is being said is more about the flavor and decision making behind why certain elements are present in the Solar Calendar.

Consider this. The biggest defining element in the Solar Calendar, the Mobile Frame, that thing that does everything better than everything else at what it does, is an analog electronic device. And that analog electronic device was pushed forward because one person and all their consumables and supplies plus one giant robot was lighter than 6 people and all their consumables and supplies by about 17%. Because energy needed for gate transport increases exponentially to the square root of the mass being transported. Every gram counts.

While the Solar Calendar is definitely hi-tech, there are elements to it that are very...the term lo-tech isn't quite appropriate...I'll say practical-tech. Humanity makes choices based on practicality, availability, economics and politics. Also, the Solar Calendar was very much grandfathered by 80's real robot anime, and there are certain stylistic choices made as a nod to that source. And part of that is very much watching tons of brass pour out of the ejection port of your giant robot sized assault rifle.

Hackjob wrote:And on the subject of "what would bullets look like" DPU ammo is extra-killy.


I did want to address this specifically. High mass rounds are likely to be a common load in Frame-to-Frame combat. Mobile Frames are essentially light armored vehicles. And depleted uranium is a currently effective anti-armor round. However, it may be "extra killy" for reasons not originally intended. Depleted Uranium still retains about 60% of the radioactivity of normal unenriched uranium, and it may pose an environmental hazard to those exposed to it in theatres of combat. Use in urban combat situations could potentially expose civilian populations that have to return to the contaminated area.

Also, the Solar Calendar seems to lean more towards the use of Thorium in its nuclear reactors. Truth be told, Thorium is a more reasonable radioactive fuel over Uranium. It's more abundant and cheaper, and the waste from thorium reactors has reduced half-life in comparison to uranium fueled reactors (though we are still talking measures of centuries). The reason we use uranium in modern day reactors is because uranium can be used to make nuclear bombs. Thorium can't.

It's quite possible that in a future like the Solar Calendar, which has survived a couple more world conflicts than we have, weaponized DPU is frowned upon. It's possible there are even treaties that restrain its use. I can't point to anything in the canon that would support this assertion, but it is the sort of cultural or historical issue that could shape what sorts of guns and ammo they use in the Solar Calendar.

CmdrRook wrote:...Rifts...by Palladium...went "Hard sci-fi"....


I butchered the context, but I find any statement that uses "Rifts" and "Hard Sci-fi" in the same utterance to be hilarious. ;)

I used to play a game called Renegade Legion back in the day. It was FASA's other futuristic armor warfare game besides Battletech, only it was about super-fast hovertanks. In the game, they had rounds for taking out hardened targets which were basically a rocket propelled capacitor with a lasing crystal in the nose. The laser would fire milliseconds before impact then the mass of the warhead would punch into the softened target and explode. Probably scientifically feasible but it sounds like the sort of weapon that would be fiddly and hard to perfect. Likely not something we would see much of in the Solar Calendar. This of course carries with it the caveat of, "Unless of course it looked really, really neat in the brick."

I'm all for wasteland cowboys on robot horses shooting at cyborg dinosaurs with their antique Colt Peacemakers loaded with laser bullets...when I'm in the mood for it. But the idea of shooting megajoule lasers through your conventional firearm, which has no sort of cooling device for handling something like that, sounds more like a reasonable way to be left holding a big pile of molten slag in the crispy, bacony remains of what was once your hand.
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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby CmdrRook » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:35 am

Red_Robot wrote:
Hackjob wrote:And on the subject of "what would bullets look like" DPU ammo is extra-killy.

Depleted Uranium still retains about 60% of the radioactivity of normal unenriched uranium, and it may pose an environmental hazard to those exposed to it in theatres of combat. Use in urban combat situations could potentially expose civilian populations that have to return to the contaminated area.

It's quite possible that in a future like the Solar Calendar, which has survived a couple more world conflicts than we have, weaponized DPU is frowned upon. It's possible there are even treaties that restrain its use. I can't point to anything in the canon that would support this assertion, but it is the sort of cultural or historical issue that could shape what sorts of guns and ammo they use in the Solar Calendar.


Equally worth noting that the Alpha particles generated by DU can be stopped by a sheet of A4 printer paper. The environmental hazard created by DU ammo lies in the cloud of pyrophoric smoke generated when it hits a solid target and its residue, which are extremely dangerous to inhale or otherwise consume. Other (and potentially more-so, if only due to the comparative volume in use) toxic residues resulting in illness and birth defects produced by some military grade ammunitions; Cobalt, Tungsten, and Lead.

That aside, very few elements produce the self-sharpening effect that makes DU such an effective choice against armor. A non-deforming projectile that fills every open cavity in a hard target with hellfire may yet prove difficult to replace.
RedRobot wrote:
CmdrRook wrote:...Rifts...by Palladium...went "Hard sci-fi"....


I butchered the context, but I find any statement that uses "Rifts" and "Hard Sci-fi" in the same utterance to be hilarious. ;)


Much obliged.
RedRobot wrote:
I'm all for wasteland cowboys on robot horses shooting at cyborg dinosaurs with their antique Colt Peacemakers loaded with laser bullets...when I'm in the mood for it. But the idea of shooting megajoule lasers through your conventional firearm, which has no sort of cooling device for handling something like that, sounds more like a reasonable way to be left holding a big pile of molten slag in the crispy, bacony remains of what was once your hand.


Not sure how much cooling would be needed unless the process of discharging a capacitor through an emitter was EXTREMELY inefficient. The energy is being released as a direct laser, remember.
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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby Red_Robot » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:28 pm

CmdrRook wrote:Not sure how much cooling would be needed unless the process of discharging a capacitor through an emitter was EXTREMELY inefficient. The energy is being released as a direct laser, remember.


Ok...I'll play with this just because I enjoy a little silliness, and because I think it will bring up some subjects that are relevant to the thread as a whole.

First, the Second Law of Thermodynamics states that you -will- get waste heat generated. Entropy will have it's due. No system is 100% efficient. And even if the little emitters are EXTREMELY efficient, we are throwing around huge amounts of energy. We're talking amounts of energy that by the standards of the Mega Damage system state that even at it's weakest, we have an energy beam that with a single shot can...

    1.) Damage a modern tank.
    2.) Destroy a modern automotive sedan.
    3.) Punch a hole through a modern house.
    4.) Vaporize a human being.

That's if you're rolling a d4. And that's a lot of energy. What are we talking here? 500 kilowatt bursts? 1000? I couldn't really tell you. But lets assume a 1000 kilowatts. Even if the efficiency of our little emitter approaches near magical levels, with waste heat produced at a percentage of a percentage...lets say only .01% inefficiency...then we are dealing with about 30-40 megajoules of energy given off as waste heat. That's about 1000 BTUs dumped into your Colt Peacemaker or .45 automatic in a fraction of a second. Not enough to melt it, but its going to be so hot after you empty your cylinder you're not going to want to hold it. Move the waste heat percentage up a factor of ten and you are dealing with 10000 BTUs. If you consider a still astounding but more realistic inefficiency of 2% your gun is going to be red and soft and very uncomfortable to hold and won't ever be shooting another laser bullet again. Even if we consider a "mere" 500 kilowatts, a 98% efficient system is still going to melt your gun. Because antique six-shooters and even modern composite handguns aren't built to those sorts of tolerances.

But let's ignore all that. The whole premise is the shakiest sort of comic book science in the first place. Let's just assume our laser bullets work, just like they're supposed to, and they are very very efficient and your gun doesn't melt.

Even with that being said....each bullet is basically a tiny laser gun! It is a laser pointer the size of a .45 acp round that can vaporize a person! If you can build something like that, why don't you just build a really good, really efficient laser gun rather than a box full of these contrived laser bullets? There is no way you can tell me it would in any way approach any sort of economic savings to build 40 miniaturized super lasers to shoot out of your antique Scofield as opposed to one Star Trek-style little dinky laser pistol. I am calling shenanigans on that.

And that is how MFZ is different. It at least tries to look at the background setting and have it's decisions informed by concerns like the physics of space travel and economic pressures on technology. Comparing Rifts and MFZ is a pretty big apples and oranges situation. Just because they both have big robots with big guns, doesn't mean they are both informed by the same philosophy.

And I'm not trying to bash Palladium here. I played Robotech and Rifts and even TMNT a bunch as a kid and I have fond memories of it. But what MFZ is trying to accomplish and the approach it takes are completely different. It's like comparing VOTOMS to Voltron.
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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby CmdrRook » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:46 pm

To quote the source material; for mass-reduction purposes, an ST-10 Osprey's power source is a sole "Supercapacitor."

One of the Osprey's load-outs show-cases a Fusion Edge; a constant beam of energy capable of cutting "Duralin" like butter. It does not melt its own device nor damage the machinery wielding it, or else it would not be a weapon in the lore.

No mention is given as to whether the power-source for a fusion edge is the Frame itself. A "Amplifier" attachment is shown to establish a D8, but its function is ambiguous. There is a distinct possibility that the power-source and emitter is all self-contained within the hilt of the weapon. If you could safely contain the energy necessary to produce a constant cutting beam within that small container, you NEED the ability to transfer it without significant loss to heat.

Miniaturizing the technology so that it only projects a (much longer) cutting beam for a microsecond before discarding it does not necessarily seem outside the realm of reason for the Solar Calender, but that could just be me.
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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby Red_Robot » Wed Mar 25, 2015 4:18 am

CmdrRook wrote:To quote the source material; for mass-reduction purposes, an ST-10 Osprey's power source is a sole "Supercapacitor." ...


Okay, we've shifted scales and setting here a little bit. In my previous post, I was more addressing the feasibility of using our antique Colt Peacemaker as a firing system for a megawatt capacity laser the size of the last joint of my thumb. Which was tech from another gaming system. But now we're getting a little more apples to apples here.

Yep, there are definitely supercapacitors powering the ST-10 Osprey. However we're talking levels of scale here where those supercapacitors are likely the size of the engine block of a small car. And they can only fuel an Osprey for single sorties out in reaches of space. Osprey use electrical storage instead of having generators to provide electricity for it's muscle cylinders in order to free up room for rocket fuel. Osprey aren't meant for extended engagements. They operate in the theatre of space. They have different problems which generates different solutions.

The fusion edge is the Solar Calendar's own lightsaber, and anytime you get into lightsaber tech things get really fuzzy. It's problematic, but we've already mentioned the fusion edge earlier too in this regards. However, it's very unlikely that fusion edges are any sort of "recurving laser" or some sort of laser beam that somehow stops at a point in space. What they most likely are is some sort of weaponized plasma torch. A plasma torch uses an electrical arc to generate super heated gas from a jet of carrier fluid. The torch is ionized so you can uses magnetic containment or some other such thing to focus the blade and make it do things like clash against another fusion edge. Heck, you can even explain why the blades are different colors by saying they are using different gases or liquids as carrier fluids. And a plasma torch's cutting strength relies on electrical charge, so having a boosting capacitor like in the Osprey illustration makes a lot of sense.

However, even the smallest example of a mobile frame fusion edge is still about a meter long and likely 30 cm in diameter. And I think we can both agree that meter long device likely includes insulation and heat dispersal systems. Just like a real plasma torch has.

But I see what you're saying. You were pointing out the laser bullets from Rifts and positing that you could apply that same principle to the Solar Calendar to making "lasing shells." And the part I got hung up on was "laser bullets from Rifts."

However, consider this. The reason there are laser bullets in Rifts is so your cyborg cowboy can use their 1865 Colt Navy Revolver to fight Glitterboys, Is there really a parallel problem in the Solar Calendar where making lasing shells is a solution? Do you need to make a small, disposable, single use laser round that fits in your 30 mm mobile frame assault rifle when that 30 mm assault rifle already damages other frames all by itself? If you need a laser so bad, why not use an already existing laser rifle?

But hey, I'm not trying to bust chops here. If you get a thrill out of using "lasing shells" as some sort of buster round, or want to have Spetsnaz inspired frames that have assault rifles with underslung rocket propelled transparent orange chainsaw bayonets, then go for it. Play with your toys how you want. I'm not trying to cause you any consternation here, CmdrRook. Still friends?
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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby CmdrRook » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:58 am

I can see where the confusion originated on the topic of disposable laser rounds, as I did linger on the Rifts subject a bit longer than was my intention. I wanted to cite the concept and credit the system, but got carried away musing over the discrepancies between their more rational tech and outlandish stuff, and I apologize for that.

I believe the primary way a Frame loses energy is by operating an external power-consuming system, such as thrusters, radar, or lasers. A supercapacitor would be topped off before deployment, and Newton's Third Law effecting Muscle Cylinders would provide long-term renewable power for the Frame's mobility. A sortie could theoretically be as long as neccessary provided the pilot was judicious about expending power in a way that the Frame could regain at least some portion.

I do understand the "lightsaber" effect, but in an effort to avoid the dangerous hand-waving territory that got me in so much trouble earlier, I would like to address it a bit more if that's alright. You are 100% correct that a recursive laser makes much less sense than a plasma cutter, but containing or compressing the amount of fuel to create a mech-scale cutting blade and fire it constantly for even a "short" sortie would require a massive storage tank for pressurized gas and be required for space use, or some sort of compressor to use local gasses on top of the electrical current required to guide the plasma to the cutting target. What if the target is non-conductive? What if it isn't grounded?

The laser argument is not without its flaws either, seeing as something as simple as a fancy mirror makes it very, very sad.

I certainly hope that discussing technical aspects and finding we don't all agree on all the minutiae of a fictional system won't be mistaken for dislike of the people discussing it. I am as engaged as I am specifically because I do respect the individuals and their points of view in this community, and I wouldn't be motivated to join the discussion if I didn't. It is my hope that I'm providing something substantial to mull over in return.
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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby Red_Robot » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:04 pm

Most of those questions can be answered in a fairly non-hand-wavey fashion. A non-transferred plasma torch uses internal electrodes and fires the plasma as a jet out the nozzle. The target does not need to have an electrode attached to it or be grounded. As far as carrier fluid for the jet, you could probably use a solid fuel, perhaps in pelletized form, which you then vaporize within the device using a laser or microwaves or something similar. If you consider 1/3 of a fusion edge's meter long "case" is emitter, 1/3rd is battery, then 1/3rd could be devoted to solid fuel. It's not going to give you an infinite burn, but it would probably be enough for a few minutes. That doesn't sound like much, but that's a long time in a firefight. The practical solution is conserve your ammo.

And if part of the "blade" is a magnetic containment "sheath" to keep the jet from scattering, that might also extend the life of the plasma, allowing you to reduce expenditure of carrier fluid. But this is getting into the area of Not Guns.
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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby CmdrRook » Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:39 am

Sublimating a solid fuel is a very creative solution to the problem, for which I give kudos.
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Re: GUNS, GLORIOUS GUNS

Postby attackowl » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:53 pm

Sovietshadow wrote:Well i can't exactly say what the bullets are, but by looking at a few of the guns i would speculate that they're using cartridges (brass or otherwise). Now personally I think caseless would work better, and for a book I'm writing i solved the overheating problem with "cooling gel" that not only cooled the barrel but also made the gun too heavy for civilian use. COPYRIGHTED!

Ooo, cool. What about cooling gel being some sort of paste, like sunscreen, that you slather on the barrel? I think most of the frame rifles used would be 20mm or something of the sort.
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