Electronics

Gamers may get a charge out of the Gauss Rifle

The Gauss Rifle, a homebuilt four-stage coilgun
The Gauss Rifle, a homebuilt four-stage coilgun
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The Gauss Rifle's 8-slug ammunition clip
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The Gauss Rifle's 8-slug ammunition clip
The Gauss Rifle, a homebuilt four-stage coilgun
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The Gauss Rifle, a homebuilt four-stage coilgun

Well, Patrick Priebe might have outdone himself with this one. In the past, the German cyberpunk weapons-maker has brought us such creations as a wrist-mounted mini-crossbow, a laser-sighted rotary-saw-blade-shooting crossbow, and a flame-throwing glove. His latest nasty futuristic device? A video game-inspired electromagnetic weapon, called the Gauss Rifle.

Priebe told us that he took his inspiration from the K-Volt weapon, featured in the game Crysis 2. While he liked the look of the game’s version of the gun in first-person view, he wasn’t as keen on how it looked when placed on the ground ... so, he made his own version.

The 400-volt semi-automatic Gauss Rifle is what’s known as a multistage coilgun. It shoots 5.7-mm steel ammunition, from a built-in 8-slug clip. Priebe did his best to explain to us non-weapons-makers just how that ammo is fired.

“You charge a capacitor (high voltage preferred), and discharge it through a coil made of copper wire,” he said. “You will get a short electromagnetic pulse, which pulls the slugs through the coil. My rifle holds four banks of capacitors and four coils ... at the entrance of the last three coils are contacts made of spring-wire, reaching into the barrel. When the projectile touches, the pulse discharges and the coil accelerates the projectile, pulling it through to the next coil.”

This results in the slugs leaving the muzzle at a claimed velocity of approximately 100 meters (328 feet) per second.

The Gauss Rifle's 8-slug ammunition clip
The Gauss Rifle's 8-slug ammunition clip

Power is provided by four 3.7-volt lithium-ion cells, which allow for about 30 to 50 shots per charge. Despite its relatively lightweight frame, the gun still weighs in at a hefty 3.2 kilograms (seven lbs) – given that most of that weight is held out in front of the user’s extended arm, carrying it could get tiring before too long. Indeed, should the user’s arm start to shake, the rifle also features a 30-milliwatt green aiming laser.

According to Patrick, the Gauss Rifle “clearly shows weapons potential.” Fortunately, he has no plans on developing it commercially, or on telling other people how to make one of their own.

You can see it in use, in the video below. Evidently, you would not want to be a watermelon in its presence.

Source: Laser Gadgets (Patrick Priebe)

4 stage Gauss Rifle aka. Coilgun

16 comments
Jon A.
It looks neat, but performance is unimpressive. 328 FPS is only about a third of the muzzle velocity of 45 ACP pistol ammo. Rifle rounds can clock in at 10 times that.
Facebook User
For about $60 you can get a pellet pistol that shoots the same round @450fps. I admit, it looks kinda cool, and I like to see kids doing this kinda stuff (as long as they don't hurt anything), but it's basically a reverse- engineered rail gun. Still, kinda cool though.
Quackula
I guess it can make a really nice nail gun.
Jonathan Spear
@Jon A. I'd like to see something that unlocked it's full potential in a prototype.
Rt1583
Pretty awesome if you ask me. This guy has basically built a prototype, man portable, rail gun. Assuming that he funds himself and doesn't have a well funded R&D lab, this is even more amazing when put into the context of the millions (if not more) spent by the U.S. government on R&D for a military use rail gun, which has come to nothing.
Larry Hoffman
Not bad for the first try of a hand held rail gun. Here's what the Navy worked on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OqlTXwLG40
Lonz
what is the weight of the projectile it is slow, but if it is 3 X heavier than a 45 ACP than it would deliver the same power to the target
attoman
Always be impressed with the effort required to make something new work even modestly well. It suffers from the simple fact that we cannot store much electrical energy in any battery or capacitor with anything like the energy density of chemical or even compressed gas technology. New advanced technology air guns easily outperform firearms and any conceivable portable rail gun using todays lithium air or other battery technology. That is in a package defined as portable by weighing less then 2 kilos and delivering useful energy out to 2 km into 2 cm.
J.D. Ray
It is indeed an impressive feat, even if it's an implementation of known technology and provides little in the way of a viable war machine in its current state. I doubt the specific requirement of delivering "useful energy out to 2 km into 2 cm" as core to usefulness. For most warfighters, delivering useful energy out to 200 m into 20 cm would be plenty, particularly if it did it quickly and (relatively) silently. Did anyone notice the distinct lack of noise produced by this? Try that with a chemical accelerant..
Jacob Henderson
Note to all other commenters: "Gauss Rifles" and "Rail guns" are two entirely different things. A gauss rifle uses sequential magnetic accelerators. A coil gun uses two (or more) electrified rails and the Lorentz force to accelerate a projectile.