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Thread: Shell Casings?

  1. #21

    Default Re: Shell Casings?

    Also remember that in the time period that the SC universe takes place in, humans have had cold nuclear fusion for quite some time. They seem to have mastered it to such an extent that small, relatively portable reactors or fuel cells based on it are readily available. It appears to be the primary power source for most, if not all terran vehicles and spacecraft, large or small. Even the powered armor worn by terran infantry units seems to utilize some form of it, as evidenced by the epic cinematic where Tychus Findlay gets suited up in the SC2 reveal trailer.

    The point is; meeting the vast power requirements of a magnetic weapon wouldn't be nearly as much of an issue as it would be today.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Shell Casings?

    I recently wrote a shortish essay in regards to the C-14, and it's supposed to be posted on another board (just as soon as I'm finished with it). It deals primarily with how powerful the rifle is, but as a subtopic it deals with why it looks as strange as it does. I thought maybe someone would like a look. Keep in mind that it might sound a bit strange since it's targeted for another forum and not this one.

    And apparently I'm going to have to break it up into smaller sections since the post limit gets in the way.

    Quantifying the C-14 “Impaler” Gauss Rifle

    Let me start off by saying that yes, there’s a lot of text here. So if you’re the type of person who likes to skip the quantifications and jump directly to the conclusions, well then all you have to do is look under the sections I’ve titled ‘conclusions’.

    Now then, if there’s one thing that is absolutely guaranteed to happen in every single Starcraft related thread that goes on for more then two pages it’s that the argument will ultimately devolve into arguing about the C-14 ”Impaler” gauss rifle. The problem is simple: The creators of Starcraft gave the rifle a description that says it’s a gauss rifle that fires 8mm hypersonic armor piercing spikes, but the cinematics showed a rifle that looked more like a large-sized modern machinegun. The description of the weapon implies it’s quite powerful compared to modern rifles, and that’s what’s generally disputed.

    So this thread is here to put that argument to rest once and for all. I’m going to be as thorough and as detailed as is possible, and I’ll include every single canonical source there is to get a bead on the power of the rifle.

    Things to Note Before we Start

    What follows is a list of things that’s good to keep in mind and know before we start the quantification, as it will help with some of the confusion and also ensure the quantification is as accurate as possible.

    1. The term “gauss rifle” does not necessarily refer to the “C-14 gauss rifle”. There are a number of different rifles and weapons in the Starcraft universe, just like there are a number of different weapons on our world. Gauss rifle simply means that the rifle in question uses electromagnetism to propel the slug, and the C-14 is a specific type of gauss rifle. Think of it like the term “assault rifle” and the M-16. The M-16 is an assault rifle, but not all assault rifles are M-16s. I’ve seen a lot of people assume that just because a novel says gauss rifle, it has to be referring to the C-14 gauss rifle. Not so. If there’s anything the mangas and comics have proved it’s that there are so many different gun models that it’s impossible to track of them all.

    2. There are two different variants of the C-14 gauss rifle. And this is a new revelation even for me, one that I had when reading volume four of the Frontline series. Previously I had always thought that the weapon design we see in Starcraft 2 is supposed to be the same rifle we saw in Starcraft 1, only visually updated. The “Fear the Reaper” story in the manga however shows us that both rifle variants exist, canonically speaking. The manga first shows us the new rifle and the new combat armor in use by the Terran marines, but then suddenly, when a dark templar thinks back on the war with the humans, he recalls them shooting different guns and wearing different combat armor – namely the stuff we saw in Starcraft 1. This is quite important to realize since the same story also effectively shows us that the new version of the rifle can’t be used in anything but the crudest manner by unarmored people. A guy trying to escape a prison actually has to lift the C-14 like Arnold Schwarzenegger would lift a minigun. Same thing is shown in the Starcraft comics.

    3. Things change. Starcraft is an evolving franchise. There’s a constant stream of new novels, mangas, comics, and even the upcoming Starcraft 2 that’s all adding to the existing canon. With new canonical sources also come new revelations. Some things that would be considered true today would probably be changed in the future. It’s possible for instance that some future source shows the new C-14 model is suddenly easily usable by unarmored people. Thus, if you’re reading this long after it was posted, then there is probably stuff that needs to be redone.


    There are four different ways we can go about trying to quantify the C-14 gauss rifle, and in this section I will be listing those different methodologies, as well as detailing the strong- and weakpoints of them. During the quantification we will be using all of the methods in succession to see what each and every one of them says, and first after that will we be forming our conclusions. In most debates there has always been that one loud idiot who seems to think that if he finds something that doesn’t mesh with the overall picture it’s enough to base all his assumptions on and declare everything else false. Not so. We’re here to see how canon material most consistently depicts the rifles, not base all our conclusions on one single incident and dismiss the rest.

    What follows are the different methodologies we will be using:

    1. Judging performance by the technical stats provided. This method would have us use the technical specifications we’ve seen on the C-14 gauss rifle and then gauging kinetic energy and momentum from those technical specifications. This is by far the best way to go about things because the technical specs come directly from the creators of Starcraft and the specs have remained consistent throughout the years and the entirety of canon material.

    2. Judging the power of the rifle by the feats it has performed. This method would have us forgo the technical specs and instead focus solely on what we’ve seen the rifle do to form conclusions on how powerful it is. What does it do to unarmored people? What does it do to metal surfaces? Etc. This is not a particularly good way to go about things, because not only do different authors have different ideas on how strong the weapon is, but it’s also very hard to judge the specifics. Different sorts of ammunition will have different effects on different targets, bullet behavior will affect the results greatly, etc. But more on all that later on.

    3. Judging performance by looking at secondary attributes. And with secondary attributes I mean such things as recoil, momentum imparted to the target and effective range. Things that don’t directly tell us the power of the rifle but carry with them certain implications. But as with the previous methodology, specifics vary from author to author and with these things being mere secondary attributes, they’re not as reliable as primary attributes, such as the kinetic energy and momentum behind the round, etc.

    4. Judging performance by looking at the overall picture. Like I said earlier, there are lots and lots of weapons in Starcraft, and one way to quantify the C-14 would be to look at how powerful the less mentioned weapons are and then see where the C-14 would fit into the overall picture. A pistol should be weaker, for instance, as would rifles normally carried by unarmored humans.

    Now that we’re done with the setup and introduction for this quantification, let’s get to the interesting parts. If you’re the type of person who likes the short version and doesn’t like loads of text and numbers, just look under the section called conclusion to see the outcome.

  3. #23

    Default Re: Shell Casings?

    Judging Performance by the Technical Stats

    The C-14 gauss rifle has always and exclusively been described as a gauss weapon that fires 8mm hypersonic spikes. And this is enough for us to judge the general ballpark we’re talking about when it comes to kinetic energy and momentum. And the kinetic energy and momentum in turn tells us how powerful it is, and what sort of feats one would expect from it. Unfortunately it’s not enough to get a specific numbers however.

    Kinetic Energy and Momentum:

    To get the momentum and kinetic energy we need to establish both the velocity and the mass of the spikes, since both the kinetic energy and momentum formula require both variables.

    Establishing the velocity is quite simple: The spikes are said to be fired at hypersonic speeds, and hypersonic is anything between mach 5 and 10, or anything between 1,700 m/s and 3,400 m/s. Thus, as a lower limit, the figure 1,700 m/s can be used.

    The mass is harder to establish, but the technical specifications does give us something to work with, namely the diameter of the spikes – which is 8mm. We also know from various novels that both iron and steel are used as metals for the more common spikes[1], with various other less common spikes being mentioned here and there, such as incendiary, steel-tipped infantry rounds, depleted uranium, etc. So, we know the diameter of the spike, but what’s the length? The most obvious way to go about establishing it would be to look at similar modern ammunition. Modern kinetic penetrators are commonly very long compared to their width, the reason being that this helps with penetration. By comparison, modern normal bullets are actually quite chubby, if you could call it that. As examples I’ll refer to modern SLAP ammunition, modern flechette ammunition and even larger saboted ammunition. All of them are very long compared to their width. And spike certainly implies the same.

    As a lower end we’ll be looking at the SLAP ammunition for dimensions. Lower end because it certainly doesn’t look like a ‘spike’ but does conform to modern standards on how kinetic penetrators should be formed. And as a higher end we’ll be looking at the Steyr ACR flechette darts. The longer size is also implied in many of the novels, where marines can nail zerg critters to the walls with the spikes[2]. The only way that could happen is if the spike is long enough to penetrate the wall and stick there, while also being long enough on the outside to actually hold the critter it just penetrated in the air.

    What follows are the volume and mass calculations based on the dimensions above (using iron density):

    The shorter spike:

    Vtot = Vcyl + Vcone
    Vcyl = PI * r^2 * h
    Vcyl = PI * 0.004^2 * 0.02256 = 0.000001134 m^3
    Vcone = 0.333 * PI * r^2 * h
    Vcone = 0.333 * PI * 0.004^2 * 0.01272 = 2.129e-7 m^3
    Vtot = 0.000001134 m^3 + 3.129e-7 m^3 = 0.000001347 m^3
    Mtot = 0.000001347 m^3 * 7874 kg/m^3 = 0.0106 kg = 10.6 g

    The longer spike:

    Vtot = Vcyl + Vcone
    Vcyl = PI * r^2 * h
    Vcyl = PI * 0.004^2 * 0.05144 = 0.000002586 m^3
    Vcone = 0.333 * PI * r^2 * h
    Vcone = 0.333 * PI * 0.004^2 * 0.02216 = 3.713e-7 m^3
    Vtot = 0.000002586 m^3 + 3.713e-7 m^3 = 0.000002957 m^3
    Mtot = 0.000002957 m^3 * 7874 kg/m^3 = 0.02329 kg = 23.3 g

    Alright, now that we’ve established both mass and velocity, it’s time for the interesting numbers – kinetic energy and momentum:

    For the shorter spike:

    KE = 0.5 * m * v^2
    KE = 0.5 * 0.0106 * 1700^2 = 15.317 kJ
    p = m * v
    p = 0.0106 * 1700 = 18.02 kg*m/s

    For the longer spike:

    KE = 0.5 * m * v^2
    KE = 0.5 * 0.02329 * 1700^2 = 33.654 kJ
    p = m * v
    p = 0.02329 * 1700 = 39.593 kg*m/s


    Calculating penetration is going to be a wee bit harder then the simple kinetic energy or momentum. There are however modern ways to approximate penetration capabilities. For impacts below the hypervelocity region this site would suggest that momentum divided by the diameter would be one crude way to compare penetration (that’s probably also why modern kinetic penetrators are long and thin).

    Now as you might’ve noticed, the momentum of the C-14 spikes is probably lower then the momentum on the 12.7 mm machinegun bullets. But on the other hand, the metal spikes are also smaller, so it’ll be interesting to see how the two compare. Below are the momentum divided by diameter calculations.

    For the short spike:

    A = PI * r^2
    A = PI * 0.004^2 = 0.00005027 m^2
    p / A = 18.02 / 0.00005027 = 358,464 (kg*m/s)/m^2

    For the longer spike:

    A = PI * r^2
    A = PI * 0.004^2 = 0.00005027 m^2
    p / A = 39.593 / 0.00005027 = 787,607 (kg*m/s)/m^2

    For the .50 BMG round (lower end):

    A = PI * r^2
    A = PI * 0.006^2 = 0.0004524 m^2
    p / A = 39 / 0.0004524 = 86,207 (kg*m/s)/m^2

    For the .50 BMG round (upper end):

    A = PI * r^2
    A = PI * 0.006^2 = 0.0004524 m^2
    p / A = 46 / 0.0004524 = 101,680 (kg*m/s)/m^2


    By looking at the technical specifications of the C-14 gauss rifle we thus find that it has a kinetic energy between 15 and 34 kilojoules, assuming the absolute minimum of muzzle velocity. For comparison .50 BMG has a kinetic energy between 15 and 20 kilojoules. That means we can assume at least rough parity between the two in terms of kinetic energy.

    Next comes momentum. Momentum is important because it tells us how much recoil a weapon will have. Many mistakenly think that just because the C-14 has the same amount of kinetic energy, it should also have the same recoil. Not so. The C-14 has a recoil between 18 and 40 kg*m/s. For comparison .50 BMG has a recoil between 39 kg*m/s and 46 kg*m/s. That’s a pretty substantial difference, only the highest figure from the C-14 matches the lowest figures from the .50 BMG.

    The penetration figure isn’t 100% conclusive, because there are still some factors that affect penetration, such as how the bullet is shaped and how hard it is. But those are generally considered less important then the momentum behind the spike. And if the momentum per surface area figures are anything to go by, the C-14 gauss rifle will have better penetration because of the smaller diameter of the spike.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Shell Casings?

    Judging the Power of the Rifle by Feats Performed

    This section will try to compare the power of the rifle with modern weapons based on the amount of damage it does to quantifiable targets. This is going to be somewhat difficult given that different weapons will have different effects on targets, and sometimes weapons with more kinetic energy will do less damage then weapons with less kinetic energy. Sometimes one specific rifle will even have drastically different results from two consecutive shots. Even the ammunition plays a large role in determining the amount of damage that could be expected, like the difference between armor-piercing and hollow-point ammunition. The former, if fired at an unarmored person will generally just create a small hole and overpenetrate. If there’s a lot of kinetic energy behind the round, then the bullet won’t have time to yaw, thus both the entry and exit wound will be relatively small. A hollow-point round that doesn’t overpenetrate and try to remain focused will cause much more damage to a person, because all the kinetic energy and momentum from the round will be transferred to the person, instead of just a fraction of it. The first section will deal with gauss rifles versus either unarmored or lightly armored individuals.

    The C-14 gauss rifle versus unarmored or lightly armored individuals:

    Before we start we need to know what we’re supposed to be looking for and what sorts of rounds would create what sorts of wounds. Last section I compared the C-14 gauss rifle with a 12.7 mm machinegun. Let’s continue that trend and find out what sorts of wounds we could expect from the .50 BMG round.

    Here’s a link to a post where someone has gathered info on ballistic gel tests and the like in order to gauge what .50 BMG is capable of. Further, it gives a basic explanation of what sorts of effects would come into play in creating the wound size, i.e. effects such as bullet yaw, etc. It also has a number of people giving personal input on what the rifles/machineguns are capable of, but more importantly, it serves as an apt demonstration of why listening to people on the internets who don’t have figures backing them up could lead to tears. There are people in that thread swearing the .50 cal can do things that can be demonstrated as false, just by looking at the conservation laws. (Here are a few more pages in relation to what factors come into play when someone is shot.)

    Like I said, those pages already give a good rundown on basic terminology used, but I can do a brief one here that’d serve as a tl;dr: When the bullet strikes flesh it will cause an outwards expanding shockwave in the meat, the cavity formed by this initial shockwave is called a temporary cavity. The permanent cavity is what is left after the temporary cavity is gone - it’s basically the bullet hole you’d see in a person afterwards. It is usually much smaller then the temporary one. So note the difference between temporary and permanent cavities. Another thing that’s good to know is what bullet yaw is. It’s when a bullet starts to tumble or spin inside a medium (like say, a human), it’s when it starts to roll around and no longer flies with the pointy end first. If a bullet starts to yaw inside a person then the damage caused will be greatly increased.

    What’s said in that thread can be summarized by this picture, showing a man standing next to a block of ballistic gel. If he’d been shot by a .50 cal at close range, then the bullet would ‘merely’ have punched a hole in him, exiting his body before any more dramatic damage could be done. However, if there’d been a wall or something in front of him, or if he had been standing a long distance from the machinegun when it fired, then there would be a chance that the bullet would start to yaw inside his body, and this would lead to a smallish entry hole and a very large exit wound. The famous limb removal that the .50 cal can do is also actually true. If the bullet hits the bone, in say an arm or below the knee, then the bone shattering, coupled with the large temporary cavity, would likely sever the appendage. But given that bullet behavior is rather hard to predict, it’s somewhat impossible to gauge just how often this would happen. What remains a mystery is the head. What happens if you’re shot in the head? There’s a lot of bone in the head, which should help with keeping the head intact, but much bone will also mean greater damage because it will fragment and blow apart. Much would also depend on where in the head the bullet hits. I’ve seen pictures of people that have allegedly been shot in the head with a .50 cal, and usually it shows a head smashed apart like a pumpkin would under a sledge-hammer strike. The bullets don’t remove the head, but they make whatever is hanging to the torso look like hamburger. The problem with looking at images like that is of course that we don’t know whether they’re real or not. There’s for instance a video of hunters shooting varmint somewhere in the mountains, and that video is often said to be .50 cal snipers taking down enemies in Afghanistan. Then there’s of course the question of whether these pics are what you could consider average damage to the head, or some of the rarer and more damaging shots. It’s far from an exact science and you can’t look at a bullet hole from an unknown projectile and deduce exactly how much kinetic energy or momentum it had when it passed through the person. However, rough outlines can be drawn.

    Now that we know roughly what to expect from a 12.7 mm round we can move on to the C-14 gauss rifle spikes to see what they are capable of, simply by looking at the canonical material. There aren’t a whole lot of sources that deal with gauss rifles being targeted at people without armor, but there are some incidents. What makes the problem worse is that generally rifles are merely said to be gauss rifles and no specific model is given on them. Also keep in mind that bullet diameter will impact the amount of damage done, so the C-14, even if it’s on part with a .50 cal in terms of kinetic energy and momentum, would do less damage to flesh because of the smaller size. The effects can be divided into two categories, lower showings and higher showings. So let’s start with the lower showings.

    The lower showings usually consist of the gauss rifles creating holes in people. We’ve seen this in the Frontline manga and in I, Mengsk.

    The Frontline manga shows holes in people between two and three fingers in width. And the round that hits the guy in the head blew a slightly-larger-then-fist sized hole in the back of the skull. The rest of the head is relatively intact. The guy furthest on the right also seems to have a fairly large trail of exploding blood oh his arm, given that it covers the entire diameter of the arm, it’s possible it was severed, but that’d be unconfirmable. All these shots were fired at extremely close ranges (no more then 20 meters at maximum). Similar incidents can be seen in I, Mengsk:

    “No sooner had he given this last instruction than Jaq Delor was struck by a burst of Impaler fire.

    It was as if a giant fist had hammered into his side and hurled him against the wall. Blood spattered Arcturus, and he watched in horror as Delor's head lolled down over his chest, almost severed by the impact of the Impaler spikes.”

    The higher showings describe exploding heads, limbs ripped from the torso, or even people sawn in half. The following is from Liberty’s Crusade:

    ”Despite himself, Mike smiled. Then the chest of the soldier he had fired above blossomed in a fountain of blood. His companion brought his own weapon around, but too slowly. His head vaporized in a red mist as visor and helmet shattered.

    Mike looked up to see Raynor standing above him, leaning out of the doorway. He had taken the two enemy troopers out with single shots.”

    The above incident actually involved lightly armored soldiers, and not totally unarmored people. There are those that think vaporized should always be taken literally, I’m not one of those, but whatever the case is, this at the very least describes a head blown to pieces. The shots come from close range.

    The following also features lightly armored soldiers, this time from I, Mengsk:

    ""Fire!" shouted Arcturus.

    Withering sprays of Impaler spikes ripped through the mercenaries, their lighter body armor no match for close-range gauss fire. Arcturus worked his rifle over the men below him, bloody eruptions fountaining where his spikes blew open skulls or tore limbs from bodies.

    Caught in the crossfire, the mercenaries had no chance.

    They danced in the vicious bursts of gunfire, trapped in the open and unable to fight back. The echoes of rifles were deafening as they filled the narrow defile in the canyon with screaming hot spikes. A few of the mercenaries managed to bring their weapons to bear, but it was too little too late and they were cut down without mercy.

    Realizing that to fight on was hopeless, one man threw down his rifle and held up his hands in surrender. Arcturus cut him in two with a sustained burst of fire.”

    Limbs torn from bodies, smashed open heads as well as one person sawn in half (through body-armor, none-the-less). The above can safely be assumed to be at least what a 12.7 mm machinegun could do, if not more. One poster replied to this once, saying that people can be sawn in half by lighter machineguns too with enough hits. Well, yes. I imagine even pistols could saw people in half if you unloaded enough (read: thousands) rounds into them at point blank range and had a few hours of time. But this happens in combat conditions. And the guy sawn in half would’ve had to been so before he fell over.

    Also from I, Mengsk:

    “Blood squirted onto the floor from the ragged crater in the man's throat and Arcturus gagged at the horrid, burned-metallic smell of the man's death. Another man's body lay farther along the corridor, this one with his chest torn apart by Impaler spikes. It looked like he'd been sawn in two.”

    Another incident involving a person sawn almost in half. Again during combat conditions.

    The C-14 gauss rifle versus metal surfaces:

    So, are there any other quantifiable things out there we can compare all this with? There are a few incidents where C-14s have been used on metal surfaces. The first one that comes to mind is in volume four of the Frontline series. A prisoner tries to escape his prison and uses a C-14 to blast a hole in a metal wall to get to the outside. The hole is approximately two meters in diameter and the guy can easily walk through it, nothing solid on the thickness, the edges look too badly mangled to get any decent length from. The hole was undoubtedly created by a burst of fire, and not a single spike, but the size of the hole is already something you’d be hard pressed to accomplish with anything smaller then large-sized machineguns or even small autocannons.

    There are also some mentions of spikes embedding themselves in metal walls and the like, like this, from Liberty’s Crusade:

    ”Mike dove forward, underneath the leap, and raised his gauss rifle. He caught the creature in the belly, spearing it and catching the beast’s own momentum. Beast and barrel rose in a slow arc above him.

    At the top of the arc Mike pulled the trigger, and a volley of spikes splattered the zergling. Those that passed through its body embedded in the metal ceiling of the hallway.”

    We don’t know how far the spike penetrates, of course, but we can establish that these spikes don’t ricochet off metal surfaces. And logically, in order for a spike to embed itself in metal like that, it’d have to penetrate pretty far. There are some sources that describe spikes ricocheting off walls, but the rifles firing those weren’t identified as C-14s, so it would be logical to assume they were some other model. One last thing from Liberty’s Crusade:

    ”Raynor was in his own suit, looking equally battered and worn. The lawman nodded behind his open visor and said, “The armor will stop most common slugthrowers, though a good needle-gun can still punch through. That’s why most front-line troops carry C-14 Impalers, gauss rifles that fire eight-millimeter spikes.”

    The above draws a distinction between slughtrowers and needle-guns. Presumably the former is weaponry reliant of chemical propellant and the latter electromagnetically propelled slugs. It seems that the reason gauss guns are used is because they can penetrate armor better then normal slughtrowers. This makes a great deal of sense given the higher muzzle velocity that comes with gauss weaponry. It would also logically follow that the gauss rifle rounds are more powerful then at least modern 7.62 mm rounds, since those can and have been used in plenty of rifles.

    Note however that Liberty is wearing an old style suit that is much weaker then standard issue CMC armor[3]. This type of armor could be penetrated by a single C-14 gauss rifle fired spike to the chest, while the newer versions of this armor would be resistant against anything but repeated hits to the same spot. And yet it’s still said to be proof against most common slughtrowers (even stated to be invulnerable to small arms fire in one section).

    The C-14 gauss rifle versus wooden surfaces:

    I’m bringing this topic up more because it was mentioned in a recent debate and not because it’s something worth considering in terms of how effective the C-14 gauss rifles are at penetrating.

    “The bark of automatic weapon fire roared from somewhere nearby. The noise was so loud it was impossible to pinpoint the source of it, but Arcturus thought it was coming from this floor.

    He heard booted footsteps and more shouts. Arcturus hauled on his mother's hand as more shooting exploded nearby. The wooden frame around the bedroom door splintered as gunfire tore through it. Everyone screamed and dropped to the floor. Arcturus covered his ears as a clatter of metal and wood rained down from the shattered door.

    A twisted spike of silver rolled across the carpet, a thin cone of metal as thick as the tip of his pinkie. Arcturus recognized it immediately: ammunition fired from a military-grade assault rifle. A C-14 gauss rifle, to be precise. An Impaler.”

    The argument was that the spike in this case only barely managed to penetrate a wooden door and ended up rolling on the floor. The problem? The door isn’t said to be exclusively wooden and neither is it said that the door is responsible for impeding the bullet, much less that specifically the wood in the door impeding the bullet. See, the novel even implies the door was open when the firing started, which means we’re talking about haphazard gunfire tearing through walls, doors, and… well, everything nearby. That one spike ended up rolling across the floor because of this is hardly something you can base an argument on.


    The effects the C-14 gauss rifle has on people is at least on par with what we could expect from a 12.7 mm machinegun, with some of the higher showings going slightly above that. Chopping a torso in two is not a particularly easy thing to do. Factor in that the C-14 fires a smaller round and we can conclude that there is no discrepancy here, and that the evidence does point to the fact that the C-14 is (at least) on the same level as a heavy machinegun.

    The effects on metal surfaces go way beyond what you’d expect from a modern heavy machinegun. Blasting a solid hole in a metal wall that’s large enough for a man to step through is not an easy feat.

  5. #25

    Default Re: Shell Casings?

    Judging performance by looking at secondary attributes

    In this section we will be looking at attributes that can be used to gauge effectiveness and strength of the weapon, yet aren’t directly related to what damage they do or the technical specs. Such attributes include recoil, momentum imparted to the target and effective range.


    Let’s start with recoil. First off, recall what I earlier said about the newer variant of the C-14 being too large be used by an unarmored individual in anything but the crudest way possible – i.e. lifting it like Arnold Schwarzenegger would lift a minigun. This will be important down the road. Now then, let’s start with a few quotes that establish the recoil on the guns:

    ”Raynor went over to the colonial militia and came back with the gauss rifle. He handed it to Mike, and his armored hand closed over the larger of two grips. The smaller grip, used by nonarmored shooters, required the firer to use both hands to steady its long barrel. In the armor, Raynor could heft it easily.

    “Take a shot at that boulder,” he said, trying valiantly to keep a smile from his face.

    At first Mike thought the marshal was only amused by his performance, but as he leveled the gun, he thought about what he was doing. The armored turtle on stilts was about to fire a gun.

    “Hang on,” he said. “How does this thing handle recoil?”

    Raynor turned to the other militiamen. “See? I told you he was smarter than he looked!” Some of the colonial soldiers reached for their wallets.

    To Mike he said, “You brace, go into a broad-legged stance. The suit knows the maneuver. It compensates along the gun arm.””

    The above is from Liberty’s Crusade, and it establishes that the gauss rifles do have quite a hefty kick, and that you need to take this into account even when wearing combat suits. At the same time it also mentions that a non-armored person has to hold the weapon differently to fire, so obviously the recoil isn’t so bad that you can’t fire it if unarmored. The big question is – which gun is this? The new one or the old one? Next up we have similar quotes from I, Mengsk:

    “The lessons with the gauss rifle and slugthrower had been a disaster, the savage recoil of the rifle knocking Valerian onto his back and the bucking pistol spraining his wrist. The guns were loud and even when he managed to hold them straight, he couldn't hit any of the targets his dad set up at the edge of the river.”

    The recoil is too much for a young Valerian Mengsk to handle.

    “Valerian pulled the trigger, working his fire over the second marine. The recoil of the gauss rifle was fearsome, designed to be absorbed by a powered combat suit, which Valerian conspicuously wasn't wearing. The roar of the weapon was deafening, but Valerian kept the rifle on target, knowing that his target's armor would defeat all but the most concentrated clusters of impacts.”

    A slightly older Valerian and he can now use the rifle without combat armor, though it still mentions rather hefty recoil.

    Earlier we already established that the recoil would be lower then that on a .50 cal because of the difference in bullet mass and velocity. But there’s more too it then so. See, the 1,700 m/s muzzle velocity is a bare minimum, and as you probably noticed, if the velocity goes up but the energy remains the same, then the mass goes down, as does the recoil. So what would happen if the C-14 actually fired a slug at 2,500 m/s? Let’s have a look:

    KE = 0.5 * m * v^2
    m = 15,000 / (0.5 * 2,500^2) = 0.0048

    p = m * v
    p = 0.0048 * 2,500 = 12 kg*m/s

    So the recoil would drop to 12 kg*m/s, even though the spike still has the same kinetic energy behind it as the .50 cal would. In short: The recoil on the weapon means pretty much nothing, since its muzzle velocity isn’t the same as the MV on modern weapons.

    What also needs to be mentioned is the size and mass of these weapons. The heavier a gun is, the more recoil the shooter can handle, since that kick is first absorbed by the gun and then first transmitted to the guy holding it. I have no exact way of quantifying felt recoil as opposed to the momentum of the spike, but given the difference in size between a C-14 and a normal assault rifle (or even machineguns in case of the newer variant of the weapon), we are going to be talking about a significant difference.

    It’s also worth pointing out that .50 BMG can be fired while standing, though doing so is obviously not all that desired and it has more then just a bit of a kick. Here are two links to demonstrate as much. Many have disputed this.

    Momentum Imparted to Target:

    This section will deal with momentum transfer to the target. Now many of you might already be clever enough to realize that the recoil and the momentum dealt to target should be the same, but if there’s anything Hollywood has taught us it’s that a weapon can send people flying even if the guy firing it barely twitches. All kidding aside – this phenomenon has actually been encountered in the Starcraft novels quite regularly. And since this is Sci-Fi and has to do with versus debating, we have the option to accept the phenomenon as real and chalk up the physical inaccuracy to technology we can’t understand.

    It’s also not as crazy as it might sound at first, since inertial dampening and anti-gravity technology logically could be used soften the recoil on weapons. And if you had such technologies then you would undoubtedly mount them on rifles.

    In any case, on to specifics:

    “Several Zerg were clawing their way with incredible speed along the wall of a modular building. They seemed to defy gravity through raw strength. The moment Ardo recognized them, the first of them leaped from the wall, directly toward the Marine.

    Ardo had no time to think. He squeezed the trigger of the gauss assault rifle. The hail of slugs smashed into the monster midair. The raw strength of the creature might have impelled it forward, but the accelerated projectiles arrested the Zerg’s momentum and pinned it against the wall.”

    A rifle burst is capable of stopping a leaping zerg in mid-air, not only stopping its forward momentum, but then also sending it right back to the wall and pinning it there. Even if this zerg weighs a mere 60 kg, then it would require a 600 kg*m/s momentum change to keep it from falling to the ground. And that momentum would have to be imparted for every second the critter is airborne. Not only that, but it would also have to have enough kick to halt the forward momentum, and then send it back to the wall. Since the rifle fires around 30 rounds per second[4], it would take 20 kg*m/s per spike (assuming they all hit and none overpenetrated) just to keep it from falling to the ground. Add to that the other two factors (stopping the zerg and then throwing it back) and you’ll realize that we are talking about some serious momentum transfer to the critter. Now let’s look back at the technical portion of this quantification, what did I estimate the momentum of the gauss rifle spikes to be? 18 kg*m/s at the minimum. The lower limit estimates fit each other, but the real values are likely to be much much higher. Suffice to say that you can’t stop a leaping dog in mid-air and pin it to a wall with a modern rifle.

    Next up we have a quote from Uprising:

    “Pollock charged forward, firing as he did so. The steady stream of fire knocked Gunnery Sergeant Tanner back, until he too came into contact with the wall of the

    Pinnacle and was swept away. To Somo he looked like a child’s toy, some kind of action figure as he pinwheeled through the tempest’s wall, up and around, and then was gone.”

    This would imply that being hit with the spikes, even if you’re wearing full combat armor, you’re going to be pushed back quite significantly, because Tanner certainly didn’t want to get swept up by the tempest raging around them. This is where the thought first occurred to me: Does a gauss rifle actually have more of a kick on the target then on the guy that fires the weapon? This would imply, yes, but let’s see if that holds.

    Next we have a quote from I, Mengsk:

    “He pushed himself to his knees, and felt a series of ringing hammer blows on his side. He fell back, seeing a pair of green-armored soldiers advancing toward him. They were good, disciplined soldiers and walked their spikes into him, keeping him pinned with the weight of fire. More red icons flashed up on his visor, warning of imminent armor penetration.”

    So yes, if you can literally pin a person in place with two rifles, then it would be pretty impossible to control the recoil on one such rifle, if the recoil and momentum imparted to the guy firing is the same. A few more indications of this, the following is from the same novel:

    “Another pistol shot boomed, and Arcturus knew that Juliana's other guard was returning fire. The man's bullet missed, and Snake Tattoo's companion swung his rifle to bear, a look of hatred in his eyes.

    Arcturus fired first, but his shot went wide. A bar light that had miraculously survived the initial hall of bullets blew out in a rain of glass. Supersonic slugs ripped toward Juliana's protector and he was punched off his feet in a thudding series of bloody eruptions.”


    “No sooner had he given this last instruction than Jaq Delor was struck by a burst of Impaler fire.

    It was as if a giant fist had hammered into his side and hurled him against the wall. Blood spattered Arcturus, and he watched in horror as Delor's head lolled down over his chest, almost severed by the impact of the Impaler spikes.”

    All of the gunmen in those two passages are without armor, yet they can fire the weapons without trouble, while the people hit by the spikes are thrown around quite violently, one even thrown off his feet. Clearly the recoil and the momentum imparted to the target is not the same. Oh, and note that the first quote there is actually in regards to an AGR-14, not a C-14, but if one rifle has some funky recoil-dampening, then it would be logical to assume others have too.

    Effective Range:

    Effective range is also an indicator of how powerful a weapon is. The two classical assault rifles have effective ranges between 300 m (AK-47s) and 550m (M-16). Granted, a lot of the effective range could be due to target systems rather then exclusively a stabile flightpath, so this doesn’t tell us a whole lot in the end. But let’s have a look at it in any case. What’s the effective range of the C-14 gauss rifle? Let’s start with Speed of Darkness:

    ”Even with his unaided eyes, Ardo could see the changes in the Zergs a thousand meters out. The larval Zerglings were the smallest creatures known among the Zerg, the closest thing the monsters had to children. Ardo thought bleakly that it was another clear difference between their races, but then wondered if it was such a difference after all. Humans seemed equally willing to throw their own youth away on war, and Ardo knew that he was ample evidence of that.

    “Here they come!” Bernelli announced, his voice rising. “Make ’em count!”

    The multilegged Zerglings began skittering across the blackened and pocked ground of the outer perimeter. Ardo snapped shut his combat helmet, saw the targeting display come up at once, and began aiming his gauss rifle at the nearest of the creatures.

    The targeting was eerily effective. The laser designator pinpointed the location of Ardo’s shots. The gun jerked repeatedly with each shot as he shifted targets quickly from one Zergling to the next. The new ammunition was doing its job well. The explosive-tipped bullets smashed open the carapace of each approaching Zergling, blowing open the exit wound in a horrific, deadly display.”

    The outer perimeter is a kilometer away, and the marines had been specifically ordered not to open before the zerg reached that point. And since the targeting said to be eerily effective at this range, it’s safe to assume the rifle has an effective range of at least a kilometer. This is pretty much the only statement I’ve seen in regards to actual distances the rifles can target stuff at…

    …Well, this is the only slightly sane description I’ve seen. There is another, which I don’t put much stock in and think is more of an error on part of the author then anything else, but let’s take a look at that too. The following is from the novel Uprising:

    “It is known as the Fujita Pinnacle—a complex mass of conflicting pressure systems and staggering updrafts that have created what is, in simple terms, a stationary, volatile vortex of immense size and unlimited life. It is four leagues wide and over twenty high.


    Somo peered up and watched the craft descend. Once they reached the funnel’s halfway point, the turret came to life. The Wraith positioned itself to take the entirety of the barrage of automatic missile fire. Bright coronas erupted around the fighter as several missiles struck the outer shields. There were smaller impacts as well, and Somo realized that the marines must have begun firing at the fighter . . . but at least that meant the marines were distracted.”

    So in short, the marines were apparently able to fire straight up at a fighter-sized target and hit it when it was still 55 kilometers away. Like I said, it doesn’t make much sense. But I thought it worth posting, if for nothing else then for the wank factor.


    Well, there are no specifics established in these three sections, but a few things have been proven. The recoil is hefty enough to be problematic if you don’t wear a combat suit, which is quite telling given the size and mass of the weapon itself. I also demonstrated that the recoil of the weapon means very little given it fires a smaller round at higher velocities then a 12.7 mm machinegun. The momentum imparted to the target is strangely enough even higher, proving that we can assume there is inertial-dampening systems to help with the recoil. And finally, the effective range is also quite high, at least above one kilometer.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Shell Casings?

    Judging performance by looking at the overall picture

    There are lots and lots of different guns in Starcraft, and with each new comic issue or manga released, there are even more models added. Some novels, like Ghost: Nova, literally established the models of half-a-dozen new types of handguns. And this also gives us a chance to quantify the C-14 gauss rifle indirectly – by looking at where and how it would fit into the overall picture. A smaller gun should be weaker, after all.


    There have been too many different pistol models to go through them all here. And their power varies something fierce from model to model. Some pistols are much like modern ones. When they’re used on people they create small holes and so forth. Other pistols when used on people literally tear heads off[5]. Duke’s pistol is probably one of the strongest pistols seen so far, stronger even then the C-14 gauss rifles, given that it was capable of blowing apart the pauldron of a combat suit with just one shot and even said to be strong enough to punch through bulkheads.[6] Though that pistol was also implied to be quite unique. The mangas also show a number of pistols that are powerful enough to shoot holes into steel walls (one even blasting a torso sized hole with repeated shots).

    Then it would logically follow that the massive C-14 gauss rifle would be stronger then these pistols. Or at least the ones that are somewhat regularly used (that removes Duke’s pistol).

    The most commonly seen pistol in Starcraft has to be the P-45 gauss pistols used by the Reapers. These are new in the sense that they were first introduced with Starcraft 2, but they’ve been seen in three different mangas by now. They are also standard issue weapons, and not something overly expensive or rare. Logically it would follow that these are less powerful then the C-14 gauss rifles. So how powerful are they? Well, the only thing directly quantifiable was seen in the short story “War-torn” in the third volume of the Frontline series. A duo of Reapers has been ordered to secure a telepathic kid before a group of zerglings catch him. The kid is cornered at a dead-end with the zerglings approaching. The Reapers are on the other side of the wall separating them and then shoot through the wall, blowing a head sized hole in it and killing the zergling on the other side. Judging by the fragmenting of the wall, it had to be made by concrete or something like that. It didn’t splinter like wood and didn’t bend like steel. Penetrating concrete with weapons isn’t hard, I’d wager. But tearing head sized holes in it with what amounts to pistols is slightly more impressive.

    And again, the C-14’s should be more powerful then that.

    Assault Rifles:

    Like with pistols, there have been a number of different assault rifles, in the same size-class as modern assault rifles are. Out of all of them, only one has been frequently reoccurring and actually has some quantifiable stuff on it. That’s the AGR-14. From its uses it seems popular with unarmored individuals such as mercs, pirates and the like. And it’s also been indicated to be a training weapon for marines before they’re issued their combat suits. The weapon is said to fire 8mm spikes, just like the C-14, but the velocities are merely supersonic (which is anything between 340 m/s and 1,700 m/s).

    The effects it has on people are as follows, from I, Mengsk:

    “Arcturus instinctively reached for his slugthrower, but his hand grasped empty air, the pistol resting in its locked, foam-lined case in his hotel room safe. Snake Tattoo raised a long-barreled weapon, and old model AGR-14 assault rifle, and Arcturus’s heart hammered against his ribs as he saw it.

    He had gone through boot camp with such a rifle, a no-nonsense gun capable of firing supersonic jacketless slugs that could tear through a human body and leaving nothing behind but shredded meat and bone.”


    “Marines danced in the gunfire, blood sprayed, and the sound of bullets striking flesh was like a hammer repeatedly smacking raw steak. Arcturus saw Private Shaw hurled backwards by the terrible impacts, his chest blown out by a sawing blast of rounds. Other men were hit as well, and Arcturus saw a soldier torn almost in two by a torrent of fire.”

    “Before he could shoot again, a burst of rifle fire took him in the chest and he lurched backward, a bloody line of bullet holes tearing him up as though a grenade had gone off inside his rib cage.”


    “Arcturus fired first, but his shot went wide. A bar light that had miraculously survived the initial hail of bullets blew out in a rain of glass. Supersonic slugs ripped toward Juliana’s protector and he was punched off his feet in a thudding series of bloody eruptions.”

    For what is essentially a down-scaled version of the C-14 gauss rifle it is rather powerful. Kicking people off their feet and nearly sawing people in two, in combat conditions, is something that modern assault rifles would not be capable off. This rifle already goes into the territory on what we’d expect from a 12.7 mm machinegun.

    Other Rifles:

    Not all rifles are assault rifles. And we’ve seen a number of sniper rifles and single-shot weapons in Starcraft. But the only one that’s quantifiable is a civilian hunting rifle mentioned in the map compendium on, which is described thusly:

    "There's been a lot of talk lately about the banning of wildlive preserves built for the sportsman in mind. Well, I've had enough of that talk. There's nothing more perfect in this world than looking down the barrel of a high powered gauss rifle built to penetrate 2 inches of steel plating and seeing a defenseless animal square in the laser targeted, wind corrected, electronically enhanced scope with integrated night vision. NOTHING. Do these zealots understand the consequences of their actions? If we can't shoot a small animal, who knows what we might shoot next?"

    Penetrating 50 mm of steel plating is by no means an easy feat. I don’t know what exactly the difference in penetration capabilities there is between steel plating and RHA, but the 7.62 mm NATO with AP ammo has penetration less then 20 mm RHA at 100 m. Similarly a 12.7 mm machinegun would penetrate about 20-40 mm RHA.

    Logically speaking this rifle should be less powerful, given that it’s supposed to be used by normal civilians and not marines assisted by powered combat armor. But, in modern days a lot of hunting rifles are also more powerful then assault rifles, so who knows?

    Unknown Rifles:

    There are also a number of rifles that are never identified, save to say they’re gauss rifles. And I’ve frequently seen such rifles assumed to be the C-14 gauss rifle. It’s quite possible they are, but it’s also quite possible that they aren’t. The most common quote thrown around is this one, from Uprising:

    “Doctor Flanx now swung his weapon toward Somo. There was a piercing, high-pitched noise, accompanied by a monumental jarring that knocked Hung onto his back. The doctor fell against the marines in the hall, who somehow managed to remain standing, and with eyes completely devoid of the last vestiges of sanity, now pointed the barrel of his confiscated rifle back down at Somo. Somo let loose with a short burst of fire, aiming at the doctor’s chest. The weapon ran away from him slightly, and when Somo looked at Flanx, he saw a trail of gaping holes starting from the man’s sternum and ending in his forehead. Somo watched the doctor’s wide, lifeless eyes as the man fell back against the huddled marines and then slumped to the floor like a discarded puppet.”

    If it is a C-14 gauss rifle, then it would fit into the lower showings of what that rifle has done. If it’s not – then who knows?


    Pistols range from modern-day equivalents to weapons that can shear off heads and blow large holes in metal and concrete walls. The only quantifiable thing we have on the AGR-14 assault rifles suggest they’re in the same ballpark as heavy machineguns. And hunting rifles have penetration capabilities roughly on par or better then modern 12.7 mm machineguns. It also logically follows that the C-14 gauss rifles are more powerful then all of those, which places it above what modern heavy machineguns would be capable of.

    Common Arguments Presented Against the C-14

    There have been countless arguments that would suggest that the C-14 gauss rifle both isn’t a coilgun, and that it’s weak. I use the vague term weak because the power people suggest it has usually changes. Some think it’s nothing more then a normal assault rifle, others suggest that it’s about on par with a modern machinegun that would fire something akin to 7.62mm NATO rounds, etc. The overwhelming majority of these claims were debunked years ago, but they’re brought back up almost every single thread, even though the person who presents them is well aware that he doesn’t have a case.

    A hypersonic gauss gun should leave trails of ionized air behind it:

    A pretty self-explanatory argument. A rifle that fires spikes at 1,700 m/s or more should leave blue trails of ionized air behind them. I’ll note however that there’s never been any justification for this claim. Whenever someone is presenting this argument they usually just claim that this is so but when asked for specifics they suddenly start squirming.

    The argument is however quite flawed. And people who present it would do well to take a look at modern weapons. Modern tank ammunition have muzzle velocities between 1,500 and 1,700 m/s for instance (the M829A1 being 1,500 m/s and the newer M829A2 being 1,700 m/s, though the figures vary from source to source, 1, 2). And not only that, but they’re roughly a hundred times more energetic, which means that they’d leave a far more visible trail, given their more substantial energy-bleed into the surrounding air as the slug is fired. But do these tank shells show visible blue lines behind them, as if they were akin to some powerful blue laser from science fiction? Nope.

    This should already pretty effectively prove that the argument is bunk. But to hammer the point home, let’s take a look at “How to Make War” by James F. Dunnigan. Page 80:

    "Current high speed shells move at about 1500 meters a second. The future-technology shells are expected to achieve 3000-5000-meter-a-second speeds. At over 3500 meters a second, the shells will leave a glowing trail behind them and show where they came from."

    So it seems that for something as large as a modern MBT shell, the visible trail will become apparent at 3,500 meters per second, or hypervelocity as it’s generally called. Kudos to Apocal for mentioning and quoting the above source.

    A hypersonic gauss gun should make an extremely large bang:

    This is another argument that has been used quite often, but it has never been backed up by anything. However, simply pointing out that the other guy has no proof for his claim is rarely sufficient, so let’s take this a step further and prove the opposite. From this site, we learn the following: “Increasing speeds above Mach 1.3 results in only small changes in shock wave strength.” It seems that the size of the thing fired is going to affect the sonic boom more then the actual velocity. And here’s a graph showing the decibel increase as the bullet velocity increases, the line virtually flatlines after 500 m/s. What does that mean? That this gun should have about as loud a sonic boom as a normal rifle would.

    A hypersonic gauss gun should make no bang at all:

    This argument was particularly funny back when I first saw it, mainly because it’s the exact opposite of the former argument. And as always it came with absolutely no evidence. It did however have some underlying logic behind it, so it was a bit better then the previous arguments. The logic was that since there’s no ignited propellant and no explosion inside the weapon, there should also be no audible bang. Well, true enough that the propellant shouldn’t make a bang, but the sonic boom should make at least a small bang. I’m not familiar with the specifics on the difference between the bang from the chemical propellant and the sonic boom, though. But then again I’m not the one who initially claimed the bang was too loud either. And obviously, just because there’s a bang doesn’t mean it has to come from ignited propellant.

    There should be no muzzle-flash:

    Out of all the arguments this is the one that has the most merit. The muzzle-flash from a modern rifle is really nothing more then the ignited and ejected propellant, and since a gauss rifle would have no chemical propellant it should have nothing to eject. This is however not a contradiction, but more of an oddity. Just because there’s a muzzle flash doesn’t mean that it has to come from ignited an ejected propellant. So what happens if something is described as a gauss gun but has a muzzle flash? Then it’s obviously a gauss gun with a muzzle flash. It’s really no more difficult then so.

    Where does the flash come from? My own personal pet theory on this is something that ties together pretty much all the oddities and explains them in one go: It’s all part of an active cooling system. A gun like the C-14 gauss rifle would heat up very quickly given the energies it handles. This is especially true in places like space where it can’t even conduct the excess heat away. So how would it deal with built-up heat? Insert a cooling system into the gauss rifle that absorbs the heat into a compound or liquid and then ejects that material before the heat spreads to the rest of the rifle. The result would look like a cloud of ejected vapor, much like a muzzle flash. And there – problem explained. It is a fan theory, of course, but one that is quite elegant (if I do say so myself) and makes everything fit.

    Now I stress the point once more that the coolant theory is a fan theory, one that is not needed. Bottom line is: Muzzle-flash does not contradict the gauss rifle bit, it merely tells us that there's something we don't know in how it functions.

    There should be no ejected casings:

    Quite true. A gauss gun would have no need for ejecting casings since it fires caseless ammunition. But like above, this is not so much a contradiction as a curiosity. Normally when we see a rifle ejecting casings we’d think it’s a normal rifle, but since this is a gauss rifle the casings ejected obviously have to be something else.

    And this is again something easily explained by my theory above. This compound that absorbs the heat would naturally have to be reapplied after each consecutive shot, so where does it come from? Answer? Tiny containers resembling bullet casings from modern guns. Each time you replace a magazine, you also get a new load of cooling containers.

    But once again, an explanation is not needed, since this isn't a direct contradiction, merely an oddity. If it sounds as if I'm repeating myself here, then it's because I have this sneaking suspicion that some will try to nitpick the coolant theory, without realizing that it's a theory that isn't needed in the first place.

    There are probably a billion more arguments, but these are the ones repeated most often, and thus they merit a place here.

    How do we rationalize the discrepancies?

    In terms of constancy Starcraft is generally pretty good. Especially now that there have been steps taken to keep track of continuity and retroactively make stuff fit (like shielded battlecruiser and the like). The end result is something far more concise then most other visual sci-fi franchises, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, etc. Having said that, there are naturally going to be some problems. This is pretty much unavoidable in any franchise that has multiple writers adding to the content, which might be something to keep in mind if you ever come across someone who claims their pet franchise is completely consistent from end to beginning.

    The two main problems in this case would be rationalizing why the C-14 gauss rifle looks and feels the way it does, and also the varying amounts of damage it does when impacting targets.

    The former of those problems I already commented on in the last section, the part where I was talking about an active cooling system for the rifle. This neatly explains all the oddities involved in the rifle. The muzzle-flash is ejected coolant, and the casing is the capsule for the coolant. I point out though that the above is a fan-theory, and in the end we don’t need to resort to such theories if we don’t want too (personally I like to speculate on such issues though) since muzzle-flash and ejecting casings, while undoubtedly extremely odd in relation to gauss rifles, are not direct contradictions. There are also other theories, like the gauss rifles actually being hybrid weapons – i.e. the bullet is normal, but the barrel is lined with coils to increase velocity further from after the propellant has done its work.

    But again, such explanations are not really recquired. What's required is merely for us to realize that muzzle-flash and ejected casing doesn't contradict the gauss rifle bit. The theories above are merely there to emphasize that bit.

    The second problem might not be a problem at all. The damage the rounds in the C-14 gauss rifle do is fairly consistent throughout canon. It usually creates gaping holes in people, and sometimes tears limbs and heads off, with the more extreme cases involving people sawn in two. Whatever little variation there is in all this could be chalked up to how the spike behaves inside the wound, or then even different sorts of ammunition being used. An even more extreme solution would be to assume variable yields, which would actually be fairly easy to implement on a gauss rifle (just chose how many coils are doing the work). The same has been done for most other franchises out there. However. Personally I’d say there’s no need for that explanation yet, though.

    Final thoughts

    In the end I’d like to simply point out that the conclusions all make a great deal of sense and are quite logical. It’s 500 years in the future and we’re 60,000 lightyears from Earth. Warfare in Starcraft has evolved to the point where even the most basic conscript can utilize powered armor, and this has a number of logical consequences, such as the marines carrying heavier weaponry and being better armored against such weaponry. That means that they could carry weapons you usually mount on light-vehicles (i.e. 12.7 mm machineguns), and have enough plated armor to deflect such spikes.

    The opposite is quite illogical. Why would someone go through the trouble of making gauss rifles larger then big machineguns and then only have them fire bullets that normal assault rifles would? You wouldn’t.


    [1] Queen of Blades: ““You’ll never make it out of here alive, bitch!” one of the troopers shouted, firing his gauss rifle on full auto into the approaching brood. Several zerg were hit and two fell with steel spikes through their throat and eyes.”

    Queen of Blades: “One of the troopers aimed at her and fired, a cluster of iron spikes racing towards her. She raised one hand and the spikes simply stopped midair, slamming to a quivering halt as if they’d run into a wall. A second gesture and the spikes spun about and leaped toward the trooper, pierced not only the man but the wall behind him, and his body was left hanging there as the rifle slipped from his hands.”

    Shadow Hunters: “His queen was not pleased. Her anger seared Ethan as, through the eyes of her consort, she watched her quarry escape. Neither he nor she cared about the dozens of zerg who were reduced to stains on the Aiur landscape, blown to bits, impaled by steel spikes, or burnt to crisp, smoking corpses. Her supply of zerg was infinite.”

    [2] Speed of Darkness: “Several Zerg were clawing their way with incredible speed along the wall of a modular building. They seemed to defy gravity through raw strength. The moment Ardo recognized them, the first of them leaped from the wall, directly toward the Marine.

    Ardo had no time to think. He squeezed the trigger of the gauss assault rifle. The hail of slugs smashed into the monster midair. The raw strength of the creature might have impelled it forward, but the accelerated projectiles arrested the Zerg’s momentum and pinned it against the wall.”

    [3] Liberty’s Crusade: ”The suit itself was similar to the powered combat suits used by the Norad II crew. It was invulnerable to small-arms fire, had limited life-support (as opposed to the full space-traveling suits of the marines), and packed basic nuclear/biological/chemical shielding. Still, it was an earlier model than standard marine issue, practically an antique. Apparently the local law got hand-me-downs from the Confederate government.”

    [4] Speed of Darkness: “Steel-tipped infantry slugs tore from the muzzle of the gauss automatic rifle at thirty rounds per second. Fifteen sonic booms rattled in the air.”

    [5] Ghost: Nova: “Four people in a small receiving area of some kind jumped up. Two were armed. The others were counting money. Esmerelda put a bullet in each of their heads. Actually, the power of the P500 was such that the shots destroyed their entire heads north of the jawline, with the exception of the third person she shot. He moved a bit, so the round took only about half his head off. One dead eye looked up at her as brains oozed out of the halved skull.”

    Firstborn: ”He stared at Leeza. She stared back. Rosemary glanced from one to the other. Jake shook his head “no.” As Leeza moved her hand toward the holster of her handgun, R. M. whipped her own out and shot her former colleague right in the face.

    Leeza’s bold features were blown away in a spray of blood and bone and brain.”

    Frontline, vol 3.

    [6] Liberty’s Crusade: “Now free of his opponent’s neosteel embrace, Duke went for his side arm, a nasty needle-gun that could penetrate bulkheads. Raynor recovered as the general brought the weapon up and grabbed the older man by the wrist. Then, the servos in both sets of armor squealing, Raynor slammed Duke’s arm against the bulkhead.”


    ”There was a high-pitched whine, and Duke’s left shoulder exploded in a shower of molten metal. Duke’s marines all jumped and brought their weapons around, but did not fire. They had been ordered to wait for the command.

    The general slowly dropped to his knees, his own weapon clattering to the ground. His armor hissed as locking rings isolated the wounded shoulder and medpacks pumped narcotics into the general’s blood-stream.”

  7. #27
    Gradius's Avatar Administrator
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: Shell Casings?

    l33telboi - PM me if you want to turn your essay into an SC:L editorial. I think our fans would enjoy this.

  8. #28
    Pandonetho's Avatar SC:L Addict
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: Shell Casings?

    Great read, definitely enjoyed it A+ would rep if I could.

  9. #29

    Default Re: Shell Casings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius View Post
    l33telboi - PM me if you want to turn your essay into an SC:L editorial. I think our fans would enjoy this.
    Why not. But like I said - it's not finished and targeted at another audience so it'd need some work done before that. I can post the finished and edited version once it's done.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Shell Casings?


    Dude I would so +rep you if I could.

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