The idea of using electricity to fire a projectile (i.e. an electric gun) has been around since, uh, electricity. Back around Christmas ’07, IEEE Spectrum writer Paul Wallich had a look at an article on the challenge and had a go at building one out of bits. The project didn’t end badly, but it didn’t end well either. “A real weapon would be discharging hundreds or even thousands of amperes at hundreds of volts (albeit for only milliseconds at a time) with corresponding stress on capacitors, coils, and switches,” Wallich opined with characteristic directness. “That’s fine for a small electric power substation but not much fun to carry over your shoulder.” And now, from Mother Russia, we hear news that Ufa schoolboy is cracking nut. Pravda?

Maxim Kotelnikov, an eighth-grader, designed his weapon after he had seen a TV program about the use of similar rifles in the USA and Korea. It took the boy a year to design the new weapon. He used his friend’s broken game rifle as the basis. The rifle weighs nearly six kilos; it fires special cartridges that need to be magnetized in advance. Russia’s Defense Ministry showed interest in the new weapon and asked the boy’s permission to test his rifle.

Reading between the lines, Max’s mother may be relieved that Russia’s armed forces are taking it from here. To wit: “All further tests of Maxim’s weapon will be conducted under the guidance of ministerial scientists,” the newspaper tells us, ominously enough.

The boy will assemble three other rifles in St. Petersburg during one month. If the tests are successful, it is not ruled out that the electromagnetic sniper rifle will be launched into serial production for the needs of the Russian armed forces.

And if test are unsuccessful. boy is getting spanked by KGB. Allegedly.

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