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“If you think the image above looks frightening, you’re right. The crazy contraption pictured in the image is the first portable railgun, a futuristic projectile launcher associated most commonly with the military or NASA. The man in the image above isn’t in the military, and he’s not a NASA engineer. Instead, he’s a civilian who used some engineering smarts, some widely available parts and a 3D printer to create a functioning weapon that can fire graphite, aluminum, tungsten and even plasma projectiles at speeds of more than 560 mph.” Gun control that. Videos after the jump . . .


[h/t NYC2AZ]

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  1. Is it a “rail gun”, or is it (as is more likely) a gauss gun (also called a coil gun)? A rail gun has two rails the projectile rides on; current flows through one rail to the projectile and down the other rail. THe rails do burn out after so many firings. A coil gun uses charged coils to propel a ferrous-based projectile. They are often incorrectly called “rail guns” but as I mentioned they are NOT the same thing!

    • …as per the article, pictures and dissertation of the rail/coil gun differences, it’s a rail gun.

    • Cool. I was in a bit of a hurry so I missed that. I know that fairly recently the Navy tested a gauss gun and the press was calling it a “rail gun”. Big advantage for a rail gun is it can shoot a wider variety of materials – pretty much anything conductive – while gauss guns are limited to ferrous projectiles (and you have to worry about magnetic saturation of the projectile, IIRC).

    • Definitely a rail gun. Look at one of his other videos where he shows a fired aluminum projectile, it is heavily damaged on the sides from the plasma arc that passes the current.

  2. Now how does this work with regards to firearms laws? After all, this isn’t technically a firearm, and I’m more than positive that lots of people would love to have their own little (well, maybe not so little) space gun.

    • That’s a good question. If he made it full-auto it wouldn’t even be a “machine-gun”… I think I’m getting some good ideas…

      What’s more interesting is that it’s almost a respectable handgun velocity. (~750 fps)

    • NYC doesn’t let semantics stop them from prosecuting people that dare to have airsoft guns in their glorious* city.

      * And by glorious, I mean it in a way Stalin would describe the glorious Soviet Union.

    • Is an air gun a firearm? In some places, yes. Even BB guns are classified as firearms in some cities.

    • ATF makes their own rules. They’ll redefine “firearm” soon enough to deal with this technological menace.

      I realize they really don’t have the authority to do that, but it hasn’t stopped them in the past.

      • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Really Big Fires and Rail Guns, BATFRBFRG or “batferbrg” for short).

    • It isn’t a firearm under Australian law.

      Though it would be an offensive weapon if the owner gives the wrong answer to “what is it?”.

      “Offensive weapon” is:
      (a) a dangerous weapon, or
      (b) any thing that is made or adapted for offensive purposes, or
      (c) any thing that, in the circumstances, is used, intended for use or threatened to be used for offensive purposes, whether or not it is ordinarily used for offensive purposes or is capable of causing harm.

  3. When I was doing project work at Arnold AFB, they showed me a “rail” gun that fired a 2″ spherical aluminum ball at 20,000 fps.

    • 20,000fps?
      That’s what I think of when I hear ‘rail gun’.

      I’d rather have a full auto 19th century Air Cane than a subsonic rail gun.
      Faster than the fastest crossbow just isn’t that fast when it comes to futuristic weapons.

      • Yeah, but that 20K fps rail gun was probably the size of an SUV, and wasn’t built in some dude’s garage. Baby steps…

  4. It’s here! time to arm everyone with fully auto, drum fed, 14″ barreled rail guns, because #^@% the government!

  5. It’s not frightening at all. I don’t see a carry handle, clipazine, pistol grip, grip thingy on the front, bayonet lug, or shoulder thingy that goes up, and it’s not black.

    • I love that the “phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range” eventually makes into almost every comment section!

      • “I love that the “phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range” eventually makes into almost every comment section!”

        Eh,… I don’t.

        It gets old *really* fast.

        • That’s why you send a killer android back in time to an earlier thread, when it isn’t yet stale.

        • I also like that people somehow manage to put the “shoulder thing that goes up” into the comments lol

      • We all know the reason why the Space Marines got hosed was because their rifles were in the 40 watt range. If it they had been in the 45 watt range the acid bleeding scum wouldn’t have stood a chance.

  6. I want a rail-gun when it shoots at the speed of light like in Eraser(Arnold again!) That’s worth having…but this is cool.

  7. The take away here is to demonstrate if gunpowder actuated firearms were banned and taken, newer ideas are available or around the corner. Do we want to arm the criminal element or good citizens? If the Gov’t and anti-gun people fight they will likely end up with a replacement. They should tread lightly and be careful of what they wish for.

  8. As I read the original article, I really wanted to buy the author (Epstein) a box of Depends.

    When one reads through the comments at the original article source, one sees that the Founding Fathers were indeed wise to limit voting to only those men who owned property.

    • I’d settle for American voters who respect the Constitution. Meanwhile the Democrats opposing voter ID continues apace with their support for gun control.

      • It wasn’t just property owners, there were other limits. The people in control limited the right to vote to keep the rabble out. As far as I’m concerned, only tax payers should be allowed to vote. On government assistance? No ballot for you!

  9. “carbon projectile” and “elven hundrend volts” = rail gun. now… seeing how some states have clasified air guns as firearms, they could just ad this one to the list.

    Yup. one more thing to control and criminalise.

  10. F-Troop will classify it as NFA category “other”, with retrospective application earning the maker 20 years at Club Fed being Bubba’s bedtime companion

  11. Somebody is going to look at the rail gun and figure out how to make it smaller and more powerful and also figure out how to scale it up and make it even more powerful.

    • Done, old news.

      But much like hoverboards, getting the power to supply non stop use is now the problem.
      For the Gov, decaying plutonium does the trick. Just not for the public… cancer and what not…

  12. 800 fps? Is that good? Someone want to explain the plasma bits to me? Because I am skeptical on that point.

    It’s cool that it got made, though.

  13. Article seems to have some of that pissy anti gun flare we all have come to despise of the opponents.

    “The man in the image above isn’t in the military, and he’s not a NASA engineer. ”

    So what?

    Sort of like saying “civilians shouldn’t be allowed to carry firearms outside their homes, they aren’t police officers or military!”

    500mph is slow

    you get to 6 times the speed of sound and you can run with the big boys.

    screaming about a printed out of date item is like making headlines that a lathe was used to produce a shotgun barrel.

    Don’t hype it up more than it is.

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