Smells Like Bullshit to Me

This story of a Russian kid designing a new electronic sniper rifle looks like bullshit to me, and considering it’s coming from Pravda, it probably is. The reason I think it’s a hoax is that we’ve never been able to make portable electromagnetic weapons that can shoot a projectile fast enough to rival chemically driven projectiles in energy, speed and ballistic performance. It’s quite possible the kid has successfully built a coil gun, but it’s not going to be killing anybody anytime soon. At least not hooked up to a portable power source weighing less than six kilos.

Secondly, even if the kid is a super genius, and developed something that can be accurately classified as a weapon, any device that propels a projectile beyond supersonic speeds will not be silent. At the least, the projectile will make a cracking noise as it travels faster than the speed of sound. Also, Newton’s Third Law will demand the rifle has recoil, and they claim it does not.

You can see a fairly sophisticated coil gun here:

That’s getting a projectile moving pretty good, but not at speeds high enough to be an effective weapon, and it’s still going to be a smooth bore barrel. Someday maybe, but not now.

h/t to SayUncle

6 Responses to “Smells Like Bullshit to Me”

  1. My guess is that the six kilos doesn’t include the power source and that their idea of “cartridge” isn’t the same as the self-contained cartridges used in modern firearms.

    But yes, if you get the same ballistic performance as a rifle, you should only reduce the guns recoil by a small amount through eliminating the propellant gasses. More likely it shoots a very lightweight projectile compared to it’s mass so that it is nearly recoilless. That’s the same trick any number of contractors have used when trying to sell stuff to the Army.

  2. Monty says:

    I think it would be feasible to create a coil gun that you could call a weapon, but there will be big trade offs. For one, you there is a tradeoff between rate of fire, power, and battery weight. You should be able to make a powerfull coil gun, but it would require either a massive amount of batteries, or would require minutes of charging between rounds. Still, if you classify a musket as a weapon, the kid may have come up with something in that ballpark…

  3. Sebastian says:

    It’s definitely feasible. But they said specifically here a sniper rifle, and indicated that all the tradeoffs worked out for it being a practical weapon along those lines.

  4. It might very well be B.S., but at least they don’t have the “OMGWTFBBQ!!!11 he designed a gun!!!” attitude that you’d see from our MSM.

  5. Sigivald says:

    Yeah, I believe the “kid made a working railgun” part of the Pravda report – it’s been done before, in the US, for instance, by hobbyists.

    I likewise don’t for a second believe the “it’s superior to a sniper rifle” part.

  6. Ed says:

    Comrades! Pravda speaks truth! Is title of paper for out loud cryings! Young Sovie…Russian boy make big science adwancement with weapon! Will crush imperialist pig dog fascist parasites! Rejoice! Comrade Stal…Putin encourages big learnings for children in making of weapon! Comrade Putin discourages any who call story false!