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Old February 26, 2013, 11:01 PM   #1
dakota.potts
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Legalities of Sci-Fi/future weapons in the US

I didn't know where to put this, but I figured it should be a fun thread.

With the viability of new technologies, I see a time in my life where a Sci-Fi weapon will be commercially viable. Railgun, Gauss cannon, laser gun, something along these lines.

What I'm curious of is, if I walked into a store and bought a high powered rail gun that could launch a 7.62mm projectile at 2800 FPS, would it be legal? What about a laser gun firing bursts of laser that could cut through wood? Metal?

What do you guys think? One day will we have a form to fill out for ownership of a laser weapon? Or walk into a hardware store and buy one? Outlawed for civilians? Never gonna happen?
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Old February 26, 2013, 11:41 PM   #2
Mike Irwin
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I think President Buck Rogers will have outlawed those deadly laser weapons.
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Old February 27, 2013, 12:03 AM   #3
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^I think that owning your own high intensity infrared laser, aka "death ray" is surprisingly legal in the United States. And yes they do exist.

I am not sure how rail-guns qualify under current firearm laws. They can be scary powerful though. 2800 fps is a low powered rail gun. 2000-3500 meters per second is a much better velocity for a good rail gun.

I think that you could build a rail gun that would move your 7.62mm projectile at 2800 fps if you really wanted to. Although you are going to be working with capacitors and voltages higher than you should really be messing with unless you know what you are doing. Its the sort of thing that can electrocute you to death in an instant if you do not know what you are doing.
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Old February 27, 2013, 01:33 AM   #4
dakota.potts
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I used what I estimated to be between a .308 and 30-06 to emphasize that it would act like a real weapon.

I wouldn't attempt to build one myself for that reason but it would be pretty cool.
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Old February 27, 2013, 03:09 AM   #5
Hal
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Quote:
With the viability of new technologies, I see a time in my life where a Sci-Fi weapon will be commercially viable. Railgun, Gauss cannon, laser gun, something along these lines.
Maybe in your life time - but - not in mine...
Then again, I'm only 61 and break throughs happen all the time so who knows for sure?

Anyhow to answer your question with a serious answer,,,

All the BATFE has to do is classify any future weapon as a destructive device & they've got it covered.

Might as well face the sad fact that our right to keep and bear arms has been changed to..
The right to keep and bear arms made prior to 1987.
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Old February 27, 2013, 03:45 AM   #6
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Railgun, Gauss cannon, laser gun
/begin nerdiness

Even if a railgun could feasibly fit into a platform the size of a rifle, it would offer almost no benefit over a rifle using self-contained cartridges. In addition to that, it would have to hold both a power source and ammunition. The railgun doesn't truly shine until you get to massive proportions, like shooting car sized projectiles at ridiculous speeds.

A gauss cannon is practically the same thing as a railgun, but it uses coils. It is probably more viable than a railgun for compact purposes because it wouldn't require you to have contacts that slide along the barrel with the projectile.

Lastly, we have developed lasers, and they work pretty well. They could even be made to fit into a compact device, but it would require a power source that would provide far less fire power than a standard 30 round magazine from a comparable rifle (if you tried to make it the same size). In addition to that, it wouldn't be a continuous stream (pulse) because the laser would overheat and the power source would run dry very quickly. If there isn't a continuous beam on the target, the most you could hope to do to an opponent is burn through their skin and muscle tissue, but ultimately, they probably wouldn't die because the penetration just wouldn't be there.

/end nerdiness

Anyways, if any of this could happen effectively, I don't see why average person couldn't have them. However, I think this is the same argument that antis are using to try and take our rights away. Something about how the founding fathers could never have imagined assault weapons and .50 cal sniper rifles and self contained cartridges.
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Old February 27, 2013, 04:07 AM   #7
dakota.potts
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Imagine this as far as a Rail/Gauss rifle goes. Instead of buying 30-06 ammo at a dollar a round, I can buy a spam can of 7.62X54R surplus firing a .308 bore shot. No powder, no corrosive salts, no recoil, no gunk, no shell casings. The price of ammo would be much lower. I'd use it.

If any of these worked, you could easily have a magazine tube running on the top like a shotgun where the bullets are held and a magazine containing an energy source so that you could reload either.

I imagine a laser could easily be considered a destructive device. A typical bullet fired by magnetism? Not so sure.
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Old February 27, 2013, 05:56 AM   #8
Hal
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I imagine a laser could easily be considered a destructive device. A typical bullet fired by magnetism? Not so sure.
That's all well and fine - but - it's not up to you or me.
It's up to the BATFE and/or some agenda driven politician(s).
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Old February 27, 2013, 07:36 AM   #9
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[QUOTE]...No powder, no corrosive salts, no recoil, no gunk, no shell casings.../QUOTE]

Recoil is a product of mass times acceleration, doesn't matter if your using gunpowder, compressed air, or pixie dust. So there's no advantage in using electromagnetism over smokeless powder. Granted, with a gauss rifle there would be no powder, no corrosive salts, etc, but you're replacing them with honkin' big magnetic coils, capacitors and a battery or other power source.
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Old February 27, 2013, 07:52 AM   #10
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In a world where a toaster can easily cost 100 dollars, how much do you expect a portable rail gun/wunderwaffe to cost?
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Old February 27, 2013, 08:10 AM   #11
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IF you do coild gun research online, look up OLD websites, i remember a college student who made a coil gun pistol that had the same muzzle energy as a daisy bb gun or 22 short. maybe just a 22 cb short. it been years....

thing is his gun weighed like 6 pounds, and the battery pack was a surplus alice pack with steel frame, circa 1990. and a 40 lb tractor battery inside. not exactly convenient.

although the 40 pound battery pack would make a nice backup
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Old February 27, 2013, 08:16 AM   #12
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Is it a pocket rail gun or a holster rail gun?
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Old February 27, 2013, 08:37 AM   #13
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We had a rail gun at the Naval Postgraduate School that was giving rifle-level performance, but it used several thousand pounds' worth of batteries, capacitors and wiring. Loud as hell when it went off, and it had the typical problems with rail erosion after a limited number of shots. Still, the technology is only going to get better.
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Old February 27, 2013, 08:39 AM   #14
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There is a saying in the weapons lab. "Bullets are cheap, photons are expensive. Never use a photon were a bullet will do."
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Old February 27, 2013, 10:06 AM   #15
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I think President Buck Rogers will have outlawed those deadly laser weapons.
Don't be an alarmist. He will only propose reasonable restrictions on lithium-ion batteries used in mass killings.
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Old February 27, 2013, 10:08 AM   #16
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I think the future of weapons will be that they are easily made with 3d printers or some such. I think lasers will be made that can kill and they will be easily made by a smart high schooler. Technology moves forward.
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Old February 27, 2013, 11:55 AM   #17
Glenn E. Meyer
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1. I told my wife I was buying a SIRT pistol. What's that? A Glock laser pistol. She thought for a sec I was going to burn the house down.

2. On the Buck Rogers TV show - Buck is captured by some space bad guys who have found a cache of 20 th century crap to them. In it, there is a Browning M1919 machine gun. He casually picks it up and ...

IIRC.
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Old February 27, 2013, 12:31 PM   #18
lcpiper
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Even if a railgun could feasibly fit into a platform the size of a rifle, it would offer almost no benefit over a rifle using self-contained cartridges. In addition to that, it would have to hold both a power source and ammunition. The railgun doesn't truly shine until you get to massive proportions, like shooting car sized projectiles at ridiculous speeds.

A gauss cannon is practically the same thing as a railgun, but it uses coils. It is probably more viable than a railgun for compact purposes because it wouldn't require you to have contacts that slide along the barrel with the projectile.

Lastly, we have developed lasers, and they work pretty well. They could even be made to fit into a compact device, but it would require a power source that would provide far less fire power than a standard 30 round magazine from a comparable rifle (if you tried to make it the same size). In addition to that, it wouldn't be a continuous stream (pulse) because the laser would overheat and the power source would run dry very quickly. If there isn't a continuous beam on the target, the most you could hope to do to an opponent is burn through their skin and muscle tissue, but ultimately, they probably wouldn't die because the penetration just wouldn't be there.

/end nerdiness

Anyways, if any of this could happen effectively, I don't see why average person couldn't have them. However, I think this is the same argument that antis are using to try and take our rights away. Something about how the founding fathers could never have imagined assault weapons and .50 cal sniper rifles and self contained cartridges.
All excellent explanations given the limits of current recognized limitations. Says nothing for what the next leap will allow.

Take an idea I have had of using a type of laser as a targeting instrument that provides a secondary function that allows a powerfull electric charge (think super taser) to be directed to the point of aim as long as the point of aim is a conductive or grounded surface. Walla, you got a one stop heart stopper capable of dealing death with laser accuracy out to several hundred meters or more. Just an idea if you can get that whole electricity follows the light beam thing down. For all I know it would already work and we just don't know it yet. Anyone ever tried?

Check out Coil Guns, they are already getting scary because although I have seen plenty of the youtube videos showing these firing a sizeable projectile I have never seen a projectile optomized for the gun. I was always thinking something along the lines of a crossbow bolt blades and all.
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Old February 27, 2013, 12:41 PM   #19
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If any of these worked, you could easily have a magazine tube running on the top like a shotgun where the bullets are held and a magazine containing an energy source so that you could reload either.

I imagine a laser could easily be considered a destructive device. A typical bullet fired by magnetism? Not so sure.
Some of you no doubt know how an explosively formed projectile works. Fire a copper plate at very high speed and it forms itself into a kinetic projectile.

A SF writer named David Drake does a lot of future combat writing and he used weapons that functioned similar to a railgun but excellerated a disk at high velocities that behaved like an EFP. The disks made easy storage in long tubular magazines. From Infantry weapons to Tank Cannons they all used the same technology similar to the way our current weapons do.
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Old February 27, 2013, 07:40 PM   #20
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hoo hooo hammers slammers gear..... its not a copper plate by any means. if you read the early stories its all explained, in essence a copper mesh suspendedin a plastic disc that is subjected to a massive jolt of electricity that strips the copper atoms into an electron stream that goes out a crystal and becomes a laser beam.

i remember an article from europe that has them regulated to the level of a bb gun.
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Old February 27, 2013, 09:27 PM   #21
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Legalities of Sci-Fi/future weapons in the US

Ray guns and phasers are already illegal in NJ. Seriously.
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Old February 27, 2013, 09:47 PM   #22
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Lasers are regulated in the US at the federal level by the FDA's radiological health program.
For a decent Railgun capable of firing a second shot, a long extension cord, a serious generator or nearby mains power supply is required.

Also depends on what you want to do:

If you want to blind prey, a few watt Laser diode device suffices in a hand held, battery powered device.

If you wan to take off the leg of a charging coyote in a few seconds, you will need many hundreds of watts. (assuming you could stay on target) This could be an expensive handheld device but would require a "Sears Diehard" on your back.

If on the other hand you just want to stop a grizzly a km away coming at you, google Rheinmetall's 50kw laser. it blasted a 1/2" steel plate 1 km away.
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Old February 27, 2013, 09:48 PM   #23
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Take an idea I have had of using a type of laser as a targeting instrument that provides a secondary function that allows a powerfull electric charge (think super taser) to be directed to the point of aim as long as the point of aim is a conductive or grounded surface. Walla, you got a one stop heart stopper capable of dealing death with laser accuracy out to several hundred meters or more. Just an idea if you can get that whole electricity follows the light beam thing down. For all I know it would already work and we just don't know it yet. Anyone ever tried?
Funny you should say that. I was hoping someone would bring this up. So, if you don't already know this, particle beam cannons in some forms do exist. Right now we use ion cannons, which pretty much mimic a lightning strike, but it is able to be focused at a target.

Also, tactical lasers are being tested and tried in a military capacity. Do a simple search on the AC-X Son of Spectre.

There
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Old February 27, 2013, 10:51 PM   #24
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2. On the Buck Rogers TV show - Buck is captured by some space bad guys who have found a cache of 20 th century crap to them. In it, there is a Browning M1919 machine gun. He casually picks it up and ...
I remember that episode. The Future eggheads thought it was a communications device. Buck managed to communicate his intentions very well with a couple of long bursts of .30.
Guess you could call it a "burst transmission" device.

There are legal full auto airguns that can cut a 55 gallon drum in half. Easy to build from the schematics I've seen. These require an airtank in a back pack for extended firing, but I suspect much smaller tanks could be used.

I figure the deisel piston rifle will be better developed in the future. The Germans used these after WW2 for small game hunting. They converted regular spring piston air rifles with a device to squirt vaporized wood alcohol into the cylinder before firing. They got power levels between the .22 LR and .22 WMR using cast bullets of the apropriate weight.
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Old February 28, 2013, 02:49 AM   #25
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Phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.
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