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Old May 4, 2021, 10:48 PM   #23
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 23,410
Bun Bun rocks!

However, in those books the crews of the Metalstorm tanks got rather abused. In one scene a nuclear class detonation happens close just as they are firing and one crewmember asks 'what was that last bang??"

Ringo is my current favorite military SF writer.

Metalstorm is the ultimate muzzleloader. But the muzzle loading is done at the factory, not in the field. There is, literally, no action to cycle. Projectiles and powder charges (no cases or primers) are loaded one ahead of the other and can fill the entire barrel length (or nearly so), rounds in the barrel are fired sequentially using an electronic ignition system, and barrels are bundled together into "packs" becoming the ultimate "volley gun".

Not something very applicable to individual small arms, currently. Possible use as a crew served weapon, but not yet (if ever) superior to a belt fed machine gun. Once you get above that, you're into artillery and there, the concept has potential, (and some drawbacks).

To get back to the OP
Every gun has a rate of fire, battle ships 2 shots a minute; M-60, 900 rounds a minute. What controls the rate of fire on an automatic weapon, bullet weight, recoil spring tension???
What controls the cyclic rate is the design of the arm. Springs, buffers rate reducers and sometimes accelerators, weight of the bolt, and other moving parts, and time required for the pressure to drop enough to allow extraction, all these and other factors are taken into consideration when they gun is designed. Also designed in is the desired cyclic rate for the intended use. Aircraft machineguns run at high rates because engagement time is very brief. Infantry machineguns run at lower rates, for better control and longer sustained firing.

The M60 machine gun is rated at 550-650 rpm, not 900.

What controls the number of rounds that can actually be fired in one minute is the available ammo supply ready to feed into the chamber. Belt fed guns can run as long as the belt, magazine fed run until the magazine is empty, then they stop until another loaded magazine is inserted and then firing can resume. This takes time, and that time not firing means that the number of rounds actually fired in one minute is less than the cyclic rate of the action.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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