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Frightening new military technology
March 10, 2008 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Presented in a way that is familiar to gimmicky kitchen appliances, this frightening weapon can fire 120,000 rounds per minute without a human operator. It makes no noise or flash, and can be mounted anywhere and is operated remotely.

With this and other frightening developments that may become a part of our military like, AA12 Fully Automatic 12 Gauge shotgun, Electromagnetic "Rail Gun", will reducing the human cost of war by removing soldiers from the battlefield make it "cheaper" to get public approval for war in the future? Will this increase how often the US is allowed to engage in secret and small scale operations?
posted by hellslinger (84 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
will reducing the human cost of war by removing soldiers from the battlefield make it "cheaper" to get public approval for war in the future?

1. The human cost of war extends pretty far beyond soldiers in uniform.

2. New and improved weaponry is only useful if you know where to shoot. I don't see how a more effective shotgun will reduce insurgency attacks.
posted by dubold at 10:12 AM on March 10, 2008




The automatic shotgun would be super useful in the event of a zombie attack. Otherwise? Hmm.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on March 10, 2008


Eponysterical?
posted by sfts2 at 10:22 AM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


So if it doesn't use chemical explosives and therefore can't try to balance the momentum through venting the gases or something, how does it manage to be recoilless?
posted by edd at 10:22 AM on March 10, 2008


Advanced spinny-thing technology.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on March 10, 2008


What? Four minutes of cheesy weapons sales speak, then a picture of some holes in a wall?
posted by Happy Dave at 10:24 AM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't forget this bad boy, the 30-mm GE GAU-8 Avenger seven barrel cannon. Test video.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:24 AM on March 10, 2008


As convincing as the little cutouts of battleships and soldiers were, this video provides no indication that this product actually - as we say in the industry - "exists."
posted by bicyclefish at 10:25 AM on March 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


Google yields a few more articles:
- Military.com
- Gizmodo
- DefenseReview.com
posted by LordSludge at 10:28 AM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Make one at home!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:34 AM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


...will reducing the human cost of war by removing soldiers from the battlefield make it "cheaper" to get public approval for war in the future?

"When US leaders imagine a bodyless war or a soldier-free war they are referring, of course, only to the bodies of US soldiers. Enemy bodies are certainly meant to die (and increasingly enemy casualties, civilian and military, are not reported or even calculated). This asymmetry makes the contradiction even more difficult to address, since only one side lacks an incentive to put an end to war. What incentive does a power have to put an end to war if it never suffers from it?"

- Hardt and Negri, Multitude, 1.2.

IANAMarxist.
posted by dismas at 10:39 AM on March 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


What? Four minutes of cheesy weapons sales speak, then a picture of some holes in a wall?

There was footage of this weapon being tested that I have seen. I cannot find it anymore (as you can see from partial law's post, their website is no longer really active). The test footage, which also had the very faint sound of the weapon firing, featured a brick or cinder block wall that was being peppered by this gun and it was certainly impressive, although it is hard to take my word for it.

If US soldiers are able to deliver such firepower remotely, cheaply (a few hundred half inch, solid steel munitions vs. a complex missile with guidance system and warhead), and safely, far fewer soldiers are needed on the ground.

Ethical concerns discussed New Scientist.
posted by hellslinger at 10:39 AM on March 10, 2008


1. The human cost of war extends pretty far beyond soldiers in uniform.

True, but for, say, Iraq, dead soldiers is pretty much the only metric that anyone in the USA seems to care about. Cut the #dead soldiers, increase the chances of more Imperialist wars.
posted by Rumple at 10:41 AM on March 10, 2008


If I'm seeing this correctly, it looks like a centrifuge shooting out 0.308cal golf balls.
posted by boo_radley at 10:42 AM on March 10, 2008


Perhaps the gun from the first link could be named Vaporgun or Hoaxgun.
posted by aerotive at 10:43 AM on March 10, 2008


Over editorializing aside, let's take a look at the Dread Gun: they mention that it is going to use electric energy instead of chemical propulsion, this means that it will have likely to be vehicle mounted, which means that it's limited to where it can be deployed to places that a large car or truck can fit. They list it as "self cleaning"; this is an absurd description and should be struck from all military-sales propaganda. It might be able to keep it's barrel non-fouled, but all weapons require cleaning. The world is full of dirt and it will find it's way into your gear.

And then there is the one thing that they didn't even bother to mention: how it can provide sustained ammunition feeding that would allow for the rounds to be less than an 1" apart in the air? Is this like a Metalstorm product? Is it using something new?

I don't want to say this is vaporware, because I'm sure that there are efforts to bring a viable rail/ gauss weapon to the market, but until I can see actual footage of it working and a bit less of the flash graphics soundtracked with the movie theater concession commercial music, I'm going to remain skeptical.
posted by quin at 10:45 AM on March 10, 2008


I am the Law!
posted by carter at 10:51 AM on March 10, 2008


Sorry, the new scientist link is for another similar weapon that presents similar ethical questions, rather than the "Dread Gun".

Dismas explained what I was trying to imply; those in the US who advocate war will only allow themselves to be held accountable for US Military losses. Even contractors (Mercenaries) who are American aren't counted in official casualty reports. Enemy losses are often not reported or misreported, and when they are, they often come long after initial US casualties.

I'll be on the lookout for test footage.
posted by hellslinger at 10:51 AM on March 10, 2008


You, know, if i was a hack trying to siphon some DoD largess my way with some barely plausible and stupid looking piece of vaporware, I'd at least go for body armor, or maybe something that deals IEDs, as opposed to a MachaBolo whose core "innovation" answers only questions that no one is asking.
I'd also spend more than $45 on my presentation.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 10:53 AM on March 10, 2008


So if it doesn't use chemical explosives and therefore can't try to balance the momentum through venting the gases or something, how does it manage to be recoilless?
posted by edd at 1:22 PM on March 10 [+] [!]


I'm assuming it isn't propelling the rounds like a railgun would, rather it's spinning that disk and flinging the rounds toward the target. I think a setup like that wouldn't produce much in the way of recoil, because the energy of a single round is small compared to the energy of the spinning disk.

I wouldn't want to be near one when it fails, though.
posted by knave at 10:54 AM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


There was footage of this weapon being tested that I have seen. I cannot find it anymore

Perhaps you should have waited until you did find it to post this. As it is, it's just a cheesy promotional video for what appear to be vapor(izer)ware.
posted by dersins at 10:56 AM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Automatic shotguns aren't that new; they're just of such limited utility that they're not used very frequently. They seem to pop up every few years, though. IIRC the South African national arms company was producing one in the 80s.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:59 AM on March 10, 2008


I don't know if anyone has brought this up yet but... I prefer that humans operate my weapons. Humans have emotions and can think for themselves.... computers not so much. Just think about it, would you rather have an army of soldiers that can say "F you!" if they disagree with an order or a bunch of machines that can say "will do" Also didn't these retards watch terminator?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 11:03 AM on March 10, 2008


Metalstorms kind of the gold standard for the vapourgun game – they’ve got the tech demos, they’ve got the computer animations, and the list the implausible reasons for why their product is infinitely better for making holes in things than the traditional one.They’ve been a forum favorite for years as various posters discover the links to it and post them as the next big thing. What new angle does the spinnygun thing bring to the vapourgun market that Metalstorm doesn’t already have? Asides from looking damn silly and being the size of a dustbin lid?
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on March 10, 2008


"I'm assuming it isn't propelling the rounds like a railgun would, rather it's spinning that disk and flinging the rounds toward the target. I think a setup like that wouldn't produce much in the way of recoil, because the energy of a single round is small compared to the energy of the spinning disk."

You can't cheat the conservation of momentum. Not that way, not any way.
posted by edd at 11:06 AM on March 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think one of the YouTube commenters said it best:
Looks gay.
posted by davejay at 11:11 AM on March 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


...this frightening weapon can fire 120,000 rounds per minute...

It isn't capable of firing for a minute. That's the fire rate, but the actual fire is very brief.

It's like those claims that the laser fusion experiments use more power than is produced in the entire United States. True, but only for an interval of about a picosecond.
posted by Class Goat at 11:11 AM on March 10, 2008


I assume that along with this manufacturer, there's a whole section of the defense industry that deals solely with the "it doesn't shoot fast enough" problem that doesn't actually exist except to give certain Rambo-types massive hard-ons.
posted by junesix at 11:12 AM on March 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


But isn't this thing more like a centrifugal pump that moves metal balls instead of liquids?

Would be interesting watching (from afar) one of these impellers coming loose though...
posted by uandt at 11:14 AM on March 10, 2008


That Dread gun video has been around for years. Every time I see it posted the conclusion is that it's somewhere between physically impossible and entirely useless in warfare. Batteries do not travel well.
posted by Skorgu at 11:15 AM on March 10, 2008


will reducing the human cost of war by removing soldiers from the battlefield make it "cheaper" to get public approval for war in the future?

Cheaper than the cost of new war-themed logos for CNN and FOX? How expensive is it to photoshop a stars & stripes theme on a bald eagle these days?

Will this increase how often the US is allowed to engage in secret and small scale operations?

You mean more often than "whenever there's a profit margin to be defended?"
posted by signal at 11:17 AM on March 10, 2008


actually exist except to give certain Rambo-types massive hard-ons.

Correction: very small hard-ons.
posted by notsnot at 11:18 AM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Theres still videogames manufacturers out there burned by the cancellation of the OICW...
posted by Artw at 11:20 AM on March 10, 2008


Was going to say, even for a cheap video the rendering and compositing and, well, music -- really looks like early 90's.
posted by cavalier at 11:21 AM on March 10, 2008


Indeed, there is a lot of vaporware when it comes to weapons and technology in general. I certainly hope these are.

"Where's the proof" aside, these videos and prototypes would not be produced if there wasn't some interest by the military. These contractors have to get their funding from somewhere.

There are certainly examples of the US dumping a lot of money into fancy new weapons and not following through with it, like SDI. Occasionally, some of these extravagant weapons do get produced and used.
posted by hellslinger at 11:22 AM on March 10, 2008




Also: railguns are cool.
posted by Skorgu at 11:24 AM on March 10, 2008


Automatic shotguns aren't that new; they're just of such limited utility that they're not used very frequently. They seem to pop up every few years, though. IIRC the South African national arms company was producing one in the 80s.
posted by Kadin2048


Yeah, that was the Neostead.

I can't find an exact date but I'm pretty sure the Saiga 12K (an AK-47 rechambered for 12 gauge) came first. I believe the SPAS-15 and USAS-12 both came after.

The H&K CAWS and Pancor Jackhammer never made it into production.
posted by Ryvar at 11:28 AM on March 10, 2008


Oh, you might also be thinking of the Armsel Striker.
posted by Ryvar at 11:31 AM on March 10, 2008


Don't forget this bad boy, the 30-mm GE GAU-8 Avenger seven barrel cannon.

I cracked up when I saw the A-10 fly over as a candidate to install this weapons system on, seeing as how the entire plane is essentially designed around the Avenger. The whole production is laughably bad.
posted by Scoo at 11:31 AM on March 10, 2008


"If US soldiers are able to deliver such firepower remotely [...] far fewer soldiers are needed on the ground."

This is a very bad plan. One of the reasons we're spending 10+ years fighting wars where the "enemy" is only a few thousand people is that we continue to think of these conflicts in medieval terms. You do *not* win a war against religiously motivated insurgents by killing them. The more people you kill the further away you get from "victory". Weapons like this basically guarantee defeat in modern warfare.

We can already remotely annihilated anything on the planet. So short of zombies, what is this for? How is this going to defeat the army of scattered IED makers working in their garage?

I'm waiting for the weapons manufacturers to build what we really need to win - The diplomatic solution gun.
posted by Ragma at 11:41 AM on March 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm assuming it isn't propelling the rounds like a railgun would, rather it's spinning that disk and flinging the rounds toward the target.

...because all pilots secretly long to go back to the days when they could only make hard turns to the left because of the torque of the big, heavy spinning thing in their airplane.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:45 AM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


See Metal Storm.
posted by zerobyproxy at 11:46 AM on March 10, 2008


Banks robbers and the like will just love that automatic shot gun. Nothing left of the cop from about the boots up.
posted by pracowity at 11:50 AM on March 10, 2008


Perfect for when the Cloverfield monster shows up... otherwise, I dunno.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:07 PM on March 10, 2008


When fully automatic shotguns are outlawed, only outlaws will have fully automatic shotguns. </snark>
posted by LordSludge at 12:12 PM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I will see your 120,000 rounds a minute and raise you 1,000,000 rounds a minute.
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2008


The diplomatic solution gun.

ROFL.

Wouldn't that require a "Find out what the real problem is" Scope?
posted by hellslinger at 12:28 PM on March 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that was the Neostead.

The Neostead was actually pretty clever. It was a pump-action that fed from two tubes instead of one. This gave you twice the ammo capacity, or the ability to switch back and forth between one kind of ammo and another, which was kind of slick. I think it's only real failing was that to pump it, you pushed forward and then pulled it back (like an M203 grenade launcher, or exactly the opposite of every other pump shotgun on the market.)

It looks kind of goofy now, but I remember when I first saw one thinking it was the coolest design for a pump gun ever.

Banks robbers and the like will just love that automatic shot gun. Nothing left of the cop from about the boots up.

By that same token, bank robbers must love RPG7s because they can completely destroy a squad car. Or landmines because they can deny an entire area to any foot or automobile traffic. Or flamethrowers, because... well, flamethrowers!
posted by quin at 12:31 PM on March 10, 2008


Mr zero--double. That is my third link (see above).
posted by zerobyproxy at 12:47 PM on March 10, 2008


MetaFilter: somewhere between physically impossible and entirely useless
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:56 PM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


automatic shotguns

Are worthless. The heat buildup from automatic fire causes the plastic hulls on the shotgun shells to melt in the chamber. Metal hulled shotgun shells work a little better but they tend to expand too much jamming the gun.
posted by Tenuki at 12:58 PM on March 10, 2008


That Dread gun video has been around for years. Every time I see it posted the conclusion is that it's somewhere between physically impossible and entirely useless in warfare. Batteries do not travel well. --Skorgu

I disagree. I hear they're co-developing some great tactics for the weapon with the Duke Nukem Forever team. They just need a bit more time for tweaks. And perhaps some further time to swap out physics engines... for the universe.
posted by Bugg at 1:14 PM on March 10, 2008


automatic shotguns

Are worthless. The heat buildup from automatic fire causes the plastic hulls on the shotgun shells to melt in the chamber. Metal hulled shotgun shells work a little better but they tend to expand too much jamming the gun.


Not to mention the fact that from the video it appears the AA12 fires from the breech-open position (mainly to ventilate all that heat), which given the round we're talking about is a hole about the size of a gaping mouth in the side of your gun for dust and grime to get into.

And considering the fact that you have maybe 20 rounds in that drum magazine, it's another one I wouldn't want to be around if (when) it fails.
posted by ChasFile at 1:30 PM on March 10, 2008


"...this frightening weapon can fire 120,000 rounds per minute...

It isn't capable of firing for a minute. That's the fire rate, but the actual fire is very brief."


Agreed, and the next question is "Even if it could fire for a minute, how the hell would you carry around 120K rounds and manage to feed them into the damn thing without it jamming?"
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:44 PM on March 10, 2008


It could double as a portable pachinko machine.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on March 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


hoax. (i haven't checked out LordSludge's links yet.)
posted by mrgrimm at 1:56 PM on March 10, 2008


sorry, didn't mean hoax. I meant fake. "US military is funding development..." I would not be surprised for the "inventors" to be quite funded by now.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:57 PM on March 10, 2008


I will see your 120,000 rounds a minute and raise you 1,000,000 rounds a minute.
That's what I thought this post was going to be, not vaporgun.
posted by humannaire at 2:48 PM on March 10, 2008


Mr zero--double. That is my third link (see above).

Damn it! :-)
posted by Mr_Zero at 2:53 PM on March 10, 2008


I'm sure I can remember something like this on Scrapheap Challenge... or possibly The Great Egg Race.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:04 PM on March 10, 2008


I'm almost positive I saw a live action demo for the dread system posted on Metafilter. I would bet money on it - I can't find the footage, either. It was a DoD video.

It was entirely amazing, and, I assure you - completely real. Damned if I can find that video, though. Here's some answers from my memory -

The gun doesn't jam because the firing mechanism and barrel are made out of one single piece of metal.

The rounds are exactly what they look like - little metal balls. They are stored in a feed barrel beneath the gun. Regular old ball bearings, so to speak.

The coolest thing about the dread - and this is why I'm almost certain I first read about it on metafilter - is that not only can you control the rate of fire, but you can also control the velocity of the rounds. It was billed as one of the first weapons that could instantly toggle between deadly and non-deadly force - you can adjust the speed of the rounds so as to be less deadly.

I don't know where this crappy old video came from - there were much better videos of the complete system. It uses an electromagnet feeding system into some sort of spinning contraption. I'm not a gun person (well... I am, but in the "I enjoy an occasional rabbit/duck/varmint hunt" sort of sense - not in the "I regularly masturbate to DARPA videos" sort of sense) but I wanted to drop in and say that I, too, have definitely seen very real videos of this very real gun.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:09 PM on March 10, 2008


More info on the dread system:
New Scientist article
Defense Review article
another Defense Review article

I dunno. Maybe it's complete hogwash, but I kind of like the idea of giving our soldiers a non-lethal option aside from "rubber bullets" and doesn't require giant microwave dishes or the proximity required by tazers.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:19 PM on March 10, 2008


Unfortunately, the dread WAS the next generation in field deployable military automatic firing kinetic impact weapons systems... until now.

Introducing the CX-23 Unicorn Gun from Naberius Labs. Unlike the tiny projectiles of the dread, the CX-23 delivers the punch of a full grown, 1000 lb. horse moving at mach 2, every 150,000th of a second, each tipped with a deadly, armor piercing horn. That's enough impact momentum to vaporize enemy personnel, small vehicles or cinderblock walls. And even heavy tanks can't stand up to the shaped-charge style impact of the Unicorn's deadly horn.

And all this firepower imparts no recoil to the user or mounting Hummvee, tank, helicopter or satellite because unicorns disregard all laws of physics!

The dread was yesterday's weapon. We have a working CX-23 operating right now at our state of the art unicorn ranch in Connecticut. The CX-23 from Naberius Labs. Tomorrow's high value single source U.S. Government contract, today!

The CX-23 Unicorn Gun is absolutely real, because we couldn't make a clip art PowerPoint presentation about it if it weren't. And we make repeated reference to real things or established scientific principles, like momentum. And Connecticut.


* Weapons system not recommended for use against virgins.
posted by Naberius at 3:56 PM on March 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Can the unicorns be stealthed using a "pixiedust" nano-scale obfuscation swarm? Becuase if so I'm totally getting one.
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on March 10, 2008


Wake me when they invent one that fires chains.
posted by bwg at 4:24 PM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


davejay: "I think one of the YouTube commenters said it best:
Looks gay.

Sponsored by the Department of Newspeak [Absurdity Section].
posted by dash_slot- at 4:40 PM on March 10, 2008


Can't let a discussion of the Maxim gun pass without quoting Hilaire Belloc's taken on the differences between Africa and Europe.

Whatever happens we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not


(from The Modern Traveller)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:14 PM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I'm assuming it isn't propelling the rounds like a railgun would, rather it's spinning that disk and flinging the rounds toward the target. I think a setup like that wouldn't produce much in the way of recoil, because the energy of a single round is small compared to the energy of the spinning disk."

You can't cheat the conservation of momentum. Not that way, not any way.


There is no recoil and no cheating involved. Both linear and angular momentum are conserved when a rotating object is released. If you are standing on a rotating merry-go-round and release a ball, the ball flies off in a straight line tangent to the circle. The linear momentum of the ball is unchanged. The angular momentum of the ball is unchanged. So you don't feel anything. No recoil. No change in rotational speed of the merry-go-round.

The question about this is how do you get the bullets up to speed spinning that fast. This requires an enormous amount of torque. And you have to keep the whole thing perfectly balanced before and after released or it will tear itself apart. And the gyroscopic effect means that it takes a lot of force to change the elevation when aiming.
posted by JackFlash at 5:32 PM on March 10, 2008


"This requires an enormous amount of torque. And you have to keep the whole thing perfectly balanced before and after released or it will tear itself apart"
You cannot only release the ball and have this happen. The only way to do this is have a corresponding ball going in the other direction released at the same time to keep it balanced. This would be where your recoil is going.
If you think you've got a way to have no momentum dumped out through some other means (like the gas from a conventional 'recoilless' weapon) or some mass propelled in the other direction then you just haven't thought it through carefully enough.
posted by edd at 6:14 PM on March 10, 2008


I noticed that the Discovery Channel broadcasts what are effectively one-hour infomercials about new and upcoming military technology.

Everything coming up is just great, despite the tiny drawbacks. These new weapons are awesome so they say. Future wars will be wonderful!

It reminds me of a program on SpeedTV, Test Drive, with Tommy Kendall. He loves all the cars that he drives. They're all just fabulous. Every one of them.
posted by juiceCake at 6:42 PM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you think you've got a way to have no momentum dumped out through some other means (like the gas from a conventional 'recoilless' weapon) or some mass propelled in the other direction then you just haven't thought it through carefully enough.

Sorry, but Isaac Newton thought this through carefully enough over 300 years ago. A rotating object has both linear and angular momentum. When you release it neither the linear momentum nor angular momentum change so there is no recoil. You are thinking of the case in which you start with a bullet with zero momentum and then suddenly accelerate it with a cartridge. In that case there is a recoil associated with the sudden change in momentum of the bullet. For the rotating mass there is no change in momentum and therefore no recoil. Since it is rotating, it already has its momentum and releasing the ball doesn't change the momentum. There is no momentum dumping involved.

For the rotation case if you drop a new ball into the spinning cylinder it has to be accelerated by torque. In that sense there is some "torque recoil" or torque load that would be felt by the motor and motor mount. Torque recoil occurs as a new ball is accelerated up to maximum rotational speed. Presumably the new balls are fed from the center along the spokes like solid string of BBs. So the balls are smoothly accelerated as they make their way out to the rim as each preceding ball is released. But just releasing the ball causes no recoil.
posted by JackFlash at 7:17 PM on March 10, 2008


As a child, the sound of gunfire terrified me.

As an adolescent boy scout, I always felt out-of-place in the activities that involved firing rifles or shotguns.

In my freshman year of highschool, a kid brought a gun to school with the intent of shooting me, and only by the luckiest of circumstances was he caught before he got the chance.

The next year, after I had moved from Houston to Oklahoma, a girl I''d been friend's with in Texas was shot in a gang-ritual drive-by.

While in Oklahoma, my (at-the-time) girlfriend was kidnapped by her biological father, along ith her siblings, and taken back to Germany with him, at gunpoint. They were rescued when she managed to escape and find the embassy and arrange for their return to the states (she was 15 at the time).

I have been robbed at gunpoint while living in NYC.

Also, while living in NYC, my old roommate briefly dated a customs officer. I came home one time to meet up with them on our patio, and her gun was draped across the back of her chair, and I couldn't handle it.

I've got a friend serving in Iraq now, and our only thought about him is getting him home safely.

I I now live in NE Washington D.C, where I hear gunfire almost nightly.

So why is my first thought about this video, "That is so cool!"?

Fucking human nature... at least on the male side of it...
posted by Navelgazer at 9:51 PM on March 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is so cool because if you had one, you could kill all the boys scouts, high school gunmen, gang members, biological fathers, Iraqis and NE D.C. gun shooters you ever met, from the comfort of your chair, in less than a tenth of a second.

You would make the world a better place, and be so awesomely cool, that your roommate would want to date you instead of a hot customs officer.
posted by Dr. Curare at 1:33 AM on March 11, 2008


Yes, fine there's recoil as it accelerates up. Even smoothed out, at 120,000 rounds a minute it's going to be noticeable though.
posted by edd at 1:41 AM on March 11, 2008


JackFlash, you do not seem to understand momentum. You say,
Both linear and angular momentum are conserved when a rotating object is released. If you are standing on a rotating merry-go-round and release a ball, the ball flies off in a straight line tangent to the circle.
If your merry-go-round were at rest in space and not attached to this very massive object (a planet) you can bet the merry-go-round will recoil in the opposite direction, and saying "Isaac Newton" won't change that. If you have a black-box and a ball comes shooting out of it, the black-box must recoil, regardless of whatever exotic machinery you have inside it. (And if the ball is spinning, the black-box will be spinning in the opposite direction.)
posted by phliar at 12:19 PM on March 11, 2008


Sorry, but I was correct. The merry-go-round has a certain angular momentum. The ball has both angular momentum and linear momentum. When the ball is released its linear momentum and angular momentum are unchanged. The momentum of the merry-go-round is unchanged. Therefore the total momentum of the system is unchanged. If the momentum is unchanged, there must be no forces involved.

Your case of the black box would be correct if the ball were not moving inside the box and it initially had zero momentum. However it is already moving, but in a circle. It already has momentum. It simply changes from moving in a circle to moving in a straight line. Total momentum of the system does not change so there is no recoil.
posted by JackFlash at 1:56 PM on March 11, 2008


More precisely, since there is no change in momentum of the ball, there is no reason to expect a recoil. It is only when the momentum of the ball changes that there must be a recoil.
posted by JackFlash at 2:07 PM on March 11, 2008


Forget the angular momentum. It's irrelevant.

Consider two balls, on a single single string, mounted in the middle. You cut the string suddenly. One ball shoots off. The system is instantaneously fine, but sooner or later that other ball on the other side is going to start exerting a force on your axel as it pulls back round off its current path. Then, you get your recoil. You've got two balls moving in opposite directions and one is suddenly freed, leaving one+axel system with a net momentum in the oppposite direction.

You can fiddle the situation by trying to replace the now detached ball with a replacement, but you have to accelerate that one up pretty damned fast to compensate.

You say it yourself. "the total momentum of the system is unchanged"
So where's your recoil? The recoil is what keeps the momentum of the system unchanged.
posted by edd at 5:50 PM on March 11, 2008


You say it yourself. "the total momentum of the system is unchanged"
So where's your recoil? The recoil is what keeps the momentum of the system unchanged.


Correct, which is the reason for my clarification above. In the rifle bullet case, the momentum of the bullet is rapidly increased which requires a recoil momentum to balance out. But in the case of the already rotating bullet, simply releasing it causes no change in momentum of the bullet. Therefore there is no recoil required to compensate for it.

In your two ball case, as I mentioned way above, there can be a balance problem for the rotating cylinder but that has nothing to do with recoil from the bullet.
posted by JackFlash at 6:21 PM on March 11, 2008


For some reason, this reminded me of the intro weapon commercial for Real Genius (closest video I could find that had parts of it)
posted by samsara at 8:12 PM on March 11, 2008


Been there, done that, made the remix.
posted by tehloki at 8:32 PM on March 11, 2008




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