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Guns With No Moving Parts (ULTIMATE FIREPOWER)
Popular Mechanics ^ | Nov. 2, 2001 | SCOTT GOURLEY

Posted on 11/03/2001 12:54:05 AM PST by TERMINATTOR

ULTIMATE FIREPOWER
With no moving parts, Metal Storm weapons can lay down a million-plus rounds per minute.

BY SCOTT GOURLEY

Illustrations by Paul DiMare
An all-electronic firing control mechanism is easily adapted to include a fingerprint-based user-ID system, and an on-the-fly selection of different rounds for different situations.

To the human ear, the sound of 180 bullets being fired in less than one-hundredth of a second is perceived as one enormous noise. And the fact that some people have heard that noise is testimony to the perseverance of one inventor with a unique vision of the future of weapons technology. "They say that half the engineers in the first company that I worked with wanted me to finish my coffee and leave as soon as possible," says Mike O'Dwyer, recalling the way some of his far-reaching ideas were received.

O'Dwyer's revolutionary weapons concept is based on an electronically fired gun-and-launcher design with multiple rounds stacked in a single barrel. The only moving parts are the bullets themselves. Beyond creating an astounding fast-firing weapon, the concept makes way for the creation of entirely new types of firearms. Among other things, it will allow the shooter to select from different types of rounds and even between firing lethal and nonlethal ammunition. O'Dwyer's ideas were initially met with skepticism, but now they are being taken seriously by the military and police.

"Nothing succeeds like actually building something and pulling the trigger or, in our case, pressing the button to show what happens," he tells POPULAR MECHANICS.

"One of the first things I did was to build a prototype with one short piece of barrel loaded with two projectiles and propellant behind each," O'Dwyer says. "I then fired the leading projectile just to determine whether the system would operate. If it did, the second projectile should stay in the barrel, without being pushed back with the propellant behind it."

Based on the results of that testing, O'Dwyer quickly moved to an expanded firing prototype--a single-barrel design loaded with 15 9mm rounds. "There was nothing particularly optimum about having 15 rounds," he says. "It was just a good number. There was also nothing particularly optimum about 9mm. It was just a convenient size.

"The wedging-system design O'Dwyer used to lock and seal multiple projectiles stacked in a single barrel required each of the 9mm projectiles to be slightly modified from their sporting configurations.

"The 15 shots was a big step for us from two, and electronically firing those 15 shots from a single barrel allowed us to experiment immediately with rates of fire," O'Dwyer says. The smoothbore prototype allowed electronically variable rates of fire ranging from semiauto to the equivalent of 45,000 rounds per minute.

Rounds are stacked and electronically ignited, creating a storm of metal.
ILLUSTRATION BY METAL STORM LTD.

Applying what he had learned about tube loading and firing rates, O'Dwyer constructed a triple-barrel, a nine-barrel, and a 36-barrel firing prototype design that he lovingly named Bertha. "The reason for the 36 barrels was simply to indicate to ourselves and to others the future versatility of this system, in that with the 36 barrels we had 540 rounds on board and, based on the 45,000-round-per-minute rate per barrel, that gave us a maximum firing rate of 1.62 million rounds per minute," the inventor says. Prior to Bertha's well-deserved retirement, O'Dwyer used the demonstrator to achieve a 180-round burst of 9mm rounds (155 grain weight) at a rate of just over 1 million rounds per minute.

New Families Of Weapons
O'Dwyer's experience with the 36-tube Bertha has provided him with a new understanding of the technology--not just the gun. When he speaks of the weapons, he uses the analogy of an inkjet printer. He compares the projectiles to dots of ink exploding out of a print head. O'Dwyer's concept is that of a weapons system capable of delivering a wide range of customized "packages" of varying degrees of lethality.

"While the enormous rate of fire is a major advantage in some significant areas, this is not a weapons system that operates as if it were a shotgun," O'Dwyer says. "This is not an area weapon that deals with a target by overkill. It is about accuracy, precision and electronic controllability."

Other recent Metal Storm demonstrator systems have included a "scaled up" 40mm grenade launcher for the military that fires small "shot bursts" at rates equivalent to 6000 rounds per minute, as well as a Variable Lethality Law Enforcement (VLE) handgun. The fully electronic VLE can be easily safety-keyed to a particular individual or group, preventing its use should it fall into the wrong hands.

Through his company, Metal Storm Ltd., the Australian inventor hopes to apply this technology to a variety of military and commercial products worldwide.



TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS:
I could really improve my score at Bin Laden Liquors with one of these.
1 posted on 11/03/2001 12:54:05 AM PST by TERMINATTOR
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To: *bang_list
Bang_List.
2 posted on 11/03/2001 12:54:50 AM PST by TERMINATTOR
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To: TERMINATTOR
Two questions: Aren't guns banned in Australia? And, will this 36 tube piece fit under my sport jacket?
3 posted on 11/03/2001 1:04:44 AM PST by Highest Authority
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To: TERMINATTOR
I read this article when it was first posted a few weeks ago. It still sounds like a silly idea.
4 posted on 11/03/2001 3:01:13 AM PST by wysiwyg
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To: TERMINATTOR
Seems to me if it ever jammed there wouldn't be much left of the operator. A million projectile pile up could get ugly.
5 posted on 11/03/2001 3:22:50 AM PST by MissAmericanPie
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To: Highest Authority
Sport jacket? How soon will the aftermarket have mounting brackets for my Jeep?
6 posted on 11/03/2001 3:30:34 AM PST by Abundy
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To: TERMINATTOR
for further info

An Australian site, currently very slow downloading.

7 posted on 11/03/2001 3:36:02 AM PST by dglang
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To: TERMINATTOR
I think I'll stick with my Browning Hi-Power and Walther PPKs. Both are very dependable and very accurate.
8 posted on 11/03/2001 3:36:09 AM PST by waxhaw
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To: TERMINATTOR
a million-plus rounds per minute.

At .25 per round that is $25,000 per minute. Then there's loading time. At one round per second it would take 11.6 24-hour days to load that million rounds. Some of those guns have 64 barrels, each one holding 15 rounds. That's 960 rounds in a fraction of a second. A .45 with a hollow point will stop a guy just as surely as 960 rounds with the main difference being that the cops will still be able to identify the body.

9 posted on 11/03/2001 3:48:51 AM PST by Dataman
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To: TERMINATTOR
Guns With No Moving Parts

Somebody designed a gun especially for women? </kidding>

10 posted on 11/03/2001 3:50:28 AM PST by xm177e2
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To: Dataman
Then there's loading time. At one round per second it would take 11.6 24-hour days to load that million rounds.

I don't think they load the bullets one at a time, I think they have them already packaged in cylinders, they just drop them in the barrel. And they don't fire for a full minute straight! You couldn't fit that many bullets in the barrel! (remember, with this type of gun, all of the bullets are in the barrel until they are fired)

11 posted on 11/03/2001 3:52:30 AM PST by xm177e2
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To: xm177e2
That's correct. Neither can the weapons fire a million rounds per minute. As long as they were boasting about the rounds per minute (a meaningless figure with this type of weapon) I thought I'd add to the absurdity. I believe it was TLC that had a program on the history of machine guns which ended with the electronic weapon. It's nearly as useless as a single-shot if it fires all of its rounds at once. That is what the million+ rpm figure boasting is about. We'll never see that because consumers will never get anything that fires faster than the finger can pull the trigger.
12 posted on 11/03/2001 4:02:40 AM PST by Dataman
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To: MissAmericanPie
Seems to me if it ever jammed there wouldn't be much left of the operator. A million projectile pile up could get ugly.

On a different note, what if the battery goes flat? I'll stick to mechanical guns, thank you.

13 posted on 11/03/2001 5:14:35 AM PST by wysiwyg
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To: TERMINATTOR
This thing has been around a couple of years, the fact that you can't reload the damned thing doesn't seem to connect with people.
14 posted on 11/03/2001 5:19:17 AM PST by Unbeliever
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To: TERMINATTOR
45,000 rounds a minute?

Now all they have to come up with is a new material for a barrel that would withstand that kind of heat.

They are also giving up accuracy with a smooth bore weapon.

15 posted on 11/03/2001 5:28:54 AM PST by fightu4it
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To: fightu4it
The main point of this is not so much the firepower, its the idea of having electronic guns that are keyed to fingerprinted owners. In short, this is part of the stealth gun control lobby.
16 posted on 11/03/2001 5:38:04 AM PST by Harley in Toronto
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To: Unbeliever
The technology is worth looking at. All it needs is a good application and strategy to use it.
17 posted on 11/03/2001 5:39:49 AM PST by CWRWinger
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: one_particular_harbour
If you would like to see and read about the H&K Super Sniper Rifle - note the computer key pad on top:

Rifle & Ammo

Rifle details

19 posted on 11/03/2001 5:57:12 AM PST by stlrocket
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To: Dataman
Good point!

The effect of this weapon is much more like a shotgun, it would seem, then a rifle. I suppose using the same method you could claim that a 10 guage shotgun shell loaded with small shot fires "millions" of proectiles per minute, but only for 1/100 of a second at a time!

20 posted on 11/05/2001 7:03:00 PM PST by Fixit
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To: TERMINATTOR
Metal Storm
21 posted on 11/05/2001 7:07:59 PM PST by slimer
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