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The Bolter
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Old 18 Nov 2006, 13:49   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default The Bolter

[size=16pt]The Bolter[/size]

Renown through the Imperium of Man, as the main weapon of choice of the Legions of the Adeptus Astartes. The Space Marines.
One of the greatest parts of the ancient inheritance of the forgotten past, it still survives it still lives on in the hands of the Emperors Finest.
But it is also wielded, in lesser forms, amongst the other branches of the Armed Forces of the Imperium.

Constructed on Forgeworlds by the hands of Artificers of the Adeptus Mechanicus, or in the armouries of the chapters of the Astartes. They are blessed and oiled at their construction, and the wielder must follow the specific rituals to maintain the weapon, and appease its Machine-Spirit.
The Bolter itself, can be found in several different forms, as the Bolt Pistol, Storm Bolter, Heavy Bolter and several versions of “Combi-Weapons.” And also in the form of the Inferno Bolter, wielded by the God-Machines of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
The most familiar pattern of Bolter is the Astartes is the Godwyn pattern. But several other patterns are in use: Ultima, Crusade, Heresy, Filienostos, Astartes Umbra, Nostra, Godwyn De’Az and others.

The construction of the Bolter itself is magnificent. It is found with Blast-compensators, Genetic ID coded grip, Self-repair circuits, Auto-sense sighting link, ammo counter, Multi-directional ejection port, Diezo-electric ignition chamber and more.
(The technicalities of the firing of the Bolter/recoil is disputed. Two theories are present here.)
The Bolter fires self-propelled, armour-piercing, mass-reactive explosive missiles called bolts. They are constructed to detonate a split-second after penetration, to optimize damage.
Theory one: A bolter uses a low-explosive charge to 'kick' the bolt out of the firing chamber, where its self-propelled gyro-jets kick in. Due to this, bolt-shells are said to be "caseless"; the reality of the matter is that the case is for the explosive charge, and so is seperate from the bolt itself (which is why bolters are equipped with ejectors). Due to the nature of the firing mechanism (self-propelled), a low-yield vaccuum is created within the barrel and in front of it. Since the explosive charge is rather small compared to solid-slug weapons, it creates little recoil, which is actually negated and reversed by the vaccuum created by the bolt-shell. In reality, bolters have a negative recoil; the gun seems to 'kick out' of the weilder's hands, rather than 'kick back'. This creates a huge strain on the muscles and tendons of the weilder, which is why most bolters are not fired single-handedly or by normal humans.
Theory two:The Bolt is propelled at high velocity by the gases produced through rapid, confined burning of a propellant. As with a normal firearm.

The fire-rate of the Bolter is normally single-shot, full-automatic fire and burst-fire of 3-4 bolts. The standard issue bolt, is of 0.75 calibre, but lesser calibres are used by other branches, like the Imperial Guard and the Adeptus Arbites. The Bolter is mostly carried in shoulder-straps and/or magnetic clamps.
The ammunition in itself varies. Even though the standard issue bolt is the most common, there are bolt-shells constructed and specialized for specific types of foes. But are extremely limited:

The standard Bolt: mass-reactive detonator cap, depleted deuterium core and diamantine tip.

The Inferno Bolt: Deuterium changed with a oxy-phosphur gel.

The Hellfire Bolt: Core and tip replaced with mutagenic acid vials

The Metal Storm Frag Bolt: MR cap replaced with proximity detector. Tip and core replaced with increased charge and fragmentation casing.

The Stalker Silenced Bolt
: Propellant base and charge replaced with gas cartiges. D-cap replaced with a solid mercury slug (yes, yes...I know)

Kraken Pattern Penetrator Bolt: Deuterium core replaced with an adamantine core.

Ulysses Bolt
: (technical information missing.)

Psycannon Bolt
: Psychically impregnated bolts. (technical information missing.)

Executioner Bolt
: Target-homing bolts. (technical information missing.)

Odysseus Bolt: Hard-slug, tracer round. (technical information missing.)

The magazines of the different patters varies with the Bolter.
There are:
Standard sickle magazine (20-30 bolts)
Drum magazine (40-60 bolts)
Straight (fast-loader) magazine (12-20 bolts)
Belt-feed (30-X bolts)

Bolters are also found in several different combinations with other weapons.
These Bolters are mostly one-shot of a special weapon, but functions otherwise as a regular Bolter. The most common combinations are:

Bolter-Meltagun: Loaded with highly pressurized pyrum-petrol gases, charged to produce a devastating blast. A two-part ejection system forces the gas into a sub-molecular state which produces a short-ranged superheated blast.

Bolter-Plasmagun: Charged with photonic hydrogen, which feeds a fusion core and is highly energized, and converts to a plasma state. The plasma is held within the core by a powerful magnetic field, and when fired, follows a linear magnetic accelerator, unleashing the plasma-bolt towards the target.

Bolter-Flamer: It projects an ignited stream of (“Holy”) prometheum fuel over a wide area.

Bolter-Grenade Launcher
: It can fire two types of grenades, Frag and Krak. Fragmentation projectiles are designed to spray an area with shrapnel. Krak are grenades designed for penetration of armour and light vehicles.

Some rarer, and severly restricted combinations are:

Bolter-Stake-Crossbow
: It fires a blessed silver-stake, which immolates the target in a burst of holy fire. Specially designed to kill psykers.

Bolter-Needle-Pistol: It uses both laser power and poisoned needles. The weapon fires a high-powered laser bolt, and a millisecond after, it fires a needle. The bolt melts and cuts through armour, leaving the skin (or other vulnerable parts) open for the needle, which knocks out or kills the target.

As the Bolter in itself is a mighty weapon, there are large amounts of wargear to opyimize its ability in combat. A small summary:
Targeters, Optical scopes, Bayonets, Sarissas…

[size=12pt]The Bolter and the other Branches of the Imperium[/size]

The Imperial Guard

The Bolter is widely known and well used in the Imperial Guard. Even though regular guardsmen would never be issued such a weapon. Sargeants and higher officers has bolters in their armoury.
These Bolters are not of the same nature as those of the Astartes, as regular humans do not posess the genetically enhanced strength, or the increased physical ability of the Power Armour of the Space Marines. The Bolters of the Imperial Guard are lighter, and smaller in stature, to meet the requirements of normal human strength. They also have a smaller, and less able calibre than the Astartes, to reduce recoil. Neither are these Bolters considered as “Holy” as those of the Astartes, as they are mass-produced on Forgeworlds and rarely thoroughly blessed by the Adeptus Mechanicus.

The Ordo Hereticus

As in the Astartes, the standard weapon of choice, of the Ordo Hereticus (Adeptus Sororitas), is the Bolter of the Godwyn De’Az pattern. These Bolters are of the very same construct as those of the Astartes. It equals in calibre, weight and recoil, but the Sororitas Power Armour makes effective use possible.


The Ordo Malleus

The trademark weapon of the Ordo Malleus is the sophisticated Storm Bolter, but the standard bolter is still in great use. Especially by Inquisitors and their Retinues. No specific pattern of Bolter is favored, and the encumberance of the weapon as Inquisitors, most commonly, wear Power Armour. Retinues and Inquisitors with other preferences in armour can still be able to wield a Bolter because of implants, bionical limbs, genetic alteration and/or similar. Or they simply choose a pattern of Bolter used by the Imperial Guard.

The Ordo Xenos

Their Bolters are similar to those of the Astartes, in every aspect. The differences are that the marines in the Ordos Xenos has access to several kinds of ammunition and wargear.

The Adeptus Mechanicus

As the Adeptus Mechanicus are the very creators of the armouries of the Imperium, they has every model and pattern of Bolter at their disposal, together with every ability to wield them. It is in the Adeptus Mechanicus the most exceptional and master-crafted Bolters are to be found.

The Adeptus Arbites

The official police force of the Imperium. Their use of Bolters is wide and is of the same nature as the Imperial Guard. They are especially known to be in use of the feared Executioner Bolts.

Civilians (!)

Bolters are weapons of Holy proportions to a civilian. And very few may praise themselves lucky, only to lay their eyes upon one. Nonetheless, Bolters are to be found in the hands of less worthy individuals. On the Black Markets, looted Bolters can be purchased for sky-high prices, and are popular amongst rich crime syndicates and as items of luxury amongst high-class citizens. Still, Bolters are gifted, at extremely rare occations, to truly heroic individuals, who, despite their low “status”, have proved themselves in the Honor of the Emperor.


[size=8pt]The information provided here has its sources in myriads of fluff-pieces, books, codexes and reliable web-pages. But still, it is quite incomplete.
-Winter.[/size]
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Old 18 Nov 2006, 13:50   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Bolter

Applauded and I will sticky this.
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Old 18 Nov 2006, 13:54   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Bolter

Woah, Nice info there, What made you find all this out?
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Old 18 Nov 2006, 14:02   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Bolter

Something to add: A bolter uses a low-explosive charge to 'kick' the bolt out of the firing chamber, where its self-propelled gyro-jets kick in. Due to this, bolt-shells are said to be "caseless"; the reality of the matter is that the case is for the explosive charge, and so is seperate from the bolt itself (which is why bolters are equipped with ejectors). Due to the nature of the firing mechanism (self-propelled), a low-yield vaccuum is created within the barrel and in front of it. Since the explosive charge is rather small compared to solid-slug weapons, it creates little recoil, which is actually negated and reversed by the vaccuum created by the bolt-shell. In reality, bolters have a negative recoil; the gun seems to 'kick out' of the weilder's hands, rather than 'kick back'. This creates a huge strain on the muscles and tendons of the weilder, which is why most bolters are not fired single-handedly or by normal humans.
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Old 18 Nov 2006, 17:06   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Bolter

That was great, I enjoyed reading about that, thanks!
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Old 24 Nov 2006, 22:02   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Bolter

Quote:
A bolter uses a low-explosive charge to 'kick' the bolt out of the firing chamber, where its self-propelled gyro-jets kick in. Due to this, bolt-shells are said to be "caseless"; the reality of the matter is that the case is for the explosive charge, and so is seperate from the bolt itself (which is why bolters are equipped with ejectors). Due to the nature of the firing mechanism (self-propelled), a low-yield vaccuum is created within the barrel and in front of it. Since the explosive charge is rather small compared to solid-slug weapons, it creates little recoil, which is actually negated and reversed by the vaccuum created by the bolt-shell. In reality, bolters have a negative recoil; the gun seems to 'kick out' of the weilder's hands, rather than 'kick back'. This creates a huge strain on the muscles and tendons of the weilder, which is why most bolters are not fired single-handedly or by normal humans.
This is pretty silly. Even if there was a vacuum created in front of the gun that is different from every other gun, why would the gun leap forward to fill it rather than air? Secondly, if the gun uses explosives to propel the bolt out of the barrel then there is no vacuum created. It doesn't matter how small the "charge" is, something is pushing that bolt out of the barrel. Thirdly, as I mentioned before, if the bolt is being pushed out of the gun, there HAS to be recoil proportional to the amount of force pushing the bolt. Also, as far as I can tell from fluff and artwork, bolters expel spend casings that go into the gun with the bolt (just look at the pictures of transparent magazines) therefore it cannot be a 'caseless' weapon.

One last thing, it's mentioned in several places that the bolter has recoil compensators. If there is no recoil to handle, why do they have them?

If you got this bit from GW material then they were being pretty silly.
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Old 24 Nov 2006, 22:10   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Bolter

An interesting read. Good job.
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Old 25 Nov 2006, 00:48   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Bolter

The "Titan-sized" Bolter you refer to is indeed the Vulcan Mega-Bolter.


It is worth pointing out that not all mass-reactive weapons are Bolters. Autocannons can be equipped with "Vulcan" rounds, and many Imperial weapons (missile launchers, Baneblade Battle-cannon, etc) use self-propelled ordnance.

Thus, a "Bolter" in the strictest sense of the word is any weapon whose primary munition possesses the following traits:

1) Self-propelled.
2) Explosive based.
3) Mass-reactive.
4) Armour-penetrative tip.

Thus, Vulcan Cannons (Autocannons with Vulcan munitions) are not Bolters as they are not self-propelled. Likewise, Battlecannons are not mass-reactive, even if their munitions are rocket-based, so are not Bolters.


This suggests it's a very bad idea to be on the receiving end of the Vulcan Mega-Bolter...
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Old 25 Nov 2006, 03:41   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Bolter

Holy crap.

I don't even play Space Marines, yet i've read the fluff bible and a lot of other fluff compilations, and even I learned something here.

That was the most in-depth article on a weapon i've ever seen.

Two thumbs up, man.
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