Ruddly and Simon Pneumatic Clockwork Rifle
Silent, accurate, and powerful, the cogwheel rifles serve as a potent alternative to standard firearms.
Full Item Description
Outwardly, the cogwheel rifle looks roughly the same as the Locastrian Breech-Loader, with the chief difference that there is nowhere to load a charge of gunpowder, merely the top-break action to allow the aerodynamic projectile to be loaded. The stock of the weapon is filled with intricate clockwork, springs and cogs all interlocked in a dense mesh; on one side of the stock is a plug, which covers a hole where a winding lever may be inserted.
In operation, the rifle is nearly silent, with only a soft thump of air to indicate that anything has happened; the projectile, nearly silent, averages a range of 300 meters. Decent armor can slow or even completely block the projectile, making it somewhat less favored by standard infantry.
The cogwheel rifle is a simple evolution of the crossbow, built to take advantage of advances in the understanding of pneumatic pressure; silent and invisible compared to a black powder weapon, it has gained favor among scouts and assassins as the rise of gunpowder had made armor an obsolete affectation.
None; the rifle operates by using the clockwork mechanisms in the stock to compress air into a canister built at the base of the barrel; the number of shots available is limited, with most unmodified rifles averaging 25 shots; the relative silence and accuracy of the highly aerodynamic projectile is often a highly valued trait among those who own the gun, permitting them to fire and fade away without the telltale flash of a gunpowder discharge.
Unfortunately, the intricate clockwork innards are also the weapon's weak point; a slipped gear or broken spring in the weapon often requires a trained gearsmith to repair properly. Most often this is the result of overcranking the rifle when filling the air canister.
Properly compressing the canister takes roughly two minutes of steady cranking; if need be, a lesser charge can be used, although below thirty seconds of winding there is generally insufficient pressure to make more than one or two relatively weak shots.
Any sort of steampunk at all from thaumatech to simple old-fashioned steamtech.
Wind up your imaginations and start the kettle boiling!
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? Responses (14)
Useful for ninja types.
You just made my head hurt, man. Steampunk ninjas. Ow.
But yes, for assassins and scouts who need relative silence, they're excellent. They lack the full stopping power of a black powder weapon, really, but for what they're meant for, they're excellent.
Cute dress-up of the classical air rifle. The reloading time is .. awful harsh, though to be expected with the handcranking.
Historically, air rifles were used by sniper units during the musket / breechloading time, for their relative resilience to the weather, as well as their extremely rapid firing rate - approximately one shot per second, until the air ran out, which was about 30 shots.
I'll adjust it with that in mind. The only air rifle I had was a single-shot hand-pump model.
Also, your google-fu is frightening sometimes. Or did you already know where to find that trivia?
Good idea. I imagine it looking and acting something like a Super Soaker without the water (and minus the crazy colors... preferable), but overall it is a nice sniper/hit-and-run type weapon.
Sort of. It comes with a crank you plug in, like hand-cranking an old car to kick-start it, except here each wind compresses a bit more air in the canister. Otherwise it's essentially a clockwork rendering of an air rifle.
You'll shoot your eye out kid.
Made me think of the mechanical BB guns made by Daisy.
That's basically it.
I decided we needed another firearm besides Ouro's Locastrian Breech-Loader and Cheka's C-47. Then MoonHunter commented about clockworks in the sidebar, and so... Yeah.
Updated: Adjusted with comments in mind.
The question in my mind now is pretty simple... Why use this weapon instead of a crossbow? A crossbow will punch through all historical armours. Crossbows are easier to reload and would be much easier to build. That and crossbows would be sooo much cheaper. Well, the bolts would probably be a tad costly compared to lead shot.
As a coolness factor, the clockwork rifle is definately up there. But it strikes me as a pretty pointless luxury weapon. The only advantage I can think of is that you won't have a bow string to get wet. But something as delicate as a clockwork weapon most likely wouldn't stand up too well in the wet either.
Take one example of a historic air rifle:
..It was 4 ft (1.2 m) long and weighed 10 pounds (4.5 kg), which made it the same basic size and weight as other muskets of the time. It fired a .51 caliber ball1 at a velocity similar to that of a modern .45 ACP and it had a tubular, gravity-fed magazine with a capacity of 20 balls. Contemporary regulations of 1788 required each rifleman, in addition to the rifle itself, to be equipped with three compressed air reservoirs (two spare and one attached to the rifle), cleaning stick, hand pump, lead ladle, and 100 lead balls, 20 in the magazine built into the rifle and the remaining 80 in four tin tubes. Equipment not carried attached to the rifle was held in a special leather knapsack. It was also required to keep the leather gaskets of the reservoir moist in order to maintain a good seal and prevent leakage. 2
The air reservoir was in the club-shaped butt. With a full air reservoir, the Girandoni Air Rifle had the capacity to shoot 30 shots at useful pressure. These balls were effective to approximately 150 yards on a full load. The power declined as the air reservoir was emptied 3.
30 Shots could be managed with basically medieval technology. This would kick the behind of a crossbow :P
Actually, if you've ever used a crossbow, this is easier to reload; rather than requiring you to haul the string back and then nock a quarrel in the grove, you snap it open and slide in a fresh projectile, then snap it shut again. A slight modification could allow for it being a double-barreled weapon, allowing two shots per reload action. Overall, I'd say the basic model would take less than half the time to reload that a crossbow does. If you modified it to match, say, the loading mechanism described in the article Val linked, you don't even need to waste time on reloading - just match the ammunition to the charge of compressed air, and you're good to go until you run dry on both.
As it is, though, this is more of a sniper's weapon than something you'll find on the field of open battle. Given that most of the parts should be able to be designed in a modular fashion, it should be a fair bit simpler to innocently smuggle it into a location than most crossbows; in a world with thaumatechnology, the parts might all resemble pieces you'd find in an engineer's kit bag.