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captain ceaser
09-03-2008, 11:44
Is it me or are bolters the most confusing weopon around? they have massive bulky mags but only ever seem to have around 10 rounds in. Pics of marines firing seem to show them as semi auto or full auto surely the mag would would last for about what... a second?


I also realise that in firewarrior there are vid clips of marines firing that show bolters firing on single shot and they almost seem to be firing small rockets( which i accept is what the bolts are)

anyone else a little confused?

Grimtuff
09-03-2008, 12:04
Nope.

Bolters are more confusing as they are mini rocket launchers (i.e. caseless ammo) yet so readily is the "rule of cool tons of shells at feet" applied in artwork.

They will obviously be carrying spare clips.

If you think Bolters are the most confusing weapon then your head may explode looking at other 40k weapons.

Lord Malorne
09-03-2008, 12:09
I know what you meen, first time i saw what's in the mag my face contorted with confusion.

Could be worse, could be a ork weapon :).

captain ceaser
09-03-2008, 12:11
Yeah but how many spare clips can they carry? If you only got 10 rounds a mag and firing on full or semi auto (3 round bursts) then you would have to be carry god knows how many spare mags.

I no all about the other weopons i still got my wargear book from 2nd edition i just mean that bolters can be compared to modern weopons a bit and allot of the others are alien/ futuristic ect

Eryx_UK
09-03-2008, 12:15
Originally they were basically sub-machine guns, and thats how I will always envision them when I play.

AmBlam
09-03-2008, 12:22
Originally they were basically sub-machine guns, and thats how I will always envision them when I play.

Same, being carried at the waist this is the image they convey.

Isambard
09-03-2008, 12:27
I guess the magazines are double or triple stacked, they could easily have 20 or 30 rounds in.

Sephtar II
09-03-2008, 13:10
I think that they work in the way that they are portrayed in the Fire Warrior game. not Auto or anything, slow rate of fire but each shot explodes massivley, bassicaly a grenade launcher with no arcing trajectory so really you are only looking at one or two shots per shooting phase.

Lord Malorne
09-03-2008, 13:17
As fire warrior portrays them is how they are now, though not in keeping how many people (including me) see them from artwork, other computer games and the like, though when it was found they had 10 bullets per clip it seemed really odd as in the books all they ever do is shoot with the odd reload...

Supremearchmarshal
09-03-2008, 13:19
Is it me or are bolters the most confusing weopon around? they have massive bulky mags but only ever seem to have around 10 rounds in. Pics of marines firing seem to show them as semi auto or full auto surely the mag would would last for about what... a second?

Marine bolters usually have about 30 rounds (varies depending on model, can be as little as 15 or as much as 60). They, according to fluff, can only fire single or semi-auto. They artwork and DoW are wrong and probably only show fully-auto because it looks cool.


I also realise that in firewarrior there are vid clips of marines firing that show bolters firing on single shot and they almost seem to be firing small rockets( which i accept is what the bolts are)

In Fire Warrior the bolter works almost exactly like a grenade launcher. Once again this is wrong. For starters, unlike what is shown in the game, the Bolter has almost no recoil.


Generally the problem is that often rule-of-cool takes precedence, and even more often the various GW writers don't actually know how the weapons are supposed to work. An example that comes to mind is in Dan Abnett's "Necropolis", where a Needle Pistol seemingly kills by blowing holes in it's target instead of poisoning them like it should.

Spyros80
09-03-2008, 13:24
They way I see it (gathering fluff since 2nd ed.), the bolter is an "assault rifle" with large caliber and unusual ammunition. Like most of today's assault rifles it can fire semi-auto (one round), probably burst (3 rounds), and full-auto (keeps firing while trigger is pressed). So I think there should be no confusion about rate of fire.
(Submachine guns are similar to the above function but fire pistol bullets, machine guns usually fire belt-connected rifle rounds and have thicker barrels to withstand heat from sustained auto-fire)

In most reports (at least the marine bolter) is mentioned to be 0.75" in caliber, roughly 19mm. Obviously there must be other calibers, one-size-fits-all is completely unrealistic.
(Assault rifles today usually come at 5.56mm or 7.62mm, grenade launchers at 40mm, and some now-developing GL at 20mm)

Finally the round. The typical round is supposed to be a self-propelled rocket that ignites the engine when is out of the gun barrel (to reduce kick back), there is a case with small propellant charge to move the round out of the barrel (so it's not caseless). It has an armour-piercing tip, and an explosive charge with mass-reactive detonator. This means that it explodes at contact with dense matter. Practically it will explode at contact with armour plates in order to manage penetration, or inside unarmoured flesh doing massive damage/cavitation. Very versatile!
(In the 3rd ed rulebook it says that standard sickle type magazines hold 20-30 rounds, drum 40-60, straigght 10-20)
Other rounds mentioned:
Inferno bolt - Incendiary, replaces explosive deuterium core with oxy-phosphur gel
Hellfire bolt - Acidic, replaces explosive deuterium core and diamantine piercing tip with mutagenic acid vial
Metal storm frag bolt - grenade like, replaces mass-reactive detonator with proximity detector, piecing tip and deuterium core with increased charge and fragmentation casing
Stalker silenced bolt - propellant base and explosive deuterium charge replaced by gas cartridges, detonator cap by solidified mercury slug
Kraken penetrator - explosive charge replaced by solid adamantine core and stronger propellant

Burnthem
09-03-2008, 13:54
As anyone who has fired a rifle will know its possible to fire extremely fast on single-shot/repetition if you've practised! All the artwork with loads of shells flying about can be easily explained as rapid single shot firing. IMO anyway ;)

catbarf
09-03-2008, 13:59
A bolter would have enormous recoil. The reason rocket launchers don't have lots of recoil is because they're open in back, so the hot gases can escape. Not so with a Bolter.

Yodhrin
09-03-2008, 14:22
A bolter would have enormous recoil. The reason rocket launchers don't have lots of recoil is because they're open in back, so the hot gases can escape. Not so with a Bolter.

Read Spyros80's post mate; the initial round is cased with a low level propellant charge to force the secondary round out of the barrel and provide initial momentum until the rocket motor ignites, it would have no more recoil than a modern assault rifle, possibly less(I don't know enough about maths/physics to work out how much force would be required to fire it off).

Burnthem
09-03-2008, 15:49
Yodhrin speaks the truth, the initial charge is only to get the bolt clear of the barrel and up to a reasonable starting velocity. Given the weight of a bolter and the comparitively small size of a Bolt (only .75 inches) the recoil would in fact be hardly anything at all.

ratfusion
09-03-2008, 17:12
I guess the magazines are double or triple stacked, they could easily have 20 or 30 rounds in.


Can't triple stack. Double-stacks are about right for 10-15 rounds though, considering .75" shells and the length of those mags.




Bolters are more confusing as they are mini rocket launchers (i.e. caseless ammo) yet so readily is the "rule of cool tons of shells at feet" applied in artwork.

Thats always bugged me too. Yes they have an initial charge to get them out of the weapon, but why wouldn't that charge be built into the round itself, just like autoguns Plus why would they use brass casings when it'd be cheaper to use plasteel?


The one thing that bugs me about bolters beyond anything else is where they've put the magazines on these weapons, especially the old models. Every magazine fed weapon has the barrel start right after the leading edge of the magazine, the bolt carrier pushes the top cartridge off the stack and into the chamber of the barrel. So in some of these bolter designs, especially pistols and the old old version, the round would be seated where it'd already be almost out of the barrel, or at least into the crude muzzlebreak area of the barrel. They don't need huge barrels, but they need more than an inch or two of useable barrel length past the chamber.

MadJackMcJack
09-03-2008, 17:26
Could be worse, could be a ork weapon :).

That's what ammo grots are for. :D

Hell, given the amount of random hooded humans carrying weapons and other bits and bobs there are in pictures of Marines, maybe they have a similar thing going. An ammo servitor isn't too far-fetched.

FeetOfClay
09-03-2008, 17:35
I've always thought of it pretty much how Spiros80 described, i.e., 3 modes (single shot, burst, full auto), with small grenade type ammo.

DuckBilly
09-03-2008, 17:38
the marine codex says that bolters have 30 round magazines and fire in 4 shot bursts. the math doesnt quite work there, does it?

catbarf
09-03-2008, 17:46
Read Spyros80's post mate; the initial round is cased with a low level propellant charge to force the secondary round out of the barrel and provide initial momentum until the rocket motor ignites, it would have no more recoil than a modern assault rifle, possibly less(I don't know enough about maths/physics to work out how much force would be required to fire it off).

The problem here is the time involved. The small propellant charge (small being relative, this is a .75" shell we're talking about, so there's still plenty of recoil from that) isn't going to get the bolt up to high velocity, and then when the rocket motor ignites it takes quite a bit of time to accelerate the round. Another factor is the extremely short barrel, wasting propellant gas and lacking weight to keep the muzzle down during automatic fire.

The Gyrojet, a rocket pistol, could be prevented from firing by sticking your finger over the barrel. Rockets take a while to accelerate what amounts to a small chunk of metal. A Bolter would be inaccurate and inefficient using the system described.

The_Outsider
09-03-2008, 18:05
A Bolter would be inaccurate and inefficient using the system described.

None of the weapons in 40k make any sense.

Being hit by little splinters is apparently just as likely to punch through armour as the aforementioned bolter round (which is actually explosive).

Christ gauss weaponry is even said to be an impossibility in the necron codex (according to the Ad Mech at least).

druchii
09-03-2008, 18:25
Well,

According to Dark heresy, bolters have 24 round mags (sickle mags) and can fire on single or two-three round burst.

According to Inquisitor, they have a 20 round mag and can fire on single or two round burst.

They fire rocket propelled rounds with "mas reactive" warheads, which detonate inside their targets with a distinctive "cracking" detonation.(That's from I)

Known for their unique roar, their propelled shells ignite, and explode upon hitting their target. (That's from DH)

While both these games are not actually 40k, they do allow the developers to jump a bit more into the game and give us some detailed stats of weapons.

d

catbarf
09-03-2008, 20:12
None of the weapons in 40k make any sense.

Being hit by little splinters is apparently just as likely to punch through armour as the aforementioned bolter round (which is actually explosive).

Magnetically accelerated spikes with monomolecular edges slicing through armor- makes sense to me. Although I will agree that there are things that don't make sense, I don't see how that is a defense for the realistic feasibility of the Bolter.

BrainFireBob
09-03-2008, 21:16
A bolter would have enormous recoil. The reason rocket launchers don't have lots of recoil is because they're open in back, so the hot gases can escape. Not so with a Bolter.

Rockets take time to accelerate, which means that the recoil would be nothing near what you suggest. Keeping rocket launchers open in the back protects the launcher and the launchee.

Jos
09-03-2008, 21:27
As mentioned before 40k hardly makes any sense rulewise, even less so fluffwise.
If you are to view reasonably trustworthy facts look at the inquisitor fluff instead.

sprugly
09-03-2008, 22:11
there was a fantastic thing on here once a while ago where someone has written a huge report on bolters written as if by an imperial scribe or something that had been studying some atartes. If anyone can find it then it'd answer all your questions i'm sure.

Of the things i remember from it, basically it said bolters vary greatly even within the same force or squad. Different calibers and mag sizes and alsorts. Bolters are often hand made and so there is a lot of veriaty depending on the artisan. As well as the fact that all marines are basically geniouses and often tinker with their own weaponary.

The shells come cased and caseless, depening on mode. Bolters given to and used by humans have a small propellant charge and a very low muzzle rate. The aren't leathal for a few yards till the bolt is up to speed a bit by its own propultion. Apparently this has actually been documented in a BL book somewhere, though i couldn't say where. Thus these bolters have recoil comparable to modern firearms even though they're massive in comparison.
Marine bolters on the other hand have a much larger primary propellant and come out of the barrel at an already leathal speed. They produce an enormous amount of recoil that only a marine could withstand. If a normal human tried to fire a marine boltgun he'd probably rip his own arm off.

It had loads of other cool stuff in it, wish i could find it.
hope this helps though

sprugly

MadDogMike
10-03-2008, 01:07
The Gyrojet, a rocket pistol, could be prevented from firing by sticking your finger over the barrel. Rockets take a while to accelerate what amounts to a small chunk of metal. A Bolter would be inaccurate and inefficient using the system described.

I thought the whole point of the bolter was that unlike the gyrojet you had a "dual-stage" projectile that left the barrel at lethal speed and then ignited an additional rocket for further velocity. Seemed like a reasonable enough idea at least beyond "how could you manage it technologically" which is a question that trashes a lot of the 40K universe if asked anyway ;).

catbarf
10-03-2008, 02:24
I thought the whole point of the bolter was that unlike the gyrojet you had a "dual-stage" projectile that left the barrel at lethal speed and then ignited an additional rocket for further velocity. Seemed like a reasonable enough idea at least beyond "how could you manage it technologically" which is a question that trashes a lot of the 40K universe if asked anyway ;).

If a .75 caliber projectile has enough propellant to get to lethal speed, it's going to have substantial recoil from that alone.


Rockets take time to accelerate, which means that the recoil would be nothing near what you suggest. Keeping rocket launchers open in the back protects the launcher and the launchee.

Ever see that huge blast of smoke and hot gases come out the rear of a rocket launcher? That's your recoil right there. If the back is closed, all those gases are going to make a hell of a lot of pressure in the chamber.

In fact, a closed rocket launcher would have more recoil than a projectile firearm of similar size, directly because of how the rockets take time to accelerate- it takes longer for the rocket to leave the barrel than a bullet, which gives more time for gases to build up before they can be released. It's not called a 'recoilless rifle' for nothing. The alternative is a gun that breaks your shoulder when fired.

darth mortis
10-03-2008, 02:27
i think a lot of what has been said about bolters haveing a kick would be true otherwise all imperial armies would have them. i remember reading something on wiki a while back about bolters that seemed to shed some light on this subject.

Escaflowne_Z
10-03-2008, 02:34
Here's a handy little discussion from the Bolter & Chainsword.

http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/index.php?showtopic=109158

MadDogMike
10-03-2008, 20:22
If a .75 caliber projectile has enough propellant to get to lethal speed, it's going to have substantial recoil from that alone.

Yep, hence why it's generally wielded by 7 foot supermen, I imagine :D. Though wherever the hell I got the info on bolter rounds being dual-stage rounds (can't remember specific site) implied the initial push was basically about equal to a regular gunshot, abeit a .75 caliber gunshot at the full-sized Space Marine model. I imagine it's the explosive nature of the rounds more than their speed that makes them deadlier than an autogun (and going by the stats not THAT much deadlier).

Weed_Bix
15-03-2008, 14:26
i always imagined Bolters to act much like they do in fire warrior, also the idea of boltguns having almost no recoil is most likely due to the fact that there are super soldiers weilding them that have the strength to punch through steel and do other physically amazing things, anyways all in all i think its more fitting for the space marins to weild weapons that would normaly tear the arms of the weilder out of its sockets except they are strong enough to weild them unlike a normal human, then agin i could just be crazy.....wait don't answer that ;)

Mike KK
15-03-2008, 17:11
well bolters do have a kick back as in 'for the emperor' where the commissar describes the mighty recoil from his bolter...its just marines are so beafy that they stop the recoil dead in the arms.

Burnthem
15-03-2008, 18:27
'Bolter' is much like the phrase 'Assault Rifle'. it can mean one of thousands of different weapon systems, varying in height, weight, calibre, recoil, range, optics, cyclic rate, ammunition feed, internal working parts, safety systems, i could go on all day.

The point is that a discussion to pin down the absolute specifics about a Bolters recoil etc etc is so pointless it defies belief, as there is no definative answer!.

Oh, and if your going to resurrect a thread, at least do it with a new and interesting comment and not simlpy a re-statement of whats been said many times before on the very same thread.

/Rant over\

AngryAngel
15-03-2008, 18:38
To answer of the question for why bolters aren't for everyone in the imperium. The IG is so massive, it would be unfeasible to equip them all with bolters. Considering they were as pointed out hand crafted weapons. As well, because of the gasses and dirt that will build up in a bolter, it would require matienance otherwise it would begin to jam or malfunction.

Where as the Lasgun tach and ammo packs are cheap to mass produce. With virtually no maintenance required for the guard. So it would take less time to train them how to use and maintain them. As well they are cheap for all the countless billions who would need them.

DeadjesterX
16-03-2008, 02:24
As a couple of other people mentioned, there are many different forms of bolters with many different specifications. The only reason they all act the same way in the game is for simplicity's sake.

I've personally always thought they fired like in Firewarrior. As for the pics of Marines firing shell after shell, they could easily be firing in semi-auto mode at an extremely fast rate. They are genetically enhanced supersoldiers with the gene-seed of a living god after all.

As for recoil, I'd assume that the ones used by normal humans are probably modified. Again, there is such a large variety of bolters that this is possible.

As for Marines...they naturally have the strength to crush a man's head. The Power armor increases this strength even further. I'm pretty sure they can handle any sort of recoil a bolter may have. I mean you have Marines running around firing a LASCANNON by themselves. :)

BrainFireBob
16-03-2008, 02:27
Gonna disagree a bit, Angel. Or maybe add to, depends on one's POV.

Not just the bolters themselves, but the ammo is costly to produce. STC powerpacks may be charged by solar or thermal means, meaning that one facet of supply is massively decreased for Guard. Their basic guns have effectively "bottomless ammo" for campaigns.

Tommygun
16-03-2008, 02:42
Marines are super soldiers like Rambo and we all know that Rambo never reloads. 40k is all fiction after all, try not to over analyze it. Most of the technology of the Imperium would fall apart if you try to apply real world physics to it. I just enjoy it a nice piece of fiction.

AngryAngel
16-03-2008, 04:01
Gonna disagree a bit, Angel. Or maybe add to, depends on one's POV.

Not just the bolters themselves, but the ammo is costly to produce. STC powerpacks may be charged by solar or thermal means, meaning that one facet of supply is massively decreased for Guard. Their basic guns have effectively "bottomless ammo" for campaigns.

Thats true Bob. I think your just expanded upon what I was saying. That all would link together to why regular guard wouldn't have bolters. As no goverment, not even the imperium will spend more money when they don't have to. You know they don't give a crap about their mens lives anyways.

RexTalon
16-03-2008, 08:16
Sure you could give every guardsman a bolter. But they only get one bolt. :)


I'm going to have to disagree with the guy who said all marines "tinker" with their bolters. A bolter is a sacred piece of work designed by the Emperor, and built by the techpriests of Mars. They wouldn't DARE "tinker" with it.
I could possibly see the Iron Hands or some other Techie marine chapters changing their bolters up a bit, but I think the more closely codex chapters would seriously frown on such things.

geraint
16-03-2008, 09:45
talking about the size of the magazines , have u noticed the chaos heavy bolter magazines are the same size as the bolter magazines , if this is true , then the bolter woiuld b a single shot weapon and the heavy bolter the automatic version of it

Isambard
16-03-2008, 10:24
Can't triple stack. Double-stacks are about right for 10-15 rounds though, considering .75" shells and the length of those mags.


The Spectre M4 submachine gun uses a 4 column mag with a 50 round capacity. Thats a lot of bullets.

you may want to check out the secret live of bolters (http://takentooseriously.blogspot.com/2006/09/secret-lives-of-bolters.html).

Burnthem
16-03-2008, 12:47
As for tinkering with Bolters, IMO the Marines are well aware that the Cult Mechanicus is just that, a Cult, and therefore are willing to adjust and augment thier weapons to gain an advantage/personal preference etc etc

icegreentea
16-03-2008, 16:11
As for tinkering with Bolters, IMO the Marines are well aware that the Cult Mechanicus is just that, a Cult, and therefore are willing to adjust and augment thier weapons to gain an advantage/personal preference etc etc

But they also believe that there is a machine spirit in the bolter, and that even if they give the AdMech the finger, they still have to keep the spirit happy.

Burnthem
16-03-2008, 17:28
Sure, they'll say all the required prayers and used the appropriate blessed oil and equipment, but they'll still adjust things.

sprugly
16-03-2008, 20:28
as far as i am awear the ad mec don'tmake most of the weapons for the marines. I'm sure a remember reading that other than their need for interaction with the navigators for their long range transport needs, a marine chapter is pretty much self sufficient.
I know that the space wolves have their own foundries and manifacture most of their own stuff. And as already mentioned by burnthem, they can play with their equipment without upsetting any machine spirits. By proper treatment of the wargear and the correct rituals they can keep it happy and possible increase the effectiveness of the weapon, or at least calibrate it in the way they'd like.
They're all geniouses after all. As far above humans mentally as they obviously are physically.

sprugly

Super Ninja
16-03-2008, 20:54
Can I technicaly hi-jack this thread for a second? provided that this has not allready been asked, if Bolts dont have casings, then why do the Bolters themselves have those case ejection ports? and why are there two, one on each side, if only one would be needed? Plz be nice if im just being stupid again.

P.S. Druchii; don't forget, Warrior Brood says that bolter clips have infinite cappacity, Bolters don't need to reload, and a 7 man Space Marine team, however skillful, can wade through a litteral sea of tyranid Gaunts and only loose one guy after getting attacked by a Harridan.

Burnthem
16-03-2008, 21:11
Super Ninja - read just about any thread on this forum about Bolters, even this thread, and you'll have an answer. Use the search function, thats what its there for.

Yayale
16-03-2008, 21:14
From all the background information I have read and from speaking to other people a bolter can eaither be semi automatic or just fire a single shot, I don't know about how many rounds a mag would hold, bearing in mind a modler can only scult bullets so small and bigger ones look cooler and more damaging. The bullet itself has an explosive tip, the bullet is designed to pass through the armour of the foe or pass through the skin then explode blowing a small chunk out of the oponent causing more damage. IT IS NOT A FRIKIN GRENADE LAUNCHER!!!!

Super Ninja
16-03-2008, 21:16
Super Ninja - read just about any thread on this forum about Bolters, even this thread, and you'll have an answer. Use the search function, thats what its there for.

So it's just the rule of cool and the sculptors not having knowledge of how the gun works? ok then... thx.

Burnthem
16-03-2008, 21:17
And the winner of the most pointless post of the day award goes to - Yayale!!

You win 6 internets!!1!!1

Edit - Super Ninja, search 'Bolters' and you'll find that Bolters are both caseless and cased, with explanations for both.

Yayale
16-03-2008, 21:24
Sure you could give every guardsman a bolter. But they only get one bolt. :)


I'm going to have to disagree with the guy who said all marines "tinker" with their bolters. A bolter is a sacred piece of work designed by the Emperor, and built by the techpriests of Mars. They wouldn't DARE "tinker" with it.
I could possibly see the Iron Hands or some other Techie marine chapters changing their bolters up a bit, but I think the more closely codex chapters would seriously frown on such things.

Read Fulgrim in the Horus Heresy series. Your average marine does'nt tinker with his bolter as a bolter like power armour is handed down the generations, it has all the names of the astartes who have die wielding the bolter written on it. Some astartes however do like to customise theyre bolter, to improve reliability (yeh thts rite bolters do jam on occasion) fire rate and smothness ect.

Yayale
16-03-2008, 21:28
I win internets? wot the hell. surely ure post saying mine was the most useless would be the most usless as it contains no useful information regarding this the topic of this thread.

Burnthem
16-03-2008, 21:30
It's an expression of sarcasm, saying that you win 'teh internet!!1!' And by useless post i meant that you'd simply repeated what everybody else had been saying already, only badly typed and set out.

Never mind.

sprugly
17-03-2008, 17:41
I think you may have kinda contradicted yourself there Yayale. They don't tinker but they do customise. Aren't they just about the same thing?
Customise may sound a bit more professional but it all boils down to a marine changing and adjusting the set up and workings of the tool he has to use on a daily basis.
And having read all the heresy books, (ok so i'm only halfway through Legion) there are frequent mentions of marines"customising" their equipment.

sprugly

Urza
18-03-2008, 13:25
Theres a prototype of a Bolter being worked on now. Its called the AA-12:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4ebtj1jR7c

When you get to about 4.32, it gets SCARILY similar..... Although the giant drum mag does kind of prove the point about the sickle mags being a bit on the small side...

Yayale
18-03-2008, 15:13
sum1 had sed they never tinkered with their bolters and I was just saying tht some of them do. And the reason some of it was repeated was at the time I cudnt b arsed with reading more of the thread as most ppl were just repeating the same stuff over and over. It's also not some formal essay so im not gonna spend hours laying it out rite and all tht shiz.