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Author Topic: The minigun  (Read 2015 times)

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Offline CysmaTopic starter

The minigun
« on: May 12, 2009, 09:27:33 PM »
A massive firearm with several revolving chambers that spin very quickly to fire ten thousand bullets per minute or so. I know these things are mounted on planes or tripods, but do versions of this weapon exist that can be carried? Mobile miniguns have been in videogames like Wolfenstein and Doom, how's real life holding up?

Are they even practical in real life? They chew up bullets like candy, and they look really damn heavy. In Team Fortess 2 (a game I've been playing a lot recently) the minigun is the primary weapon for the Heavy Weapons Guy, who says that his gun weighs 150 kilograms. That's 330 pounds! You could kill someone just by dropping it on them!

What do you firearms experts have to say about this particular weapon?

Offline Doktor Sleepless

Re: The minigun
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2009, 09:33:49 PM »

Offline CysmaTopic starter

Re: The minigun
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2009, 09:48:13 PM »
Alright, but I asked if one can feasibly carry a minigun unmounted.

Offline Doktor Sleepless

Re: The minigun
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2009, 10:05:21 PM »
Some of them are:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XM214_Microgun
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GShG-7.62_machine_gun

Most of them, however, are meant to be mounted on vehicles.

Offline setojurai

Re: The minigun
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2009, 07:47:00 AM »
There's actually a back story behind this.  The first "Man Portable" Minigun was featured as a prop in the movie Predator, but it was a non-functional prop that made a noise and breathed fire but otherwise was NOT a functional weapon.  Special Forces soldiers saw the movie and said "We want a gun like that."  So they tried to convert the door gun from a UH-1 helicopter to man-portable mode.  The thing they found out was that the power source was getting in the way of this.  The Minigun needs a MASSIVE amount of electrical energy to spin the barrels that fast, and back in the 1980's, that energy was drawn from enough batteries to actually be the FLOOR of the helicopter's passanger compartment.  Once the battery size was no longer an issue, thanks to Lithium technology, they found that the firing rate was so fast that the gun was unweildable.  It would spin the soldier in place no matter how strong he or she was due to the geometric acceleration of the kick of the weapon.  So they redesigned the man portable version to have a much reduced firing rate, roughly double that of the M249 SAW, which still made it a terrific machinegun requiring massive amounts of ammunition in the form of a belt-fed backpack, but now it was useful for more than a single burst and it could be used for sustained fire without causing massive danger to the gunner's teammates by spinning the gunner like a top.  So yes, it took 30 years, but the Man Portable Minigun is a reality.  The Man Portable Vulcan Canon, as seen in Metal Gear Solid is a total work of fiction.  Nobody could LIFT that monster, let alone actually fire it.  It weighs several tons and fires just as fast as the Minigun with FAR more powerful bullets.  You do the math.

Offline Lithos

Re: The minigun
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2009, 07:56:22 AM »
Minigun is such a small weapon anyway. If you want some manliness to play, man portable version of this is only choice:



(that is the thing that sits in good ole A10)

Offline The Overlord

Re: The minigun
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2009, 07:59:08 AM »
 
Same thing with Schwarzenegger's film Eraser; the good old Gauss Rifle was hyped as an awesome man-fired weapon, but the EM rail gun isn't likely to see that scale for a long time.


MechWarrior 4 -- TeehJ4yy's Second Montage

Offline setojurai

Re: The minigun
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2009, 08:32:54 AM »
Actually that was a Coil Gun, not a Rail Gun.  Same concept of linear magnetic acceleration, different methods of acheiving the effect.  Coil Guns use magnetic coils arranged along a barrel to produce the linear acceleration, while Rail Guns use magnetic rails to push the slug along.  Coil Guns use less electricity per shot, but both produce the same effect.  Of course, the original Rail Gun was a gigantic Howitzer on train tracks.  A literal "Rail" Gun.  Big Bertha from WWII is a prime example of that.

Offline Darius

Re: The minigun
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2009, 11:06:47 PM »
Once saw a .22 cal minigun that could chew through a tree. It'd go through a zillion rounds in nothing flat and was very hand carriable and would turn anything flesh into hamburger.

But a 330 lb gun?... that's a stretch, and the recoil and climb would be a bitch.

Offline Gunslinger

Re: The minigun
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 10:12:54 PM »
The gun itself is portable and it's possible to fire it. The problem is that its not a practical weapon, to be carried. It shoots way too fast and the amount of ammo a soldier can carry would get eaten up in a few seconds.

Offline Silk

Re: The minigun
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2009, 02:47:25 PM »
I can see it being a mobile deployable weapon, but undeployed fire with that many rounds will probally stred someones arms apart

Offline Hemingway

Re: The minigun
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2009, 12:54:37 PM »
Well, I think there are two main problems with having one of these carried; firstly, the insane amounts of ammunition needed - a normal load would, if I remember correctly, only last a few seconds. Secondly, I think you'd also need an external power source, which essentially, at this point, means you'll have a cable attached to it.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: The minigun
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2009, 02:11:24 PM »
What might make it a viable weapon is the robotic exoskeletons that various militarys are playing with. They're not quite to the point of fieldability, but in a few years maybe.

Offline PanzerDivisionBOM

Re: The minigun
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2009, 09:37:10 PM »
The main advantage of the minigun over other styles of support machineguns, is that you get to divide the heat generated by sustained rapid fire between multiple barrels, as opposed to heating only one barrel. This means the gun can fire at greater rates and for longer periods of time before the barrels start melting.

The tradeoff includes more moving parts and electronic systems in the firing mechanism, meaning there's just that much more that can go wrong with it. It also weighs a lot more, because of those extra barrels you're lugging around, the external power source and the ton of ammo you'll be putting through it. The motor also needs to be wound up before you start shooting, taking a moment and making a lot of noise, which may pose a problem in tactical situations.

The problem with squad support machineguns tends to be that they are too heavy, fire too quickly and have too much recoil. They are meant to provide heavy cover fire and create kill zones, not for area denial. Also, with guns in general, you want to have as few moving or electric parts as possible, because that means fewer things can go wrong with them, and they're easier to fix.

Multi-barreled weapons are great when you need to suffuse a large area with sustained fire, and have lots of spare weight for them and an engineer on hand to make sure they keep firing. It was a good move to put them on helicopters and armoured vehicles - and Australian developer Metal Storm has made one hell of a scary fixed-position area denial drone - but perhaps not so much to assign them to infantry squads.

For man-portable automatic support firepower, I suggest you look at this:
http://world.guns.ru/machine/mg71-e.htm
Still heavy, but much more managably so, and with far less recoil. Plus, it converts into a handy grenade launcher, for when you really need to blow stuff up. :-)

Offline Sabby

Re: The minigun
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2009, 03:09:44 AM »
What might make it a viable weapon is the robotic exoskeletons that various militarys are playing with. They're not quite to the point of fieldability, but in a few years maybe.



Dubbed "Future Soldier 2030" ironically, found it on GamePolitics with Halo in the tag list.

Offline Andy

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Re: The minigun
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2009, 06:06:02 AM »

Offline Doktor Sleepless

Re: The minigun
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2009, 08:31:16 PM »
LOL!

Offline Banderas

Re: The minigun
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2009, 10:06:48 PM »
Minigun rate of fire depends on the exact weapon, but ranges between 500 and 3000+ rounds a minute.

Ammunition is heavy.  A 30 round magazine of 5.56 ammo weighs in at about a pound, I'd say.  7.62 ammo weighs even more.

The minigun is heavy.  Minimum of 5 barrels, plus a complex system of parts which belt feeds the ammunition and rotates the barrels.  Small calibre minigun plus 60 seconds of ammunition will weigh a minimum of 75 lbs, I'd estimate.  Try lugging that around in a battle along with the rest of your gear.

Plus, there's no way you can aim the thing.  Unless you're Ahnold.  It would be impossible for a human body to compensate for 500 plus rounds a minute exiting the barrel.

Then there's firing stances.  The barrels can't touch the ground or other objects, or else the rotating mechanism will get screwed up and jam on you.  So you're left standing, in the open.  Making a huge target of yourself.  And becoming exhausted just trying to hold the gun in place, let alone fire it.

Stick with the M-4 Carbine (for shooting from vehicles), the MP-5 (for close quarters), or the M-14 (for long range).

Offline Oniya

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Re: The minigun
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2009, 10:30:49 AM »
Plus, there's no way you can aim the thing.  Unless you're Ahnold.  It would be impossible for a human body to compensate for 500 plus rounds a minute exiting the barrel.

I believe the official term is 'spray and pray'.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: The minigun
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2009, 10:32:21 AM »
Stick with the M-4 Carbine (for shooting from vehicles), the MP-5 (for close quarters), or the M-14 (for long range).

If its all the same I'll take the Barrett light 50 and avoid the whole concept of a firefight altogether :)

Offline Banderas

Re: The minigun
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2009, 10:42:24 AM »
If its all the same I'll take the Barrett light 50 and avoid the whole concept of a firefight altogether :)

Actually, the Barrett's primary purpose is to take out lightly armored vehicles (APCs, Armored Cars, etc).  It's the modern day equivalent of the WW2 Anti-tank rifle, though it's ammunition is unable to defeat the armor of any modern main battle tank.  It's very good if fired from a concealed, prepared position, but can become cumbersome if that position is compromised and the sniper is forced to constantly change his location.  Besides, a .50 caliber round hitting a target in the head is overkill.
Smaller calibers will produce a similar effect on the human skull.

For anti-personnel sniping, I would go with the M-21, or again, the M-14.