Introduced in 2590 by the Terran Hegemony, Gauss weapons utilize a series of electromagnets to propel slugs of ferrous nickel-iron alloy or other materials at extremely high velocities, making it a devastating and lethal long-range weapon. Unlike most traditional ballistic weapons, the Gauss Rifle does not use a combustible propellant, so firing such weapons generates very little heat. In initial versions the sheer mass and bulk of the weapon limited application.
Since the Gauss Rifle fires solid metal slugs with neither propellant nor explosive, Gauss weapon magazines are not susceptible to ammunition explosions. However, if the weapon itself is struck by enemy fire, the capacitors that power the electromagnets can release their stored energy with an effects similar to an ammo explosion. Depending on the scale of the Gauss system being hit, this explosion can be devastating.
The heavy weapon scale Gauss Rifle was the first of the type and was found on a number of heavier Star League Defense Force 'Mechs, but fell out of use in the Inner Sphere during the technological decline of the Succession Wars. It was revived following the discovery of the Helm Memory Core. The Clans never lost the technology and continued to refine the Star League-era weapon. In the years since the Clan invasion the technology has been scaled up to the size of the ultra giant mass drivers and down as small as pistol sized.
- TechManual, p. 219
- Technical Readout: 3050, p. 216