|Tech Base||Clan / Inner Sphere (IS)|
|Year Availability|| Clan = 2828
IS = 3040
|Year Introduced||Clan = 2828 CBR|
|Year Extinction||IS = 2865 |
|Year Reintroduced||IS = 3040 FWL|
|Legality Rating||A - F|
|Tons|| Clan = 12
IS = 15
|Critical Slots|| Clan = 6
IS = 7 Proto = 8
|Ammo Per Ton||8|
|Ammo Cost (per ton)||20,000|
|BV (2.0)|| 320|
Introduced in 2590 by the Terran Hegemony, the Gauss Rifle utilizes a series of electromagnets to propel slugs of ferrous nickel-iron alloy at extremely high velocities, making it a devastating and lethal long-range weapon. So powerful is it that one hit from a Gauss Rifle is capable of killing nearly any Light 'Mech. Unlike most traditional ballistic weapons, the Gauss Rifle does not use combustible propellant, so its firing generates very little heat. However, the sheer mass and bulk of the weapon limits its applications. The Gauss Rifle also has fairly heavy power requirements which, if used at the same time as similarly energy-intensive systems, forces the unit's computer to cycle and allocate power to meet the demands. If for example a pilot tried to fire both a Gauss Rifle and several lasers at once, there would be a delay in the time it would take to get the entire salvo off.
Since the Gauss Rifle fires solid metal slugs, with neither propellant nor explosive, Gauss Rifle magazines are not susceptible to ammunition explosions. However, if the weapon itself is struck by enemy fire, the capacitors that power the electromagnets will release their stored energy, with an effect similar to an ammo explosion. (In game terms, a critical hit on a Gauss Rifle is equivalent to a 20-point ammo explosion.) Some 'Mechs employ CASE in the section containing the Gauss Rifle to protect internal components in the event the weapon explodes.
Though Gauss Rifles fire standardized rounds, described as being melon-shaped and 30cm in diameter, they are technically capable of utilizing any object which can be propelled by magnets as "ammunition." In an emergency a 'Mech could even muzzle-load their weapon with something like a steel girder if their ammunition feed was disabled. Using the Gauss Rifle in this way however has a high change of causing damage to the weapon.
The Gauss Rifle 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. Although the Clan Gauss Rifle is similar in performance and operation to its Inner Sphere counterpart, it is 20% lighter and somewhat more compact.
Note: The original description of the Gauss Rifle that appeared in the first printing of Technical Readout: 2750 listed the ammunition load as 10 shots per ton. This figure was later amended to eight shots per ton.
The Gauss Rifle is manufactured on the following planets:
- Prototype Gauss Rifle (GR-P): prior to the introduction of the standard Gauss Rifle the Star League Defense Force fielded prototypes of the weapon design during the Reunification War. These prototypes were functionally identical to the standard Gauss Rifle, with two exceptions: the prototypes took up one additional critical slot, and jammed in a fashion identical to that of the Ultra Autocannon on a to-hit roll of 2.
- Gauss-X: The Federated Commonwealth field tested experimental versions of the Gauss rifle during the closing months of the War of 3039. Employed by elite units of the AFFS and LCAF, these prototypes required an additional critical slot and could jam in certain cases. The Draconis Combine's 9th Ghost regiment was also able to jury-rig two of their Hunchback 'Mechs with prototype Gauss rifles during combat on Elidere IV. While providing the design with superior long-range firepower, the recoil was too much for the machines and they were removed after the end of the war.
- Silver Bullet: An early attempt to introduce cluster functionality to the Gauss Rifle family, the Silver Bullet Gauss Rifle had some major drawbacks that were difficult to overcome, and did not see widespread use.
- Light Gauss Rifle: The Light Gauss Rifle was invented to be smaller and lighter, that way it could be carried on lighter mechs. It had the obvious consequence of doing less damage, but carried twice as much ammunition and had a slightly longer range to make up for it.
- Heavy Gauss Rifle: The polar opposite of the Light Gauss Rifle, the Heavy Gauss Rifle trades range and a large ammunition capacity for raw damage output, but it has the downsides of mass, enormous bulk, and so on. An improved version needed to be developed later on.
- Hyper-Assault Gauss Rifles: Coming in sizes 20, 30 and 40, these are Cluster-firing weapons which are able to do an incredible amount of damage for their size.
- MagShot and Anti-Personnel Gauss Rifle: These small, lightweight defensive weapons are usually mounted on BattleMechs for long-range anti-infantry work, but are also useful against mechs (though not by much).
- Naval Gauss Rifle: The Naval Gauss Rifle is a considerably upsized version of the Gauss Rifle for use on WarShips, but what makes the design especially notable is that it has what is essentially a built-in version of CASE, making it suitable for protecting the vessel and crew from a Gauss Rifle explosion. Interestingly, there is no Sub-Capital version of the weapon, which would be ideal for dropships.
- Mass Driver: Just when mankind thought Gauss weapons wouldn't get any bigger, they did just that, and it can be rather terrifying what these will do to a planet.
- Rail Guns and Coil Guns are both real-world experimental weapons currently in development by various militaries, and it is upon these weapons that the Gauss Rifles in BattleTech are based. Unlike the Gauss Rifles in the BattleTech universe, Rail Guns in our real world do not produce any recoil. However, they are far from being viable weapons at our current levels of technology, since they need to be mounted on very large naval vessels and require enormous amounts of power.
- TechManual p. 289, "Heavy Weapons And Equipment - Table"
- Second Succession War, p. 102, "Rules Annex - Weapons and Equipment Extinction Table"
- Technical Readout: 2750, p. 7, "Gauss Rifle"
- TechManual, p. 317, "Inner Sphere Weapons and Equipment BV Table"
- TechManual, p. 219, "Standard Gauss Rifle"
- Technical Readout: 3055, p. 26
- Blood Legacy, Ch. 19
- BattleTech Master Rules, p 219, "Gauss Rifle"
- Blood Legacy, Ch 24
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 68, "WR-DG-02FC War Dog"
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 76, "MR-V2 Cerberus"
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 168, "SQS-TH-002 Sasquatch"
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 38, "HUR-WO-R4L Huron Warrior"
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 90, "VTR-9K Victor"
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 108, "AS7-K Atlas"
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 30, "Regulator II Hover Tank"
- Technical Readout: Prototypes p. 132, "OSM-3 Orion"
- Technical Readout: 3145 Free Worlds League, p. 34-35, "CRN-7M Carronade"
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 24, "BZK-F3 Hollander"
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 104, "BNC-5S Banshee"
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 62, "FLC-8R Falconer"
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 72, "GUN-1ERD Gunslinger"
- Technical Readout: 3055 Upgrade, p. 50, "TMP-3M Tempest"
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 284, "Marauder IIC 7"
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 140, "Carnivore"
- Technical Readout: 3085, p. 120, "Behemoth 2"
- Historical: Reunification War, p. 179-180, "Gauss Rifle (GR-P)"
- Historical: War of 3039, p. 145
- Technical Readout: 3039, p. 136
- BattleTech Master Rules
- Blood Legacy
- Historical: Reunification War
- Historical: War of 3039
- The Lance Killer BattleCorps Story
- Second Succession War
- Technical Readout: 2750
- Technical Readout: 3039
- Technical Readout: 3050
- Technical Readout: 3055
- Technical Readout: 3060
- Technical Readout: 3145 Free Worlds League