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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Remebering way back in the day.... a bolter was described as a weapon that fired self-propelled bolts, akin to a rocket in effect. A primary charge ignited and provided enough propellant to eject the entire round through the breech, upon exit the projectiles' secondary propellant would ignite and propel the round. As such, the design did not utilize a case for holding the chemical propelling and expel a single projectile (bullet). I'm pretty sure (don't have the 5th ed in front of me) that is was still described in this way...

I was curious, after looking at some artwork and whatnot, is this not the case? Many depictions of marines w/ bolters show spent shell causing being ejected. It's not a big deal - artistic license and whatnot - but I was just wondering I'd expect spent casings to be ejected for ACs or other more traditional weps used in the 40K universe for sure.
 

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I too remembered bolters as firing caseless ammo, but I now think that maybe I was mistaken. I had a conversation about this with someone a while back and they said that bolts were never caseless - I was certain he was mistaken and went through my old books to prove him wrong but then couldn't find any reference to caseless ammo.

Do you have a reference where it says that bolts were/are caseless? I'd love to be able to show my friend where it says so.
 

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Grand Lord Munchkin
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Bolters have ejection ports. Therefore It is likely they fire shells with casings. Yes, it is also where they charge the gun, rack it, but there would be no need for a port unless there were spent casings being ejected... Although it could be there to allow the user to remove jams but I find the former more likely.
 

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It is possible that because their are different types of bolters, as they came out with better types and designs over time, that some are caseless and others are not. The overall design, which would include the ejection port, might be included in all designs to make it so all bolter variants are able to use either type of ammunition.
 

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The standard bolt round does have a casing which is executed. The bolts work like a modern day two-stage rocket. When fired, a conventional charge is set off, projecting the round from it's case and out of the barrel. Then, once free of the barrel itself, a timed second charge detonates. This propels the round with it's solid-rocket fuel at a much greater speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The standard bolt round does have a casing which is executed. The bolts work like a modern day two-stage rocket. When fired, a conventional charge is set off, projecting the round from it's case and out of the barrel. Then, once free of the barrel itself, a timed second charge detonates. This propels the round with it's solid-rocket fuel at a much greater speed.
Correct - however IIRC (this was like 15 years ago...) that the entire projectile was considered a single unit hence calling it a bolt. In normal 2 stage deployments, you would not typically the projectile+propellant to exit it's launch vehicle (case), rather the entire piece simply acts as a missile. As such, having a case (and ejection of said case due to the expansion of gases acting upon another mechanism) wouldn't seem needed.

I can still see having ejection ports on a rocket device. If the projectile jammed or otherwise failed to ignite, a manual ejection would be required. Having ports latterally on either side would speed a misfire condition.


The bolt itself is described as follows:


Internal Details

1.A solid-fuel rocket propellant base
2.An outer casing containing conventional charge
3.Gyrostabilizer
4.Mass-reactive fuse. Has a split-second timer to delay detonation upon impact until after the shot penetrates the target.
5.Hardened diamantine penetrating tip. This allows for the bolt to penetrate most armour before detonation.
6.Main Charge
7.Depleted deuterium core. This is a very dense material, adding weight and thus momentum to the round when in flight. This aids in the bolt's penetration of the victim.


It doesn't look like there is a primary and secondary casing (inner and outer)
 

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The 2ed indicator is part of the case. If you take a look at various artwork inside the Space Marine codex, every picture of a bolter being fired shows it ejecting cases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
The 2ed indicator is part of the case. If you take a look at various artwork inside the Space Marine codex, every picture of a bolter being fired shows it ejecting cases.

The fact that it has a rim is indicitive of being a 2-stage design (ie: expells a case), but the picture isn't outlined to show that. As it shows, the primer (in the base of the grey section) would have nothing to act upon - there is no bulkhead or other material to enact upon to expell the round...

I guess the actual design is closer to a 40mm grenade (Mk 19...hellovalot of fun to fire) which still ejects (more like drops) a small case.



It's not descibed very well, and I still swear at one point the bolter even lacked ejection ports....

Either way, just curious and apeasing my inner machine spirit
 

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The 2ed indicator is part of the case. If you take a look at various artwork inside the Space Marine codex, every picture of a bolter being fired shows it ejecting cases.
That can actually be chalked up to artistic license rather than how it is actually intended.

If you have a gun that fires an inordinate amount of bullets but otherwise does nothing else, having it depicted spewing fire looks a lot cooler. A case-less round might sound interesting, but when your laying down a swathe of shots into an oncoming horde, it looks much cooler to have bullet casings raining down around your feet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That can actually be chalked up to artistic license rather than how it is actually intended.

If you have a gun that fires an inordinate amount of bullets but otherwise does nothing else, having it depicted spewing fire looks a lot cooler. A case-less round might sound interesting, but when your laying down a swathe of shots into an oncoming horde, it looks much cooler to have bullet casings raining down around your feet.
I think this is what happened a long time ago. I remember the old codex (the yellow one?) showing marines fireing but no shells. Now we have cases. Either way, the description was still left vauge of how it works (as much as one can describe the workings of a fictional weapon ;) ).

I can accept either solution as acurate. Having a small host delivery system (ie: the shell/case) still fits with the bolters design, but it seems redundent given how high-tech the round actually is at it's heart. Either way, it's all good. If it's exploding heretics and xenos alike, then its doing the job
 

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i remember reading that bolter-ammo was caseless in the first publications; i'm not sure whether rogue trader or rule book

the current fluff states that bolter rounds leave "spent shells" and bolt guns are shown having ejection ports

so, currently bolters do not fire caseless ammo
 

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GW art strikes again, in most pictures Sanguinius is shown wearing Golden Armour and having blond hair- yet in A Thousand Sons he's described as wearing armour the colour of rubies and hair a deep black in shade.

Edit: just checked my 3rd edition rulebook- it's got a technical diagram of a bolter and it specifically points out the ejection port, it doesn't mention the bolts being caseless in fact it even points out the outer case in the diagram of the standard bolt.
 

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Well at least we know CSM bolters fire cased rounds, since they have ammo belt feeds which clearly show cased rounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well at least we know CSM bolters fire cased rounds, since they have ammo belt feeds which clearly show cased rounds.
All bolter rounds have cases - the quesiton was did they cast off their housing (case) upon ignition. Both scenarios work - in my mind, since the entire object is the "bolt", it made more sense for the whole thing to be propelled out the barrel, rather than just a part of it. If there is a parent case that houses a child bolt object, then the"bolt" is better defined as a self guided/propelled bullet than a missile in IMHO.


(Stage 1 ignition) O# -- O# -- O#| (exit) - O< (seporate) --# (stage 2 ignition) (accelerate)#------#--------#--------#--------- !!! (impact)

Meh, it's still a cool concept. Interesting that it creates negative recoil due to vac
 

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Grand Lord Munchkin
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If it has a case it dumps it.
 

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Enemies of the Emperor fear my MSPAINT skills...



Seems like added effort to create the parent casing and seporation requirement...but oh well.
I don't know about anyone else, but I thought that pic was ace :) Especially the little sparks as it fires off!
 

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I took a look back at some of the older books I have (including Space Marine- the game) and most of the images of astartes firing their bolt-weapons also include spent casings being ejected from the guns.

If you are registered on the website of the up-coming 'Ultramarines' movie there is the image of a spent bolter shell in the concept design section.
 

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i remember reading that bolter-ammo was caseless in the first publications; i'm not sure whether rogue trader or rule book
That's what I remembered too, but when I looked back I couldn't find any reference to it. I wonder if the idea that bolter-ammo was caseless is just an urban-myth type thing and was never actually said by GW...
 
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