posted on Jul, 9 2005 @ 06:54 AM
What it all comes down to is weight, cost, and reliability. With a few 'special mission' modifiers.
It is /vastly/ easier to assemble a single 'stack' of barrel-as-mag loaded bullets, as a wooden-round sealed pressure vessel, than it is to design a
gun in which separate cartridge case and a projectile are brought together outside the gun (1 manufacturing process) and then inserted into it as a
function of yet more separate system elements (magazine catch and spring for instance require very special metals compared to the simple aluminum clip
The bolt/receiver group assembly, being /nothing but/ high grade steel and chromed parts with tolerances of less than a mil. All of whose 'operating
subassemblies' must be measured and integrated for minimal variation in performance norm for an INCREDIBLE range of dynamic temperatures and erosive
Even the barrel is exceedingly complicated for what it does (in most useages) being chromed and rifled for the launch of multiple rounds whose very
_firing_ ruins whatever presumption of point accuracy you had in 'aimed fire' attacking. Even as the length of the device, it's cooling
jacket/hand grip and forward sight post/muzzle blast diverter also add cost and complexity (4 ounces of weight 2ft ahead of the mag well 'center of
gravity' automatically adds muscle fatigue equal to a pound aft of it for instance).
Now, imagine that you eliminate ALL of that. That the barrel cluster is a single machined slab of alloy whose total temperature is the _average_ of
the number of times each barrel is fired (transmitting heat into say the surrouding four barrels staggered around it). And whose structural integrity
and aimpoint hold is a function of the honeycomb effect of the entire block rather than any single unit.
Furthermore, there is no need for specific ammunition feed into/thru a separate magazine so that you can effectively mount it _externally_ to such
things as UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) chassis with little more than electrical connection.
Even the preconceived notion of how fast vs. how /well/ you shoot is thrown out because the rounds leave the barrel so close together as part of the
same firing:recoil impulse that they in fact need dispersion devices just to ensure adequate target center-mass coverage.
Do this, and all of a sudden, the concept of 'muzzle loader' becomes rather less quaint a notion because, especially for sited (pedestaled)
defenses, you can provide a lighter, less jam prone, more repeatable, 'throw away' engagement profile within a device that is similar in concept to
a Claymore mine.
As far as rates of fire, keep in mind that, by WWII, we were looking at as much as 50,000rds for each soldier killed. A main battle tank carries
about 6,000rds (imagine _the brass_) as a basic load for it's GPMG and coaxials and can double this to 10-15,000rds if it expects an infantry heavy
Comparitively 180 rounds fired out of 36 barrels (i.e. 5 round bursts) is just not that big a deal. A similar count of 30rd magazines, loaded to
25rds to save spring life, in a _3-round_ burst limited M16 would be four mags or about 6lbs. But it would come 'attached to' an instantaneous
weight penalty of some 8.3lbs of gun.
14lbs is a lotta hump by the 2nd day of a patrol op. Even as I -guarantee you- if you fire at the rates the MStorm can achieve, you will have at
least one serious stoppage, every 2nd magazine.
The Metalstorm battles that weight and operative efficiency problem on both ends of the (useless when empty because I can fit the same propellant in
HALF the brass weight) cartridge and mechanical cycle and that can only be considered a 'good thang'.
While, as I said before, if you have certain missions where either conditional prohibition of mines requires a system that nominally 'picks it's
A remote vehicle installation which cannot undertake sophisticated pintel mount maintenance or reboresighting.
Or are facing a threat which requires special tradeoffs in armor fenestration for cheapness or (defensive) engagement windowing to survive (such as
active protection system missile defense), the MStorm's ability to cluster a lot of rounds into a relatively longrange, low dispersion, _non complex_
(look at Arena's 'air mine' system), engagement metric makes a LOT of sense.
P.S. never forget that one of the key principles of maneuver by fire is 'shoot shoot shoot'. Because, for any given formula of rounds per kill
under X engagement condition, the more you shoot, the more you can /change circumstances to Y/ by advancing to the point where that SSPK or Single
Shot Kill Probability is a function of shooting junior in the face as he looks up from his full hunker mode while your buddies are bouncing bullets
off the rim of his fighting position.
Better to send a bullet than a man where a round expended is a life saved... And suppression mode engagement to fix your opponent's position and
destroy his initiative is _very_ wasteful of ammo.