CaseInc, the developers of the 5.6mm caseless round, made their technical data widely available for a nominal fee. Most arms manufactures saw the wisdom in building weapons using this information rather than wasting time and resources developing their own caseless rounds. The result was that nearly every arms company offers weapons in 5.6mmCL and it nearly became the standard calibre for every military force on Earth. CaseInc had manufactured a large stockpile of 5.6mmCL ammunition before releasing the technical data and therefore made a considerable profit by cornering the market for ammunition supply in the early months of adoption. (see “CaseInc: Munitions and Marketing” by LEN113)
The main challenge to the monopoly of the 5.6mmCL is the 6.6mmCL round developed by Semlam Inc.
The 5.6mmCL was designed as an intermediate rifle round, intended to fill the niche formerly dominated by the cased rounds such as the 5.56x45mm and 7.62x39mm. The 6.6mmCL, on the other hand, was designed as an optimal general purpose machine gun round. Ballistically it is similar to the 6.5mm Creedmoor. The 6.6mmCL uses a more powerful propellant charge than the 5.6mmCL, and a projectile more than twice the mass, with a greatly superior sectional density. This gives better long-range performance and terminal effects.
To simplify logistics within a unit, a variety of weapons in 6.6mmCL are available. While nowhere near as common as the 5.6mmCL, the 6.6mmCL is the preferred choice of many professionals and specialist units.
6.6mmCL WPS is 0.033 lb, CPS $0.08.
Guns (Rifle) or Guns (LMG) (DX-4, or most other Guns at -2)
|Weapon||Damage||Acc||Range (yards)||Mass (lb)||RoF||Shots||ST||Bulk||Recoil||LC
|6.6mm Assault Rifle||6d pi||5||600/3,300||8.5/3,2||6/10||80(5)||10†||-4*||3||1
|6.6mm H-Bar||6d pi||5||850/3,600|
|6.6mm PDC/Recon||6d-1 pi||3||550/3,000||6/3,2||9||80(5)||11†||-4*||4||1
|6.6mm Marksman||6d pi||6||600/3,300||8.5/3,2||3 or 6/10||80(5)||10†||-4*||3||1
|6.6mm Pistol||4d pi||3||280/1,800||4.5/3.2||6/10||80(5)||11||-3||4||1
|GPMG 6.6mm||6d+2 pi||5||1,100/4,800||16/7||6/12||200(5)||11B†||-6*||2||1
6.6mm weapons are often available in several configurations:
Standard model: RoF is 6 using 2-round burst mode, 3 in semi-automatic and 10 in full-auto. A 40-round magazine massing 1.5 lb loaded is in wide use.
H-Bar model: Generally the same length as the standard model but with a heavier barrel and a heatsink/radiator in the foregrip. A light support variant more suited to sustained fire and long range engagements. Includes a 0.5 pound bipod. Treat as a standard-barrelled TL8+ LMG for the Sustained Fire and Overheating rules in HT(4e): p.85-86. A combat squad will generally have a couple of these unless heaver MGs are carried. Often used for sniping as well as MG roles. Some models are offered with a longer barrel that has +1 Damage and +1 to bulk.
Personal Defence Carbine: A lightened and often simpler version of the standard weapon intended as a self-protection weapon for non-combat units. Usually lacks the 2-round burst mode. Treat as light-barrelled TL8+ rifle for determining overheating: overheats at more than 75 rounds per minute. (HT p.85-86)
Recon Rifle: The PDC variant fitted with a better sighting system, and often used with a sound suppressor. Often the choice of reconnaissance troops, hence the name. May include a 2-round burst mode
Marksman model: An accurized model of the standard rifle with either a standard length or long barrel (+1 Damage and +1 to bulk). Some models are semi-automatic only with a target trigger. Other models are selective fire and can be used as an LMG. More commonly used by police departments since most military units have H-Bars. If used for automatic fire, treat as a TL8+ MG with a light barrel. Safe numbers for overheating are Sustained 600/Rapid 300/Assault 150 rounds within a minute. May or may not be fitted with a bipod.
Heavy Pistol: A rifle-based weapon with a 6½" to 10" barrel and no buttstock, around 17" long. 4.5 lb. Muzzle blast is very noticeable. Sometimes used to arm the smaller varieties of cybershell such as the SCAT-kumo. Can be concealed under a heavy coat. Can be fired single-handed. May be fitted with a pistol stock. Treat as light-barrelled TL8+ rifle for determining overheating: overheats at more than 75 rounds per minute. (HT p.85-86).
GPMG: A lightweight general-purpose machine gun, usually used in LMG mode. The profile given is for the weapon used as an LMG. Safe number for overheating is Sustained 1200/Rapid 600/Assault 300. Vehicle and sustained fire variants are often fitted with an extra-heavy barrel (6.5 lb). The weapon usually uses a large capacity linkless-feed box (treat as belt-fed). It can also utilize the 40 or 80-round magazines commonly used for rifles. The bipod (2 lb) is often removed to reduce weight. Often fitted with a 1.5 lb suppressor. A quick-change spare barrel weighs 3.7 lb. The abundance of small guided-weapons on THS battlefields encourages machine-gunners to remain mobile and not tarry too long in one position.
5mm Basic Combat Rifles (BCR)
The basic combat rifles are designed for cheap and easy mass-production or minifacture. They are commonly encountered being used by the militaries of less wealthy nations, private security firms, criminals and insurgents. Their use by dacoits and child soldiers has had them sometimes referred to as “bandit combat rifles” or “bambino combat rifles”. Many variants are found world-wide but the differences are mainly cosmetic. The BCR may be fitted with a HUD link and laser sight. HUD gives +1 Acc for targets within 300 yds. Laser spot gives +1 to skill out to 500 yards if the spot is visible to the shooter. $150.
THS Changing Times gives slugthrowers a low Acc. Acc of the BCR has been increased so it is consistent with similar TL7-8 weapons in 4e High-Tech.
Guns (Rifle) (DX-4, or most other Guns at -2)
|Weapon||Damage||Acc||Range (yards)||Mass (lb)||RoF||Shots||ST||Bulk||Recoil||LC
|5mm/5.6mm Basic Combat Rifle||5d pi||4||500/3,200||7/0.8||12||30+1(5)||10†||-4||2||1
The BCR appears in THS:Broken Dreams 3e p.137-8. Many GURPS writers are not as familiar with firearms as they should be, and the description of the BCR raises some questions. The weight of 11 lbs seems high for the weapon described, so I have changed this to 7 lbs and the 30-round magazine weight to 0.8 lb.
Why does the weapon use a 5mm round and not the 5.6mmCL used by many other THS weapons? Since the calibre is only stated once in the text of the book (and once in the table), it is quite possible that “5mm” was a typo of 5.6mm. The text of the book describes the Xuan Feng as using a 40-round magazine, while the table says 30+1, the same as given for the BCR. Many of the stats of the 5mm BCR are the same as the 5.6mm Xuan Feng, supporting the theory that the BCR is actually 5.6mm.
Ballistically the 5mm is probably the equivalent of the British 4.85mm Experimental or the .19 Badger and the 5.6mm equivalent to a 5.56x45mm, so for game purposes the performance of 5mm and 5.6mm BCR variants would be the same.
If the BCR is, in fact, a different calibre to the Battle Rifles, it seems likely that some users would modify the BCR production template so that it is able to use 5.6mm. Adapting the BCR to us the 40 and 100 round magazines of some 5.6mm weapons may be problematics. A reduction in reliability for 5.6mm BCRs may be warranted.
The standard design of BCR uses electric ignition and is completely sealed. A good condition 5mm BCR is Very Reliable and HT 13. Well worn examples may be Malf.17 and HT 10-12. A BCR may overheat if it fires more than 150 rounds in less than a minute. (HT4e p.85)
While Broken Dreams tells us that the 5.6mm Xuan Feng cannot use smart ammunition, no information is given about the BCR in this regard. 4mm smart ammunition is available in TS, so there is no technical reason there cannot be 5mm smart ammunition. It may, however, be hard to come by in some areas that the BCR is used in. Supplying smart 5mm to African bandits may serve as a plot point. Dumb 5mm rounds are APHC [p.B279] or FMJ. WPS 0.015, CPS $0.04-0.08. Magazines are robust and designed for years of use. A nominal 30-round magazine is usual and has an empty weight of 0.55 lbs and costs around $5. The less common 40-round model costs $10 and weighs 0.6 lbs empty and 1 lb loaded. A 60-round four-column magazine is $20, 1.0/1.5 lbs. 5.6mm and 5mm magazines are not compatible.
THS 3e p.156-7 tells us that all personal ranged weapons have HUD and laser sights, but does this statement include the BCR? The original 3e profile in Broken Dreams gives Acc as “10+2” and I am guessing the +2 represents a 3e laser sight. A weapon without a HUD costs $250 less but a BCR only costs $150 to start with! For this reason, I have assumed the BCR does not have these features as standard but add-ons are available. My inclination is to rule that a standard, no-frills BCR is fitted with a reflex sight (3e did not have reflex sights). This gives +1 Guns skill at ranges up to 300 yards and makes it easier to aim in low-light conditions, negating up to -3 in darkness penalties on all shots. (HT4e p.15)