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|Bolt Weapons:||Bolt pistols - Boltguns - Storm bolters - Heavy Bolters - Psycannons - Hurricane Bolters - Vulcan Mega-bolters - Other bolt weapons|
The Boltgun, also commonly referred to as the Bolter, is the standard weapon of the Adeptus Astartes and Adepta Sororitas. A .75 caliber weapon, the Boltgun fires a self-propelled explosive 'bolt' which explodes with devastating effect once it has penetrated its target, effectively blowing it apart from the inside. Finely hand-crafted by Space Marine Forges or the Adeptus Mechanicus, Boltguns are heavy, sturdy weapons with a powerful recoil normal humans would find difficult to handle.
Imperial Bolter Designs
The following information mainly concerns Bolters manufactured by/ for and/ or used by the various factions and organisations of the Imperium, not for bolters or bolter-like weapons manufactured by Xenos, which are dealt with in the relevant paragraph at the end of the article.
Like other Space Marine weaponry, Astartes boltguns are designed around their superhuman physique. The weight of each weapon would require most humans to use a supporting brace, with hand-grips larger than any normal human could manage. However, even if a normal human were to fire the boltgun, the resulting recoil would rip their arm from its socket.[10d] Normal humans found to be in possession of even a single Astartes bolt round, much less a boltgun, can expect a swift justice for their crimes.[10a]
Note that some of these are only used by specific Space Marine Chapters.
The Blood Angels and their successor Chapter use a wrist-mounted, drum-fed variation of the standard boltgun for their Sanguinary Guard called the Angelus boltgun. It uses Bloodshard shells as ammunition.[3a] This is not to be confused with the Angelus Bolt Carbine which is not a boltgun and not a Space Marine weapon.
Fenris pattern Mk.IV
The Gilded Boltgun is a master-crafted artificer weapon of unsurpassed beauty and artistry; a weapon fit for a Sector Lord, or a Space Marine Captain. No record remains of how this weapon made its way to the Jericho Reach, but it has been used by some of the most heralded Ultramarines to serve in the Reach.
The model currently used by most Space Marines is designated the Astartes MK Vb Godwyn pattern. The Godwyn-pattern bolter has a built-in ammo counter and uses a Sinister/Dexter locking mechanism with a sickle-shaped magazine carrying 30 rounds.[7b] It fires the standard Astartes .75 calibre bolt, composed of a diamantine tip, depleted deuterium core and mass-reactive detonator, typically in bursts of four rounds.[7a] Other features include a palm-print sensor for genetic identification, as well as an integral targeter that links with the autosenses in the Marine's helmet for superior accuracy. It can also be upgraded with weapon accessories such as the M40 Targeting System.
- N.B. Due to the ambiguous labelling of the images it is not possible to say if the Minotaurs weapons shown here is a "Godwyn Ultima" or an "Ultima".
The Minotaurs are known to have used Godwyn Ultima bolt weapons during the Badab War - it is unclear if these are Boltguns or Bolt pistols.[18e] The Exorcists used Godwyn-Ultima bolters during this war.[18h]
The Deathwatch uses the Hesh-pattern boltguns since M36. This weapon was originally designed by Magos Cymbry Jamis of the Adeptus Mechanicus in recognition of the Deathwatch's services. The bolters of this pattern are more compact than other weapons of its type and show exceptional craftsmanship. Due to their smaller size they are well-suited for fighting in confined spaces and they are also favoured by vehicle crews and by certain Assault Marines. The bolters incorporate an integral folding stock, motion predictor, and prey-sense sight.[14a]
possibly a Hesh-pattern[14a]
- N.B. The picture shown is located next to the article about the "Hesh-pattern", but does not have a description confirming that it is this pattern.
Mark III boltgun
Mark IV boltgun
- N.B. It is unknown if and which pattern this weapon would b,e as it is just referred to as "standard".
The standard model Mark IV (pictured here with a sickle magazine containing 20 bolts) has single-shot and burst fire (i.e. firing three bolts in short succession) modes. The bolter also incorporates a palm-print sensor to identify its wielder by its genetic imprint.
standard Mark IV
The Phobos Pattern Bolter, officially known as the Phobos R/017 Pattern[18g], is closely associated with Mk II ‘Crusade’ Armour and is perhaps the most venerable design of the Bolter used by the Adeptus Astartes. Phobos pattern bolters were hand-crafted by the Fabricators of Mars at the very birth of the Imperium, to ensure that every Marine had the finest wargear with which to reunite the scattered elements of Humanity during the Great Crusade.
Phobos pattern bolter with optional combat blade attachments
Tigrus Pattern Bolter was first discovered in the depths of Forge World Tigrus and the STC data for it was quickly disseminated throughout the Imperium before the beginning of Horus Heresy. Tigrus is now lost, yet the bolters that bear its name, though no longer produced, continue to see service in the 41st Millennium.
- N.B. Due to the ambiguous labelling of the images it is not possible to say if the weapon shown here is a "Godwyn Ultima" or an "Ultima".
The Mk IV Ultra Pattern has a 25-round magazine, standard features include ammo-counter and targeter which links with autosenses, and palm-print genetic indentification.[16a]
The variant known as Umbra Ferrox was mass-produced by Chapter[Trivia I] Techmarines to ensure that enough weapons and ammunition were available during the ongoing Horus Heresy. The difference to the "normal" Umbra pattern is the replacement of the original sickle magazine with a higher-capacity box. Also incorporated are a long-range gunsight with additional target reciprocator systems that mesh with the power armour's autosenses.
Note: contrary to the statement that the "Umbra-Ferrox variant" is different only in the magazine used, other sources show "Umbra-Ferrox patterns" with sickle magazines.[18c]
Space Marine Stalker Bolter
The Godwyn-De'az Pattern boltgun has been the standard-issue weapon for the Battle Sisters since their first formation, and is unchanged due to its superiority to nearly all other boltgun-type weapons.[9a] The sisters also make use of a Sarissa as a blade attachment for their bolters.[9b]
Mars Pattern Mark II Scourge Boltgun
The Mars Pattern Mark II Scourge Boltgun is the preferred variant used by the Sisters of Battle of the Order of the Ebon Chalice at the Abbey of Dawn on Iocanthos. The Scourge is equipped with a Sarissa as a combat blade.[10c]
Mars Pattern Mark II Scourge Boltgunwith Sarissa[10c]
A relatively compact sort-chambered rotary Bolter, these weapons were used by the Legio Cybernetica. They were capable of a much higher rate of fire than a standard Boltgun but their weight and recoil meant that they were only used by heavily augmented machines such as Battle-automata, Karkinos Servitors or Myrmidons.[32a]
Other Boltguns used by Imperial or human factions and organisations
Boltguns usable by mere "mortals" come in various patterns, though they still follow the same basic design philosophy. Despite the fact that they pale in comparison to their larger cousins, their power is still such that they can easily cut a man in two. Boltguns meant for the Imperial Guard are supplied by the Departmento Munitorum.[10d] 
Angelus Bolt Carbine
The Angelus Bolt Carbine is secretly produced by the Fane of Fykos on Gunmetal and makes use of illegal bolt rounds originally meant for use by Space Marines. The fanes on Gunmetal produce, under strict surveillance and security measures, the casings and primary propulsion charges which go into making these powerful bolt rounds. Despite these precautions though some of these shells "disappear" and are sold to owners of the aforementioned carbine; they are known as "blind" shells because they lack the official marks of approval normally stamped on Astartes bolt shells. Only the most exquisite materials are used for this carbine but despite its expense the sheer size of the bolt rounds mean only three can be loaded into the magazine, housed within the carbine's lacquered stock, and it can only fire in single-shot mode. Due to the highly illegal nature of these weapons (and its ammunition) only very wealthy and trusted clients get the opportunity to obtain one, amongst them the richest bounty hunters and most famous beast-slayers of the Calixis Sector.[10a]
The Perinetus Pattern "Solo" Mark II is considered to be heretical by some members of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Its workings are much less sophisticated compared to other boltguns and it can only be operated in single-shot mode. Its lack of an automatic fire mode is made up for by its somewhat longer range, better accuracy and higher reliability of its mechanism. These features make it popular with PDF and rebels alike.
Perinetus-pattern "Solo" Mark II
More boltgun designs
Due to the fact that in most cases specific boltgun images are not labelled, unnamed designs are collected here, grouped by outward similarity.
|Standard bolts||Standard bolts comprise the following components: outer casing, propellant base, main charge, mass reactive detonator cap, depleted deuterium core, diamantine tip. The calibre of the standard round .75 and it possesses a super-dense metallic core.|
|Banestrike Rounds||These mysterious shells are believed to have been developed in secret by the Alpha Legion during the Great Crusade. Their sole purpose seems to have been to breach the ceramite Power Armour of Space Marines. It was used openly for the first time at the Drop Site Massacre where they proved devastating.|
|Bloodshard shells||Ammunition used by the Blood Angels for their Angelus boltguns. Its payload of razor-filament is very effective against most armours.[3a]|
|Dragonfire Bolts||Used by Sternguard Veterans and release a gout of superheated gas that makes a mockery of cover; the gas discharge ensuring that struck targets receive full damage, even if partially protected.[8a]|
|Hellfire Rounds||Replaces the core and tip of the standard bolt round with a vial of mutagenic acid, and thousands of needles that fire into the target's flesh on impact, pumping the acid into the target. Developed specially to combat Tyranids, Hellfire Rounds have equally devastating results on other organic targets. [8c]|
|Inferno Bolts||Designed to immolate their targets and destroy them with superheated chemical fire. The deuterium core is replaced with an oxy-phosphorus gel, known as Promethium. It should be noted that the Chaos Space Marine Thousand Sons have their own similarly-named but unrelated type of inferno bolts, which are actually psychically-bound slugs that release arcane energies; these slugs explode with sorcerous energies upon impact.[Needs Citation]|
|Kraken Pattern Penetrator Rounds:||Powerful armour-piercing rounds. The deuterium core is replaced by a solid adamantine core and uses a heavier main charge. Upon impact, the outer casing peels away and the high velocity adamantium needle accelerates into the victim, where the larger detonator propels shards of super hardened metal further into the wound. These are effective against heavily-armoured infantry.[Needs Citation]|
|Metal Storm Frag Shells||Best against multiple lightly-armoured targets. They detonate before impact and spray shrapnel, shredding their victims. A proximity detonator replaces the mass-reactive cap, and the diamantine tip and deuterium core are replaced with an increased charge and fragmentation casing. They are similar to flak rounds and are used against clusters of enemies.|
|Psycannon Bolts||Are used by the Inquisition, primarily the Ordo Malleus and Grey Knights, in Psycannons.[9c]|
|Seeker Bolts||Special rounds used by Chaplain Boreas of the Dark Angels. Each handcrafted round contains a miniature cogitator capable of steering the bolt towards the heat signature of a target.|
|Stalker Silenced Shells||Are rounds with low sound signatures, meant for covert fighting and used in conjunction with an M40 targeting system and an extended barrel and stock on a bolter to produce a sniping weapon system. A solidified mercury slug replaces the mass-reactive warhead for lethality at sub-sonic projectile speed. A gas cartridge also replaces both the propellant base and main charge for silent firing.|
|Tempest Bolts||Incorporate tiny plasma shock generators that emit electromagnetic and thermal radiation when the shell detonates. Produced only on Mars, Tempest shells are noted as particularly effective against machines and mechanical targets.[10b]|
|Vengeance Rounds||Utilise an unstable flux technology which makes them slightly hazardous to use but makes them very good against armoured targets. In fact, they were originally developed to combat Traitor Marines.[8a]|
The boltgun may have different magazines. These include:
- Sickle - Standard magazine, 20 or 25[16a] or 30 rounds
- Drum - 40-60 rounds, Prone to jamming
- Straight - 12-20 rounds, Easier to load
- Duplus X - Two sickle magazines strapped together
Appearance and sounds
Boltguns make a unique roaring sound when fired, which is caused as the propellant in their shells ignites followed shortly afterwards by an explosion when the bolt detonates upon hitting its target.
A detailed explanation of the term "Trivia" and "Varia" as used in the Lexicanum can be found here.
- Trivia I: during (and before) the Horus Heresy the standard organisational unit was the Space Marine Legion. While the term "Chapter" existed to designate a sub-unit of a legion and not Space Marine chapters as they are known in the "present" of the game setting, it is unclear which is meant in this case.
- 1: Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition Rulebook, p. 60
- 2: Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook, [Needs Citation]
- 3: Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition)
- 4: Codex: Daemonhunters (3rd Edition), p. 18
- 5: Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), [Needs Citation]
- 6: Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 88
- 7: Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- 8: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition),
- 9: Codex: Witch Hunters (3rd Edition)
- 10: Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook
- 11: Dark Heresy Rulebook, pg. 133 checked
- 12: Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs, pg. 114
- 13: Deathwatch: First Founding, pgs. 97-98
- 14: Deathwatch: Rites of Battle
- 15: Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pgs. 49-50
- 16: Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project
- 17: Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pg. 58
- 18: Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two
- 19: Index Astartes III, pg. 58
- 20: Rogue Trader Rulebook, pg. 122
- 21: Rogue Trader: Into the Storm, pg. 112
- 22: Warriors of Ultramar (Novel) – The Ultramarines Omnibus, by Graham McNeill, Chapter 12, pg. 546
- 23: The Purging of Kadillus (Novel) by Gav Thorpe, [Needs Citation], pgs. 267-268
- 24: Forge World product page: SPACE MARINE BOLTER - PHOBOS PATTERN checked
- 25: Forge World product page: SPACE MARINE BOLTER - UMBRA PATTERN checked
- 26: Forge World product page: SPACE MARINE BOLTER - UMBRA FERROX checked
- 27: Games Workshop Product page: Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard checked
- 28: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine checked
- 29: http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Warhammer-40000/Space_Marines/Space_Marine-Infantry-and-Accessories/SPACE_MARINE_BOLTER_TIGRUS_PATTERN_X10.html
- 30: http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Warhammer-40000/Space_Marines/Space_Marine-Infantry-and-Accessories/SPACE_MARINE_BOLTER_PHOBOS_PATTERN_X10.html
- 31: Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition) pg.59
- 32: The Horus Heresy Book Two - Massacre pg.209
- 32a: pg.267
|Melee Weapons||Chainsword • Chainfist • Combat Knife • Force weapon • Lightning Claw • Power axe • Power fist • Power sword • Thunder hammer|
|One-Handed Weapons||Bolt pistol • Hand flamer • Plasma pistol|
|Two-Handed Weapons||Bolter • Combi-weapon • Flamer • Meltagun • Plasma gun • Shotgun • Sniper rifle • Storm bolter|
|Heavy Weapons||Assault cannon • Autocannon • Heavy bolter • Heavy flamer • Lascannon • Missile launcher • Multi-melta • Plasma cannon|
|Grenades||Frag grenade • Krak grenade • Melta bomb|