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Boltgun

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Bolt Weapons: Bolt pistols - Boltguns - Storm bolters - Heavy Bolters - Psycannons - Hurricane Bolters - Vulcan Mega-bolters - Other bolt weapons


Godwyn pattern Bolter[2]

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.[19]

For the Astartes and Sororitas the boltgun is a holy symbol of the Emperor's wrath.[9]

Contents

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.

Adeptus Astartes

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.

Angelus boltgun/bolter

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.

Angelus boltgun

Fenris pattern Mk.IV

The Space Wolves utilize a pattern of Boltgun produced on their own homeworld of Fenris, decorated with the skulls of Fenrisian beasts.[31]

Fenris Pattern Mk.IV
Fenris Pattern Mk.IV Boltgun[31]

Gilded Boltgun

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.[13]

Godwyn pattern

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,[15] as well as an integral targeter that links with the autosenses in the Marine's helmet for superior accuracy.[22] It can also be upgraded with weapon accessories such as the M40 Targeting System.

Other Godwyn patterns include the Astartes Mk IIIa Godwyn Pattern, an older version, still used by the Dark Angels Chapter.[5]

Godwyn Ultima

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]

Godwyn Ultima

Hesh-pattern

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]

Hesh-pattern
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

The Mark III[18a] or MKIII pattern[17] boltgun is known to exist as Badab Primaris Manufactura Issue[18a] and has been used during the Badab War by the Astral Claws[17].

Mark III

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.[15]

Mark IV

Nocturne-Ultima

The Salamanders are known to have used Nocturne-Ultima modified boltguns during the Badab War.[18b]

Phobos pattern

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.[29]

Phobos pattern

Ryza-Ultima Variant

The Star Phantoms are known to have used Ryza-Ultima variant boltguns during the Badab War.[18i]

Ryza-Ultima variant

Tigrus pattern

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.[29]

Tigrus pattern

Ultima

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 Minotaurs are known to have used Ultima bolt weapons during the Badab War - it is unclear if these are Boltguns or Bolt pistols.[18e]

Ultima

Ultra pattern

The Mk II Ultra Pattern features a Dark-Eye nightscope.[16b]

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]

Mk IV Ultra Pattern

Umbra pattern

The Umbra pattern boltgun was first used in the later years of the Great Crusade and was produced in large quantities.[25]

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.[26] 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.[26]

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]

Umbra pattern and Umbra Ferrox variant

Stalker Bolter

The Stalker Bolter is a variant of the standard Boltgun. With an elongated barrel and scope, it is used by Space Marines as either a precision battle rifle or sniper weapon.[8b][28]

Adepta Sororitas

Godwyn-De'az Pattern

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]

Godwyn-De'az Pattern

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 Boltgun

Adeptus Mechanicus

Maxim Bolter

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] [6]

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]

Locke pattern

The Locke-pattern is a variant of an old Adeptus Arbites design and the most common boltgun design found in the Koronus Expanse.[20]

Locke pattern

Perinetus pattern

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.[21]

Perinetus-pattern

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.

Ammunition Types

Bolter Ammunition
Name Notes/Effects
Standard bolts Standard bolts comprise the following components: outer casing, propellant base, main charge, mass reactive detonator cap, depleted deuterium core, diamantine tip.[1] The calibre of the standard round .75 and it possesses a super-dense metallic core.[11]
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.[32]
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. [1][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.[1] 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.[1] 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.[1] 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.[4][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.[23]
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.[1]
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]

Magazines

The boltgun may have different magazines. These include:

  • Sickle - Standard magazine, 20[15] or 25[16a] or 30[1] rounds
  • Drum - 40-60 rounds, Prone to jamming[1]
  • Straight - 12-20 rounds, Easier to load[1]
  • Duplus X - Two sickle magazines strapped together[1]

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.[11]

Trivia

TriviaScroll.jpg
The following information is not to be regarded as officially sanctioned and/ or is not written from an in-universe point of view.
A detailed explanation of the term "Trivia" and "Varia" as used in the Lexicanum can be found here.
VariaScroll.jpg
  • 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.

Sources


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