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senior officer Mikael van Atta

.38 Caseless Guns And Other Puny Calibers

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Anyone has any decent homemade stats for these?

 

The story behind the question: I have always been the fan of the Federated Arms X38 pistol (originally in Solo of Fortune #1) as a beginner's gun for my characters. I mean, it is cheap (35 e$), accurate (+1), reasonably reliable (ST) and does fair amount of damage (2d6) - if your starting funds are very limited, it is a perfect match!

 

I'm pretty rigoristical about Recoil rules (even when my GM is not), and recently I've been making a character who is weaker than average (BOD 4) - a 2d6-rated handgun seems to be a good match here. Something the character would be comfortable with.

It seems to me that .38 Auto Caseless ammo is likely an equivalent to the real-world .380 ACP / 9mm Short / 9x17mm Browning, which seems to be a popular choice for smaller, conceal-carry handguns & for people who don't want to cope with a "standard power" cartridges like 9mm Para (okay, it might be as well equivalent to 9x18mm Makarov, but I don't really think so).

 

However, X38 seems to be the only CP2020 gun using this ammo. Even such gear emporium as Datafortress2020 doesn't have any more of them (though there are a few .38 cased -chambered ones, obviously mainly revolvers). There are quite a few of the 7mm Caseless ones there (originally caliber of the Setsuko-Arasaka PMS SMG, Chromebook #1, I perceive it as equivalent to 7,65x17mmSR Browning, aka 7,65 Short aka .32 ACP), but I don't really like the idea...

 

And BTW, seems the real world has quite a few ideas there that are pretty cyberpunky: Taurus Curve thinks a small concealable handgun outside of the box, while Taurus Spectrum has all those designer colors we've been told about when CP2020 was presenting us the polymer one-shot idea...

 

Now, X38 is IMO a great starter gun, but should my character live long enough and be successful enough to afford a weapon that is not on the lowest end of scale, what could he upgrade to?

 

C'mon guys, drop me a few ideas :)

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I have never given the Federated Arms X-38 much of a look although I must admit as a beginners gun it has a lot to say for it. I generally stayed away from SOF 1's "Unspeakable Trash" except to laugh at anyone who bought a Dai Lung .375 Magnum. Who wants to have the gun's slide embedded in your forehead or the whole clip exploding! Also, I want my weapon to do more damage than a 9mm.

 

Many in our new group started with a Federated Arms X-9. Mostly since we got a few of these after the Team's first shoot-out. Another of our Team's beginning favorites was the old Glock 17. Yes it is cased and that makes the ammunition more expensive, but some felt that added cost was worth the "+2" to hit.

 

I have a particular fondness to begin with a Dai Lung Streetmaster as a starting gun. It is a bit more expensive, but the 2d6+3 damage from the 10mm I always felt was worth the expense. That extra damage has often proved key in early stage shoot outs. Also, in a campaign years ago, no one started out with any weapons and the Dai Lung Streetmaster was the first gun I acquired. That little 10mm served me well in the beginning of that adventure. B)

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Well, it surely depends a lot on the given campaign and given GM's view of the setting. However, I did a little math recently (not saved it, sadly, but I can recreate the table), and my conclusion was - against a target in modern body armor, basically no handgun is worth a damn. Unless you pull some special ammo, preferably AP (I plan on going API in this particular case).

 

Strange enough, for all those years my players were avoiding the AP, since "it halved penetrating damage".

 

I preferred 11mmCL myselfover the years, but as I said: with BOD 4, I believe my character wouldn't feel comfortable with any handgun over 2d6 damage. And X38 came from number crunching for a decent cheap gun.

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OK, here's the math redone.

 

As far as I can see, typical handgun calibers (2d6 to 3d6 damage - things like .38, 9mm, 10mm, .357mag, 11mm)) can't punch through SP14 armorjack on an average roll, and only those with 2d6+3 or more can do it on a maximum roll (which, as we know, is rather a matter of slim chance) with normal ammo.

Even an SP10 t-shirt is likely to stop an average roll there.

 

Very heavy calibers (4d6 damage, like .44mag and 12mm), of course do defeat a SP10 shirt, but they still struggle against SP14 armorjack (12mm does it, on average, with 1 damage point through, the mighty .454 with 3 points).

 

 

Now, if we switch to AP ammo, we can expect to get between 1 and 3 points of damage through a SP10 t-shirt on an average roll with a typical handgun caliber (again, 2d6 to 3d6 damage), and between 0 and 2 points through a SP14 armorjack.

This goes up by 1-2 points if we go for a heavy caliber.

 

Of course, this still isn't going to drop the target dead. If we take BTM into account, we're still most likely to be reduced to 1 damage point. But at this moment, we're more likely in forcing a Stun Save, and taking the target out of the fight... because with these light armorjacks around, we need fully blown rifle-grade stopping power to consistently put around 5-6 damage points into the target with every bullet. and unless we tote around a 7,62mm, we still fare better with AP ammo.

 

medium-caliber handguns fare better with normal ammo only in the realm of leather SP4 armor...

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yeah, the armor rules make it hard to have a good old fashioned pistol fight. the few games where i can recall medium handguns being used to any effect were house ruled with lower soft armor values. otherwise you're only hope is to go for a headshot or pepper them enough times the staggered penetration knocks their armor down a couple pegs... or charge in for the contact shot doing MAX DAMAGE

 

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Well, as I mentioned - I consider a 2d6-rated .38 Caseless autopistol to be a good enough gun for my BOD 4, non-combat-oriented character, assuming it gets loaded with specialty ammo.

 

The problem is - I can't find anything I could upgrade to (assuming the same caliber) once I outgrow the Federated Arms X38 35eb goodness :P

 

 

 

...now, being better than me versed in the .380 Auto world (I never shot one, closest I had was a 9x18mm Makarov-chambered P-83. Which I really dislike, given how snappy this little son of a gun is) feel free to correct me, but:

 

- from what I was able to find online, modern .380s (as I said in the beginning, I believe the .38 caseless to be an attempt to fill the niche occupied by .380 / 9x17mm Browning Short in the cased ammo world) are apparently exclusively very compact, light, single stack magazine (6 to 8 rounds) autopistols marketed as easily concealable self-defence weapons on the civilian market.

- few double-stack-magazine (of, supposedly, up to 12 round capacity) ones do exist.

- there doesn't seem to be many duty-sized autopistols in this caliber (if we define a "duty pistol" as a Glock 17 / beretta 92 equivalent). Still, some full-sized 9mmParas are available in 9mm Browning Short as well (like CZ P-07 Duty, with a 15-round mag).

 

With J concealability, X38 seems to fall into the "duty sized" category.

 

Seems to me we could be having two categories:

- pocket-sized "mouseguns"

- full-sized "Wondernine"-equivalents...

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in the us .380 is normally a pocket carry size gun, however European gun makers have produced a few duty-ish sized .380 guns (glock 25, CZ-83, beretta 84 cheetah). my understanding is these weapons were marketed to civilians in European countries that banned weapons in military calibers.

as for why they're mouse guns, well there's a few things going on there. first, JMB designed the cartridge to be on the upper end of what a direct blowback action could handle, thus a weapon chambered in this caliber can safely be made without the need for a locking action... less complexity means fewer machining operations, making the guns cheaper, etc. also the current thinking among most agencies is that .380 is the "floor" or lowest caliber that they deem acceptable for self defense work. that also plays into it's niche roll, it's the bottom of the list so people tend to use it only in applications where they can't use a larger caliber AKA deep concealment/pocket carry

 

the question of why so small, well that's a combination of the 1994 Clinton assault weapon ban limiting mags to 10 rounds and the rise of shall issue CCW laws that began in the late 80's. people wanted small guns to carry and those guns were limited to 10 rounds by law, so that's what got made. keep in mind this wave crashed on the us market AFTER 2020 went to print, hence the dearth of P concealable guns in the books overall.

i can't see anything wrong with making a full size 38 caseless, although it begs the question of why? 9x19mm is a world standard and it's not going to produce that much more recoil (in fact, i've heard it said some direct blowback .380's kick worse than locker breech 9mm's). I'm just not seeing the market niche such a gun would fill.

 

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My preferred weapon is a .357 revolver. Why? Because I can switch out the caliber to suit my needs. For home defense there is nothing in the world that will stand up to a 357 hollow point to the center mass. For target practice and for the wife's use I can swap out those 357s for 38 special. Decent hitter without the recoil of a 357. Makes me wish I had an M-47 Medusa just so I could plink with just about any caliber i wanted. The gun itself sucks when firing anything smaller than a 357 or 38, but it can fire 9mm and some other rounds fairly easily.

 

Gun Jesus Reviews the Medusa

 

As a side note I once had a character who was a gunsmith that started with an X-38. Tweaked the gun where it was 3d6 instead of 2d6 by changing the level of propellant in the chamber. I used it like once and built a better gun, and customized some more, and before you know it I had more custom guns than I could ever use.

 

 

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also it occurs to me the 38 caseless might find a niche as a round for a machine pistol, i know the russians had several prototype guns like that in 9x18

 

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@ Eraser, thanks for putting the things against the timescale :)

 

Well, the Russians had (and seem to still have) 9x18mm Makarov (while still low-powered enough to be used in direct blowback guns, it is definitely not the same as 9x17mm / .380 Auto) as their standard service caliber. Once they did away with 7,62x25mm Tokarev (which is still, as I hear, in high demand in the underworld, being a much better ammo against soft body armor than the 9mm's) there were handguns and SMGs in 9mm Makarov all over the Eastern Block.

 

 

Including machine pistols like the APS. Which, IIRC, was effectively considered too big and too heavy for its intended role.

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So, assuming the above, I'd say:

 

Generic pocket-sized .38 CL ('mousegun"):

P 0 P C 2d6 (.38 caseless) 5*+1 2 VR 40m $

 

* magazine size is 5+1d6/2 (round up), plus one in the chamber.

Note: if using a longer magazine (at least +2 rounds), the concealability drops to J, but Accuracy rises to +1 thanks to more comfortable grip.

$ - basic cost for a pocket mousegun is 150e$, +10e$ per round over 5 (i.e. 160-180e$), plus extra features.

 

Generic duty-sized .38 CL ("ratgun" ;))

P +1 J C 2d6 (.38 caseless) 9*+1 2 VR 50m $

* magazine size is 9+1d6, plus one in the chamber.

$ - basic cost for a duty-sized .38 CL is 190e$, +10e$ per round over 5 (i.e. 200-250$), plus extra features.

 

 

Extra Features, roll 1d6:

1. Cheap build, -50e$ (ST Reliability)

2. Laser sight, +50e$(+1 to hit, visible spectrum)

3. Flashlight, +25e$ (visible light, after-market modifications that allow IR or UV light do exist).

4. Snag-free design, +25e$ (+1 initiative on a quick-draw, but has to be Aimed for extra round to gain Aiming bonus due to minimalistic sights. Laser sight offsets tat drawback)

5. Carry clip, +25e$ (allows the gun to be clipped to a belt or pocket edge, thus not needing a holster)

6. Roll twice & combine (if a result repeats itself, ignore it)

 

Common brand names seen in the Street with these include Glock 38 (and its duty-sized 39 variant), Federated Arms X38, Beretta Sandcat, Ruger Halo, Taurus Specter, FN FPP (and entire family), CZ P-15, the ill-reputed Dai Lung Manstopper & Kang Tao Dragon (& its concealable Pocket Dragon counterpart).

 

Note: .38CL (aka 9mmCL Short, commonly misnamed ".380 ACP caseless") is classified as Light Handgun caliber for pricing purposes.

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...I guess I might go for a few more exotic calibers that'd make for interesting pocket guns.

 

Namely the 7mmCL (Setsuko-Arasaka PMS SMG's caliber, 1d6+2 damage, sub-sonic and thus easily silenced), and .177 CL EX (Suranam Machine Pistol's, 1d6+4, I guess it is a very fast, flat-shooting round thought along similar lines as RL 5,7x28mm or 4,6x30mm).

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i always assumed the .177 caliber smg was an inside joke, since that's the most common "caliber" for BB/pellet guns in the united states.

 

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Well, basically same here - .177 equals 4,5mm, if memory serves me. Most commercially available airguns are in that caliber.

That being said, one of the letters in the SoF #2 (coming from a Frenchman) speaks about a H&K weapon (SMG? Carbine? I remember reading it in Polish, so can't be sure there...) in .177 he's using, and which he considers to be providing adequate firepower in civilised areas of Europe. Of course SoF editors have a different opinion, but so did they on "wondernines". The weapon itself was never mentioned in any other material.

 

On the other hand, we have a 4,5mm assault rifle in Cyberpunk (Militech M31A1). And RL 4,6x30mm H&K is pretty serious ammo, too (though I'd rate it closer to 3d6 damage of the 5,7x28mm myself). The Czechs are said to have developed 4,38x30mm Libra. I'm not mentioning various rifle cartridges in .17, because that's a different kettle of fish...

 

So, why not a .177 / 4,5mm caseless then...? Even if we assume it uses pyrotechnically-assisted expanding projectiles to have the damage rating it has. The only existing weapon using that ammo is Korean, and while the Suranam machine pistol is an unreliable piece of junk, I believe the Koreans are advanced enough in high-tech to make the ammo work... and also build some weapons that make sense / are reliable enough.

 

Might be it is their PDW-equivalent round? Fast, flat-shooting, limited recoil (due to very limited mass of the tiny 4,5mm bullet), with good penetrating capability due to narrow cross-section.

Certainly it should be priced way steeper than a "light handgun" round if there is fuse in such a small round, and especially if the fuse is good enough to not initiate before target's armor is penetrated, but still.

 

....it beats 5mm (which I see as direct caseless answer to .22 LR) and 6mm (being caseless answer to .25 ACP). Bah, with 1d6+4, I'd say it gives the .38CL a run for its money...

 

 

Two other obscure calibers I believe could use some more guns are the Malorian ones:

- 4mm Flechette (liquid-propelled) of the Malorian Heavy Flechette Pistol,

- 10mm SubFlechette (Malorian Sub-Flechette SMG)

 

All in all, it seems Chromebook #1 went pretty wild with some new ideas that weren't followed later...

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yes, joking aside .17 caliber was a popular wildcat that has gone mainstream now.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.17_HMR

as for why these ideas showed up then and not later... speculation on my part would be because the US ACR program ended in 1990. that trial included caseless guns like the G11, but also included flechette based weapons like the styer ACR and the colt offering using multi-projectile cartridges. all this was done to try and dramatically increase the hit probability of soldiers. so the program ends in 1990, report hits the street saying cool concepts but we're sticking with the M-16, mike gets his hands on the report and we see... flechette based weapons and multi-projectile cartridges.

 

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