The Gauss rifle is a coilgun, a type of projectile accelerator, which uses electromagnetic coils configured as a linear motor to accelerate ferromagnetic or conductive projectiles to extreme velocities. Though these weapons were historically suffering from a number of difficulties, focused on discharging the coils in sequence or providing enough power for the coils, these design issues were overcome by German scientists in the 21st century and entered limited service. This class of weapons is named in honor of the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, responsible for formulating the math underlying the magnetic acceleration principle of coilguns.
This rifle is a Chinese variation on the German design and was originally deployed in the Sino-American War. Unlike the original weapon, it features a scope and eleven coilgun stages, resulting in a more versatile range and higher damage output. The weapon is larger and bulkier to accommodate the increased stress put on the weapon and uses a different feed system. While the standard 2mm EC magazines incorporate both slugs and ammunition, the Chinese Gauss rifle has to be loaded with ferromagnetic slugs separately, with microfusion cells loaded into the battery well in front of the trigger group. The cell is used to power the magnetic accelerator and fire the slug and has to be replaced after each shot.
The immense recoil generated by the weapon is mitigated somewhat by a long muzzle brake and a padded leather recoil pad. The bulk of the weapon also helps make it more manageable. However, the pay off is more than generous, as the sheer kinetic energy of the projectile creates a shockwave on impact, dealing additional damage to the target and potentially knocking them off balance.
It is a rare weapon and is very expensive to repair without weapon repair kits. However, unlike its tier equivalent, the anti-materiel rifle, it's much more accessible. It only requires 5 Strength to use (as opposed to 8 for the AMR), double the critical chance (76%, while the AMR only offers 38%), not to mention the fact that its lighter than the AMR and its ammunition is more common. In Hardcore mode, the weapons are more closely matched in terms of weight, as the five MFCs required for each firing of a Gauss rifle are together twice the weight of one .50 MG round.
The fact that the rifle has to be reloaded after each shot is also a factor, as this adds 10 AP to the firing cost in VATS.
↑Emil Pagliarulo: ""The gun energizes and magnetizes a standard projectile round; those are already pre-loaded into the weapon, and are in that giant clip attached to the side of the weapon. The player loads in the Micro Fusion Cells needed to energize/magnetize each round. We did it this way because we knew we wanted to have an Energy Weapon equivalent of the sniper rifle..." ()