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.
The YCS/186 is a unique variant of the Gauss rifle. Its appearance is that of a standard Gauss rifle with a sandy or rusted texture along the barrel and main body; it also appears to have black stripes on the wooden stock. Additionally, the lens of the scope is tinted red instead of the regular untinted lens found on the standard Gauss rifle's scope. It also has 4 more coils around the barrel, possibly explaining the greater damage, while still remaining the same length. This weapon uses 4 microfusion cells per shot, instead of the normal 5 of a standard Gauss rifle.
Possibly due to the added coils, this weapon is 1 pound heavier than the standard version. It is also slightly more accurate. The YCS/186 also is 25% more more durable than its standard variant.
Like the standard Gauss rifle, it boasts several advantages over the anti-materiel rifle. In addition to its increased damage output, it also tends to cripple limbs on a direct hit, providing you do not kill the enemy immediately. When using max charge microfusion cells, this weapon can deal a devastating 210 base damage. With all related perks, this can be increased to 249.9 per shot.
Like the Gauss rifle, the magnification is 3.5x for the scope of this weapon.
Companions may pick up this weapon without the player noticing. Check companion inventories if the weapon cannot be found after assaulting the mercenary camp.
The mercenaries may not be hostile when you approach them. Killing them to loot the YCS/186 results in no gain or loss of karma.
A single shot in Hardcore mode will use 0.4 pounds of ammunition, costing at a combined value of 12 caps per shot.
Because the Gauss rifle uses 4 microfusion cells per blast (which only accounts the fact that you fire once), it's only possible to get 1 empty microfusion cell from firing the Rifle, the same with all energy weapons that uses more than 1 cell per shot.
It is NOT possible to obtain if you change your traits at the Sink Auto Doc in Old World Blues if you have already retrieved the alien blaster. This only applies if you have the Wild Wasteland trait.
Sometimes using max-charged cells will raise the damage to 230.
Behind the scenes
The YCS/186 is a reference to the "Your Console Sucks" section of the The Something Awful Forums. Additionally, 186 is the forum ID number of YCS.
PCPlayStation 3Xbox 360 The Pip-Boy's displayed damage per second (DPS) for the gun doesn't account for the need to reload every shot, unlike other single shot weapons such as the missile launcher. This is due to the game mechanics not taking into consideration the weapon use of more than 1 ammunition per shot.
PCPlayStation 3Xbox 360 Extremely rarely a projectile is fired, but no hit is detected although the projectile can clearly be seen to travel through the target. On the Xbox 360, this occurs primarily at long-range and most frequently against deathclaws and is very rare to happen on anything else (9/10) times it is mistaken for the glowing blue corona around it hitting the target instead of the fragment therefore dealing no damage but being mistaken for going straight through the target.
PCPlayStation 3Xbox 360 The impact power of the gun is very high, resulting in the enemies being knocked through solid objects and into the terrain or through the game world (falling beneath it) making retrieval of their bodies and any goods impossible. Surprisingly Meltdown does not exacerbate this problem, but somewhat remedies it by changing the trajectory of the corpse or causing the impact force of the shot to dissipate when the energy explosion occurs.
PCPlayStation 3Xbox 360 The Gauss rifle in Fallout: New Vegas is almost identical to the one found in Fallout 3, and thus suffers from similar bugs, including the one that affects its damage output when fired via V.A.T.S. When used in V.A.T.S., any hit will do exactly 95.244% of the maximum damage, regardless of enemy damage threshold, critical hits, or sneak attack critical. This means, that with energy weaponsskill of 100, the Gauss rifle shot will do 114.29 points of damage with every V.A.T.S. shot. This is still lower than free aiming, and no bonuses are applied to head shots. The damage bug is related to the Gauss rifle's "explosive" visual effect, which affects its V.A.T.S. damage calculations. Removing the effect via user-created mods is currently the only known solution to the issue. Notably, the displacer glove, which applies a similar visual effect on impact, is not affected by this bug.
PC An incorrect normal map texture is specified for this weapon when it is equipped by the player, resulting in highly irregular shading across the weapon. Additionally, the weapon uses lower-resolution textures than most other weapons found in the game.
The YCS/186 has separate mesh files for the first- and third-person models. It also specifies incorrect normal maps which don't line up with the textures, and doesn't use the high-res textures on all the appropriate parts of the weapon. This can be fixed with a mod.