Uncle Jimbo's Bug Huntin' Range
They left it out in the Oort before we crawled from the sea.
The gate of Paradise.
Or the mouth of Hell.
The war-torn 21st century saw numerous attempts to refine and replace the projectile smallarms that had been inherited from the 20th. Problems were found with both the Gaussian electromagnetic railgun and the electrochemical propellant system. By 2200, weapon manufacturers have solved these teething troubles with a hybrid system, launching a highly engineered projectile with a plasma discharge, then straightening and boosting it with rapidly pulsed magnetic field effects. The pinch-bore barrel concept which was tentatively used for tank guns in the 20th century has been applied to smallarms.
These advanced charge weapons throw a projectile with about four times the muzzle velocity possible in the 20th century. This fundamental change in the gun required an equally radical redesign of the ammunition. The same striking energy, and therefore the same recoil, is supplied by a round less than half the diameter of those fired by a cordite weapon. The 20th century measure of calibre by the diameter of the barrel and bullet is meaningless for a taper-bore, magnetically channelled gun firing a discarding-sabot flechette round. The projectile referred to as 9mm will now be a complex dart 9mm long, by a starting diameter of 4mm, rather than the 21mm long by 9mm diameter lead slug of a cordite pistol.
This projectile is made up of a core of five expended-uranium slivers, surrounded by a target-discarding jacket of micro-engineered alloy which combines a collapsing skirt, guidance fins, and a complex pattern of fixed-magnetic and magnetically-active regions that key into the launching field of the weapon. On striking the target, the alloy jacket shears off and splinters into the surrounding area, while the core slivers separate and tumble through flesh and vitals, producing a typical ragged star-shaped exit wound.
Armour-piercing charge rounds have a smaller single core and a more fragile jacket. These rounds reduce the armour roll of an opponent by 2 points, but have -1 to all grades of damage, since the projectile punches through a small, neat hole rather than applying its kinetic energy to the victim.
Zero-G rounds have a fully-destructible metallised plastic jacket and a core of ceramic that shatters into grit on impact. Such a weapon seldom creates an exit wound except in a thin, fleshy area. Zero-G rounds cause damage one die step higher, but damage is degraded by an extra step against Good or better targets. Mortal damage becomes Stun damage to Good-toughness targets, and Amazing targets cannot be damaged except by a called shot. Against an armoured target, armour rolls are doubled, but the weapon causes +1s extra secondary damage due to heavy concussion against the armour.
Following the Copernicus war crimes treaty after the First Corporate War, all zero-G shot cores are magnetically tagged. The grit can be extracted from a wound by a specialised medical instrument. A shot extractor is a standard component of first aid kits supplied off Earth. On Earth, an extractor is included in most trauma kits, or can be bought separately for E55. Attempting to treat a zero-G gunshot wound without a shot extractor imposes a +2 penalty.