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What is a 'Rotary Action' S.A.W.?

From: "Bruce S. R. Lee" <bsrlee@w...>
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 1997 07:34:10 -0400
Subject: What is a 'Rotary Action' S.A.W.?

I have been giving a little thought to the Oceanic troops that are just
being put out, and the suggestion that the Saw carried by the squad
is a d8 fire power conventional Saw. With the small fire teams proposed
rifle men @ 2 fp=d6, 1 saw gunner) you are going to have to get pretty
close when compared to other published toe's which seem to generally
feature a fp d12 for the squad plus a d10 or so Saw (perhaps I am being
spoilt by the NSL & FSE troops we usually play with). 

Looking at the Oceanic Saw gunner I thought this might be in fact a gas
powered 'rotary action' gun, and the rear feed position suggests to me
either a Mauser or Dardick type of rotary action (see below).

There are about 4 major types of automatic weapon action that use a
'rotary' action that I am aware of:

1) Gatling - several barrels each with its own bolt and feed system.
Gererally externally powered by hand or electric power - Dr. Gatling
patented the electric belt fed gun but never produced it - and there was
least one patent for a rather peculiar gas operated conversion that
probably never saw light of day. In use today as the various,
US, 'Mini-guns' for 5.56 to 30 mm rounds.

2) Hotchkiss - several barrells with an interupted gear system, a fixed
extractor, rammer and firing stations. The barrells rotated, stopped and
fired, rotating 1 station where the empty was removed from one barrel,
another barrell was loaded and a shot fired. Usually chambered for large
calibre shells up to 40mm. Gatling always considered it an inferior
to copy his gun.

3) Mauser - developed during WW2, similar to the Hotchkiss but used a
revolver cylinder of 5 chambers and a single barrell instead of multiple
barrells thus saving considerable weight. The gun was powered by a gas
takeoff and piston like a convetional MG which caused a cam plate to
reciprocate, powering the rammer and extractor and rotating the cylinder
Used in the German MG151 and MG151/20, also post war in the British 30mm
Aden cannon - still in service in the Harrier, and I think the current
cannon in the Tornado also used the same system.

4) Dardick - used triangular rounds and a three finned rotor ( a bit
like a
negative wankel rotary engine) with a linkless feed. This design
almost all reciprocating parts. Not a commercial success in small arms,
Dardick is apparently still doing work for the US Navy using the
rounds for the next generation of anti missile autocannons. The original
war externally powered by a double action revolver type trigger, it
also be electrically driven but there is no reason it could not be
by a gas piston off the barrell.

Any constructive comments, especially for Jon(GZG) would be appreciated.

Bruce S. R. Lee

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