Why is it called a beam rifle?

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deathpony
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Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by deathpony » Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:24 pm

(tried to search, but the search engine says that the terms "beam" na d"rifle" are too common...)

I really never gave a second thought to the "rifle" moniker before, but I got to thinking "Why in the world would you rifle the barrel of a beam weapon?" Because, that's what makes a rifle a rifle...the rifling in the barrel...right?

Is it a simple case of "This sounds like a good word, and the minutiae and vagaries of the English language in this regard are unknown to those of us in Japan", or is there a legitimate reason that the word rifle is used?
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by Dark Duel » Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:37 pm

I would say that's probably the case - well that and it looks vaguely like a contemporary assault rifle, so that's what they called it regardless of practical considerations. Like what makes a rifle a rifle as opposed to a gun.
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by toysdream » Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:43 pm

deathpony wrote:Is it a simple case of "This sounds like a good word, and the minutiae and vagaries of the English language in this regard are unknown to those of us in Japan", or is there a legitimate reason that the word rifle is used?
Sure, because no native English speaker would ever invent something stupid like a "laser rifle." That's why you never, ever see terms like that in Western sci-fi. ;-)

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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by deathpony » Wed Dec 09, 2009 2:48 pm

toysdream wrote:
deathpony wrote:Is it a simple case of "This sounds like a good word, and the minutiae and vagaries of the English language in this regard are unknown to those of us in Japan", or is there a legitimate reason that the word rifle is used?
Sure, because no native English speaker would ever invent something stupid like a "laser rifle." That's why you never, ever see terms like that in Western sci-fi. ;-)

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By the same token, how many western sci-fi franchises of the same era went to such great lengths to explain the science of their universe? With the attention to detail given to the techno-backstory in MSG, I suppose it's not too much to ask that the nomenclature be either correct or at least given an excuse....right? :)
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by toysdream » Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:00 pm

So now we're expecting the Gundam staff to pay more attention to "the minutiae and vagaries of the English language" than Western creators? That seems like the opposite of your original comment, but I'm not bothered either way. :-)

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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by deathpony » Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:11 pm

toysdream wrote:So now we're expecting the Gundam staff to pay more attention to "the minutiae and vagaries of the English language" than Western creators? That seems like the exact opposite of your original comment, but I'm not bothered either way. :-)

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sigh...that's not what i meant. I only said that as one possible explanation, not my firm belief of what happened.

I guess what I'm driving at is that since the Gundam staff has done such an excellent job of providing a richly detailed and surprisingly believable (for a giant robot story) background to the tech and science of the Universal Century, I am anxious as to what the reasoning is behind calling it a "Beam Rifle" vs a "Beam Cannon", "Beam Gun" or something else.

The Wikipedia page on Plasma Rifles does say this, though:
wikipedia wrote: The terminology "plasma rifle" is a misnomer, as a rifle is a firearm with a rifled barrel. A rifled barrel would not be necessary to fire a beam or bolt of plasma. However, seeing as "rifle" is a term used to describe any two hand wielded weapon, and common usage, the terminology "plasma rifle" is valid.
So maybe I'm overthinking this one. *shrug* Leave it to a nerd.
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by toysdream » Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:19 pm

It's worth remembering that most of the complicated technical backstory we have for Gundam was created after the fact. The original show wasn't very technically detailed, and there's very little science talk or technobabble in the animation itself. Calling a rifle-shaped particle beam weapon a "beam rifle" is pretty typical of the show, just like calling a 60mm multi-barreled machine gun a "vulcan".

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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by deathpony » Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:29 pm

good point, and well taken.
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by Prana » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:45 pm

There are also situations where the opposite is true, i.e. take the Jormungand from MS Igloo: it is a fusion plasma gun, but if you look closely to the gun... it is rifled (even if this makes no "real" sense). :)
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by Black Knight » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:06 am

Its because the "RIFLE" is actually an acronym for Rockin' Incredible Firing Longrange Equipment. So, its a Beam RIFLE, and people just forget to capitalize it.


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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by Chris » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:20 am

deathpony wrote:By the same token, how many western sci-fi franchises of the same era went to such great lengths to explain the science of their universe? With the attention to detail given to the techno-backstory in MSG, I suppose it's not too much to ask that the nomenclature be either correct or at least given an excuse....right? :)
Maybe you could mention some of these Western sci-fi franchises in the same medium of TV that have gone to "such great lengths to explain the science of their universe." And please don't say Star Trek, since their science is all technobabble. Really, it's a beam rifle because it looks like a rifle and shoots beams. Why do you expect an explanation beyond this, and why should there even be one? As you said yourself, you're over thinking this.
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by Prana » Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:03 am

To me the term "beam rifle" is as silly as a "beam saber" is, where with "saber" I think about a "kind of backsword with a curved, single-edged blade". The beam rifle is not rifled as much as the beam saber is not single-edged.

But then I'm not a native English speaker... so I may miss the subtleties of this language!" :D
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by Duraham » Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:22 am

in any case, it is interesting to point out that the rx-78-2's beam rifle has been shown to have rifling in various media, such as the intro movie in sd g generation neo, for instance.

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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by deathpony » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:18 pm

Chris wrote:Maybe you could mention some of these Western sci-fi franchises in the same medium of TV that have gone to "such great lengths to explain the science of their universe."
that was my point, there really aren't any.
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by Kuruni » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:19 pm

Prana wrote:To me the term "beam rifle" is as silly as a "beam saber" is, where with "saber" I think about a "kind of backsword with a curved, single-edged blade".
You're thinking about "sabre" :| .
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by Zeonista » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:04 pm

Duraham wrote:in any case, it is interesting to point out that the rx-78-2's beam rifle has been shown to have rifling in various media, such as the intro movie in sd g generation neo, for instance.
He's right, the RX-78-2's rifle has rifling in it. Why, we don't know, it does, and there you have it. Ask too many questions about Gundam tech (and original series tech in particular) and your head will explode, along with a few catgirls. Have mercy on the catgirls! :lol:

The term "rifle" for the Gundam's energy cannon is appropriate, because that is how the Gundam uses it, in a manner similar to an infantryman's rifle. The description of the Zaku's weapon as a "machine gun" is sort of accurate, since the cannon has a variable fire rate, including a rapid fire auto-loading mode.
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by J-Lead » Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:16 pm

Why do they call it a beam rifle? The same reason the US Military still sometimes uses the word "clip" to describe a magazine, when in fact a "clip" is a tool used to load bullets INTO a magazine, or the gun itself. Dunno why, but people stopped giving a crap about differentiating between the two a long time ago.

In other words, when people say the word "rifle," they are pretty much thinking about a mid-long range firearm meant to fire higher-caliber ammunition than rounds used in a pistol or submachine gun, not the rifling of the barrel of said firearm, so it's just simpler to refer to the Long range handheld beam weapon as "Beam rifle." :)
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by Strike Zero » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:23 pm

Kuruni wrote:
Prana wrote:To me the term "beam rifle" is as silly as a "beam saber" is, where with "saber" I think about a "kind of backsword with a curved, single-edged blade".
You're thinking about "sabre" :| .
"Saber" can be spelled either "sabre" or "saber." It just depends on whether you use the British spelling or American spelling.
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by krullnar » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:30 pm

I know this may sound stupid but what if the rifling in the beam rifle are the magnetic coils that help shape the beam?
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Re: Why is it called a beam rifle?

Post by SonicSP » Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:33 pm

I guess they called it that because it looked like a rifle?

If we want to go realistic all the way,then essentially its an artilery cannon,rifling or no rifling.

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