Jun
18
2017

Item Seed: Beer Gun.

Beer Gun – Google Docs

 

Beer Gun

 

This thing, to put it simply, is a monster of mid-20th century engineering.  The Beer Gun looks roughly like a drastically scaled-down version of a M61 Vulcan rotary cannon; while it is light enough to be fired by a person, there’s a handle on the top to grab while firing. The user frankly needs it, given that this thing kicks like a mule. The Beer Gun has six muzzleloading barrels: each barrel can fit one standard-sized can of Budweiser beer from the 1950s (the US Army manual that accompanies each Beer Gun is adamant that only Budweiser is to be used).  The firing mechanism is one heavy-duty titanium spring per barrel: once a chamber has been fired, it takes a total of one minute of steady ratcheting with an included jack to cock the spring back. There are no electrical or chemical components to the Beer Gun at all, and all of the mechanical parts are designed to be as rugged as possible.

Each chamber can be set for ‘open’ or ‘closed.’ If open, firing the Beer Gun shoots out a can of beer, at a high enough speed to hurt if you hit center of mass from not too far away, and maybe kill if you manage to hit somebody in the head (this thing is woefully if not outright ridiculously inaccurate against human-sized targets).  If closed, the beer is instead punctured while in the chamber and forced out from the Gun in an admittedly impressive but pointless cloud-spray of, well, beer.  The chamber must then be popped open and the beer can shaken out before it can be reused.  Also: the Beer Gun can mechanically set to fire each barrel individually, or all at once.  

 

As a joke, the Beer Gun is a strange one.  As a weapon, it’s remarkably useless.  So why did the US Army make 10,000 of these things, and why are crates of them stashed in GSA and National Guard storage facilities across the continental United States?

5 Comments

  • acat says:

    Quibble.
    .
    Muzzle loader and “open the chamber” do not appear to mix.
    .
    Mew

    • Moe_Lane says:

      It works in my mind’s eye, but I may not be describing the process properly. Each chamber effectively has a lid that can be left open or closed when firing the can.

      • acat says:

        Bearing in mind I’m a cat who does not own firearms …
        .
        A muzzle-loader loads from the muzzle, the barrel is cast as a single piece of metal, with a hole for igniting the powder.
        .
        Pour in powder, add a bit of rag to keep it from moving around, add a lead ball, another bit of rag to keep it from falling out, touch a hot ember to the hole …
        .
        The description of the beer gun involves replacing the gunpowder with a spring – cleverly – and describes the re-arming process – appropriately .. but if the beer can goes in the muzzle (the end of the tube the bullets come out) then .. there’s no “breech” to “open” ..
        .
        Are you, perhaps, describing a “choke”, a plate of some kind that goes over the end of the tube the bullets come out of – after the budweiser is loaded – that serves to reduce the diameter so the effect is a ginormous super-soaker?
        .
        Mew

  • Gnarledhotep says:

    In other words, the M214 wasn’t the first multi-barrel weapon using the nickname “Six-Pac”…

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