Machine Gun


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An externally actuated weapon uses an external power source, such as an electric motor or even a hand crank to move its mechanism through the firing sequence. Most modern weapons of this type are called Gatling guns or chain guns in reference to their driving mechanism. Gatling guns have several barrels each with an associated action on a rotating carousel and a system of cams that load, cock, and fire each mechanism progressively as it rotates through the sequence; essentially each barrel is a separate bolt-action rifle using a common feed source. The continuous nature of the rotary action allows for an incredibly high cyclic rate of fire, often several thousand rounds per minute. Rotary guns are less prone to jamming than a gun operated by gas or recoil, as the external power source will eject misfired rounds with no further trouble, but this is not possible in the rare cases of self-powered rotary guns. Rotary guns are generally used with large rounds, 20mm in diameter or more, offering benefits of reliability and firepower, though the weight and size of the power source and driving mechanism makes them impractical for use outside of a vehicle or aircraft mount.