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GeDeCo Scout Carbine

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue.

After the success of the General Development Corporation’s Suram Rifle (a twin-barrelled breechloading flintlock for use on underdeveloped worlds; see Freelance Traveller #94, Jul./Aug. 2019), the IISS commissioned the Spinward Marches branch of GeDeCo to develop a short, lightweight rifle for the use of Scouts doing long-term cultural or geological surveys far from regular support – teams and individuals who might have to live off the land and manufacture their own ammunition. GeDeCo came up with the Scout Carbine, which is now produced under license by Tha’an Industries.

With its standard assembly, the Scout Carbine has a modular chamber that is capable of being adjusted to a wide range of slug calibers. The detachable telescopic sight is capable of adjusting to a new caliber of ammunition after D6 trial shots; until then, the shooter is at -1.

Using the fallback range-scaled iron sights, similarly, the shooter is at -1 until xe has gotten used to the new ammunition’s behaviour after D6 trial shots. When using ammunition other than Imperial-standard slug carbine rounds, ranges may vary widely, and very powerful rounds may quickly wear out the barrels and chamber lining.

While hunting game was the proposed Scout Carbine’s first purpose, the developers added a fully-automatic fire selector. Some rounds may be too weak to power the automatic loading mechanism, which is why the carbine also features a fallback bolt-action lever to clear out the cartridge and chamber a new round.

So far, any of those options are fairly typical of high-technology slug rifles, although it is unusual to see them all combined in a single weapon. What endeared the carbine to marooned scouts, though, is the interchangeable lock mechanism.

With the pull of two pins, the firing mechanism comes apart from the weapon and can be exchanged with a secondary breechloading lock that uses a soft-alloy ball and charcoal/saltpeter/sulphur (“black”) gunpowder ignited by a shaped piece of flint. All of those materials are easily obtainable even in a primitive environment and can be foraged and fabricated by the scout operative xirself. Casting tongs for the correct caliber and a set of fine scales for filling the gunpowder charge fit neatly into a pair of brackets in the carbine’s stock. The weapon’s bolt-action lever doubles as a loading ram that compresses the powder and primes the chamber. Either lock weighs about .5 kilograms.

Paper-wrapped ammunition cartridges for the breechloading assembly are fully interchangeable with those of the Suram Rifle, which can be obtained in gun stores throughout the outer Spinward Marches and in many GeDeCo outlets within the Trojan Reach.

The Scout Carbine in Use

The Scout Carbine, like its Suram predecessor, is very rugged and easy to maintain. There have been instances of Scouts or GeDeCo operatives arming local tribes with surplus carbines to fend off dangerous wildlife or hostile neighbours, so it is not uncommon to find them (invariably heavily modified to suit tribal tastes) in the hands of primitive barbarian warriors.

Scout ships operating on the Imperial border with the Trojan Reach tend to have at least one carbine included in the standard survival pack, along with four magazines. The survival pack is usually stowed in the ship’s locker, but some scouts prefer to keep it in their vessel’s air/raft.

  TL Range Damage Mass Cost Magazine Mag. Cost Traits
With automatic assembly 12 200m 3D-3 5 Cr 300 15 Cr 10 Auto 2, Scope
With flintlock assembly 12 100m 3D 5 Cr 300 1 Cr 1 Scope, ROUTINE (6+) Gun combat (slug) check to reload
Flintlock using poor homemade ammunition 12 70m 3D-3 5 n/a 1 - Scope, ROUTINE (6+) Gun combat (slug) check to reload
IISS Survival Pack (20 kg, Cost 600)
Weapons Scout carbine with automatic and flintlock assemblies; 4 full magazines, 15 rounds each; Machete
Instruments Compass; Simple toxicity sensor; Pocket tool; Flashlight; Emergency radio beacon; Waterproof blanket/poncho; Lightweight tent; Life jacket
Expendables 2 long-life rechargeable batteries; 4 flares; First-aid kit; 2 weeks survival rations; 10 liters of water; 10m lightweight cable; 10 heating pellets, each good for one ration; 20 water purifying tablets; 20 salt tablets;