| ||For an overview of Gauss rifle models in all games, see Gauss rifle.|
|The following is based on Fallout Tactics and some details might contradict canon.|
The Gauss rifle is a coilgun, a type of projectile accelerator, which uses electromagnetic coils configured as a linear motor to accelerate ferromagnetic or conductive projectiles to extreme velocities. Though these weapons were historically suffering from a number of difficulties, focused on discharging the coils in sequence or providing enough power for the coils, these design issues were overcome by German scientists in the 21st century and entered limited service. This class of weapons is named in honor of the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, responsible for formulating the math underlying the magnetic acceleration principle of coilguns.
The Gauss rifle's range, accuracy, and penetrating power are almost unparalleled. The M72 is one of two weapons with the longest range and has the highest single fire damage of any firearm.
This weapon has an aiming bonus when used at long ranges, but this bonus comes with a close-range aiming penalty which is higher than the standard penalty other ranged weapons have. This limits the Gauss rifle to be most effective when used in a long range sniping role.