The Gauss rifle, also called a "coil gun," is a device used to propel a ferromagnetic projectile by accelerating it through a process of electromagnetic induction.
In essence, a hyper-magnetic bolt or particle is rapidly drawn through the barrel using metal coils. When pulsed with a current, the coils briefly produce strong electromagnetic fields to which the particle is heavily attracted. This causes the projectile to quickly eject at speeds surpassing traditional gas-propelled objects such as bullets.
The Gauss rifle (and Gauss gun) are named after German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, who formulated mathematical descriptions of the magnetic effect demonstrated by magnetic accelerators.
The YCS/186 is a unique variant of the Gauss rifle. It looks like a standard Gauss rifle, but with a sandy or rusted texture along the barrel and main body, and it sports black stripes on the wooden stock. It has 4 more coils around the barrel, possibly explaining the greater weight and damage, while remaining the same length. The lens of the scope is tinted an unusual shade of red. The YCS/186 uses 4 microfusion cells per shot, instead of the normal 5 of a standard Gauss rifle. It is slightly more accurate and has 20 more item HP than the standard variety. Its only drawback over the base model is a slightly increased weight, at 8 pounds instead of 7.
Like the standard Gauss rifle, it boasts several advantages over the anti-materiel rifle. In addition to its increased damage output, it tends to cripple limbs on a direct hit, providing it does not kill the enemy immediately. When using max charge microfusion cells, this weapon can deal a devastating 210 base damage. With all related perks, this can be increased to 247.8 per shot.
Like the Gauss rifle, the magnification is 3.5x for the scope of this weapon.
Companions may pick up this weapon without the player noticing. Check companion inventories if the weapon cannot be found after assaulting the mercenary camp.
The mercenaries may not be hostile when you approach them. Killing them to loot the YCS/186 results in no gain or loss of karma.
A single shot in Hardcore mode will use 0.4 pounds of ammunition, costing at a combined value of 12 caps per shot.
Because the YCS/186 uses 4 microfusion cells per blast (which only accounts the fact that you fire once), it's only possible to get 1 empty microfusion cell from firing the Rifle, the same with all energy weapons that uses more than 1 cell per shot.
The DMG points, and the DPS of the weapon can vary greatly depending on the player character's Energy Weapons skill, the type of ammunition used, and perks taken. It also has the highest base damage of any non-explosive weapon in the game.
PCPlaystation 3Xbox 360 The Pip-Boy's displayed damage per second (DPS) for the gun doesn't account for the need to reload every shot, unlike other single shot weapons such as the missile launcher. This is due to the game mechanics not taking into consideration the weapon's use of more than 1 microfusion cell per shot. [verified]
PCPlaystation 3Xbox 360 Extremely rarely a projectile is fired, but no hit is detected although the projectile can clearly be seen to travel through the target. On the Xbox 360, this occurs primarily at long-range and most frequently against deathclaws.[verified]
Xbox 360 In very rare circumstances the projectile will not fire at all, but still depletes the loaded ammunition. Possibly similar to the aforementioned bug. [verified]
PCXbox 360 An incorrect normal map texture is specified for this weapon when it is equipped by the player, resulting in highly irregular shading across the weapon. Additionally, the weapon uses lower-resolution textures than most other weapons found in the game. [verified]
PCPlaystation 3Xbox 360 The impact power of the gun is very high, resulting in the enemies being knocked through solid objects and into the terrain or through the game world (falling beneath it) making retrieval of their bodies and any goods impossible. Surprisingly, Meltdown does not exacerbate this problem, but somewhat remedies it by changing the trajectory of the corpse or causing the impact force of the shot to dissipate when the energy explosion occurs. [verified]
PCXbox 360 Sometimes if given to a companion (i.e. Arcade Gannon) it may disappear from their inventory and they will not have it equipped either. [verified]
Xbox 360 The weapon may become stuck at maximum condition. Even using max charge ammunition won't reduce the weapon's condition. [verified]
Xbox 360 The weapon may stay scoped in the center of the screen after scoping. [verified]
PCPlaystation 3Xbox 360 The Gauss rifle in Fallout: New Vegas is almost identical to the one found in Fallout 3, and thus suffers from similar bugs, including the one that affects its damage output when fired via V.A.T.S. When used in V.A.T.S., any hit will do exactly 95.244% of the maximum damage, regardless of enemy damage threshold, critical hits, or sneak attack criticals. This means, that with an Energy Weaponsskill of 100, the Gauss rifle shot will do 114.29 points of damage with every V.A.T.S. shot. This is still lower than free aiming, and no bonuses are applied to head shots. The damage bug is related to the Gauss rifle projectile's "explosive" effect: the projectile is the only hitscan projectile that is also marked as explosive, which affects its V.A.T.S. damage calculations. [verified]
The displacer glove, which applies a similar visual effect on impact, is not affected by this bug, as it is not marked as explosive.