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The Heavy Bolter is a fully automatic heavy machine gun found in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, often employed by the Imperium of Man or the forces of Chaos. It uses a form of gyro-jet ammunition known as bolts, self propelled shells that ignite a fuel source contained within the slug after leaving the barrel to propel itself towards the target, giving the round increased penetrative capabilities. Each round carries a mass reactive core timed to detonate milliseconds after impact, usually inside of their target, with terrible and messy results. Due to their effects on lightly armored or unarmored targets, Bolt weapons have a reputation for being fear weapons. Due to its larger round, the Heavy Bolter is also capable of easily destroying light vehicles.
The Heavy Bolter is a very bulky weapon, requiring a set up time in order to compensate for the heavy recoil and general difficulty of handling the gun. The weapon is a motor fed weapon, automatically cycling the rounds which are usually fed by a box magazine or a disintegrating belt of ammunition. Unlike its smaller counterpart, the Boltgun, the Heavy Bolter sees regular use throughout the Imperium of Man, fielded by the Imperial Guard in two man teams as a support weapon or more often found attached to vehicle sponsons, or even pintle mounted, for extra firepower. While too large for standard infantry to carry into battle alone, individuals wearing power armor have the option of wielding one in battle, the suit giving the user the strength to compensate for the recoil. Rather than being fed by a magazine, these specialized troops are fitted with a large backpack housing the ammunition, which is fed into the weapon via an armored belt feed. In the Imperium, these are most commonly members of the Adeptus Astartes or Sisters of Battle, though certain other individuals have been known to use them.