Plasma Rounds! Are they real? Or are they fake? Well, to cut a long story short they are real, but not quite on the magnitude where you can challenge a Death Star. One YouTuber by the name of NSA_Listbot has created his own railgun mostly from 3-D printed parts and can make it function as either a more potent single-shot or a slightly weaker semi-automatic rifle.
To make your own railgun that shoots plasma rounds is not a simple journey down to Home Depot. Most firearm enthusiasts may find the jargon and science involved a little difficult to follow (myself included; NSA_Listbot is incredibly intelligent).
This is the description that NSA_Listbot provides for his project:
The SR-1 Semi-Automatic Portable Railgun is a field augmented circular bore plasma armature railgun capable of firing 6x19mm conductive armatures as well as Teflon-plasma armatures. The dual ZVS flyback drivers consume close to one kilowatt and are capable of charging the capacitor bank to 500V in less than 30 seconds. The SR-1 can be fired in single shot mode, or in semi-automatic mode. Capacitor bank stores 4.5 kilojoules of high voltage energy at 500V, and the structure is made from mostly 3D printed components. The entire system weighs less than 30lbs and is capable of firing 1 round every 15 seconds at 70% power and 1 round per 30 seconds at full power.
This video discusses the construction and operation of the SR-1 semi-automatic portable railgun, and provides a brief introduction on its systems and the design of annular plasma armatures.
The projectile used is a material called “Delrin.” Delrin, an acetal homopolymer, is a material used for construction and fabrication that bridges the gap of qualities between metal and plastic. A best of both worlds material you might say.
The projectile of delrin that this YouTuber used weighed 0.825 – 0.827 grams (12.732 – 12.763 grains). That is roughly 1/3 the weight of a normal .22 Long Rifle bullet fully penetrating and exiting a cantaloupe.
The dimensions of the round as he stated earlier are 6x19mm in size. For comparison, a normal .25 ACP round is 6.35x16mm when expressed metrically. So what you have here is a railgun shooting plasma projectiles that are roughly the size of a .25 ACP, but only 1/3 the weight of a normal .22 Long Rifle round!
Somebody should ship this guy a block of ballistics gelatin to see exactly what kind of penetration this truly has.