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The Bolter, also called a Boltgun, and its variants are some of the most powerful hand-held weaponry in use by the military forces of the Imperium of Man. It is a powerful assault rifle that fires explosive kinetic rounds colloquially referred to as bolts. The Bolter is a weapon synonymous with the Adeptus Astartes, and rightly so. However, although the Space Marines are its primary user, the Bolter finds itself in use in military organisations throughout the Imperium. The weapon is fearsome, with explosive rounds capable of ripping through or blowing apart a foe. The Chaos Space Marines of the Traitor Legions were issued their Legions' Bolters before the Horus Heresy, and therefore, use generally older variants than the patterns available to present-day Loyalist Space Marines.

The Bolter is a mid-range anti-personnel weapon that lies between the lighter Bolt Pistol and the more effective Heavy Bolter. The standard pattern Bolter can easily be wielded by a Space Marine, but smaller pattern Bolters must be used by the Battle-Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas.

For both the Space Marines and the Sisters of Battle of the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas, the Bolter is viewed as a weapon intended by the Emperor of Mankind to bring his wrath to the enemies of Mankind. Every Astartes carries a Bolter lovingly handcrafted by the Artificers of his Chapter's Armoury or of one of the Adeptus Mechanicus Forge Worlds. At each point in its construction special rituals are observed by the Artificers or Tech-priests, and even an Astartes' daily maintenance of his weapon carries an air of religious devotion. The Bolters used by the Space Marines are known to be coded to Astartes genetic signatures so that they are only functional for members of the Adeptus Astartes.



The Bolter is a large, .998 calibre assault rifle. It has a much greater mass than most standard-issue rifles such as the Lasgun, although it is slightly shorter in length. Unlike most rifles, it lacks a stock, resulting in a grip much like a pistol's or a submachine gun's. A Space Marine's bulky Power Armour would make shouldering a stock an awkward experience, but Power Armour is most likely also able to compensate for vibrations and oscillation, making a stock redundant. Stocks are sometimes used, however, with an extended barrel and an M40 Targeter System to transform the Bolter into a sniping weapon system. These sniper Bolters, known as Stalker Pattern Bolters, are most often used with Stalker Silenced Shells.

Munición Bólter estándar

Bolter ammunition (a bolt) is primarily a solid slug. Conventional solid slugs utilise a propellant charge contained in a casing that, when ignited, forces the bullet out of the barrel. In contrast, a bolt is self-propelled; it features its own integrated solid propellant that propels the bolt at high speeds, essentially acting like a miniature rocket. The propellant itself is shaped to control the bolt's direction and speed; however, this method of rocket propulsion would normally warp the barrel due to gas pressure. The Bolter uses an ingenious method to prevent this.

As well as the rocket propellant, a tiny amount of conventional charge is also utilized. This charge is just strong enough to force the bolt out of the barrel and ignite the bolt's propellant. The rocket-propellant is carefully fused to ignite just after leaving the barrel, alleviating any possibility of pressure build-up. The bolt then accelerates away towards the target under its own power.

The standard Bolter ammunition is designed to penetrate the target and then detonate, causing immense damage to the target and leaving little opportunity for survival.


The Bolter is complex to produce and requires dedicated maintenance, which prevents it from being issued more widely throughout the Imperial Guard. Furthermore, the Space Marine warriors, or Astartes, are a breed of genetically-enhanced supersoldiers. The Chapters of the Astartes also wear massive suits of Power Armour that further enhance their control over the powerful recoil of the weapon, and aid the already prodigious skill of the individual warrior with autosense uplinks and suit-integrated targeting systems. The Bolter is simply far too heavy to be wielded effectively by the average human being or Imperial Guard soldier. The Bolter also is far more susceptible to being fouled by dirt and mishandling than the basic Lasgun issued to Imperial Guardsmen, requiring much more training to use than the Guard is ready to give the standard line trooper. The Bolter's need for physical ammunition demands far more logistical organisation than the standard Lasgun, and Astartes Chapters have been known to go through a small stockpile of rounds in a single campaign.


Over the millennia, the Bolter has been improved and changed many times. There have been hundreds of variants, but only a few have made any radical differences. All of these have the same basic features, but each have different additional features (depending on the weapon's pattern) to improve it. The current standard-issue Bolter for the Space Marines is the .998 caliber Godwyn pattern Bolter.

Otras variantes

  • Astartes Umbra Pattern.
  • Ceres Pattern
  • Crusade Pattern
  • Filienostos Pattern
  • Godwyn Pattern
  • Godwyn Mark IIIa Pattern (older pattern of Bolter used by the Dark Angels Chapter)
  • Godwyn-Dyath Pattern (used by the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas)
  • Heresy Pattern
  • Locke Pattern (variant of a pattern used by the Adeptus Arbites, now most common pattern of Bolter in use in the Koronus Expanse)
  • Nostra Pattern
  • Perinetus Pattern "Solo" Mark II
  • Phobos Pattern
  • Stalker Pattern (a standard Godwyn Pattern Bolter modified with an M40 Targeter System to also serve as a Sniper Rifle)
  • Ultima Pattern
  • Umbra Pattern
  • Umbra Ferrox Pattern

Variantes de Munición

Munición Estándar

The Standard Bolt is the standard-issue antipersonnel ammunition for the Bolter. It is designed to penetrate a target and detonate, causing horrific injuries.

Detalles internos

  1. A solid-fuel rocket propellant base.
  1. An outer casing containing conventional charge.
  1. Gyrostabilizer.
  1. Mass-reactive fuse. Has a split-second timer to delay detonation upon impact until after the shot penetrates the target.
  1. Hardened diamantine penetrating tip. This allows for the bolt to penetrate most armour before detonation.
  1. Main Charge.
  1. Depleted uranium core. This is a very dense material, adding weight and thus momentum to the round when in flight. This aids in the bolt's penetration of the victim.

Munición Perforante Kraken

Kraken Penetrator Rounds are potent, more power armour-piercing rounds than the standard bolt. The uranium core is replaced by a solid adamantium core and uses a heavier main charge. Upon impact, the outer casing peels away and the high-velocity adamantium needle accelerates into the victim, where the larger detonator propels shards of super-hardened metal further into the wound. These are effective against heavily-armoured infantry.

Detalles internos

  1. The main charge is increased to enable a larger explosion.
  1. The uranium core is replaced by a core of pure adamantium to optimize the penetration of reinforced armour.

Munición Inferno

Inferno Bolts are designed to immolate their targets and destroy them with superheated chemical fire. The uranium core is replaced with an oxy-phosphorus gel, known as Promethium. However, due to the decreased projectile mass, armour-piercing capabilities are compromised.

(It should be noted that the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion has their own similarly-named but unrelated type of Inferno Bolts, which are actually psychically-bound slugs that release arcane energies; these slugs explode with sorcerous Warp energies upon impact.)

Detalles internos

  1. In this bolt, the uranium core is replaced with a special gel that ignites with oxygen.

Munición Hellfire

Hellfire Bolts are designed for use against organic targets, specifically the Tyranids. The core and tip are replaced with a vial of mutagenic acid and thousands of needles. When the round enters the target's body, the vial shatters and the needles pierce the victim's flesh, pumping the acid into the target.

Detalles internos

  1. In this bolt, the uranium core is replaced with a vial of mutagenic acid. The point is also replaced with a chemical substance that causes the vial to detonate once it has penetrated the enemy's armour.

Munición de Fragmentación Metal Storm

In the Metal Storm Frag Bolt, the mass-reactive fuse of the standard bolt is replaced with a proximity fuse, and the uranium core and Diamantine tip are replaced with increased high-explosives and a fragmentation casing. This means the bolt explodes when it nears an enemy, creating a lethal hail of shrapnel. This bolt is capable of inflicting casualties on multiple lightly-armoured targets, but its effectiveness is dramatically reduced when facing heavily-armoured foes like Chaos Space Marines.

Detalles internos

  1. Mini-gyrostabilizer.
  1. Fragmentation Casing.
  1. Increased Charge.
  1. Fragmentation Charge.
  1. Proximity Detector.

Munición Silenciosa Stalker

Stalker Silenced Shells are Bolter rounds with low sound signatures, meant for covert fighting. They are often used in conjunction with an M40 Targeter System, an extended barrel, and a stock to create a sniping weapon system. A gas cartridge replaces both the propellant base and main charge for silent firing, but this sacrifices muzzle velocity as a result. A solidified mercury slug replaces the mass-reactive warhead for lethality at sub-sonic projectile speed. These rounds are used when stealth and precision are required.

Detalles internos

  1. Gas Cartridge.
  1. Solidified Mercury Slug.
  1. Smooth Diamantine Tip.

Munición Psíquica

Psycannon Bolts are used by the Inquisition, primarily the Ordo Malleus and its Grey Knights Space Marine Chapter. They are very similar in nature to the rounds fired by their namesake, the Psycannon, and are similarly used against psychic Heretic and daemonic targets. Of all the rounds available to the Bolter, these are the most expensive, as each and every bolt is inscribed with arcane runes on a microscopic level. According to some sources the bolts derive their anti-psychic effect from being impregnated with an extremely rare negative psychic energy; the sole source of this energy is a metabolic byproduct of the Emperor of Mankind's Golden Throne. The anti-psychic nature of these rounds are not only effective at destroying daemonic targets but also highly efficient at piercing the powerful barriers created by force field generators (such as the Tau Shield Generator and the Imperium's own Iron Halo and Storm Shield).

Munición Venganza

Vengeance Round bolts were created using unstable flux core technology that makes them hazardous to use but extremely potent at penetrating through heavily armoured targets. As their name implies, these bolts were developed by the Imperium specifically to target the Chaos Space Marines of the Traitor Legions.

Munición Dragonfire

Dragonfire Bolts are hollow-shelled bolts that explode with a gout of superheated gas that can eliminate the value of cover for enemy troops.


As well as the different types of ammunition available for the weapon, there have also been several different types of magazines. The standard magazine for the Bolter is the Sickle Magazine.

  • Sickle Magazine: The standard-issue magazine, seen on most Bolter patterns. The magazine's shape is slightly curved to take up less space. Carries 20 to 30 bolts.
  • Straight Magazine: A straight version of the sickle magazine. Holds less ammunition (only 10 to 20 bolts), but is easier to load in more intense situations.
  • Drum Magazine: Drum magazines are a relatively rare sight in the 41st Millenium. This is due to their unreliability; drum magazines have an unfortunate tendency to jam. However, drums can carry 40, 60 or even 100 bolts, negating the need to reload as often. Despite the frequent jamming, they still brook some favor with local Hive Gangs or planetary defense militia. They are also frequently seen on Storm Bolters or in brutal assaults, where running empty in a firefight can mean certain death.
  • Belt Feed: Some troops forgo using magazines at all, preferring to feed the bolts directly into the firing chamber using a linked belt. Because the belt is exposed to the elements, it is frequently clogged with dirt or dust. This can, like the Drum Mag, lead to jamming, and is rarely used within the Imperium, although it is very commonly used by the Chaos Space Marines of the Ruinous Powers.

[Nota: Space Marine Heavy Bolters have the ammunition belt protected by a tough, flexible feed chute.]

  • Duplus X: This type of magazine is quite popular amongst local planetary law enforcement or Hive Gangs. It involves two standard Sickle Magazines which are attached together by some means, usually a band of cloth or tape (similar to the "ready-mags" of ancient Terra). This means when the weapon has to be reloaded, the user can simply flip the magazines around and insert the loaded magazine. This type is rarely produced officially, usually being "manufactured" by those who utilise it.


Extraído y traducido de Wikihammer 40K UK.

  • Imperial Armour II.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Armamento (Ediciones 2ª y 4ª).
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