The Ranger Long Rifle is the favoured weapon of Aeldari Rangers and Pathfinders. It is a long-barrelled rifle, superficially similar to the Imperial Sniper Rifle and Imperial Long-Las Rifle, that fires energy bolts capable of piercing most armour when aimed correctly. Unlike the mass-produced weapons of the Imperium, these potent Aeldari weapons are hand-grown by Bonesingers with specific attention paid to the eyesight and grip, creating a weapon perfectly adapted to its user.
The Ranger Long Rifle uses a Gyrostatic Arm to keep the weapon stable, dispensing with the clumsy bipods that must be used by the lesser races with their Sniper Rifles. The Gyrostatic Arm also all but eliminates recoil. Whereas the artificial crystals used by Imperial laser–technology struggle to maintain a focused beam over long distances, the psychically-grown crystals used by Aeldari laser weapons are able to focus a tight beam of coherent light over a much greater distance, allowing a skilled user to punch through weak points in armour at great distances.
The Weapon of Wanderers
The long rifle is the primary firearm used by the Rangers, outcasts who wander the galaxy experiencing all the sensation that is denied to them at home. It is similar in function to the sniper rifles used by the Imperium's armed forces, but superior in design and efficiency. Each long rifle is crafted by Bonesingers, moulded from psychoactive Wraithbone to enhance the already preternatural senses of its wielder. A long rifle is, as the name implies, a long and elegant weapon, as much a piece of art as a tool for killing. It works by projecting a minuscule needle from the barrel, suspended in a laser beam. The psychically-grown crystals that project this energy bolt, deadly in its own right, are capable of far greater accuracy than Imperial laser weapons, with a tighter beam that suffers less from diffusion over long ranges.
Many an enemy commander has fallen to a pinpoint shot through an eye or a weak point in armour, leaving their bodyguards unable to locate the source or, often, even the entry wound, the Ranger who took the shot often sitting a mile away or more. The pan-spectral sights used in conjunction with long rifles are equally remarkable. More than just a rangefinder, they allow the firer to view their surroundings and target in multiple spectra, both physical and psychic. This means that it is rare that a Ranger with a long rifle can be ambushed by enemy stealth troops or surprised by an unexpected force shield or psionic barrier, allowing them to plan and execute shots that would be quite impossible for the snipers of other intelligent species.
Unlike many Aeldari weapons that are psychically linked with a single user, the long rifle is usable by anyone with the skill and patience to wield it. This is essential for Rangers, as few who forsake their craftworld and walk the Path of the Outcast do so permanently, and even fewer are able to commission their own rifle to take into exile with them. Most long rifles are therefore revered artefacts, passed down across the millennia from Ranger to Ranger. Most are named, and their history and notable kills are learned by their wielders, who desire little more than to add another piece to that roll of historic honour.
Notable Long Rifles
- The Doom of Sorbak - This is the name of one long rifle that has served outcasts from Iyanden since time immemorial. It was crafted mere decades after the Fall, when life aboard the Craftworld first started to chafe for some of its inhabitants. The first warrior to carry it is remembered as Eladen Longstrider, whose deeds were many and storied. It is whispered that when the human Imperium burned with the flames of civil war, Eladen stood alongside the followers of the mon-keigh corpse god on the world of Lakaph, though they knew it not. As the forces of the Word Bearers surged across the world, converting the human population to the worship of the Ruinous Powers, Eladen and his Ranger band hunted the leader of the enemy, a Dark Apostle known as Sor Bakphal. They finally caught the tainted demagogue as he preached to an audience of captive Imperial soldiers. With mere seconds to line up a shot before he would be caught by the Dark Apostle's guards, Eladen took aim and fired, a laser-guided needle passing through the twisted Space Marine's neck seals and killing him instantly with a dose of a poison known as knightsbane that even his genhanced metabolism could not resist. The confusion this caused amongst the Word Bearers' ranks allowed the Imperial forces to win the day and take back the world from the traitors. When Eladen eventually passed from the galaxy, his rifle was given to another, and so on down the centuries. During the Kharsk Cleansing, it ended the life of each of the lieutenants of Archon Kabyryk, leaving him open to the judgement of Ulthwé's seer council. When the hordes of Grak Bigtoof swarmed across the Mendak Sector and nearly swallowed Craftworld Ilmaren, it was the Doom of Sorbak and its wielder who ended the life of Grak's pet psyker by firing a psychically charged needle that overloaded the creature with power, causing an implosion that closed the Warp rift threatening to tear the Craftworld asunder. Numberless are the wars that this rifle, and the thousands like it, have been instrumental in winning, and numberless are the lives they have saved.
- Uldanorethi Long Rifle - Uldanoreth was an outcast whose wanderlust drove him to tread the stars. He braved the dangers of a thousand worlds, surviving only through his wits. For his most promising students, Uldanoreth fashioned exquisite long rifles like unto his own, and a handful of these rifles have survived where his students did not.
- Voidbringer - Illic Nightspear's ancient Longrifle is said to contain the essence of the ancient warrior-smith Uldanoreth. The psychic capability granted by his presence enables Voidbringer to tear warp-holes within the foe, or even transport them completely into the void.
- Codex: Eldar (3rd Edition), pg. 35
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pg. 38
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 48, 63
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pg. 85
- Warhammer 40,000: Munitorum - Ranger Long Rifles (Digital Edition)