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"Science fiction has gotten more accurate as we've gotten closer to the present, because science fiction stories have not only attracted, but also generated current scientists."
- Larry Niven

Magnetic Projector  
  Projects a vortex of magnetic force.  

He took the other pistol, and raised it. It was a stock, surmounted by a sphere, glowing as the other, but the barrel here was a curious thing, a straight tube of the insulating material, with metal ribs running lengthwise, but surrounded by toroidal coils set at progressively changing angles. The barrel was nearly two feet long. This was a shoulder weapon, and a harness of stout leather belts bound it to the shoulder, as though a pull rather than a kick were expected.

Further, the sphere here was nearly eight inches in diameter, and set low, below the barrel. Thaen pointed it toward a block of iron that must have weighed some ten pounds, resting on a bench some other men had set up. He pressed the release button, and from the inch-wide muzzle a stream of blue-glowing rings sprang, rushed swiftly to the iron, and bathed it in soft light. Instantly the iron jumped, Thaen stiffened, and the weight leaped from the table toward the gun. As it reached the edge it fell, and the gun was dragged downward with it. It struck the floor, and traveled swiftly toward the weapon. Infive seconds it was at Thaen's feet, and he shut off the device. The rings died out, the iron slid to a stop...

"A magnetic projector!" gasped Warren. "Jumping Je-hosophat, I thought that was impossible, you remember. I begin to commence to start to understand. Are those boys clever! Get it, Putt?"

Putney shook his head. "Can't say I do."

"What was that first thing?"

"Ball lightning on a small scale," answered Putney at once.

"And that second one?"

"Thought it was the same with modifications at first— oh—it is! I get it—ring lightning instead of ball, and the rings are spinning about their common axis! A charge moving in a circle, makes a magnetic field—selenoid effect—with a long, long coil."

From The Space Beyond, by John W. Campbell.
Published by Pyramid Books in 1976
Additional resources -

Compare to the railgun from The Battery of Hate (1933) also by Campbell, the vortex gun from One Against the Legion (1939) by Jack Williamson and the Cyclotronic Ore-Hurler from Exit from Asteroid 60 (1940) by DL James.

Thanks to Winchell Chung (aka @nyrath) of ProjectRho for providing quotes.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Space Beyond
  More Ideas and Technology by John W. Campbell
  Tech news articles related to The Space Beyond
  Tech news articles related to works by John W. Campbell

Magnetic Projector-related news articles:
  - Vortex Rings Of Light

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