Though it may not be as common as the R2 ICR that spawned it or the ubiquitous MAW, the Venator Extended Range Support Rifle is without a doubt one of the most loved weapons on the planet. Firing a revamped, liquid-propellant version of the swift, large, and venerable .3200 Breaker cartridge the ERSR remains minute-of-angle accurate out to 600 meters and capable of hitting man-sized targets well past 1200…without computer assistance. At nine pounds loaded its metal and smart polymer body is a touch heftier than other modern rifles, but a bullpup configuration and modular furniture make shouldering the rifle and swiftly acquiring new targets easy for its size.
The ERSR, lovingly dubbed the Eraser, is a close relative of the R2 ICR. After The War for the Seas, the need for infantry-portable light machineguns was increasingly unclear as any situation demanding that level of force also lent itself to direct vehicular or emplaced support (alongside simply escalating to an altogether more devastating standard of engagement). Venator was desperate for a chance to revitalize its ailing LMG variants and get the most out of the R2’s building success, but needed a system that was both revolutionary enough to justify abandonment of the old platforms and capable enough to cut through the doubts of its ESIS and ISIS adopters. Though the details remain close trade secrets, it is believed design for the ERSR actually began as much as a decade before the R2, and that even the earliest models revealed to investors were the results of two and a half full decades of testing.
The Eraser benefited from the R2’s halting introduction, sporting a hardened electronic trigger system from the outset. This was perfectly mated to its sole firing mode, the two-shot hyperburst. Discharging two very powerful rounds on a near-identical trajectory, the bursts themselves could be repeated at a rate fast enough to simulate automatic fire, exceeding the stock cyclic rates of many purpose-built machineguns. While its large 72 round cylindrical magazine was considered bulky for designated marksman duties, it also eliminated the possibility of a critical cover element losing effectiveness to reload, and enabled lighter, more adaptable deployment kits overall. Combined with its solid stopping power, exceptional accuracy, and reasonable portability, the Eraser was an easy sell. It replaced a dozen different Designated Marksman Rifles and Light Machineguns across Serica, fully adopted by ESIS, ISIS, and a number of private security organizations.
The ERSR is not, however, a varied system. It was designed to do two different, difficult jobs exceptionally well, and succeeds admirably at both. Beyond that, however, it has difficulty finding purchase. It’s too heavy and recoils too much for a line infantry rifle, cutting down its stock twenty-three inch barrel has significant effects on accuracy and power-over-distance, and rechambering it in another cartridge takes nearly all of the weapon’s advantages with it. ‘Jailbreaking’ the electronic trigger to simulate automatic fire is relatively common, but unfortunately the design of its rotary-pulse-bolt action makes it impossible to achieve the rate of fire one would expect out of an electronically triggered weapon, chugging along at 600 rounds per minute with a significant increase in wear and fouling to boot.
Even so, the ERSR has survived effectively unchanged for nearly 260 cycles. It did not see an electrochemical replacement with the dawn of the R3 ICR, and Venator has shown no signs of hurrying to abandon production of what many call the best combat rifle ever made.