Plasma rifles or plasma casters are high-tech weapons which find numerous applications in military and industrial fields. They fire superheated bolts of plasma powered by either microfusion cells or heavy energy cells. The bolt forms in a special chamber, which is then sent down a superconducting barrel, propelled by, and in some models stabilized by electromagnetic claws upon exiting it.
Initially, the weapon was a bulky, industrial plasma caster, manufactured by Winchester Arms; while it performed admirably, it was expensive and required specialized training to use. However, later developments for the US Army would lead to a more compact design that was cheaper to produce and easier to train for, perfectly suited for urban warfare.
Regardless, all types of plasma weapons have a common feature: when a Critical Hit is delivered, they can literally melt down enemies. While most industrial casters aren't powerful enough to dissolve bones too, subsequent models have no problem converting the target into a puddle of goo.
This plasma rifle is a lightweight urban warfare weapon created by REPCONN Aerospace for the US Army based on engine parts from the failed Z43-521P - "Green Bean" plasma-powered rocket. Like the AER9 laser rifle, it uses a microfusion cell as its power supply. It taps into the cell, essentially a small fusion reactor, to produce a toroid of plasma that is ejected down a superconducting barrel. In contrast to the Winchester P94, it does not have the electromagnetic claws.
Given to the character at the Silver Rush during the quest Birds of a Feather when given the choice between a plasma rifle or a laser rifle. Once the first part of quest is finished, the armor and gun are taken from you.
One way to obtain this weapon is to let the Silver Rush explode during the quest Birds of a Feather. When the quest fails, you will be able to drop the rifle whenever you want to as it will not be marked as a quest item.
Another way to obtain this weapon permanently is to kill the Van Graffs while guarding the door during Birds of a Feather.
This item is marked as a quest item even after the quest involved with it is completed, and therefore if it is acquired through theft or the console, may only be removed from the player's inventory through console commands.
This weapon is not able to be modified.
If this weapon is chosen during the quest Birds of a Feather, Simon will comment to the player that plasma rifles are fine, just so long as you hit whatever you're aiming at.