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I'm looking for the fastest firing submachine gun in Borderlands. I'm willing to sacrifice accuracy, magazine size and element effects while maximizing the total bullets per second. Is there a fastest firing SMG gun, unique or otherwise? Or do artifacts generally overwhelm the basic firing rate?

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There seems to be a misinterpretation that artifacts affect rate of fire (RoF). Eridian artifacts only alter the element and damage of one's action skill. –  NiteCyper May 4 '13 at 16:55
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The double anarchy is by far the fastest firing SMG. Every 'shot' results in 4 bullets traveling to the target but expends only 2 rounds of ammo. I made this video to compare my double anarchy with a hellfire mentioned in Portali5t's answer. Note that even with a 82 round clip compared to 55, the double anarchy runs through the clip at a much faster rate.

The drawback to any gun with the anarchy mod is that its highly inaccurate, unless you find a good one with a high zooming scope.

And here are the comparative stats:

enter image description here

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Those SMGs are unnatural. I address it further in my post. Also, accuracy of a weapon does not correspond to zoom level. ADS merely reduces recoil. –  NiteCyper May 4 '13 at 18:29
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I'm looking for the fastest firing submachine gun in Borderlands. I'm willing to sacrifice accuracy, magazine size and element effects while maximizing the total bullets per second. Is there a fastest firing SMG gun, unique or otherwise? Or do artifacts generally overwhelm the basic firing rate?

To get it out of the way, artifacts are mutually exclusive from rate of fire (RoF). Artifacts only affect the element and damage of one's action skill.
spartacus's weapons are illegitimate (crafted outside of the confines of the in-game loot spawning system). There is no Anarchy above 35.0 accuracy. There is no Anarchy with a barrel5. spartacus's non-elemental Anarchy has the stats of a Steel Stinger (Torgue). Anarchies are NEVER elemental. Hellfires can never shoot more than one bullet simultaneously.

The fastest, sustainably firing sub-machine gun (SMG gun is redundant) is Anarchy. As Portali5t pointed out, while Gashers may have the highest listed RoF, Gashers are burst fire only. Anarchies are purple or blue only, and are one of the main reasons why I say, the best weapons are purple and up. The only other weapon type that can compare is The Chopper. In fact, a top tier The Chopper outdoes Anarchies in DPS, but it's not practical for general play.

Class: These are best used by the Siren (Lilith) who's the only one that has something oriented specifically towards SMGs, the Mercenary COM. One who comes close is Brick (the Berserker) with his Common Man Tediore loyalty enhancement COM and Badass Torgue loyalty enhancement COM, because Anarchies are also made by these manufacturers, but Brick should prefer the Atlas Ogre over any SMG. The possible exception is the SMG challenge condition in the Underdome.
Lilith also has another COM that could help her with SMGs, the Dahl Professional loyalty enhancement COM, because once again, this is a manufacturer that makes Anarchies.

Manufacturer: The manufacturers who make Anarchies are: Tediore, Torgue, and Dahl. Whassa difference? Tediore has fast reload speeds in exchange for damage. Torgue has high damage in exchange for slow reload speeds. Dahl is supposed to be a balance, but reloads still feel slow. I have yet to try a stockless one, if possible.

Choice: Know how they differ and decide which attributes that you'll value above others. For example, I prefer sightless, high accuracy, and fast reload speed. Other stats are a given, like damage, RoF, and magazine size. The Part Spotters Guide provides a handy table but only describes SMG accessories and barrels. Here's a description of the remaining parts.

Here are top-tier examples of each manufacturer's Anarchy from the "Best Legitimate Weapon Found Thread v2.0":
http://s1196.photobucket.com/user/Luxeon300/media/12/HX42SteelAnarchy-panic.png.html
http://i1196.photobucket.com/albums/aa406/Luxeon300/smg%20guns/HX12-BDoubleAnarchyMarkLevinson.png
http://i1196.photobucket.com/albums/aa406/Luxeon300/12/HX440DDesertAnarchy-A1ml0w.png

And here are more from my personal collection which differ from those:
Tediore Anarchy 183-dmg 30.3-acc. Tediore Anarchy 157-dmg 35-acc. Dahl 177 dmg. Desert Anarchy 197-dmg 30.3-acc. Torgue 233 dmg, 69 mag, sight Torgue Anarchy 228-dmg, sightless Torgue 197 dmg, 31.7 acc., sightless

Tediore and Dahl can get up to 35.0 acc. and Torgue maxes at 27.0 acc.. Tediore and Dahl max at 12.5 RoF. Torgue maxes at 13.8 RoF.

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Well, there is a 2 part answer to this: The Gasher is the fastest firing SMG type, but it only fires in 3 round bursts, so it's not continuous. The fastest full auto SMG types are the Anarchy, Tsunami, Hellfire and Stinger. About the artifacts- that is a matter of personal opinion, personally I think that using explosive artifact with an SMG is effective due to the immediate damage-per-shot that results. Hope this helps!

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Really? I didn't realize that there were discontinuous SMGs in Borderlands. –  Axiom Mar 17 '12 at 1:22
    
Yup, try it out if you don't believe me. I kinda like it, but it's tough to be accurate with an inconsistent fire rate, and thus an inconsistent spread. –  Portali5t Mar 17 '12 at 1:29
    
-1 for perpetuating some misconception that artifacts affect weapons. Tsunamis, Hellfires, and Stingers do not compare to Anarchies in terms of bullets per second. –  NiteCyper May 4 '13 at 18:28
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