Ranking the Guns of Fallout 76

Ranking the Guns of Fallout 76

Don’t look now, but it’s been nearly a year since the latest Fallout game was released. Fallout 76 was a surprise to many in the gaming community, with Bethesda Games dropping the announcement for the post-apocalyptic shooter just a month ahead of E3 in 2018.

As the esteemed game maker likes to do when it comes to Fallout games, the news preceded the game’s release by just half a year, much to the delight of its fans.

What wasn’t a delight to many, however, was the new direction of the game.

Instead of a story-rich, immersive experience with lots of nonplayer characters (NPCs) and a focused story, we got an online-only, multiplayer-focused affair with lots of technical issues, a lack of direction, no NPCs (at least initially) and a whole bunch of microtransactions.

Still, the nuke-themed game was (and continues to be) popular. It also maintained its appeal for firearm aficionados by continuing to give players the ability to build and customize their guns as they saw fit. So it’s only natural that we decided to rank them. Let’s get to it.

Note #1: This list is completely subjective. Different gamers have different play styles and preferences. So take it with a grain of salt.

Note #2: This list will omit melee weapons, explosives, throwables and heavy weapons, focusing on mostly traditional firearms instead. We’re also only going to rank eight guns for now. To see a full list of all weapons in Fallout 76, click here.

1. Hunting Rifle / Sniper Rifle

Fallout 76 Guns - sniper rifle hunting rifle

I’m ranking this gun No.1 because of how well it evolves with you throughout the game. If you get your hands on a hunting rifle early on, you’ll be well-equipped to handle most small-to-medium-sized varmints the game throws your way.

Also, .308 ammo is plentiful in the game, so you won’t have to worry as much about constantly stocking up.

As you progress and gather materials required for upgrading it, you can significantly up its damage and range potential, eventually turning it into a sniper rifle worthy of handling some of the tougher enemies in the game (Super Mutant Masters, Scorched Commanders, etc.).

Just make sure you upgrade your scope if you go that route.

Current loadout:

  • Receiver: Hardened
  • Barrel: Standard Long
  • Stock: Aligned
  • Magazine: Large
  • Scope: Medium
  • Accessory: Muzzle Brake

2. Pump-Action Shotgun

Fallout 76 Guns - shotgun

Next, we come to the shotty, which is a favorite of mine in many games. (Especially entries in the Gears of War series.) I feel like Bethesda has nerfed it a bit in this entry, but it’s still the best close-quarters option—outside of melee weapons, anyway.

I prefer the pump-action style among all the shotgun varieties, as it combines power with decent ammo capacity. (Also, the double-barrel shotgun takes way too long to reload.) Stocking up on ammo is also fairly easy.

Current loadout:

  • Receiver: Hardened
  • Barrel: True Long
  • Stock: True
  • Sights: Standard
  • Accessory: None

3. Railway Rifle

Fallout 76 Guns - railway rifle

All right, now we come to the first gun that, admittedly, isn’t traditional. In fact, it’s debatable whether you could call it a “gun” at all, as it fires railway spikes instead of bullets. But it’s called a rifle and it’s one of my favorite Fallout weapons of all time.

The railway rifle isn’t as difficult to acquire in Fallout 76 as it’s been in past entries, but it’s not easy either.

I could talk about its power and range, but let’s be honest… the coolest thing about the railway rifle is how it impales whatever body part you fire it at into the wall, tree or whatever else is behind it.

The biggest downside, however, is that ammo is scarce (though you can make lots of it with steel.)

Current loadout:

  • Receiver: Standard
  • Barrel: Short
  • Stock: Standard
  • Sights: Standard
  • Accessory: None

4. Gauss Rifle

Fallout 76 Guns - gauss rifle

Let’s get the other non-traditional gun out of the way as well, shall we? The Gauss Rifle is another one of my favorites in the series and doesn’t fire bullets, either.

It fires 2mm electromagnetic cartridges and packs a punch, to say the least (though not as much as past entries). You can build one pretty easily if you focus on finding the materials and it’s ideal for both robotic and non-robotic enemies.

Current loadout:

  • Barrel: Short
  • Stock: Standard
  • Capacitors: Standard
  • Sights: Gauss Reflex
  • Accessory: None

5. .45 Semi-Auto Rifle

Fallout 76 Guns - trouble

This gun may be one of the most difficult to acquire on this list, and the only way I got it was at a Legendary Exchange machine. It uses .45 loads and has a semi-auto design, so the fire rate-to-power ratio is decent.

Also, since there aren’t that many other guns in the game that use the .45 cartridge, ammo isn’t a big issue.

Add in some other perks (like my 30% extra damage to robots and 10% extra damage while aiming) and you’ll see why it’s effective against enemies with a medium-to-hard difficulty. Oh, and by the way, mine is named “Trouble.”

Current loadout:

  • Receiver: Standard
  • Barrel: Long
  • Stock: Standard
  • Magazine: Standard
  • Sights: Standard
  • Accessory: None

6. .50 Black Powder Rifle

Fallout 76 Guns - the dragon

Actually, scratch what I said for the last gun… this four-barrel firearm might be the most difficult to acquire in Fallout 76. The first time I picked up this beauty, which uses .50 balls as ammunition, I was impressed by its name: “The Dragon.”

I was almost scared to use it, since I could count the number of its projectiles in my inventory on two hands. (And I was scared of virtual recoil, I guess?)

It has about three times the amount of damage as the standard shotgun, though only does one shot before you have to reload. Basically, it’s a super old-school weapon and is a lot of fun to shoot.

(Not customizable.)

7. 10mm SMG

Fallout 76 Guns - 10mm smg

So far I’ve shied away from guns with high fire rates, but as all gamers know, sometimes you need to “spray and pray” to get out of a precarious situation.

The 10mm SMG is my weapon of choice for these instances, as it combines decent damage with a blazing-fast fire rate.

Put a suppressor on one of these bad boys, sneak up on the enemy and they’ll be full of lead before they know what hit them—their friends won’t know you’re there, either.

Current loadout:

  • Receiver: True
  • Barrel: Stub
  • Grip: Stabilized
  • Magazine: Piercing
  • Sights: None

8. .44 Revolver

Fallout 76 Guns - revolver

It seems like I always have an overabundance of .44 cartridges. So I need to use them, right? It’s the patriotic thing to do. That’s where my .44 revolver comes in.

I love the game’s animation for reloading (even if it’s not practical) and shooting a revolver in Fallout 76 is just a plain gratifying experience, especially for headshots.

Just give me a reflex scope and I’m ready for some medium-difficulty enemies. (Pro tip: get the “Voice of Set” by completing the “Prototypical Problems” quest.)

Current loadout:

  • Receiver: Severe
  • Barrel: Standard
  • Grip: Aligned
  • Sights: Reflex

There you have it! What guns would you include on this list? What are your favorite builds you’ve done in Fallout 76? Let us know in the comments below.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (2)

  1. Good list! I love playing fallout76. I had never owned a Fallout game till 76. Since then I acquired a Fallout4 also. Again – good list! I am still looking for the black powder rifle.

  2. We MUST be overlooking the Serbu 12-gauge Super Shorty (Remington 870 base). Extremely “portable” and extraordinary for close in “surprises”!

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