- New - A guide to making a Pistol/Gunslinger Build
- New - A guide to making a Melee Build
- New - Scav Magazine - All locations and details
- For New Players - Read the walkthrough.
- New - Open Season
- New - Power Play Quest
- New - Raider Outposts
- New - Nuka World Endings Guide - Options and Benefits
- The Grand Tour
- Faction Perks and New SPECIAL Ranks in Nuka World
- Gage (Companion)
Fallout 4: Weapons Mods
The Basics of Tweaking Guns for Different Situations
Depending how far you are in the game, this guide may or may not be helpful to you. Players who do not yet own Fallout 4 and wonder how weapon mods work may find this enlightening and encouraging. Some players may wonder how to get a sniper rifle in Fallout 4, without realizing there is no 'sniper rifle'. The game generates names based on the mods on a weapon, and a sniper rifle is a hunting or combat rifle with a scope!
VATS AP and Weapon Mods
I've covered the weapons mods that affect AP usage in VATS for do-it-yourself-ers, but figured that some new or uninformed players might like to see a couple of examples of how to fine-tune weapons to you needs. Let's look at two hunting rifles. One turned into a sniper rifle, the other retaining its original name albeit with a very different personality. I'll explain the changes that drastically alter the weapon as I go, and hopefully you'll learn enough to do what you want with your weapons and get more mileage out of them while also learning something useful.
Test Character Stats
The Character I'm testing the weapons below with has been set to exactly 150 AP for easier math, I can't tell the exact AP cost and must estimate. He has one point in Rifleman (+20% damage), so his damage values are higher than you might see right away. With more ranks in Rifleman, the damage stated for his rifles would far exceed these values even without advanced mods from Gun Nut. This is good to know: weapon damage values do take your Perks and other bonuses into account when they're showing you stats, and the weapon's values with mods get boosted by the +% you have from weapon specialization Perks. If a pistol were to gain +10 damage from a weapon mod and I have 3 ranks in Gunslinger, I'd instead see it rise by 16 when selecting the mod.
You can easily test AP cost in town, so long as you have at least a turret set up. Target it in VATS and it will give you an accurate representation of what your AP cost will be during live combat. While exact numbers aren't revealed, you can do some estimation with math by dividing the amount of AP you have by the number of shots it allows you to take. Be sure to take your clip size into account. Reloading during combat takes AP without Perks. Thankfully, you can give weapons a larger magazine without Gun Nut for the most part, they'll just be slower to reload without higher ranks.
Making Hunting Rifles & Sniper Rifles
Hunting Rifles make the best ballistic Sniper Rifles because they can be modified to use .50 caliber rounds with higher ranks of Gun Nut - they're better than Combat Rifles for this role because of this, though both can become 'sniper' rifles, the other will be a 'Combat Sniper Rifle'. The base weapon is pictured above, with pretty much standard mods you'd expect on a hunting rifle, only with a full stock which is not the 'standard'. I'll start with 2 of these that are exactly the same, and show how radically different they can be based upon the mods I use.
At base, it can fire 4 times in VATS with 150 AP, so it's costing about 37.5 AP to fire and dealing 44 damage per shot.
Weapon A: Pure High-Damage/Range Sniper Rifle
Let's look at this scenario first where you'll ignore VATS, as it'll fit the mold of what most people would consider a Sniper rifle to be and demonstrate what many players did early in their gameplay by focusing on damage and accuracy boosts.
To make it a strong combat-initiator for eliminating a tough enemy and (possibly with stealth) remaining undetected, I want high damage and extreme range, but I'm limiting myself to 1 Rank of Gun Nut for the comparison to do what a new player might be able to do. Based on what I learned in my VATS article, I will use:
- Receiver: The best for huge crits at long range is the Powerful Receiver. It raises damage without AP cost increases and gives over 50% more damage to the weapon. Heavy is a horrible choice - it increases AP costs far more than the damage it deals, so it's one to avoid if you lack Gun Nut, but something you might consider if you do all your Sniping manually. Just know that the heavier it is, the longer it takes to pull out the weapon.
- Barrel: Short barrels just won't cut it for a long-range sniping rifle. All long barrels raise AP cost, but they raise the range of the weapon over 60%. With moderate to high Perception, the chance to hit in VATS will be greater.
- Stock: I see the better recoil and go for the full stock - it has to be better, right?
- Magazine: These have no impact on VATS. You just don't want to have to reload a sniper rifle if you're on a spree and enemies are approaching. Get the best you can, always.
- Sights: Sniper Rifles should probably have scopes, though the longer the scope the higher the AP usage. The addition of a scope is what causes the name to change from 'Hunting Rifle' to Sniper Rifle. At rank 1 Gun Nut, you are able to add up to a medium scope to this type of weapon.
- Muzzle: At Rank 1 Gun Nut, you cannot attach anything but a Bayonet. DON'T. It reduces range and thus how far you can hit enemies accurately.
So the newly-modded Powerful Sniper Rifle jumps from 44 to 69 damage, and 73 to 98 Accuracy. This is quite the improvement. AP cost goes from 37.5 to 50. I could fire it 4 times, but now exactly 3. It has a damage potential of 207 with 3 shots in VATS. Our original had a damage potential of 44x4 or 176, but without the improved accuracy.
Weapon B: A Totally Different Weapon
I will not change everything about the weapon, but a few key changes make its damage, AP and usage radically different.
- Receiver: The tuned receiver offers a higher rate of fire, but this is for manual users - it doesn't lower VATS cost (significantly, at least). I switch to the light frame receiver. I'm back to 4 shots, but now with a scope (but one I plan to remove). However, damage drops to 44.
- Barrel: same
- Stock: This is where I can teach you something valuable. Large stocks are for people who aim without VATS. I switch to a short stock. This keeps me at 3 shots, however I have maybe 10 AP left over after the salvo.
- Magazine: same
- Sights: This is the biggie. Having no sights is bad, it neither reduces nor increases AP cost. But with regular sights, you get a solid reduction in AP cost. I switch from the Medium Scope all the way down to a reflex sight. With this change, it becomes a Tactical Light Hunting Rifle.
While accuracy fell from 98 to 83, VATS cost fell to that of a 10mm pistol and sits at only 21. It has the same range, only a much better potential for damage in VATS. At a decent range, I saw a 10% reduction in chance to hit.
Comparison of Potential
So, the Power Sniper Rifle can hit 3x, dealing up to 207 damage with 3 shots and has about a 10% better chance to hit - it's going to do much better long range, regardless. With a clip large enough to unload them all, The Tactical Light Hunting Rifle can hit 7x44 = 308 damage. This is a huge difference in damage potential, although the Sniper Rifle will probably deal much, much larger Critical Hits. It is also worth keeping in mind that if you're going to do a sneak attack (with or without a crit), a slow, powerful weapon is much better than a fast low-AP weapon.
If we were solely using that high-AP cost weapon, it would take some time to fill the crit meter because the meter does not care about your fire rate. It is a static amount per hit, so the 2nd weapon can crit more often. The 2nd weapon is better for medium range situations, and for taking out multiple low-health enemies at once with accuracy. At medium ranges, it will be devastating. That's not to say that the first weapon doesn't have a place in the world, however. It is the superior weapon for sniping manually and aforementioned sneak attacks - VATS damage potential cannot speak at what you might accomplish at the weapon's maximum range, and you're sure to be stealthier because of the greater distance from the target(s). The 10 gap in accuracy is going to be more noticeable the further you are away from the target.
More Fallout 4 Guides
Share Tips and Strategies Below
- Raider Outposts in Nuka World
- Nuka World - Play as a Raider in this DLC
- Far Harbor - Learn about the DLC, its secrets, and read walkthroughs
- Automatron - Guides to building bots and quest walkthroughs
- Settlements - An in-depth guide to Settlements and managing them
- Melee Build - the best perks for a melee character
- Sneaking - Learn to be stealthy
- Critical Hits - Shots to Crit and Crit damage mechanics
- Tips for Making a Build - General advice for creating your own build
- Action Points - AP and all the things that affect it
- VATS - all about the V.A.T.S. and AP usage on weapons
- Gameplay Tips - pointers that will help new players
- Making a Sniper Rifle Weapon mod examples. Heavy hitter and fast-firing Comparison - two guns from the same base.