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- For New Players - Read the walkthrough.
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Fallout 4 Gauss Rifle
Weapon Modifications, Finding Them, and Max Damage
The Gauss Rifle is a special type of weapon in Fallout 4. In order to deliver its full damage, the fire button must be held down and the weapon charged. Gauss Rifle damage is affected by normal damage resistance - it's ballistic as it's accelerating a bullet magnetically to increase its velocity beyond that of a normal rifle. Here are the base stats of a Gauss Rifle when fully charged. Further below, we'll discuss how you can get one of these for your own, and how it very well may be the best Rifle in Fallout 4.
Gauss Rifle Base Stats
|Damage||Rate of Fire||Clip||Range||Accuracy||AP Cost|
So, the Gauss Rifle has a very long range, high damage, a deceptive fire rate (as you'd want to charge it or else waste ammunition), and unfortunately low accuracy. Given the way accuracy works in Fallout 4, further shots may miss the mark even if you're spot on - therefore, increasing its accuracy is something most players should do. The Gauss Rifle's damage is one of the highest in Fallout 4, and a two-shot variant would be one of the best to find, though a few other mods are desirable as well, such as VATS-enhanced, Violent, Lucky, Instigating (if without a companion who may break the Legendary bonus) and Penetrating (especially in combination with the Rifleman Perk). Finding one of these would be rare, and definitely worth keeping.
VATS and Gauss Rifles
Something I wondered myself is if the Gauss Rifle deals its full damage in VATS, given the need to charge it before firing. The answer is yes - you'll deal damage as though you'd held the button down the whole time. This makes it a wonderful weapon for a Sniper/VATS build.
Where to Find Gauss Rifles
Gauss Rifles, like many things in Fallout 4, are leveled weapons. This means that you must be in the late 30s in order to find one sold at a shop. Similarly, places that may reliably have one are going to give you a lesser weapon is you go there too early. There are a couple of reliable places to get Gauss Rifles:
- Skylanes Flight 1981 and Flight 1665 (Master Lockpick required) - Go here in the mid to late 30s (save first) if you're a master lockpicker and can get to this weapon. The location of the planes is pictured above. You can find them in the cockpit, smuggling compartments. If you don't already have master lockpicking, don't bother wasting perk points just to get this. Use the below methods - either just wait for a shopkeeper to sell one or get a lucky drop!
- The Battle of Bunker Hill (Institute Quest) - given it's leveled loot, if you wait to do this quest until you're in the upper 30s, it's likely the Railroad and Brotherhood may be carrying Gauss Rifles and other high-level weapons.
- Weapons Shops - Visiting after the mid-30s, you are likely to see Brotherhood, Institute, and other Weapons Shops have Gauss Rifles in stock. They're likely to be expensive (over 1k caps), but not enough to break the bank.
Below we will look at some of the best weapons mods for a Gauss Rifle. You can expect the best to take high levels of Gun Nut and at least a few points in the Science Perk.
Crafting: Gauss Rifle Weapon Mods
The following are general advice on how the stats are modified on a base Gauss Rifle using data you see with the Better Weapon Mod Descriptions Fallout 4 Mod by Takaru Minari installed. This should be helpful to players who do not like using mods or are playing on Xbox or PS4 and do not have access to them.
I originally planned tables for all weapons, but it's a daunting task. I've instead elected to give general info on certain types of parts and how they affect hidden things like VATS cost, critical damage, and recoil. Many of the best weapon upgrades require you to have at least a couple ranks of Gun Nut, and some require Science. I have a page on finding crafting materials, as well as adhesive should you need help with that.
Gauss Rifle Capacitors
Two upgrades exist here. They take R3 Gun Nut/R2 Science and R4 Gun Nut/R3 Science, respectively. The first - Full Capacitors - adds 25% damage and a small increase in VATS cost (probably bringing it to about 44), makes the ammo capacity 10, with the only drawbacks being heavier weight (thus longer time to pull the weapon out) and slightly slower time to sight it.
The next, Capacitor Boosting Coil, doubles the capacity to 20, with a +50% damage boost and the same stats.
If you truly want to maximize the damage of a Gauss Rifle, you're either going to need those two Perks leveled or else get lucky finding a Gauss Rifle that already has it (likely from a very high level enemy). Put the standard (half-capacitor) mod on the newly-found Gauss to put the mod in your inventory, and swapping in the upgraded capacitor (since you have it and don't need to craft it). This is mainly for people who only have Gun Nut and not Science, as anyone else would just mod the newly-found Gauss Rifle unless they have a legendary.
Gauss Rifle Barrels
There is one option for an upgrade - the Gauss Rifle Shielded Barrel. You're adding 25% damage to an already powerful weapon, with no additional VATS AP Cost and increased range. The only drawback is that it takes Gun Nut Rank 3. This is highly recommended.
Gauss Rifle Stocks
The Recoil Compensating Stock (Rank 4 Gun Nut) is the only available mod in this category and adds 10% accuracy to the weapon, which will help with long-range shots.
Gauss Rifle Sights
The Gauss Rifle, like all others, can be fitted with a scope or regular sights. At the very least, putting some improved normal sight on it is recommended as it will raise the accuracy. The best option here is the Gauss Reflex Sight, which takes Rank 3 Gun Nut and Rank 1 Science. It will reduce AP Cost by 15%. This is what I recommend for people who rarely snipe manually, though if you find yourself needing to will regret the lack of a scope for those long-range shots.
Scopes on Gauss Rifles increase AP Cost while greatly increasing accuracy. You can get it to 101 via a Long Scope without any other mods, which is quite good - and even better with the Recoil Compensating Stock. Long Scopes are all a matter of taste - either you get normal, night vision, or tracking scopes which will put dots over enemies' heads
While the short scope does not require Gun Nut, you'll need rank 4 Gun Nut and Rank 1 Science for all scopes that are medium+. Short adds +30% AP cost with a +11 increase in accuracy (bringing the rifle to 80), medium +40% AP Cost/+19 Accuracy, and long +50% AP Cost/+32 Accuracy. Yes - that AP cost will soar to a massive ~62 per shot in VATS. It's fair, given it fires fully charged.
Gauss Rifle Muzzles
If you've got Rank 3 Gun Nut and Rank 1 Science, Gauss Rifles can be fitted with Compensators to reduce recoil by 50%, which actually increases accuracy by 12 at the expense of maximum range (about 5% drop). It is actually recommended because it will even out the weapon a bit and make you more likely to hit both in VATS and while manually sniping.
With Rank 4 GN/R2 Science, Gauss Rifles can be outfitted with a Suppressor which works astonishingly well with the Mister Sandman Perk (which increases sneak attack damage with suppressed weapons) and Ninja (sneak attack damage multiplier increase). Since the Gauss Rifle makes an amazing Sniper Rifle, this is probably the best weapon possible for that build, especially if you can get a good Legendary variant (two-shot!).
Fully Modded Gauss Rifle
I won't do this on many of Fallout 4's weapons because there is much more variance in the weapon's mod options. Since Gauss Rifles offer rather limited options, I thought it'd be fun to show off what a maximized Gauss Rifle can do. You can actually make a build around this one gun!
- Gauss Rifle's Mods - Best Capacitor, shielded barrel, long scope, suppressor, and a recoil-compensating stock.
- Perks - full investment in Rifleman, Sneak, Lone Wanderer, 3 ranks in Bloody Mess, as well as Ninja and the Mister Sandman Perks. You'd need Gun Nut and Science at high ranks as well to pull this off. This is everything that gives a flat boost to damage, as well as sneak attacks. You could go even further in later levels and take Better Criticals, Four Leaf Clover, Sniper, Penetrator, and everything else that is good for a Sniper Build.
- Stats - High Agility and Perception in order to maximize accuracy (+40% VATS accuracy with 10 PER) and increase the number of shots that can be taken in VATS, probably only 4 or 5 with the scope adding so much to AP Cost. Action Boy/Girl may help you to regenerate AP faster while repositioning.
Sneak attacks with this Gauss Rifle would deal a whopping 5.3x damage over the weapon's base of 579 - that comes out to 3,069 damage before armor is applied, and thankfully Rifleman allows for some Armor Penetration. Critical Hits with Better Criticals could do substantially less, because of the lack of a weapon mod for Gauss Rifles that increases Crit damage. The two do not stack (there's no critical sneak attack, just a critical + sneak attack damage as you can see in my Guide to Critical Hits), but you could easily deliver damage in excess of 4,000 damage even without a Two-Shot Gauss Rifle. Read more about Perks for a good sniper build in my Sniper Build Guide.
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.