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I have recently acquired the Huntsman when playing as a sniper and I have been wondering why should I use it in Team Fortress 2, other than completing some Achievements.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 24 down vote accepted

Specific advantages:

  1. Faster charge time.
  2. You can fire into a passageway where you suspect an enemy is about to appear, and unlike an instantaneous shot the arrow has a much higher chance of hitting someone, simply because it's around for a longer time.
  3. Deadly taunt :)
  4. Leaving arrows sticking out of enemies is awesome.
  5. You can launch flaming arrows! Just let a friendly pyro or soldier with the Righteous Bison shoot you while pulling back the string.

In general, the bow is better for shorter ranges. If I'm holding a rifle I can usually counter-snipe bow-using snipers easily; on the other hand, defending cramped spots or running along with other attackers is far easier with the bow. It's really a weapon recommend for aggressive snipers.

In my personal opinion, a bow-wielding sniper is nice but it's not the truly scary thing thing a good rifle-wielding sniper is, and I only use the bow in specific situations. Not that I say that the bow should be underestimated, but the rifle:

  1. Is easier to hit with, in my opinion, because of the instantaneous bullet.
  2. Has a potential for higher damage.
  3. Is much harder to dodge.

... so I prefer it.

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3  
This is my preferred: Leaving arrows sticking out of enemies is awesome. –  Drake Jul 15 '10 at 12:39
    
Use bow in the tunnel on pipeline. It's devastating. –  Jethro Larson Jul 30 '10 at 22:59
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"Just let a friendly pyro shoot you while pulling back the string." Note that arrows can be set on fire before pulling back on the string. However, pulling back, then right-clicking to go back to normal mode will cause it to stop burning. –  user2974 Aug 18 '10 at 19:46
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What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets? –  DrFish Oct 11 '11 at 15:14
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Also, the rifle puts a laser dot on the surface where you are scoped, which has the potential to alert people that a sniper is aiming at them. The bow does not have the dot. –  A. Still Mar 29 '12 at 17:09

In addition to the advantages that Oak posted:

  1. You have a greater field of vision due to not being scoped. You'll be less likely to miss that spy creeping up behind you or the soldier firing rockets in your face.
  2. Much easier to quickfire in frantic situations. Being able to fire against a slow moving target (like a heavy) and retreat behind cover in a split second during recharge is incredibly advantageous.
  3. Similar to 2, taking out sentries when you're stuck in range I find to be much easier.
  4. Distinct "thwack" sound when you successfully hit a target. Cant count the number of times I've blind-fired into a group of teammates, heard a "thwack" and instantly known that there's a spy in there.

And in addition to the disadvantages:

  1. Smaller ammo capacity, 12 vs 25.
  2. Arrows CAN be compression blasted back in your face by a lucky / skilled pyro.
  3. You cannot fire your bow underwater. This makes snipers who decide to use Jarate / Razorback (which is most of them) and the Huntsman practically useless and defenseless if going in the water.
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The greater field of vision is very good, especially because you can stay near to the front line. –  Drake Jul 15 '10 at 12:50
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Also can't fire bow in the air. –  Jethro Larson Jul 30 '10 at 23:21
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@Jethro Very true, but it will auto-fire if you attempt to shoot-and-release midair. Not exactly a plus, but not a downside either. Just weird functionality. –  TheQ Aug 3 '10 at 19:21
    
+1 for the greater field of vision. –  DrFish Oct 11 '11 at 15:09
    
The range is the only major disadvantage that I deal with. Plenty of time for distant targets to move. The arc means that arrows can't hit some targets that bullets can, but can hit targets that bullets can't. This is useful when you are below a sentry since you can sometimes hit it without being able to see it. –  Joshua Shane Liberman Oct 11 '11 at 16:32

The bow is also great on Medieval Attack / Defend maps like DeGroot Keep, being one of the few non-melee weapons available to any class in this mode.

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Not just the Sniper's bow... the Medic's Crusader's Crossbow is also available. It's one of the two ways a Medic can heal in this mode, the other being the Amputator's taunt. –  user2974 Oct 11 '11 at 12:39
    
Ah, I wasn't aware of the Crusader's Crossbow, having not acquired it myself; answer updated accordingly. –  robyaw Oct 11 '11 at 14:50

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