How many pellets are fired from each kind of shotgun, and how does that relate to the displayed damage and damage reduction?

For instance, in the Borderlands series shotguns will often have a damage line something like "6 x 17", indicating that there are 6 pellets, each of which does 17 damage. I seem to recall a similar display in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, but can't corroborate that right now. In Fallout 4, the shotgun damage just says a single number. Neither the double-barreled shotgun nor the combat shotgun appear to be shooting slugs, so we're missing some information.

In most games, shotguns are poor against armored targets because they inflict many instances of small damage. In Fallout 4, is a target's damage reduction calculated against the total damage, or against each pellet individually?

  • 1
    okay I had a bit of a misunderstanding of the concept. 12 guage means it would take 12 pellets of the gun's bore diameter to weigh one pound. then the shot are the pellets which have a certain weight and diameter which you can then use to calculate I think? not really sure.
    – Aequitas
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 2:53
  • Could you just shoot a wall and see how many pellets are fired from the impact holes?
    – Aequitas
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 2:54
  • @Aequitas Yeah, that would probably work for that part of the question. Assuming they're all animated properly, which is a big assumption. I'm asking a bit more than that, though.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 2:55
  • yeah I think if the graphics are on high it would. this reddit post looks like what you want for the other part of the question, assuming each pellet counts as a different bullet, which I don't know if it does.
    – Aequitas
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 3:05
  • Here's some information on Gauge and Shot, if you're interested. They're measured independently. #3 Bird Shot pellets have a diameter of 3.6 mm. You could have a 10-gauge (larger) shotshell filled with #3 bird shot, or a 12-gauge (smaller) shotshell filled with #3 bird shot, for example. The pellets will be the same size in both, but there will be more in the 10 gauge, as it's a larger shell.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 3:05

2 Answers 2


It seems like most shotguns, and the beam splitter mod, shoot 6 pellets. Based off several google searches on reddit and other stackexchange articles.

The damage per shot displayed is the total of all pellets, divide by 6 to get the damage per pellet. Damage reduction is applied to each pellet individually: so shotguns are very bad against high armor enemies. However certain damage adding legendaries (bleed, explosion) are also applied to each pellet, leading shotguns with these damage add effects to be extremely powerful against lower armor enemies, and even against higher armor enemies.

  • That might be true. Can you link to some of the sources you are citing? In opposition, I found this on the Nukapedia Legendary Weapon Effects page, saying the Combat Shotgun shoots 7 pellets: "An explosive combat shotgun with an advanced receiver (firing 8 projectiles instead of a base of 7), 3 star Demolition expert, and 5 star rifleman can do up to 2*100+(15*1.75)*8=410 Base Damage per shot. (Please note that V.A.T.S. does not take every projectile in to account, and the weapon information on your Pip-Boy will fall short of the total damage)"
    – DCShannon
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 18:29
  • The Combat Shotgun page says " The two-shot variant fires 7x2=14 projectiles, instead of 7+1=8 projectiles. Adding the advanced receiver adds an extra projectile per shot " There's no corresponding information on the double-barrel page and no mention of how damage resistance is applied.
    – DCShannon
    Commented May 3, 2016 at 18:44

As per the Creation Kit;

ID "DoubleBarrelShotgun" shoots 8 projectiles at a base damage of 45

ID "CombatShotgun" shoots 8 projectiles at a base damage of 50

Its safe to assume that its base damage divided by number of projectiles due to the hunting rifle's 37 base damage.

  • The Combat Shotgun page on Nukapedia says that it shoots 7 projectiles by default, and 8 with the advanced receiver. Can you confirm if this is incorrect, or if your information is simply from the advanced receiver version?
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jul 19, 2016 at 19:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .