I'm playing Fallout: New Vegas at Very Hard difficulty as an explosive - sneak character currently at level 7. The problem I'm facing is the lack of a decent weapon.

I've been able to do quite a bit of damage with the Merc's Grenade Rifle but the merchants are not quite stocking up enough of ammos. So I went to give the Ratslayer(Sniper) a chance, but I'm not getting enough DPS whenever I'm detected.

What I need is suggestions for either a good explosive/sniper weapon or a way to get enough launcher ammos.

  • 6
    This question does not ask for recommendations of software, hardware, games, or genres. It is asking for a gameplay-related recommendation, of which there are several accepted examples (see the list with related questions). If the requirements for that recommendation are clearly stipulated (which is apparently what's being contested here) and sufficiently limiting, there must be a single best option.
    – Joachim
    Jan 15, 2020 at 20:45

4 Answers 4


Since Ratslayer seems to be the best gun you have so far I'm going to assume that you have not yet made it to Novac and thus will limit my answers to guns which can be acquired between Goodsprings (early-game) and Novac (mid-game).

Melee is also a viable early-game option with weapons like Chance's Knife but this list would get really long if I included every category of weapon.

If you're specializing in guns you have a few options here. The absolute best things you can do is maximize your guns and lockpick levels to get the two unique weapons:

  • Lucky is a revolver which uses the ever-so-common .357 rounds. This requires a lockpick skill of 75 and a trip back to the Bison Steve Hotel in Primm to acquire. Lucky boasts a high critical hit chance, a faster-than-normal fire rate and has low AP requirements for VATS.

  • Gobi Campaign Scout Rifle is one of the best guns in the game. Since you've been able to get to the Brock Flower Cave to collect the Ratslayer's rifle the hidden Sniper's Nest would be within a short walking distance. This beast of a rifle fires the uncommon .308 round but hits like a freight train, benefits from a scope, and has an incredibly high fire rate for a rifle. Be warned, you will need a lockpick skill of 100 to retrieve it. Consider crafting your own bullets to offset the rarity of the .308 cartridge.

There are two decent early-game weapons that can might be useful too, especially if the lockpick requirements shown above are too intense:

  • Cowboy Repeater is a decent option for the aspiring gunslinger. This all-rounder can be retrieved from Primm in the Sheriff's Office. It shoots .357 rounds and can hit targets pretty well from medium range. One of the better guns available in the early-game.

  • The Service Rifle is given as a reward for completing the Mojave Outpost quest Can you find it in your heart. It has low damage but a high fire rate which makes it ideal for lightly armored targets. Combine it with 5.56 hollow point bullets to tear through unarmored enemies.

Lastly, the Ratslayer you've mentioned is a really good early-game gun. Make sure you are hidden before firing and you should have a decent opening to any confrontation. When the bullets start flying you will need to find something with more firepower. That being said, a suppressed rifle with a night vision scope is a great way for building long distance relationships.

Ultimately, there aren't any high power guns until mid-game and beyond. Once you've reached Novac keep an eye out for high-powered weapons like the Hunting Rifle, That Gun, Trail Carbine and the Sawed-Off Shotgun, all of which can be found in Novac.

  • My lockpick skill is at 55, is it possible to temporarily boost it to 75 or possibly 100? Jan 16, 2020 at 3:14
  • 3
    Yes with a Locksmith’s Reader magazine and the Lv.4 comprehension perk you can boost it by +20 points for two minutes to a total of 75. The absolute max you can temporarily boost your lockpick skill is +41 without investing in perks besides comprehension. You aren’t getting it to 100 at your current state.
    – PausePause
    Jan 16, 2020 at 5:14
  • Thanks for the answer but I really loved the Grenade rifle, is it possible to craft its ammo? Jan 16, 2020 at 11:14
  • 1
    No, you cannot craft 40mm grenades. In fact, you can't craft any explosive ordinance apart from some hand grenades and land mines
    – PausePause
    Jan 16, 2020 at 16:40

The currently accepted answer does not really address explosive weapons at all, so I would like to add an answer to address this specifically:

Stick of Dynamite

The Powder Gangers are ever present in the area around Goodsprings. One could either kill them and take it off them, or ally with them and buy it off them. Eddie will give you some dynamite every few days, too. This should be quite a handy source of explosives early on.

While Dynamite, and the Long-Fuse variant, are not necessary the most precise or practical weapons, they certainly fit the bill for effectiveness. Human enemies, especially when surprised, can often be killed or seriously injured by just one hit.

Furthermore, since you mentioned you were playing a stealth-based character, you can assassinate people by pickpocketing them. If you put your Dynamite into their inventory, it becomes "Dynamite (Live)" and it will explode in their inventory. This is usually lethal to anyone who can be pickpocketed.

Tin Grenades

If you have the Gun Runner's Arsenal DLC, you have access to the Mad Bomber perk at Lv. 6 with 45 Repair and 45 Explosives skill. It allows you to craft a Tin Grenade from one piece of duct tape, one tin can (not the bent tin can though) and 50 units of pistol powder.

The Tin Grenade is a very easy source of explosives, given that the source materials are abundant throughout the game. You will likely have a lot of pistol ammo for calibers you don't use at all. As such, you can break them down and get access to the powder to turn into grenades. A Tin Grenade is about 25% more damaging than a stick of dynamite.


Mines may not be as "aggressive" as grenades, they can still be thrown towards enemies and be used to deter chasing enemies.

With the Mad Bomber perk, one Bottlecap Mine can be constructed by using a Lunchbox, 8 bottle caps, a sensor module and 3 cherry bombs. These are rather uncommon resources in comparison, but still manageable to obtain, if one knows where to look. You can also craft these without the perk, but you will need 5 Cherry Bombs instead of 3, and 2 more bottle caps.

Regular Frag mines can be found around the wasteland too. These can be deactivated and picked up, which means you will often have a few of these available, even if you never go out of your way to find them.

25mm Grenade APW

This is by far my favorite grenade launcher in the game. 25mm ammo can be obtained by visiting the Gun Runners later in the game, or bought from the Boomers or Great Khans. All of these sources are close to the New Vegas area, meaning that you will not have access to them early on. This is unsurprising, given how incredibly powerful the weapon is.

The upside to this rarity is the fact that you have a very accurate explosive weapon, able to take down a human enemy in only a few shots, while offering surprising potential for splash damage. With all mods installed, the APW can load 8 shots into a magazine, shoot more than three times per second, and deliver this 25mm ammo very far.

40mm Grenade Launcher / Rifle

As you mentioned, you are currently equipped with the "Merc's Grenade Rifle". This weapon is very powerful in the beginning of the game. Too powerful, for the worse. 40mm ammo is very rare in comparison to 25mm ammo or other explosives, meaning that every shot has to count, and has to go to a "deserving" target. This makes it difficult to decide when to fire it or not.

Later in the game, you will be able to get "Thump-Thump", which adds some of the benefits of a fully modded 25mm APW to the 40mm launcher, but the ammo is still the most difficult part to obtain.

More explosive weapons

The game has more explosive weapons to offer, such as the Fat Man, Rocket Launchers or the Grenade Machine gun. These are, for my personal taste, rather impractical and serve more as a Shock-and-Awe weapon than anything practical. Of course, one might argue that this is the whole point of a character focussed on explosives, and I am in no way implying you should not get a Fat Man if you want to get a Fat Man. My point is rather that you will use the 25mm APW more than the Fat Man.

Tips on how to play an explosive character

Explosives are a rather unique kind of weaponry. They are all rather inaccurate (compared to other weaponry), heavy and spread few and far between. As such, you need to adapt your playstyle accordingly.

Get all the Explosive Perks

This should be a no-brainier, but I still want to mention it. Perks such as Demolition Expert (+20% explosive damage), Hit the Deck (+25 DT against Explosives / Useful to prevent self-damage) and Splash Damage (+25% larger AoE) are very useful.

Use Guns

Playing an explosive-focused character does not mean playing an explosive-only character. As the above-mentioned answer already says, Cowboy Repeaters or Service Rifles are easy to obtain early on and useful to dispatch enemies such as Mole Rats or Bloat Flies, where explosives would just be too valuable to use. Unless you're the kind of guy who just likes chucking sticks of dynamite at local wildlife.

Never throw more than one explosive in V.A.T.S.

Explosives and V.A.T.S. don't go well together. While the initial shot or throw usually is accurate, by the time the second one comes around the target has already moved and you just throw your stick of dynamite away.

As such, learn how to get good at manually throwing Dynamite.


"I'm not getting enough DPS"

At level 1, the best weapon available to you is the 10mm pistol with a DPS of 60.5 and is likely the only weapon that's worth using, that you can readily repair, that you can keep fed.

You're playing Fallout: New Vegas at Very Hard difficulty, not Sneaky Skyrim With Arrows; you're going to have to pull the trigger a few more times.

IME, there isn't enough .357 ammo, and I'm not going to dump points in LP before Guns is at 100 (to get Lucky), at which point this becomes a non-issue because you can lay them out with 10~20 rounds of 10mm, and then pick up their 10~20 rounds of 10mm. Stab. Rinse. Repeat... until you get a decent shotgun, a .308, and then a .50 - every other gun in this game is a waste of time, and so is IMO, trying to be quiet about it or throwing things at them.

The Grenade Rifle is way over powered. Using it to 'break' your game is up to you. I would need explained to me why 200y after the last one was ever made, that there'd be any left. The Gunrunners make them? yeah, no thanks.

  • 1
    lol, I'm lvl 30 now and I'm using the op Antimaterial rifle. Anyway, thanks for the answer Feb 8, 2020 at 16:30

there is a unique 40mm grenade launcher in the back of dead wind cavern, but it is infested with deathclaws, so you should first go to the devil's throat to get a unique machine gun which has a better rate of fire than most. this is one of the best machine guns for killing deathclaws and I would use it extensively if you could get your hands on enough ammo. also when you visit the devil's throat, in the trailer, there is a guy with a party hat on. I found out most of this from YouTuber oxhorn and would follow him for more tutorials if you need any other help p.s. there is Chinese stealth armor in the hoover dam offices in a back storage room in a box for the sneak attribute.

  • All of these answers apply to late game locations or enemies. Dead Wind cavern is practically impossible until your character is at least Lv. 15. Hoover Dam qualifies as mid game & and the Chinese armor provides virtually no protection against bullets (sneak boost is decent). The Devils Throat location is late game and is one of the furthest locations in the game from Goodsprings.
    – PausePause
    Feb 5, 2020 at 16:52

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