The hunting rifle fires slowly, so any player using it is extremely vulnerable if they get surrounded by a swarm of zombies. How can a player avoid being swarmed?

3 Answers 3


I only ever used the Hunting Rifle when playing the original Left 4 Dead, because it was so efficient at killing a huge number of zombies at long range.

If you get surrounded, crouch and melee zombies away, switching to your pistol to take them out as quickly as you can. The reason you crouch is so that when allies spray fire into the group, it only hits the zombies and doesn't hit you.

Ideally, however, you shouldn't get surrounded. Boomers are loud enough that you should be able to identify their location and snipe them before they bile you. There are clear audio clues to when there is about to be a big rush of zombies. Remember that the zombies always spawn some distance away and must rush towards you, and often clump together while they are doing so. Take advantage of the fact that your Hunting Rifle bullets pierce through the zombies and each one can kill multiple zombies.

When there's an especially narrow choke, you can kill an entire horde of zombies with just three or four well-placed shots. Your best defense is pre-emptively killing the zombies before they can surround you.

  • 4
    "If you get surrounded, crouch and melee zombies away" This is good advice regardless of what weapon you're using. Oct 19, 2010 at 16:06

One thing no one mentioned is that rifle bullets go through zombies, and headshots are one-hit kills, even on expert, so if you are in a corner (not completely surrounded), it's actually better to stand up and aim for their heads - you will take out an entire line of zombies with every shot.

By swinging left-and-right like this, shooting rapidly and meleeing every one or two shots, I've managed to fight off entire hoards of zombies on expert without taking damage.

  • I mentioned that rifle bullets go through zombies. Oct 19, 2010 at 16:13
  • @Strix I meant the fact that standing up and aiming for heads will kill many zombies with one hit - this isn't true (on expert at least) if you are crouching or aiming for the body. Oct 19, 2010 at 16:15
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    The hunting rifle and sniper rifle are one shot kill weapons. It doesn't matter where the zombie is shot. When playing with snipers my headshot percentage usually goes down! Expert mode is different. Only the magnum guarantees one shot kills, but a center of torso snipe is still one shot kill.
    – deft_code
    Nov 2, 2010 at 13:58

A number of ways:

  1. Stick to more easily defensible terrain. Keep a wall or tall object at your back. Even better, keep them on more than one side. Honestly, this is one of the biggest things you can do to improve your survivability via play. Get familiar with the good places to defend on maps.

  2. Good teammates can help keep you from getting swarmed. A good team can defend against hordes out in the open, in fact (it's certainly not ideal). If you are playing solo, you will unfortunately be at the mercy of the bots.

  3. Take out zombies from afar. Hordes are a more serious threat, but you can guard against the smaller swarms that can come after players by eliminating them before they get close to you (or teammates!).

  4. When in doubt, use a pipe or molotov to curtail the horde.

  5. Melee is your friend, if you are playing coop. It got changed in versus (for the better) and in L4D2 (which introduced melee weapons, which are better anyway). Sometimes a few melee swipes can give you enough time to finish reloading.

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