Last updated on April 15th, 2020
In this Fallout 76 Sniper Build Guide, we’ll be showing you the basics. This means we’ll show you the Stats, Perks, Weapons and Armor that you’ll need in order to pull off a successful Sniper Build. Please keep in mind while reading this that you will be unlikely to create this exact Build, and that this should be what you are, more or less, working towards. The reason for this is that you often don’t get the exact Perk Cards that you need as you Level Up. A level 50 Build Guide is great, but if you can’t use it until level 50, then it doesn’t have much use along the way.
Fallout 76 Sniper Build Guide
Sniper Builds focus on taking out targets from very far away, ideally in 1 shot, before anyone even knows they are there. While this sounds easy in practice, it is much more difficult to play this way when facing multiple enemies, because you cannot fire very rapidly. In this Guide we’ll take a look out how to overcome this issue, how to make a Sniper Build that deals incredibly high damage, and how to play it to perfection. If you’ve been wanting to Snipe the un-living daylights out of your enemies, then read on for some helpful information.
Fallout 76 Sniper Build Stats
The first thing we’re going to cover in this Guide is Stats, and how they affect Sniper Builds. Something many players are not aware of, is that each Stat adds a passive bonus. For example, each point of Perception gives you +0.4% V.A.T.S. Accuracy, as well as increases your Compass Distance by 12 Feet. The 3 main stats you need for a Sniper Build are Perception, Agility and Luck.
Perception will increase the likelihood of hitting your target in V.A.T.S., which is the priority when not Sniping “manually”, and it will also help to locate targets before they get too close to you. Agility will help to increase your Action Points, allowing you to fire off more shots in V.A.T.S. OR hold your breath longer when Sniping “manually”. It will also help you to Sneak up on your target so that you get the first shot. Luck will improve the quality of your gear, but more importantly help to fill your Critical Meter more rapidly when using V.A.T.S.
Sniping Basics (Manual Sniping)
When first starting out in Fallout 76, you’ll be doing most of your Sniping “manually”. That is to say that you will have to aim your weapon yourself, target the body part you wish to shoot yourself, and hopefully connect with your shot. In order to shoot from a long distance you will need some sort of scoped Non-Automatic Rifle. Ideally one that deals the most damage per shot, but also one that you can find ammo for easily. Hunting Rifles are probably the most common, or you can use a Pipe Rifle instead. If you can’t find one that has a Scope then you will need to Modify it at a Workbench and add one (once you have the materials). Once you have your Rifle you’re all set to begin your Sniping ways.
The first thing you’ll notice when looking down the scope is that it has a sway to it, and it isn’t as easy to aim as you’d think. Luckily you can “hold your breath” by clicking the Left Stick on your controller, so that you stop “swaying” for a short time. While holding your breath you will consume Action Points at a steady rate, so you will not be able to keep this up indefinitely. This is one of the reason Agility will come in handy, to allow you to do this for longer bursts of time. Note that squatting down does not decrease the sway of the Weapon you are using, so there is no need to do it.
Next you will need to determine where on the target you wish to shoot for maximum damage/results. While often this is the head in many cases, sometimes it isn’t always as obvious, particularly with monsters and mutants that don’t seem to have one. In addition, many times you cannot kill the target you are facing in one shot, and crippling a leg or an arm may actually make the fight easier. This is because enemies move slower with Crippled legs, and sometimes cannot wield weapons or attack with Crippled arms. Knowing where to shoot on which enemy type will come with experience, but you can always use the Fallout 76 Wiki to look over enemy weaknesses. When in doubt, shoot for the head.
The last thing you need to know is that Range serves two functions when it comes to Weapons. First, it determines the damage you deal with said Weapon over a given distance. The higher the Range the Weapon has, the more damage it can do from further away. As you start to get outside a Weapon’s Range, you will notice it does less and less damage until it’s nearly non-existent. Second, it determines the Weapon’s chance to hit from further away when used in V.A.T.S., which brings us to our next section.
Advanced Sniping (V.A.T.S.)
Sniping in V.A.T.S. is not something you’ll be doing for a good part of the game, because your chance to hit will be too low to be worth it, and you’ll probably do the same or less damage anyhow. Why then would you Snipe from V.A.T.S. ? This is a great question, and the answer simply comes down to Critical Hits. Critical Hits do significantly increased damage, which you will need against harder to kill enemies, but they can be hard to produce for Snipers. Also note, that it in all my testing it appears that you CANNOT miss a Critical Hit as long as the hit chance is at least 1%.
You can only do Critical Hits in V.A.T.S., and you need to use V.A.T.S. to fill your Critical Meter. Every shot you fire in V.A.T.S. that hits your target will begin to fill your Critical Meter, and each point into Luck will make it fill faster per shot landed. With 14 Luck you will need to land 4 shots with a Rifle (in V.A.T.S.) before you can use your automatic Critical Hit. Since you aren’t likely to have 14 Luck until almost Level 50, you will need need to score more hits in V.A.T.S. than this on average just to fire 1 Critical Hit.
That being said, there are many Perks that increase your effectiveness with V.A.T.S., even when you are not firing a Critical Hit. This will allow you to become more effective than you think, but it will take time to gather many of the needed Perks before you see results. This is why mentioned that you won’t be using V.A.T.S. often early in the game, because many of the Perks needed require higher levels.
Note that you do not regain AP while in V.A.T.S. and that you in fact slowly bleed AP. This means you do not want to stay in V.A.T.S. any longer than you have to, and should get in the habit of leaving it as soon as you can. This will allow you to regain AP quickly and then hop back into V.A.T.S.
Fallout 76 Sniper Build Perks
Perks for Sniper Builds can be very simple, or much more complicated, depending on the type of Sniper you want to play. If you just simply plan on manually aiming then they are extremely straightforward, but if you want to have a hand at V.A.T.S. Sniping, then they can be overwhelming. In this section we’ll look at the Perks for a Sniper that wishes to use both of styles o play.
Sniper Build Perception Perks
Concentrated Fire – This Level 2 Perk won’t be overly useful early on in the game, but will help with your Accuracy in V.A.T.S. in general. You will need to strike several times to build your Critical Meter anyway, so it doesn’t hurt to have, even early in the game. Later in the game you will need at least rank 1 in order to target limbs anyway.
Rifleman – This Level 8 Perk will increase your damage with Non-Automatic Rifles. You get the biggest bang for your buck at rank 1, but you need all the damage multipliers you can get for this Build, so take all 3 ranks if you can.
Expert Rifleman – You’ll want to look out for this Perk at Level 20, and it would be great to get all 3 ranks, but unfortunately you will not have enough Perk points. Take 1 rank only.
Awareness – This Perk will allow you to look at the Resistances of the target you are aiming at in V.A.T.S. This will allow you to shoot at the weakest part of the target, even if you leave V.A.T.S. to do it. Take this one as soon as you can once you reach Level 27.
Sniper – This Perk will help you steady your aim for a longer period of time when manually aiming. Only take 1 rank, as you won’t have enough points to take all 3, once you reach Level 28.
Tank Killer – Being able to ignore enemy Armor is a great way to increase your overall damage, and the stagger chance is just a bonus. Look for this Perk when you reach Level 30, and take all 3 ranks if you can.
Long Shot – Possibly the most important Perception Perk for a Sniper, this will increase your Accuracy in V.A.T.S. by increasing your Rifle’s range. In addition, it will allow you to deal full damage from a further distance, which is a bonus to any Sniper. Look for it at Level 37 and take all 3 ranks.
Master Rifleman – Another Perk that increases damage, and ideally you’d have 3 ranks, but you just won’t have the points. Take 1 rank instead.
This will max out your Perception at 15 in order to gain all the Perks you’ll need. There are not a whole lot of other Perks that benefit Snipers in anyway in Perception, so unfortunately if you don’t get the Perk Cards you need you might be a little shit out of Luck.
Sniper Build Agility Perks
Action Boy-Action Girl – This Level 2 Perk will allow your Action Points to recover more quickly. Since using V.A.T.S. requires AP, and so does holding your breath while manually Sniping, this is a great Perk for this Build. Take all 3 ranks if you can.
Evasive – This is not quite a must have Perk for this Build, but since you will have high Agility it makes sense to take it. Look for it at level 17 and take all 3 ranks.
Sneak – Combined with the bonus you get from high Agility, this Perk will make you extremely hard to detect. Consider taking all 3 ranks to prevent yourself from being seen until you are ready.
Covert Operative – This Perk will further increase your Sneak Attack multiplier all the way up to 2.5x at rank 3. Take this one to make the most of your opening salvo. It becomes available at Level 27.
Mister Sandman – If you are using a Silencer on your Rifle definitely take this Perk to further increase your Sneak Attack damage at night. Take both ranks.
This will put you Agility at 14, and it can be a bit lower if you do not wish to use the Mister Sandman Perk. There are a few other stealthy Perks you could select if you wanted to be even more silent, but it depends on how you want to play. Either way, most of the Perks above are great for any Sniper Build.
Sniper Build Luck Perks
Psychopath – This Level 21 Perk will refill your Critical Meter to full from time to time when getting a kill in V.A.T.S. You won’t need this one early on, but you certainly will later in the game. Take it to rank 3 if you can.
Four Leaf Clover – This Level 29 Perk will allow you to refill your Critical Meter sometimes when you land a shot in V.A.T.S. Again, this is another one that will come in handy later in the game, so make sure you keep an eye out for it. Ideally you’d take this to rank 3, but there won’t be enough points for it. If for some reason though you cannot get Psychopath to rank 3, do this one instead.
Starched Genes – This Level 30 Perk is listed here because it will allow you to keep the Mutation that you have and sill clear your Radiation with Radaway. You will need Rank 2 to do this though, so don’t slot this until you have rank 2.
Grim Reaper’s Sprint – Grim Reaper’s Sprint will automatically replenish your Action Points from time to time when you get a kill in V.A.T.S. This will allow you to continue to use V.A.T.S. at a much higher rate, making a mockery of combat at higher levels. Look for this Perk at Level 33 and take it to rank 3 if you can.
Critical Savvy – One of the most important Perks you can take for this Build, it will allow you to fire nearly double the amount of Critical Hits at rank 3. Look for it at Level 44 and max it out as quickly as possible.
Better Criticals – This Level 47 Perk will allow you to deal +40% increased damage with Critical Hits at rank 3. This is important because you want to try to kill each target in one shot, and Critical Hits are your best method of doing this. Max this one out when you can.
Looking over the Perks you’ll notice that you will be pumping Perception and Agility early on, and that Luck won’t come into play until Level 21. Getting to V.A.T.S. Sniping takes awhile, as most of the Perks you need are higher level ones. Stay patient and git good at manually Sniping in the meantime. There are a few other things you can do as well, to improve your V.A.T.S. targeting, and we’ll get to those shortly.
Sniper Build Mutations
In Fallout 76 players can gain what are called Mutations, and gain extra bonuses, that more often than not come with some side effects. Mutations are obtained by gaining a significant amount of Radiation, which is not hard to do at all in the Wasteland. This is important for all Builds, because can make your Build go from good to great very easily, but remember that you will need Starched Genes rank 2 in order to be able to remove the Radiation and maintain these Mutations, so they will most likely come into play later in your build.
There are really only two Mutations that works well for a Sniper Build and they are Eagle Eyes and Chameleon. Eagle Eyes grants you +4 Perception and +25% Critical Damage, but at the cost of -4 Strength. The negative bonus does not impact your Perk Cards, and you won’t be doing Melee Damage, so you’re really only being penalized Carry Weight. Chameleon makes you invisible as long as you are not using Armor and are standing still, making it ideal for Sniper Builds. Look for these Mutations as soon as you get rank 2 of Starched Genes.
Sniper Build Weapons
In this section we’ll take a look at the Weapons and Armor you should be looking for when making a Sniper Build. Many Weapons and Armor are level gated, meaning you cannot use them until you are a certain level, so we’ll make multiple recommendations here (accounting for this). Please note that Legendary Weapons are far more important for an “Advanced Sniper” than just about any Build in the game, and I’ll explain why below.
Sniper Build Weapons
Your weapon selection is somewhat limited if you wish to play a Sniper Build, because you’re going to be using only Non-Automatic Rifles. Some good ones to use at the start are either the Hunting Rifle using .308 rounds, or the Pipe Rifle using .45 rounds. These both deal significant damage per shot, with the Hunting Rifle dealing a little bit more. It doesn’t hurt to have both, however, because it allows you to utilize two ammo types. Later on in the game, as you get a bit higher level, you’ll want to look out for a Black Powder Rifle.
Black Powder Rifles have the longest Range in the game, increasing your hit percentage in V.A.T.S. by about 10-15%% vs. every other Non-Automatic Rifle, and they also hit very very hard. The Range is much more useful mid game, where you need all the chance you can get to land shots, but can become irrelevant by end game. This is because of their long reload time, and because of Legendary Weapon Effects. Look for the Weapon that deals the most damage per shot at end game, as long as it’s Range is around 200 ish.
Legendary Weapon Effects (Sniper)
Once you know what type of Weapon you’re looking for you’ll want to try to get one with as many Legendary Effects as possible on it, up to a max of 5. While these are very much random, and you cannot control what you get, knowing which ones to have will help you decide if what you got is what you need. There are really only a few effects Sniper Builds should be on the look out for and they are:
- Concussive: +33% V.A.T.S hit chance
- Stalker’s: If not in combat, +100% V.A.T.S accuracy at +50% AP cost
- Two Shot: Shoots an additional projectile
There are other effects that can benefit a Sniper Build, such as ones that increase your damage, but these 3 are the most important ones. Concussive will take your V.A.T.S. hit chance from average/poor and make it good/average in all cases. Stalker’s gives you a 100% chance to score a hit when not in combat for a +50% AP cost. This will gain the Sneak Attack bonus in most cases, meaning you will have a 100% chance to do 2.5x damage, and if you use your Critical then it will deal even more insane damage! Two Shot is just crazy good on a Sniper Build because it will fire 2 projectiles, effectively doubling your damage.
Ideally you’d have all 3 of these on your Legendary Non-Automatic Rifle, but even just 2 of them makes you that much more powerful. Snipers are very dependent on these bonuses because their damage, while good early on, isn’t enough to effectively take on difficult enemies. The bonuses above let them do this, and do it well.
Sniper Build Armor
Snipers don’t really need to worry about Armor all that much and should just wear whatever they find that has the best Resistances (that doesn’t weigh a ton). You will be struck with melee attacks and shots for a good portion of the game, until your Build nears completion, so you will need some protection. Later in the game, if you decide to take the Chameleon Mutation, then you will not wear Armor at all, but this is not required.
Legendary Armor Effects (Sniper)
Although Snipers do not need to depend much on Legendary Armor Effects, like they do with Weapons, there are a few that benefit them. I’ve listed them here for convenience, so look them over and get an idea to keep an eye out for:
- Chameleon: Crouching makes you much harder to detect.
- Weightless: -90% Carry Weight, does not affect the Chameleon mutation
There are other Effects that can help, such as ones that reduce damage, but these 2 are the best for a Sniper. Chameleon is great if you for Sneaking, allowing you to get into position or to lose enemies that are aware something is amiss. Weightless will help you to wear good protection Armor without becoming Encumbered. If you decide to go with the Chameleon Mutation, then you will not need to worry about these.
Use manual aim in the early going as a Sniper Build until you can get your V.A.T.S. hit chance up high enough to use it with more regularity. This will take quite some time, so don’t expect to be using V.A.T.S. much before you hit level 20 or higher. The idea is that you manually aim until you get Legendary Weapon Effects that make V.A.T.S. a more rewarding proposition, and then you begin taking Luck Perks that further benefit this style of play.
Because you need to hit enemies repeatedly in V.A.T.S. in order to fill your Critical Meter, you will not get many Critical Hits until later in the game. When you do have a Critical Hit, save it for a tough enemy, and make it count. Using it from Stealth will boost its damage even further, so try to use them before that tough enemy even knows you are there.
Because the Legendary Effects Concussive, Stalker’s and Two Shot are so important to a Sniper Build, you may have to use Legendary Weapons that deal less damage than others. The randomness of the Weapon drops may force this upon you, and you’ll have to decide what is more important to you: more damage while not being able to hit anything in V.A.T.S., or more consistent shots in V.A.T.S. leading to more Critical Hits. Your Sniper Build may ebb and flow a bit with the gear you acquire, and that is ok.
While it’s always a good practice to aim to kill every enemy in one shot, sometimes you’ll be in scenarios where the Rifle you are using is “overkill”, and you might want something that fires a bit faster. Weapons like the Black Powder Rifle have extremely long reload times, and you might not need that much damage to deal with a group of weaker enemies. For this reason, I highly recommend carrying several different Rifles so that you can use the best one for the scenario you are in. And remember to use V.A.T.S. when you are in tight quarters and you can’t Snipe!
Lastly, this Build works much better in a group than it does alone. This is because once you have the attention of a group of enemies, they are going to focus on you, and that makes Sniping hard to do. Ideally you’d be in a group where your teammates are drawing the fire and melee attacks of enemies, where you are somewhere safe Sniping away. However, if you do decide to go it alone, be sure to get the Lone Wanderer Perk for an easier time.