Starting From Scratch: Tips and Tricks as a Shotgunner

fallout 6 - Starting From Scratch: Tips and Tricks as a Shotgunner

Hi everyone Glorf here with another knowledge dump. This one is long. Really long. Enjoy.

Yes I'm the 900 hours guy, yadda yadda. Still suspended. No communication from bethesda for a couple weeks. We can't help what we love and for some reason I love Fallout 76. The emails I got sent did state they would fix it in a later patch, but I have no idea when that will be. And with actual content around the corner, I'm in no way giving up on Fallout 76. Love me or hate me, love 76 or hate it. I don't really care, let's just enjoy Fallout 76.

I bought a new account on the 25th of Feb. Currently level 115 with 74 hours played. Today is day 9 and I've spent roughly 8.5 hours per day logged in. Yes that's a big number. Not even close to what I was averaging back in November/December.

As I played this past week I jotted down as many tips for new characters as I could.
2DWYFEt - Starting From Scratch: Tips and Tricks as a Shotgunner

My adventures featuring a few nifty finds along the way. My gear. Its very scruffy.

I had some discord friends give me a couple important things to get me close to the damage output level and quality of life of my main. These include:

  • Excavator armor with calibrated shocks
  • Shielded Raider and BoS Underarmors
  • TSE pump action shotgun – Acquired at level 80.
  • Mutation serums
  • Nuka Cola Grenade plan – Drops from Super Mutants, Randomly in Chests and from Events/Daily quests in Toxic Valley

If you can buy/trade things to a new character, but want to experience the game as a fresh player a few key QOL items are needed. Mutations especially are the big ones. The grenade recipe I found naturally the same day I was given it. Shielded underarmor is just a pain in the ass to make as a fresh character, buy one if you think you want one.

This guide will be based on leveling up and farming at the end game as a Shotgunner.

Build, Perks and Mutations:

Your build is the most important thing you can plan before starting. Ensuring you waste as few points as possible on things you don't need. Below are are a few key perks I would like to highlight in the build I used. I primarily played as a Shotgunner. Build here. Ranks of each of those perks changed as I gained more levels and changed gear. I'm still tinkering, but the main idea is there.

  • Demolition Expert – Available from level 10
  • Scattershot – Available from level 18. Hugely important when using pump-action and double barrel variants. Add in the fact that you primarily want to be picking up shotguns and this perk is fantastic. It makes each shotgun weigh 1.
  • Blocker – Available at level 21. The best defensive perk in the game IMO. I've never unequipped this while playing this character. Probably less mandatory once you're gear isn't god awful.
  • Adamantium Skeleton – Available at level 21. Combined with several other items/perks/gear you can make stimpaks irrelevant. I never take off this perk.
  • Fireproof – Available at level 27. Not mandatory, but very important if you can't get dense on a chest. Makes Scorchbeasts Sonic Blast attack do next to nothing. Currently using rank 3 as I don't have Dense for chest.
  • Enforcer – Available at level 30. I use rank 1 as I find it to be plenty. Mandatory for Scorchbeasts.
  • Four Leaf Clover – Available at level 39. I use rank 3, with shotguns it procs non stop. With an explosive shotgun it is mandatory, as landing a crit makes your range/accuracy matter far far less. Plus, damage.
  • White Knight – Available at level 39. If you don't use Power Armor, like me, this is both big for longevity and repair costs. I have rank 3 equipped all the time.
  • Bloody Mess – Available at level 42. The best perk in the game in my opinion, competing with Adrenaline. Worth 3 luck points in every build that exists.
  • Adrenaline – Available at level 50. I use rank 5. Mandatory if not playing sniper IMO, especially with a fresh character.
  • Super Duper – Available at level 50. I would pick up all 3 ranks pretty early after level 50. Very very important perk.
  • Ammosmith – Available at level 34. I got one out of a pack at level 35 and upgraded it right after. Really important for maximizing how much plastic you need, since that's the most tedious part of armor.
  • Weapon Artisan and Fix-it-good – Grab both once you've finished your main build. Weapon Artisan means you don't need to use Gunsmith. Pump Action Shotgun seems to last way longer than a Combat Shotgun from my experiences.
  • Mutations are Bird Bones, Electrically Charged, Healing Factor, Herbivore, Marsupial, Speed Demon and Unstable Isotope.
  • I currently don't use Eagle Eyes or Grounded as I have been lazy about getting them. It's stupid of me not to have either of these and was largely an oversight when I got the serums initially.
  • I don't use Adrenal Reaction as I heard it was buggy and also wanted to try a play style without using Class Freak.
  • You can easily add talons and twisted muscles to this build and you're melee weapons will be very strong. Might need Class Freak in that case however.

Getting Started:

  • From levels 1-10 follow the main quests. Its all fairly easy/boring tutorial stuff but it's very easy way to get to level 10.
  • I did most of the Responders quests leading to Morgantown to level up early.
  • Your camp will want Purified Water, Mutfruit, Corn and Tatos asap. Adhesive is a hot commodity early game.
  • Loot and sell literally everything for that first 200 caps. Try head to Sutton if you have more than 200 caps of stuff to sell. Caps early on let you teleport to far away events.
  • Check bins/suitcase/lockers etc. Often you can find useful scrap inside them.
  • The moment you think you can, join events. They offer you easy fast travel locations and good amounts of experience.
  • Try to unlock the vendor locations as soon as you can. You'll want to be getting your caps up as fast as you can if you want to buy plans. The first thing I do most mornings is a vendor run while I have my breakfast.
  • With an 800 pound stash limit, I didn't do my first bit of real stash management until past level 50. I have roughly 1200-1500 steel in my stash at most times for some reason. 800 pounds feels like a good total limit.
  • Scrap and stash your stuff often. Too many times I've found bags of junk weighing 50+ pounds that I will gladly help myself to. If you can't fit it all in your stash, build your character to never die.
  • If you plan on playing without Power Armor, scrap every bit of armor you find. Mods are very slow to get. If you happen to see Dense mods on vendors buy them ASAP. Robot/Raider/Metal/Trapper dense mods are all rare.
  • Tag any scrap components you think you will need most off. Things like Nuclear Material, Aluminum, Ballistic Fiber etc are all very useful and not overly common. You'll fairly quickly get a feel for how much of each you'll be using on the regular.
  • The Enclave quest line is doable at any level. I finished it in my mid 30s to get the vendors. It's not linked to any other quests.
    It begins at this location.

Leveling up:

This will all be based on my build and loadout.
perks?v=1&s=f6645b9&d=c72a40a04ib4eh2pq1l71lt2au2su2sd2so2sp2lr2pc0as0a30p02sg2eo2lv0&w=&n=ww - Starting From Scratch: Tips and Tricks as a Shotgunner

My build and my gear.
  • Well rested – Sleep as often as you can. 5% isn't a lot but it stacks over the long run.
  • Cranberry Relish is the best exp food you can craft.
    Veiled Sundew Grove has no enemies spawn and a ton of cranberries in the middle. Its a slight maze to reach the cranberries, but risk free with a gas mask. This spot can usually be found easily by travelling to a Mr. Messenger or Census Violence event.
  • Demo Expert becomes maxed by level 14. I used shotguns and grenades almost exclusively.
  • Nuke Mines and MIRV/Nuka Grenades have very large blast radii and are at full damage by level 14.
  • I would spend 2-3 levels farming explosive materials that would then let me gain 5+ levels in a short time burst.
  • Whitesprings Golf Club is without question the best leveling area. With basically any shotgun and headshots even level 62 ghouls aren't a huge issue. Hazmat suit and Blocker give you a lot of tankiness against ghouls. In addition the Gazebo right next to the Tennis Club is a free unlimited Disease Cure.
  • To reiterate further above, placing nuke mines on the left and right side of the stairs inside the golf club will wipe out almost all of the main building. You might die too, but death doesn't mean much in 76.
  • Sentry Bots – Level 60 ones offer upwards of 600 exp. You can kill them in a few ways. My favorite being Concentrated Fire and shooting the Fusion Core. Or alternatively a well placed MIRV grenade can annihilate them. After a Ghoul run, finish it off with some Sentry Bots. Expect to die on occasion.
  • If you want to level quickly, server hopping Whitesprings is likely the easiest way, with sufficient explosives.
  • Make sure to check some of the border walls around Whitesprings. I've seen Behemoths spawn near the holes in the walls and by the front gate and service entrance. As well as Sentry bots. Some runs can have 8+ Sentry bots if you really run far.
  • Do as many events as you can. Good source of plans/aid. Workshops especially if you want many plans. These also can give you many easy events to do if you plan on playing for a long session.
  • Past level 31 once you have mutations my primary way of healing was Herbivore buffed Razorgrain Soup and Healing Factor. Adamantium skeleton negates the need for stimpaks. If you get a vampire or medics gun, you can swap to that for all your healing needs.


  • Leader of the Pack - Starting From Scratch: Tips and Tricks as a ShotgunnerLeader of the Pack – Do this as many times as possible. It spawns 3 legendary wolves in the first stage and another 1 in the follow up. The best event in the game for low level characters. Great source of meat too and usually gives you handy fast travel points. Around level 10ish I got a 3* weapon weight reduction arm from this event. Yesterday this event gave me a level 5 3* instigating/explosive 10mm pistol. If you get lucky, you can get some fantastic leveling gear.
  • Battle Bot – Great location in the Ash Heap, very easy event. Kill 1 level 30 sentry bot and 2 Mr. Gutsy's. Post event has a bunch of decent scrap in the building. Also gives a legendary armor as a reward fairly often.
  • Fly Swatter – Similar easy event in the same area as Battle Bot. Vertibots are very squishy and don't hit hard. For style points you can throw a grenade then shoot it in vats to blow up the vertibot.
  • Horde – I do almost every single horde event I see. They usually teleport you to random locations for more easy fast travel and almost always spawn a 3* enemy. Not usually 3* gear though.
  • Distant Thunder– Very easy event, most times spawns low level Scorched for some reason. Usually over a dozen. If you have a Recon Scope it can be a fun tactical event. Otherwise just chuck grenades.
  • AWOL Armaments – Most people know about this one, but its probably one of the best events in the game. I literally just completed it and had 3 3* Mr Gutsy's spawn and the event award was a legendary. All 4 items are 1* garbage, but this event is still the best.
  • Uranium Fever – Only spawns level 40 mobs, but always 3 of them. Great event to farm while gearing up. Gear will cap at level 40 from this however, still all very usable gear.
  • Defend Workshops – watch out if these popup from other players. It lets you get to some good areas at low levels. At level 12 I was farming the munitions factory for a bit. Red Rocket Mega Stop nearby is a good spot too if you want to combine both in 1 session.
  • Manhunt – Awards 550 exp for severely wounding 1 super mutant. If you don't have access to the interior of Grafton Dam, a nuke mine/grenade can kill Mad Dog Malone from outside the building. Just place it near his quest marker.

Important Scrap Locations:

  • Ore is the easiest way to get most metals in bulk. Excavator Armor is mandatory if mining. Miner Miracles quest is where you learn the plans.
  • Spamming the gather key while gathering from an ore node often gives you multiple harvests from that node. With excavator armor this can give up to 12 ore per node.
  • Inside the Garrahan Mining area where the above quest finishes is an area with a large amount of iron ore nodes.
  • Welch – a bunch of most ore deposists. Silver, lead, aluminum, coal, black titanium, copper, gold.
  • Striker Row – a large amount of assorted ores around the area. Watch out for scorchbeasts.

  • Lucky Hole Mine – can get over 600 lead scrap from a run in here with super duper.
  • Fort Defiance - Starting From Scratch: Tips and Tricks as a Shotgunner
    Fort Defiance- Aluminum, Steel, Straight Jackets, ghouls, ballistic fiber, plastic, foods.
  • Watoga High School – Plastic, Typewriters, Fans, Globes, Aid, Nuka. The best scrap spot in the game IMO for Shotgun users.
  • Abandoned Bunkers –
    Raleigh Clay's bunker - Starting From Scratch: Tips and Tricks as a ShotgunnerRaleigh Clay's and Abbie's bunker have a ton of useful stuff. Raleigh has 5 gourds, perfect for setting up your Cranberry Relish farm.

  • Sugar Grove – Screws/Springs/Oil etc. Most people know this spot, often empty.
  • US-13C Bivouac – Spot right near West Tek. Has a bunch of Hallucigen Cannisters for easy acid. Also a bunch of screws/oil. Also has a Bobblehead and magazine spawns.
  • Seneca Rocks Visitor Center – if this spawns an Enclave Event, go there. Usually it spawns beasts and humanoids. I've walked away from this event with 120+ springs and acid when bears spawn.
  • Whitesprings – This entire bloody place is a gold mine of everything. Check garbage cans, lockers, and corpses and you will often find a large amount of most scrap. Specifically behind the Golf Club inside a trash can is about 10 plastic items. Right next to it is a box with golf balls. In the pool area is a chance for several nuka spawns and also a bunch more plastic. And if you have lockpicking a guaranteed Crown enemy inside the food hut. For Shotgunners, you learn the good plastic spots quickly. Also inside the Washing room check the dryers. Most usually have something in them. Also in this room is a ton of acid items. Near the Presidential cabin is a ton of fertilizer, you'll need it for those grenades.


My gear. The chest and right arm I found on vendors.

  • Check vendor robots if you're nearby. Occasionally you'll find good armor/weapons there. I found my first explosive gun at a vendor. If you've finished with your session and have some time to waste, server hopping the 2 watoga vendors looking for legendaries or mods is an easy waste of time. If you want to as well you can add in Watoga High School and there's your farming circuit. While I was writing up this post I was doing literally this method (school not included). After I can't even count how many tries I found a robot dense mod. Now to keep trying for the rest.
  • Glassed Caverns is a really good loot spot for mods. A number of the corpses inside the dungeon have scrappable armor like trapper/marine/combat etc that's good for a quick run to scrap for mods. Same goes for Fissure Sites. The beast corpses surrounding them have their normal loot on them. Glassed Caverns is filled with Scorched and a few mirelurks. It's very easy to kill everything in here, but the final Scorchbeast. Even that isn't too hard.
  • Check suitcases, ice boxes, cash registers etc in vendor areas. Often players drop unneeded stuff in boxes.
  • Legendary mobs spawn everywhere. There is no way possible to farm specific gear right now. Its entirely a crapshoot. Your perks/loadout usually reflect that.
  • I used an Anti-Armor Combat Shotgun from levels 50-80 as my primary weapon. Currently my loadout is a TSE pump action shotgun and a medics double barrel shotgun. Non legendary fully upgraded guns perform fine at level 50.
  • If you can find a Vampire's or Medic's gun, don't underestimate them. My medic's shotgun can still 1 shot super mutants up close and its crit healing is always in effect thanks to Four Leaf Clover. If you can find a Vampires/Explosive or Medics/Explosive shotgun, these completely nullify enemy damage.
  • My main has a Vampires/Explosive Combat Rifle and a Medics/Explosive Combat Shotgun. And 60% Sentinel armor. My current character has a non explosive medic shotgun and 15% cavalier or sentinel armor. And no Dense mod for chest.
  • The above facts have caused me to have to relearn how to play safely. Use cover and VATS to your advantage. 15% from cavalier can save you from a nuke mine on occasion.
  • Mods are the hardest part of gear. I'm struggling heavily right now as I cannot find Dense to put on my metal or raider chest. I'm using a far inferior leather piece specifically for dense if I have to. It's likely going to prove that trading with others is the best way to get Dense mods on harder armor types. On my main I still don't have Robot/Metal/Trapper dense mods learned, don't even know if you can.
  • Raider Corpses are great ways to find grenades. Pleasant valley has a ton of them. It also usually spawns super mutants and is probably the best area to farm grenades.
  • If you happen to find a mutant/ghoul slayers gun/armor in your preferred type, building a specific Anti-Race armor can give you a good advantage early. I used a mutant slayers shotgun and 3x mutant slayer armor of various levels while leveling up to defend myself. This made doing West Tek or Pleasant Valley runs for super mutants much more tolerable.


  • Utilizing 3* Concentrated Fire and Enforcer is a fantastic way to deal with most single enemies.
  • SBQ – As a Shotgunner your main task is to cripple her. Concentrated Fire, Enforcer and Four Leaf Clover work in tandem to cripple her wings while in flight. Then once she's landed, start crippling each limb. After every limb is crippled, she becomes stunned for a period. From here you can work on add control with grenades and area shotgun blasts, or stand near her face and chain crits into her head.
  • Mirelurk Queen – Man fuck these things. Single most deadly enemy in Appalachia. Cripple the feet and she can't run at you, but she will still spit acid. And that acid destroys you. I'm not sure if crippling her spouts/head stop the acid, I don't think it does. Usually I VATS her legs and then just rain hip-fire blasts while jumping in/out of cover. I wish I tracked how often these killed me. Probably over a dozen times this past week. Nothing else comes close.
  • Scorchbeasts – Cripple the wings the same way as the SBQ. At level 25 I was able to kill a level 80 SB with 2 MIRV grenades placed right under it. Otherwise, once it's landed shoot it in the face. Blocker largely negates the melee attacks and Fireproof negates the sonic blast.
  • Large Creatures – Bears/Deathclaws/Scorpions/Gulpers etc. Blocker is fantastic against all 3, bears especially. Cripple the legs if you don't have a lot of damage and then watch them struggle. Gulpers seem like the tankiest thing in existence. They take 5+ head shots most times from an exploding shotgun.
  • Super Mutants – Up close with headshots was my favorite way to kill them while leveling. If grenades didn't do the trick. Crippling them is largely pointless. Anti Armor works very well, as do nuke mines/grenades in confined areas like West Tek. For the most part, shoot them in the face up close while using cover to heal if need be. Be wary of staggers from Super Sledge's.
  • Mr Gutsy – Those level 52 bastards are super brutal. A single one can shred your health in seconds. Grenades are a good way to handle them. As an example in AWOL Armarments just now, 6+ spawned in each wave. A nuka grenade would stagger and injure most of them and i would rain exploding shotgun blasts while jumping. A double-tap with a shotgun can do the trick, but is very rough if you're surrounded.
  • Assaultron – Her Laser Beam is as brutal as a Mirelurk Queen's acid spit. Without the Grounded mutation this thing hits so damn hard. Even with grounded she can kill you in seconds. Her melee attacks are easily defended with Blocker, just worry about her laser. Crippling her legs is usually very easy and then dipping in/out of cover if you need to avoid the laser.
  • Sentry Bot – VATS and Concentrated Fire on its Fusion Core. Any hit on the Fusion Core with my shotgun seems to instantly kill it. It's minigun is pretty brutal, I use the narrow corridors in/around the whitesprings main entrance if I need cover.
  • Cryptids – All of these are pretty easy. Just run up and shoot it in the face. That seems to be a pretty good idea for most enemies actually. As for the Grafton Monster, shoot it in general. Its sort of a joke of a monster.


  • Inside nuke zones look out for paper bags other players drop. Often you can find huge amounts of scrap near the areas people log in. To further this point, Nuke Watoga. Players often congregate and logout in Watoga and it's nearly never nuked. If you want to be a Raider this is the best nuke spot. I recall in 1 nuke finding over 20 paper bags overflowing with junk. Very Raiderish behavior, but it's a wasteland. I've only done this once myself. It's usually useful if you intend to craft something in huge amounts. Could be handy if you want to craft/smash a ton of armor.
  • Lookout for paper bags in general. While leveling up I found a bag near the golf club with over 150 pounds of scrap. This let me craft a number of grenades to get a big boost to levels.
  • If you have ludicrous amounts of Aluminum and Steel, you can take a Workshop with a vertibot pad. It costs 8 steel and 6 aluminum to repair the pad and the vertibot gives 300ish exp at level 50. Unconventional way to level, but it works if you have insane amounts of scrap.
  • Stop and take a photo from time to time. Remember your journey through loading screens. It makes each experience more memorable.
  • Nukes kinda suck right now without a dedicated party. Green ghouls exp got nerfed and the SBQ gets stupidly tanky sometimes. I've launched 2 nukes, both on the SBQ. The first she leashed out of bounds and we missed it. The second time only 2 other showed up and we failed.
  • On occasion you may have entered a Nuke Zone and got no rads. You can force this bug by repeatedly running in/out of the nuke zone until it kicks in. Once it does kick in, you gain 0 rads from being in a nuked area. If you leave the nuked zone you have to repeat the running in/out to trigger it again. This has been around since launch as far as I know and I've tested it fairly extensively.
  • Connectivity seems to have DRASTICALLY improved. I think I had maybe 5 crashes all up in the week I've been back playing. All of them where hard crash to desktop and not a single server disconnect.
  • Loot lag is still a thing though and it is mighty frustrating. Usually only happens on a SBQ kill with too much loot.

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