It appears that if any of the 3 'pellets' are a headshot, then it counts as a headshot for all of the dmg, it's not split between the pellets so each is hitting for 1/3 dmg(you also can't 'stack' the dmg by landing all pellets on a single target)
I don't know if this is common knowledge or how shotguns determine their dmg and this is consistent with how they operate. Either way, I guess I figured it was worth mentioning, it completely changed my view of the hydra after I tried one a nice person dropped in front of me, hitting headshots at any range or in the thick of mayhem is actually pretty easy.(though it loses quite a bit of dmg at range)
I was sure my recently acquired hammershot with multiple +dmg perks, a max +headshot dmg perk, and energy conversion would outclass the hydra, and technically it does if you can also land consistent headshots, however the bloom is pretty awful when you start going ham on your shots, whereas the spread of pellets from the Hydra usually means one is still on point.
Hammercrush has higher RoF, base crit and crit chance, and is technically more accurate while the Hydra has higher base dmg and impact, lvl 20 hammercrush hits for around 1.5k and headshots 3k+ while lvl 15 hydra only headshots for like 2k+, it has like a 75% headshot rate just firing into a pack of husks without much care for aim, and near 100% if you actually care to aim, which generally puts it's 'effective' dmg(at least in my hands) higher than the hammercrush.
P.S. This is my first post ever, hope it follows the rules and I did this right and all that. Just thought maybe people would want to know. I personally would love to see more discussions on the various mechanics in game. On that note, how do people build for RTL missions? I know pyramid is generally the go to, so what do you do to protect the top opening, and is there a better defense for 2×2 objectives? Best way to get husks to climb pyramid instead of stopping halfway and attacking the slanted roofs? Idea is to just throw down retractable spikes instead of a capstone, need good spikes first though. Also, can a Hammercrush roll explosive headshots and energy + affliction? Because that would still be cool.
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