I keep seeing a lot of questions popping up about LBG and HBG. What are the good guns? What are the good skills? What are the good armor?
While there is plenty of info out there, I don't know that there is a guide quite like this one. I'm going to give a broad overview of information about the various aspects of both LBG and HBG, the important associated skills, and some other basics. The aim of this guide is to take you from bowgun zero to bowgun hero in as little time as possible 🙂
I am specifically not including sets at the moment, as this is more of a guide on the general basics of gunning. I will be glad to add or showcase builds, if requested.
I am assuming some level of familiarity with Monster Hunter, as guns are fairly complex in general. So, I haven't defined every single term. If there is anything that is unclear, I will be glad to edit it.
That said, let's get started 😀
LBG v. HBG: What's the difference?
If you're coming in as a total novice, that is the first question to ask. What are the differences between LBG and HBG?
Light bowguns have quick movement speed and many evasive options. They typically have relatively small magazine sizes, meaning you will have to reload after a handful of shots. LBGs have 3 regenerating mines (cool down 60 seconds) that you can plant in the ground (on on the monster via Fanning Vault), which explode when hit. Probably most importantly, LBGs have access to rapid fire ammunition, which fires several rounds with each shot of the rapid firing ammunition type.
Heavy bowguns have slow movement speed coupled with some evasive options and some counter options. They typically have larger magazines, meaning slightly less frequent reloading. HBGs have a special mode, either Wyvernheart or Wyvernsnipe, that recharges after use. Wyvernheart is a machine gun style attack, while Wyvernsnipe is a single large shot. HBGs can also charge shots by holding down the trigger before firing to power up an individual attack. Heavy bowguns can equip a shield for automatic blocking.
Both varieties of bowgun are perfectly viable. LBG is particularly strong in Rise, at the moment. Although HBG is not as powerful as it has been in previous games, it is still quite good. Ultimately, either one will suffice to carry you through all of the content in this game, although some matchups are better than others. Experimentation and trying the same monster with different weapons is half the fun in Monster Hunter games 🙂
Ammo Types and What They Mean to You
Both LBG and HBG have a variety of ammo types. I am going to give a basic explanation of each one.
Normal: Basic bullets with no real gimmicks. Medium range with no real downsides.
Spread: Like a shotgun blast. Incredibly close range, but quite powerful with multiple hits.
Pierce: An armor piercing bullet. Passes through the monster, dealing multiple hits.
Shrapnel: A medium range shotgun blast. Many weak hits that magnetize to monster weak spots and mines.
Elemental ammo: Like Normal ammo, but with additional elemental damage.
Piercing elemental ammo: Like Piercing ammo, but with additional elemental damage.
Status ammo: Poison, Paralysis, Sleep, and Exhaust ammo will afflict the indicated status ailments after enough shots.
Support ammo: Recover, Demon, and Armor ammo will provide beneficial effects to your teammates if you shot them. Recover is healing ammo, Demon increases damage, and Armor increases defense.
Sticky ammo: Like a time bomb. Sticks to the monster and detonates after a short delay. Can cause the monster to be knocked over.
Slicing ammo: Also like a time bomb, but with tiny swords. Sticks to the monster and detonates after a short delay, inflicting slicing type damage. Intended for cutting tails, also works well for breaking other parts.
Cluster ammo: Fragmentation grenade. Powerful, but it will also knock your teammates around! A pair of special notes for Cluster ammo. Normally, Cluster are fired with an arcing shot like a morter. However, there are 2 ways to get around this and fire them like a grenade. LBGs can fire clusters horizontally during a Fanning Maneuver. 2 specific HBGs can just always fire clusters in that manner.
Wyvern ammo: Ultimate Finisher! A powerful shot that charges up and fires with heavy recoil. Best used on an incapacitated or sleeping monster.
Tranq ammo: Tranq bombs on a bullet. Nice to have when you're wanting to capture a monster.
Range (And Critical Range)
I've been talking about bowgun ammo ranges in the previous section. That's an important consideration as a gunner. Ammo shot within it's intended distance will do full damage, while ammo shot outside of that distance will not do so and make not even hit! Critical distance is indicated by the target reticle becoming 2 circles. Experiment in the training area to see the critical distances of various ammos for yourself!
What Are Those Icons By My Ammo?!
You may have noticed icons by ammunition when looking at bowguns. Here's what it means!
Footprints by ammo means that you can walk and fire.
The two curving green arrows mean that you can walk and reload.
The blue arrow means that it's an autoloading ammo. You will automatically reload after every shot. This is either a minor irritation or makes the gun unplayable, depending on how you feel about it.
The two orange triangles mean that it's a rapid fire ammo. Yay!
Pick a Type, (Almost) Any Type!
Bowguns are skill hungry weapons (you'll see what I mean in the skills section!), so you typically want to pick one ammo type to focus on with perhaps a backup ammo type.
For LBGs, there are good options for Rapid Fire Normal 2, Rapid Fire Pierce 2, Rapid Fire Spread 2, Rapid Fire Shrapnel 2, Sticky/Slicing, and some elemental ammos.
For HBGs, there are good options for Normal 3, Pierce 3, Spread 3, Shrapnel 3, Sticky/Slicing, and Cluster. (I have not done extensive testing on elemental HBG yet).
With level 2 or 3 ammos, you get good damage and ammo efficiency. If you carry a full stack of you main ammo and combines to make more, you will rarely ever need to restock at camp. Make sure that you take a look at the crafting list and include those items in your pouch! Also make sure that you customize your radial menus so you can craft more ammo during combat.
Skills (To Get Those Kills!) (Or Captures, No Judgment Here!)
What are the skills that you want to focus on as a bowgunner?
First, you want to make sure that your primary shots are comfortable to fire. Recoil Down, Reload Speed, and Steadiness are what makes this happen. Recoil Down reduces each round's recoil, allowing you to fire again more quickly. Reload Speed increases the speed at which you reload, making you less vulnerable and allowing you to resume shooting more quickly. Steadiness decreases Deviation (a stat on bowguns indicating that bullets veer off to the left or right after being fired). Generally, you want Low Recoil and either Fast or Fastest Reloads. If you're playing Spread or Shrapnel, you don't care about Deviation. Any other ammo type prefers to have None, if possible. Also of note is that it is worthwhile to slot in 1 level of Steadiness even on guns without Deviation. Why? Because Felyne Temper, one of the bowgun food skills, increases damage and Deviation. 1 point of Steadiness eliminates that Deviation, giving you a straight damage increase!
Next are your shot type up skills. Normal/Rapid Up for Normal Ammo, Spread Up for Spread or Shrapnel Ammo, Pierce Up for Pierce Ammo, Artillery for Sticky, Elemental damage skills for Elemental ammo. These are your primary damage increase skills, without them you will get much less damage. Normal/Spread/Pierce Up give 5% damage increase at level 1, 10% damage increase at level 2, and 20% at level 3. Artillery is 10%, 20%, and 30%.
After that, your aim is probably damage skills. Attack Boost, Weakness Exploit, and Critical Boost are the usual culprits. They're good for fairly obvious reasons, in that they generally increase your damage output. I don't have much more to say about these.
Rapid Fire Up is amazing for LBGs with rapid fire ammo. It increases attack by 5% at level 1, 10% at level 2, and 20% at level 3. Impossible to get to level 3 without a talisman with this skill, but it is amazing. Highly recommended for rapid fire ammo. It stacks additively with the shot type up skills, so with level 3 in both you can gain a 40% damage increase.
Spare Shot. The saving grace of lower efficiency ammo. Getting a few free shots may not seem like much, but it is absolutely what makes a Sticky/Slicing build work! A great skill, even if you don't need it.
Ammo Up. Equipping this skill increases your magazine sizes. Level 1 increases level 1 ammos, level 2 increases level 2 ammos, and level 3 increase level 3 ammos. An expensive skill, but useful if you can fit it. Slicing ammo is considered a level 2 ammo for the purposes of this skill.
Aim Booster. This skill changes the effective range of your guns. Level 1 and level 2 increase your close range capabilities. This is incredibly useful for Pierce ammo! It allows you to stay much closer to the monster while keeping critical range for optimal damage. Level 3 increases your long range capabilities. This is fantastic for Spread ammo. With level 3 Aim Booster, Spread Ammo becomes almost medium range. This gives you so much mobility and flexibility.
Guard and Guard Up. For HBGs outfitted with a shield, you may want to consider investing in these skills. Guard decreases the impact of attacks and how much stamina guarding consumes. Guard Up decreases the damage of normally unblockable attacks. With these skills, you will be able to fire much more quickly after taking a hit and take much less damage from many attacks.
Now, take note. In the game's current state, there is no way to cram all of this onto 1 build. You're going to have to pick and choose as well as make some compromises. Unless you get a really good charm of course, then all bets are off 🙂
What's In The Box, Ace?
Before I dive into equipment, I wanted to briefly talk about your items. This is what I take with me on every hunt.
10 Mega potions, 1 Pitfall Trap, 1 Shock Trap, 10 Potions, 1 Farcaster, 1 Demondrug, 1 Armorskin, Gunpowder 2 or 3, Huskberries/Latchberries/Needleberries/Blastnuts/Bomberries/Slashberries, 10 Honey, Armorcharm, Powercharm, Armortalon, Powertalon. Primary ammo type, Secondary ammo type, Tranq ammo, level 1 Primary ammo type.
That will give you plenty of ammo with all the combines. 20 Mega potions (including combines). You also have space for Nullberies, Antidotes, etc.
I'm not saying this is a perfect setup, but it's a good basis to start from.
How To Get The Most Out of Your Farm!
Since you have submarines to send off for items, your thought might go to what items you should be farming.
Generally, you always want more honey. You use it for Mega potions and catalysts, so it is a fairly vital component. Going all out on honey is never a bad choice. I typically have 1 sub getting honey at all times.
If you want Armordrugs and Demondrugs, you need Bitterbugs, Might Seeds, and Armor Seeds in addition to that honey.
Other good choices are Slashberries, Blastnuts, and Bomberries. You will always need these combines for there ammo types (Slicing, Sticky, and Cluster, respectively), because they are low capacity ammos.
Latchberries make Pierce ammo, Huskberries make Shrapnel ammo, and Needleberries make Spread ammo. These are nice to have, but much easier to pick up in the world and not as necessary as long as you are using a level 2 ammo as your primary. If you're using a level 1 ammo as your primary, you will definitely want these!
Bowguns of Note
So, here's what you've all been waiting for: the equipment part!
I'm going to outline what I think are the bowguns of note. What does that mean? The bowguns that can be easily built around into a potent build. This includes, but is not limited to the meta choices. It is also fairly opinion-based, so I may have overlooked some decent guns. However, these are all guns that I have experience wielding and can vouch for. With the looming release of new content, this is likely to change. As that happens, I may make an attempe to update this.
Without furth ado!
Night Owl – Nargacuga LBG Why is this good? This gun comes with Rapid Fire Pierce 2 and Slicing ammo. That's really all you need to take down anything in the game. If you're only going to make one LBG, this is the one. The current top meta choice.
Sinister Shadow Bolt – Magnamalo LBG Why is this good? This gun is a toolbox. Level 3 ammos of all types available. Great for turning into a Sticky 3/Slicing gun or a mobile Spread 3 dispenser. Could also be setup for Normal 3 or Pierce 3. A fantastic gun. No rapid fire ammo though.
Despot's Wildfire – Zinogre LBG Why is this good? This gun has Rapid Fire Normal 2 as well as Rapid Fire Slicing. A solid choice, if you desire something a bit different than the Night Owl but still wish to abuse rapid fire ammo.
Comet Bolt – Jyurotodus LBG Why is this good? Rapid Fire Spread 2, plus status ammo, Sticky, and even Rapid Fire Water ammo. With Aim Booster 3, Rapid Fire Spread 2 shreds monsters. Everything else gives you options to help shut down the monster. Truly an overlooked gem.
Barro Blaster – Barroth LBG Why is this good? Rapid Fire Shrapnel 2 is better than you'd think. This is my second favorite LBG, and kind of my hill to die on, I guess, lol. This gun also has Rapid Fire Pierce 1, Cluster 1, and Paralysis 1. Decent backup kit to compliment that Rapid Fire Shrapnel 2 damage.
Grenade Revolver – Basarios LBG Why is this good? Sticky 2, Slicing, Paralysis, Normal 3, and Clusters. An option for if you don't have or don't want to run the Magnamalo LBG for Sticky. An all around decent gun.
Furious Flammenkanone – Anjanath LBG Why is this good? Sticky and Cluster are this gun's game. It gets access to Clusters through it's Rampage skill. Another option for those who'd like something other than Magnamalo.
Doom Bringer Bowgun – Almudron LBG Why is this good? The Element Exploit Rampage skill makes this the best Water LBG, even without rapid fire. An amazing damage boost.
Rathling Gun 2 – Rathalos LBG Why is this good? The Element Exploit Rampage skill plus rapid fire ammo make this amazing with Fire ammo.
Rajang Barrage 2 – Rajang LBG Why is this good? No Element Exploit Rampage skill makes us all sad, but it does get Rapid Fire Thunder as well as a host of other options.
Abominable Bowgun – Goss Garage LBG Why is this good? This is just your highest damage Rapid Fire Freeze ammo, at the moment. Otherwise just kind of decent.
Honorable mention: Jaeger Prime – Ore LBG Why is this good? Because this sucker will probably carry you through the game until you get access to one of the other guns. Rapid Fire Normal 2 makes it a good starting gun.
Sinister Dreadvolley – Magnamalo HBG Why is this good? Just like the Magnamalo LBG, this thing is a toolbox. You can use it to fire pretty much anything. Works well as either Sticky/Slicing or Spread 3.
Venomhail – Pukei HBG Why is this good? Spread Effect 2 Rampage skill gives you 8 shots of Spread 3. Also has Sticky and Slicing for utility.
Felyne Cannon – Felyne HBG Why is this good? Meme Cluster gameplay. This gun fires clusters like grenades, which is amazing but resource intensive. Fun, if you don't mind running to restock.
Meteor Cannon – Ore HBG Why is this good? Sticky and status are this gun's bread and butter. For those who remember the Magda Gemitus Vulcan from MHW, this is your replacement.
Despot's Paroxysm – Zinogre HBG Why is this good? Normal 3 and Slicing ammo are all you need if you want a basic and effective HBG.
Guerrero Cannon 2 – Barioth HBG Why is this good? Pierce 3 and Slicing, again another basic and solid HBG. No frills.
Baleful Night – Nargacuga HBG Why is this good? The other Pierce 3 and Slicing option. Again, good and basic.
Rajang Shower 2 – Rajang HBG Why is this good? Sticky, Cluster, and Normal 3. Not as good as Magnamalo's gun, but something different and decent.
Tigrex Howl 2 – Tigres HBG Why is this good? Sticky, Cluster, and Normal 3. Again, not quite as good as Magnamalo's gun, but another viable option.
Armor of Note
Just like guns, but now we have armor. These are the pieces that I think you should look out for.
Hunter's Greaves S Why is this good? Attack Boost 2 and a level 2 slot make this piece versatile!
Spio Elytra S Why is this good? Weakness Exploit 2. Enough said.
Wroggie Helm S and Mail S Why is this good? Rapid Fire Up. These are currently the only armor with this skill, unfortunately.
Tetranodon Helm S, Mail S, and Greaves S Why is this good? Normal/Rapid Up makes these pieces worth considering.
Ingot Greaves S Why is this good? Attack Boost 2, Crit Eye 2, and a slot. Very flexible.
Rhenoplos Helm S and Greaves S Why is this good? Pierce Up. One of a few places to get it.
Rhenoplos Braces S Why is this good? Artillery. One of the easiest ways to get it.
Pukei Helm S, Braces S, and Coil S Why is this good? Spare Shot.
Jyurotodus Greaves Why is this good? 2 levels of Guard Up and a level 2 slot.
Dober Coil Why is this good? Attack Boost 2 and a level 2 slot.
Shell Studded Set This is basically made for gunners. A good option for a large part of High Rank.
Vaik Set Another set practically made for gunners!
Channeler's Hair-Tie S and Robe S Why is this good? Spare Shot. More options of where to get this skill are always good!
Anjanath Vambraces S and Coil S Why is this good? Attack Boost 2 and good slots.
Rathalos Braces S Why is this good? Attack Boost 2 and good slots.
Zinogre Helm S and Mail S Why is this good? Weakness Exploit.
Rakna Helm, Mail, and Coil Why is this good? Spread Up. Fantastic parts for gunners!
Golden Obi and Hakama Why is this good? Critical Boost.
Charms (And What to Farm For!)
Charms (or talismans) open up your builds by giving you skills that may be hard to find or fit on armor or decorations.
They're random, so good luck getting exactly what you want.
Here are some things to look out for specifically.
Weakness Exploit level 2. That's as high as it goes on charms for now, but incredibly useful!
Any of the shot type up skills. Artillery, Spread Up, Pierce Up, Normal/Rapid Up. Those are very limited on armor, and a good charm can open up your options!
Rapid Fire Up! This is only currently on 2 armor pieces, so it is incredibly difficult to work in. A charm with 2 levels of this is my personal white whale.
Attack Boost is a solid charm option as well.
Charms with 3 levels in any one skill, if they're a skill you might use.
Other than that, charms with good slots are also potentially useful if you need skills that you can get from decorations.
The other source of customization beyond weapon and armor!
Each weapon has 3 skill slots with 2 options each.
LBG can choose between Reload and Elemental Reload for it's first slot. Reload is a normal reload. Elemental Reload is a slower reload for slightly more elemental damage. Seemingly it is not worth switching to Elemental Reload at the moment. It just doesn't give enough additional damage.
For it's second slot, you choose between Forward Dodge or Quickstep Evade. Forward Dodge gives you a bigger evade window, while Quickstep Evade sacrifices some of that window to increase your damage slightly after using it. A matter of preference and style more than anything else.
The third choice is between Fanning Vault and Fanning Maneuver. Fanning Vault shoots you up in the air and allows you to drop mines from above. Fanning Maneuver moves you laterally in a strafing motion and gives you a damage boost afterwards. Fanning Maneuver is superior from a damage standpoint, but Fanning Vault is a lot of fun.
For HBG, the choices are slightly different.
Your first choice is Melee Attack or Tackle. Smack the monster with your gun for a little damage (which allows for you to shield guard during) or a move to reposition and move through knockbacks while taking damage. Tackle is probably your better bet for pure utility, unless you just really enjoy hitting things with your gun, lol.
Counter Shot versus Counter Charger is your next choice. Both allow you to absorb an attack. Counter Shot shoot a special and powerful shot whole propelling you backwards. Counter Charger reduces your shot charging time. However, Counter Shot takes 2 wirebugs while Counter Charger only requires 1. Either is functional, but you're unlikely to use either too terribly much.
Your last choice is Mech Wyvernheart/snipe and Healing Mech Wvyernheart/snipe. One does more damage from your specials, the other does less damage but heals you a bit. It's a neglible difference, so either choice is fine.
The other, other way you customize your bowguns!
On both LBG and HBG, you have a choice between 2 mod options. You should always choose one, there is no upside to choosing nothing.
LBGs can have a silencer or a long barrel. The silencer reduces recoil and shortens your critical distance! You can use this in combo with skills to get even better results. The long barrel increases damage. Use the silencer if you need either effect, use the long barrel otherwise. Don't feel bad about loosing the long barrel on guns that benefit from the silencer, the attack increase from long barrel is relatively small.
HBGs can choose between a shield and a power barrel. The shield enables auto blocking, as long as you are not shooting or reloading. The power barrel increases your damage slightly. Use the shield if you want the safety of automatic guarding, and use the power barrel of you are real daredevil 😉
Endnote (Thank gods, it's tl;dr!)
This is only current as of the base release of MHR. New content is nearly upon us. As that releases, hopefully we are blessed with new options that will make this document a little obsolete 😉
Hopefully this will be of use to someone 🙂 Comments and critique always welcome.
- If you’re tired of running Narga LBG, try slice/sticky Magna LBG.
- LBG/HBG rise first impressions: Recoil may not exist anymore
- A look at the Rapid Fire Piercing Elemental LBGs
More about Monster Hunter WorldPost: "A Primer for Bowguns" specifically for the game Monster Hunter World. Other useful information about this game:
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