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Best Red Dead Redemption 2 weapons: The most powerful guns to ensure cowboy carnage

It can be a tough call to make when it comes to selecting the best Red Dead Redemption 2 weapons, as there's an arsenal of almost 60 of them that gradually become available as you journey through the main story. Because you can only carry a few firearms between your gun belts and your horse, and there's a wide variety of weapons from revolvers and rifles to shotguns and snipers, it's best to make sure you pick the weapons that are best suited to your Red Dead Redemption 2 play style. To help you arm yourself appropriately for the journey ahead, we've selected the very best Red Dead Redemption 2 weapons available, as well as providing an explanation of how to mod your guns and produce special ammo for additional effects.

Want to get started with a free gun? We've got the details for how to get a free gun in Red Dead Redemption 2 in the video below:

How to mod weapons and ammo in Red Dead Redemption 2

Any weapon in the game can be improved with a swift visit to a gunsmith. These gun gurus will happily change your weapon’s look, mod it with better parts, and help you craft more effective ammo for a price. Everything from stag engravings for the stock of that rifle, to iron sights for a shotgun can be modded. Just select the Styles menu at a gunsmith and you can tweak your gun’s leather, engravings, carvings, varnish, and the type of metal that coats your weapon. For new parts, select Components, where you can customise your gun with a new stock, leather wrap, or a longer barrel to give your weapon increased accuracy. 

Gunsmiths also sell different type of ammunition. For pistols and rifles, you’ve got Regular, Express (greater damage), and High Velocity (greater damage and increased range). With shotguns, you have the choice between Regular and Slug – the latter offers increased range and accuracy.

You can also make your own ammo out in the wilderness by setting up camp. Provided you have the right supplies and have unlocked the appropriate blueprints from the fence in Saint Denis, you can craft the likes of Split Point ammo for your pistol or rifle (which provides more damage and slower Dead Eye drain), or even explosive arrows. For the latter, you’ll need arrows, TNT, and flight feathers, which can be obtained by shooting most birds in the game then plucking their corpses. With the likes of Split Point, Express, and High Velocity ammo, you only need normal bullets to craft these more potent rounds.

Best Handguns in Red Dead Redemption 2

Schofield Revolver

A gorgeous gun where beauty and brutality combine. The majesty of this firearm’s ornate etchings is matched by its brilliant firing speed, dead-on accuracy, and daunting damage stats. Dual-wield two of these pretty pistols and Arthur will be more or less unstoppable.

Semi-Automatic Pistol

Arguably the best pistol in Arthur’s adventure. Holding 16 bullets and rocking a seriously impressive rate of fire, this handgun is your best friend in large-scale shootouts. Not only does it pack an ace reload rate, but it can also be dual-wielded with another single hand weapon. Pair it with the Schofield Revolver or Sawed-off Shotgun for the ultimate combo of speedy death and instant outlaw-crippling devastation. 

Midnight’s Pistol

Complete the Billy Midnight Gunslinger side quest, and this decorative, deadly handgun can be yours. With a brilliant fire rate, buttery handling, and impressive reload and accuracy stats, this pistol is close to the total package. While it’s not as powerful as the Volcanic Pistol, its overall strengths make it a more well-rounded gun. Good luck with that showdown with Billy, though. It took us seven attempts to win the pistol duel with the crotchety gunslinger. Try not to unholster your gun too early.

Best Rifles in Red Dead Redemption 2

Springfield Rifle

One of the best guns you can get your hands on during your first few hours with Red Dead Redemption 2. The Springfield Rifle may be slow to reload, but it justifies its place on this list thanks to its awesome range and power. If you want to clear out gang hideouts from a distance – and haven’t played enough of the game to unlock the Carcano Rifle – the Springfield is the gun for you. Its stopping power is so great, it’s also an ideal option for taking down large predators, like brown and grizzly bears.

Litchfield Rifle

Probably the best repeater in the game, and a gun that packs one hell of a murderous punch. While its reload rate is borderline glacial, and its accuracy not quite class-leading, the Litchfield makes up for it with its amazing rate of fire and outlaw-eviscerating power. Great for down and dirty gang shootouts, you should buy the Litchfield as soon as Arthur’s criminal change purse can afford it.

Best Sniper Rifles in Red Dead Redemption 2

Carcano Rifle

No other gun combines the accuracy and potency of this deadly sniper. The Carcano is so effective, the game stops you from unlocking it until chapter six. Once you finish the Micah Bell-focused mission at the beginning of Arthur’s final act, this ultra accurate sharpshooter becomes available. Boasting impressive range, damage and reload speed, this is the ultimate gun for putting down outlaws from hundreds of metres away.

Rare Rolling Block Rifle

While the vanilla Rolling Block Rifle can’t hold a candle to the Carcano, a super rare hybrid of the sniper deserves to make this list. During the chapter three mission ‘Magicians for Sport’, you have the chance to loot this beautiful rifle from the corpse of an enemy. Once you’ve taken out the bad guys hiding in the cornfields, Arthur will storm a nearby barn. One of these enemies holds the Rare Rolling Block Rifle, so once you've killed all of them, loot their corpses and this sniper will be yours - just try not to get distracted by those gorgeous markings on the handle.

Best Shotguns in Red Dead Redemption 2

Repeating Shotgun

If you like your cowboy killing sprees to be up close and personal, meet your new favourite firearm. Unlike every other shotty in the game (barring the Semi-Auto), the Repeating Shotgun can spew out slugs like it was a repeater rifle. Yes, its firing speed isn’t exactly stellar, but when you can hold this many cartridges in the chamber without reloading, only the most curmudgeonly of cowpokes would complain about it.

Sawed-off Shotgun

On its lonesome, the Sawed-off is merely a pretty good gun. Yet when you pair it with another Sawed-off, the murdery equation changes drastically. Arm Arthur with two of these shotties and the sheer firing power the outlaw can boast will stop any enemy or animal in the game. Get within spitting distance of any foe, and a pair of these dual-wielding weapons will instantly slay them.

If you want the ultimate version of this weapon, you should visit Manito Glade, just north of Annesburg. Out in the wilderness, you’ll find a shack owned by an extremely unwelcoming outlaw. Put the grumpy gunslinger down, and the Rare Double-Barrel Shotgun is yours. For close-range kills, there’s no more potent weapon in the game. 

Best Melee Weapon in Red Dead Redemption 2

Tomahawk

The most forceful close combat weapon in the game, and one that becomes even more potent if you visit the fence in Saint Denis. Pay a visit to the city’s criminal shop, and you can purchase the blueprints for a Homing Tomahawk. Once you’ve bought the extra murderous pamphlet, build a camp after you’ve acquired a normal tomahawk and the feather from an owl, and this homicidally accurate throwing weapon will be yours.

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