Red Dead Online Elephant Rifle: How to unlock and use the Naturalist Update gun

Red Dead Online Elephant Rifle
(Image credit: Rockstar)

The Red Dead Online Elephant Rifle is possibly an inaccurate name, as although there's no doubt it could take down an elephant this thing definitely feels more like a cannon, and deals an incredible amount of damage to match that. This means it's a great weapon for hunting down those Legendary Animals that were introduced with the Naturalist update, but utterly incompatible with actually sedating and sampling any creatures in Red Dead Online, owing to them getting obliterated. We've got the details on how to unlock and purchase the Red Dead Online Elephant Rifle, as well as explaining how to get ammo for the gun and considering whether this monster gun is worth buying.

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How to unlock the Elephant Rifle 

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Unlike the unlockable Naturalist content which is tied to the pursuit and requires you to purchase the new role, you can grab the Elephant Rifle as soon as you update and boot into the multiplayer open-world. 

You can choose to navigate to a Gunsmith in the closest town to pick up the rifle in person, or you can hold down left on the D-pad on console or hold J on PC to open up the handheld catalogue. In both cases, navigate to the weapons section and then the rifles tab to find the Elephant Rifle. It should be easy to spot at the front of the section on the left.

The Elephant Rifle costs $580.00 or 24 gold bars, so make sure you’ve got enough currency before you make the journey to grab it. 

Elephant Rifle Statistics

(Image credit: Rockstar)

The Elephant Rifle’s highest stat is (yep, you guessed it!) damage, and it trumps all of the other weapons in the game due to its uncompromising power. To limit the amount of mayhem you can cause with it, it can only hold 20 rounds at a time, and fires twice before reloading, like a double-barreled shotgun. 

It is useless at long range and you can forget about controlling the recoil. To drive home how much this rifle kicks like a mule, fire it from cover or while crouched… your avatar will be flung to the floor due to the sheer power of the blast.

Upgrading the Elephant Rifle

(Image credit: Rockstar)

If you do decide to buy the Elephant Rifle, there are a set of upgrades you can acquire to make it even more deadly, if you so wish. You can upgrade to a Long Barrel or add Iron Sights to improve the rifle’s accuracy or purchase Improved Rifling to bolster its range. As always, you can’t go wrong with a wrap to keep it clean.

Where to find Elephant Rifle ammo 

Given that the Elephant Rifle only holds 20 rounds, if you’re a big game hunter you’re set to run out of ammunition fairly quickly in between legendary expeditions. If this is concerning you, fear not! You can pick up the Nitro Express ammo that powers the Elephant Rifle at any good Gunsmith or failing that, you can buy it from the Naturalist update’s moustache-twirling trapper, Gus MacMillan. Look for the symbol of a paw with a dollar inside of it on your world map to get a restock.  

Is the Elephant Rifle worth it?

(Image credit: Rockstar)

The Elephant Rifle is well worth it if you’re planning on unlocking the many unique Garment Sets that Gus MacMillan will provide you for bringing back Legendary Animal pelts. It is the most powerful gun in the game, so it’ll take down massive bears and elk in a few careful shots. 

It’s also handy for taking out vehicles or armoured foes. Be warned though, it’s useless if you want to advance the Naturalist role tree - if you kill any animals, Harriet will get upset with you and refuse to work with you for a little while.

Also, don’t bother using it in standard firefights or multiplayer deathmatches. It takes far too long to reload and you’ll run out of bullets too quickly. It’s definitely situational but extremely useful for single targets. Definitely a worthwhile pickup if you’re tired of bison’s and bears being bullet sponges!

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Freelance writer

Jordan Oloman has hundreds of bylines across outlets like GamesRadar+, PC Gamer, USA Today, The Guardian, The Verge, The Washington Post, and more. Jordan is an experienced freelance writer who can not only dive deep into the biggest video games out there but explore the way they intersect with culture too. Jordan can also be found working behind-the-scenes here at Future Plc, contributing to the organization and execution of the Future Games Show.