KEY POINTS

  • Shotguns are most effective when indoors and in very close encounters
  • Total shotgun damage is determined by the number of pellets that hit per shot
  • Wearing power armor is recommended but not required

Like in most games, shotguns in “Fallout 76” are reserved for close-range encounters that require a ton of burst damage. However, this normally puts players in sticky situations where they can get easily swarmed by enemies and gunfire.

Pairing a shotgun with a build that maximizes both damage and durability is a fun way to enjoy the post-nuclear apocalypse of “Fallout 76.” Here’s a guide on how to make a tanky close-range bruiser build that makes the most out of shotgun-related perks and mechanics.

Recommended perks and mutations

There are a plethora of perk cards that can work in any build, so here’s a list of must-haves for boosting the effectiveness of shotguns across the board:

  • Shotgunner (including Expert and Master versions)
  • Scattershot
  • Skeet Shooter
  • Enforcer
  • Bloody Mess
  • Gunsmith (for crafting and maintenance)

The following perks are for boosting survivability through increased health, damage resistance and healing:

  • Barbarian
  • Lifegiver
  • Refractor
  • First Aid
  • Field Surgeon
  • Blocker

For mutations, consider getting Scaly Skin and Grounded for more damage resistance. Speed Demon is nice for the extra movement and reload speed as well.

The damage perks are mandatory for late-game scaling. Meanwhile, most of the survivability perks are only required if players don’t plan on bringing power armor.

There are no legendary perks required for this build, but things like Ammo Factory or any S.P.E.C.I.A.L.-boosting perks are always welcome.

Prioritize STR, PER, AGI and LUCK when leveling up.

Weapons and gear

A Gauss Shotgun will deal the most damage out of all other options in the game, but feel free to use a normal pump-action or a Combat Shotgun to deal with weaker targets. Stay close to enemies and make those shots count.

As for legendary effects, there are a few good candidates. Bloodied remains a good option, but given how risky staying in close range can be, players run into some issues with survivability unless they’re using power armor.

Instigating is great since most shotguns deal tremendous damage per trigger pull, assuming that all pellets connect.

Furious is not recommended due to how janky its interaction is with shotgun pellets. If even a single pellet in a shot hits the environment, the effect will reset. Two Shot is also not recommended as it only adds one additional pellet.

Lastly, consider getting a shotgun with Explosive Shots to make fighting a little easier.

Fallout 76 Fallout 76 Photo: Fallout 76