Other MHW Guides:
- Achievements Guide.
- All Camps Locations.
- All Palico Gadget Locations.
- Elder Dragon Investigations.
- Where to Find Kirin (Elder Dragon).
- How to Get the Sinister Cloth (Death Stench Armor Set).
- Extreme Behemoth Guide.
- Armor Skills (Guide).
- Bow Guide.
Everything you need to know to start hunting with LBG!
Guide for Beginners
Lock and Load! Basics of LBG
Light Bowgun is a quick and versatile weapon with great customization potential: you can be a sharpshooter, turn your bowgun into a shotgun, use both status & element attacks and plant mines on the battlefield. On top of that you have gunner-exclusive armor skills and Mods that change your bowgun's properties. Possibilities are (almost) endless!
This guide smooths the learning curve if you are not familiar with gunner terms and different ammo types. Middle part of the guide helps you choose a bowgun suitable for your playstyle and last sections of the guide will give more detailed tips for hunts.
I will not go through the controls in this guide, I recommend you practice LBG controls by talking to your Housekeeper and entering the training area. Bowguns do not use combo attacks so all moves are very simple to learn.
Here's how a typical hunt goes:
When embarking on a hunt you'll take some ammo and you'll get some on the quest too. When battling you will stay about a tailswipe away from the monster and shoot with ammo best suiting the situation. In a team you can focus on breaking parts that may be too high for blademasters to hit (head and wings for example) and using status effect ammo. Aggressive styles with Pierce and Spread ammo are very good for soloing quests.
With LBG you are always on the move, evading attacks and finding the best angle to snipe parts you want to break. As a gunner you aren't just shooting anywhere you can, take your time to aim for vulnerable parts with right kind of ammo to deal serious damage.
When using right type of elemental ammo combined with well used basic ammo any monster can be defeated quickly.
LBG Mechanics Explained
Here is a list of some common terms and abilities relating to LBG and gunners in general. You'll become familiar with everything when you start playing so don't stress too much, you can use this part as a dictionary when learning.
- Capacity: How many shots you have per magazine. The more there are, less time spend on reloding.
- Deviation: How much your crosshair will move after shooting.
- Mods: You can add Mods to any LBG at the Workshop. Very important, remember to add Mods to every new gun you craft.
- Critical Range: You weapon has a range where it deals most damage (not too close to the enemy and not too far). You can grow this optimal range with Mods.
- Rapid Fire: Your gun uses one ammo to shoot multiple copies in quick succession. Saves ammo, but roots you in place for a few seconds.
- Recoil: Wait time after each shot. You can reduce recoil with Mods.
- Reload: Time it takes to load a new magazine. You can reduce reload time with Mods.
- Single Fire: Your gun has to reload after every shot (= 1 ammo per magazine).
- Wyvernfire: Landmines you can leave on the ground. They are triggered by attacks from either players or monsters.
All About Ammo
Normal 1, 2 & 3 are your basic ammo. They do damage and nothing more. Normal 1 is infinite, but it is the weakest ammo and is used only as a last resort. Normal 2 and 3 are okay to use when trying to save expensive ammo.
Pierce 1, 2 & 3 - multiple hits on all parts it passes through. Always have some with you. Make great damage by aiming head→tail, tail→head or wing→wing.
Pierce 1 is good for small monsters and sniping parts (heads for example). Use on anything smaller than a Rath. Pierce 2 is good for medium and big monsters. Pierce 3 is used on big monsters and elder dragons.
Spread 1, 2 and 3 are short-range ammo that turns your bowgun into a shotgun. If you like to play dangerously and close-range you can make a Spread-build that is very powerful. Otherwise you will always have better options.
Sticky 1, 2 and 3 are explosive ammo used for breaking parts and stunning monsters. When hitting the monster, it stays put and flashes before exploding. You can carry only a few of each so aim carefully.
Cluster 1, 2 and 3 explode into multiple projectiles when hitting the target. Deals good damage and good for breaking parts.
Slicing ammo does small cutting damage, use to help cut tails (remember to check if the monster's tail can be cut, if not save these for another battle.
There are five elemental type ammo available for LBG. You can check monster's weakness in Monster Field Guide.
Status effect kicks in after a certain amount of "status damage" is dealt. Don't underestimate level 2 status ammo, they do a great amount of status damage. Threshold rises after each successful status effect. Monster heals dealt "status damage" over time, so use status ammo until status effect is active, otherwise you'll your precious status ammo.
- Poison: damage over time effect. Some monsters are immune to poison.
- Paralysis: monster is unable to move for a brief period of time.
- Sleep: monster falls asleep. Let it sleep, stack some barrel bombs in it's face and boom!
- Exhaust: monster gets tired easily and gives you time for easy hits and healing.
You can check how effective status is on a specific monster in Monster Field Guide. This affects how many status ammo you must use and how long the effect lasts. Level 2 status ammo is usually expensive, but it's very effective.
Shoot these ammo types at your teammates. Do not waste your time in battle for support ammo, you are much more useful when shooting the monster. Use these before and after a battle.
- Recover: healing ammo type, use on your teammates.
- Demon ammo: gives attack boost.
- Armor ammo: gives defense boost.
Example from Monster Field Guide: Pukei-Pukei is very weak to Thunder and you make most damage when hitting the head, Sleep and Paralysis status are very effective. Tail can be severed with cutting damage from your Slicing ammo.
Choosing Your LBG
Now that you are familiar with ammo types you have at your disposal, it's time to choose your bowgun. Every bowgun has a unique list of ammo it can use, but no bowgun can use all of them. This puts different bowguns into groups depending on what their intended purpose is.
Start by choosing your prefered playstyle from the following:
- Fast, close-quarters play with shotgun-like Spread ammo.
- Strategic sharpshooting from safe distance with Pierce ammo.
- Sniping monster's weakspots with rapid elemental shots.
- Causing status ailments that leave monster vulnerable.
Note: Later, after you have mastered your playstyle of choice, you should mix two or even three of these together. Making mixed playstyles is easier in mid-to-endgame when you have access to wide variety of bowguns.
Then we need to choose a fitting bowgun for you. If you're playing through the story, just pick one that has your preferred ammo types. You can see what ammo bowgun can use when window shopping at the Workshop: pick Upgrade Equipment and choose any LBG to see what bowguns you can get, more will be unlocked as you encounter new monsters. Below you can see the ammo page for Rathbuster II (fully upgraded for high rank Rathalos LBG). I'll use it as an example so lets break this thing down:
Rathbuster II is great bowgun for most situations and great for mixed Fire+Pierce playstyle with Poison being a nice bonus. Notable ammo Rathbuster II can use are all Normal and Pierce ammo, Flaming and both Poison 1 and 2. Slicing and Sticky give nice oppurtunity to break parts when in a team, rest of the ammo types are filler. Rathbuster II suffers from high recoil on most ammo types and clip size for Flaming is only three so you will be reloading often. Recoil Supressor is recommended to cut time between shots.
On the left you can see the list of ammo Rathbuster can shoot. Capacity tells how many you can shoot before you must reload. Middle column tells if the ammo can be rapid fired and the recoil level (the higher the number, the longer you have to wait after shooting). Reload speed is self-explanatory. Last column shows Rapid Fire (yellow arrows up = good!) symbol and Single Fire (blue arrow down = bad!) symbols (also listed in middle column). Fortunately Rathbuster doesn't have a Singe Fire on any ammo.
Small differences in damage output and other details aren't too important when choosing a weapon. Most LBGs have positive Affinity (affects critical hits) so you don't have to worry about that.
What makes a bigger impact on the outcome of the fights are armor skills, mods and your skills as a player. Don't worry about the numbers when starting, just pick a style and a weapon you like. When you are comfortable with one style try mixed style. When farming specific monster I recommend getting an elemental bowgun suited for that fight.
General Hunting Tips
Utilize Loadouts in Item Box menu to quickly change from one set of ammo to another. If you often run out of key ammo, take some incredients with you so you can make more.
Feel free to consult Hunter Field Guide during a quest. Every shot counts so make sure you're hitting the right spots and using an element monster is weak to. Learn to anticipate where monster's weakspot will be after each animation.
Do not fire or reload when next to or directly in front of a monster. This leaves you vulnerable to quick attacks and strong breath attacks. If monster turns towards you, drop everything you were planning and evade attacks - damage can wait.
Constantly reposition yourself when monster is moving and attacking. Just keep moving, aiming and shooting.
Use ammo with bad recoil/reload times to moments when monster is tired. Use quickly reloading and low-recoil ammo when monster is enraged.
If you're running out of ammo during a long hunt, try gathering from berry plants when monster if fleeing. Item box at the camp also has some free ammo.
Powerful Wyvernfire-mines are placed on the ground they can explode up to three times when attacked (3 times if a hunter hits them, 2 times if a monster attacks them). Prediction is key when using Wyvernfire. If monster is sitting on one, just shoot the mine three times for maximum damage. Remember to use on a sleeping monster.
You are one of the most agile weapon classes so keep in mind where you position yourself during battle. Stay out of other players way! This is especially important if your team has Greatsword and/or Heavy Bowgun. Be careful with explosive ammo and Wyvernfire placement that can disturb other players' plans and combos.