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Hunting Rifle

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"Now that is a sweet-ass scope!"
"I'm gonna try this scope out."

The Hunting Rifle is the most accurate firearm in Left 4 Dead, and is also slightly more accurate than the Sniper Rifle in Left 4 Dead 2 when the player is moving. It is a semi-automatic Tier 2 scoped rifle. The hunting scope is accessed using a dedicated control. This rifle is highly accurate when used without reference to the scope, but movement of any kind degrades this quality to a marked degree. Unlike other weapons, crouching has no effect on this rifle's accuracy (unless the player is moving, in which case the spread is tighter when the player is moving while crouching than when running).

It holds a 15-round magazine with 150 rounds in reserve, and can shoot through a wide variety of hard cover, thus allowing a player to engage all classes of Infected hidden behind doors, partition walls, furniture and so forth. The Hunting Rifle's superb bullet penetration power is especially useful when facing a horde since a single round can pass through several enemies at once. When required, the Hunting Rifle can be fired almost as fast as a single Pistol; however, it is normally fired at a slow rate—which is a plus factor in conserving ammo and thus something to be borne in mind when choosing a weapon prior to entering a phase in a chapter known to be heavily infested with enemies.

The Hunting Rifle is a medium to long range weapon best suited for engaging targets in open areas. For example, it is ideal for standing off and sniping a street filled with Common Infected prior to stepping out from a building or alley.

Players using Hunting Rifles are very effective when working with Survivors using shotguns; the Survivor with the Hunting Rifle kills Infected at long ranges, while Survivors with shotguns provide close-range firepower.


  • The Hunting Rifle is the most accurate weapon in both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. While moving (unless you are using the scope) or taking damage, each shot still has a high chance of hitting the target due to its small crosshairs. Using the rifle's scope while moving is another useful option, and allows quick cover of the team from long range without stopping. Activating the scope tightens the crosshairs faster than standing still.
  • Although the Hunting Rifle boasts considerable stopping power against Common Infected, its power is mitigated against Special Infected. Aim for the head to compensate.
  • Fire slowly. Although the Hunting Rifle has a good rate of fire, firing quickly is only effective on the Tank or Witch, both of which require multiple shots to kill. Conversely, more than one shot fired into a line of Common Infected is wasted.
  • Reload strategically. Although this is generally true of every weapon, firing 15 quality shots with the Hunting Rifle during a minor horde event is fairly rare. The Hunting Rifle takes significantly longer to reload than the Assault Rifle, and cannot be canceled like the Auto Shotgun, so keep your magazine full enough to protect team members from Special Infected.
  • Except when in Realism mode, the Hunting Rifle kills a Common Infected in one shot on any difficulty. The rifle can kill numerous Infected in the horde by penetrating, as long as they are appropriately lined up. In Realism, it takes two shots on Easy/Normal and three shots on Advanced/Expert to kill a Common Infected, or one headshot.
  • Be incredibly careful of friendly fire. This applies the most on Expert difficulty, as one shot will leave a Survivor with very low health, and an easy target for any Infected.
  • In choke points such as hallways, tunnels, and other areas where the horde is funneled towards you, the Hunting Rifle is incredibly potent. Since its shots can pass through multiple Infected, all it might take is one to five well-timed shots to eliminate the entire horde. This can be incredibly useful on Expert if your friends are hurt or out of ammo.
  • The Hunting Rifle can shoot through ceilings, floors and walls. However, it can only penetrate one obstacle (except for two doors), and it must be part of the map's world geometry (a brush). Model-based entities such as dumpsters, cars, etc. cannot be penetrated. Because of the gun's large reserve of ammo, it is more viable to fire blindly at walls in order to kill Boomers or Smokers when they are heard compared to the Auto Shotgun or the Assault Rifle.
  • It is possible to kill a Witch solo, even on Expert. First, get as far away as possible while having a clear shot while she runs at you, preferably in a long hallway. Once you're lined up, shoot her head, and since she stumbles backwards; this gives you a chance to fire rapidly at her body. If you run out of ammo before she dies, use your Pistols.
  • Be wary of Smokers. When you are being dragged, the crosshairs open all the way and you cannot scope. Try to aim towards the Smoker in advance if you know you are about to be snatched, allowing you more chances to fire before you are put into the 'dragged' animation.
    • Bracing yourself against something so that you do not move when dragged will keep the crosshairs tight enough for you to fire accurately, potentially allowing you to free yourself.
  • The Hunting Rifle is only moderately effective against Tanks, but has the bonus of allowing the user to attack the Tank from a longer distance, where the Tank is less of a threat.
  • Before leaving the safe room, it is a good idea to pick up the Hunting Rifle (or the Sniper Rifle in Left 4 Dead 2) and kill all the Infected that you can see. Then you can go back, grab whatever weapon you want and continue on with less Infected to worry about if playing on Expert.
  • Optimally, there should be no more than one Hunting Rifle per team, so if you plan on using it, make sure you are the only one. Two of them can potentially be a liability. When playing with Survivor Bots, Zoey will always pick up a Hunting Rifle if available, so if you want to be the sniper, it would be advisable to choose her as your character.
    • In Left 4 Dead 2, Ellis takes over Zoey's role as the AI team sniper, so the same tactics apply to him.
    • If playing the original campaigns in Left 4 Dead 2, Francis will be the sniper.
  • When using Explosive Ammo in conjunction with the Hunting Rifle, try to aim at the feet of groups of Infected. This catches multiple victims in the round's small but powerful blast radius, which will maximize the number of Infected you can kill with each shot.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, there are a few places where a Hunting Rifle can spawn before other Tier 2 weapons, such as on the top of the billboard next to the motel in The Highway, inside the Burger Tank in Milltown, and near the end of the walkway in Plank Country after crossing the river (randomly a Hunting Rifle or a Sniper Rifle).
    • Be careful if playing with Survivor Bots; they will always swap their Tier 1 primary weapons with them (due to preference for a Tier 2 over Tier 1 weaponry). Too many Hunting Rifles in a Survivor group may weaken a team against certain threats, such as having no shotgun weapons against the Witch, or general use weapons against panic hordes. Furthermore, when beginning to be surrounded by Infected, they will always switch to their pistols and often aim poorly at group of Infected. This is a big problematic on higher difficulties.
  • Newcomers may prefer the Hunting Rifle over the Sniper Rifle as it is somewhat easier to wield. The Hunting Rifle is lighter and more "flexible" whereas the Sniper Rifle requires more experience.
    • If accuracy is a general problem, it may be better to choose the Sniper Rifle for its significantly increased ammo capacity, so poorly aimed shots do not empty the player's magazine as quickly.

Pros and ConsEdit


Sniperv 1

Zoey holding the Hunting Rifle.

  • The Hunting Rifle can shoot through lines of Common Infected with a single shot, except for Realism mode.
  • It easily penetrates a wide range of hard cover, allowing you to save stranded teammates from Hunters or Smokers.
  • It shares the highest accuracy of any weapon in the game, higher even than the Sniper Rifle.
  • Has the highest penetration along with the Sniper Rifle.
  • A Hunting Rifle user can easily clear out an area or kill Special Infected from a distance.
  • It has a high reserve ammunition pool. Running out of ammo seldom becomes a problem.
  • High accuracy means that there is a lower chance of friendly fire.
  • Smokers become easier to kill.
    • All Special Infected can be killed at a range, before they become a threat.
    • Pinned teammates can be freed from a longer distance away as well.
  • Headshots stun the Witch temporarily on all difficulties as long as she is idle (crying).
  • Tanks can be engaged from a distance, where only their rock throw becomes an issue.
  • Even without a scope, it can be a very effective close-range weapon, cutting through the horde very easily and with more accuracy than a shotgun.


  • In close quarters, the Hunting Rifle becomes drastically less effective against a Tank.
  • Accuracy is reduced when running and not scoped.
  • Scoping decreases running speed.
  • When scoped, it is easier to be flanked or pinned, making you more reliant on teammates.
  • The magazine is fairly small, forcing you to reload often.
  • The reload animation is significantly longer than the Assault Rifle and cannot be stopped like a shotgun.
  • The rate of fire is capped, meaning that no matter how fast you press the trigger, the rate of fire will remain about 225 rounds per minute.
  • It takes several hits to kill a Common Infected on Realism mode if the penetrated areas are not headshots.
  • Friendly fire can be an issue at close range as a careless shooter can easily take large amounts of health off a whole team.
  • In extremely close-quarter combat with a horde, accuracy is lost seemingly through a programmed setting which mimics the Common Infected bumping and grabbing the rifle barrel. Frequent melee shoves are thus needed to clear space for a shot.
  • Has the lowest Damage Per Second of any tier 2 weapon in either game (not including international weapons) (tied with the Sniper Rifle, both of which have 360 DPS), even lower than the tier 1 Silenced Submachine Gun.
    • This, along with having the lowest magazine size of any bullet-based primary weapon in either game, makes the Hunting Rifle one of the least effective Tier 2 weapons to use against the Tank (based on damage output at close range); the only tier 2 weapons that take longer to kill the Tank are the International sniper rifles.

Left 4 Dead 2Edit

Hunting Rifle Reload Bill 3P

Bill about to complete the reloading sequence.

The Hunting Rifle also appears in Left 4 Dead 2. Its crosshair is tighter when moving, and its ammunition reserve is reduced to 150, but otherwise it functions the same. It does not have new animations, but has new reloading sounds. Though it is a Tier 2 weapon, it seems to be treated like a Tier 1 weapon (with the new Sniper Rifle filling its Tier 2 position), since it tends to be available earlier in campaigns. Due to the overall improvement of the Hunting Rifle for Left 4 Dead 2, the DLC The Sacrifice rebalanced the Left 4 Dead Hunting Rifle to match its counterpart in Left 4 Dead 2, including reduced accuracy penalties when moving along with smaller reserve ammo.

Behind the ScenesEdit


The Hunting Rifle's charging handle.

Early screenshots show that the Hunting Rifle's world model had a charging handle on its right side at one time. The handle was removed in the final version, after all cocking animations were removed.

The Hunting Rifle is based on Counter-Strike’s SIG SG 550 sniper rifle. Its "price" in the gun's weapon file is the same as the SG 550's, and it references the SG 550 in its "animation" listing. However, its firing sound is a modified version of the Counter-Strike's Scout's firing sound.


Hunting Rifle Cocking Animation

The Hunting Rifle's removed cocking animation.

  • The Hunting Rifle is visually based upon the Mini-14 with an attached scope. The in-game performance of the weapon is much different from the performance of the real-life Mini-14. While dealing greater damage per projectile than any other rifle in-game, the actual Mini-14 is chambered in an intermediate rifle cartridge (5.56x45mm, same as the M16 and Combat Rifle). As such, the Mini-14 itself is not anymore effective than the M16 for most practical purposes. Other models, such as the Mini-30 (chambered in 7.62x39, the same round used in the AK-47 and AKM) also would not have such a dramatic jump in tissue damage.
    • In terms of performance, the Hunting Rifle is most likely based upon the M14 (the Ruger Mini-14 was designed as a smaller modification of the M14, hence the "Mini-" prefix). The real-life M14 can use 20-round magazines and fires 7.62x51mm ammunition, the same round chambered by the G3, the real-life counterpart of the Military Sniper Rifle (which would explain why they deal the same amount of damage).
    • It is also possible that the Hunting Rifle is modeled after the Mini-30 or Mini-6.8, which look similar, but are respectively chambered for the slightly-more potent 7.62x39mm (the same as the AK-47) or 6.8x43mm round. In either case, 5.56, 7.62, and 6.8 do not demonstrate dramatically-different ballistic performance from one another and thus the Hunting Rifle in Left 4 Dead should be dismissed as wildly unrealistic.
    • The use of a Mini-14 or Mini-30 as a precision weapon is strange as the real-life counterpart is known for disappointing accuracy due to the detrimental thin barrel. This is partially alleviated by the newer 580 series, however, the Mini-14 featured in Left 4 Dead is of the older variant, as evidenced by the ramped front sight. This is most likely simple developer oversight or, as evidenced with other weaponry, geared towards gameplay.
    • The words "Patriot 809" are on the receiver, suggesting this is the model name in the Left 4 Dead universe.
  • The weapon holds 15 rounds, but in reality the Mini-14 has standard magazines that hold 5 or 10 bullets and custom magazines that hold up to 40. The in-game magazine is modeled after the 10-round version.
  • In the Left 4 Dead game guide, the Hunting Rifle is depicted as green, however, in-game it is brown.
  • Despite the achievement "Cr0wnd" suggesting so, you cannot kill the Witch with a single headshot using the Hunting Rifle. It is possible to kill a Witch with the Hunting Rifle, though, by stunning her with a headshot while she is idle, and finishing her off before she gets to recover from the stun.
  • The Hunting Rifle and the Sniper Rifle are the only guns that can shoot through almost anything.
  • It is also is the only gun that has the same animations as it did in Left 4 Dead.
    • Because of this, its unused reloading/cocking animations still exist in the game files.
  • Its scope is mounted backwards.
  • Even though it was featured as the only scoped rifle in Left 4 Dead, semi-automatic rifles are illegal to use for hunting in Pennsylvania.
  • There is a rare glitch when reloading. If the player is in the middle of reloading, but then a Tank hits then and sends them flying into the air, sometimes they will still keep on doing the reloading animation. This can lead to comical results when the player is killed by the Tank, yet still reloads as a ragdoll.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, there is a glitch in the reloading animation. If the player looks either all the way up or down while reloading, the Survivor's left hand will be to the right of the magazine as they reload. This does not occur if the player looks straight ahead when they reload.
    • Playing the game with a high FOV (adjusted with the cl_viewmodelfovsurvivor console command) and using the Hunting Rifle while aiming up or down will show the Survivor's left arm twisting and bending in a way that it shouldn't.
      • The reasons for this is because the Hunting Rifle re-uses its original and unedited animations instead of its new ones.
  • Occasionally, the Hunting Rifle will be covered in a sort of camouflage of reds and yellows. This is either an Easter egg or a glitch.
  • The Hunting Rifle in Left 4 Dead originally had terrible accuracy while moving, making run-and-gun tactics near impossible to pull off. As of October 5th, 2010, the release of The Sacrifice has made the Hunting Rifle in Left 4 Dead behave more like its counterpart in Left 4 Dead 2, thus it now has much improved accuracy while moving. The ammo of the Hunting Rifle was also reduced from 180 rounds in reserve to match its Left 4 Dead 2 counterpart with 150 rounds in reserve.
    • As of this update, the Hunting Rifle, along with the Assault Rifle is one of the only two weapons to have identical counterparts.
  • There is a glitch may occur if you get charged while holding the Hunting Rifle and press the zoom key, you can zoom while being pummeled.
  • This weapon, along with the Submachine Gun and the Assault Rifle are the only weapons that have reloading animations in which the magazine is actually removed from the weapon when seen from the third person view in Left 4 Dead 2. Other weapons' magazine will remain attached to the weapons if their reloading animations are played in third person.

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