Unlock rank: 0
The standard issue rifle for the British Army is an exceptionally strong starter weapon for the Scout. It has a great “sweet spot”—that’s the range unique to each rifle that’ll deliver a one-shot kill no matter where the bullet lands on the body, turning any Scout into a CS:GO AWP-er at the correct distance. For the SMLE, that range is between 40 to 75 meters—a populated playground of enemy SMLE users, Support gunmen, and emboldened Assaults who’re more than likely closing the distance as the seconds tick by. Its bolt action isn’t as snappy as some of its German counterparts, but it’ll ding those kills more easily than any other rifle with its relatively comfortable 10-round capacity. Given that some of BF1’s most furious combat occurs right in its sweet spot, the SMLE is an amazing contender for best all-around rifle.
Variants: The Marksman’s telescopic sight will be preferred for snipers, but keep the closer sweet spot range in mind if you’re choosing the SMLE. You might see better results with the Carbine or Infantry variants with its authentic usage of ironsights. The former is good for hipfire while the latter offers a slightly improve recoil control. Either version is keen for the SMLE’s ideal range.
Gewehr M. 95
Unlock rank: 2
The M. 95 is the rifle that coffee-infused twitch-masters will adore. Its straight-pull bolt provides the fastest fire rate, but it’s the only Scout weapon that lacks a sweet spot—instead, it’ll deal a max damage of 90 up to 20 meters. Its falloff only tumbles to 79 damage farther out which guarantees a two-shot kill no matter the range, an easy feat to accomplish considering its rapid rechamber time—though you’ll want to mind its sluggish bullet velocity and lead your targets accordingly. The M. 95 is deadly for players adept at quickly acquiring a target and popping off a shot within seconds, and although it isn’t as immediately lethal as other rifles, it’s amazingly versatile (especially at close ranges) and combos well into a quick coup-de-grace with your pistol after your first shot.
Variants: The starting Infantry variant helps with accuracy recovery, but the M. 95’s naturally high accuracy bonus is more than enough for giving the other variants a try. The Carbine’s shortened zero point at 75 meters works well for emergency hipfire situations, and the Marksman’s scope is great for long-distance plinking without the added task of edging into sweet spot territory to inflict optimal damage.
Unlock rank: 0
Think of the Russian 1895 as a M. 95 with a sweet spot. It’s just a smidgen behind the latter in terms of fire rate, but it sports a much higher bullet velocity and the lowest recoil of any Scout rifle. Its sweet spot falls in medium-range territory between 60 and 100 meters; not quite short enough to usurp the SMLE’s close-range power, but not far enough to rival distant Gewehr 98 snipers. It halves the chambered rounds to 5 compared to the SMLE, but it retorts with a higher magnification optic and a badass lever-action chambering sequence that so satisfying. Consider it a middle ground between the SMLE and M. 95 with few downsides, easy use, and an excellent choice for picking up BF1’s sniping mechanics.
Variants: The starting Sniper variant provides the aforementioned telescopic sight and a bipod for max stability. For an equally fun time, give the Trench variant a go—it speeds up the lever action to Terminator levels of absurdity at the cost of its sweet spot. For a compromise, try the Infantry variant for an ironsight rifle strong at longer ranges.
Unlock rank: 0
This German standard issue, like the rest of its army’s arsenal, favors practical efficiency over stifling antiquity. With a sweet spot starting at 80 meters and stretching beyond, the Gewehr 98 is a true sniper rifle—a common culprit for suddenly eating mud from a deathdealer perched at the opposite end of the map. Its bullets fly the fastest and furthest before beginning to drop, but its chamber rate is the second slowest of all Scout weapons. That won’t pose much problem for the 98’s intended playstyle which reinforces patience and careful aim to squeeze off million-dollar snipes.
Variants: The Gewehr 98 interestingly first unlocks in its Infantry variation as a nod to its ubiquitousness in WW1’s actual battlefields. It’ll pull off a two-shot kill at less of a hurry than the Russian 1895 or M. 95, so it’s best to adopt either the Marksman or Sniper variations for their scopes. The former is good for adapting to distance changes on the map (usually during a Rush or Operations match), while the latter is better for a more lone-wolf sniper in static positions, a particularly effective method for Conquest.
Unlock rank: 1
The American-born M1903 takes the Gewehr 98’s sweet spot, chuckles challengingly, and kicks it down the street at an extreme range of 98 meters and beyond. It’s a tad faster than the Gewehr for fire rate and rechambering, but it closely mirrors the output of its German counterpart at the correct range. It’s a good idea to swap between the M1903 and Gewehr 98 given your distance preference and the appropriate map; the open terrain of Fao Fortress or Sinai are natural fits, but you can pull of some spectacular kills on snipe-happy European maps such as Ballroom Blitz.
Variants: The first variant made available for the M1903 is a peculiar one: an Experimental version that jams a pistol-ammo magazine into its receiver and converts the rifle into a makeshift Medic weapon. Its sweet spot will expectedly vanish in favor of a vastly boosted RPM and close-range power, and it’ll sport a deep 41-round magazine that’ll stand with the few BF1 weapons capable of downing multiple targets with ease. As of the latest patch, the Experimental’s RPM has plummeted by nearly half, so it’ll fire far slower than its original rate. On the upside, it’ll kill at roughly four bullets on target instead of five, a decent damage boost. The Marksman and the Sniper are your standard sniping flavors to choose from with a similarly magnified sight akin to the Russian 1895.
Unlock rank: 10
Perhaps one of the most intricate-looking and fun weapons in BF1, the Martini-Henry is a massive tree branch of a rifle that fires off a single gargantuan bullet before needing a reload. The reload animation is lengthy and complex, but the payoff is worth it, as the Martini-Henry has the greatest sweet spot range of any Scout rifle, between 30 to 80 meters. That’s been further tweaked since the DLC patch, with the original sweet spot awarding kills if you land a bullet in your target’s chest area. At roughly between 42 to 70 meters, you’ll earn a one-hit snipe if you aim at the upper arms or stomach. Headshots, of course, are lethal at all ranges.
The gun is a visual and auditory treat, and the huge thud from its black powder blasting out that bullet is a silly pleasure. The Martini-Henry is the level 10 Scout kit unlock, and it’s practically a direct challenge from DICE to those who feel confident in their aiming abilities. Alongside its slowest rate of fire, it suffers the slowest bullet velocity—half that of the Gewehr 98. You’ll need to significant lead your targets to actually land a hit, but if you do, you’ll practically blast them out of their boots thanks to its huge sweet spot range. It’s more of a niche gun than broadly useful, but it’s definitely capable for the wizard Battlefield snipers out there.
Variants: The Martini-Henry comes solely in its Infantry variation, which means a further layering of challenge wrangling its sluggish bullets with its meager ironsights. Remember to generously lead your target, and you can further help things by adjusting the magnification level in the gun’s customization menu.
Lebel 1886 (They Shall Not Pass DLC)
(Gif via Westie)
Unlock requirement (Infantry variant): 50 kills with the Gewehr M. 95 Infantry variant & 20 spot flare assists
Unlock requirement (Sniper variant): Accumulate 5 headshots with the Russian 1895 Sniper variant in a round & 10 periscope spot assists
The Lebel is a historical treat, and its interesting mechanics reflect an alternative sniping playstyle from its traditional brother bolt-actions that’s less advantageous and more just plain different. The important part: a 50 to 90 meter sweet spot, a span straddling the domain between the SMLE and Russian 1895 sweet spots. It holds a surprisingly roomy 8 rounds, and its tube-style reload enables you to load individual bullets instead of clips, a bonus for sparing your reserve ammo. Sniping distant targets will feel similar to the SMLE, as the Lebel’s bullet velocity sits just a hair behind the popular British rifle.
The Lebel’s largest hurdle is its reload sequence. Instead of simply pulling the bolt back to load rounds in the open chamber, the Lebel adds an extra few steps involving pushes and pulls of the bolt to shove bullets down the tube magazine and prime the barrel to fire. Authentic? Yes. Cool animations? Yep. Will it kill you with bad timing? Absolutely. Given the Lebel’s tendency to excel at the border between mid- and far-ranges—bumping shoulders again with the SMLE—you’ll need to account for its wonky reload delay leaving you vulnerable for longer than normal.
Variants: The ironsights affixed on the Lebel’s Infantry variant is clear enough to aid in a mobile marksman role best suited for Operations or Rush modes, and it’s also a good way to get used to eyeballing the travel speed of your shots to compensate. The Sniper variant will suit a typical stop-and-pop sniper. Again, be wary of the Lebel’s reload speed, and you’ll excel with it.