The ultimate guiding principle in the Bayou is risk versus reward, but with hordes of the undead, nightmarish bosses, and enemy hunters seeking you out, it is difficult to plan for all the unknowns. In this sense, success in Hunt: Showdown starts at the loadout screen, where picking the right equipment can give you a crucial advantage in making it out alive.
Whether you're a white shirt looking for an edge or a seasoned bounty hunter eager to spice things up using the Stalker Beetle, I think these loadouts will give you the best chance in your next showdown.
The New Guy
- Primary: Winfield M1873C
- Secondary: Nagant M1895
- Traits: Iron Repeater, Levering
- Hunt Dollars: $327
Compact ammo gets a bad rap for its underwhelming damage at range and lackluster bullet penetration. However, the Winfield M1873C is the cornerstone of any player’s early days in Hunt. This loadout prioritizes equipment that is available early in the progression tree with the latest unlock being levering at Rank 8.
The Winfield’s quick repeating mechanism excels at putting a lot of shots down range, especially follow-up shots in fights within the same compound. Compact ammo damage drops off sharply past 25 meters, but the Winfield ironsight has a thin post that's ideal for headshots. The trait Iron Repeater allows you to remain aimed down sight while cycling the next round, perfect for tracking targets.
High Velocity ammo is entirely optional but it will mean that headshots at range (anywhere up to its new max headshot range, 150 meters) won’t require as much lead. If fights get too close for comfort, levering allows for a rapid volley of hip-fired shots, effectively transforming your rifle into a pistol. The only major drawback with this build is its damage over range so expect to need two shots to the chest in most situations and three on the rare longshot.
If you have dirtied your white shirt and earned some unlocks further down the tree, there's no reason not to upgrade to the Winfield 1873 (non-C version, unlocked at Rank 27). It's the same gun, just with 8 extra bullets in the tube. There's also the Talon variant that straps an axe blade to the stock to deal the full 330 heavy melee damage of a standard combat axe. This variant can rinse through AI, killing Armoreds in one swing, and break any barricaded doors between you and a holed-up Hunter. It costs a few extra Hunt Dollars, but the Talon can give this loadout another level of utility and more options for CQB.
Neither Seen Nor Heard
- Primary: Vetterli 71 Karabiner Silencer, FMJ ammo
- Secondary: Scottfield Spitfire, FMJ ammo
- Trait: Iron Sharpshooter
- Hunt Dollars: $735
Sometimes the most lethal things are those we don’t see coming. In a game where high-fidelity sound allows you to pinpoint enemies and seeing through walls is a baked-in ability, striking silently is a strong counter to experienced players hunting with all their senses. Silenced rifles have tradeoffs in Hunt, but their ability to surprise enemies without announcing yourself as a primary target makes them well worth your time.
The Vetterli Silencer has claimed all my affection recently for its excellent iron sight, satisfying slow muzzle velocity, and unquestionable utility. Use your silencer to quietly headshot AI and move through the world undisturbed. Pair it with FMJ and you have a rifle that can shoot through most the walls you need to at most the ranges you require. Iron sharpshooter gives you a small boost in fire rate, and the Scottfield Spitfire secondary increases your spare ammo pool to 34, making up for any ammo spent on grunts.
This loadout is all about testing boundaries, audible and physical. Concertina traps and the hive bomb can help you control an area. The flashbomb and fire bomb can be used offensively and defensively, whether you need to hide your movement or force enemies to push.
The Vetterli Silencer edges out other rifles in this category because it retains its damage over range better than the Winfield Silencer and can follow-up shots faster than the Sparks Silencer, meaning you don’t always have to wait for the perfect moment. Those who can master the slow 240 m/s muzzle velocity and avoid failed ambushes will get the most mileage here.
The Stalker Team
- Primary: Lebel 1886
- Secondary: Sparks Pistol, half poison ammo
- Trait: Iron Sharpshooter, Bulletgrubber, Poison Sense
- Hunt Dollars: $925
The Stalker Beetle buzzed into the Bayou in Update 1.10 and will surely be a pest while the meta adjusts. Hate it or love it, the new throwable opens the door for some kooky combinations like downing wounded hunters with a sticky bomb airlifted by our new exoskeletal friend. This loadout will require some coordination amongst partners and has some variations depending on your marksmanship and bank account.
As a quick recap, the Stalker Beetle drone is a great vehicle for reconnaissance, but it has offensive capabilities as well. Holding the primary fire button will trigger a small explosion that deals 5 damage over a 5 meter radius, inflicts medium bleeding, and medium poison damage that prevents healing for around 10 seconds. The devious detail: this explosion can also detonate thrown explosives, including a sticky bomb stuck to its shell.
HomeReel (opens in new tab) is a YouTuber who specializes in Hunt: Showdown tips, weapon guides, and news updates. He also covers other games in the burgeoning extraction shooter genre.
This loadout leans on the high damage of long ammo weapons to greatly weaken your enemies, rendering them perfect targets for your IED drone. A perfect kill goes like this: tag a hunter in the chest, quickly deploy a Stalker Beetle, attach a sticky bomb provided by your parter, and deliver the sticky bomb to the wounded enemy hunter before the 8 second fuse is up.
As an added bonus, this loadout works even if an opportunity for a Beetle kill never presents itself. The Lebel and the Sparks pistol work symbiotically, offering two high damage options for the first hit while also increasing the spare ammo pool to 12. The optional poison ammo on the Sparks, when used with Poison sense, will mark the wounded enemy in dark sight for you and your beetle, making it more difficult to hide from winged death.
Traits like Iron Sharpshooter (remain aimed down sight between shots; slight fire rate increase) and Bulletgrubber (catch unspent bullets on a partial reload) can assist with some of the cumbersome qualities of the Lebel. Most importantly, the full long ammo build means you will rarely be outranged, even in veteran lobbies.
The Sparks LRR might be a better rifle if you don’t want to use a sticky bomb, given that one shot to the chest takes enemies to 1 HP, but its single-shot reload is much more reliant on marksmanship. The Lebel could be swapped for a Mosin, but using the Lebel will save you almost a hundred bucks if your pursuit of beetle-cladded glory doesn’t go to plan.
I doubt Beetle bombs will be the preferred method in the most competitive situations, but it does have a bit of pizazz. It remains to be seen if the Stalker Beetle will truly be the anti-camping mechanic Crytek has touted as its solution to stalemates. However, given all the changes coming to Hunt in 1.10, I think these loadouts will be reliable picks until the dust settles.