Monster Hunter: World – Gunners Guide to the New World

Welcome friends, I’ve been wanting to do an all encompassing guide on the Light and Heavy Bowguns in Monster Hunter: World. I’ll discuss everything from which guns to use, what armor you should wear, what different ammo types do and more! My aim is for this guide to be as useful a resource to series veterans as it would be someone new to the game or series looking to understand the complex and at times confusing weapons that bowguns are. Please note, I will NOT be talking about Bows as a Weapon type or individually in this guide, only bowguns.

Note: All information is given for the PC Version, at time of writing we do not have Kulve Taroth, Lunastra or Behemoth equipment.

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Outside of “This looks cool” or “I wanna shoot stuff” bowguns offer a very different and tactical way to play the game. Despite having only Two types of Bowgun, the diversity comes from the ammo type selection, ammo capacity, recoil and many other factors that can further define the purpose of a bowgun. Similar to real life how a shotgun and rifle may appear the same but serve vastly different roles in terms of how they deal damage. So the reality is even though there are only 2 bowgun weapon types, it breaks down to around 10 different gunner roles which even have some crossover depending on the specific gun.

Light Bowgun (LBG) or Heavy Bowgun (HBG)?

The main difference between the two bowgun weapon types is mobility. Light bowguns allow you to move more swiftly and evade more nimbly while Heavy Bowguns as the name suggests are slow to move around. Surely that’d make Light bowgun better right? Well not necessarily, you see in exchange for mobility, the Heavy bowgun packs a much heftier punch and has access to some really strong ammo types. New to MH: World are also the Special Ammo types. Light bowguns get Wyvernblast, which is a special kind of bullet you deploy into the ground like a landmine. This landmine goes off when anything hits it, be it you, monster or another player. It also deals proportional damage to what hit it, so be sure to think about your placement. Heavy Bowguns then get one of two Special Ammo types, Wyvernheart or Wyvernsnipe. As a general rule of thumb, HBG’s from the ore tree have Wyvernheart while bone tree HBG’s have Wyvernsnipe. Wyvernheart basically turns your Bowgun into a machine-gun, rapidfiring multiple rounds over the course of the duration. Wyvernsnipe on the other hand acts like a single explosive packed sniper shot, the bullet travels through a monster dealing a number of hits, then explodes for every hit landed.

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Ammo Types: 

Normal Ammo 1 – As basic ammo as you can get, you shoot it, it does damage. everything you would expect a bullet to do. You have an infinite supply.

Normal Ammo 2 – Behaves exactly the same way as level 1 but has more power. You can carry a maximum of 99. Crafted by combing Normal Ammo 1 + Gunpowder Lvl 2.

Normal Ammo 3 – Behaves exactly the same way as level 1 and 2, but has even more power. You can carry a maximum of 99. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Gunpowder Lvl 3.

Pierce Ammo 1 – Bullet travels through a monster and continues to do damage up to 5 times, best used down the length of the monster or across it’s wingspan. You can carry a maximum of 70. Crafted from Latchberries.

Pierce Ammo 2 –  Behaves the same way as level 1 but with slightly increased damage and can hit up to 7 times. You can carry a maximum of 60. Crafted by combining Pierce Ammo 1 + Gunpowder Lvl 2.

Pierce Ammo 3 –  Behaves the same way as level 1 and 2 but with further increased damage and can hit up to 9 times. You can carry a maximum of 60. Crafted by combining Pierce Ammo 1 + Gunpowder Lvl 3.

Spread Ammo 1 – Fires 3 pellets in a spread that each do damage. You can carry a maximum of 80. Crafted from Needleberries.

Spread Ammo 2 – Behaves the same way as level 1 but fires 4 pellets with slightly more damage. You can carry a maximum of 60. Crafted by combining Spread Ammo 1 + Gunpowder Lvl 2.

Spread Ammo 3 – Behaves the same way as level 1 and 2 but fires 5 pellets with even more damage. You can carry a maximum of 60. Crafted by combining Spread Ammo 1 + Gunpowder Lvl 3.

Sticky Ammo 1 – The bullet sticks to the monster, dealing minimal damage, then explodes after a 1 second delay. The explosive does KO damage if you hit the monster’s head. You can carry a maximum of 9. Crafted from Blastnuts.

Sticky Ammo 2 – Behaves the same way as level 1 but does more damage and more KO damage on a monster’s head. You can carry a maximum of 9. Crafted by combining Sticky Ammo 1 + Gunpowder Lvl 2.

Sticky Ammo 3 – Behaves the same way as level 1 and 2 but does even more damage and even more KO damage on a monster’s head. You can carry a maximum of 9. Crafted by combining Sticky Ammo 1 + Gunpowder Lvl 3.

Cluster Ammo 1 – (HBG Exclusive) Fired like a mortar cannon, the charge flies into the air, drops and fragments into 3 explosive bombs that deal damage. You can carry a maximum of 3. Crafted from Bomberries.

Cluster Ammo 2 – (HBG Exclusive) Behaves the same way as level 1 but the charge fragments into 4 explosives and each does more damage. You can carry a maximum of 3. Crafted by combining Cluster Ammo 1 + Gunpowder Lvl 2.

Cluster Ammo 3 – (HBG Exclusive) Behaves the same way as level 1 and 2 but the charge fragments into 5 explosives and each does even more damage. You can carry a maximum of 3. Crafted by combining Cluster Ammo 1 + Gunpowder Lvl 3.

Wyvern Ammo – (HBG Exclusive) Your gun heats up, expelling flames from the barrel, then exploding for massive damage. You can carry a maximum of 5. Crafted from Dragonstrike Nuts.

Slicing Ammo –  Fires a bullet that sticks to the target similarly to Sticky Ammo but explodes 5 times with cutting damage. These bullets can cut off a monster’s tail. You can carry a maximum of 30. Crafted from Slashberries.

Fire Ammo – Fires a bullet that deals Fire Element damage. You can carry a maximum of 60. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Fire Herb.

Water Ammo – Fires a bullet that deals Water Element damage. You can carry a maximum of 60. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Flowfern.

Thunder Ammo – Fires a bullet that deals Thunder Element damage. You can carry a maximum of 60. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Thunderbug.

Ice Ammo – Fires a bullet that deals Ice Element damage. You can carry a maximum of 60. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Snow Herb.

Dragon Ammo – Fires a slow-moving bullet that pierces the target similarly to pierce ammo and deals Dragon Element damage as well as Elderseal. You can carry a maximum of 3. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Dragonfell Berry.

Poison Ammo 1 – Fires a bullet that does 1 damage and poison buildup. You can carry a maximum of 12. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Toadstool.

Poison Ammo 2 – Behaves the same way as level 1 but does even more poison buildup. You can carry a maximum of 8. Crafted by combining Poison Ammo 1 + Catalyst.

Paralysis Ammo 1 – Fires a bullet that does 1 damage and paralysis buildup. You can carry a maximum of 12. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Parashroom.

Paralysis Ammo 2 – Behaves the same way as level 1 but does even more paralysis buildup. You can carry a maximum of 8. Crafted by combining Paralysis Ammo 1 + Catalyst.

Sleep Ammo 1 – Fires a bullet that does 1 damage and sleep buildup. You can carry a maximum of 12. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Sleep Herb.

Sleep Ammo 2 – Behaves the same way as level 1 but does even more Sleep buildup. You can carry a maximum of 8. Crafted by combining Sleep Ammo 1 + Catalyst.

Recover Ammo 1 – Fires a bullet that does no damage and heals a small amount of health to the target. You can carry a maximum of 12. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Potion.

Recover Ammo 2 – Behaves the same way as level 1 but heals a moderate amount of health to the target. You can carry a maximum of 8. Crafted by combining Recover Ammo 1 + Catalyst.

Demon Ammo – Fires a bullet that does no damage and increases attack of the target. You can carry a maximum of 5. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Might Seed.

Armor Ammo – Fires a bullet that does no damage and increases defence of the target. You can carry a maximum of 5. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Adamant Seed.

Tranq Ammo – Fires a bullet that does no damage and can capture a weakened, trapped monster. You can carry a maximum of 8. Crafted by combining Normal Ammo 1 + Tranq Bomb.

What Are Bowgun Mods?

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Some armor skills from previous games have been worked into bowgun modifications in world. You can access them in the Smithy by selecting “Customize Bowgun”.

Each bowgun can have a maximum of 3 mods depending on it’s rarity:

  • Rarity 1 & 2 = 1 Mod
  • Rarity 3 & 4 = 2 Mods
  • Rarity 5 and above = 3 Mods

You can apply the same bowgun mods more than once to stack the effect, I’ll describe what each modification does and where it should be applied.

Recoil Suppressor – Lowers the kickback when you fire a shot, meaning the next shot can be fired sooner. Ideally you want either Normal or Low Recoil on the shot type you plan to use. Better for Normal/Pierce/Spread focused bowguns.

Reload Assist – Lowers the amount of time it takes you to reload, decreasing your vulnerability and downtime when reloading. Average and Fast reload speed means you can reload while moving which is a huge help to you. better on guns that already have low recoil.

Deviation Suppressor – Lowers the amount your aiming sight jumps when firing, generally speaking it’s better to get good at deviation management than using this mod, as the only time deviation is really noticeable is when using Wyvernheart on a High Deviation Heavy Bowgun. In all other circumstances, don’t bother with this mod.

Close-Range Up – Increases damage when firing from 1 roll away or less, fantastic for Spread Ammo focused bowguns and even Normal Ammo focused bowguns get some use out of it. Also works with Wyvern Ammo.

Long-Range Up – Increases damage when firing from 3 rolls away or more, brilliant for Pierce Ammo focused bowguns.

Shield (HBG Exclusive) – Adds a shield to the bowgun that blocks automatically when not firing or reloading. It should be noted that the more shield mods you use, the better your guarding capabilities. Pair this with skills like Guard and Guard Up and you’ll basically be a walking tank. Great for protecting yourself while learning a new monster.

Which Bowgun Should I Use?

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Earlier in the guide I mentioned Gunner Roles, this basically refers to how you want to be using a specific gun to get the most damage out of it. Whether that’s making the most out of a specific bullet type or combination of bullet types.

So the following is a list of what I consider viable Gunner Roles along with a description of each and a few recommended Bowguns for that role.

Normal Shot Gunner – A very vanilla approach to bowgunning, this role makes the most of Normal Ammo 2 & 3. You’ll need to be between 1 and 2 roll’s distance away for best damage. Be sure to hit monster weakspots to deal maximum damage.

Recommended Bowgun(s): Power Shooter II / Kadachi Lion III (HBG)  Karma / Devil’s Madness (LBG)

Recommended Armor Skills: Normal Shots (Diablos Nero Greaves Alpha & Beta)

Pierce Shot Gunner –  This approach is more a long-ranged style, this role focuses on Pierce Ammo 1, 2 and 3. You’ll need to be between 2-3 rolls away from the monster and shooting down the length of the monster for most damage.

Recommended Bowgun(s): Legia Shattercryst (HBG)

Recommended Armor Skills: Piercing Shots (Rath Soul Coil Alpha)

Spread Shot Gunner – You’ll be up close and personal with the monster with this approach, as it makes the most of the shotgun-like Spread Ammo 1, 2 and 3. You ideally need to be less than 1 roll away to do the best damage with this ammo type.

Recommended Bowgun(s): Gluttonous Fangcannon / Destruction’s Fusillade (HBG)  Barroth Shot III (LBG)

Recommended Armor Skills: Spread Shots (Lavasioth Greaves Alpha & Beta)

Explosive Gunner – This role focuses on dealing damage to the monster and is unaffected by weakpoints or critical hits. Use a combination of Wyvern Ammo and Sticky Ammo 1, 2 and 3.  Other than Wyvern Ammo your range to the monster does not matter as long as you hit with Sticky Ammo the explosion does the same damage.

Recommended Bowgun(s): Magda Gemitus II / Dark Devourer (HBG) Dai-Onigashima (LBG)

Recommended Armor Skills: Artillery III (Use the Artillery III Charm)

Elemental Gunner (Fire) – Works wonders on monsters that have a 3* weakness to Fire Element, especially effective for Rapid-Fire LBG. This role capitalizes on Fire Ammo.

Recommended Bowgun(s): Magda Gemitus II (HBG) Rathbuster II / Lava Bullet II (LBG)

Recommended Armor Skills: Fire Attack II (decorations can be made at the elder melder)

Elemental Gunner (Water) – Works wonders on monsters that have a 3* weakness to Water Element, especially effective for Rapid-Fire LBG. This role capitalizes on Water Ammo.

Recommended Bowgun(s): Water Cannon III (HBG) Jyura Bullet III (LBG)

Recommended Armor Skills: Water Attack II (decorations can be made at the elder melder)

Elemental Gunner (Thunder) – Works wonders on monsters that have a 3* weakness to Thunder Element, especially effective for Rapid-Fire LBG. This role capitalizes on Thunder Ammo.

Recommended Bowgun(s): Kadachi Lion III (HBG) Lightning Blitz III / Mythical Three-Horn (LBG)

Recommended Armor Skills: Thunder Attack II (decorations can be made at the elder melder)

Elemental Gunner (Ice) – Works wonders on monsters that have a 3* weakness to Ice Element, especially effective for Rapid-Fire LBG. This role capitalizes on Ice Ammo.

Recommended Bowgun(s): Legia Shattercryst (HBG) Daora’s Hornet (LBG)

Recommended Armor Skills: Ice Attack II (decorations can be made at the elder melder)

Status Gunner – You’re role is to keep the monster stunned, paralyzed and asleep so other hunters can deal maximum Dps. You make the most of Paralysis/Sleep Ammo 1 & 2.

Recommended Bowgun(s): Arma Destroyer III (HBG) Great Bowgun (LBG)

Recommended Armor Skills: Paralysis Attack III & Sleep Attack III

Cluster Gunner – (HBG Exclusive) Most effective solo, you get right underneath the monster and fire Cluster Ammo 1, 2 and 3 for massive damage.

Recommended Bowguns: Magda Gemitus II / Dark Devourer

Recommended Armor Skills: Xeno’jiiva Divinity (Spare Shot), Free Elem/Ammo Up, Attack Boost VII

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Which Skills Are Good For Gunners?

Here I’ll talk about which Armor skills can be beneficial to bowgun users and explain them.

Attack Boost – Standard for any weapon to increase damage output.

Weakness Exploit – Another standard damage increase but especially effective for Normal Shot Gunners. As the difference in damage when hitting weakspots is already noticeable, this skill really helps up your damage.

Maximum Might – Bowguns do not use stamina when drawn other than for evading. Which means for the most part you’ll have full stamina and can take advantage of the increased affinity.

Normal/Piercing/Spread Shots – This skill is a flat damage boost to the relevant ammo type, be sure to try and pick it up if you can.

Elementless – A nice flat boost to damage. Please note, this skill only works if your bowgun CANNOT fire any elemental ammo types.

Fire/Water/Thunder/Ice Attack – Elemental Gunners need this skill to make the most of their given element, be sure to only get rank 2 though as beyond that Bowguns get no further bonus.

Artillery – Gunners that use Wyvern and Sticky Ammo will get a solid damage boost from this.

Slugger – Boosts the ability of Sticky Ammo to KO a monster.

Special Ammo Boost – This skill boosts the damage of Wyvernblast, Wyvernheart and Wyvernsnipe, when paired with the Focus skill, you can really make the most of special ammo.

Free Elem/Ammo Up – This skill ups your bowgun capacity, and while it doesn’t directly increase damage, firing more shots before having to reload does increase your dps.

Xeno’jiiva Divinity (Razor Sharp/Spare Shot) – With this skill active, there’s a random chance you won’t use a bullet in your clip when firing, effectively making it similar to Ammo Up, meaning more shots before having to reload.

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Gunner Food Skills:

Some skills you get from food are exclusive to gunners and you can and totally should take advantage of them:

Felyne Sharpshooter – Boosts the power of Normal Ammo (2x Artillery Food)

Felyne Bombardier – Boosts the power of Sticky and Wyvern Ammo. (4x Artillery Food)

Felyne Temper – Boosts the power of all bowgun ammo at the cost of increased deviation. (Daily Skill)

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General Gameplay Tips:

Each Ammo type has a specific range in which it is most effective, when your aiming reticle is bright orange, you’re doing maximum damage at that range. conversely, when you’re out of range for that bullet type, you’ll do zero damage. Don’t worry though, as your reticle will tell you that too.

Be sure to hit weakspots to do the best damage you can. Look for orange damage numbers unless you’re using explosive ammo types. Sticky, Cluster and Wyvern Ammo do the same damage regardless of where they hit.

Learn monster weakspots! For the most part it will be the head of the monster but it’s not always the case! For example, Tobi-Kadachi is weaker on it’s tail than it’s head.

Jumping off ledges and firing helps mitigate some of the higher recoil Ammo Types. Attacking midair also speeds up reload animations. Take advantage of ledges!

Elder Dragons like Teostra and Kushala Daora have auras that reduce your bullet damage to zero. Be sure to hit them in the head wherever possible.

Learn to use the Radial Menu to craft ammo types on the fly. You can do this any time by opening your menu and selecting “customize radial menu”. Be sure to set the crafting option and not the ammo selection option.

Your Item box is your best friend. Look after it, and it will look after you. Be sure to save item loadouts and it’ll automatically sort out your ammo, radial menu selection, and item bar order. Be sure to sort these prior to saving the loadout.

So much of being a gunner is your prep work. Think about using the right gun for the right job. For example, there isn’t much point bringing pierce ammo to kill Kulu-Ya-Ku as he isn’t big enough to get all the hits in.


I hope you all found some use out of this, I spent a lot of time making this guide but I’ve more than likely missed something out. If you could let me know in a comment I’ll be more than happy to add it. Feel free to bookmark the page for future use and if you have time please give the page a like!

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