Monster Hunter World Choosing Your Bowgun Guide

Monster Hunter World Choosing Your Bowgun Guide by Bwadark

Unlike the other weapons, bowguns are quite different from each other and encourage multiple styles of play. From full on offense to status applying support. Each weapon is strong on it’s own and I would argue all are viable. The important matter is which one feels best for you and I’m hopefully going to explain the differences and customisation of bowguns to find your perfect fit.

Light Vs Heavy.

I’ll have to admit that my experience with the LBG is minimal compared to my experience with the HBG. However the difference is quite obvious and both types function very much the same.

LBGs are fast to equip and sheath, you retain most of your movement speed and you’re able to perform short slides for repositioning as well as full evade rolls. The LBG power comes from it’s rapid fire capabilities which are marked with a yellow indicator. Rapid fire shoots 3 shells in succession at the cost of 1 ammo. Every LBG has the wyvernblast special ammo. This has 3 charges and plants a bomb into the floor. This can detonate several times dealing substantial damage when a monster performs an attack over it and when you fire rounds over it.

HBGs are slow to equip and sheath. You lose most of your movement speed and can only perform evade rolls while it’s equipped. The HBG power comes from having access to stronger ammo types, such as wyvern and cluster. It can also be modded to have a shield which gives it a frontal auto guard, guard strength dependent on the amount of shield mods you place (will explain mods later). HBG have either Wyvernheart or Wyvernsnipe special ammo. Wyvernheart is a rapid fire machine gun which can be toggled on and off while you have charge. Wyvernsnipe is a long range piercing shot that subsequently explodes for each tick of damage (you want to fire through the longest part of the monster, face to tail or vice versa).

After choosing the type of Bowguns you want to use you then need to choose which variation of said Bowgun to handle. Comparing bowguns isn’t the same as comparing the melee weapons, in which your playstyle and combos will stay the same. Bowgun playstyle can change drastically based on it’s ammo stats. The appropriate information can be found by pressing L3 while looking at the Bowgun stats.

Ammo types. (List at end)

The most obvious difference between Bowguns are the types of ammo it can use. As stated before the HBG has unique access to some of the stronger ammo types. Whe choosing which Bowgun to use look at the collection of ammo types and try to think about how these ammo types compliment each other. An example would be sleep ammo and wyvern ammo. A few sleep shots to knock the monster out followed by a free wyvern shot (at double damage to boot).

Ammo capacity.

Of the ammo types that can be used this is the amount of shots that can be fired before reloading. The higher this is the better, though this isn’t essential. This doesn’t change the amount of ammo you can carry.


Recoil is represented in 4 categories. +1 through to +4. Recoil is the recovery time between each shot, +1 being fast and +4 being very slow. +1 and +2 can be fired while moving, while +3 and +4 leaves you stationary and knocks you back a little.

Recoil can be adjusted with modifications, some ammo types need multiple mods before recoil is improved (some types may not be improved at all) this is subject to each Bowgun.

Cluster shot recoil is unique. You crouch and fire the shot in an arc, like a mortar.

Wyvern shot recoil is also unique. Similar to Wyvernfire for the Gunlance, you remain stationary while charging the shot and are knocked back slightly after the shot.


Reload is represented in 4 categories, fast, normal, slow and very slow. Like recoil fast and normal can be used while moving but slow and very slow must be done stationary. Reloading is an animation lock and makes you vulnerable. Reload speed can be bypassed with a jumping reload. Pressing triangle (PS4) after jumping off a ledge.

Reload can be adjusted with modifications, some ammo types need multiple mods before reload is improved (some types may not be improved at all) this is subject to each Bowgun.

Single shot auto reload is marked by a blue indicator. You will automatically reload after the the shot and reduces the delay between the shot and the reload.


Deviation is represented in 4 categories, none, low, average, high. Deviation is how much your crosshair moves after each shot. The shot itself does not deviate, it still travels in a straight line unlike previous titles in the series.

Deviation can be adjusted with modifications. Each applied mod will move it a step down until it’s at none.


Aside from those previously mentioned (Shield, Reload, Recoil, Deviation). You can improve a Bowguns damage at either close or long range.

Rare 1-2 can use 1 mod.

Rare 3-4 can use 2 mods.

Rare 5+ can use 3 mods.

Modifications can be mixed and matched or stacked for stronger benefits.

List of ammo types.


Normal. Deal damage on impact. This is the basic and weakest ammo type.

Piercing. Deal damage while traveling through the monster. Aim through the longer parts of the monster.

Spread. Scatter rounds. Deals damage to multiple targets in a cone in front of you. Deals multiple hits to large monsters. Critical range is extremely close.

Sticky. Sticks to a monster and deals explosive damage shortly after impact. Also deals stun damage if close to the monsters head.

Slicing. Sticks to a monster and then deals slashing damage in quick succession. This is able to sever tails.

Cluster. Cracks open upon impact releasing 3 rounds that explode shortly after.

Wyvern. Deals massive damage at close range after a short build up.


Flaming. Deals fire damage.

Water. Deals water damage.

Thunder. Deals thunder damage.

Freeze. Deals freeze damage.

Dragon. Deals dragon damage.N


Poison. Applies poison damage. Multiple shots may be required. After the monster is poisoned the threshold for getting poisoned again increases.

Paralysis. Applies paralysis damage. Multiple shots may be required. After the monster is paralysed the threshold increases and won’t last as long once applied.

Exhaust. Deals stamina damage to monsters, causing then to make mistakes such as trip or fail to shoot a fire ball. Eventually they’ll stop moving entirely and be out of breath.

Sleep. Applies sleep damage. Multiple shots may be required. After the monster falls asleep the sleep threshold increases and won’t last as long once applied.


Recovery. Heals a friendly Hunter.

Demon. Increases the attack of a friendly Hunter.

Armour. Increases the defence of a friendly Hunter.

Tranquilliser. Fire at a trapped and weakened monsters face to capture.

I hope this brief explanation will help new players understand Bowguns better.

Special Attack Notes


Affected heavily by deviation, if your deviation is high you can only use this at short range.

While you can fire this whenever you have ammo, there is a damage ramp up, so to get the most out of it, only fire when you have 100% ammo and can fire all of it at the target without getting interrupted.

Don’t waste it on the wrong moment, it has a very long cooldown.


Using this on anything smaller than a Barroth is a waste of damage.

Some targets it’s better to shoot wing to wing then through the spine (Rathian with tail cut off)

If playing solo, you can use the ghili suit to get a free shot, or if you are still learning, to get a shot lined up in multiplayer by using someone as bait.

If the last 3 explosions hit for around 100 each, then you have made a perfect shot.

Do not fire this if there is a tiny rise in terrain ahead of you, it will strike this instead and you will do no damage.


Do not use this if you do not know how long the monster has been in the area, better to use it the moment a monster arrives in a new area. No fun to put these down as the monster leaves.

Bait monsters into them, good for monsters with melee attacks, but be careful that ranged attacks (rathalos fireball) will trigger them, which is a waste.

If in multiplayer, you can tell your allies to trigger them when the monster is near with melee attacks.

If the monster is staggered but you need to reload in order to trigger, either switch ammo or run up and melee to trigger the bombs.

Best to wait until you have all 3 charges and use them in one spot than to spread them out, this gives maximum stagger potential.

Rapid fire does not cause multiple triggers of the bombs, you get 1 trigger for the 3 rapid fire shots.

Other Notes

  • Close range mods are good with spread ammo (HBG with 3 close range mods and spread to the face does considerably more than slicing).
  • Long range mods are good with pierce ammo
  • Don’t use rapid fire with high deviation, even rapid fire spread will cause missed shots.
  • With LBG’s focus on it’s rapid fire strengths. rapid fire normal/spread/pierce/elemental are your bread and butter. If it’s not rapid fire you might not want to be firing it (there are exceptions to this, paralyze, wyvernfire.. to name a few).
  • Don’t use sticky ammo for damage, use it to break parts. EDIT: Others have stated it does KO damage, aim for the head!
  • When building an LBG/HBG, don’t just look at the damage, look at which ammo it has plenty of, and which ammo it can auto reload / rapid fire, it’s deviation, it’s special, ect.

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