Fallout 3 Small Guns Weapon Guide
Hunting Rifle: This weapon can be accurate and powerful at range. I often overlooked it my first play through, but used it much more on my second game. Use this to get off shots on enemies that are far away as it's very useful in VATS. It's not as accurate when you're using it as a sniper weapon for very long ranges though as the bullets tend to go off target to a degree. Early game, this will stand as the best weapon to pair with a 10mm pistol until you can find better. The small clip makes it dangerous to use for close encounters, so pull out the 10mm when enemies are bearing down on you.
Lincoln's Repeater: This is easily found in the Museum of History, work your way to the left of the wooly mammoth once inside and take the door to the next section there. There are many ghouls there, if you have the ghoul mask from the tenpenny tower quest they'll ignore you. If you need xp, this isn't a bad place though. Anyway, work your way to the offices, then to the top floor there. You will find the Repeater in a display case. Scattered around this area are artifacts that can be sold to various NPCS. Look for the top hat, lincoln action figure and a wanted poster of john wilkes booth. There's also an old gramophone you can take. The repeater uses .44 magnum ammunition and has a 12-shot clip. It's one of the best small guns, by far, because it's ultra-accurate. To top off an already sweet deal, this weapon is repaired with regular old hunting rifles! The easiest time to get this is during the main quest when you get to the mall. Sell any artifacts (other than the repeater) to Abraham Washington of the Capital Preservation Society in Rivet City.
Ol' Painless: The key to this rifle is found in the republic of Dave, in a safe in Dave's office. You'll need Dave's key to get in. You can either steal it from him, be given the gun after helping to rig the election there, or get the key off of Dave's dead body (or through speech) during the You Gotta Shoot 'em in the Head Side Quest. The weapon uses .32 caliber ammo just like the hunting rifle, and can be repaired using standard hunting rifles. It does slightly more damage than the normal hunting rifle, but is much more accurate when firing outside of VATS.
Railway Rifle: This is a crafted weapon, and it possesses some unique properties. It is excellent for limb-shots, to cripple legs and make enemies slower or of course make them drop their weapons. What's more, if a killing blow is dealt to a limb the railway spike can pin it to a wall! The gun also has a very unique sound effect, which I'll let you hear for yourself. The weapon fires railway spikes of course, so save them up as you progress through the game. One of the easiest ways to find this schematic is to look to the MDPL-13 power station one square north of Minefield. Look for the substation building. Inside, the schematic is found on a workbench. Look also to underworld, whose shopkeeper Tulip will sell you a schematic. Finally, it's a reward for the quest Stealing Independence from Abraham Washington of Capital Preservation SOciety in Rivet City.
Reservist's Rifle: This unique sniper rifle can be found in the Dickerson Tabernacle Chapel, which is 3 squares east and 3 squares south of the northwestern corner of the map. The man wielding it is known only as the drifter, and snipes you from the top of the chapel (inside). There are multiple ways to get this gun. You could use explosives to knock him (or his body parts) down to the floor where you can reach them to loot, or you can shoot it out of his hand. I recommend saving the game before you attempt to get this weapon, as it's very powerful but you'll need Sniper rifles to keep it in good repair. It does quite a good deal more damage than your average sniper rifle (and that's saying a lot). The critical multiplier is so high you could end up with a character that crits 100% of the time in VATS with the right perks and high luck. It uses .308 ammo like all sniper rifles.
Sawed-off Shotgun: I'm not very fond of this gun. For one thing, it only has an ammo capacity of two rounds. Use this early game to snuff out enemies that get in your face, but you should probably save as much of your ammo as you can until you get the Combat Shotgun, because it has superior damage, range and ammo capacity. Overall a pretty bad weapon, except when used tactically to pop a head or two. For optimum use, fire it in VATS at the target's head when they're really close.
Scoped .44 Magnum: This is a purely awesome weapon when you can find one. There are a couple dozen scattered around the wasteland, but they are found somewhat sporadically through a normal journey. With that in mind, don't waste this weapon on simple creatures like dogs, use something more suited. Save this for your first encounters with super mutants and talon company. Keeping a few of these in decent condition is also wise because later you can use them to repair the blackhawk. Don't ever sell one of these unless you're confident you won't use small guns. Stash them in your house for a darker day. Thankfully, most shops will stock .44 rounds but they're appropriately expensive. Still, it's wise to buy them out when you can afford it because if you're a small guns user you're going to want a lot of this ammo later for the powerful Lincoln's Repeater.
Silenced 10mm Pistol: Small guns users can do some naughty things with this weapon, namely, if you kill a target with it in one VATS session, no one else will know! This can help to drop an enemy before the real fighting begins to make things a touch easier on you. It's often going to need to be employed while sneaking though, as usually unless topography helps you killing one means he's seen you and the others have, as well. They can be found rarely in the wastes, but Flak at Rivet City's Marketplace sometimes sells them.
Sniper Rifle: The sniper rifle is purely badass. You're going to actually use this weapon outside VATS more often because of its accuracy. It gets easier to fire with higher small guns skill, as it will wobble less as you aim. Zoom in on a faraway opponent and let it rip. If you're hidden, and even players with low sneak can hide at the range this gun can hit, this weapon can deal massive criticals. Easy places to get this weapon include outside the Bethesda Ruins (raider respawn point 3 squares n, 3 squares east of megaton) and of course, during the You Gotta Shoot 'em in the Head Side Quest, Mr. Crowley will give you one to accomplish your goal.
Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG: This gun can of course be gained by killing Sydney, but if you're looking for a more ethical way, you can get the note from little moonbeam's father during the Reilly's Rangers Side Quest. Sydney is located in the National Archives, which can be accessed from the Mall or, if you don't have that, Rivet City through Anastocia crossing (N of rivet city) to the mall subway. She'll give you the SMG if she survives the quest and you give her the notes by asking about her father. If she dies during the quest, you can of course pick up the item from her corpse. She can also be killed with no karma penalty, but she can get you through the national archives faster with a shortcut. The gun itself holds more ammo, deals more damage per shot, and has an overall higher damage rating than a regular SMG and can be repaired with one to boot. This is a great gun to have, as 10mm ammo is so common. The earlier you can get something like this, the better!
The Kneecapper: The Kneecapper, a unique Sawed-off Shotgun is found on Ronald Laren in Girdershade. You can find Girdershade by going one square south and eight squares west from Megaton. Your options for getting this weapon from him are limited, but mainly only if you are trying to get him to pay you double caps for the Nuka Cola Challenge, but I don't recommend it -- Caps are plentiful in the end-game. So honestly, killing him is not a bad idea! There is a small Karma penalty but if you're using my walkthrough you probably gain so much positive karma it won't even be noticed -- you can even be nice and donate some clean water to a wastelander outside megaton to make up some of it. Anyway, this weapon does do the most damage of the shotguns but is again hampered by the two-round capacity. Still, having it around is useful because you can easily kill Mirelurks with it (because of the usually low chance to hit their face, this gun shines at close range with them). I still hate this weapon, and avoid using it and haven't bothered killing Ronald this playthrough to pick it up. I prefer the Combat or Terrible shotguns when I need them, and in the late game I don't even lay a hand on Shotguns. For close range, I always have my Burnmaster Burnmaster.
The Terrible Shotgun: The Terrible Shotgun is held by Smiling Jack in the Evergreen Mills Bazaar. Evergreen Mills is a large raider base 5 squares, almost 6 to the west from Megaton. To get to him, you'll have to fight through a horde of Raiders, as this is the largest raider base in the game. They also have a Supermutant Behemoth stored here, which you can of course kill. I'll leave the devices for its death up to you, but the Fat Man sure helps, and you can even shoot him through the fence (no fat man) if you want. Anyway, look for the Bazaar and Smiling Jack at the end of it. He holds the terrible shotgun. You won't lose Karma if you kill him, but if you want to save his life you can shoot it out of his hand and pick it up then leave. He'll likely forgive you in a few days. I just killed him, because in killing him you also get all of his goods. Look behind his shop in the tunnel for a Bobblehead! About the gun: one time I fired at a ghoul while another was near him, but they were pretty far apart. I had the terrible shotgun equipped. I targetted the first's head and it figured to be a 95% instant kill. I just couldn't target the second and I was a bit annoyed. I was actually thinking to back out and accidentally hit the execute button in VATS. Turns out it was beautiful. Both ghouls' heads popped with one round. I'll never knock this weapon again. It's a must equip for close combat stopping power. This is especially cool if you consider that Combat Shotguns are pretty common, and that's all it takes to repair it. Excellent for extreme close range fighting, as well! You've just got to make sure all the pellets hit. This is a modified Combat Shotgun and can be repaired with its normal bretheren. Basically, it deals a lot more damage but must be used at a closer range for this damage to be apparent.
Victory Rifle: The Victory Rifle is found at Rockbreaker's Last Gas five squares north and six squares west of Megaton. Set your marker there, or travel to a place nearby. Note that you need 100 lockpicking to access this weapon. If you are standing near the derrick at the gas station, look directly west, on top of the hills and you'll see a small shack. Head up there any way you can and you'll find the locked cabinet. Inside is the Victory Rifle. Nearby is a locked ammo box with .308 ammo. This Sniper Rifle isn't as powerful as the Reservist's Rifle, but it is more durable. It is, however just as easy to get. I feel that every small guns user should own a good sniper rifle, and this is a fine choice -- but the Reservist's is better.
Xuanlong Assault Rifle: You can get the Xuanlong Assault Rifle during the main quest Galaxy News Radio. If you aren't interested in doing the main quest, you can still get it, and if you've already completed this part of the quest you're not at a loss either. Follow the instructions in the quest anyway. If you have trouble getting to the mall, you can get there from the North of Rivet City, Anastocia Crossing. Follow the signs to the Mall. This Assault Rifle possesses a 50% larger magazine, deals almost 30% more damage and of course can be repaired by regular Chinese Assault Rifles. This is a major leap above the regular assault rifle. What's more, this rifle appears to be more durable than its weaker cousins. If you find this weapon, and keep it in good condition you'll deal massive damage for a mid-level character.
Zhu-Rong v418 Chinese Pistol: You can find this weapon in the L.O.B. Enterprises building of Falls Church. To get there, head two squares south and three squares east of Megaton. You'll have to pass through the city of Falls Church, and go through at least two ruined buildings to get there. What's important is that after discovering Falls Church Metro you head straight east until you find the building, no matter how many ruined buildings you go through until you get to the square I designated. This building is intact, and you can actually enter it. Your goal once inside is the East Wing, but the entrance can actually be found to the northwest due to a collapsed ceiling. You'll need to use the eastern side, snake your way north, then west to find this entrance. Once there, look for the CEO's office in the south central part of the area (once explored) the desk in the room is specifically labeled CEO desk, and it contains a key to the locked box on top of it. Inside is the Zhu-Rong V418 Chinese Pistol, which is great for low level players. You can mostly replace your 10mm handgun for this, although you'll have to use the slightly more rare chinese pistol to repair it. It possesses a higher chance to crit than a 10mm, with slightly more damage due to its incendiary effect (burn damage over time). Overall, it's a very nice weapon for a newbie character to possess.
The Alien Blaster uses a rare ammo called Alien Blaster Ammo and can only be found at the crash site and some other place I forgot. I suggest using it on deathclaws, for it's hast and easy. Getting it early in the game to defeat Enclave soldiers and outcast brotherhood members is a good idea too. At full condition it does up to 85 damage and can turn your enemies into a pile of ashes (thus it is in the energy category) and people with low energy weapon stats will still fin this weapon to be very powerful. Though for experienced or not, the weapon over-all is very inaccurate. You are best off to use it in VATs.