The stock rifle is generally the most balanced weapon in the Sniper’s arsenal. With no drawbacks, and the ability to get headshots from far range, it fills every situation a player may find himself in. Its only drawback is that it becomes lacking in specific niches where other guns may specialize in, but if you’re just looking for something that can get the job done, you’ll find no better weapon to work with.
+ Applicable to any situation
- Loses out to weapons designed for specific purposesThe Huntsman
The Huntsman is truly a quirky weapon, but a damn fun one nonetheless. Instead of being a rifle, it’s an old school bow and arrow set. Using it completely changes how the class plays, as arrows act like projectiles, having a set projectile speed, as well as an arch depending on how much you charge a shot. This changes the Sniper to more of an offensive role, rather than staying in the back lines and picking off targets from afar.
The Huntsman also has its share of advantages. While it doesn’t have access to a scope, it does charge much faster when aiming, and you’re more mobile when charging. Arrows can also deliver a headshot even at no charge, and you have more visibility without the scope, allowing you to better watch your surroundings. Arrows can also be primed while jumping, allowing you to notch one when rounding a corner, similar to how a Heavy revs his minigun when doing the same, however, you cannot fire it until your feet touch the ground. To top it off, the Huntsman also has the best taunt kill in the game, on account of its fast startup and ability to stun players through ubers.
The main drawback of the weapon comes from its raw damage output. While a fully charged arrow can still take out most classes with a headshot, an overhealed Heavy can still survive it easily. Aiming is also not an easy task, as it requires a fair amount of practice in learning how arrows arc and where to aim them at. Still, if you’re looking for an alternative playstyle rather than camping in the back lines all day, the Huntsman can be a fun, and sometimes effective, way to play.
It also helps if you play this in your background when using it.
+ Effective in close range combat; more offense oriented
- Lower damage output; low ammo reserves; difficult to useSydney Sleeper
The Sydney Sleeper allows a Sniper to take on a full on support role in the team, again changing his playstyle drastically. While one cannot deliver headshots to enemies, the user can instead “tag” targets instead, coating them with jarate and causing them to take mini-crits.
While some can argue that it’s more effective to outright kill a target instead, the Sydney Sleeper has an advantage in that, coupled with its faster charge time, one can tag multiple enemies in the same amount of time a rifle user can charge up for a full powered headshot. This becomes especially crucial when dealing with Heavies, as even they will fall quickly when getting mini-critted to all hell. However, to be truly effective, you’ll need to hit targets that are able to be shot at by your teammates. For this reason, it excels more on KOTH and CTF maps, where you can take potshots at foes coming through the midfield and allow your teammates to finish them off.
+ Allows for “tagging” of enemies and causing them to take mini-crits
- Cannot headshot targets, making it difficult to kill beefier classesBazaar Bargain
This is more for those who consider themselves to be “pro” snipers, as it encourages aiming for the head, rather than anywhere else. The Bazaar Bargain normally starts with a slower charge timer when scoping, however, upon landing a headshot (does not need to be a killing blow), you will gain a boost to your charge time. This caps at 7 headshots, which ends with a 50% overall faster charge increase compared to the stock rifle.
It sounds helpful, but the punishment for not getting a headshot is fairly high, as a miss or a shot on the body instead causes you to lose a portion of your charge boost. Shooting buildings is also considered a miss, and will deduct a headshot from your counter. On the plus side, no-scoping a target doesn’t cause you to lose headshot counters, so you can rely on that if you’re not sure of a particular shot. Even still, this is not an easy gun to use, especially if you find yourself being unable to get headshots for whatever reason, or if you’re in a situation where a body shot is the best option. Generally an expert’s weapon only.
+ Accumulated headshots can allow for a significantly faster charge time while scoped
- Very difficult to use; punishment for missing or landing a body shot is very highMachina
This Machina is a bit of a controversial weapon. When firing a fully charged shot, the Machina not only gets a damage boost, but it also gains the ability to pierce enemies, damaging multiple targets in a line. This makes it very handy for situations where opposing team members are bunched up, such as the payload cart. Even without the piercing aspect, the damage boost allows one to take out targets much easier, particularly Medics. However, these perks only activate on a fully charged shot, meaning you’ll need to be scoped for a lengthy amount of time in order to get the benefits.
The gun also fires tracer rounds that draw a bright streak in the sky when fired, drawing enemies to your location. The gun is also unable to fire outside of the scope, requiring you to either stay closer to your teammates, or to be carrying one of the SMGs to better defend yourself. Because of these disadvantages, it’s more suitable when you’re playing on defense in maps like Gorge or Badwater, as you don’t have to worry about hiding yourself, and you’ll be around your teammates more. It’s a powerful alternative, however, if you find that you’re not using the damage boost/pierce that often, you may want to consider using a different weapon.
+ Able to gain a damage boost and ability to pierce targets
- Traits only activate on a fully charged shot; cannot shoot outside of scope; fires tracersHitman’s Heatmaker
This rifle can be almost considered a straight upgrade from the stock depending on how confident you are with your sniping. It functions a bit similarly to the Bazaar Bargain in rewarding kills, however, the Hitman’s Heatmaker is far less punishing. When using the weapon, you’ll notice a Focus meter on your HUD. Getting a kill or an assist with the gun fills this meter (3 kills, 9 assists, or a combination of the two will fill it). When full, your next shot will activate your focus, allowing you to fire repeated shots and reload without unscoping, and granting a 25% faster charge rate, allowing you to chain more shots on your hapless victims faster.
As for drawbacks with this weapon, they are surprisingly minimal. Although you do get reduced damage for bodyshots, you can still be able to do a decent amount of damage in a pinch, though headshots are still encouraged. Firing while in Focus mode also causes your shots to gain tracers that can attract enemies to your location. The trickiest part of this rifle is staying alive long enough to make full use of the Focus mode. However, with enough practice in learning how to headshot foes, when to go for a body shot, and paying attention for dangers, you’ll find few reasons to use any other rifle.
+ Can go into Focus mode, gaining faster charge time and being able to reload without unscoping
- Less damage on body shots; Focus rounds fire tracers