MHW Iceborne Expansion will be released on September 6th for Consoles! Heavy Bowgun got a unique update that you could never think of… Iceborne Weapon Guides
This guide was written and draft up during my playthrough on PlayStation 4 version of Monster Hunter World. The control scheme was explained using PS4 buttons and layout. Please replace that with the control scheme on your platform of choice.
So I returned to Monster Hunter World after a long break, and check out what I am going to do next. This time I want to change the pace a little bit, covering these two babies in the next two posts MHW Heavy Bowgun and Light Bowgun – which I haven’t dared to pick up since playing Monster Hunter World. 

Heavy Bowgun Overview

Strength Weakness
  • Versatility in ammo types offer a wide range of customizations
  • Capable of dish out huge damage.
  • Able to add mods for more focus build.
  • Slow and may seem clunky at first
  • Require familiar with the Ammo types and compatibility of the MHW Heavy Bowgun
  • Weapon tree look too complex.

Heavy Bowgun Basics & Mechanic

Like mentioned, shooting and aiming has never been easier in Monster Hunter series. With World, the control scheme of Heavy Bowgun (or any other ranged weapon) is similar to what you may see in Shooting genres. In which, L2 is used to aim and  is to fire. You can also shoot directly without these buttons, but this will help bring up the classic crosshair and also a good indication of the distance that the hunter can deal the most damages (More below)
  • Aiming and shooting

L2 (Aim with right analog)  Transition (Shooting)

Pressing  also
  • Changing Ammo Types


This combination allow you to change your current bullets. The catch is it does not require Triangle to apply. (Compare to MHW Bow)
  • Load Special ammo


While MHW Heavy Bowgun saves you the hassle of applying the ammo. It does require the special ammo types to be loaded before using.  More about Wyvernsnipe and Wyvernheart down below. For now, you just need to know the reload button for these two special ammo types.
  • Rolling
(During attack)L Analog -Any Directionadd
No fancy dashing – not when you are carrying around that gigantic gun. This is your main dodging moves for the next Diablos Charge
  • Melee Attacks
Another melee attack for the Ranged Weapon. Of course you are not using this to fight the that Deviljo, but it will help when you want to cause some damage on the terrain.
  • Reload
You dont have magic bullet, so this is your main tool to reload. Holding Triangle will result in hunter reload all ammo in sequence – this can be used when you have some room to breath.

Heavy Bowgun Ammo Types

While Bow uses coating system to implement the effect of each shot. Heavy Bowgun, on the other hand, utilize ammo types. The number of options here is certainly higher than coating, and most of them were divided into two types – Raw Damage and Elemental Effect.
Ammo Types Effects
Normal Your traditional bullet, no special effect, just straight up hitting the target
Spread Shorter but cover a wide area, basically turn your Heavy Bowgun to a Heavy Shotgun
Cluster Bomb Seat and shoot out a mortar to the targeted location
Wyvern  The same thing as Gun Lance’s Wyvern’s Fire. Charge up a big explosion to the monster face. Short Range but powerful.
Slicing Deal cutting damage. Mostly used when you need that tail really bad and you are on your own.
Sticky Bomb Stick to the monster, detonate after a brief time. Capable of stunning. 
Piercing Strike through the target in a straight line. 
Tranq  Don’t mistake this with the Sleep one. This is only for Capture the monster (similar to Tranq Bomb)
Poison/Sleep/Paralysis/   Flaming/Water/Freeze/Thunder/Dragon Apply certain abnormal statuses to monsters. If you follow my other guides for Bow/ Sword and Shield you can find some ways to increase the elemental damage or come up with a build there. 
Another thing to catch here is the level of these ammo types. Putting it easy, the level simply indicates how much damage and power of these ammo types. So your priority should be to utilize those level 3 Ammo at the right time.  Spread Ammo – Turn your Heavy Bowgun to a shotgun
Finally, you will also gain access to Recover/Demon and Armor ammo types, this, in turn, give you the ability to buff your teammates  with a shot to their face!

Heavy Bowgun Modifications

  The Bowgun family in Monster Hunter World also come up with the ability to modify the components and give it’s some more customizations in term of builds.  This is performed under Black Smith’s customization menu. The mods are divided into the following types:   Don’t underestimate the modifications! See how I blocked that Dive Bomb with two shield mods!  
Recoil Suppressor Reduce knockback when shooting
Reload Assist Decrease reload time for certain ammo types
Deviation Suppressor Reduce crosshair swaying when shot.

Close Range Up
Increase damage for close-range shots.

Ranged Attack Up
Increase the damage for long rangeshots.

Give Heavy Bowgun the ability to b
lock attacks while aiming (Drawing The)

Deviation vs Recoil MHW

If this is the first time you use Heavy Bowgun, these two will surely cause some head scratching.
Deviation Suppressor – Reduce crosshair swaying when firing shots
Simply put, for Deviation, indicating the moving of the crosshair when firing. With Deviation mod of Heavy Bowgun, you can reduce this swaying while firing.
Recoil Suppressor -Reducing the knockback of shots (Especially those heavy ammo)
Recoil, on the other hand, is another term for the knockback whenever you fire a big shot (imagine firing a rocket compared to a pistol). With that out of the way, choosing between Deviation or Recoil mod for MHW Heavy Bowgun is definitely depend on your choice of ammo types.
If you are frequently using the beefy stuff like Sticky Bomb, or Pierce Ammo, then go for Recoils mods, this will help reducing the knockback for these heavy ammo types.
When it come to firing at a faster rate and want to improve the accuracy, then Deviation mods are definitely the option.
With that in mind, Heavy Bowgun Mods is a great addition to the already powerful weapon, but it does take some time to decide which is the best options for your current play styles. The good thing is it does not cost anything to change your mods.

Special Ammo Types

We knew Bow has a new ability “Dragon Piercer” What about the Heavy Bowgun? In Monster Hunter World, Heavy Bowgun got not one, but two powerful new abilities.

Heavy Bowgun Wyvernheart

Han, Bring out the Gatling Guns.
Yes, that’s what we got when you load this to the Heavy Bowgun. This will turn your current HBG into a carry-Gatling-gun. While each shot contains average damage, the rapid nature of this will surely cause that Monsters some serious bullet holes! 

Heavy Bowgun Wyvernsnipe

How to naming special ammo type in Monster Hunter: Put wyvern prefix infront of any normal word.
  Introducing in Monster Hunter World, this ability of Heavy Bowgun allow players to become the sniper. At first shot, this will result in a straight shot go straight through the monster just like piercing shot. After a brief second, the shot will detonate, dealing damage to the target. 

Heavy Bowgun Advanced Attacks & Tactics

The best way to master MHW Heavy Bowgun is to know which ammo types are used at the right time.
If you are going in as a team, mostly you will have the time to reload and get yourself a reasonable distance to shoot to your heart content. With that advantages, your focus should be dish out the most damage to the monsters, this can be achieved by those Cluster Bomb, Sticky Bomb & Wyvern Snipe + Wyvern Heart.  With some Heavy Bowgun that support elemental ammo types, you can also be sneaking some Sleep Ammo or Paralysis, give your teammates some time to plant those Mega Barrel Bombs.

Heavy Bowgun tactics

That does not mean the solo player is not suitable for MHW Heavy Bowgun. The catch is (again) you just need to prioritize which ammo to use first, and maximize the damage output in the most convenient ways.  

  With MHW Heavy Bowgun (and other Monster Hunter Ranged Weapons) most of the time your job is to aim & shoot. There are not much of a “combo” here, but rather on how you setting up yourself (and the poor monster) While there are many ammo types to choose from. The general approach is to unload the highest damage shots when there is an opening, 
  • Cluster Bomb >> Paralysis >> Spread shot to the head >> Sticky Bomb (Knockout) >> Wyvern Shot >> Repeat
  • Sleep Ammo >> Cluster Bomb >> Sticky Bomb (Knock out) >> Cluster Bomb (Wyvernsnipe/Wyvernheart) >> Repeat
You can also combine these two playstyles together to increase the effectiveness of it. 


Heavy Bowgun Quick Guide

  • Remember to reload your Heavy Bowgun! Utilize the “reload all” (by holding the reload button) at the right time. While melee fighter need to sharpening, you will need that gun to fully loaded at all time.
  • It’s also a good practice to bring some Level 1 Ammo and Gun Powder Level 3 in your inventory (Even when your current Heavy Bowgun cannot use it, it can be used to craft level 3 ammo) just for the sake of crafting the most powerful ammo on the hunt. 
  • For starters, try to put up some back up in your stash and come back between Monster’s phase if you running short on those powerful ammo. You don’t want to use that normal ammo against those Arch Tempered Monsters…
  • You can also use the mid-air fire (Firing when jumping off a cliff) to negate the recovery animation (or the recoil of heavy ammo types) However, this take some practice.
  • Know your Ammo! If your Heavy Bowgun support Sleep & Paralysis – use it! Your team mates will thanks you for that. Spread and Pierce are ammo that benefit from the Spread shot and Pierce Shot armor skills. Choose wisely.
  • Don’t forget those modifications! A little tinkering with the mods will save you from those long reload and big knock back. 

Heavy Bowgun Play Style & Builds

We already knew that Heavy Bowgun focus lies in raw damage and how to go through things in the most effective way. With that said, below Armor Skills is the most essential for Heavy Bowgun:
  • Attack Boosts – Pretty straightforward, increase your attack damage by an amount, however, try to aim for the “sweet spot” Level 4 Attack Boosts will increase your affinity as well (Monster Hunter critical chance)
For Affinity, the below is a great (if not must) addition to the build
  • Critical Eye – Increase Affinity directly (3% each level until level 4, after that it will be 5%)
  • Weakness Exploit – 30% Affinity when hitting weak spots of monsters. With the tendency to hits a lot, this is a great addition for Insect Glaive.
  • Critical Boosts – Increase Critical Damage by 30% (+5% each level, max 3 level)
If you are already familiar with Bow, most of the armor skills needed for MHW Heavy Bowgun is covered there.  But if you are switching from a melee weapon, let’s take a look at what makes up an effective Heavy Bowgun builds. 
  • Spread Shot/ Power shot – Increase the power of Spread Shot and Power Shot.
  • Normal Shot – Increase the power of normal ammo & normal shot
  • Pierce Shot – Increase the power of Pierce Ammo.
  • Special Ammo Boosts – Increase the power of Heavy Bowgun Special Ammo (WyvernFire & Wyvernheart)
  • Artillery – Surprisingly, this infamous CB skill is also useful for Heavy Bowgun, as this can increase the damage of sticky ammo – which definitely helps a great deal to knockout that monster. 
It’s is mostly self-explainable when combining the above skills with the ammo types of Heavy Bowgun. If you are just trying out the Heavy Bowgun and testing the water, I suggest picking up the Artillery, Spread Shot & Special Ammo Boosts firstly to get used to the control while still dealing decent damage.
Bonus Armor Skill
  • Peak Performance – Increase Damage when your health is full. This is recommended when you already augment weapon with health. Otherwise, it requires more skill to dodge and block.
  • Agitator – Increase attack power when monsters become enraged – I never see any calm monsters when being poked in the ass. This will give you attack power (Start at 4 and increase by 4 per level) and affinity rate (starting from 3% and increase by 3% per level) This skill can be obtained from the infamous discs cover monsters – Nergigante or the Challenger Charm.
Other Skills
  • Critical Element – Can be obtained via Rathalos Set – This skill allows you crit with Elemental Attack
  • Part Breaker – As you will probably aim for the head of the monster, why not add this to your skillset? That Nergigante’s horns will be no longer unbreakable
  • Bombardier – If you are a solo player and want to maximize damage, sneak in this skill to powerup tose Mega Barrel Bomb!

The Crimson Sniper

As you may already guess. This build is focusing on the special ammo type “Wyvernsnipe” As this is capable of dealing huge damage to the monster. While it does take some time to get used to this type of gameplay, it is very rewarding once you mastered it, and soon you will unleash the advancement of warfare on that poor Nergigante. You will need to know the process from disabling the monster (Paralyze, Sleep or Knockout…) to position yourself in a proper position. Here is a quick look at the Armor Skills that make up this build
Focusing on balancing, this build got the maximum Special Ammo Boosts and Artillery

Armor Set

Drachen Vambraces – 2 points Critical Eyes & 2 point Attack Boosts

If you already playing Bow or follow my last post on the Bow  Keep that Drachen set! For Head Armor, I go with Dragonking Eyepatch Alpha –  a safe choice when it’s come to High-Rank armor, this provides you with one level 3 slot which can give you some more customization. Luckily, with Tenderizer Jewel 2 I can also maximize the Weakness Exploit armor skill. This give me the below:
  • Weakness Exploit Level 3 – 50% Affinity when you hit weak spots.  
Lavasioth leg will give you boosts in Power Shot 
For the Waist, Nergigante Coil Beta is picked for the “safety” reason. This gives you two levels of Attack Boosts and completes the sweet level 4 ATK Boosts.  Finally, the chest I picked is Kaiser Mail Beta (Crafting from Teostra Materials) This quickly gives you the maximum of Special Ammo Boost – a must-have skill for any Bowgun.

Heavy Bowgun Best Builds 

While the above is my build for the playthrough with MHW Heavy Bowgun. You can easily swap out the armor skills for other builds as well. To wrap the builds suggestion, you can check out the armor skills list below for the best Heavy Bowgun builds:

Universal Armor Skills:

  • Attack Level 4 
  • Weakness Exploits Level 3 
  • Special Ammo Boost Level 2
  • Critical Eyes Level 4
  • Artillery Level 3

Pierce Focus Build (Wyvern Snipe) 

  • Piercing Shot

Balance Focus

  • Spread Shots 


For the build focusing on the Wyvernsnipe ability, your first priority will definitely bring up a Heavy Bowgun that has this ability.
The weapon I personally used is Magda Gemitus II. Let’s take a look why this is picked.
MHW Magda Gemitus II – Making from that big Zora
Right of the bat, this carries pretty impressive damage (just after the Diablos Tree) Coming up with 315 in ATK. This Heavy Bowgun also offers a wide range of Level 3 ammo.
Most of the heavy hittings ammo is here

Finally, the icing on the cake is the ability to load Paralysis and Sleep ammo – Which is definitely the best thing you want to stack up damage in a short burst. The main reason Magda Gemitus II was picked is the universal of this Heavy Bowgun, you can unleash hell with those Sticky Ammo Level 3 and Cluster Bomb (both level 2 & level 3) and able to double damage (put the monster to sleep) and using Wyvern Ammo to finish the job. 

Charm and Jewel

For Charm, I personally used Artillery Charm.
Artillery Charms – Powerup your Sticky Ammo
As you will use Sticky Ammo a lot, this should be your first skill to get after you picked up the Zora Heavy Bowgun. 


MHW Heavy Bowgun is re-introduced with many improvements. Starting from the control mechanism to the powerful special ammo types. It definitely does not carry the speed and strong versatility as the Bow, MHW Heavy Bowgun can be considered as the Great Sword of the Ranged family tree. In the right hand and a good-enough-build, this cannon can unleash the most powerful firepower to those monsters. Have you decided to pick the Heavy Bowgun for your next switch?

My Ranged weapon guide so far:

Or Check out my guides on other melee weapons

Have some ideas? Please share!