"Ancient pattern bolt-action rifle. Good range, good power, low rate of fire."
The bolt-action rifle is a moderately heavy, single-shot firearm in RimWorld which deals a slightly higher amount of damage per shot; slightly longer time between shots; long range and very high accuracy.
It'll take 3 shots to the torso to kill an unarmored human with a bolt-action rifle, or around 5 shots against a human with a normal armor vest. The bolt-action rifle can also instantly remove digits, cripple eyeballs and cause lethal brain damage if the victim's skull is unprotected. Limbs can be crippled in 2 shots against an unarmored human. Without factoring in any cover or shooter's accuracy, the bolt-action rifle has an average time to down of around 12.4 seconds against unarmored people or around 16.2 seconds against a person with an armor vest.
Since the bolt-action rifle has a long range, a fairly long time between shots and should be used at a minimum of 12 cells to make the most out of it, the bolt-action rifle is a fairly skill-heavy weapon. A healthy level 9 traitless shooter, level 5 careful shooter or level 11 trigger-happy can somewhat efficiently use the bolt-action rifle up to 26 cells. However, a level 15 traitless shooter, 12 careful shooter or level 16 trigger-happy is advisable to efficiently use the bolt-action rifle up to its maximum range of 37 cells.
On average, the bolt-action rifle is best paired with a careful shooter up to level 11, then with a trigger-happy shooter beyond that point.
A bolt-action rifle has a weapon bulk of 100%, but weapon bulk doesn't seem to have any observable effect on actual gameplay.
All possible melee attacks with a bolt-action rifle:
|Tool||Attack||Damage Type||Power||Cooldown||Likelihood||Base DPS||Armored DPS|
Bolt-action rifles can be purchased from outlander and orbital combat suppliers, or obtained from the following raider kinds:
- Scavenger - 24.1% chance (poor quality on average, 20-90% health)
- Pirate - 12.7% chance (normal quality on average, 40-150% health)
- Town Guard - 12.3% chance (poor quality on average, 20-200% health)
- Mercenary Gunner - 14.3% chance (normal quality on average, 70-230% health)
- Space Soldier - 11.7% chance (good quality on average, 100% health)
Conclusion and Comparison
The bolt-action rifle is the most accurate standard weapon in the game, being able to hit 100% accuracy across the board by masterwork quality. Compared to the sniper rifle, the bolt-action rifle has roughly half the time between shots but also slightly less than half the damage as well as an 18% deficit in range - both weapons are heavily weighted on the warmup though, meaning that their damage output sees a significant increase when paired with a trigger-happy shooter. The bolt-action rifle also has a longer time between shots than the greatbow, meaning that the latter has a higher damage output potential (realized at higher quality levels) while also being significantly cheaper and only seeing a 14% range deficit - though the bolt-action rifle has superior accuracy at longer distances.
In head-on 1 vs. 1 fights between healthy level 8 shooters using granite chunks as cover from 35 cells away, the bolt-action rifle is 59% better than the sniper rifle, extending to a straight doubling of effectiveness once normal armor vests and simple helmets are factored in. Against the greatbow at 27 cells, the bolt-action rifle performs 43.9% better, extending to 97% with armor - the shorter the distance, the closer the gap with things eventually going in the greatbow's favor. Against the assault rifle at the same distance, the bolt-action rifle performs 14.8% worse, with armor only making things worse for the bolt-action rifle as it performs 53.7% worse; the assault rifle performs more than twice as good here.
When tested in a small hilled temperate forest in the hands of six lightly-armored baseline level 8 shooters against nine decently-equipped and equally skilled pirate raiders, the bolt-action rifle puts up a decent performance, despite being substantially bottlenecked by the shooters for the majority of the time. Naturally the bolt-action rifle is best used as a support weapon due to its lack of burst fire, so the test conditions here could be considered a worse case scenario for the weapon since it's pushed completely to the forefront.
In conclusion, the bolt-action rifle is essentially as good as your best available shooters are when at normal quality; it's almost 100% accurate and will therefore impose very minimal hindrance for even really skilled shooters. If you're looking for something that has a decent range and can throw some punches, the bolt-action rifle serves that purpose quite well in the early game, although the assault rifle becomes a much more effective fulfillment of that role once you start encountering mercenary raiders and research precision rifling. Unless extra range really matters for your playstyle, the bolt-action rifle is usually going to be a more reliable weapon than the sniper rifle, but the same can also be said for the assault rifle to the bolt-action rifle.
The graphs assume a normal quality bolt-action rifle against an adult human that's out in the open in clear weather. For DPS, projectile speed has also been factored into the equation, with the weighting based on the base amount of attacks that it'll take to put the aforementioned target into pain shock.