[Top 10] Fallout 76 Best Explosive Weapons To Blow Up Your Enemies

Where will you be, when the world ends?

Fallout is a game designed around The Bomb. The Big Bomb. Multiples of the Big Bomb. Fallout 76 takes it one step further by allowing you to fire off nuclear weapons from hidden silos to complete the main quest - and to trigger at least three different boss fights. This guide will cover some of the biggest explosions and the best ones to use short of an ICBM.

Unfortunately, to understand explosions, you need to check out the math.

It’s Not Rocket Scie… No, Wait. It Is.

The mechanics for 2-shot weapons are weird. Effectively, the projectile (for ballistic weapons) damage is cut in half so it doesn’t quite double your damage unless every shot you land hits, and that’s not likely. However, if you have a 2-shot explosive weapon, the explosion damage does trigger on each shell at full volume. Knowing this, we can do some general math annnnnd…

IN GENERAL, a two-shot explosive weapon (such as a minigun with explosive bullets, The Fixer, or an SMG) will not do AS MUCH damage as the same weapon with the same stats that has another legendary effect on it like Armor Piercing. However, a two-shot weapon with high explosive damage (such as the Nuka Launcher or Boomstick) can become absolutely completely ridiculous since the shell itself isn’t doing the damage, the explosion is; and you’re doubling that up. 

What helps? Perks!

First, you’ll want to consider Ordinance Express in Strength to decrease your total weight for your ammo (and you’ll need a decent bit of  ammo to go with it). Then you need 5 points in INT for Demolition Expert, which will boost your explosive damage by 60%. At least 1 point in END for Fireproof to reduce your damage from explosions, and then Grenader under Perception to increase your blast radius.

Following those, my advice is that if you’re going to be using Heavy Guns (and the biggest boom-booms are), you’ll want Power Armor. Add in things like Stabilized, the Heavy Gun mastery, and whatever else you need for that.

But before you go play with the big boys… 

Please. Just… please.

Blowing **** up in 76 is a huge part of the game. Cars, trucks, robots, Super Mutant Suiciders; if it goes ‘boom,’ 76 is all on board. Explosive weapons are some of the most powerful in the game and great at providing crowd control. But unless you’re playing on a private server, you’re playing with the general public. While you may think it’s super cool to drop a MIRV in the middle of Radiation Rumble, I promise, nobody else does. 

Explosive weapons can be a big way to cause a lot of grief in the game. You can wipe out entire swarms before anyone else can get a hit (and get exp/junk/loot); you can cause people to not be able to see anything that’s going on, and generally just ruin the play experience for your fellow wastelanders.

Just try to remember - not every weapon has the same visual effects, and everyone wants to have fun. Know when to use your explosive weapons to tag, when to use them to save the day, and when not to use them at all.


One Big, Possibly Incendiary Author Note

I hate to say this, but this article was written prior to the March 26th Atlantic City update - and Bethesda released a brand new heavy weapon/launcher that is supposed to be the end-all-be-all of Heavy AND Explosive Guns - the Cremator. I do not yet have it myself and I can’t test it, and as a result, I can’t/won’t write about it in good conscience. 

With online, live-service games, you can expect changes at a moment’s notice, and while I hate the idea that this list may be outdated already, I will strongly suggest that you take a look into it once you can unlock it (and all of the mods that go with it)!

If nothing else, consider this weapon a replacement for the #3 entry if it's half as good as the reports I've seen.


10. Molotov Cocktail

From Russia with love!
See it in action!

MC’s fit in your grenade slot and they’re as basic as basic gets. Craftable with oil and cloth at any tinkerer’s workbench without a plan, they do their job well.  

Why we love them:

  • MC’s do minimal damage but they do great to ‘tag’ groups of enemies in a hurry.
  • They do inflict fire damage, which can wear down your opponents quickly.
  • A good alternative to these are the Floater Flamer Grenades..
  • Do they work with Friendly Fire? It really depends on what Bethesda patches when; sometimes they have, sometimes they don’t.


9. Grand Finale

I suppose you could say that a Broadsider is now… canon-onical… to the lore.
See it in action!

 I believe this one can be classified as the ‘rocket’s red glare.’ The Grand is a Heavy Gun and a named Broadsider that comes with a base 10% damage boost, a two-shot effect, and more. The downside? It takes cannonballs.   

Why we love it:

  • It’s one of two possible rewards from defeating the Ultracite Titan, which means it’s not the hardest weapon in the world to get.
  • Cannonballs are cheap to make; they’re just heavy.
  • It’s a two-shot explosive weapon with +250 DR when reloading, +10% base damage, and an extra + 25% damage when aiming down sights.
  • It’s a ship cannon. What more do you want?


8. Nuka Grenade

It’s the bottle-rocket from Hell.
See it in action!

 Nuka Grenades are, well, grenades. They also do ridiculous damage, go off like a nuke, and aren’t the hardest things to make. As a grenade, they work as a supplemental boost to your main weapon loadout.  

Why we love them:

  • As a grenade, you’ve got the power of a nuke in your hand.
  • These have a major damage radius, and a huge explosion effect.
  • While not my favorite grenade, they do have the largest ‘boom’ of everything.
  • Crafting components aren’t hard to come by.
  • Have an overabundance of Nuka-Colas and Frag Grenades? We have a solution!


7. Boomstick

This is my… Okay, listen, IT’S AN EASY JOKE, ALRIGHT?
See it in action!

This is a unique, two-shot missile launcher. I don’t know what I can add to that to make it sound even cooler, but I’ll try. The Boomstick is a rare reward from Mutated Party Packs from Mutated Events - so it may take you a while to track this one down.  

Why we love it:

  • The two-shot effect on this effectively doubles the explosive damage. This makes it rise head-and-shoulders above other missile launcher variants.
  • As a big perk, it has a default 90% weight reduction on the weapon itself.
  • There aren’t a lot of great “missile” weapons in the game, so it slots in on the rule of cool.


6. Foundation's Vengeance

Put a hole in something and blow the hole up. That’s the guiding principle behind this weapon.
See it in action!

 This is a named minigun - and that should tell you something. It’s also a common drop from a public event and comes with some pretty hefty built-in stats. One of those stats? Explosive bullets. The explosions don’t do a ton of damage, but this is a great weapon for tagging swarms of bad guys at events and it’s capable of doing massive base damage all by itself.  

Why we love it:

  • This drops at the event, “Eviction Notice,” along with a few other powerful items.
  • Even better, Eviction Notice is a popular event - so this gun can be found on player vendors on a regular basis!
  • It uses 5mm as its ammo, which weighs a lot less than missiles or mini-nukes.
  • It has the ‘bloodied’ legendary effect built into it by default, meaning Bloodied Build. players can put out a hellacious bulletstorm with this cannon.
  • In addition, it is a heavy gun, so heavy gun perks apply.


5. Orbital Strike Beacon

Look, I’m just saying, there’s a reason why the Enclave has a bad reputation in other FO games.
See it in action!

 The OSB is a weird grenade but it makes some of the biggest explosions in the game second only to the Overkill and nukes themselves. It takes a lot of different crafting components, so be warned - you may not make a lot of them. Further, it can’t be used indoors; so you won’t be pulling it out in Daily Ops or Radiation Rumble.  

Why we love it:

  • Once thrown, the OSB does nothing but scan the area - at first.
  • A few seconds later, and a series of heavy bombs from somewhere in earth’s orbit will fall down on the battlefield.
  • This weapon will pacify just about any situation you may find yourself in with a huge explosion series.
  • You earn the plans from this once you complete the main questline, “Enclave: One of Us.”
  • This does count as a grenade toss, so you don’t have to unequip your primary weapon to use it.
  • It takes Raw Yellowcake Flux to make, so be prepared to harvest in a nuke zone.


4. Overkill

I test-fired this one recently and the resulting detonation nearly made my computer crash. Not a joke; an honest observation.

See it in action!

When a game like Fallout gives you a weapon with a name like this, it’s either going to be really good - or really bad. Overkill manages to do both at the same time. Let me hit the really bad first:  

Why we warn about it:

  • The OK is a mini-nuke launcher. If you use this in a public event, people will hate you. 
  • The OK is a mini-nuke launcher. The ammo is heavy. Very, very heavy.

Why we love it:

  • The OK is a mini-nuke launcher. It’s a TWO-SHOT mini-nuke launcher.
  • Oh, and it comes with the MIRV mod, which splits the projectiles into FOURPER SHOT.
  • Yes, you’re effectively dropping eightmini-nukes per pull of the trigger.
  • It helps to irradiate those corners of the wasteland that were missed during the Great War.
  • It’s a reward from Mutated Public Events, so it may be hard to get your hands on.


3. The Fixer w/Explosive Legendary Effect

Are there better legendary effects for The Fixer? Yes. Are they as much fun? No.

See it in action!

Slots #2 and #3 on this list aren’t dedicated to explosive weapons. Rather, they’re dedicated to weapons with explosive effects. The Fixer is one of them; it’s not a personal favorite, but it’s an endgame rifle that is versatile in every situation. 

Ultimately, here's the thing - if you're running a rifle or a stealth build, you don't have a lot of access to explosive weapons outside of the Gauss Rifle, and that one isn't the most popular thing ever. If you want a rifle with explosive effects, the Fixer with that Legendary Effect on it will meet your needs. Otherwise, it really shouldn't be on this list; I'm just trying to provide some variety for you.

Why we love it:

  • First thing to note - this does not come with explosive bullets as the default. It can be rolled to use them.
  • The Fixer plans can be rewarded from Mutated Public Events if you don’t have them, or have a chance to spawn as a result of the player-triggered event, Encryptid. 
  • Has increased damage, stealth effects, and increased player movement speed as base effects that aren’t overridden when you apply other Legendary effects to it.
  • Uses .45 ammo, which is super easy to make and find.
  • For anyone using a commando build, it’s arguably the ultimate weapon.
  • Regardless of if you use automatic or single-fire, you can apply explosive damage to this rifle. They add an extra depth to the damage and they can help you tag ‘area’ NPCs which is something most other rifles simply can’t.


2. Gauss Family (Rifle, Minigun, Pistol, Shotgun)

Nothing says, “I hate you and all you stand for,” like 8 bomblets fired from a shotgun. Made this thing two shot and smile all the way to the bank.
See it in action!

Gauss weapons make almost every Top-X list I’ve discussed for Fallout 76. All four of them have explosive effects, and all four of them are modified by perk cards. With the maxed-out Grenadier, as of sometime in 2023, the explosive bullets in all four of these weapons got a boost. 

A very, very, explosive boost.

Why we love them:

  • Regardless of your build, you can find a use for Gauss. The shotgun competes with the rifle for range so you have two different choices for excellent builds, the pistol out-damages everything else in its weapon class (with the numbers being tight against the Crusader pistol), and the minigun is generally just a ridiculous heavy gun
  • The explosion effects on all four of these weapons are huge. The Minigun absolutely tags everything and anything you aim it at.
  • All four weapons can be modified to receive Prime receivers and be rolled with your choice of Legendary effects. Go Bloodied, go Armor Piercing, go Two-Shot, go Quad; pick your poison.
  • The plans come from the main quest line and can be bought from Minerva, the Foundation, or Regs. 


1. Nuka Launcher / Auto Grenade Launcher

I’m not saying that doing squats HELPS to carry this thing around if you aren’t using a suit of PA, but I’m not saying they don’t. (Gameplay wise, they don’t. But it is fun to get sneak attack damage WITH A GRENADE LAUNCHER.)
See it in action!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - two shots with explosive weapons saves the day, and the Nuka Launcher exists to bring the rain. It’s hard to argue with how effective this weapon is; it’s a God-tier cannon that when used correctly, can even mitigate certain mutations (specifically, reflective).  

Unfortunately, the NL was a reward on one of the previous seasonal Scoreboards. If you don’t have it/didn’t get it, the Auto Grenade Launcher is a good secondary choice if you can get one with Two Shot.  

Be advised though - it’s easy to abuse this one. Please don’t. I personally use it at Moonshine Jamboree and Guided Meditation due to the range and open-design of those two events. I don’t use it at much else when other people are around (except rarely in Eviction Notice or Swarm of Suitors) and even then, I have to be careful not to bother anyone with it. 

Simply: be considerate!  

Why we love it:

  • Mutated Events and Daily Ops occasionally have ‘reflective’ mutations active. These mutations reflect direct damage done back to the source (you) which can one-shot you (easily) if you’re using something with heavy damage output. Guess what the NL is?
  • The NL is indirect damage. The explosion effect is where the pain is, and that damage doesn’t get bounced back. That means that you can fire this thing indiscriminately and rarely take any hits yourself. Couple this with a chestplate with Dense and the Fireproof perk on it to reduce your own risk of splash damage and you can mitigate that mutation entirely.
  • It’s fast-firing splash damage/area effect damage. Have an event with a lot of bad guys clustered around each other, like Guided Meditation or a Horde? Empty the clip and walk away done.
  • I can blast the full clip of 12 for 24 separate explosions in seconds. It’s a rush. It also makes short work of Mirelurk Queens…


Ready to leave your mark - or your crater - on the wasteland? Check out these three other guides before you leave the Vault!

Born on the outskirts of the Eldritch Mountains of Appalachia, Josh seeks to bring the magic of the (very) old into the minds of those willing to learn fantasy, magic, and the joy of building worlds.
Gamer Since: 1989
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Fallout 76, Cities Skylines 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Cities: Skylines - After Dark, Total War: Rome II