The Explosive Rifle is a powerful, experimental, single-shot rifle added to Red Dead Redemption by the Liars and Cheats DLC pack. Once this DLC is installed, the weapon can be unlocked in single player, Undead Nightmare, and multiplayer under certain conditions, as detailed below.
- The Explosive Rifle can be purchased from the Gunsmith in Blackwater. The weapon costs $10,000 ($5,000 with Honor level "Peacemaker", and as low as $2,500 if the Savvy Merchant Outfit is also equipped; conversely, the rifle will cost $15,000 with lowest possible Honor).
- After the June 2014 patch, the Explosive Rifle was unlocked for the player at any level. The player was able to use it at any time. Rockstar released another patch that fixed the Explosive Rifle being in the player's inventories, and made it so it was once again only obtainable through completing certain gang hideouts. Once the hideouts are completed, the Explosive Rifle is given as a prize at the end, and the ammo is unreplenishable.
- In Stronghold matches, the Explosive Rifle is given to the player who cracks the safe. One or two safes are available on many of the Stronghold maps. The rifle comes with 3 rounds. If the player is killed, the rifle can be picked up from the corpse, though with only one shot remaining.
- The Myths and Mavericks DLC adds the Explosive Rifle to chests on several Free For All and Gang maps.
The Explosive Rifle is not like any other type of rifle found in the game. However, its design does bear some similarities to a cross between the Bolt Action Rifle and the Buffalo Rifle. It uses a special type of ammunition called Explosive Rounds, which are only sold at gunsmiths, not general stores. These rounds when fired travel just as quickly as bullets, and detonate directly on impact with a target. A direct hit on a person will cause the person to explode in a shower of blood and body parts. A direct hit on an animal such as a horse or cow will cause the animal to burst into a spectacular display of red mist and guts. An indirect hit, in which an enemy is caught in the blast area, kills an enemy and sends them flying much like Dynamite. The force of the blast can even knock down nearby enemies outside of the "kill zone" in the process.
The weapon comes with limited ammunition. The maximum limit on ammo is 15 rounds, 30 with the bandolier. The Explosive Rifle also has a rather slow rate of fire considering it can only fire one round at a time before being reloaded, like the Buffalo Rifle. Because of this, it is not wise to use this weapon full-time.
A set of Explosive Rifle challenges is added to both single player and Undead Nightmare. In each game there are five ranks to complete, after which the player earns the Master Exploder trophy/achievement. After completion in single player, all gunsmiths will sell Explosive Rounds at half price.
- Rank 1: Purchase an Explosive Rifle from the Gunsmith in Blackwater.
- Rank 2: Kill 5 enemies hiding behind cover.
- Rank 3: Kill 3 enemies in one shot.
- Rank 4: Kill 2 wild animals in one shot.
- Rank 5: Obtain the US Army Uniform and kill one enemy with the Explosive Rifle.
- Rank 1: Obtain the Explosive Rifle by saving Rathskeller Fork from the undead hordes.
- Rank 2: Kill one of each type of undead.
- Rank 3: Kill 3 undead in one shot.
- Rank 4: Kill 2 undead animals in one shot.
- Rank 5: Obtain the US Army Uniform and kill one undead with the Explosive Rifle.
- Due to the blast radius of the weapon, the player must be careful when firing to avoid killing or hurting teammates, or themselves.
- In Undead Nightmare, the Explosive Rifle can be very effective against undead hordes since the player can rifle-butt the undead by tapping R2/RT without losing ammo. However, players should be careful doing this as it may trigger an execution, wasting a round that will only kill the executed undead.
- In Undead Nightmare, ammo can occasionally be found on some corpses. The alternate way to find more ammo is to find the Unicorn. After this, and upon putting on the Army of the Undead outfit, the player is given a "holy relic" which will refill all weapons once per day.
- Hint for Challenge Rank 2: The kills stack so the challenge can be completed over multiple encounters. Story missions and gang hideouts work best as NPCs are often static and hiding behind cover. Tesoro Azul, Gaptooth Breach, and Nosalida are excellent choices. Bounty missions tend not to be as good as NPCs run toward the player rather than seeking cover. However, if a player waits from a distance and avoids alerting the NPCs, three or more will often group together and the player can take a shot from a distance or charge in for a close shot on the group.
- Hint for Challenge Rank 3. Simply go into Armadillo saloon and shoot the centre of a table surrounded by Walton's Gang members. Wear the bandana to avoid a loss of honor.
- Hint for Challenge Rank 3: Go to any gang hideout, hogtie three gang members, place them close together, and then shoot the group with the Explosive Rifle. Twin Rocks works well. Take out the men on the rocks and around the outside of the buildings using a distance weapon (like a sniper rifle) from the hills to the East of the hideout. Make sure to leave at least 3 gang members alive. Then head in, lasso & hogtie, place them near each other, and shoot the group with the Explosive Rifle.
- Hint for Explosive Rifle Mastery challenge Rank 3: if executing the hogtie technique explained above in Pike's Basin, do not start the hideout by meeting the Rancher near the canyon fork. Start from another entry such as the northeastern entry from Hennigan's Stead (near the railroad tracks) or the southeastern entry close to McFarlane's Ranch. Enemies will appear along the trail in twos and threes. Kill all but one in each group, hogtie the remaining member, carry him on your horse to the next group, and repeat the process until you have a group of three or more. Shoot the group with the Explosive Rifle to complete the challenge.
- The Explosive Rifle is loosely based in appearance on the Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr, a German anti-tank rifle that was first used in World War I. This weapon was first manufactured in 1918, four years after the last events in Red Dead Redemption.
- Unless using Dead-Eye, the player cannot automatically lock on to enemies with this weapon. This is the same as for other sniper rifles.
- When firing directly at any NPC, animal or player, the target will be vaporized and disappear, making the target impossible to either to loot or skin.
- While it does not possess a scope like other sniper weapons, it does allow for the use of standard Dead-Eye.
- If shot at a window, the explosion will only leave a bullet size hole in the glass.
- Before the weapon had an official model, it used the Buffalo Rifle as a placeholder.
- If legendary animals are shot with the Explosive Rifle, the Master Hunter Challenges cannot be completed because the challenges require a player to skin the Legendary Animal. This cannot happen as the animal is vaporized. Reload an earlier save to retry the hunt.
- The Explosive Rifle is the most powerful rifle in Red Dead Redemption, and can be used to kill anything but Pestilence. It is also the only weapon that can obliterate a Rattlesnake.
- If the player uses a trick to get into Blackwater earlier in the game, it is possible to acquire the explosive rifle early in the game. However, one should note that rifle will be lost after "Cowards Die Many Times", as it will not be in the chest with the rest of the player's weapons.
- In Undead Nightmare, rifle-butting Retchers will not cause them to explode.
- The Explosive Rifle is not made golden by the Golden Guns DLC pack.
- In the Undead Nightmare DLC saving Rathskeller Fork from the Undead provides the player with this weapon regardless of whether the player has downloaded Liars and Cheats or not.
- The weapon is described as having been developed for use against vehicles, but if fired at a stagecoach, it will not be destroyed. This might because T-gewehrs were designed to penetrate tank armour and damage engines or crew.
- When fired at bounty targets, their bodies will not be obliterated, so that you can still loot them.
Complete the Explosive Rifle Single Player Challenges.