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 hideout. Once the hide outs 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 a Bolt Action Rifle and a 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.
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 achievement/trophy. 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 people hiding behind cover.
- Rank 3: Kill 3 enemies\undead in one shot.
- Rank 4: Kill 2 wild\undead animals in one shot.
- Rank 5: Obtain the US Army Uniform and kill one enemy\undead 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: Obatin 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 aiming 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 or RT without losing ammo.
- 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 3. Simply go into Armadillo saloon at night time and shoot the centre of a table surrounded by Walton's Gang members. Wear bandana to avoid loss of honor.
- Hint for Challenge: Rank 3: Go to a gang hideout, Twin Rocks works well as the player can save close by in town. Take out the men on the rocks and as many around the outside of the buildings as you can from the hills to the East of the gang by using a sniper rifle before going in. Once the player heads in, they need to lasso & hogtie 3 gang members in the course of completing the hideout. Once completed, return to the 3 hogtied gang members, move them close together and proceed to shoot the explosive rifle in the middle of the 3 to complete this challenge.
- Hint for Explosive Rifle Mastery challenge Rank 3: Pike's Basin is a good place to execute the hogtie technique(as explained above). Do not meet the Rancher near the canyon fork. Enemies appear along the trail in twos and threes. Kill all but one and gather the remaining hogtied enemies together. Then execute (with the Explosive Rifle).
- 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 would have been produced in 1918; four years after the last playable time period 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 to any NPC, animal or player, an impressive amount of blood will show and the victim will disappear, making them unable to loot and skin.
- While it does not possess a scope like other sniper weapons, it does allow for the use of standard Dead-Eye where the player marks targets and body parts.
- If shot at a window, despite the explosion it 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 there is a direct hit on a legendary animals, they can never be skinned ruining the Master Hunter Challenges forever, because it requires you to skin them, unless loading a different file.
- It is the most powerful rifle in Red Dead Redemption, being able to kill anything but Pestilence with a hit to any part of the body. It is also the only weapon able to 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, should they have enough money to buy the weapon. 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.
Complete the Explosive Rifle Single Player Challenges.