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How to Use the Heavy Bowgun in “Monster Hunter: World”

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Poppy is the author of "A Bard's Lament" and the Black Diamond series. She lives in Enoshima, Japan, with her husband and young son.

Monster Hunter: World is the latest in the action-packed Japanese roleplaying video game series by Capcom. It quickly became one of the most popular games of 2018 and thousands of players in the online community worldwide are enjoying hunting and capturing monsters, completing quests and investigations, and forging and customising their own armour and weapons.

Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter: World

One of the great features of this game is being able to choose from a variety of weapons. It can be a little overwhelming at first and it can take a while to find a weapon that is right for you. If you are like me and you prefer long-range weapons, an excellent choice is the Heavy Bowgun.

The Heavy Bowgun can seem intimidating at first, but if you master it, the perks are completely worth it.

The Heavy Bowgun

The Heavy Bowgun

The Heavy Bowgun

You can equip the Heavy Bowgun at once from your item chest in your room. To use it, press L2 to aim and R2 to fire (on the PlayStation 4).

Benefits of Using the Heavy Bowgun:

  • It is long-range. You can attack monsters from a distance, making it harder for them to hit you and giving you more time to avoid oncoming attacks.
  • You can make use of the various types of ammo you can collect and craft.
  • You can use Tranq Ammo, making it easier to capture monsters.
  • It is very powerful, allowing you to deal a lot of damage even early on in the game.

Downsides of the Heavy Bowgun:

  • Speed is sacrificed for power. Your character moves incredibly slowly when the Bowgun is drawn.
  • It takes longer to put away. This adds valuable seconds in battle.
  • You have to craft and buy your own armour (though Normal Ammo 1 is unlimited).

The Bowgun is great because you can use the various types of ammo you can find and craft throughout the game using different kinds of plants and other materials. Having various kinds of ammo makes the Heavy Bowgun more interesting and some combinations can do enormous amounts of power.

Heavy Bowgun Ammo

AmmoMaterials RequiredEffects

Normal Ammo


Standard damage

Sticky Ammo


Sticks to monster and explodes

Pierce Ammo


Pierces armour

Wyvern Ammo

Dragonstrike Nut

Extremely powerful

Tranq Ammo

Tranq Bomb

Used for capturing monsters

Slicing Ammo


Ejects blades on impact

Spread Ammo


Fires in several places at once

Recover Ammo

Normal Ammo and Potion

Heals target

Demon Ammo

Normal Ammo and Demondrug

Increases attack

Armor Ammo

Normal Ammo and Armorskin

Increases defense

There are various levels of the above ammo types. You can upgrade your ammo using various materials. For example, you can upgrade your Normal Ammo 1 to Normal Ammo 2 by combining it with Gunpowder.

There are also types of ammo that have elemental effects or status effects. These make the Bowgun a flexible weapon that can be used for all kinds of monsters.

Elemental and Status Effects Ammo

AmmoMaterials RequiredEffects

Poison Ammo

Normal Ammo and Toadstool

Poisons target

Paralysis Ammo

Normal Ammo and Parashroom

Paralyses target

Sleep Ammo

Normal Ammo and Sleep Herb

Puts target to sleep

Exhaust Ammo

Normal Ammo and Exciteshroom

Drains the target's stamina

Flaming Ammo

Normal Ammo and Fire Herb

Deals fire damage

Water Ammo

Normal Ammo and Flowfern

Deals water damage

Thunder Ammo

Normal Ammo and Thunderbug

Deals thunder damage

Freeze Ammo

Normal Ammo and Snow Herb

Deals ice damage

Dragon Ammo

Normal Ammo and Dragonfell Berry

Deals dragon damage


Set items so that they automatically craft Ammo when you collect the materials. This will save you having to do it manually and will keep you topped up whenever you pick up nuts or herbs.


Similarly to your armour, you can upgrade your Bowgun by heading to the Smithy. The Bowgun has various paths on its weapon tree that add power and sometimes elemental damage, depending on which path you choose.

You need various materials to upgrade your Bowgun as well as some money. Take a look at what materials are required and look out for them on your travels. For example, the Bone Tree requires Monster Bones for upgrades, which you can get as rewards on various quests.

You can also choose one upgrade at a time for your Heavy Bowgun that increases stats and other effects. I personally like the Shield; since using the Bowgun can be slow, I sometimes don't have time to dodge an oncoming attack. The Shield can block these blows.

Use the shield in Monster Hunter to upgrade your bow.

Use the shield in Monster Hunter to upgrade your bow.

Other Attacks

Special Attack
On the bottom left, you can see a bar that slowly fills up as you fire. When it is full, press O (on the PlayStation 4) to load your special ammo. Your character will lie on the ground when aiming.

Aim carefully and fire - this ammo is extremely powerful and explodes several times, giving an excellent boost to any damage you're dealing to monsters. Save it for the more powerful beasts and you'll have them slain in no time. The Special Attack for the Heavy Bowgun is one of the many reasons I like this weapon best.

Melee Attack
If you find yourself cornered or the monster is too close to use Ammo, press triangle and O (on the PlayStation 4) at the same time for a powerful melee attack! It's surprisingly strong and great for attacking monsters while they're down to finish them off.

For more tips and advice on using the Heavy Bowgun, check out this video.

After testing out many different weapons, the Heavy Bowgun is definitely my favourite! With various kinds of ammo and powerful long-range and melee attacks, it is a winner for Monster Hunter: World. Getting used to the speed sacrifice can take time to get used to, but the rewards are worth it.

Questions & Answers

Question: I'm learning to use the light bowgun in Monster Hunter: World. Which ones can use water and freeze ammo?

Answer: This article is about the heavy bowgun, not the light bowgun. Check out the MHW wiki:

© 2018 Poppy


Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on April 25, 2018:

Hey, thanks Louise :)

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on April 25, 2018:

This sounds like an interesting game. =)