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"Red Dead Redemption 2" Sharpshooter Challenges

I started writing about "Red Dead Redemption 2" when I noticed how little info was available online.

Adjust your aim for the wind variation! At least when shooting bottles . . .

Adjust your aim for the wind variation! At least when shooting bottles . . .

The Slow and The Dead

You won’t be shooting playing cards in half (although that would be pretty badass . . .), but you can partake in various feats of virtual murder and marksmanship with the Sharpshooter Challenges. Like Red Dead Redemption, some of these can come off as a little “no way that’s possible” or “are you kidding me here!?” But believe me, they CAN be done with some patience and a healthy amount of Dead Eye recharging Tonics. Unlike Red Dead Redemption, most of these you can do using Dead Eye without being penalized, however, the game is vague on which does and doesn’t count. Not to worry, that's what this guide is for!

How Dead Eye Works:

To activate Dead Eye, press in on the Right Stick/R3 as you can already tell this is Red Dead Redemption 2's answer to Max Payne's Bullet Time ability (or "focus" as other games have to call it due to some odd copyright). How much time you have to make your shots depends on how far into the game you are, how much Dead Eye XP you have acquired to fill the meter, and as always, how solid your Core is.

  • Level 1: Unlocked during the Chapter 1 mission "Old Friends" you learn to activate and use this ability.
  • Level 2: Unlocked during the Chapter 2 mission "Pouring Fourth Oil - IV" you will gain the ability to manually mark enemies with the Right Bumper/R1. On a side note this was Red Dead Redemption's "Level 3 Dead Eye", essentially you NEED to mark targets in order to stay in Dead Eye mode.
  • Level 3: Unlocked, finally, during the Chapter 4 mission "Urban Pleasures" you can now manually target and fire without getting kicked out of Dead Eye mode. No need to mark targets, you can do it optionally.
  • Level 4: Unlocked during the Chapter 5 mission "Fleeting Joy" enemy heads and hearts will be highlighted while in Dead Eye mode. You know what to do with that feature . . .
  • Level 5: Unlocked during the Chapter 6 mission "Goodbye, Dear Friend" and is a slight "upgrade" from Level 4. This time, it highlights lungs and stomachs. Ouch!

Sharpshooter Challenge #1: Kill 3 flying birds

When You Can Do It: At the beginning of Chapter 2

Head to the river west of Valentine, here you can find flocks of Ducks. You can also Dead Eye murders of crows, gaggles of Canadian Geese, and other groups of different birds that I can’t name variably because I’m not that smart at the moment, and don’t want to cheapen myself by just searching for it. Kill three birds and don’t forget to skin/pluck them. Flight Feathers are useful in crafting later.

If you're doing Weapon Expert Challenge #3 you're likely to trigger this. Which is strange since you can't "sharpshoot" Tomahawks. I'm not going to question the logic, it's pointless!

Sharpshooter Challenge #2: Kill 2 different animal species in 1 use of Dead Eye

When You Can Do It: Chapter 2, after Challenge #1

Ok, so this one is a little trickier than you might think, but it’s all about WHERE and WHEN you do it. Set up your Campsite and sleep until morning or evening. This is when Coyotes and Foxes are more likely to be roaming around. Or if you find a herd of deer, try to see if you can Dead Eye a flying bird along with one. The Carbine Repeater works best for this, the more range you can get the better. Also purchase some Chewing Tobacco and/or Snake Oil from a Doctor or General Store before doing this; you’re likely to need a refill.

Sharpshooter Challenge #3: Kill 5 flying birds while on a moving train

When You Can Do It: After Challenge #2

Bring your Bow and take a train to Riggs Station. Stay on the train until it gets moving again (unless that glitch hasn’t been patched yet, in which case GET OFF the train until the whistle blows, they walk back on). Press X/Square to climb on top of the train, while between cars. Use Improved Arrows if you think you need extra range, but Standard Arrows will be just as good. Now I know what you’re going to ask, and the reason why you want to use Arrows is to avoid alerting the train guards. If you start shooting bullets they’ll think you’re trying to rob it.

Getting on the train from Riggs Station will get you opportunities to shoot Ducks, Geese, Hawks, etc. Use Dead Eye to make this Challenge possible. Luckily, unlike in Red Dead Redemption, using Dead Eye will not reset the counter. Even if you don’t shoot all five birds by the time you get to the next station? Well . . . Stay up there longer . . . As long as you use the Bow you can be up there all the way to Annesburg if you want.

Just keep in mind that if you do alert the guards you can jump off the train, escape the law, and try again until the Challenge is complete.

Sharpshooter Challenge #4: Kill an enemy at least 80 feet away with a thrown tomahawk

When You Can Do It: After the Chapter 2 mission “The First Shall Be Last”

Are we supposed to kill an enemy from 80 feet with a melee takedown using a Tomahawk? This Challenge isn’t as hard as it sounds, but it works best when the target isn’t moving. A great place to do this is on the west side of Heartland Oil Fields (see screenshot below). Walk up and antagonize one of the Guards. This will make them a red dot on the mini-map. Run away and aim your Tomahawk at them; they have to be far enough away for the aiming dot to be red, but not so far that the Tomahawk hits the dirt. They WILL shoot at you once you start to aim, but hold Right Trigger/R2 until the aiming circle completely closes around the dot. Then ride like hell out of the Wanted zone.

Standing at this spot is about 80 feet from the Guards, however you'll need to Antagonize them to make them count as an enemy.

Standing at this spot is about 80 feet from the Guards, however you'll need to Antagonize them to make them count as an enemy.

Sharpshooter Challenge #5: Kill 6 animals without switching or reloading your weapon

When You Can Do It: Immediately after Challenge #4 (after you lose your wanted level that is)

Ride east toward the Heartland Overflow (see screenshot below) and you will find a large amount of Geese, Ducks, and Ravens all just chilling in the sun. Why not reward their lounging by riding up and shooting six of them with Dead Eye? If you screw up the first volley, you have just enough time to try again before they get the flock away from your carnage. If you're doing Survivalist Challenge #3, this is also a great opportunity to use the Varmint Rifle.

At this location, at Heartland Overflow, you can find a large collection of birds.

At this location, at Heartland Overflow, you can find a large collection of birds.

As you can see some things occurred that P.E.T.A. would not be happy about . . .

As you can see some things occurred that P.E.T.A. would not be happy about . . .

Sharpshooter Challenge #6: Kill someone at least 660 feet away with a long scoped rifle

When You Can Do It: After the Chapter 2 mission "The Sheep and The Goats"

If you're in a hurry, you can set yourself up at the top of a hill and just shoot any traveler that comes along. However, you'll lose Honor and MIGHT feel bad about doing it. I guess the latter depends on how much of a damn you give about things. If you're like me, and would like to save this Challenge for an enemy, there are plenty of O'Driscol camps that you can come across. Especially in West Elizabeth and The Heartlands of New Hanover (like the one in the video below for example).

No matter HOW you do this Challenge, just know that for it to count you need to be very far away. You'll know this by the aiming dot being red. Remember that Dead Eye, for some reason, counts against you here.

Sharpshooter Challenge #7: Get 7 headshots in a row

When You Can Do It: Best done during the Chapter 3 mission "A Short Walk in a Pretty Town"

There are a few missions throughout Chapter 3, and the rest of the game for that matter, that you can pull this one off. Halfway through the shootout of the mission "A Short in a Pretty Town" you'll have the opportunity to enter Dead Eye and perform this Challenge on several gunmen around the Hotel and General Store buildings (see screenshot below).

Make sure you bring your Lancaster Repeater and some Potent Snake Oil before you accept the mission.

During the mission there are about 10-12 gunmen around this spot of town where you can attempt the Challenge.

During the mission there are about 10-12 gunmen around this spot of town where you can attempt the Challenge.

Sharpshooter Challenge #8: Disarm 3 enemies without reloading or switching your weapon

When You Can Do It: For best results wait until after the Chapter 4 mission "Urban Pleasures"

You could technically do this right after Challenge #7, without using Dead Eye at all (see video below). Although it would be less of a headache if you wait until you unlock Dead Eye Level 3. This will allow you to stay in Dead Eye for as long as your meter allows it.

No matter what you decide, you can do this Challenge at any time using the mine guards of Annesburg. There should be three of them standing around the train station. First you'll need to antagonize them, which will cause them to aim their weapons at you. You could disarm the first two using Dead Eye, and then while auto-aiming, shoot the third after aiming the Right Stick to the left. Best if you use the Lancaster Repeater to allow for more accurate shots before having to reload.

After you unlocked the Challenge, get on your horse and ride out of town, you WILL have a Wanted Level after this one.

Sharpshooter Challenge #9: Shoot 3 peoples' hats off with the same Dead Eye

When You Can Do It: After Challenge #8 (if you didn't wait until after "Urban Pleasures" you really should with this one)

Rather than mess with any more 19th century security guards, let's focus this Challenge on a more hated demographic, from any time period, rich people. Head to the big Saloon in Saint Denis and equip your bandana. Go to the Poker table and there should be at least three guys sitting there with top hats. Equip a revolver, or pistol, and enter Dead Eye. Aim high, just at the top of the hats, and fire. If you accidentally kill anyone, there will be plenty other hats to shoot off. Once you complete the Challenge escape across the street, through the alley, and haul ass out of town.

You can also do this if you're getting sick of doing Gambler Challenge #4 to break the tedium. Just don't think about the rest of those Challenges or you might aim too low. Shooting them directly in the head doesn't count here . . .

Sharpshooter Challenge #10: Kill 3 flying birds with 3 consecutive long scoped rifle shots

When You Can Do It: After Challenge #9

Go to The Heartlands west of Emerald Ranch, where there's always a gaggle of Geese flying through the air. You will not be penalized for using Dead Eye, and with Dead Eye Level 3 you can use the Rolling Block Rifle. Reloading is not an issue during this Challenge either, so no need to unlock the Carcano Rifle, BUT you do need to use a designated sniper rifle class weapon. Slapping a scope on any other rifle won't count toward this.

Now as for the bird shooting part? Aim for the Geese as they fly AWAY from you, it will make it easier to shoot three of them in a row.

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© 2019 Eric Seidel