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Top Call of Duty: Modern Warfare weapons: Sniper rifles

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CoD: MW snipers

Snipers aren't that prominent in Modern Warfare, but are a real menace in Warzone. (Image credit: Activision)

We’ve covered all kinds of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare guns so far, but we’re yet to dive into the true marksman’s weapon of choice – the sniper rifles.

The choice in the class of sniper rifles is not very difficult, since there are only three different ones. Snipers are sadly not too prominent in Modern Warfare itself as maps rarely offer the necessary distances to play on the snipers’ strengths. Warzone, on the other hand, is where snipers truly thrive.

Sniper rifles - one good shot needed

Sniper rifles have obvious advantages and just as obvious flaws. They possess the highest range and damage dealing capabilities in the game but are large and slow in every sense of the word – from movement to reloading, to aiming. Therefore, if you choose a sniper as your primary weapon, it’s best you keep your distance and employ a passive style of play.

3. Dragunov

It’s becoming a tradition for our third place rifles to be the adopted child and the Dragunov plays this role here as the only semi-automatic sniper in Modern Warzone.

CoD: MW Dragunov

The semi-automatic Dragunov is the only sniper to get regular play in Modern Warfare's multiplayer. (Image credit: Activision)

The Dragunov is available from the start. Due to its semi-automatic nature, its damage is significantly lower than its sniper colleagues’, so it often needs more than one shot to take out an opponent. It should, like most Designated Marksman Rifles, only need one torso and one head hit, but unfortunately, you can't always rely on that. To take advantage of the high rate of fire and avoid hit markers, we recommend using the Dragunov aggressively for quick-scoping:

  • Barrel: Compact 510mm barrel
  • Laser: tactical laser
  • Shaft: FTAC Stalker-Scout
  • Ammunition: 15-round magazine
  • Extra: Focus

These attachments significantly reduce the time needed to aim, making the weapon a quick-scope monster. The barrel increases movement speed and the laser increases stability. The extra focus allows us to aim well even under fire. A 15-shot magazine is not a must, but it gives us more time until the next reload, which could prove crucial even with a semi-auto. With this setup, you are extremely mobile for a sniper and can one-shot kill way more reliably, as you are more likely to fight at shorter distances.

This quick-scope build is rather niche, it requires practice and getting used to the game style. It’s not a typical sniper build, but if and when you master it, it’s a bloody joy to pawn noobs.

2. AX-50

Another tradition we’re establishing among ourselves is a hard debate over first and second place. The AX-50 has arguments to be on top buuut we voted it in second place, so there’s that.

CoD: MW AX-50

The AX-50 offers a significant jump in damage and range from the Dragunov. (Image credit: Activision)

The AX-50 is unlocked at level 37 and is a bolt-action rifle. Obviously, it can’t compare with the Dragunov’s rate of fire but it more than makes up for it with damage and range. With this sniper rifle every hit is a kill. Since most Modern Warfare multiplayer maps do not offer long distances, DMRs and the Dragunov are a much more common choice there. If you focus on improving the AX-50's strengths though, you’ve got yourself a Warzone and ground war beast:

  • Muzzle: Silencer (Monolith)
  • Barrel: 32" factory barrel
  • Sight: Scope (Thermal)
  • Stock: Singuard Arms marksman
  • Ammunition: 9-shot magazine

These attachments further increase range and precision while the silencer will help you stay concealed. The thermal sight will help you detect enemies easier. We went for a larger magazine as we feel Warzone’s prolonged battles and increased resistance can lead to some unnerving situations with fewer bullets at our disposal. Reloading this baby in the middle of a fight is a bitch.

The AX-50 is really only suitable for long-range combat, so we recommend a more cautious style of play. This setup can kill any opponent with a single hit in Modern Warfare and a shot to the head is enough to bring a player down even in Warzone.

1. HDR

Here is our winner, just baaarely scraping past the AX-50.

CoD: MW HDR

The HDR is a nightmare at long distances with its accuracy, range and damage stats. (Image credit: Activision)

The HDR is unlocked at level 11 and is a bolt-action rifle like the AX-50. Its fire rate is a bit slower than the AX-50, but it compensates with range and, what makes it especially interesting, less bullet drop. That’s where the HDR really stands out – even at long distances you hit what you aim for. Its penetrating power is also not to be neglected, as it can inflict heavy damage even through obstacles. Here, too, we advise you to build on its strengths:

  • Run: 26.9" HDR Pro
  • Sight: Scope (Thermal)
  • Shank: FTAC Champion
  • Ammunition: 7-shot magazine
  • Extra: Reconnaissance

With these attachments, the HDR has an extreme range and precision. To show something different, we have chosen the Extra Reconnaissance here - with which the names of enemies can be seen over greater distances. However, this can be exchanged at any time for the monolithic silencer, which gives even more range and does not give away its own position. Once again we went with the thermal sight to detect enemies, but it’s really not a must in this case. Same argumentation for the larger magazine as for the AX-50 – snipers are just not very good at reloading.

The HDR is one of the most powerful weapons in Modern Warfare, but it’s prowess truly shines in Verdansk. Its immense range and precision, coupled with virtually no bullet drop and extremely high damage, allows you to take out enemies before they even know what happened. Like the AX-50, the HDR can send fully armored enemies to the ground in Warzone with a single head strike.

As we made abundantly clear, snipers are powerful but their use can be limited within Modern Warfare. You’ll have better luck holding the hand cannon in Warzone. For some more practical MW weapon choices, check out our assault rifles, submachine guns, shotguns, light machine guns, and designated marksman rifles lists.

Kiril Stoilov

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