The gun uses railway spikes as crude flechettes. Though only moderately damaging, it is very effective at dealing limb damage (due to a 3x limb damage multiplier), able to cripple limbs with just one shot. On the killing shot, a spike may tear off the struck limb or head, and possibly pin it to a fixed object, for example a wall or the floor. Its accuracy is not perfect, and the rifle will often miss at long range, making it more effective at short to medium ranges, and most effective in V.A.T.S. where its limb-destroying effects can be put to precision use. It is also remarkably effective at disarming enemies, as it will often launch their weapons a substantial distance on a V.A.T.S. hit. It has a high critical multiplier, which, depending on one's base critical chance, can make it highly effective.
The railway rifle can fire a total of about 224 spikes, the equivalent of 28 reloads, from full condition before breaking.
- Laszlo Radford uses the railway rifle, he is a random encounter who may be found at certain locations throughout the Wasteland, but only appears after you have obtained at least 1 schematic for the railway rifle.
- All of the components can be found in Fort Independence. Simply walk into the building and go straight and open the door. On the back left shelf, all the way to the left is a crutch. After that, back up and go right. There will be a staircase, then a door afterwards, open the door and proceed downward. Go into the cubicle on the far end of the room on the right.There will be shelves containing 3 fission batteries, and a steam gauge assembly move into the other room on the same floor. Turn right, and there will be a table with 2 pressure cookers
- All of the components can also be found in the RobCo Facility. There are many fission batteries and steam gauge assemblies spread throughout the floor area as well as two crutches in the central large room, near some computers. Finally, in the Kitchen, there are two pressure cookers on the stoves. You also may find additional fission batteries in the robots on the ground.
The rifle is built from a crutch that comprises the stock and grip part of the gun, a pressure cooker that acts as a firing chamber, a steam gauge assembly that comprises the grip, ammunition storage and barrel of the gun, and a fission battery as a power source to operate the weapon.
Fission battery (1)
Pressure cooker (1)
Railway rifle (1)
- Seagrave Holmes' computer terminal in Rivet City contains an entry about his failure to create a weapon that fires railway spikes. The entry describes his attempts at using rubber bands as a propulsion system (similar to the surgical tubing on the dart gun), and possibility of making his contraption steam-powered, hinting that he is possibly the original inventor of the railway rifle.
- The stock of the railway rifle seems to be an actual weapon stock, similar to that of a combat shotgun, instead of appearing as a crutch like the schematics intended. However, the hand grip of the crutch can still be clearly seen under the barrel section attached to the piston.
- Curiously, railway spikes do not create ripples when fired into water.
- Oddly, all of the components for the railway rifle add up to a total weight of 27 pounds, even though the weapon itself is only 9 pounds.
- The pressure gauge by the barrel of the railway rifle will indicate high pressure until it is fired once, then low pressure until it is reloaded.
- Fallout: New Vegas includes a brief cameo of the railway rifle, seen on the far wall of the "hidden" weapons room in Mick & Ralph's. This version of the weapon is a non-interactive static mesh (i.e. a decoration) rather than a working weapon. Most of the other resources for this weapon remain in the game's files, but no actual, working version of the weapon exists within the game itself.
- It was originally called the railspike gun on concept art. 
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