The hunting rifle is very accurate and has the best zoom of the non-scoped weapons. The hunting rifle's spread can make the weapon hard to use for sniping at long ranges without V.A.T.S. A skilled player can use this weapon to great effect in most situations, even close-quarters combat inside buildings.
While the hunting rifle is depicted as a very accurate weapon, the in-game weapon model does not have rear or front sights, nor does it have a scope. While this means very little in-game as unscoped weapons in Fallout 3 don't use iron sights, in reality, this would make the weapon extremely difficult to aim at longer ranges and would render it almost worthless beyond close-range encounters, even to a skilled marksman.
Despite its distressed appearance, with its stock splitting, only held together with duct tape and wire, and a barrel and receiver that are heavily rusted and scratched, the hunting rifle can fire a total of about 667 rounds, the equivalent of 134 reloads, from full condition before breaking.
Lucas Simms' house has a damaged rifle sitting on a shelf in a room upstairs. The door requires a Lockpick skill of 50, you can pickpocket the house key from Lucas Simms, or you can use an empty, upturned metal barrel (carried to and placed near the Water processing plant railing) to jump onto Lucas Simms' roof and enter his house via the roof hatch (which is never locked) to his lookout point. Note that taking it counts as stealing.
Just west of Vault 101 is an old barn with a random encounter spawn point located inside. Going up the stairs in the barn will reveal a hunting rifle and .32 ammunition next to a skeleton and a Ham Radio.
There is a damaged rifle behind Springvale School among a pile of nuclear waste barrels (in a fenced-in area with a locked gate).
In one of the abandoned houses in Grayditch there is a hunting rifle leaning against a shelf.
One can be found in Citadel B ring (in the room "Barracks") or bought in the armory.
PCPlaystation 3Xbox 360 A gun model glitch may sometimes occur when killing an enemy as they are reloading, causing the bolt of the gun to float above the rifle. [verified]
PCPlaystation 3Xbox 360 Sometimes the gun might glitch in 3rd Person mode, where the gun will appear on the ground, where you last stepped. You will be holding nothing until you reboot your console. [verified]
Playstation 3 Sometimes the gun will stay on your back when taken out it will look like you are holding nothing but you still can shoot and see the weapon flash this may occur on enemies as well especially on wild men in the steelyard with the add on The Pitt. [verified]