Ballistic Ammo Crafting Guide in Fallout: New Vegas
A guide to ballistic ammo crafting in Fallout: New Vegas

Ammo crafting is a mechanic that allows the player to recycle parts of their ammunition after it has been fired, in addition to creating their own, more powerful ammo that cannot be purchased anywhere else in the game.

This guide will only focus on the crafting of ballistic ammo, another guide focused on the crafting of energy weapon ammo will be released at a later date.

Crafting ballistic ammo

Ballistic ammo is used by guns and comes in many different calibers and varieties. 

To craft ballistic ammo, you must find a Reloading Bench somewhere within the Mojave.

Example of a reloading bench. Located next to Chet’s store | Fallout: New Vegas
Example of a reloading bench. Located next to Chet’s store

Next, you’ll need the required ingredients and skill, just like with the regular crafting mechanics. 

All ballistic ammo crafting uses the Repair skill.

Every type of ammo needs the following ingredients to be made:

  • Primer
  • Powder
  • Casing
  • Lead

Ammo Components

Primers

Primers are separated into categories, each one being interchangeable between multiple calibers.

Primer table

Primer NameRelated Calibers
Shotshell20 Gauge, 12 Gauge
Small Pistol.357 Magnum, 9mm
Large Pistol.44 Magnum, 10mm, 12.7mm, and .45 Auto (Honest Hearts DLC required)
Small Rifle5mm, 5.56mm
Large Rifle.308, .45-70 Gov’t
.50 MG.50 MG, Rockets (Lonesome Road DLC required)

Powders

Powders are separated into only two categories: Pistol and Rifle. 

Pistol powder is used for the creation of the following calibers:

  • .22LR
  • .357 Magnum
  • .44 Magnum
  • .45 Auto (Honest Hearts DLC required)
  • 9mm
  • 10mm
  • 12.7mm
  • 12 Gauge
  • 20 Gauge

Rifle powder is used for the creation of the following calibers:

  • .308
  • .45-70 Gov’t
  • .50 MG
  • 5mm
  • 5.56mm

Casings

Every individual caliber has its own casing, which is always named after the caliber itself. For example, 5.56mm ammo requires the “Case, 5.56mm” to craft. 

Whenever you fire a gun, you also have a 25% chance to recover a casing of the caliber of the fired weapon.

Lead

Lead is very abundant and can be made in large numbers using Scrap Metal on the workbench.

Ammo Breakdowns

Every type of ammo can be broken down into its base components. Doing so doesn’t grant the same amount of ingredients as crafting the round itself requires, but instead only about 80% of the required materials. However, breaking down ammo always grants 1 casing and 1 primer, so you will never lose those ingredients while breaking down ammo.

This can also be used to get ingredients to make your own ammo from an ammo type you do not need. For example, you can pick up and break down 5mm ammunition to get the primers and powder necessary to craft 5.56mm ammo.

Handloader

The Handloader perk is a perk that allows you to craft several new ammo types. 6 without DLC, then 1 more with the Honest Hearts DLC, and 6 more with the Gun Runners Arsenal DLC.

All of these ammo types have slightly higher crafting requirements than the regular version of the same caliber, but they have enhanced stats, usually at a cost of a small penalty to the weapon’s durability.

Base Game Handloader ammo types table

NameEffects
10mm JHP Hand Load+65% Damage, The target’s DT is doubled
.308 JSP Hand Load+30% Damage, The weapon degrades 50% faster
.357 JFP Hand Load+25% Damage, +20% Accuracy, target has -2DT
.44 SWC Hand Load+20% Damage, The target has -6DT, 
.45-70 Gov’t Hand Load+30% Damage, The weapon degrades 3x faster
.50 MG Match Hand Load+15% Damage, +35% Accuracy

Honest Hearts ammo types table

NameEffects
.45 Super Hand Load+30% Damage, The target has -4DT, The weapon degrades 2.5x faster

Gun Runners Arsenal ammo types table

NameEffects
12 Gauge 4/0 Buck Magnum Hand Load+30% Damage, The target has -2DT, The weapon degrades 15% faster
12 Gauge 3/0 Buck Magnum Hand Load+30% Damage, The target has -2DT, The weapon degrades 15% faster
12.7mm JHP Hand Load+65% Damage, The target’s DT is doubled
5.56mm Match Hand Load+15% Damage, +35% Accuracy
5mm JSP Handload+30% Damage, The target has -10DT, The weapon degrades 50% faster
9mm JHP Handload+65% Damage, The target’s DT is doubled