Although its damage and damage-per-second (DPS) are low, it can be very accurate at long ranges if you manually target outside of V.A.T.S. With good Guns and Sneakskill, one-shot kills with sneak attack critical head shots are possible against low level non-player characters. With the addition of the night scope and silencermodifications, its usefulness later game is further extended. A fully repaired varmint rifle can fire 597 standard rounds before breaking.
In first-person, when chambering a round the player character will bring their hand palm-up and grasp the bulb of the bolt within their fist. However, from third-person they will seem to simply grab the bulb with their forefinger and thumb, palm-down.
Even though there is a hole in the stock, it remains unused with the thumb on top.
Behind the scenes
The varmint rifle was intended to be chambered for .22LR rounds at some point during development. Among the indicators is the "Reduced Limb Damage" effect shown in the Pip-Boy for both the silenced .22 pistol and the silenced .22 SMG being named DummyNVVarmintRifle, as well as Dixon carrying a varmint rifle in his inventory along with 16 .22LR rounds, rather than 5.56mm rounds. However the .22LR variant was so unpopular due to the low damage that its ammunition was changed to 5.56mm. Notably, the magazine that the varmint rifle uses was actually meant to be a banana mag that would hold a great number of .22 rounds, but because of the switch from .22LR to 5.56mm, it was changed into a regular small magazine. Despite the change, however, the UV map for the magazine is still in the shape of the original banana mag.
PlayStation 3 After applying the silencer to an already scoped rifle, aiming towards the Freeside's north gate from next to the Mick & Ralph's crier causes the screen to completely glitch out; however it returns to normal after exiting zoomed mode or by looking away.
PlayStation 3 While carrying multiple rifles, attempting to access them in the pip boy will show only one rifle. Dropping or otherwise removing the rifle from your inventory will cause the remaining rifles to be shown. The hidden rifles will also be at 100% condition no matter what condition they were previously at. This can make repairing a varmint rifle problematic.
Xbox 360 while zooming in with the weapon holstered with the scope, a black line will run across the screen.
Varmint rifle with the scope modification.
Varmint rifle with the silencer modification.
Varmint rifle with the extended mag modification.
Varmint rifle with all modifications.
Varmint rifle extended mag
Varmint rifle scope
Varmint rifle silencer
↑Joshua Sawyer on Formspring November 8, 2011: "It seems from leftover content that the Varmint rifle was originally intended to use .22 ammo (which makes more sense), but then switched over to 5.56. Do you know/remember why? The .22LR variant did such pathetic damage that no one wanted to use it. .223 Rem. is a popular varmint caliber. Making the Varmint Rifle use 5.56mm/.223 was mostly for convenience."