Welcome back to our little corner of post-apocalyptia in good ol’ West Virginia. If you’re defending yourself in this nuclear hellscape, chances are you’re packing a few guns, but you’ll find yourself in some challenging positions the moment you run out of ammunition.
You can poke around in containers and the pockets of enemies, but if you need specific ammunition for your favorite death machine, you’ll need to get crafty, which means you’ll need to get the lead out.
Key Info Upfront
- How to Collect Lead?: Junk items, workshops, mining, and vendors
- What Lead is Used For: Ammunition and armor modifications
Lead is one of the many components used for crafting and C.A.M.P building in Fallout 76. As opposed to materials such as cloth, wood, and steel, lead is considered an uncommon component, which means it is harder to come across in the game and a hot-button item for many players.
It does not have as many uses as the standard components. However, it makes up for that by being the lynchpin in creating ammunition and certain armor upgrades. Lead can be obtained by buying it from vendors, mining and smelting, or scrapping junk.
As with gathering other components, such as copper, you’ll want to have your Perk Cards in alignment. For those unfamiliar with Fallout 76’s take on Perks and why we’re playing a card game that isn’t Caravan, the short of it is that you have Perk Cards that can give you abilities.
Some Perk Cards can be ranked up to increase their potency. So long as they fit within your current S.P.C.I.A.L stats, they can be equipped. For example, with 5 Strength, you can equip five Rank 1 Perk Cards, one Rank 3 Perk Card, one Rank 2 Card, and so on.
For the sake of both collecting and crafting with lead, you’ll want to consider the following Perk Cards:
|Perk||Attribute||Level||Max Rank||Max Rank Effects|
|Strong Back||Strength||26||4||Gain +40 to carry weight|
|Ordinance Express||Strength||31||3||Explosives weigh 90% less|
|Pack Rat||Strength||7||3||The weight of all junk items is reduced by 75%|
|Bandolier||Strength||22||2||Ballistic weapon ammo weighs 45% less|
|Hard Bargain||Charisma||7||3||Buying and selling from non-player vendors is now much better|
|*Armorer||Intelligence||15||3||Your crafted armor has improved durability|
|Batteries Included||Intelligence||28||3||Energy Weapon ammo weighs 90% less|
|Ammosmith||Agility||34||2||Produce 80% more rounds when crafting ammunition.|
|Junk Shield||Luck||10||3||Carry junk to gain up to 30 Damage, and Energy Resistance (No Power Armor)|
|+Ammo Factory||Legendary||50||4||Produce 150% more rounds when crafting ammunition.|
*Each Rank of Armorer has a different effect. Rank 1 unlocks advanced armor mods, and Rank 2 allows you to craft armor with fewer materials.
+Ammo Factory is a Legendary Perk and is separate from S.P.E.C.I.A.L Attributes
If you plan on playing for a bit and need something to produce lead passively while exploring and getting your leg chewed off by a Deathclaw, claiming a workshop is a viable option for collecting components.
While there are quite a few workshops in Fallout 76, only a handful supply lead. The workshops best suited for collecting lead and other components needed for smithing are as follows:
- Lakeside Cabins: Lead 1
- Poseidon Energy Plant Yard: Lead 1
- Hemlock Holes: 1 Acid
- Grafton Steel Yard: Lead 1
- Converted Munitions Factory: Lead 1
- Dolly Sods Campground: Lead 1
- Abandoned Bog Town: 1 Acid
- Federal Disposal Field HZ-21: 1 Acid
While useful for many other resources, unfortunately, junk piles in Fallout 76 do not produce junk that can be scrapped for lead, so keep that in mind while shopping the post-apocalypse real estate market.
The workshops above are hot-button real estate, so make sure you claim one fast unless you’re willing to engage a player in PvP for the workshop. I don’t aim for perfect optimization, so even if I did want to claim someone else’s workshop, I’d get wasted in ten seconds flat by that player with a Gauss shotgun. But if PvP is your thing and you’re looking for a hard fight against someone defending their turf, invite me to sell tickets to the show.
Out of all the workshops listed above, the most popular one for both collecting lead and ammunition would be the Converted Munitions Factory, as it is the only workshop that can generate lead and ammunition. After your defenses are in order, get that generator and factory running.
You’ll have the lion’s choice of ammunition, but remember it only produces one ammunition type at a time, so pick your favorite weapon and check what it needs before you boot up the terminal.
Of course, you can’t always get what you want. If someone has already claimed the Converted Munitions Factory and you can’t be bothered or don’t have the resources to take on another player, the Grafton Steel Yard is another good choice. Sure, it doesn’t have the fancy ammunition assembly line.
Still, its layout is more open and easier to defend for PvE events and generates steel and copper, which are needed to craft ammunition (copper, especially for energy weapon ammunition such as Plasma Cores).
As covered before, workshops are locations in Fallout 76 that, once cleared of enemies and claimed for a small fee, can be built up to produce resources while you’re elsewhere in the game. However, these locations are at risk from both PvE events, where enemies attack the area in waves, and from PvP, where other players may be willing to risk attacking other players for the workshop. Be prepared to fight for these locations as a defender or invader.
As with most metals and ores, such as gold, copper, and so on, you can find lead veins and deposits scattered around the world. These locations will give you lead ore instead of scraps, but you’ll need the latter to craft.
This is why you’ll need acid. You can make lead scraps at a crafting station with a couple of lead ore and some acid.
There are two ways to obtain lead ore; deposits and veins. Deposits are how you get lead ore at workshops. If you claim a workshop or place a C.A.M.P within the radius of a lead vein, the Mineral Extractor- Lead will appear in your resources tab during C.A.M.P construction mode.
This is way more efficient than having to set up a workshop any day since you’ll start generating lead the moment you load in instead of going through the song and dance of traveling to a workshop, clearing out enemies, and getting defenses and generators built to start harvesting. Just hope that someone else on the same server didn’t have the same idea and loaded their C.A.M.P on the same lead deposit before you get there.
The other way of tracking down lead ore is veins. While not nearly as efficient as a deposit, if you go for a lovely stroll around one of the many cliff-faces in the area and stumble across a vein, it’s an opportune moment to grab some lead. Most lead veins can be found in The Ash Heap, Toxic Valley, and mountains between The Savage Divide and Mire.
Don’t stop harvesting until they’re depleted either, and make sure to check the area a bit if you only see one. They usually come in groups, and you certainly don’t want to miss out on the great lead rush, especially if the closest fast travel location is a bit ways off and you know you’re not coming back.
Scavenging and Scrapping
Lead is considered an uncommon crafting component, meaning it’s a resource that isn’t nearly as plentiful in the world, such as wood, steel, and cloth.
The items that may contain lead are a bit more limited than the standard junk you’ll find out in the wasteland, but there are a handful of items that not only contain lead but may have a higher yield than others when you finally scrap them at a workbench.
|Mr. Fuzzy Pencil||1||0.2|
|New Toy Car||1||0.8|
|New Toy Truck||1||1.5|
|Souvenir Sloth Toy||1||1|
|Souvenir Toy car||1||1|
|Spooky Mr. Fuzzy Pencil||1||0.2|
|Wooden Block – B & Y||1||0.2|
|Wooden Block – I & D||1||0.2|
|Wooden Block – N & S||1||0.2|
|Wooden Block – V & F||1||0.2|
|Yellow Mr. Fuzzy Pencil||1||0.2|
Tracking it down as a resource isn’t as easy, and with so few workshops, lead is something that many players want to get their hands on. But outside of workshops, there are a few areas where you’ll find lead junk in higher quantities.
Gyms are the first place to look, as most workout equipment used this heavy metal to get shredded before the bombs fell. An early-game area you can find weights and dumbbells is the Vault-Tec University in Morgantown. Head for the back entrance and take the first right, and you’ll have a stash of lead waiting for you in the form of weights and dumbbells in the college gym.
As a bonus, going down the hallway to the second room on the left with the terminal to complete the Daily Quest: Heart of the Enemy, there is an Armor Workbench you can use to immediately scrap the weights instead of hauling over one hundred pounds of junk out of the college. Just watch out for the ghouls still roaming the halls. You can also find gym equipment at the Charleston Fire Department and the Eastern Regional Penitentiary.
If you’re familiar with the state of the prewar world of Fallout, you wouldn’t be surprised by how much lead can is in children’s toys, such as Baby Rattles, Toy Aliens, etc. Locations like the Tyler County Fairground, Camden Park, and Wavy Willard’s Water Park are loaded with toys with lead in them.
Alternatively, any spots in-game that once entertained children before the bombs fell are viable locations to find toy items; playgrounds, children’s bedrooms, etc. While they don’t have as high a yield as gym equipment, they are easier to carry around, and a bit of scrap can go a long way.
Outside these locations, check desks for pencils, duck into garages to find a paint can or two, and kitchens for various opened cans since every healthy diet needs a little lead.
The primary use for lead comes in the form of ammunition. Almost every type of ammunition will require lead in varying amounts to craft (with a couple such as .50 Caliber Balls and Cannonballs being made entirely out of lead).
Along with lead, steel, and sometimes other materials, you’ll need gunpowder to craft most ammunition. Gunpowder can be found in ammunition containers, on enemy corpses, or crafted at a chemistry workstation.
This is where you’ll want Ammosmith (and, if possible, Ammo Factory) equipped. Since these Perk Cards stack, you’ll get more ammunition out of crafting than going without. For example, both Perk Cards at Max Rank equipped will produce 108 10mm Rounds, whereas, without these Perks, I can only make 24 10mm Rounds. It’s a staggering difference when you can make over four times the amount of ammunition for the same cost.
I’m the kind of person that sprays and prays with heavy automatic guns. My build is more optimized for survival, exploration, and carrying a lot of stuff I don’t need, so I regularly need a ton of ammunition for fights and events just to survive. Luckily, because I always have Ammo Factory equipped and have Ammosmith in my home build, I can always craft a lot of ammunition for my favorite .50 Cal Machine Gun and Gauss Minigun.
Lead is also used for radiation protection. Some armors, such as Combat and Metal Armor, have the Lead Lined modification, adding ten radiation resistance to the armor.
While there are better late-game armors for radiation resistance, like the Robot and Secret Service armor, this can be a lifesaver at lower levels, especially against ghouls who inflict radiation damage when they’re clawing your face off.
Question: Are there other ways to increase the amount of ammunition crafted?
Answer: As of writing this article, no. No existing consumables or other effects will increase your ammunition crafting production.
Question: Does lead have other uses outside of ammunition and armor modifications?
Answer: Yes, there are some consumables, such as the Lead Champagne Bellini and Mimosa that require lead, as well as a handful of C.A.M.P items, like the Rusted Chain-Link Fence, Circus Trailer, Antique Speed Bag, etc., all require lead to build.
Question: What ammunition doesn’t need lead to craft?
Answer: Arrows, Crossbow Bolts, Flares, Harpoons, Paddle Ball Strings, Railway Spikes, Syringer Ammo, Fuel, 40mm Grenade Rounds, Mini Nukes, Missiles, and Fusion Cores do not require lead to craft.
While challenging to find, lead is essential to harvest if you have a gun that you use a lot out in the wasteland, if you are having trouble finding some of the higher-tier ammo types, or if you just need a radiation resistance boost.
It’s a high-demand resource that many players need, so either make sure you get to it first or sell the excess for a premium cap price.