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The degredation process

You can keep track of the condition of a weapon via the weapon wheel.

Look below the five main stat bars to find a “condition” bar. Initially, this is fully white – which corresponds to an optimal condition. Over time, you will notice that the right end of the bar becomes gray, indicating that the degradation progress has begun, and that weapon’s potential has been lowered. This is also reflected visually, with the weapon in question showing signs of wear and tear.

There are actually three different hidden parameters that determine weapon deterioration:

  • Soot – Shooting the weapon will cause it to slowly degrade. A weapon will go from best condition to worst condition after being fired a certain number of times.
  • Rust – Rust appears when the weapon is submerged in water or deep snow (including when holstered). It will take a set number of seconds for a weapon exposed to water to go from best condition to worst condition.
  • Dirt-Dirt stains a weapon when it is submerged in deep mud (even when holstered). It will take a set number of seconds for a weapon exposed to mud to go from best condition to worst condition.

Time to fully degradation:

  • Revolver – 300s
  • Pistol – 300s
  • Repeater – 300s
  • Rifle – 300s (including Sniper Rifle)
  • Shotgun 300s

Degradation has the following detrimental effects on your weapons, applied in a gradual and proportional manner:

  • The damage caused by the weapon is reduced. 
  • The weapon’s fire rate is reduced.
  • It applicable, the weapon’s cocking speed is slowed down.
  • The time it takes to reload will be increased.

Slowing degradation

There are several items that can reduce wear and tear on your weapons. Their effects stack, making it possible to spend less time on maintenance with your favored firearms.

More generally, it is usually sensible to stow your preferred weapons on your horse should you need to spend an extended time in proximity to mud, water or snow. If there is no real danger of attack when you are engaged in activities that will directly affect weapon condition (such as swimming to reach collectibles, for example, it might be better to just take a disposable sidearm along for emergencies.