Zombie Hunter University, Fairview

Dr. Raglan's Scientific-Minimalist School of Dead Frontier Weapons, Builds & Boss-Hunting

Scientific-Minimalist Guide to Dead Frontier Weapons: Chainsaws

(Click for Chainsaws Video Lecture.)

Chainsaws, like Melee, require no ammunition, making them free to use. Also like Melee, Chainsaws do not need stat points invested in Accuracy or Reloading.

Unlike Melee, Chainsaws are grinding weapons with Very Fast Attack Speed (inflicting damage 8.57 times per second).

Unlike other grinding weapons, Chainsaws do not provoke aggro spikes, though they will attract zombies within hearing range - a phenomenon that resembles aggro but is of shorter duration. This makes chainsaw more effective as crowd control weapons: they can clear the street of nearby zombies without triggering an unending wave of even more zombies.

Chainsaws are good for freshmen and sophomore students because they do not require raising a second weapons proficiency: by raising Melee proficiency, a student can equip a looting weapon and a grinding weapon.

Chainsaws are more stat-hungry than Melee. High Critical Chance weapons, they require 112 stat points in Critical and some Strength – up to 50 for the bigger chainsaws

Though they provide free grinding, Chainsaws are dangerous to use, putting students within arm’s length of the zombies they are trying to kill.

Chainsaws are unique among weapons in that there are no differences in attack speed, critical chance, etc. Absent these variables, the progression from one chainsaw to the next is always an improvement. The only reasons for sticking with a lower-level chainsaw are Weapon Proficiency, Strength, and cost.

UPDATE DECEMBER 2019Changes have occurred in Fairview that affect the information below. We will update the lesson when time permits, but for now, students should know that exploding zombies no longer explode when killed with Melee or Chainsaws, making it safe to use these weapons against those zombies. Also, the Damage Per Second rates listed below are "theoretical" - perhaps achievable in laboratory situations; on the streets of Fairview, actual DPS is considerably lower, because the attack rate is closer to six hits per second than 8.57. This has always been the case, but it has only recently been acknowledged Consequently, the out-of-date graphics below list the "theoretical" damage.


Ronan Pro

  • Proficiency: 60
  • Strength: 35
  • DPS: 12.86/54

The Ronan Pro can kill any normal Blue Zone zombie in less than a second, and it can grind its way through an aggro spike around Nastya's Holdout. It is also effective against Burning Zombies - the only boss that students will face in the Blue Zones.

Against stronger zombies in the Green Zones, it is less effective at grinding, but it can still keep students safe from swarms while retreating.


Steel MS800

  • Proficiency: 80
  • Strength: 40
  • DPS: 17.14/72

With higher DPS, the Steel MS800 will more adequately face the challenges around Dogg's Stockade, including mutant zombies (though care should be taken to avoid projectile vomit from Irradiated Zombies and explosions of Small Bloats).

The Steel MS800 is strong enough to use against Mothers, whose slow speed makes it possible to get up close and grind them to death. Just remember to retreat before they explode; deliver a kill shot from a safe distance with a pistol or a rifle.



  • Proficiency: 100
  • Strength: 50
  • DPS: 25.71/108

This chainsaw used to be one of the highest DPS weapons in Dead Frontier; though it has since been supplanted by other weapons, including more powerful chainsaws, it retains its effectiveness in Orange Zones around Fort Pastor.

The Grinder is notable for being the first chainsaw powerful enough to kill a zombie with a single "hit": a critical hit from a Grinder delivers 21 damage points - enough to kill a Dog (20 health points) and a female (21) health points.This makes clearing swarms of normal zombies much easier.

The Grinder is also effective against faster Boss Zombies, such as the Titan and the Wraith. With proper dodging skills, students can get in close and grind these zombies to death, knowing they will die in a reasonable amount of time (i.e., before Murphy's Law kicks in and something goes wrong).


Steel 090

  • Proficiency: 110
  • Strength: 50
  • DPS: 34.29/144

For ten more proficiency points, students can gain an extra 60 DPS over the Grinder - not enough to be significant in most situations in Orange Zones but enough to make a difference when moving east of Fort Pastor.

Skilled students can effectively use this chainsaw in the Red Zones, against Long Arms and Rumblers.


Ripsaw G12

  • Proficiency: 120
  • Strength: 50
  • DPS: 51.43/216

The Ripsaw delivers 35 damage points per critical hit, making it the first chainsaw that can one-crit kill all normal zombies (Dogs, Females, Males, Fat Females, and Fat Males). This makes it virtually unbeatable in areas populated mostly by these species, such as Orange Zones. 

Chainsaw students extending their reach into Red Zones will find the Ripsaw 12 is a noticeable improvement over the Steel 090 - it can grind though any non-mutant zombie in less than a second. Those moving into the Black and White Zones near Secronom Bunker are advised to use this chainsaw, which will work defensively to protect students from unexpected agro outbursts and can even manage some grinding, with a little luck and skill.


  • Proficiency: 120
  • Strength: 50
  • DPS: 68.57/288

With its impressive DPS, this is the first chainsaw fully adequate to the challenges of Black Zones. It is even effective in White Zones, though extreme caution will need to be exercised due to the prevalence of exploding Irradiated Rumblers. With its high Damage Per Hit, the Goretooth can destroy many common zombies in two or three hits. It will grind through most non-Boss Zombie in less than a second.

Skilled students can also use this weapon against more dangerous Boss Zombies, such as Flaming Wraiths and event Flaming Giant Spiders (though the later require exceptional dodging skills and, preferably, a speed boost).

Grinder X3

  • Proficiency: 120
  • Strength: 50
  • DPS: 77.14/324

As of this writing, the Grinder X3 is the top-of-the-line chainsaw, delivering massive DPS on par with Heavy Machine Guns. It will kill any Common Zombie up to and including Burned and Irradiated Males in two hits, and it will grind through non-Boss Zombie in less than a second and a half - including dangerous Brutes and Leapers.

The only hindrance is cost.


Corpse Grinder
(limited edition)

  • Proficiency: 110
  • Strength: 50
  • DPS: 51.43/216

Requiring only 110 proficiency points, the limited-edition Corpse Grinder delivers just as much Damage Per Second as the 120-proficiency Ripsaw G12. This is advantageous for students past Level 50 who would rather use those ten proficiency points on a different weapon.

The 120-proficiency, limited-edition BuzzBlade RN8 delivers more DPS (252) than the Ripsaw G12, but it was rendered obsolete by the introduction of the Goretooth 44G, which is less expensive but more powerful. 


There are basically four ways to grind with Chainsaws:

  1. Go out during an Outpost Attack.
  2. Go on an Extermination Mission.
  3. Encounter an Aggro Spike while looting.
  4. Provoke an Aggro Spike by loudly “firing” a weapon.

Number 4 doesn’t really work with Chainsaws, which attract zombies within hearing range but do not trigger Aggro (which is more like a seemingly endless swarm of zombies).

As for the other three possibilities: the first two are deliberate; the third is a surprise. In any case, the weapons suggested in this guide are equal to the challenge. However the aggro starts, the response will be relatively consistent.


This is pretty much all that was needed at Nastya’s Holdout.

Zombies are mindless herd animals with little strategy. Though the chaos of an Aggro Spike will occasionally cause some unexpected movement, they tend to group together in a swarm, making it easy to circle and attack targets on the fringe of the group.

Just keep moving quickly, and avoid getting pinned down. If a zombie rears to strike, sprint out of range and continue grinding.

For the sheer fun of it, students may occasionally plunge straight into the crowd – it feels dangerous but is surprisingly safe as long as there are no Reapers, Bones, etc around.


If a student retreat down a long, empty street or alley, the zombies will follow, usually forming a sloppy line, with the fastest zombies at the front and the slowest at the back. Holding a chainsaw perpendicular to the line, a student can reverse direction and run past the zombies, slashing them en route.

This probably won’t kill many zombies in a single run, but it will spread them out far enough so that it is possible to spend a couple seconds here or there on slow and weak zombies, hopefully killing them before the stronger zombies catch up.


Funneling is a process whereby a survivor thins out or separates the crowd by using obstacles in the environment. If the number of zombies is increasing to a dangerous point, run around a corner or some shrubbery; dash through gate in a fence, or squeeze between two cars in the middle of the road; even a pair of lampposts can do the job.

The goal is to split the horde into manageable groups. Some zombies will run into the obstacles and be left behind for a short time, providing an opportunity to kill the zombies that kept up.

Even better are obstacles that form a narrow “funnel,” which allows zombies to pass through only one or two at a time, so that they can be exterminated in sequence.

Another good idea is to take up a position on the other side of a wall after outrunning the zombies for a block or so. Some of the zombies will circumvent the wall, but many will get stuck on the other side, splitting the aggro in half and thus creating an easier grinding situation.

Warning: Funneling never lasts forever. Eventually, something with a longer reach – a Reaper or an Irradiated Zombie – will push its way through and attack.


When Aggro hits, zombies come in waves. The first few tend to be relatively small, with few if any dangerous zombies. As the Aggro continues, the swarms will get bigger and faster, with a larger percentage of high-level threats.

Therefore, one easy safety technique is to duck in and out of the Aggro situation. During an Outpost Attack, grind away until the aggro becomes overwhelming, then retreat into the outpost for a moment before re-emerging, whereupon the cycle will start over.

The same approach works in an Extermination Mission: kill zombies as long as it feels safe, then quickly leave the mission area and return; the Aggro will reset, providing another chance to take out easy zombies.


Grinding with Chainsaws is a bit like driving a car: it’s intimidating at first, but it becomes comfortable after awhile. And as with a car, it is possible to become too comfortable – i.e., careless.

Research and experience indicate that once students get the Circling Strategy down, they can get into a groove and start to feel invulnerable. Eventually, however, they will succumb to the Law of Averages.

Students are always in danger while grinding, even if they manage that danger well. The more time they spend doing it, the more time they are exposed to danger. Inevitably, they will slip up – back into a corner or fail to notice a Reaper sneaking up from behind.

This is the price of Grinding with Chainsaws, but it is a price worth paying. The money spent on medicine and doctors will be less than the money that would have been spent on ammunition

Students are advised not to press their luck for too long. "Get out before getting hurt," should be every student's motto. If a student does get hit, he/she should beat a Tactical Retreat, take some medicine, and come back fresh. If medicine is depleted and armor is broken, quit the battle and live to fight another day.


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