Melee seems ok because there is no ammo, but it means taking hits and food heals slowly...
A sneaky-sniper to avoid hits??
What do you recommend?
Specific S.P.E.C.I.A.L. amounts, perks, equipment load-outs, etc. appreciated.
http://www.gamesradar.com/f/fallout-new-vegas-character-build-guide/a-201011021181145075 There are a range of builds for your character, one includes hardcore build
Sneaky Sniper with a shotgun as backup. Special should be 2 charisma, 9 endurance, 6 strength, 7 agility. Put the rest where you think they're needed. Only get hunting shotgun and sniper rifle so you don't have to carry around a lot of ammo.
note that if you follow the above build, you should keep in mind that higher luck will give better criticals and critical perks, while perception improves sight, radar and Vat aiming perks.
Energy Weapons and Big Guns should be avoided unless you get that perk to reduce the weight of all items under 2 lbs to half weight or the perk that decreases items over 10 lbs to half weight. If you ask me, Microfusion cells and most energy weapon ammo types weigh too much for Hardcore. It's possible to still do those builds, but expect to use less weapons. In addition the two perks that increase weight capacity by 50 help out A LOT. Shotgun shells are up there with the energy weapon ammo types and the big gun types like the different grenade launchers and the grenade MGs but are more manageable. 20ga shotgun shells weigh less than the 12ga so the lever-action is a good side-weapon option. 12.7mm weapons are excellent because they provide great firepower and weigh less than any of the other ammo types. The Survivalist's Rifle (if you have Honest Hearts DLC) is an excellent option for a main weapon since it uses 12.7mm ammo and does great dmg. .308 guns are good too so This Machine/Battle Rifle (GRA) are great options as well for some heavier firepower while still being lighter. 5.56mm ammo guns are great options too since they are in the middle for weight and dmg and most 5.56mm weapons weigh between 4-8 lbs.