'Power Packs' may have seemed like relatively 'scarce' items indeed... so, important NOT to 'waste' their ammo on other minor characters (should be used mostly at Cochise ! and some use in Citadel... where 'brawling' with Proton Ax or Chainsaw is 'impractical' (you'd probably find assault rifles just 'burning' clips of ammo, but where the ammo and A/R's are available). NOT available for sale at ANY stores... just "included in supplies that have already been 'sold' to them", other such items include 'Power Armor', Pseudo-chitin armor', Proton Axes', 'Laser weapons' & 'RPG-7's'... only available as previously 'sold' to them !
It was just the 'act' of inflicting 'some damage' during the 'attack' (NOT the 'kill' itself), that would 'boost' skill levels... so, in the Vegas streets, the SlicerDicers, Warroid I & II's were 'good-for' level 3's... Warroid III's for level 4's, and Scorpy for a level 6... think the Sewers 'bots' were 'good-for' level 4's at best.
Tried to use Laser pistols (single-bursts) on robotic characters to get skill levels up to a 3-4 BEFORE going to better laser weapons. Then using single shots on 'lone' adversaries / bursts on 'groups'. Meson Cannon was practically 'single-shots' only.
DON'T think the old Wasteland 'measured' the amount-of-ammo / shots-left when firing 'Full-auto' (was the 'clip' nearly empty - 4-6 'shots' left ?, Thus, the 'damage' was nearly the same on 'full-auto', whether the clip was 'nearly empty' OR 'nearly full' !!!
Think the first Power Packs were to be found in Needles, and usually just 1 or 2 at-a-time, in the Ammo Dump (bunker) and the 'island' below the 'Temple of Blood'.
More in Vegas... Spade's Casino, including guards at 'squeaky board' at top-of stairs, but mostly from 'fixed' encounters with 'bots' in streets... many more in 'Sewers' BELOW Temple.
Sleeper Base - 'Main Vault' contained 7 Pseudo-chitin's, 1 Meson Cannon, 25 Power Packs, and 'various numbers' of a variety of rockets (could find 40+ 'rockets'); and Level 1 - 'crack in wall', NE room & 'bot' in SW room near stairs to other levels.
Darwin Village - Project Darwin - "Pet Project" area, fixed 'Spawn Masters' that 'appear' offer 1 'Pseudo-chitin, 2 Laser Carbines, & 4-6+ Power Packs !
Citadel - 'Armory Vault'/Grand Hallway - Meson Cannon, 2 Laser Rifles, & 12 Power Packs.
Grand Hallway & Outer Sanctum - 'loot' from killed 'Guardians' varies, usually 2 - 5 'packs' & may include a weapon... 'loot' found in 'empty beds' may range from 3-10 packs.
Inner Sanctum - Armor vault - 5 Power Armor and possibly up to 7 Power Packs with each !
Base Cochise - 'Outside' area' - usually a few 'rockets', 'power packs' & 'extra' machinery parts from killing 'bots'.
Inside - level 2 - 'recruit' Vax (he's 'pre-equipped' with about 20 power packs) and Main Vault (for 2 Power Armor, 20 power packs, and 20 'rockets' !
AFTER 'draw-bridge' HAS been extended, it's 'safe'/okay to return to level 1 & 'spring the computer trap' (type 'BREAK' to 'ask')... 'slipping you back into level 2'... then, returning to level 1, you'll find more 'robots' at the top of the 'moving stairway' and there's usually many power packs in their 'loot' too.
Probably NEVER 'reloaded' a Laser pistol ('sold' when 'empty' or 'jammed' !) All Rangers / 'Recruits' got the 'skill' when able... Rangers may have 'carried' 4 power packs; 'recruits' 2 or 3 power packs... would pick-up another when down to last 'pack'.
Helicopter COULD be 'useful'... IF used for FIRST 'visit' to Cochise... it 'killed' ALL original robots 'outside' the base !!! (just no 'experience points' awarded for their demise !) IF the first 'visit' is by 'walking-in-from-Desert, a 'later' visit by helicopter DOESN'T destroy ANY robots !!! Be prepared for the 4 'groups' on-the-roof, and any nearby robots on the ground, near the walls !
BEST use of the helicopter is a 'return' trip AFTER the Base has been 'destroyed', to 'restore' it as an 'active' location on-the-map, and for 'future visits' from the desert !!!!!