Star metal pick with the upgrade is also needed and it will need to be repaired 2 times for metal run. Also all creatures that hide can be broken to thick will give you 2 and if I’m right you’ll end up with a lot of tar. For the forges 2 stacks of oil with t3 or t4 smelter will smelt all the ore without having to refill. ( improved forge btw) if its steal you want that’s away to make about 2.5 to 4k in no time. I only use 5 forges. Now when it comes to bombs my clan can pump out about 600 in a day ( 3 man clan)
Gathering is faster if you are level 60 and have good access to map rooms and have your assembly line set up. With the max encumbrance perk + 20 survival, you can collect resources en masse and then crank out steelfire and convert the iron into steel bars
If you’re not doing it on a large scale or are lower level, then killing is probably faster
Star metal pick - you are doing it wrong, sir.