This articles page is intended to organize my written articles. At times, things can be more easily explained with text rather than with a video. This is a running blog-style page so you can scan through all the articles at once, or you can view the table of contents to jump to a particular article.
Table of Contents
A comparison of the Rival line and the Elite line of Nerf blasters
The purpose of these tests was to demonstrate the difference between the Nerf Elite dart and the Nerf Rival round. This testing was not as much for personal knowledge, it's more about illustrating the difference in these ammo types to the Nerfers out there that haven't used the Rival blasters and don't see why anyone cares about them.
Factors Being Measured
The groupings from a blaster (or in this case, a projectile) determine how accurate a person can be with a particular toy. We want tight groupings to ensure the statistical likelihood of the point of impact coinciding with our point aim is high - ensuring our darts land on our opponent when we're nerfing.
The velocity of a projectile is important but is often overlooked in unmodified form because, as modders, we simply ramp up the power and achieve our desired velocity. However, the Rival blasters have a similar range to the Elite blasters even though their initial velocities are far greater. This is because the projectile slows down rather dramatically in the air due to its aerodynamic properties. The velocity factor was measured to demonstrate this drag and perhaps point out that a Rival round with an initial velocity of 200fps may not be as effective as someone that only uses Nerf Elite darts would think.
Grouping consistency test
To test the grouping, I shot a handful of ammo at a wall and marked the impact location in post-production. The blaster was not on a vice or mechanically secured, I simply held the blaster and tried my best to hold the point of aim consistently. I realize there is a decent amount of human error in testing like this, but I chose semi-automatic Nerf blasters so I could keep my point of aim pretty consistent. In the testing video, I PiP'd (picture in picture) myself firing to demonstrate the muzzle wasn't waving around excessively.
a. Muzzle velocity
To test the muzzle velocity, I fired 10 rounds through the chronograph with the muzzle hovering about an inch or two from the entrance to the chronograph. This is accepted as the muzzle velocity because it's the velocity at the muzzle (go figure).
b. Velocity at range
I tested the velocity at range by standing about 20-25 feet from the chronograph and firing into it. I was not able to get 10 shots in a row through the chronograph due to accuracy issues (it's rather tricky to hit a 1'x1' target from 20-25' 10 times in a row). I was able to achieve 10 readings with the Rival Zeus in about 25 shots but the Stryfes took over 200 darts each to acquire the 10 readings I needed for a decent average. I would have liked to get a 50' velocity reading, but there is no f***ing way I'm going to use 5 hours shooting 5,000 rounds from 50' to get those 10 readings - Nerf Elite darts are far too inaccurate! As mentioned in the factors section, the point of measuring velocity at range was to measure the decrease in velocity, hopefully giving us the ability to extrapolate an approximate range or velocity at range with an increased muzzle velocity.
I used three blasters for these tests. The goal was to compare the ammo, not the blasters. I chose semi-auto blasters so I didn't have to move the muzzle to fire a follow up shot. Springers and flywheelers do launch darts a little differently so perhaps I'll do follow up testing in the future. But the flight path of the darts (between spring and flywheel) are definitely similar so I don't think this point is worth whining about.
Unmodified Stryfe: This was unmodified and running on four brand new AA alkaline batteries.
Modified Stryfe: This blaster has had its mechanical and electronic locks removed, thermistor removed, and was run on 3 IMRs and one dummy battery. It still has the stock wiring, switches, and motors. I added a white stock to differentiate it from the unmodified Stryfe (featuring a blue stock) on video. This blaster was used only to illustrate the performance of an Elite dart firing above 100fps. Perhaps I'll test an upgraded Rival blaster at a later date.
Unmodified Zeus: Unmodified blaster running on alkaline batteries. The batteries were not brand new (they were purchased and used in the original review video of the Zeus) but they still gave fair readings on the multi-meter the day of the testing. Since I recorded the velocities and grouping tests on the same day, I don't believe this battery trait was an issue.
Grouping Results (view YouTube video for testing footage)
Close Range Image is to show the firing distance. I did not have a tape measure.
Unmodified Stryfe (close range)
Modified Stryfe (close range)
Comparison (close range)
From left to right: unmodified Stryfe, modified Stryfe, unmodified Zeus
Long Range Image is to show the firing distance. I did not have a tape measure.
Unmodified Stryfe (long range)
Modified Stryfe (long range)
Unmodified Zeus (long range)
Comparison (long range)
From left to right: unmodified Stryfe, modified Stryfe, unmodified Zeus
Change in Velocity at Range (change from initial velocity to velocity at 20-25')
Unmodified Stryfe: 23% decrease
Modified Stryfe: 22% decrease
Unmodified Zeus: 34% decrease
As you can clearly see in the images, Nerf Rival rounds yield much tighter groupings at any range. When the ball is launched, it will pretty much continue on its path until it strikes its target. A Nerf Elite dart, on the other hand, will twirl and change direction unpredictably.
While these tests have little/no evidence to support this claim, I personally believe the Nerf Rival round will remain stable at higher velocities and continue to yield tight groupings even when we modify the blasters to exceed 150 or perhaps 200fps.
The main point to get out of these tests was the decrease in velocity at 25 feet. Moving from a ~23% to 34% decrease in velocity is pretty drastic, especially considering that's only 25 feet away. I wish I could get results at a longer range, but as I previously mentioned it's simply too time consuming to get the terribad Elite darts to fly through the chrono at that range (as the groupings test should clearly indicate).
While I can't gather data to clearly support this claim, the difference between the velocities is much greater at a longer range. The Rival rounds slow down a lot beyond 40-50 feet due to their aerodynamic properties. What does it mean?! It means if we crank up the power on the Rival blaster, it doesn't necessarily mean we're going to get great range from those mods. We're likely going to run into the point of diminishing return far sooner on a Rival blaster, so achieving an extra 10fps on the muzzle velocity may not equate to increased range at all at a certain point.
I'm personally really excited to modify a few Rival blasters and see what kind of performance we can get. The tight groupings alone would definitely make me consider using a Rival blaster in a Nerf war. If you're limited to stock/unmodified blasters and play indoors or at close range (consistently under 50' engagement ranges), definitely consider a Rival Zeus - these things will wreck people in those situations if the operator has extra magazines of ammo.
The Rival Drawback: The ammo is expensive and harder to find right now. I've read some things about Chinese rip-off Rival rounds preparing to enter the market, but I haven't seen any for sale yet. If the rip-off rounds perform like the Nerf-brand ones do, I expect to see a lot more Nerfers fielding these blasters and introducing a fun element to the game.
The Rival Benefits: The accuracy is obviously great. Also, the magazines are thin and very space efficient (very little wasted space that isn't being occupied by cargo/ammo) so making a load-out to hold tons of magazines won't be challenging at all. The ammo is also very simple by design so if the first wave of rip-off ammo is sub-par, there will surely be a follow-up that is of high quality. Darts have to deal with foam material, tip material, adhesives, and assembly. These Rival balls, on the other hand, are simple and very easy to manufacture so I'm looking forward to cheaper alternatives to enter the market!
Gear I Used
Chronograph AMAZON LINK
Elite Stryfe AMAZON LINK
14500 IMR batteries AMAZON LINK
Thanks for reading,
Aftermarket Metal Flywheel Cage by Dr. Snikkas of DRSPerformance Parts
About the Item
This product is an aftermarket flywheel cage and flywheels that is an upgrade from the factory setup.
I'd love to post a hyperlink to a webstore, but these items are only sold directly through the maker, Dr. Snikkas. You can email him at DrSnikkas@gmx.de to arrange a sale or to inquire about product details. He is German but his English is fantastic so I had no problems with communication through email.
The flywheel housing I bought is sized specifically for the Nerf Stryfe. It's a drop-in part that doesn't require shell modification to fit by itself (longer motors like 180 motors will still require the usual shell modifications).
Why Should We Care?
This product is great because of a few improvements to the original flywheel design that are implemented. First, the flywheels are intentionally offset in order to 'spiral' the Nerf darts out of the barrel. This increases flight stability in Elite darts. The flywheels themselves also have a curved contact patch compared to the Nerf flywheels flat face. This increases the contact surface area between the flywheels and the Nerf darts. I also noticed far less vibration in the blaster when revving at a high RPM, which I attribute to the secure motor mount design and nature of metal compared to plastic.
How to Buy
Dr. Snikkas of DRS Performance Parts does not yet have a webstore. You can order a flywheel kit by emailing him directly at DrSnikkas@gmx.de
My review features a Stryfe kit but he also offers replacement kits for the Rapidstrike and Nerf Cam and said Rayven, Demolisher, and Modulus kits are in the works. The kits cost about 70 Euro each. Included in each kit is the metal flywheel housing and two flywheels. (everything seen in the first photo below)
[INSERT SUPER SMOOTH TRANSITION FROM BORING INTRO TO AWESOMESAUCE HERE]
The engraving is super clean. My housing also has 'Coop772' engraved!
The flywheel cage uses two screws to hold in each motor. Make sure your upgraded motors have these screw ports to install them properly.
Groupings Test - This test compares the size of the groupings to compare accuracy. A small grouping leads to better accuracy. I used normal Elite darts along with Koosh darts.
Chronograph Test - This test compares the initial velocities between the options. I wasn't only curious about the maximum velocity; the range/variation is also important. A smaller velocity variation leads to more consistent range.
I used three blasters in my testing. I did not change out each individual variable for these tests to check different motor RPM, motors, wiring, etc. - I just wanted to compare the new metal FWC to other options. I was not measuring the quick firing groupings or anything that would give the other modifications (LiPo, wiring, etc.) an advantage.
Stock Stryfe: Unmodified Stryfe running on four AA alkaline batteries.
Modified Stryfe: Stock motors, electronic and mechanical locks removed, thermistor removed, running on three 14500 IMRs with a dummy battery in the factory battery tray.
Metal FWC (FWC standing for flywheel cage): This title refers to a Stryfe project that is using this flywheel cage. Along with the DRS flywheel cage and flywheels, it has low resistance wiring, a high-flow rev switch, deans battery connector, and was run on a 2s LiPo battery.
Groupings Test Results
I did not measure the exact firing distance, but it was around 25-30 feet.
Nerf Elite Darts
Koosh Darts (gen. 3)
- The DRS Performance Parts metal flywheel cage clearly increases accuracy. There are more darts landing closer to the point of aim and fewer outliers that fly way off target. I did not get any footage of firing beyond this range, but this improvement is actually more drastic as you increase the firing distance. The Elite darts don't seem to want to veer way off course as often, which is a great improvement.
- I assume the tighter groupings are caused by the spiraling effect generated by the offset flywheel angle. Generally an item that has a spiraling motion is more stable, so a more predictable/consistent flight path can be expected.
- Srsly - just look at those Koosh groupings. I mean look at them. Dayyyuummmmmm!
Chronograph Test Results
The modified Stryfe shows lower velocities compared to previous testing on the same blaster. The batteries were not fully charged. "Wahhh Coop, this isn't fair - you're not testing the best of the best!" Oh shut up hypothetical viewer, the chrono testing was really just to put the grouping tests into perspective. Since both Stryfes had very similar groupings, I don't think that 5-10fps loss from the batteries being flat is a big deal. The LiPo in the metal FWC Stryfe was fully charged.
I'm personally really happy with the results. I'm experiencing a little bit of dart slippage at a comparable velocity which is why the FPS range on the metal FWC is larger, but the groupings are still great. I would not hesitate to recommend this kit to flywheel users that want the absolute best performance possible out of their flywheel blasters.
The rate of return of certain modifications should definitely be respected and taken into consideration with a product like this. The stock Stryfe shoots ~65fps and groups like crap. Putting down $20 to buy Ultrafires and to do a few quick mods can boost you to the same groupings but with 110-120fps leading to better range. When you're talking about LiPo batteries, new wiring, new motors, and now this flywheel cage, you cannot expect the same rate of return as that first $20 investment. Spending 5x the money will not yield 5x the performance. If you fully understand and respect this fact and still want to put down the money to have the best performance possible, I would definitely recommend this upgraded flywheel cage.
- The Koosh darts in the tests were generation 3 Koosh darts. I have an article on my site comparing different ammo for more information on this dart type. You can buy Koosh Gen. 3 darts on eBay here: HYPERLINK WIZARDRY
- The chronograph used in the tests was the same chrono I've used a number of times. AMAZON PURCHASE LINK
Foam Ammo Comparison - Seeking the Ideal Alternative to Nerf Darts
Measure and display the difference in grouping size and velocity consistency of various Nerf darts in order to discover a cheap alternative to Nerf Elite darts that allow for maximum performance.
Factors Being Measured:
1) Grouping consistency
Grouping consistency refers to the grouping or collection of impact points that a particular dart can achieve while firing from a stationary blaster. A tighter, more predictable grouping leads to enhanced accuracy. A tighter group generally comes from a superior aerodynamic design that flies on a 'level' or 'straight' path through the air.
2) Initial velocity consistency
Initial velocity consistency refers to the consistency in the velocity of a projectile immediately after leaving the barrel. Sure, we all want a super high velocity - but consistent, predictable velocities lead to a predictable dart trajectories, which allows the user to align and land shots from longer ranges.
1) Grouping consistency test
To test the groupings of different darts, I marked a firing location on my counter top to align the magazine of each blaster consistently for each dart test. This removes much of the 'human factor' when firing a blaster. This system allowed for each shot to be fired at the same elevation (parallel to ground) and point of aim. When looking at the groupings, don't worry as much about if the grouping is left, right, up, or down - that can all be adjusted with your point of aim later on. What we want is a very tight group of impact points, indicating a very consistent flight path.
I filmed myself shooting a wall 10 times with four different blasters for each dart. In an editing program, I added green dots indicating where each dart landed. This test took place from around 20-25' from the wall. Keep in mind, the different groupings will only being larger as you increase the range.
2) Initial velocity consistency test
For this test, I fired the darts through my chronograph, which is a device that measures velocity. I've used my chronograph many times in the past and am familiar with the small details that can lead to inconsistent results - and I avoided these. The #1 error with a chronograph is firing the blaster at a different distance from the device. Scooting just a foot or two back from the device can drop your velocities over 5-8fps because the darts immediately begin slowing down when they leave the barrel due to air resistance. The further from the muzzle, the lower the velocity. For my tests, I was consistent with the distance from the muzzle to the device.
For both tests, I fired 10 brand new, never fired darts through each of the four blasters. That's 40 darts total, per dart tested.
I used four blasters to get a range of the commonly used Nerf blasters. Some darts work very well with flywheel blasters but don't feed well through springers. Some darts work well at lower velocities (<80fps) but become unstable when fired at higher velocities (>110fps). This range of blasters was used to sample spring vs. flywheel and low velocity vs. high velocity.
Stock Retaliator: The blaster labelled 'Stock Retaliator' or 'Unmodified Retaliator' was not modified. The video shows the blaster without the barrel extension, but it was added for the test (because it was also used on the high velocity Retaliator).
Modified Retaliator: The blaster labelled 'Modified Retaliator' or 'Upgraded Retaliator' was modified by adding an 5kg Orange Mod Works spring and removing the mechanical locks. This blaster has the air restrictor intact, and also featured the barrel extension because of the Worker pump action kit that was installed (the pump action kit does not affect the dart flight or velocity).
Stock Stryfe: The blaster labelled 'Stock Stryfe' or 'Unmodified Stryfe' was not modified. It was running on four brand new AA alkaline batteries.
Modified Stryfe: The blaster labelled 'Modified Stryfe' or 'Upgraded Stryfe' was modified by removing the thermistor, electronic locks, and mechanical locks. I was running this blaster on three freshly charged 14500 IMR batteries. This blaster features stock motors, switches, and wiring (yet the chrono readings match all the lipo + 180's fan bois' chrono readings - lololol #moneywellspentBruh)
I certainly didn't test all of the available darts on the market. I tested a few that I see used on a regular basis. The point of this experiment was mostly for my own knowledge about these darts, but also to show my viewers how I test my gear so you can test your own stuff at home. There will always be a new knock-off dart on the market and I don't intend to make a new video each time one comes out. The point is to show you how these tests can be setup to yield accurate, very helpful data.
1. Nerf Elite darts PURCHASE LINK
- 75 pack for ~$13 USD --> $.17 USD each
2. Nerf Elite suction cup darts PURCHASE LINK
30 pack for ~$8 USD --> $.26 USD each
3. Koosh Gen. 3 darts PURCHASE LINK
- 200 pack for $19.95 USD w/ free shipping --> $.10 USD each
- The linked darts ship from China so the shipping is slow.
4. Koosh Gen. 2 darts (no longer sold)
- Priced at the same rate of gen. 3 when they were available
- These were replaced by the gen. 3 Koosh darts. Gen. 2 darts are no longer sold.
- I'm putting these in the comparison to explain why I whined about these darts in my Koosh dart retraction video.
5. White glow darts from China PURCHASE LINK
- 100 pack for $14.29 w/ free shipping --> $.14 USD each
- Funny enough, these are also sold by the 'Prut' Amazon seller. Despite their images being similar, these are of a very different design than the 'Prut darts' in this experiment.
6. Prut darts
Black PURCHASE LINK
- 200 pack for $10.91 + $4.75 shipping = $15.66 USD --> $.08 USD each
Green PURCHASE LINK
- 50 pack for $6.99 USD w/ free shipping --> $.14 USD each
- Prut dart is not their official name. It's just how I'm addressing them.
- These darts have plastic tips that aren't hollow so they don't compress on impact. This makes them hurt people when shooting from highly modified blasters which has resulted in these darts (and the many similar designs available on eBay) being banned in many HvZ games that have safety regulations. I do not recommend these darts if you use modified blasters - there is a risk of injury that is simply not worth the cost savings. Don't be that guy that enjoys hurting their friends. Not cool, bruh.
Grouping Results (view video for testing footage)
1. Nerf Elite Darts
2. Nerf Elite suction cup darts
3. Koosh Gen. 3 darts (blue)
4. Koosh Gen. 2 darts (yellow)
5. White glow darts from China (white)
6. Prut darts (black)
Initial Velocity Results
The values listed are the measurement of velocity in feet per second, or fps.
1. Nerf Elite darts
2. Nerf Elite suction cup darts
3. Koosh gen. 3 darts (blue)
4. Koosh gen. 2 darts (yellow)
5. White glow darts from China (white)
6. Prut darts (black)
Some of you may see all of this information and say, "so they're all pretty much the same, what's the big deal?" and you're technically right. They are all pretty similar on a grand enough scale. However, you can definitely see better groupings for impact points and more consistent velocities out of some darts. These tests were also done at ~20' of range - so these groupings will become more spread out and relevant when you're trying to pick that zambie off at 80'. These differences won't matter to many Nerfers and may not even be noticed by others. But many small improvements, all acting together, can give you a massive advantage of opponents that don't think about these details. Nerds rule the world for a reason, my friends - we analyze the details and take every advantage we can find through research and experimentation. My results and opinion on each dart do depend on what type of blaster you use (flywheel vs. springer and low velocity vs. high velocity) so I'm breaking down each dart with my opinion.
Nerf Elite darts
Grouping - Terribad. These groups are why so many Nerfers are seeking an alternative!
Velocity- Very consistent velocities, while also being regularly high velocities. Dart to dart consistency is great.
Opinion - Meh, they do the job. Even with their consistent velocity, you really can't consistently hit anything beyond 30 feet, which is irritating. These aren't especially cheap, either - so I don't recommend you go out and buy EXTRA Nerf Elite darts. But since you probably have a stash from the 6-10 you get with each blaster, they're definitely worth using if the alternative is switching to a melee toy - haha.
Nerf Elite suction cup darts
Grouping - Pretty tight. An occasional outlier flies loose, but the general group is tight with both flywheel and spring blasters.
Velocity- Pretty good consistency with decent initial velocities. Very stable in both springers and flywheel blasters.
Opinion - Great performing dart in both flywheelers and springers. These are a great option if the cost isn't an issue for you. Perhaps this option is viable for the indoor Nerfers that don't have douchebag, dart-theiving friends so you can achieve a high recovery rate.
Koosh gen. 3 darts (blue)
Grouping - Superb. These really excel with flywheel blasters but still perform quite well with springers.
Velocity- Pretty consistent in flywheel blasters, but pretty sporadic in springers.
Opinion - Great darts! If you use flywheels, these are hands-down the best option from this experiment. They are affordable and performance extremely well.
Koosh gen. 2 darts (yellow)
Grouping - Terribad. Just as bad as Elite darts, which is saying a lot.
Velocity- Many random duds which plop out of the barrel with terrible performance. Inconsistent dart assembly leads to these outliers.
Opinion - I don't recommend you buy these at all. The performance is worse than normal Elite darts... lol.
Glow darts from China (white)
Grouping - Meh. Perhaps a bit tighter than normal Elite darts, but not by too much.
Velocity - Averaged lower velocities with many outliers with the spring blaster. Not especially strong performance.
Opinion - Given their cost, these darts aren't worth it.
Prut darts (black)
Grouping - Meh. The unmodified Stryfe and modified Retaliator had acceptable groups, but there were many outliers and overall not a fantastic grouping. Better than normal Elite darts, though!
Velocity- Prett decent consistent with flywheel blasters but terrible with springers. Even on flywheels, the average velocities were on the low side.
Opinion- I do not recommend anyone buy these if you shoot at humans. The plastic tips hurt and really aren't fun in high powered blasters. Also, the performance isn't even great, so I'm not sure why you'd pick these unless you just want to hurt people. If that's the case, get the ef out of our hobby, yuhh nerddddd!
Verdict (my incredibly subjective opinion)
I recommend Koosh gen. 3 darts for pretty much everyone. If you're after maximum performance, have a large budget, and use exclusively springers - you may look into Nerf Elite suction cup darts. But for the rest of us that want spray as much foam as possible, it's not really financially viable to use Hasbro darts. And even if you CAN afford the premium darts, don't you think you'd have more fun having the freedom to shoot THAT MUCH MORE of a cheaper dart per war? I know I do ;)
Where I Bought Stuff
These items are available all over the Internet - I'm linking to the exact URL where I placed my orders. Many knock-off darts on eBay use the same images but are actually different products. It makes ordering them rather tricky :/
- Nerf Elite darts PURCHASE LINK
- Nerf Elite suction cup darts PURCHASE LINK
- Koosh Gen. 3 darts PURCHASE LINK
- White glow darts from China PURCHASE LINK
- Prut darts
Black PURCHASE LINK
Green PURCHASE LINK
- Chronograph PURCHASE LINK
- Stryfe PURCHASE LINK
- Retaliator PURCHASE LINK
- Orange Mod Works Retaliator spring PURCHASE LINK
- 14500 IMR batteries PURCHASE LINK
Thanks for reading,
Buying things from Tabao can be tricky if you don't speak Chinese. Even if you use a translator, it's difficult to setup an account and arrange shipping through the site. This brief tutorial is meant to make this process easier.
1) Search for the item you want
- Using English to find the items you are seeking may be difficult. I'd recommend keeping your search inquiries basic, such as '2015 nerf', 'nerf leak', or just the blaster name. The titles aren't in English so you may miss items with this method and it will likely require browsing through a few pages of products before you find what you're seeking.
2) The buying process
- As I mentioned, checking out on Taobao is annoying/impossible. To counter this, you can use a 3rd party purchasing service such as BuyChina. BuyChina will let you buy the item you want while using their English platform and offers customer service from people that speak fluent English.
- To start, go to BuyChina.com. Find the search bar at the top of the homepage and enter the URL of the item you want to buy from Taobao (copy and paste the full Taobao URL directly into this search bar). You can use this search bar to actually search for items, but you may be missing products. I personally find the items on Taobao and only search by URL on BuyChina.
- After you submit the URL into the search bar, you will be taken to the item page. The listing will be translated to English so you can confirm the item is what you're looking for. The price of the item and shipping will also be listed in your currency.
3) Check out
- Checking out on BuyChina is just like other online shops. You add the item(s) to your cart and place the order with a credit card.
- After you submit the order, you will receive an email confirmation. There is a delay between when you order through BuyChina and when the item is actually purchased, which results in slower shipping.
Buying parts this way can be cumbersome, but the items offered on Taobao are often exclusive to the site, so it's worth it to many people. Hopefully this guide helps you snag some nice Nerf deals. :)
BuyChina - http://www.buychina.com/
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