Friday, June 27, 2014

Ramblomatic Stock Class Friday

I think that's fairly self explanatory. Time for a catch-all post for lots of random stuff.



Last Wednesday was another nerf game at USF. Same organizer, most of the same people, a little lower attendance.

However, going back to my post on this war and game locations and fields, the CTF round was changed up this time due to the previous issue with insufficient playerbase to run the old field and not have a broken game that never ends. Image shows one base end of the new field. Bases about 300 feet straight apart, and quite a lot of trees and bushes as natural bunkers. No woods, walls or buildings in the play area this time, though. So, yes, it ended up a bit faster and spammier, unfortunately.

However, it was still a lot of fun, and trading snap shots using the trees as cover was cool.

In addition, we ran a King of the Hill gametype. Open field, circle of marking cones in the middle, 2 teams. A team wins by holding the location for some time, in this case 15 minutes was planned but the game was called after a few minutes every time. Infinite respawns at the edge of the field, but if your team is in control, an additional 20-second delay is applied to spawning. It worked out well, surprisingly fun and not speedballish. However the same old issues of playing totally without cover apply. Namely, it becomes a range contest and a dodge fest. In practice, with SC nerf it can be made to work since most people don't carry enough ammo to waste it shooting at the limits of effective range nor to put down any indirect cover fire. Most people will rush in and get close-ish before they commit rounds. That is not perfect though, and playing any kind of true OPEN field game is primarily about HvZ-style situational awareness, except the zeds can now tag from a substantial distance just like you can.

With new sling described below.

Tacmod thus far.

On that note, at this game the Tacmod had its second trial by fire. It absolutely owned. Several remarks were made by teammates about range, and that would be effective range. Lots of hits were had that day. No crappy ammo this time, and no whirlybirds and severe accuracy problems. Reliability was great excepting one mag of ratty old darts that was a shake 'n shoot. Battery life, also great. Blew through a good few hundred rounds and the pack is sitting at 4.0V/cell as I speak.

Now about that reliability, if you paid attention to the Tacmod build posts you will remember I was on about QC problems, and among them, some sort of feed issue that I never covered in detail. This, as far as I know, applies to 32961 and later serials only - but the problem is actually with the mag release and/or magwell, and it causes certain mags (the newer clear plastic Elite 18-rounders are confirmed, and possibly all Elite style bodies) to hang a bit too low. That causes feeding rounds to contact the lower feed ramp in the flywheel cage excessively, and with sticky Elite tips and worn foam, those darts will occasionally bend and cause a minor stoppage similar to a "Vigilante malfunction" with the stock rubber sheet.

If you have a jamming RS and you suspect you have this gremlin, try shooting while pushing upward on the mag. If the malfunctions stop, you have it.

A solution seen to the left is to take a grinder to your lower feed ramp and rework it to a less aggressive angle and exposing more of the flywheel.

This was necessary for the Tacmod and it has proven very reliable with the fix. Unfortunately Hasbro's design and QC process is still not perfect and even with something as simple as flywheel gun geometry, there continue to be nagging problems.

JT Mag Pouches (thanks CBAS)

I was in the need for a proper mag carriage solution, as until now I was using, believe it or not, some duct tape pouches. Go ahead and boo and hiss, I deserve it for being a cheapskate and cutting corners that could have turned out to be stupid one of those days in hvz. I did and still do want to move to a more complete MOLLE-based solution for load carrying in the field including some higher-quality mag pouches, but for now I am using these.

These are JT dual paintball pod pouches. You can read the review of these as a nerf mag pouch on Coastal Bend Action Sports here. Each dual pouch holds 4, 18-round NS box mags, fits all standard web/tactical/duty/riggers belts and has velcro cover flaps that do close over 18-rounders.

The best part? These pouches are around 7 bucks each. 7 bucks for 4 mags. They also include a free web belt - so that is a $7 standalone solution if you don't already have LBE to mount modular stuff on. I don't think that will be beat.

I run my mags unconventionally, feed lips up, BTW. This avoids problems with losing the top round when pulling the mag out or having deformed foam from the bottom of the pouch pressing on it.

This is my old web belt that carries my holdout jolt and flashlight, with one of these JT pouches. I keep another JT pouch on its included lightweight belt, which I can then add if I need it.

The only cons with the JT pouches:

* Tight fit on mags, but a little hint, leave mags in them for a while, and they are a quick draw once the fabric has some shape memory.

* No MOLLE compatibility or modularity of any kind, belt loops only.

* Only available in (knockoff) UCP.

Free Magpul MS3?

Another gear upgrade on the road to UGA Invitational: A proper sling for my rifle. Well. Proper is relative. I have been eyeballing the Magpul MS2 and MS3 slings (read: airsoft grade clone versions) for quite some time, and also headscratching about proper (custom) sling mounts for the RS. However, literally an hour before bugging out for USF on Wednesday, I came across this disused bit of kit in the shed at Site B.

I have zero idea what it came from. Fairly simple, it's a webbing noose with a sturdy plastic attachment loop at the free end, and it cinches around the buffer tube just fine. Perfect location for a rear sling mount? Nope, that should be just behind the grip. This suffices though as a nonpermanent sling attachment.

Now here's where the MS3 part comes in. I grabbed one of my old cheap slings, clipped it onto that attachment point at both ends, and boom.

Comfy. Doesn't get in the way or make noise. Hangs a little low in singlepoint mode and there is no front mount for 2-point mode on either of my rifles now. This works, though. It isn't that bad with the gun flapping around and hitting you when moving with it down. You can shove the weapon off to the side and it's OK. The sling webbing rotates around your body as needed, as my cheap sling is actually similar to the "seatbelt" texture real Magpul slings are described as having.


The world of ammo for stock classers is a constantly changing one. I think it is time for a decent dart roundup.

To begin with, let's look at what is going on with the standard Elite. In the past, this stuff has not had a great reputation for reliability and the cause was almost certainly some combination of the tip compound used in the early Elite tips (very sticky/tacky) and the frequent incidence of spilled contact cement all over the foam near the tip. That, of course, is all bad for feeding and magazines.

You may also know the reputation for reliability and superior quality of ZombieStrike Elite and that my squad is running that for HvZ.

However, I have seen strong recent evidence that the Elite dart has been fixed. For that USF game I bought a case of Elite off the shelf. It wasn't HvZ where reliability can make you dead for 6 whole months, so I bought that 75 case of Elite the day of the war for the better deal knowing I would come home with about half of it (and that is what happened) - but those J-code Elites were excellent. Very little spilled glue around the tips, and absolutely zero malfunctions at 10rps in 105F Florida heat and near 100% humidity. Accurate, too.

I do suggest buying ammo brick and mortar, not online. You should inspect that case before you buy it, because if it is old stock and pre-quality improvement you will have nothing but trouble. Good ammo is absolutely critical.

Now, recently there have been 2 popular alternative stock-style darts on the market. I am cool with neither of them, however.

First up, we have the Nerf Elite Universal Suction. We have a lot of people claiming these to be consistent and accurate, and that they are. They do seem to be widely recommended (Coop772 reviewBURN game video). However, I have encountered two killer flaws with them.

One, rapid wear from flywheels. The rebated design of the tip means the foam takes the hit from flywheels and the consistency and velocity are shot to hell fairly quickly. What do you know, this is what Nerf themselves say on the package...

Two, however, is range and trajectory. These tips have a terrible time cutting through the air. Shooting pseudoflat at 120FPS, they are droppy as hell. It felt like shooting 80FPS. I was seeing them HIT THE GROUND consistently at only 60 feet away from the gun and that is just abysmal. Again, that was combat flat, not actually zero elevation, and over descending terrain to boot! Perhaps those recommending them are not comparing engagement ranges or simply do not require the range benefits of higher velocity in the first place and are playing like they have 70FPS.

Next up: Koosh darts. With such a low price point they are an attractive option and apparently well reviewed. I was considering buying a lot of them on eBay, but I quickly ditched that idea due to what BasicNerf (Vigilante) had to say in a Reddit PM thread around the same time:
I like the Koosh Darts a good amount, due to their low cost and solid accuracy. In eye testing them vs. Elite suction darts, the Suction Darts seemed to be a little more stable in flight and as a result you'll get tighter groupings because of it. From my 2 Nerf Wars playing with almost Koosh Darts extensively, you get about 5 feet or under groupings most of the time. I feel like the Koosh Dart groupings maybe a little smaller then 5 feet (feels like 3-4 feet), but I'll round to 5 since I haven't done extensive testing regarding their groupings.
Coop772s review on them,
Now here's the Cons/variables part of the message. Something that he mentioned is that the width varies a little bit amongst darts since they are knock offs. He also mentioned that sometimes the heads aren't 100 percent aligned with the rest of the dart. Coop and I have also noticed that dart density seems to be a little bit lesser then normal Nerf Darts. I'm assuming that besides the usual dart tumbling/"crapping out" of the barrel, this may increase that. In a modified Nerf blaster game with friends before "Geddon, and in fire testing, I noticed that about 1, sometimes 2, of these darts have that "tumble out of the barrel" effect and you don't get much range of them.
In 'Geddon, it was fairly warm that day. The war started off in the low 80s temperature wise, and was in the high 80s at it's peak. Playing in the sun you can add about 5 degrees to the weather/how it feels. It wasn't humid, but it wasn't dry either. I felt like the weather was more towards the dry side, but checking the weather, there was a 10 percent chance of rain for the day. As you know, hot weather affects Nerf Foam and makes it softer.
I also underestimated how much darts I would need, and had to reuse about 150 Koosh Darts constantly throughout the day. The extra wear, along with the hot weather, might have led to my observations with the darts through the day.
My range mentions below are a bit rough, I used Google Earth to judge the engagements I had based off GoPro video I recorded.
Now I'm not 100 percent on these next things, but here are some extra observations from that day.
Instead of having 1 or 2 darts tumbling every other mag, or every two mags, it seemed that it was happening more frequently. About every other mag at least.
There is talk online about them not being glued on as well as normal Nerf darts. That seems to be true from my experiences. I noticed at least 3-5 different Koosh darts with their heads missing throughout the day. I also had one lose it's head when I fired it through my Rapidstrike late in the day. I was out of that round for about 10 minutes trying to fix that jam before I asked a friend for PVC pipe and rammed it out.
So again with the Koosh darts the head will probably break off first before the foam breaks down. I consider the weather and extra usage of 'Geddon to be extra adverse conditions though. I wouldn't be afraid of my Koosh Darts breaking off constantly.
Again in what I believe was some what due to the weather and extra dart usage, my ranges seemed to drop a little bit. As the day went on, and again what I assumed what partly was due to weather/extra usage, I went from about the 70-80 feet I mentioned to 60-70 instead.
I also chrono-ed my Rapidstrike a bit since someone brought one. Testing about 5 shots, I only clocked low 70s FPS and high 80 FPS. I know Koosh Darts are heavier then normal elites, 1.20 Grams vs. 1 Gram for Normal Elite. But based off Coop's modded Stryfe video in the link, I should be getting closer to 100 FPS. Again not sure if this is because the blaster isn't quite modded up to speed, the weather, or the extra wear on the darts not giving them the best grip on the dart.
Image credit: SOFT
So again, evidence suggesting rapid flywheel wear of the foam (hence the dropped velocity from the 110FPS his 7.4V FK motor RS should have had) which is in line with the tip design - rebated, again, just like the suction. Then the tip glue issues common to low-cost China darts. However the squib stuck in the barrel is a dealbreaking issue and a major red flag. These are not coming anywhere near the squad for HvZ before more testing and/or quality improvement from the manufacturer has occurred. I also officially do not recommend these to anyone right now.

Flywheel Response

I got a quick video of chronoing snap reaction shots with the Tacmod.

FKs on 7.4! Not even the punchiest rig out there but still, if you're a zed and you charge around a corner and run into a proper flywheel setup, you will have a small welt and a stun, not a tasty human kill. Can we please stop with the "Flywheels take time to wind up and ruin your stealth before you shoot someone and are liable to get you tagged if you aren't revved up"?


  1. As soon as my chrono comes back I will be all over the dart thing. Full springer and flywheel test, 30 shoot of each dart type, average weights from 30 darts and a tip and foam sample weight from 5 darts of each.

  2. I really enjoy your blog with it's mix of gear and play related content. I fixed my RS magazine issue with a couple strips of e-tape in the magwell so there is no sag when the mag is inserted. A really great bargain tac gear I picked up is the gryffon golem chest rig for $15 on airsoftgi. It holds 6 mags, super comfy and has molle webbing for attaching anything else you want to add. On the darts, I own around 300 koosh along with my elites and although they do have some issues which I believe is the sticky head coming in contact with the barrel making for the crap shots, I still think they are worth the investment considering the foam is good quality and I can afford to keep myself and my kids in the game. Since the tips come off so clean I am considering buying a pack of xplorer tips to replace them with and have the most ideal ammo as my first resource.

  3. Just wondering, how do the Koosh darts fare with 180s? I've heard the heads aren't too well attached.

    1. I don't use them, I do not have any ATM, and this is one of the reasons why.

      You would have to ask a koosh dart user (Duke_Wintermaul, and anyone from ReCoN, off the top of my head) to get a firsthand opinion on the tip glue issue but note BasicNerf's opinions, and the fact he had an obstructed barrel due to one coming apart on firing.

  4. I am glad you posted that account from the Koosh darts. I have not had a chance to inspect mine and after reading that I will likely not be using them for HVZ. Maybe during some stock war or I will donate them to the HVZ club I play with.