Friday, May 22, 2015

K'nex K-Force Dart Initial Test

This is the dart introduced by K'nex Brands, LLC along with the new K-Force Build and Blast line.

30-round pack with target, purchased at a TRU in Orlando, Florida in late May 2015.

I will begin by noting that other nerfers have had mixed results. Darts included with other K-Force products and darts sent by K'nex PR have not given anyone trouble, but these casepacks are another story, with accuracy issues and glue problems. I had some of that too.

The big innovation here is the tip design. As the market fills up with patents and customers demand higher performance, toy/stock/superstock dart tips are seeing a lot of new ideas. The Kforce dart's defining feature is this multilayered lattice structure to make an impact-absorbing tip without a hollow air-filled dome.

Like the "koosh" tip, these have been identified by the NIC as a potentially improved tip design, providing both safety and decent mass distribution.

Now onto the darts I received. I had 3 darts in this package with excess protruding glue.

As with the recent koosh order of mine, these are exceedingly difficult to deflash. The tip tends to remove cleanly upon trying.

The tip is thermoplastic elastomer. It is slicker than recent Hasbro dome tips. No magazine feed issues were encountered.

Foam length is about 1mm longer than a typical Hasbro full length dome tip dart (ZS Elite shown). This caused no issues with magfed guns in the test. I have no working revolvers to test, but in some borderline cases, these may have to be trimmed slightly.

L-R: May 2015 Yutoys koosh; Kforce; ZS Elite.

The foam on these is nearly identical to typical Hasbro foam of the last 2 years, including bore size and stiffness.

No barrel issues.

Now, getting to the test shoot.

I am steadily losing generic test guns to configuration changes and arsenal downsizing. Also, I have received negative feedback about sample sizes. Unfortunately, I cannot afford what it takes to be statistically proper about every single test. I cannot afford 50 elites every 2 guns, which are darts I do not want to own after I am done chronographing. For dart testing shoots, I cannot afford to go out and buy 50+ rounds of something new and untested like these.

Taking these pressures into account, I have changed the superstock dart test shoot protocol to preserve maximum player relevance and supply more shots per gun without a cost increase to me. There are now two test gun classes - a superstock magfed flywheel gun, and a superstock Hasbro springer with a stock bolt. These cover all the demands of most primaries. The string length is 20 shots, the number of darts used is 20, and each gun shoots twice in alternation.

This provides 40 shots per platform as well as a rough indication of any rapid aging problems with the darts over the course of 2 flywheel and 2 spring shots each. Since the flywheel and springer critical areas of the dart are at opposite ends of the foam, the effects on the opposite platform apart from handling and loading are minimized.

Chrono session

Here it is the Tacmod 2.1 prototype and the Retaliator Hammer.

The results were interesting. Both platforms dropped velocity and increased in variability in their second run. More worrisome, however, were several garbage flywheel shots after the darts were used.

Note in the Tacmod string, several poorly placed shots that did not trigger the chrono caused me to have to reuse fired darts early (the grey shots in the spreadsheet), and you can see how the velocity went down as soon as they were fired a single time. That is disappointing.

Quick accuracy observations: A small pizza box was placed 30 feet away and shot at 10 times with the TM2.1. This is NOT a human silhouette test or effective range indication, it is only to judge stability by the dispersion at relatively close range.

Kforce (some used): 6 hits.

Feb '15 Yutoys koosh (used): 4 hits.

May '15 Yutoys koosh (some used, most reglued): 6 hits. Hard hits, too.

In all these are another mixed bag at this point. Despite finding quality issues, the accuracy at superstock velocities is not shabby. However, the rapid performance drop is unfortunate, and the dud flywheel shots potentially a killer flaw of this tip design.

As is usual, I will field these and report on their viability.

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