Mod Shop – Shortened Nerf Stampede

Our mod this week is a little different to most of the other posts so far. Not just because this is more of a discussion piece and less of a walk through, but also because this is the very Stampede that I actually use in games. It has a Black Tactical Stampede Kit, micro switch replacement, voltage upgrade, safety removal, and of course the physical shell mods. The latter four are what we’ll be talking about today. If you’re interested in the former, please check out my previous post on the subject.

I’ll start by saying that this was not done for aesthetic reasons, this was done for performance reasons. It is not pretty. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It is aesthetic modding at it’s ghetto finest. On the performance front however, the blaster is now smaller, lighter, easier to handle, simpler, and fires harder and faster.  All in all, I’d say it’s a pretty effective blaster.

Up first we’ll cover off the obvious stuff, the shell mods. I simply took my Dremel and proceeded to cut off everything that wasn’t needed. That means most of the battery tray is gone, the jam door, and everything in front of the front of the breech once it’s all the way forward. Everything related to the clip well is still in tact, along with the dart tooth and of course the entire firing mechanism.

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I also did the same to the other side of the shell oddly enough.

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Next up was the trigger micro switch. The stock stampede normally has a switch located here, underneath a flat orange cover. This switch has a rather weak return spring with can lead to bump firing. In the picture below I’ve already upgraded the spring, but for my own blaster I very much wanted it to be reliable, so I replaced the entire switch.

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As you can see here, no more stock micro switch.

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Instead I have my own one in the handle. This required some cutting to fit correctly, but it was pretty simple really. An assortment of hot glue and random pieces of plastic I had sitting around hold it in place.

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A picture with the trigger pulled in and the switch depressed for reference.

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Next up came further simplification. The stock stampede comes with a further four of these micro switches spread throughout the blaster. Here is a close up of one of them.

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And another photo showing the location of all four. They act as safeties for the blaster, preventing you from firing unless the jam door is closed and there is a clip in the blaster. Now while I’m sure that’s all well and good for the 8yr old this blaster was designed for, I’m not going to jam my finger in it while it’s firing (if I do, I kinda deserve what happens), and I know not to dry fire. With all that in mind, these were all just added complications; extra things to go wrong if you will. Therefore, they all had to go.

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As you’ll see in this photo, there are no more micro switches (other than the one for the trigger), no on/off switch, and none of the associated wiring. This means that the wire from the negative terminal on the battery sled goes directly to the motor, while the positive terminal leads to the trigger switch and then to the motor. Significantly simpler, far less to go wrong.

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Finally came the voltage mod. Just as I did in my previous Stampede post, I’m using four Trustfire AA batteries. However, instead of the AA-D cell convertor shells I used last time, this time I hard wired a 4xAA holder inside the shell.

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Originally I simply soldered this directly to the terminals as shown, but this eventually broke. Since then I’ve gone back and completely removed the terminals and soldered the holder directly to the existing wires.

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Then it went back together.

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I jammed the batteries in the remainder of the battery tray and went for a test fire. Surprise surprise, it worked. The batteries were held in with tape for quite some time (ghetto fabulous) but I’ve since devised a screw system to hold the batteries in place. Nothing fancy there, they’re just wedged into place with a bolt. No photos of the current system sorry 😦

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Finally, size comparison with an Alpha Trooper.

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Alright, that’s about it folks. Like I said, more of a “hey, check this out” style post rather than a walk through. The performance is exactly what you’d expect from any other stampede with 4 trustfires and a BT kit, only now it’s lighter, smaller, and simpler. How much lighter I hear you ask? Well a stock stampede with 6 D cells weights about 2.2kg, a stock stampede with no batteries is 1.3kg, and mine? 0.8kg, complete with batteries. Sure that might not seem like much, but it now weighs about 36% of what it originally did and will cause less of a strain while you’re running around.

I don’t know what more I can say about it other than, this is the blaster I use in most games. I can’t giving anything a higher praise.

Cheers,
Joe

Mod Shop – Nerf Alpha Trooper – Air Restrictor Removal + Seal Improvement

The Nerf Alpha Trooper, first released in Australia in 2010, the Alpha Trooper was received as a sort of love child between the Raider and the pump action Recon that people had been asking for. It brought with it a new type of clip, the 18 round drum, and was the second blaster to feature the incredibly sought after slam fire. However, better than all of that was the simple fact of range. Fresh out of the box, the AT out ranges every previous reverse plunger based blaster.

Today we’ll quickly run through an air restictor removal (commonly know as an AR mod) and improve the seal. This is a relatively simple mod to do and certainly one easy enough for a first timer to attempt.

The tools/consumables I used for this mod were…

  • A small phillips head screwdriver
  • A hand drill, complete with extra long drill bit
  • A long, round hand file
  • Telfon tape

To start off with, we have the blaster.

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Start by removing the end cap. There’s two screws here that are different to all the other screws in the blaster so make sure to keep them separate.

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Then move on to the priming grip. Five screws need to be removed.

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Then we’ll be able to get to the screws under the priming handle.

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Remove all of the screws from the blaster shell and then pry the shell apart.

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As always, take a moment to have a good look around the internals and try to get an understanding of how it all works. It will make putting it back together much easier.

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Ok, happy with that? Lets continue the dis-assembly. Remove this part, I guess we’ll call it a cosmetic barrel cover?

Like so.

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Then remove the jam door.

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Like so.

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Then remove the main spring.

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Then the trigger catch.

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Like so.

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Now, grab the whole plunger, sled, dart door, and breech assembly.

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It should all just lift out as on piece.

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Like so.

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Start by removing this front piece.

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Then the plunger.

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Others will say that you have to remove this pin so that you can separate the breech from the priming bar, but I’ve never seen the need. Yes, if you try to drill our the AR while holding the priming bar, you can break it. Really simple solution though, just don’t hold the priming bar.

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Hold the breech itself, above the priming bar, and all will be fine.

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Anyway, back to the physical task at hand. Have a look down the back of the breech and you should see the AR. If this is the first time you’ve pulled apart a blaster, gently blow down this end of the tube and you’ll very quickly understand how AR’s work.

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Grab your drill and go to town on that sucker. Then make sure you clean it up with your hand file. The cleaning up phase is often overlooked by modders but neglecting it *will* cost you range.

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Now we’ll move on to the seal improvement.

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Start by prying off the o-ring. Easiest way to so this is with the tip of your screwdriver. Be careful not to pry too hard though as you don’t want to snap it.

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Wrap it a few times in teflon tape.

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Then put the o-ring back over the top. This will be a process of trial and error, I can’t tell you exactly how much tape you will need. Put some on and test fit the plunger tube back over it. We want it to be tight, but still able to move freely with practically no resistance. Once you’re happy with it we’ll move on.

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Put the plunger back over the breech and place the whole assembly, excluding the front piece, back in the shell.

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Make sure you get this bit aligned correctly.

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Then move up to the front of the breech and slide the sled/breech/plunger all the way back.

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Put this front piece back in, making sure the dart tooth aligns correctly.

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Then slide the breech all the way forward. It should close fully.

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Move to the back of the blaster.

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Replace the trigger catch.

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Then the jam door.

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Like so.

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Then the “cosmetic barrel cover”.

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Like so.

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Now, while it does only fit one way, you can put tin in backwards and not realise it until you go to put the other half of the shell back on it. Make sure this end goes at the front.

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Move to the back of the blaster again and replace the main spring.

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Like so. In this case I’ve pictured an aftermarket spring; if you’ve done a spring replacement too, make sure to check out my previous post on the specifics of the AT spring replacements.

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Right, it should all be back together now, except the other half of the shell of course.

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Soooo, lets put that back on then!

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You should have noticed that two screws are shorter than the other ones.

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They both go here, above the barrel, right at the front.

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Now put the rest of the screws in.

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Then place the underside of the priming handle.

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Then screw it in.

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Then put the end cap back on.

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Then we’re done!

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I unfortunately did a spring replacement at the same time so I can’t give range differences. However, it should now be on par with any other AR’d reverse plunger blaster (Recon, Raider, Longstrike, etc) so expect around 15m.

You should now have yourself a significantly improved blaster that will be the envy of all your friends! Ok, probably not, but it’s still a decent improvement. Few blasters can match the Alpha Trooper for its ease of use, dart capacity and rate of fire; and now it even has a somewhat decent range to go with it. Enjoy!

Mod Shop – Foam Magnum Blaster

Ahh, my first non-Nerf banded mod post and what a non-Nerf blaster to start with. There are plenty of people out there who follow the “it’s Nerf or nothing” mantra but they have obviously never experienced the power of the Magnum. Straight out of the box this hits over 20m, so I wanted to see what it could do modded!

This walk-through will take us through a barrel replacement, seal improvement, and general simplification of the blaster. I’ve removed the mechanism that causes the front barrel to move when priming, as well as an assortment of the locks.

Tools and materials needed…

Screw drivers, phillips head and flat
Dremel, with cutting and grinding attachments
Glue
Fishing line
Barrel material (in this case I used 17/32 brass, but whatever works for you should be fine)

To start off with, we have the blaster. I apparently took a photo of the wrong side but remove all the screws from the shell.Photobucket

Cut the orange barrel cover like so, so you can pry it off.

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The top one should come off without the need to cut it.

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Open it up and take a good look at the internals.

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The Magnum runs a direct plunger system with an incredibly strong stock spring.

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So strong that it needs a decent sized lever to prime it.

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Continue the disassembly by removing the blue part in the centre of the picture below and the plunger assembly as a whole.

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Said plunger assembly removed from the blaster.

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With the plunger pulled out.

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This is the hole in the end of the plunger tube.

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So lets start by making that a little bigger.

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Next, grab this part from the front of the blaster. There will be a few small springs involved with it, they’re no longer needed.

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Cut two small sections, one about 10mm and one about 20mm, of it off.

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Clean up the rough edges and test fit them over your chosen barrel material. Some grinding/filing might be required.

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Then place the stock external plunger seal over the top of the new barrel.

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Test fit it back in the shell.

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Complete with the plunger tube as well. Assuming it all fits, remove the seal and glue the two barrel spacers into place.

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Cut four small notches in the end of the barrel.

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Thread it with fishing line.

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Put the seal back over the top and glue it into place.

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This is to stop darts getting pulled right into the plunger chamber due to vacuum loading.

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Put it the barrel and plunger tube back in the shell. You should also notice at this stage that I’ve removed a lot of stuff you don’t need; you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to, I just didn’t see much point in keeping it there.

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Then put the plunger back in, ensuring that the top side has the pin.

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Replace the trigger, pull the plunger all the way back and reseat the front of the priming lever.

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Then reseat the pivot point of the priming lever.

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Push the plunger and priming lever all the way forward and put the spring back in.

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Put the shell back together and we’re done.

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Stock ranges with streamlines are incredibly varied, but I’d like to say that around 21-22m would be a reasonable expectation for when the darts actually flew straight for even a little while.

Modded ranges would only be around 25m, but it is now a hell of a lot more consistent/accurate. However, as you can see, I’ve still got a full foot of brass. I make no claims that this is good, in fact it’s far too much for this blaster. I just haven’t got around to testing what length barrel I should have. The best shots come with the dart pushed about 100mm into the barrel. By that logic I’d say maybe 100-120mm would be a good length barrel for a blaster of this power, but further testing is most certainly required.

Mod Shop – Nerf Stampede – AR, voltage, BT kit

The Neft Stampede; arguably Nerf’s flagship blaster. When I first started playing with blasters back in 2009 the Nerf Vulcan was the ‘must have blaster’ for the uninitiated. When most people I knew were running around with a Maverick, someone turning up with a Vulcan was a total bad ass. However, looking at the way new players talk about the Stampede now, I’m pretty sure that mantle has been passed.

What’s not to like? Right out of the box you’re getting full auto with a pretty decent rate of fire, nice ranges for a stock blaster, and some seriously tacti-cool looks. I played my first full day with a Stampede just the other week, despite owning one since release, and boy was it a world of fun. Today we’re going to be improving both the rate of fire and the range through an air restrictor removal (AR), voltage increase, an upgraded spring and an aftermarket O-ring.

The tools/consumables I used for this were…

  • A few different phillips head screwdrivers
  • A hand drill, complete with extra long drill bit
  • A long, round hand file
  • A Black Tactical Stampede kit (Main spring, O-ring, padding)
  • 4 x 3.6v AA Ultrafire batteries
  • 4 x AA to D battery convertors
  • A Knife

First up we have a Stampede. Start by removing the battery tray and then work your way around the blaster to remove all of the screws. Before you can completely pry the shell apart, there is also a sticker in the battery tray compartment, cut it with your knife.

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The shell should come apart. Be careful not to rip and wires as the on/off switch will still be attached to the other side.

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As always, have a look at the internals and try to figure out how it works before you pull it all apart.

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I promise you that it looks far more complicated than it actually is.

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The whole firing mechanism is actually remarkably simple and well thought out. This is the stage where we’ll need to remove the cover on the center of this photo. It’s held in by 5 screws.

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Behind it you should find the plunger tube.

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Now remove the catch by unscrewing these two screws.

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Then come back to the front of the breech assembly and remove these two screws. This part should then come off in two pieces.

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We should be left with this.

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Remove the whole plunger assembly and then the two screws at the back of it.

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And it should come apart like so…

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Pull the plunger and spring all the way out. Grab your plunger and wipe the head of it with a rag to make sure that there is no grease on this side of it.

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Peel the backing tape from the padding and stick it to the plunger head, making sure that it’s centered.

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Now grab your new BT spring. See how much beefier it is than the stock one? Slip it over the plunger rod.

Also, replace the stock O-ring with your new BT O-ring at this stage too. Simply pry the old one off with a screwdriver and slip the new one into place.

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Now to get to work on the AR. Grab the plunger tube and your drill and make the AR disappear.

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As always, clean it up with your hand file. We want that air flow as smooth as possible.

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Put the improved plunger and spring back inside the tube. Slip the end cover back over the top and make sure both the plunger and end cover are orientated the same way as the picture below.

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Place the whole plunger/breech assembly back into place, re-seat the catch and screw it in. Photobucket

We’ll also need to put the cover back on too.

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Then put this piece back in too. Not sure what it is, maybe a spring holder bracket?

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Next, we’ll need to beef up the trigger switch spring. You’ll only need to do this if you’re experiencing problems with bump firing. Typically I find that this seems to start around 14v, and since we’re planning on running around 18v in this one, I’m pretty sure we’ll need it.

Start by removing the two screws that hold this cover on.

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Beneath the cover you should find a switch (although your spring should be smaller as I only managed to take a photo after upgrading the spring). The whole switch should just lift out.

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Yours obviously wont have the wires cut and won’t be able to get all the way out of the blaster, this is a spare I had lying about that was easier for taking photos with.

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Pry the end clip off. It’s only complete on three sides and should be pretty obvious which way it needs to come. Grab a bigger spring, place it over the switch and push the end clip back on. I used a Recon trigger spring as I had one spare, but I’m sure pretty well any spring that fits would work.

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Now put the switch back in

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Here’s a comparison between the upgraded spring I used on the left, and the standard spring on the right. You can see that I also moved the clip a little higher; this was to accommodate the bigger spring.

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Last stage of this modification is a voltage upgrade. In this case I used AA Ultrafire batteries

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And to make it so that I got to keep the stock battery tray, I used four AA to D sized convertor shells.

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Simply open the shell, place the AA inside and viola, you have yourself a D sized AA.

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Ah, now this photo is actually somewhat of a lie. I had originally planned to use six AA’s, but decided to bring it back to four and two standard D batteries.

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Put the shell back together and then put the battery tray back in the blaster and we’re done! One modded stampede.

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With stock streamline darts from the stock blaster, I was getting an average of 12m

With the same darts from the modifed blaster, I was getting an average of 20m

Note: unless otherwise stated, all range tests on this blog will be done as an average of 18 darts, fired level from shoulder height.