Review – Nerf Hailfire

Before we go any further in to this week’s post, my first real review might I add, I’ve got to give a big shout out to Hasbro Australia and the Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag association for providing me with the blaster you’ll see in a moment. Yes that’s right folks, Hasbro Australia has followed in the footsteps of Hasbro US and is actively supporting its local fan base by suppling those who do good for the community with blasters for testing and review purposes. Thanks guys!
Thanks Hasbro/CaSNSWDTA

So then, on to our first real review. This review will be split over three parts; my assessment of the stock blaster, the mods we can do to improve it, and an assessment of the modded blaster.

Sidenote: Please forgive the lack of quality photos this week. My camera is currently in China with my Mum… Phone ahoy!

Nerf Hailfire

First Impressions

The Hailfire smaller than I imagined. The logical side of me is trying to tell myself that this is a good thing, but I can’t help but feel a little disappointed at the same time. It’s by no means flimsy or dainty, I’m particularly impressed by the sturdiness of the advancing handle while we’re on the topic, but it just doesn’t seem as impressive or intimidating as the pre-release marketing spiel made it out to be.

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The outer covers, or wings I guess, are just weird; I don’t like them. They look ugly, make the blaster bigger and more clumsy, and make reloading on the fly significantly harder. They survived about 15 minutes on the blaster before they came off and went in the garage.

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Ergonomics

The handle and acceleration trigger are quite comfortable and the main trigger feels nice and mechanical, very satisfying but not too hard. Even though I know I’m supposed to be holding the blaster by the advancing handle but I keep finding myself wanting to hold it under the muzzle at the front tactical rail. I’m sure I’ll get used to this the more I use it, but for the moment it just doesn’t seem quite right. When my hand has found its way to the advancing handle however, the motion feels surprisingly good. I was worried about the handle being really flimsy when the first leaked photos of the Hailfire appeared way back when. Kudos to Nerf for that.

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Initial Usage

The Hailfire fires way further than expected. I know I shouldn’t be surprised by this since I was surprised by range of both the Barricade and Rayven when I first used them, but I guess I just unintentionally downplay flywheel blasters before remembering that the current range are actually not totally terrible. With Elite darts I was getting 7-8m parallel to the ground and 14-15m angled.  I know that isn’t going to amaze anyone, particular the more modding-inclined readers, but I still found it better than expected. Also this should be pretty easy to fix with a few Trustfires.

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My first real problem however came once I started loading more clips into the blaster. The clip advancement mechanism worked fine with eight 6 clips, but failed pretty spectacularly with eight 18 clips; there’s just too much weight. It tries to advance as it should but either gets sort of half way then either flops back or just stalls there more often than not. With just four 18 clips it worked more often than not but still failed to advance far more than I’m happy with. Simply put, I think it’s too high a risk of the clips not advancing to justify using it regularly just yet, but something that I hope I can rectify.

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Reloading of the clips to the left of the main body was possible once the outer covers were removed, (very useful) but way harder than it should have been. The small round piece at the side that holds the shoulder strap mounting point still manages to get in the way. Something will be done about this once I get around to modding.

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Closing Thoughts

I think the Hailfire has a lot of potential, it’s just not quite there yet. Over the next little while I will…

A) Be playing around with the voltage to find the optimal performance.

B) See if I can’t improve the reliability of the advancing clip well.

C) Remove the shoulder strap mount to allow for easier reloading on the go.

My standard weapon of choice at the moment is my minimised Stampede with two 18 clips taped together, each facing the opposite direction. The reason for this is that it gives a good mix of range and rate of fire, empty/partially full clips can be reloaded on the go, and it’s very reliable. I’m pretty confident that the Hailfire, once properly modded of course, will be able to match the range and rate of fire, still be able to be reloaded on the go *and* hold more darts. Provided I can get the reliability where I need it to be, this might just turn out to be my new ‘go to blaster’. Keep an eye out for stage two of this review soon enough where I’ll cover off some of the mods attempted.

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Mod Shop – Nerf Barrel Break – AR Removal

Released back in 2010 alongside the Alpha Trooper and the Barricade, the Nerf Barrel Break was an interesting piece of kit. I had played a decent amount with the BuzzBee double shot previously but never really had any interest in the Barrel Break back then. Hell, even now it’s one of the few recent Nerf blasters I don’t own at least one of. This then lead me to post a WTB in a local blaster trading group a few months back. A friend (and former lecturer) noticed said WTB and while he wasn’t willing to sell me his beloved “Charity”, he was clever enough to inquire as to if I only wanted it for modding purposes.

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While I sure would have liked to add one to the collection, I mostly did just want to get my hands on one to write a walk through. His was stock and he wasn’t overly attached to that fact, so he offered me the blaster to ‘borrow and mod’. Wins all round I say.

Today we’ll be performing a simple air restrictor removal, or AR removal for short.

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Tools/Materials required…

Phillips head screwdriver
Drill and assortment of drill bits
Long round hand file
Electrical tape
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As always, start by opening up the blaster in question.

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This is a little different from most other Nerf blasters in that there are a lot of different types of screws.

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This short fat one went…

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Here, in front of the trigger guard.

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The two short normal width ones went…

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Along the top tac rail here.

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These two longer screws went…

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Here at the back of the blaster,

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And here, at the underside.

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The four regular sized screws went…

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Here, in the handle.

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Finally the big flat screw goes here, on the right. You can leave the one on the left alone for the time being.

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Once all of those are removed you should be able to open up the blaster.

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As always, have a good look around at this point to get an understanding of how it all works.

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Knowing how something should work makes re-assembly FAR easier.

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OK, happy? Good. Press this tab here allowing you to slide the barrel forward slightly.

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Like so.

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Then carefully slide it all the way forward.

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Lift the first plunger assembly out of the blaster.

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So we can get to work on it. Take note at this point that the spring is larger in diameter at the back, the catch is facing up, and the lip at the front is also up.

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Pull apart all the components.

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Oooo, look, an air restrictor.

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Grab your drill and go to town on that sucker, then clean it up with your file

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It’s normally at this point where we’d improve the seal by wrapping the O-ring seat with teflon tape. However the seal from factory, on this Barrel Break at least, is pretty damn amazing. Trying to improve would only make it worse.

Wrap this hole with electrical tape.

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Replace the spring.

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Happy with that? Lets get back to the blaster then.

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Remove the catch at the back.

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Flip it over and remove the left most big screw. The one holding the right half of the shell to the front assembly.

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Flip the blaster back over again and remove the whole front assembly.

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Taking careful note of these two springs.

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Remove the seven screws holding the centre divider in.

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Then remove said divider.

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We’ve now got access to the second plunger.

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Take it out and perform the same mods as we did on the first one.

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Check it, two plunger assemblies! Again take note at this point that the spring is larger in diameter at the back, the catch is facing up, and the lip at the front is also up.

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Replace the first plunger.

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Then the centre divider.

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Then the front assembly.

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Then the trigger.

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Then the toothed slider.

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Then the catch.

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Then the shell and we’re done, again remembering the screw locations mentioned at the start. There we have it, one AR’d Barrel Break.

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Mod Shop – Nerf Longshot – OzNerfNerd Shotgun Grip

The week before last we ran through the install of an OzNerfNerd Longshot kit and today we’re here with a sort of ‘part 2’ if you would. Today we’ll be installing the OzNerfNerd Longshot Shotgun Grip.
For those who haven’t seen an ONN Grip before, we’ll have a quick sneaky at the finished product we’re aiming for today.

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Tools/Materials needed…

Phillips head screwdriver
5mm Allen key
Large pliers/10mm spanner
Drill + 5-6mm bit
Hot glue + gun
Small length of PVC pipe or something similar
Dremel with cutting wheel
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We’ll start with the blaster in question.

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Start by removing the stock.

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Then pry the priming handle apart with a claw hammer.

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Then you can remove the rest of the screws in the shell. All the screws excluding the two at the very front are the same so that makes things easier for us.

Here you see the three screws (2 black, one silver) holding the bipod in place. Remove those on both halves of the shell.

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Then reassemble the shell.

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Can you guess where this is going?

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We’ll need to trim the bipod mounts off a little bit.

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Like so. Do this  for both sides.

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Insert the back part of the grip and tighten the bolt enough that it’s not going to let go, but still loose enough to allow the grip to move freely back and forward.

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Slide the front of the grip upwards until it’s level, then mark the very back of the slide cutout.

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Drill a hole right though both halves of the shell where we made a mark int he above step.

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Which should let you slide the second bolt all the way through.

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Again, tighten the bolt enough that it’s not going to let go, but still loose enough to allow the grip to move freely back and forward.

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Put the stock back on but pull it as far back as you can.

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Cut two lengths of PVC then hot glue them into the back of the stock. This means that the stock can’t collapse on you when trying to prime the blaster, which can happen if you depend solely on the lock it originally had.

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Reassemble the stock and we’re done. One OzNerfNerd Shotgun Grip on a Nerf Longshot.

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Homemade Mod Shop – FDG:B2

This weeks post is going to quickly demonstrate the build process of the FDG:Bow v2. I’m not going to run through a specific walk through for this one but will post build pictures. This bow has a massive plunger draw and is hitting stupid ranges, even with the RSCB. To that end, if you can’t figure out what I’ve done here, I’m not sure this type of blaster is right for you. By no means am I trying to pass this off as perfect, it is only my second homemade blaster after all, but I hope it’s useful for inspiring your own builds that you could make.

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