August 17, 2013

Blazin Bow Review, Thoughts, and Modifications!

The other Nerf bow out this fall, along with the Heartbreaker Bow, is the Blazin Bow. Packaged as simply an Nstrike blaster (not Elite), it fires foam arrows instead of darts. The box claims up to 40 feet, which can be done at an angle. But there's potential underneath the shell, if you're willing to overcome a few obstacles.

After removing the screws and separating the two halves of the shell, we can see that the setup is very similar to the original Bow and Arrow. However, close inspection reveals a problem...

...there's a massive hole in the plunger tube! This sits close to the front of the tube, severely diminishing performance potential. I would assume the goal here was to simply let the plunger head accelerate, then use the last bit of travel to actually launch the arrows. In a way, it makes sense. Without the hole, the arrow might leave its post before an ideal volume of air is moving through the post. However, this is assuming the air restrictor is in place - which for this blaster, is nearly blocking 100% of the airflow. Since we're removing the restrictor, we'll be powering the arrow the entire time, and we'll need more power.

First, for those short on supplies, it's very easy to remove the restrictor and add useful plunger volume. It turns out the plunger tube is not glued in, AND the hole is off to one side. Simply flipping the tube around gives around 1.25" more plunger movement to actually do something. The restrictor is just as easily slipped out of the entire assembly. All in all, you'll get another 5-10 feet of range with the arrows - it sounds pathetic until you realize we're firing projectiles with large amounts of drag.

For those who want to do more, there's few options to use with the existing plunger. The tube measures 1 3/8" OD, 1 1/4" ID. It's a very odd size in terms of finding rigid tubing, and while possible to procure, is impractical for most casual modders. Instead, I chose to add a larger plunger tube!

First, remove the existing skirt seal.With a bit of effort, it pulls off of its peg.

After this, I used a 1 3/8" rubber washer (in my case, leftover from the early +bow days of my Nerfing career). From Home depot, I grabbed a 1/2" pushnut, 1/2" OD aluminum tubing, and 3/8" OD vinyl tubing. The tubing nests, the washer goes over the aluminum, and the pushnut sits in front to secure everything. You can then slide everything over the plastic peg and use your preferred multipurpose adhesive to finish assembly.

 I used 1 1/2" OD sink tubing, maybe 5 5/8" long as the new plunger tube. A Lasco 1 1/4" by 1/2" PVC reducer bushing was wrapped on the pipe end with electrical tape, then friction fitted into the end of the plunger tube. The shell slots for the plunger tube were widened to accommodate the replacement. Measure twice, cut once, and you should be able to fit the tube in the shell with no gaps at the front or back. At this point, the tube needs no gluing in place; it will actually stay where it is!

I then got the bow ready for firing an RSCB. I used a 1/2" CPVC street elbow hammered into a length of 1/2" PVC for the front. You'll need to widen the front opening to 7/8" with this method, as opposed to the stock 3/4" needed for an arrow peg.

Put everything back together, and you have a full length, wider plunger tube for firing those darts! When range testing with arrows, I was hitting the ranges on the box with the bow firing parallel to the ground. Once I add an RSCB to this, I'd expect similar performance to an original BnA.

It has its faults, but I think this choice of bow is far superior to the Heartbreaker Bow in usability and potential. The straight shaft makes aiming much easier, and the full length spring means you can fire quickly and not have to worry about unwinding an entire spool of string first.

I'll have a video up soon with the range testing!

2 comments:

  1. Why didn't you give it a stronger spring, with that I'm sure you could clear 60'

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  2. That spring actually looks pretty beefy, maybe for use as an Elite replacement? Or to drop into a Centurion if we can ever open it.

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