January 16, 2014

Nerf Zombie Strike Ricochet Teardown and Review

The Nerf Zombie Strike product line has been expanding recently with things like the Fusefire, Sidestrike, and the Ricochet. The former two blasters rely on established propulsion mechanisms (torsion arm and elite plunger tube, respectively). The latter, however, is minimalist in design and clearly not powered by the usual Vortex subjects (torsion arm or flywheels). It's also the cheapest blaster in the line to date at just $8.

I went ahead and bought one for dissection and testing. It's interesting, but ultimately not a very effective blaster. More after the jump!

We start the dissection by removing the three screws in the priming slide. Underneath is a priming arm for pulling back some kind of sled. Remove the screw connecting each side of the priming arm, and the two screws holding the pieces in place.

After removing all of the remaining screws in the shell, each half should separate fairly easily.

How does all this work? Well, there's a sled that the disc sits inside, and a plunger that strikes the disc to launch it. Yep, it's propulsion by impact.

Here are the guts! This is the sled - that spring-loaded piece underneath is the catch.

From above, you can see the plunger in the middle. the catch holds it in place until you fire.

This is the spring behind it all. It's stiff, and it's actually precompressed a bit. Too bad we only get an inch of travel out of this thing.

Here's the priming and firing sequence!
  1. The disc gets inserted into the sled, engaging two safety catches to allow the blaster to prime.
  2. Pulling back the green slide pulls the sled and plunger (which the catch holds in place), compressing the spring further. An orange catch lever engages after doing so, to prevent the blaster from unpriming.
  3. Pulling the trigger moves a second lever, which pulls down on the catch.
  4. The plunger flies forward, punching the disc out of its slot. The plunger comes to rest at two gel bumpers in the front of the blaster.

That's the gist of this blaster. But does it perform? Not really. I had a hard time getting any reasonable distance out of my blaster, and certainly nothing up to par with the rest of the Vortex series. In addition, I couldn't get any of my discs to fire even reasonably straight, with all of them dropping off to the right starting only a few feet from the barrel. Given the setup of this blaster, I don't see many real modding opportunities for improving the blaster. Maybe mess with the disc cradle a bit to change the amount of spin you impart to it?

In any case, if you're really set on having a Vortex pistol, just spend the extra few dollars for a Proton. If you're worried about hitting zombies...you can buy a Triad for the same price, and have 3 shots with range and decent accuracy. 


  1. Question about the bit about the plunger travel distance. Would it actually help for it to follow through any more than it does? I know it's helpful for plunger-based dart blasters to have a longer plunger distance, because that increases the volume of air pushed out. But for something that gets its momentum from impact, would it actually make it any better to have a longer distance? Such would not seem to increase the velocity imparted to the disk.

    Anway, informative review, thanks for making my Proton purchase seem more worthwhile!