April 2, 2015

Nerf Snapfire (2015) Review and Modification

Of all the places to find new Nerf blasters, it was Big Lots where I spotted this $5 N-Strike blaster. At first glance, it appears to just be another Jolt variant, albeit one that looks more like a Noisy Cricket. Several Nerfers (Coop772, LordDraconical, etc) have already obtained samples and frowned upon the Snapfire. I'm here to show why they're completely wrong.

Remove the excess plastic in the front and add a bit of paint...

The Snapfire comes in a small, open air box, and (in a sense) replaces the Nerf Reflex as the $5 choice on Big Lots shelves. 


Once removed from the package, it looks like you would expect. The barrel has an air restriction plate at its base, blocking airflow when a dart is not loaded. You have two holes for storing extra darts when you're using the blaster. And when used, it behaves like a Jolt in both power and range.


Meanwhile, a plate with air holes is held onto the blaster with four screws, in the same manner as a Jolt. Let's go ahead and take the plunger out. And yes, the plunger tube is identical to the Jolt in diameter (25mm, or about 63/64").


There are several things to point out about this blaster. First, the stock plunger draw is smooth and easy, but only goes 1 1/8". Second, THE ENTIRE AIR RESTRICTION UNIT COMES OUT.


All I had to do was put a screwdriver down the barrel and hit lightly with a hammer for the assembly to come loose. It seems that it's purely a friction fit, without any solvent welds. With the AR/dart peg assembly removed, the plunger can now travel 1 3/4" before stopping. Which is longer than the stock spring. What a problem to have, right? Such a shame that we need a new spring!


I'll have to double check, but I believe this is a spring from one of the various Buzz Bee blasters (in this case, a Tek 6). It's just long enough to make screwing the plunger head back on a bit difficult, but it will make your blaster more powerful. And it's not a spring you'll have trouble finding.

Also note that the priming handle is all the way up against the spring rest. You'll need to extend the arms.
Put everything back together. Along with a new spring and longer plunger draw, you also have a longer barrel. Remember that AR assembly we removed? Without it, you can push the dart all the way down into the barrel. My blaster doesn't have a perfect plunger seal, so sucking the dart into the chamber hasn't happened. Even with a perfect seal, the dart can't go back all the way, just 1 3/4" of the way.
An instance where having a small plunger tube actually helps.
Finally, we get to performance. I really shouldn't have to detail the performance of a Jolt at this point, but if you need a reference, Coop's Snapfire consistently reached the mid-50s in feet per second when it came to dart velocity.

After the removal of the AR assembly (and subsequent increase in plunger draw), my chronograph testing recorded an average dart velocity of 66 feet per second. That one change was a 20% increase in dart velocity! Fired at an angle outside, darts averaged 70' in range.

The real surprise came after the spring replacement, though. With the new spring, chrony readings averaged 91 feet per second. Range testing outside showed 70' average ranges when firing flat, and an average range of 99' when firing at an angle. Seriously.

I'm certain Hasbro didn't intend for a $5 blaster, marketed as merely an N-Strike blaster, to achieve this kind of performance. But the 2015 Snapfire might possibly be the best miniature blaster on the market. It's compact and easily hidden, and easy to prime when stock. But if you so desire, it takes only 5 minutes to turn this blaster into a monster. And did I mention it's only $5?

13 comments:

  1. Those results are so amazing, reminds me of the original panther mod from makeitgo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQiwZvyRR4I , and this: http://modworks.blogspot.com/2011/09/pas-speed-modding-challenge.html from old SG Nerf.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're kidding me! I've got a war tonight. Heck, even if you were messing with the community or your blaster was an anomaly, it's only 5 bucks! My lunch I made at home today cost more than $5!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I get better results when I just barely seat the dart. Since nerf guns don't have propellant, longer barrels just provide more friction for the same amount of energy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A Craftsman 11/32" or 5/16" Nutdriver does a good job removing the restrictor.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just tried it, I haven't replaced the spring yet but it's noticeably better with just the AR removed.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've had the hardest time getting my Snapfire with Tek 6 spring upgrade to catch. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I cut a very tiny amount off the back of the catch to make a more prominent rest, seems to work fine so far

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The great thing compared to other Nerf guns is that it's virtually silent and very small, great for sneaking up on people with. my response

    ReplyDelete
  10. Does the spring have to be from a tek 6? If not what are some good alternatives other than a hammershot

    ReplyDelete
  11. mine wont catch, and it is driving me crazy, please help anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  12. mine wont catch, and it is driving me crazy, please help anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Do you need to use the tek6 spring?

    ReplyDelete