Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Air Zone Xtreme Darts! EXTREME! SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM!

Snagged these today after a tip on reddit posted by BuffDaddy Nerf.
While infamous was tweaking the 3D printer we got, I was playing with these new darts, taking some measurements, and enjoying a cold beer.


More after the jump! 

My first impression is that I've impressed by the foam. It's just as good as Elite foam, while being a completely different texture than the "Extreme" darts that have a suction cup. But there are some differences from Elite darts that we should note.


For example, the Extreme dart is noticeably shorter than the Elite dart. The Elite is about 2.85 inches, whereas the Extreme is about 2.6. This is pretty important for some of our blasters, as I'll explain later.


It seems that the Extreme darts are slightly smaller. Will this make a difference in the bolt/barrel of a blaster?



The Exreme dart is slightly lighter than an Elite dart. I measured a few darts, coming up with an average 0.882 grams. Is this a good thing or bad thing? I'm not sure, really. Yes, a heavier tip CAN be more accurate, as in the case of stefans and suction tip Micros. But since the dart itself is shorter, is the weight more distributed in the tip now, also contributing to accuracy? Plus, a lighter dart will technically move at a faster FPS than a heavier one since it requires less energy to move. A chrony will be the telling factor here.


SACRIFICE! I took apart some darts to take some measurements. One thing to note is that the reason why there is a black ring around the tip is the this is the stem. The stem is a flexible and soft rubber element.



Our handy dandy scale reveals all! The percentage of weight in the tip is the same in both darts, approximately 70% of the total dart weight is in the tip. So probably no accuracy issues due to dart weight distribution.



You can see consistency issues in this bunch of darts, where the glue used on them differs in quantity and distribution. A little disappointing, but it's still better than some Chinese darts I've seen where the tip wasn't glued on well. Every tip here is glued on well, and placed squarely on the foam. It's possible that the excess glue could increase jams, but I did not experience any.

Time for some chrony data!
Just a small sample size because I'm busy enjoying a bottle of Stone. I chose a stock Retaliator.

Elite
74.81
78.83
77.21
77.26
76.08
71.88
72.72
72.55
73.14
75.85

Extreme
76.88
72.09
71.51
71.47
77.02
72.93
79.37
78.91
77.3
79.11

I'd say that overall, the Extremes and Elites perform nearly the same. The Extreme darts have a significant higher standard deviation, meaning that their FPS outputs were less consistent then those of the Elites. This corresponds with the above mentioning of the Extremes' higher manufacturing variations compared to the Elites.
I'm pretty comfortable with these conclusions. Now, the issue of a shorter dart length. Does it actually go into the bolt enough to grab the smaller inner diameter of the bolt, the section that creates the seal? Does the smaller OD of the dart affect it? The chrony data suggests that it functions just fine. As a precaution, I peered down the front of the blaster.

 Elite Dart in bolt

Extreme Dart, extremely in bolt

Yes, the dart is shorter, but we can see that the Extreme dart actually sits further in the bolt, offsetting its shorter length, and effectively grabbing about the same amount of the smaller ID of the bolt. So I'm pretty sure it's creating the same seal.

Now, the cons. This dart does not work in a stock Stryfe, or I would say any flywheel blaster. Since it's shorter, it's not able to get pulled into the flywheels. Not without a modified pusher rod. It's very easy to lengthen the pusher rod, and you only need about 25 mils more. Once you do that, you're golden. But I'm not sure how it would affect stock dart operation.

Verdict? It's a viable dart for any clip based spring powered blaster and front loading blasters, with foam and tip quality on par with nerf.


I guess there's a reason for Air Zone labeling it "compatiple" with other brands. It's not quite a direct placement for Elite darts.

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