My personal experience has been that AR removals on the StrongArm and FlipFury are largely unnecessary. In fact, air restrictectomies on Elite and XD-Elite blasters often have a negative impact on performance, which is in direct conflict with advice the NIC has traditionally provided about removing air restrictors.
To unravel this mystery, you need to understand what the AR is actually doing. The key is the length of the AR posts. Not the dart post, the fingers on the AR itself. Typically there are three. The length of these fingers determine how long the AR remains open while the plunger descends down the plunger tube and the dart moves forward. The longer the posts, the more energy gets transferred into the barrel, and by extension to the dart.
Older N-Strike blasters typically have relatively short AR posts. As a result, a smaller amount of air is transferred into the barrel before the AR closes, often before the dart has exited the barrel. Translation: shorter range. On newer blasters like Elite and XD-Elite, the AR posts are longer. This allows more air from the plunger tube to push the dart forward. As a result, you get better ranges and better velocities.
The second part in understanding this phenomenon is realizing that shortly after a dart has exited the barrel, the transfer of energy to the dart effectively stops. For instance, you could have a blaster with a 9 foot plunger tube. But once a dart has exited the barrel, the remaining air and kinetic energy of the spring is lost. It just dissipates into the space behind the dart as it moves ever forward. For clarification, when I say "barrel" I mean the part of the cylinder/breech/chamber that has direct contact with the dart and is responsible for transferring kinetic energy to the dart itself. Faux barrels and Nerf barrel extensions be damned. That's a whole 'nother conversation.
As it turns out, when you remove the AR from older blasters, you allow more air from the plunger tube to push the dart out of the barrel. As a result, you see a dramatic increase in the performance. But in newer blasters, the length of the AR posts is more closely tuned to the length of the barrel. All of the air that can propel the dart forward is being released while the AR is still open. Effectively, the air restrictor is now functioning as a brake for the plunger, gently gliding it to rest at the bottom of the plunger tube after the dart has exited.
Hasbro's initial design for the Air Restrictor was to limit the performance of blasters. But over time it has morphed into a way to extend the life of the blaster and improve performance. A subtle, but distinct difference. The folks who advocate for removing the AR on older yellow N-Strike blasters are correct. But the folks that say leave them intact on Elite/XD-Elite blasters are also correct. For entirely different reasons.
Edited by ElliottW, 04 February 2018 - 02:22 AM.