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First Try At Stefans

I could use some advice.

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#1 Dragonteuthis

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 12:43 PM

I purchased some foam backing rods at the local True Value, that being the only store nearby. They are "MD" brand, 1/2" diameter. I have straightened out the foam. Using a hot glue gun, I made a little dip into the front of the dart, dropped in a size "B" fishing weight, then covered it with a glob of hot glue. I have not drilled a hole into the back of the dart.

I fired it out of two guns. One is a Crossfire with the air restrictors removed. The other is a Big Bad Bow. I modified the BBB by removing the air restrictors, and shoving a crayloa barrel down the stock tube and epoxying it there.

Both the guns fire Nerf Dart Tag micros very well. The Big Bad Bow fires them very far indeed. However, my home-made stefans do not perform well. Fired out of the Crossfire, they sail much shorter than the velcro-tipped dart tags, regardless of what angle I fire them at. When fired out of the BBB, they whip into a crazed spiral when they exit the gun and barely make it ten feet (in a random arc, at that!).

I have some theories as to what I may be doing wrong. First off, is that perhaps Stefans should be fired out of a different kind of barrel. Since they have no collar, maybe they should be shoved all the way into a barrel? I'm not sure.

Secondly, I think I may have used a weight that's too small. I believe LGLF recommended size "BB" weights, and I wanted to be a bit safer, but perhaps I erred in that decision.

Thirdly, perhaps my weights are off-centered. I'm not sure how exactly to get better at centering them, though.

Luckily, I only made a few darts to test, so I've got about 18 feet of FBR left. I'd really appreciate any help at all, so I can improve my dartsmithing techniques and make some quality ones. Thanks in advance!

Note: I did do quite a bit of research on making Stefans, including these forums. In fact, it's the expertise here that inspired me to try my own hand at it. If I missed a thread that solves my problem, I sincerely apologize.
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#2 NinjZ

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 12:57 PM

1) weight could be an issue. By BBs we mean metal BBs for airguns. Somepeople use those. Others use size 3/0 fishing weights. Weaker springers require lighter weights.

2) BBBs require a longer barrel than a crayola

3) The dart to barrel fitmight not be correct. You have to remember not everyone has the same brand of foam and barrel materials. Not every pack of FBR is going to be the same exact size.
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#3 cxwq

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 01:27 PM

1) weight could be an issue. By BBs we mean metal BBs for airguns.

Actually, the original East Coast weight was (and still is, AFAIK) size bb lead shot. At some point before I joined the community, this became a common source of confusion and most people didn't understand the distinction. These days I'm quite sure there are more people using the completely ineffective airgun bb than the original lead shot.

I have a box with about a thousand stefans in it that I may end up putting on eBay some day. It's the darts left unclaimed after several years worth of YANOs/Armageddons and the vast majority of them are weighted with a single or double copper/steel bb. They are uniquely worthless in anything more powerful than an automatic.
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#4 NinjZ

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:02 PM

These days I'm quite sure there are more people using the completely ineffective airgun bb than the original lead shot.

I use a single steal BB in all my stefans and get 80' from my SFs, 90' from my AT2Ks and 100' from my Crossbow. If you want to beleave that or not it's up to you but I think THIRST and Cranky can back me up. I do have pretty thick hotglue domes though that might add more weight.

Edited by NinjZ, 13 March 2006 - 07:02 PM.

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#5 cxwq

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:08 PM

Your mad stefan making skills seem to have not reached the Left Coast. I have yet to see a steel bb weighted dart which can fly straight for more than around 60'. I would assume, however, that you are drilling out the back of your darts? Zero reported significant success with drilling to improve weight distribution without the traditional heavy front weighting.
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#6 NirvanaScorpion

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 08:05 PM

lol, for a basic not the old pvc, glue, and bb or fishing weights? does the size of these really matter for a start on some dartS? Especially if you have many guns you need variety aso too heavy would be bad and too lighht would be....a disaster
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#7 Crankymonky

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 11:28 PM

These days I'm quite sure there are more people using the completely ineffective airgun bb than the original lead shot.

I use a single steal BB in all my stefans and get 80' from my SFs, 90' from my AT2Ks and 100' from my Crossbow. If you want to beleave that or not it's up to you but I think THIRST and Cranky can back me up. I do have pretty thick hotglue domes though that might add more weight.


Your mad stefan making skills seem to have not reached the Left Coast. I have yet to see a steel bb weighted dart which can fly straight for more than around 60'. I would assume, however, that you are drilling out the back of your darts? Zero reported significant success with drilling to improve weight distribution without the traditional heavy front weighting.


Ninjz's darts are quite nice, they have a perfect seal in CPVC. But to be more on topic, they do not have holes drilled out, if I recall correctly. They fly straight for around the ranges Ninjz has states, I haven't seen one fire in a while to tell you more precisely. I'll look through my stefan pile and try and find one of his.

THIRST and I also use single Daisy Airgun BB's in our stefans. We haven't used new stefans in the past few wars, I'll make a few tomorrow and test how well they fly in a variety of guns.

Is there generally a lot of wind when you play out west? When/where we play, wind is generally only a few MPH, at most. Do you do your dart testing inside or out? Once I find my Crossbow's trigger spring or a suitable replacement (walking downstairs) I'll test a variety of darts. I might have a 2k in working order to go along with it.

Crank'
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#8 pinhead52

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 04:53 AM

First off, did you straighten your FBR? Since it comes coiled up, it's got "curve memory" which is a term I just made up. The next batch you make, after cutting a few hundred put them in a pillowcase and put it in your drier on the lowest setting. It seems to be the trusted and cheap method around here. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Also, you need a much longer barrel for a BBB with stefans. The crayola is exclusively for stock with that gun. When you make your new barrel (which should be brass) make it the same volume as the plunger casing inside the gun (cut a little short, to compensate for friction), that way the dart is leaving just as the air finishes expanding. This takes knowledge of algebra and geometry, but you seem like a fairly sophisticated individual, so I'll leave all that to you.

Keep in mind I have yet to do my first barrel swap (which will be on my BBB), so smell this advice and guess from where I pulled it.
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#9 NinjZ

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 03:15 PM

To be more specific for Cx, my stefans are 1.5" long. I do not drill holes through them. I would however use the tip of my hotglue gun to make holes in the back. I have stopped doing that however since I saw no difference between ones with or without holes. I also stretch my foam wich makes them a lot thinner than most micro stefans I have seen. As Cranky said I get an almost perfect fit in CPVC ( Theyre that thin ). This is not ment to be any kind of argument or me trying to be "leet" just stating using steel BBs as a weight isnt as inferior as some make them out to be ( under the right circumstances ).
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#10 Jergling

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 09:39 AM

1) weight could be an issue. By BBs we mean metal BBs for airguns. Somepeople use those. Others use size 3/0 fishing weights. Weaker springers require lighter weights.

2) BBBs require a longer barrel than a crayola

3) The dart to barrel fitmight not be correct. You have to remember not everyone has the same brand of foam and barrel materials. Not every pack of FBR is going to be the same exact size.



Im getting unbelievably long ranges with a 1/4" tiny pvc ring in the barrel, I don't belive in long barrels working, its just a myth
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#11 Substance Abuse

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 10:00 AM

These days I'm quite sure there are more people using the completely ineffective airgun bb than the original lead shot.

I use a single steal BB in all my stefans and get 80' from my SFs, 90' from my AT2Ks and 100' from my Crossbow. If you want to beleave that or not it's up to you but I think THIRST and Cranky can back me up. I do have pretty thick hotglue domes though that might add more weight.



My stefans get about 70 feet (-)(+). My technique is to make a medium sized hole at the top in which the bbs go in. Then I have a certain technique that I use to center the darts.

Each of my darts are 1 1/2 inch and they work great in all of my guns except for my longshot.
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#12 echo104b

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 08:33 PM

My Stephans have Copper BBs and a lot more Hot glue than you'd probably find on your own. But theyre about 3" long and have a hole drilled in the back. They work in Standard Stock Guns and are accurate out to about 7/8ths of the max range of the gun they are being fired out of. they start to veer slightly right before hitting the ground.

I'm extremely satisfied with them and would not go back.

I Tried Lead Weights but the president of my Local Nerf Club said they weighed too much and could potentially hurt someone. (he's a wimp) so i've used Copper ever since.

Thats my personal method. But dont knock it till you try it.
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#13 last man standin

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 09:54 AM

I use brass fishing weights and they work well. Once I asked my dad to pick me up some weights at the local hardware store and he mistakenly got me the steel onec, which inevitably sucked.
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#14 Vaega

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 10:00 AM

I use 3/0 fishing weights in mine. I also melt a hole in the back. But I haven't had anything that has the power of a bbb so I wouldn't know how well mine work.
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#15 bigbob

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 10:29 AM

I used to use one .45MM in my darts and I was satified for a while. Then, I took out a tape measure and measured some of my ranges. My crossbow was getting 70-80 ft. with about a 20 degree angle. I went out and bought some 1/4" slingshot ammo and decided to try it. In 3 days I made 1600 slingshot ammo-weighted darts because I loved the results so much. I was getting about 1.5 to 2 times the range with 1/4" slingshot ammo opposed to the copper .45MM BBs. After a while I ran out of slingshot ammo with about 1000 copper BBs left. I made about 200 darts with three of the .45MM BBs and they got about the same range as the darts with slingshot ammo. Also, I have one question for those of you who use fishing weights, how much does each weight cost? Ever since I started selling darts on eBay I have wondered about a cheaper solution to slingshot ammo that cost 1.5 cents a piece.
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#16 Vaega

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 10:35 AM

I get mine for like 80 cents for like 40.
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#17 z80

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 11:30 AM

I used to use one .45MM in my darts and I was satified for a while. Then, I took out a tape measure and measured some of my ranges. My crossbow was getting 70-80 ft. with about a 20 degree angle. I went out and bought some 1/4" slingshot ammo and decided to try it. In 3 days I made 1600 slingshot ammo-weighted darts because I loved the results so much. I was getting about 1.5 to 2 times the range with 1/4" slingshot ammo opposed to the copper .45MM BBs. After a while I ran out of slingshot ammo with about 1000 copper BBs left. I made about 200 darts with three of the .45MM BBs and they got about the same range as the darts with slingshot ammo. Also, I have one question for those of you who use fishing weights, how much does each weight cost? Ever since I started selling darts on eBay I have wondered about a cheaper solution to slingshot ammo that cost 1.5 cents a piece.

Fishing weights seem to be more expensive, and harder to buy in bulk. The cheapest weight I use is plumping solder. The solder is about the diameter of a BB and a half and can be bought for ~$4 for 1/2 pound, cheaper if you buy in bulk. Best part is it can be found pretty much next to the pvc in Home depot.
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