X-Stream First Shot
X-Stream First Shot Nested Brass Barrel:
When Lanard introduced this series in early 2003, I didn't have very high hopes for it. Nerf has had many immitators in the past and most have been inexpensive, poorly-made knock-offs. As people (notably, Dan Wask) started reporting good results from these guns I decided to pick them up and see for myself. Out of the box the First Shot is a mixed bag. Nice smooth lever cocking action, and solid construction but it only got about 10' flat with the included mega darts.
Opening the gun up was relatively simple. There is a screw under the plastic cap at the cocking lever pivot point. Under the case I found a simple, solid design. The main problem that is immediately apparent is the volume of the plunger tube. Some quick calculations confirmed air displacement to be a little smaller than the (barely adequate) Lock n' Load. Lanard's use of a barrel-post air delivery mechanism was probably driven by the combination of megas and low air volume.
Fortunately for us, the plunger head, spring, and catch mechanism are all comparable to the Max Shot. Here you can see the heavy gauge stainless spring steel, teflon-impregnated nylon and silicon band o-ring that sets this line apart from actual Nerf brand guns. Since this is exactly how I'd build the gun I didn't bother trying to improve on the air-delivery subsystem.
The first thing I did was saw off most of the barrel peg and drill out the opening to improve airflow a bit. Next I filed the ribs around the peg down so the barrel would make a good seal. The barrel is comprised of a 1.25" constricted (17/32" K&S brass) section and a 4" main (9/16" K&S brass) barrel. These end up completely nested so the overall barrel length is 4".
I wrapped the 9/16" brass in electrical tape until 1/2" PVC would barely fit and then slid two 3/4" pieces on, one at the base and one that butts up against the inner lip of the black piece. This setup uses the black piece to stabilize and straighten the barrel and avoid stress on the epoxy joint. Once I'd tested the position of the PVC pieces I ran a bead of hot glue around the middle two edges to keep them from slipping out of position.
Here's the whole assembly installed in the gun. I epoxied the barrel constriction in at the base of the barrel with a very thin layer of epoxy and then epoxied the PVC to the front of the plunger tube. I used a type of epoxy called Plastic Weld and it adhered very well to these types of plastic. Note how the black piece holds the barrel straight and pushed against the plunger tube while the epoxy dries.
Done! I loaded up with micro stefans and range tested it. It's important to get the darts all the way back into the barrel constriction to get a good pop from the heavy duty spring - the volume certainly isn't going to do you any favors. Average dart skip on concrete was approximately 2-3'. Here's the Modalizer screencap chock full of statistical analysis goodness.
|All images and content © Kevin Davis 2002, 2003 - Hail Eris! All hail Discordia!|