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Monday, 25 October 2010

Nerf Nitefinder EX-3 Mod

Just a few days ago I bought my first nerf gun, the Nitefinder EX-3 pistol. My brother has a couple of them namely two Maverick REV-6s and the N-Strike Recon but I waited till I had some extra cash to pick up one for myself. I actually wanted to get the Longshot but they don’t seem to sell them anymore in Brunei. There are a lot of Longstrikes though but that’s supposed to have lousy performance even after modding. Not wanting to buy a rifle model that I would not be able to mod satisfyingly enough I decided to opt for the Nitefinder until a Longshot pops up somewhere in one of the stores here.

Now, I’ve been searching around online for good sites that would help me out in modding my new nerf pistol and boost the range but only came across very few posts about actually modding the Nitefinder to do so. Right out of stock the thing is stated to shoot 25ft-35ft (7.5-10.5m) away parallel to the ground but I found mine only shot about 15 paces away parallel which was about 18ft (5.4m). This was about two thirds of the range my brother gets with his guns so obviously I was unsatisfied with this so I chose to make adjustments.

What I write here will not exactly be a modding guide but more like my findings on how and why the mods work. I will be giving details on the mods I made to my own gun but unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures as I modded the thing so you’re going to have to settle with a textbook like explanation.

1) Air Restrictor Removal
The Air Restrictor is the first thing you’ll want to take care off before anything else. As the name implies, this part limits the amount of air that gets utilized in launching the dart. It does this in two ways. The first would be by limiting the of air flow going into the barrel when you prime it and the second would be by restricting the air that pushes out the dart when you pull the trigger. You won’t see much change until you remove this part so you really have to get rid of it. For newer models of this gun, you’re going to have to cut through the barrel along the furthest ring on the barrel with a thin but sturdy knife before you can take it out and reseal it with tape or some sort of bonding agent later on. Incidentally, you’ll want to load the bullet after priming the gun since the dart gives the same effect as the Air Restrictor by the first way. That goes especially for fully modded guns.

2) Spring Reinforcement
Obviously, the spring is the part that influences the power the most so get to it here. Think of it like a rubber band and you’ll understand that the more you pull back the stronger the recoil will be when you release it. What you need to do here is make it harder to pull back the plunger and I did that by rolling another spring in between the stock spring. For some reason, I have yet to find a hardware store in Brunei that sells springs so I made do with the spring from my brother’s broken Maverick. Problem with this is that the recoil is too strong that you won’t be able to prime the gun if you leave the cocking mechanism unmodified. To remedy this you’re going to have to either use a strong pen spring to replace the tiny spring that keeps the plunger in place after priming and/or carve out a little of the indent so that it curves slightly inwards instead of just being a straight wall.

3) Plunger Padding
The plunger isn’t really all that airtight right out of stock so you’ll want to add padding to make it so as well as to reduce the stress on the plunger when it slams back into the barrel. Not quite sure how much this improves the air pressure but having all the air push out of the barrel is better than having less. Use some soft and non-porous form of padding for this. Also, you might want to sew it onto the plunger head in addition to gluing it because I personally don’t trust the glue to remain stuck after a couple hundred shots.

4) Results
By the end of it, my Nitefinder was shooting a minimum of 30(36ft/10.8m) paces parallel to the ground and easily 50(60ft/18m) angled slightly upward. I say minimum because the gun now switches from straight shots to spinning shots almost every other pull of the trigger and that drastically reduces the travel distance. Still, a modded misfire ended up twice as far as a normal unmodified shot and that’s a plus. It can even shoot those slim cartridge darts that always misfired under normal specs. I get the best distance with vertical shots since it consistently reaches 4 stories upwards. Accuracy’s also pretty good when aimed that way as I’ve shot a friend from four floors below him in a shopping centre. Yes, I shot him with a nerf gun in the middle of a shopping centre. QLap mall for Bruneians curious as to where I did this.

As for the newfound lack of accuracy and consistency with horizontal shooting, I’m guessing the power reached its limiting factor (i.e. pressure) and now releases excessive amounts of air along with the required amount needed for compression to overcome the friction keeping the dart in place. Basically that means not all the air is utilized for the shot and the extra bit winds up messing with the accuracy of the shot. That’s the reason why I get such fantastic results shooting upwards. Gravity and air pressure act more keenly on the dart increasing the resistance of the dart allowing more pressure to build up before the dart launches out of the barrel. In my gun’s case, my optimum shooting angle would be somewhere between 50-70 degrees upwards as I have gotten the range past 40m shooting within that range.

I have yet to devise a method to rectify this inefficiency but I do know that I have to up the friction enough for all of the air in the barrel to build up before launching the dart into the air but not so much that it would end up reducing the speed instead. My theory is that I should increase it at the very base of the dart so that the extra friction allows more pressure to build up without increasing the overall resistance in the barrel too much. Hopefully I’ll figure out a modification that won’t need regular maintenance. Additionally, if you think that I have made errors with the physics of the entire thing then feel free to correct me on whatever you feel is wrong as my knowledge in that particular field of study is limited to O’ level standards.

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