Southern Brisbane Nerf Club

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Springs vs Fly Wheels debate

I try to do my best to provide the most accurate info I can. But when it come's to opinion pieces, I'm not so good at them. I may dislike a certain thing that Hasbro has done, or one tiny flaw that just ruined an otherwise good blaster. But, for something like fly-wheels vs springers, I'm impartial. I like both. My primary is a fly-wheel, but I have no problem with picking up an EAT or Rampage either. So for this article, I needed partial opinions, so I enlisted the assistance of Lord Draconical (from YouTube) to represent springers and Torukmakto (from The Dart Zone) to represent flywheels.

Debate after jump.

What I hope to achieve with this post is to inform the newer Nerfers of the main rivalry in the Nerfing hobby and to give some insight into why two very experienced Nerfers chose opposing blaster types. For the more experienced Nerfer, it's a really good read.

ME: I’d like to thank both of you for accepting the invite, it’s greatly appreciated.

TORUKMAKTO: Thank you for the opportunity to contribute, it is an honor to do so.

ME: Firstly I’d like to ask, why you personally prefer flywheels/springs as opposed to other means of propulsion, what are your personal feelings?

LORD DRAC: I have a personal preference towards springers which will be justified ad nauseum logically over the course of this debate, but my initial preference stems from emotion tied up in my fondest nerf memories. In my younger years, I owned a maverick and a firefly and began my love affair with nerf with these blasters. They are both springers, and at the time were some of the more efficient “tactical” blasters out there. The firefly in particular had that sweet “click”, “catch”, “pop” system of firing that has become a fluid and repeatable motion for me so familiar that my muscles can perform it from memory.

TORUKMAKTO: I have an automatic-favorable play-style. In HvZ, I run with traditional, militaristic units in a formation-based and defensive strategy. In stock class, I also prefer careful movement backed up with plenty of heat. I strongly prefer full auto and am by far the best on full auto, whereas semi-auto tends to only hurt my hit ratios and increase my ammo consumption and render me less effective, but I can still play it decently. By contrast, I am a rather ineffective pump player.

There has to be some element of tacticool or modern milsim involved. I lean toward assault rifles and away from the more abstract and vintage-style side of Nerf.

I am definitely a competitive player. I started off playing HvZ around 2010. The strongly player-driven and skill-based game of that time combined with the experience of coming in to perhaps the most advanced game in the area as a new player left a lasting impression, and a will to succeed by whatever means necessary against anything and everything that comes my way. That is not to say I can't have casual fun or be a laid-back player - the key phrase is friendly and sporting competition - but my enjoyment of a wargame and my fond memories of earlier HvZ are all about giving it my best honest effort.

Since I am far better at tech-ing guns than being the fastest or sneakiest player around or having the best strategy, my best effort is put to use on the workbench as much as on the field, and I have high standards of performance. You will see me frequently post about reliability in particular.

What also contributes is my theory of where the hobby is going, what it needs, and opinions of what it should aspire to be in the future. This goes beyond me (one player) to looking at Nerf overall and trying to help out other players with my recommendations. I want nerf to be more popular, more appealing, and more able to leave old stereotypes in the dust, and I want playing to be more rewarding for existing players.

In my opinion, the basic weapon parameter Nerf (overall) is deficient in most is rate of fire. This is obvious in the lower-ROF gametypes like NIC which tend to have some regulatory or game-design-related obstacle to ROF escalation - but even in stock class, what I see potential players (to include gamers, airsofters, and paintballers as demographics) objecting to most is that gameplay is not intense enough, there is too much slow potshotting, and guns are still a bit lame on average - which is exactly my sentiment. The antidote is a credible assault rifle to hand these people, and greater automatic use. In the same direction, I see an increase in field average ROF and individual firepower being part of an overall improvement in the quality and fun of gameplay.

Another area to look at is practicality. I have discussed "the ideal stock class primary" on numerous occasions - but there simply isn't any room for durability problems, poor reliability, or inconsistent performance. The gun should never, ever get in the way of playing the game. It should be a trustworthy tool that never lets you down. We need professional-grade results, not toy-grade results.

I favor flywheels in the current environment within stock class Nerf because they are in a unique position to provide all of these characteristics in a simple, accessible, low-cost manner. Exactly how is the subject of the following questions.

ME: What benefits are there with flywheels/springs as opposed to other means of propulsion?

TORUKMAKTO: One, flywheel launchers are more or less "the" current stock class automatic technology. You are looking at not just a choice of flywheel versus spring, but one of auto versus pump-action springer, in effect - and that is partially what the "flywheel versus spring" debate in the community is about. If you want an automatic now, it will almost certainly be a flywheel.

Two, flywheels offer inherent high reliability and low ammo sensitivity (aside from improper foam lengths). Since there is no barrel, there is no concern of bore matching, and no malfunction-prone chambering process.

Three, flywheels support high rates of fire with said reliability. The flywheel pusher feeding process is inherently superior to the operation of a bolt-based breech system in allowing as much mag feeding time as possible. It would be extremely difficult for any type of true gun (pneumatic or spring) to offer comparable ROF and match the reliability of a flywheel launcher with the current types of darts and magazines, due to the requirement for a chambering process to occur at 10+ rounds per second.

Four, flywheels are extremely mechanically simple compared to any type of pump or electric springer, and are extremely durable. Flywheels inherently contain no parts subject to impact or cyclic loads aside from parts in low-force pusher mechanisms; and the number of highly stressed and mechanically-engineered parts is much lower (only the flywheels themselves are a high-stress component). Flywheels have high abuse tolerance; they cannot be dryfired or otherwise subjected to abnormal loads by any reasonable user action. Looking to the long term maintenance aspect, the primary wear parts in flywheels are switches, battery packs, the motor bearings and brushes, and in some cases the finite service lifetime of the motor winding insulation under heat and vibration also plays - but more or less, you could go on forever with only an occasional set of cheap motors and other generic electrical parts.

Five, would be how this all goes into practice. With the Stryfe, Demolisher, and Rapidstrike, we have low-cost platforms to build from which are near the pinnacle of the technology within the bounds of practical performance and stock-class safety regulations. Could you design a hobby-specific flywheel rifle that substantially outperforms a 110fps/10rps FK-equipped Rapidstrike as an ideal choice for a stock class player? Could you design anything, of any propulsion technology, that could outperform an upgraded Rapidstrike in a stock class nerf game by a nontrivial margin? Doubtful, extremely doubtful - that sort of performance and quality is already in the bag with simple upgrades to off-the-shelf gear, and that is due to the inherent nature of the flywheel technology to do more with less in terms of materials and design effort. Flywheels are cool like that. On to the springers, you sure could improve tremendously on an EAT or a Rampage in the direction of "professional-grade" quality and durability.

Six, for actual player use, autos have less of a learning curve in my experience than pumps and are more convenient. Flywheels and other open-bolt autos can have their mag dropped any time and make the mag change a much ergonomically simpler move.

LORD DRAC: The benefits are twofold, performance that can’t be matched by the opposition where it counts and an ease of mod-ability that brings new blood into the hobby. New nerfers are better suited to learning the hobby on simpler systems and the simplicity of a plunger and catch mechanism grants almost instant understanding and easy to execute and appreciate results frequently with minimal tools and no additional parts. No solder, no wires, just a pair of pliers and a screwdriver and you can improve most springers (particularly older, less expensive ones) in under an hour. 

For the experienced modder there is a precision and reliability that can’t be beaten performance wise out of a springer. The ability to fire almost instantly is to be respected, in a battle with any flywheel blaster, I shot first, plain and simple. There are modified flywheel blasters that are quick to be certain, but sometimes fractions of seconds matter and theres no argueing that the response on a springer is faster. In addition, there are far less failure points and those that exist are far less susceptible to malfunction. My wires never cross, my switches never fail, and my batteries never drain, because I have no need for these things. Mechanical failures happen, but they aren’t nearly as finicky. Did I mention my springers can be rained on, punctured, immersed in water and nobody has to worry a bit. In addition, I never have to leave them on a charger, they’re always ready when I am and can sit idle for years without any real degradation. 

But all of this pales in comparison to the thing that matters most. Range. There aren’t any NIC flywheel blasters, and theres a good reason for that. The technology just isn’t good enough for the NIC. Toruk himself limits himself to one style of war because of his preferences, whereas my platform lets me sling stefans and elites alike and have a blast doing so. I’ve never seen a flywheel blaster break 100 feet and until that day comes, the batteries can stay home when its time for the wars I enjoy the most. Theres nothing like picking opponents off 40 meters away and you just can’t do that with a flywheel system.

ME: Obviously you’ve had experience with the opposition’s choice of propulsion, what was it that you didn’t like?

LORD DRAC: I’m not fond of the loudness. Flywheelers brag about how loud they can make their blasters, but in the end it all just devolves into a motorhead-style rev up competition. I’m also not the kind of player who needs more than a couple of shots per opponent, so the rate of fire has never been a big draw for me. I don’t care if I can empty 18 shots in 2 seconds, because I frequently only needed the first one. I play fast, I run fast, and I tend to tag people from behind and the side before they ever get the chance to engage me. Flywheels and this style of play don’t match up well. It suits many nerfers just fine, but its not my style and while I can appreciate the joy in drowning your opponent in darts, I’ve yet to find an event that rewards overkill.

TORUKMAKTO: I started off in HvZ with a Raider. Since then I have used pump-action springers occasionally.

It all boils down to the instantaneous-ROF restriction, manual operation, harder reloads, and the like not working out with my playstyle. This would be the case even with a purpose-designed (non-toy) springer with all mechanical shortcomings eliminated at any expense. I prefer auto. Much more fun to play.

The mechanical and reliability issues of the commercial springers also contribute. Within the squad, I have seen a lot of trouble out of pump guns - including jams, and action lockups (stock-spring Rampages and EATs which some members have historically used are prone to fail to unlock on firing) as well as broken parts and several guns turned in for repairs. Pumps are being phased out as we speak as part of a standardization program.

ME: Both types have pros and cons. How does your type of propulsion’s pros combat the cons?

LORD DRAC: My system’s biggest con, and Im sure it will be brought up by Toruk is the ROF. Many springers overcome this with slam-fire but even the smoothest operator can’t slam as fast as a servo. Instead those who prefer springers tend to play like me, they use the first shot to end high ROF opponents when they aren’t paying attention or better yet, they just float outside their effective range and dance around them until it comes time to change clipazines.

TORUKMAKTO: For some more con discussion, you will want to look at a couple questions down.

The true cons of flywheels, as I see them, are performance/response problems in milder builds, dependence on stored energy, noise, strict limitation to the American stock class velocity band (excepting multi-stage flywheels), vulnerability to wet ammunition, electrical-related costs, and rev button use.

Some of these are either eliminated with careful decisions and a bit of user experience, or have their impact on the player mitigated substantially. Learn to rev, make battery charging instinct, and don't use the wrong build specs - and about all you have left in full force is the wet ammo issue.

In return, you get convenient, reliable, trustworthy performance and automatic fire. This is the advantage I cannot overstate by any means. In most situations, I see players find the pros to greatly outweigh the cons.

ME: Both of you are experienced HvZ players, what does your propulsion method bring to the game?

TORUKMAKTO: HvZ has definitely already been changed locally by the reliability and the volume of full-velocity fire available easily from flywheels. I have long advocated auto in HvZ for any power player of the human side, and currently, flywheels are the best way to get it.

I cannot overstate the worth of a reliable and seamless armament in HvZ, one which never gets in the way of playing and you never have to think about - one that lets you worry about more important things, like zombies. Flywheels do that readily.

LORD DRAC: Winning, period. No matter how good you are, no matter how many darts you carry, there will be missions you batteries run down, your flywheels slip darts, or you keep getting hounded because the guy carrying a leaf blower can’t disappear. 

I play almost all my hvz games with a lightweight springer system. I’ve used a praxis and various iterations of Alpha Troopers (I call them deathdealers lovingly) over my years typically combined with a single shot LnL. It is important to note that while these blasters have served me very well and brought me many victories big and small, they are my last line of defense. My game begins and ends with a good pair of running shoes and a body that just won’t die. I move faster than most and my loadout compliments this perfectly. I take off for an objective typically by myself and when I encounter the horde, I use my legs to thin them out. Those who can keep up I pop and keep going. I don’t need to shoot them all, just the ones who can run a 6 and a half minute mile. If I have a failure, I just continue with plan A and swap to the LnL. I’ll fix it later in the woods. Its a system that can handle as much or as little action as I need it to and it works for me.

ME: There are issues with both means of propulsion, nothing is perfect. How do the cons with your choice of propulsion compare to the cons of the opposition?

TORUKMAKTO: To get to that, we have to look seriously at the issues and complaints with flywheel launchers, and do a little myth busting.

Number one has to be: "Flywheels take time to rev up. You have to prepare to fire before you can fire. If you get surprised you are at a huge disadvantage compared to a springer user." This is somewhat true of an off-the-shelf flywheeler - you simply cannot snap shoot out of the blue. With stock-type 130 motor flywheelers, you have a bit of an intermediate - you can snap, but you might need skill to not jam, and it probably won't be full velocity. Higher-end motor options with higher torque however, particularly 180 options, used with batteries of sufficient current capability for the motor specs and properly sized wiring and switches, simply do not suffer any responsiveness problem at all - flywheel reaction time is an easily surmountable difficulty. I have a video on the Dart Zone Youtube channel titled "Tacmod Response Demonstration" which shows FKs on 2S snapping over a chronograph at near full velocity.

The second most common complaint surrounds electrical reliability and battery life - "I don't want to depend on batteries" and "Springers have less to go wrong". What is true is that a manual springer does not depend on a stored energy source to operate and thus cannot run out of energy on the field, and batteries are something you need to be aware of, whether that is selecting the correct capacity battery to give you the runtime you need, or remembering to charge batteries. The reliability argument, however, is simply baseless. There is no practical evidence or experience that suggests the electrical system of a flywheel gun is a source of unreliability compared to the real mechanical troubles of a typical springer. The components that make it up are generally quite trustworthy, or can be selected to be quite trustworthy.

The third? Noise. "It is impossible to be stealthy with a gun that sounds like a die grinder". Once again, this is a bit of a myth in part. Springers are not silent; most of them make a distinctive bang, pop, thud or thwip that any nerfer will be able to identify as a shot. A flywheeler in good working order with attention paid to minimizing loose parts and a motor speed that is not overkill is not very loud, and does not need to rev for more than a brief moment to tag someone; thus is not substantially disadvantaged with regards to noise. If anything, a rev may be less obvious amid background noise than a bang and less identifiable as a shot. When in an overt standoff, the noise from flywheels can even be advantageous.

A less frequently cited con is the velocity ceiling. For those unaware, single-stage flywheel launchers of the Nerf design have an inherent muzzle velocity asymptote due to dynamic friction. After you get flywheels turning around 30,000RPM (and shooting about 110FPS through a RS inner barrel or slightly higher unbarreled), returns diminish greatly with increasing speed. By 47,000RPM, you have only picked up about 10 extra FPS, despite the increased noise, high mechanical and electrical stress on motors, and increased dart wear. However, the velocity ceiling of flywheels coincides conveniently with the safety limits of (North American) stock class nerf - often capped at 120-150FPS. For those who want more velocity, there are the multi-stage flywheels.

Wet ammo is the single most serious problem with flywheels. Since the flywheel launcher depends on friction of the flywheel surface on the dart, moisture can cause erratic or extremely low velocities or even jams. Ammo for flywheel guns must be kept dry. Playing a game in the rain requires substantial care to cover any path of water ingress into the gun itself as well as keeping mags dry.
The system cost - particularly for a user's first electric, when a battery charger has to be purchased - can be greater than a pump. Particularly in the mitigation of some of the other flywheel cons, build cost can be higher than a simple upgraded Rampage. On the flip side, souping up pumps with aftermarket parts (including buying a kit from a certain popular vendor to obtain an improved or replacement part i.e. piston) can make them cost just as much as a RS build.

The final con, is the added operator effort of controlling the flywheels separately from firing. Most flywheelers do not automate this - you have a button on the grip below the trigger guard for this purpose, and to those without flywheel experience, that probably suggests a clutch pedal. There is some learning curve to the use of the rev switch, particularly when snap shooting. If you don't use it properly, you can cause a malfunction that takes time to clear.

So now that all those are nailed down (forming the con list you saw above), how do the springers compare?

They have high mechanical complexity and many high-stress parts, impact loads and large forces, and with the off-the-shelf gear (a $20 Chinese-made, mass-produced toy that we have upgraded or even just put directly into use), the risk of a failure is higher, and you see EATs and Rampages have mechanical troubles from time to time. There is potential for damage by abuse, springers have many opportunities for hard part failure due to wear and fatigue, and the repair parts for stock-class primary springers are specialized and more troublesome for the future once support and current production vanishes.
The operator skill requirement of pump-action is higher. You can short-stroke and jam a pump if you aren't familiar with the specific gun, and typically with a pump, you are doing bolt-open reloads (rack back, drop empty mag, insert full mag, rack forward) that leave you fumbling and unable to fire for longer, and are easier to mess up completely, than an auto reload.

ROF is limited. You must manually cycle each shot and cannot shoot smoothly at more than a scant few rounds per second - you are automatically at a disadvantage, strictly speaking, against opponents with autos and 8-10+ rps, and zombies who have had experience with and developed tactics to counter humans using autos. This is not a strict con, so much as a con to many players and playstyles - it can be anything from a challenge, to what one considers fair, to a measure to help one control ammo consumption, to a tradeoff for the stored-energy-free, "buy one box from Nerf and one spring from OMW and be done" convenience.

LORD DRAC: I’ll trade a little ROF for a time tested system I’m comfortable any day. The new hotness has it’s place in the roleplay crowd and the casual player, but I’d rather rock a raider like its 2011 than a rapidstrike any day, because even a blaster that fires 20 feet sometimes beats a leafblower that only suits a few situations.

ME: Drac, flywheels didn’t get off to a great start with the Barricade, but recent models have proven that there is a practical application for them. And with recent modifications having flywheel blasters break 120fps and even 150fps, why should people continue to buy spring powered primaries?

LORD DRAC: FPS just isn’t as relevant as efficiency and the point of diminishing returns for most gametypes is a little over 100. People should buy springers who just want to nerf. You’re going to have a great time with a stock retaliator at any SAMBO war, because its cheap and easy to use. It can be improved with ease and it’s going to be ready and reliable whenever you are. As an added bonus, you can hear your teammates while you’re using it.

ME: Torukmakto, spring powered air pistons are what launched Nerf into the hobby it is now. They are considered the ‘traditional’ means of propulsion, and some modified springer blasters can attain a very high FPS. So why should people buy a flywheel blaster?

TORUKMAKTO: Well, some attention ought to be given the regulatory situation if we are going to talk about velocity. Much of the world has a highly stratified and polarized approach to safety, and games are either stock class (the majority of nerf events, mandating soft tip darts and capping close to the flywheel velocity ceiling) or NIC (nominal 300FPS, short metallic weight stefans, and incompatible and irrelevant to flywheels and stock class springers alike). So those springer chrono heroes are not a relevant anti-flywheel argument to virtually any player in these areas. And, in high-velocity stuff, springers are uniformly not going to be the chrono heroes, pneumatics are.

As to tradition, springers may have played a large role in the early spread of nerf, but I would argue that the specific technology had little to do with its success; the end goal is tagging players with darts. Nerf itself is not highly traditional, as an upstart hobby; and stock class in particular is the domain of what I call "New Nerf", the progressive HvZ generation of players who treat nerf very differently than the "play with toy guns and be silly" crowd. New Nerf tends more to think like me, and think about fun intense games and improving the hobby, and no coincidence you see the "new" technology of flywheel launchers there. Also, tradition has a poor track record in this hobby (range testing, electrical...) and a tendency to be a restraint when practices, knowledge and the scale of nerf are always improving and evolving, and should be doing so, as we are "not there yet", so to speak. There is a place for tradition, and technology in the nerf hobby is definitely not it.

ME: Do you believe that it is your playing style that decides whether you choose flywheel or springer? Or is your choice based solely on personal preference?

LORD DRAC: My playstyle certainly impacts my choice. If I were smaller and slower, I may be more inclined to lean twoards a dart-spitting machine, but I seek the same performance from my blasters that I seek from my body. I want it to do what I need, when I need it to, reliably and without worrying about all the mess that comes with our new electronic friends. For me, its all about packing as many options for myself down the road into one loadout as I can, and blasters like the EAT and Rampage agree with that goal.

TORUKMAKTO: It is more or less all playstyle and objective evaluation. I have never been a pure fan of the flywheel technology and still I don't exactly like it on principle. Early in the history of the flywheel launcher's development, I was a strict skeptic, and that skepticism has slowly abated as the technology has evolved and risen from curiosity (Buzzbee Tommy 20) to a serious contender.

ME: What is it about your preferred means of propulsion that you don’t like? 

TORUKMAKTO: That would be the quality control and the reliability of the out-of-the-box Rapidstrike. There have been a number of reports of trouble with the wiring and FCGs, and I have encountered numerous electrical and mechanical defects - plus unbalanced flywheels with mold flash, spotty paintjobs with overspray, and general roughness. With the rubber sheet, they have a frequent stoppage issue.

The Stryfe's horrible dart sensor would be second on my list. Why this part is not deleted from current production (causing no loss of function or safety) mystifies me.

Third, overall, is the terrible electrical system and poor performance of flywheelers out of the box. The cons really start racking up with these alkaline-powered rigs.

LORD DRAC: I’m not a fan of the half prime lock on some springer models and feel it should be removed. I also would stress that in a world where you can get most features from direct plunger systems, there is little reason to use a N-Strike reverse plunger system for anything other than learning and parts. 

ME: What is your favourite primary blaster from the opposition’s propulsion method and why?

TORUKMAKTO: That would be a Rampage - because it is the most mechanically solid of the Nerf pumps. It doesn't have the catch flexibility, bolt carrier flexibility, broken pushback door issues, strangely poor efficiency when running upgrade springs, or other EAT gremlins. I started off nerfing with a Raider as well, so I have a soft spot for this platform.

LORD DRAC: I enjoy the rayven.  Theres a little warrior in me that just wants to slide down banisters and nerf everyone with his firefly, but these days, I’ll settle for a rayven.  Its the spiritual successor to the firefly in so many ways and bullpup’s will always have a place in my armory.  

ME: Drac, do you think that you might be a Nerf purist or tradionalist and that is why you prefer spingers? Or is it because it’s a time tested platform?

LORD DRAC: Haha, can’t it be both. I’ve been involved in this hobby for a long time, albeit in many different facets and forms, but springers haven’t ever disappointed me, and I’ve used one of everything. Nerf purism for me is that the spirit of the hobby should be fun and involve sharing it with as many others as possible. Springers are better suited for this goal as well.

ME: Torukmakto, are flywheels the way of the future or do you think there will always be an application for a spring powered primary blaster?

TORUKMAKTO: For stock class, flywheels are definitely the way of the future, with respect to the mainstream, and the advancement of the game. The performance and no-nonsense practicality aren't going to go away or be beat, and also we must consider the direction of suppliers. Hasbro Nerf is not very favorable of pump springers - I have seen neither Rampage nor EAT in a store for quite some time over here.

There will always be a place for the spring primary, however. Some people prefer running them, they do not depend on stored energy sources and so can keep going through days or weeks without any support equipment, they are not affected by rain or wet ammo, they are cheaper to acquire and upgrade in some cases. Just as in paintball, some consider playing them a challenge, a more civilized and honorable way to play then the modern firepower, and a practical way to force ammo conservation.

Final Argument.

ME: Thank-you both for doing this, in closing, I’ll get you to give the readers your best sales pitch for the propulsion method you represent.

Kansas, 1976.

Fellow players of stock class nerf, you must ask yourselves this.

Are you on the side of the hobby's progress, or do you want to be bound by tradition?

Do you side with logic, or do you side with arbitrary limiting ideas of what nerf should be? Do you want nerf to be all it can be, or do you want to hold it back? Do you want to kick the old mediocrity demons to the curb? Or would you let them control us all forever?

Do you want to play a bigger, better, meaner game? Do you want to shoot more? Do you want to be more reliable, more professional, more legitimate and more awesome, and do it all more easily? Do you want to surprise and impress non-nerfers with high-performance, high-octane equipment from a very respectable hobby?

Or are you content to play with toys forever?

There are places for tradition, for rejecting technology that can only corrupt - but nerf is not one of those places. The manual springer has had its time. Now we have a new contender in the stock class nerf arms race, one that can change the game, and already has. It is not an endpoint, it is not the pinnacle, but simply the next step. And, just as flywheels are the next step, the next step for the game is to move away from limited rates of fire and manual operation. The future of nerf is automatic.

Flywheels are not the only way to play, nor should they be - but do not fear the flywheel technology. Do not fear electric. Do not be misled by myths and sentiments. Flywheels and electric in general can get you very far as a player and remove many of the longstanding troubles of nerf.

Now let's uphold the core values of stock class. We are not Old Nerf. We are not tradition. We are not kids-at-heart. We are science. We are engineering. We are just like paintball and airsoft, but different and superior in many ways. We are running for our in-game lives in HvZ and doing crazy things with foam-firing guns. That is what has built us up to this point - not Raiders, not Alpha Troopers, not Longshots or Retaliators. Give the traditions their due respect, remember them fondly like I do my time running a Stampede, and move on to the bright future that we have in front of us.

We can all make nerf exactly what we want it to be. We have the tools to do that and they are in place right now.
Take advantage of them.


LORD DRAC: If you only want to nerf one way all the time, then by all means, pour everything into the flywheel platform. However, if you want to be all the nerfer you can be, then one day I’ll see you on an NIC field, and on that day I hope you bring something capable of breaking the century mark, because I’ll be waiting with a springer that does just that. Nerf on.


P.S. And who knows, in the spirit of an open mind, this debate could all be meaningless soon, because stringers are upon us and they look SWEET! Crossbolt anybody?

So there you have it, has this changed your choice of blaster type? Or at least, convinced you to at least try your opposing blaster type of give it a second chance? I chose Drac and Toruk because it's no secret that they are heralds for their chosen means of propulsion. And if anyone was going to provide and in depth look at flywheels and springers (their flaws, pros, advantages, quirks etc) it'd be they.

What are your thoughts?

~ Rob


  1. I would bang my head on the table in sheer disbelief, but can't as it has yet another "unreliable" "unproven" and not as good as anything blessed by Drac, triple 180 "elitist, hard to mod" Rapidstrike on it.
    It's easy to slag off what you can't build.

  2. Springers imo are better mostly because of one thing: batteries. I don't need to worry about losing performance as the batteries die out, and that's one less consumable I need to buy. Springers also have a better feel, since you just can't recreate a trigger pull with an electronic button.

    Now if only they made a direct plunger Stampede :D

    1. Thank you for leading into this perfectly. The Vulcan is full-auto direct-plunger. Unfortunately, it is belt-fed.
      I have an idea for a blaster that would be full-auto box-fed with a manual bolt for battery-free usage. I have a post talking about this ultimate blaster here:
      I have a letter to Hascorp asking them to make that blaster here:
      P.S. The Stampede IS direct-plunger, it just uses a plunger the size of a Retaliator's.

  3. I believe that an ideal loadout has a EAT primary, with a minimized rapidstrike as a quick-draw secondary for tight spots.

  4. I think the solution to this debate is hybridizing the 2. If you have a flywheel primary that has a springer integrated, then you can choose for what situation is better and have it on hard. Need to be stealthy and have an immediate shot with no delay, use the springer. If you need intimidation and high rate of fire, use the flywheel.

    1. I completely agree. The only potential trouble with an integration is that it is hard to make a compact 2 in 1 blaster. Most (if not all) integrations I've seen are very large compared to normal Nerf blasters. So if you like small, compact blasters, you should go with a flywheel or springer blaster as your need and opinions dictate. But if you like big guns, then an integration will give you the best of both worlds.

  5. I will stick to my baby Hostile... An air cannon powerhouse. Range is king, one shot, one point. Easy modding, reliable results, and accurate with almost every ammo type. But I agree with drac... Nothin beats a good pair of running shoes!!!

    1. So what happens when you have to defend a position or flag? Running shoes won't help.

  6. Sure they do. Just because your defending a spot doesn't mean your unable to move. Defending a zone? I have to run from cover to cover... Protecting a flag? What good will it do not to be mobile and intercept enemies in the first place. If they capture the flag it won't do them any good if they can't secure it because they are run down. Darts can be fast but you can be faster...

  7. But, for something like fly-wheels vs springers, I'm impartial. best Nerf gun 2016

  8. How come no one has ever thought of a compromise of both springer and flywheel's good points?? I see where torukmakto is saying that the technology has to evolve and take advantage of them but at the same time drac's point of extreme reliability. tried and tested. It would be interesting to see what product nerf would come up with if you can marry as many good points as possible into one blaster that both drac abd toruk would swear by. only time will tell.

  9. My springer Cylconeshock gives me insane agility.

  10. Could someone explain me why is it so that most flywheel proponents are "In it to win it"?
    Or is it just me, not understanding a thing.

    1. Not sure if it is the flywheels itself that makes ppl competitive. perhaps because flywheels are currently the cutting edge of nerf tehnology and some nerfers want to get as much advantages as they want. remember the stampede?? How many people modded it and people became obsessed cuz their blasters kicked ass. same goes of the rapidstrike which is currently the flavo of the moth. Who know if nerf comes up with a better dart dekivery system than flywheels one thing is sure, the same competituve players will "upgrade" to take advantage of the new technology. having a blaster modded better than others makes ppl forget that fun and sharing the experience is much more important that competition. perhaps this is what drac meant. true turokmakto knows his craft but like some of us who mod we get lost in the arms race and competition. that sometimes isnt healthy to both the modders and competition when egos get inflated or squashed. belive me if ur blaster mod is killing ppl at range all the time just cuz ur conpetition cannot match u, after awhile competition loses its lustre. true you can say they have to keep up but seriously, not all want to use the same blaster as you or have as good modding skills as you. u know how boring a nerf war would be uf everyone used the same blaster type ALWAYS??


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