THE DEATH MASTER - 3000
How to build the ultimate Nerf terror weapon

Ever since I began hearing rumors that Hasbro was releasing a revolutionary Nerf machine gun I knew I had to get one. When they finally came out I was the first in line at the local Toys-R-Us to slap down the $50 they charged for them.

I wasn't disappointed. In every imaginable way the Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Blaster is markedly different from every other Nerf gun. Powered by batteries instead of air pressure, it blasts outs Nerf darts at the rate of three per second with ranges up to forty feet. Unlike previous Nerf guns, the heft of this weapon is significant. While its 8 pounds may be too heavy for young children, for serious Nerf gamers its weight gives a sense of realism that no previous Nerf gun offers. Also unique is the dart-holding chain that feeds through the gun just like a real machine gun. This is truly an outstanding weapon, but...

As much as I like this gun there are many problems with the design. The plastic box that's supposed to hold the chain comes off much too easily. Worse still, while it prevents the loaded side of the chain from flopping around the emptied side of the chain dangles down, whipping this way and that with even small gun movements. Equally problematic is the fact that when the last round is fired the chain just falls on the ground.

To address these and other performance issues, I ripped into my Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Blaster and turned it from a merely competent machine gun to the DEATH MASTER - 3000 ,killing machine. Here's how I did it:

 
Increasing the Firing Duration:

While 25 rounds of continuous fire is impressive, you have to realize that it's all over in 8 seconds. So the first thing I wanted to do was increase the length of the ammo chain. Increasing it to 75 or even 100 rounds sounds attractive, but the fact is that such a long chain would be so bulky and heavy and prone to tangling that it's impractical. A 50-round belt appears optimum.

I began by purchasing a spare belt and after lining it up with the belt that came with the gun, unscrewed the blank holders at the ends of each belt to free the nylon connecting material.

Next I cut off all but 1/4-inch of the nylon belt from each end...

...then stitched the two ends together, making sure to maintain the same 1/4-inch spacing as all the other segments. It's also important to keep the dart holders parallel.

Because of the tight spacing this stitching was awkward and difficult.

Finally, I sealed the loose ends of the nylon belt material with a little flexible glue to prevent it from fraying.

And that was it! Half an hour's work yielded a 50-dart belt. Is it worth it? You bet. There's no sweeter pleasure than drilling a dart between your best friend's horns because he thinks you've run out of ammo. A 50-dart bent ensures you'll experience this joy many times.

 
Curing the Floppy-Belt Problem:

A 50-dart belt is almost 6-feet long. Moving around with that much ammo dragging on the ground is awkward to say the least. My solution was to make two cardboard boxes measuring 4x6x7 inches and screw them to the sides of the gun.

One holds the loaded belt while the other captures the belt as it leaves the gun's firing chamber. No more floppy belts.

A piece of masonite glued to the inside face of each box provided a strong surface to hold the screws and support the box. Make sure the screws are short enough so that they don't block the battery case from sliding into its holding tray.

 
Boosting the Firing Power:

The Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EDF-25 Blaster has an average range for Nerf guns. It would be nice to increase it as well as speed up the firing rate. This was easily done by boosting the battery voltage from 9 to 12-volts.

Start by buying a self-holding, 2 D-cell battery pack. Connect the leads to 2 pieces of aluminum tape, which can be found in the heating and air conditioning department of any hardware store. Stick the foil tape to opposite sides of a small square of poster board and slip this two-sided connector between the front two batteries in the gun's battery pack.

Be sure that the polarity of the connector is aligned with the rest of the batteries or instead of boosting the output to 12 volts you'll cut it to 6.

Insert the gun's battery pack as usual, guiding the extra battery pack's wires so that they aren't pinched by the plastic retainer when it's screwed into place.

Using adhesive-backed Velcro is an easy way to attach the extra battery pack to the bottom of the gun.

 

Because the extra battery holder is upside down, it's important to get one that locks the batteries in place so they don't fall out.

The extra voltage increases the range ten percent and boosts the firing rate from 3 to 4 darts per second. A possible downside to this is that the motor is being over driven and the gun's lifetime might be reduced because of this.

Held level at waist height the gun has a range of 25 feet. Raised to a 45-degree angle this increases to 42 feet, with a distance spread at that range of eight feet.

 
The Tale of Two Darts:

The Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EDF-25 Blaster accepts both normal darts and streamline darts.


Normal dart on the left, streamlined dart on the right.

Thinking that streamlined darts would add range I purchased a set and tested them against normal darts. The results were surprising.

First: the streamlined darts did not go any further than the normal darts. Second, the streamlined darts tended to swerve off the main firing line much more than normal darts. Normal darts fired 30 feet had an average spread of two feet. The streamlined darts at the same range averaged four, twice as great.

For my money the streamlined darts aren't worth the expense.

Another surprising result from this test concerns the normal darts all by themselves. Take a closer look at the head of the normal dart in the picture above and it's easy to spot that it's angled sharply to the right. I assumed that this would cause the dart to swerve off the main line of fire. It doesn't.

I sorted all my darts into those with straight heads and those with the worst angled heads. Firing these two groups through the Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EDF-25 Blaster and marking the spread of each showed that the angled heads swerved no more than the straight ones.

 
Cosmetics:

And that's it! You now have a Nerf machine gun capable of out performing the Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EDF-25 Blaster in convenience, firing duration, range and firing speed. There's just one lingering problem: the Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EDF-25 Blaster's bright orange and yellow coloring make it look like a toy. The two cardboard boxes attached to the sides don't help either. I mean sure, it is a toy, but that doesn't mean we can't make it look a little more macho if for no other reason than to show it's not just another stock gun.

After masking off all the moving sections I spray painted the entire gun black. My intention was then to add flame decals to dress it up but the fact is that it looked so good in solid black that I left it that way. The only decoration I added was the DM - 3000.logo for "Death Master - 3000," my new name for this ultimate Nerf terror weapon.

 
The black looks so good I'm surprised Hasbro isn't offering the gun in this color, or at least a camouflaged version. This heavily modified gun isn't suitable for heavy field action like rolling sideways over the ground but for standing in a bunker or moving upright it provides unequaled fire power.

IMPORTANT NOTE!

I have received emails from Nerf gun modifiers explaining that by common sense, and in some areas by law,
toy guns should never be painted black because they may look too much like real weapons.

 
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