Sunday, November 3, 2013

Barrel Extensions: Part 1

Over the years, I've read a lot about N-Strike Barrel Extensions and how they decrease range or increase accuracy.  There's a bunch of different "studies" that enthusiasts of Nerf have conducted with their findings, but there seems to still be a divide between opinions.  Well, I'd like to put those opinions to rest with some cold-hard facts.  Trouble is... there are so many "Facts" out there, that it can be difficult to pin down a concrete answer.

So, for Part 1 of our fact-finding mission, I'll be gathering information both from sources online and from your comments.  Be it opinions, personal experience, or the results of tests you've conducted, I wanna get a good collection of info on this so we can start drawing some clearer lines in this debate.  Part 2 will show the collected information as well as the conclusion this information will point to.  Get to work, detectives!  We've got a score to settle with Nerf's most misunderstood accessory!


  1. "decrease range or increase accuracy" sums up my experience perfectly

  2. In terms of the recon barrel, i've found that taking out the orange front part and using a longshot front gun inner barrel increases the range and accuracy.(of the recon at least)

  3. I can speak for their HVZ usage from my perspective. I have used a multitude of barrel attachments from the longstrike, recon, retaliator with a longshot inner barrel, spectre, and shortened recon barrels. Obviously, with the larger ID barrels (Longstrike, Spectre) dont really do anything for accuracy or range unless you get one of those really wily darts.

    As for the others, I reserve their usage for mostly flywheel blasters that are prone to some strange dart behavior. Also I only recommend their usage on modified blasters - the stock blasters don't really have the power do overcome the range detriment inherent in the attachment itself. You can use them with the new elite plunger blasters, but I feel that it only corrects that very rare dart. Flywheels however, tend to throw darts at odd angles and may require the barrel. (Stryfe specific) The Rayven and RapidStrike I don't recommend using any attachments as they already have a decent size barrel. I have heard some positive improvements have come from replacing the rifled barrel to the regular fluted barrel.

    When it comes down to personal preference, I love the aesthetics of the Longstrike and the Retaliator with Lonshot barrel barrels. (That was a little redundant). I really like the tactical rails as they allow me to attach blowguns and other extraneous addons (sock holders, ammo holders, panther attachments, etc)

    Hope this helps! Love reading your blog 'Zook! Keep it rolling!

  4. It depends on the barrel extension, and what you've done to it if anything. The real problem with barrel extensions is darts bounce around inside them during travel, since they're not a tight fit and this is nerf we're talking about not actual ballistics. If your blaster has a high enough FPS from modification, you can easily bore out enough room to fit some larger PVC inside the extension, which pretty much eliminates this issue.

    The accuracy thing is pretty hit and miss, I'm inclined to say that's a myth since before modification the darts bounce around inside the suckers.

    Rule of thumb (in my experience) if you're not going to replace the inner tube with some larger PVC or whatever; Shorter the barrel, the further the dart.

  5. My modded retaliator is completely useless beyond 45 feet without an extension, but is accurate up to 75 (flat) with an extension. (in this case, retal extension modded to fit lsfg barrel)

  6. They tend to decrease ranges. They can sometimes help with accuracy (especially in flywheel blasters). I read about an experiment where the refiled ones made it more accurate than no extension or the fake rifled ones (with straight groves). But I haven't confirmed it myself.

  7. In my experience the faux barrels seem to have different effects depending of the barrel. For example, the recon barrel i have on my omw unleashed recon seems to help accuracy by quite the bit, and doesnt seem to do much either way to the range. If you think about it, The barrel acts as kind of a guide for the dart. Then we get to the longstrike barrel. The longstrike performs better without its barrel just due to the fact that the barrel is so wide that it creates a load of barrel drag. Also due to this extra width of the inner barrel, the accuracy is actually decreased because the dart has more room to bounce around and tumble a bit. The recon barrel on the longstrike doesnt seem to add or detract much from range or accuracy, probably due to the longstrikes internal barrel doing the straightening in the first place. the longshot front gun barrel Is like the recon barrel in that in improves accuracy slightly, but unlike the recon barrel, it does actually detract from ranges. so it could be that the barrels work better with higher powered blasters. Thats just my guess though.

  8. Back a while, I did a preliminary test on the chrono:

    It is a given that "guide barrels" can only act as a velocity reducing device. Usually, velocity and range can be considered the same parameter, so the usual observation that the smaller-bore extensions reduce range test results makes sense.

    Effective range and accuracy effects are more complex, though. If you are going to properly quantify them, you must account for the instability of many of our darts at higher velocities; in a very common situation such as a 100fps Retaliator or Stryfe, nerfing the muzzle velocity slightly will often itself yield an accuracy increase independent of any other effect (such as correcting initial yaw, or reducing the effects of muzzle blast on projectiles, which have both been theorized about with these barrel extensions).

  9. I've wondered/considered using a smaller diameter faux barrel inside my retaliator extension, but having holes like paintball barrels just to curb any ill air effects for consistency purposes. It really sucks that an old nitefinder and a handfull of whistlers are a million times more accurate/consistent than a 3' Centurion

  10. Like Toruk I have done chrono testing of Retaliator barrels, 50 dart samples, data is here

  11. Andy W

    I have to agree that on a modded NERF Gun such as a Retailator/Styfe the barrel extension seems to increase the accuracy of the shots. Though this could be in part due the the fact that it is easier to aim the blaster.

    Barrel extensions do provide one more advantage. Namely, the ability to attach secondary weapons. For example I own Retaliator with a spring kit. It is not easy prime the Retaliator quickly but the additional time between each shot is worth it for the range and speed so I attach Jolt to the barrell extension. It serves as both a handle and easy to fire secondary blaster. At the club I play at it is very handy having the attached Jolt in defense or offence.
    In defense, if my first shot misses the player closing on me I have second chance before a long reload or certain tagging.
    In offence, it can provide you with the ability to tag two players quickly behind the same baricade/cover in quick succession when pushing forwards in a capture the flag game etc.