I’ve been trying to collect higher performing blaster platforms that would allow me to compare commonly profiled blasters to see how my chronograph results compare to figures reported by other hobbyists. One blaster with a very large following is the Nerf Longshot. The combination of a spacious shell and large plunger tube has made this platform a favorite for modders, resulting in a large number of aftermarket parts. This page walks you through the blaster I assembled that, although not a Longshot, is a Longshot clone that is assembled from a variety of kits and parts that are made to handle high spring loads like the ones I intend to profile (10, 16 and 26 kg).
The Jet Blaster X Zeus 2
Here’s a useful diagram from the vendor explaining the parts that are included with the kit:
The Alpha Kit
I purchased the Jet Blaster Alpha Kit so I didn’t have to sacrifice a Nerf Longshot. The kit arrived incredibly fast from Singapore, beating the blaster shell itself that appeared to ship from the United States. Here is an image of the kit from Jet Blasters’ site:
Artifact Sled, Trigger and Catch
Artifact Longshot Metal Catch installation
The Artifact Longshot Metal Catch did not require any shell modification to install. It came with a spring that I did not use since the X Zeus two uses the central catch spring point which requires a shorter spring that came with the X Zeus.
Artifact Longshot Metal Sled installation
The Artifact Longshot Metal Sled required minor shell modification at one point in front of the sled. I used an Exacto knife to trim some of the plastic back so the sled would not rub the shell when pushing forward:
Artifact Longshot Metal Trigger installation
The Artifact Longshot Metal Trigger required the most shell trimming of the three Artifact parts I picked up. I had to trim out the rectangular boxes that support the stock trigger so the wider metal Artifact trigger could move freely:
Here is the trigger installed:
And the trigger pulled:
Turf Spring Kit – 10 & 16 kg springs
I chose Turf springs for my Longshot kit based on my positive experiences with a 10 kg Turf spring that I used in a Retaliator build. The particular springs came in a kit (external link) that contained:
- 1 x Longshot 10kg (25.7mm ID, 145mm FL, 12.5mm TC)
- 1 x Longshot 16kg (21mm ID, 145mm FL, 15mm TC)
- 2 x Catch Springs
The springs are zinc coated with closed ends. Overall shipping was kind of slow with this vendor here in the US with about a two week delivery time via USPS (no tracking available).
X Zeus 2 butt stock attachment
Jet Blasters released an add-on buttstock (see the bottom of this page). You can download and print the stock, and bolt it onto the existing stock. I gave it a go at 0.15 mm layer height without supports and at 20% infill. I didn’t realize there was a slight curve to the top of the stock (I printed it upside down) when I reviewed the model, so I should have printed with supports. You can see where a few layers didn’t print correctly:
Overall the stock printed well (this was the actual print orientation):
Except for the corners where the add on buttstock mates to the original stock:
However after a brief sanding session the stock looked fine:
I’ll continue to sand before final paint and installation. Overall, I prefer the look without the optional buttstock, but the original stock is simply too short for me to comfortably fire. We’ll see how it looks after further sanding and maybe it will grow on me 🙂
Final blaster tuning
Initial spot checks in blaster performance yielded more variability than I would like, so I did a quick seal test and realized I didn’t have a “100% seal”. A quick check of the plunger tube, plunger rod and plunger cup didn’t reveal any glaring issues:
I moved on to the other three likely areas. The dart pusher / o-ring / dart gate seemed to be seated correctly, so there were two remaining candidates – the threaded barrel attachment point and the threaded dart pusher / plunger cup attachment point. I put 5 rounds of teflon tape on both sets of threads:
After reassembly and a quick air-seal check, the performance of the seal and dart velocity improved. I was now hitting around 210 to 230 fps with ACC gen 2 darts, where as before using the teflon tape I was ranging well below 200 fps. Now that the spot checks and fine tuning are complete [for now] we can move on to more formal testing.
Data collection & Plots
Darts and Magazines
I’ll use my standard assortment of short darts for testing. I currently have on hand:
- Worker Stefan darts
- Artifact Stefan FVJ’s
- ACC Gen 2 hard tip Stefans
- ACC Gen 2 soft tip Stefans
I use Worker PMag and HexMags for testing. I’ll typically load up 4 x 15 round HexMags and 4 x 10 round PMags so I can get through a 100 round profile without reloads. I typically collect 100 shots per dart type for initial profiling so I have a sound base data set for characterizing a blaster.
I will also use a Rival Apollo for bracketing these tests as a reference blaster.
I have an extensive write up on my chronographs. For this test I’ll focus on my original chronograph, a Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph with the optional light kit.
16 kg – round 1 profiling
My initial testing yielded frustrating results. I tried Artifact FVJ’s, ACC Gen 2 hard tips and Worker stefans. All three jammed consistently. I was able to get the Artifact FVJ’s to fire consistently by pointing the blaster at the floor while priming. This method did not work for the other darts I was testing. I also bracketed my X Zeus tests with an Apollo reference blaster which came in where expected at 101 fps.
I contacted Jet Blaster Tech and they were extremely helpful in providing guidance. I’m posting their advice here so that other X Zeus 2 owners running Alpha kits can benefit as well.
The blasters work best with ACC gen 5 darts or darts that typically have .510 +/- .005 diameters. Workers tend to be too thick and artifact darts have marginal results.
Do not use the all the way forward Worker P mags as they miss the feed finger on the pusher. The kit was designed for Pak-d type or Stefan mags with darts starting 5/8″ back and no farther forward.
Also avoid darts longer than 36mm and shorter than 32mm’s, longer ones don’t fit well in mags, shorter ones bundle in mags and tend to miss feed.
Based on this feedback I’m going to review my available magazines and try again. I may have to source some Katana magazines and some additional darts, either newer generation ACC or maybe some homemades that meet the specifications Jet provided.
16 kg – round 2
Hopefully coming in August of 2017!
Honestly, the prime was so hard on this combination that I didn’t find it practical. I wasn’t going to attempt putting 400 shots through it.