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Author Topic: The Official Nerf Dart Tip Code Thread  (Read 21611 times)
torukmakto4

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« on: October 09, 2011, 01:29:01 PM »

For those of you who do not know, not all Nerf stock darts are created equal. The purpose of this post/thread is to compile information on the finer details of ammunition for the benefit of all HVZers.


Section 1: Production Codes

The codes molded into the rubber tips of darts correlate to significant differences in the characteristics of the tip and foam, likely related to multiple production lines, plants or material suppliers. These differences can include foam diameter (thus barrel fit), foam cell size, tip mass, tip COM location, tip hardness, and ballistic stability.

The codes are usually 1 character in raised type and appear in the following locations:
Streamline/N-Strike Elite (NSE) - on the side of tip dome, usually opposite the vent hole but sometimes under it
Sonic - Near the base of the tip (close to the foam), on the side of the dome
Suction - On the top surface of the flat body of the tip, under the suction cup.
Tagger - See Sonic

Below is the info I have collected on dart tip codes. For necked (non-Streamline) micros, the tip production doesn't really matter because the tip is not poorly engineered and sensitive to small changes in compound and mold design. In that case, the tip code is of interest primarily in determining which foam you get. For Streamlines, the tip code matters a lot for stability.

When describing how a type of dart is distributed/available, blue indicates items with current availability.

K code: Streamlines found in packs included with Raiders, et al. Many sonic and tagger (pre-New Dart Tag era green/orange) and Streamline sold at box stores. Gear Up Streamline (exception; all characteristics shared with W code, Type 1 Streamline). Most NSE darts bundled with guns and mags in US; many NSE darts sold at box stores. Old style foam; softer and larger-celled; suboptimal fits in many stock barrels. Streamline tip is softer, stickier compound and has cylindrical core. Streamline is unstable; fishtails and whirlybirds readily. NSE dart tip seemingly identical to J code; compound has very high tack.

T code: Many streamlines sold in packs at box stores; original Streamline production included with the first Longshots (tip unmarked). Often distributed with guns in the past; Alpha. Sonic micro (orange foam/black tip) distributed with Spectre; tip is similar to W code sonic tip; foam identical to newer T-code streamline. T code streamline tip is harder compound, lighter orange and rounder dome shape. Plus section core; noted as moderately stable to mostly stable. Some have reported newer production T-codes surpassing W code in range due to foam characteristics. Foam is identical to K code (older) or identical to K code in texture with larger diameter and higher rigidity (newer).

E code: Streamlines included with Stampede. Standard streamline not known to be distributed otherwise. Sonic streamline; particularly those included with Stampede. Necked micros not known. Streamline tip is softer compound; has plus section core; sharper "wadcutter" dome shape; moderately stable. Foam is slightly larger diameter; improved fit in stock breeches; has texture identical to K code.

A code: Streamline known. Tip is softer compound; slightly longer dome with thinner walls and plus section core. Reported to be unstable. Early production, possibly pre-2009. A is now found on current Elite darts; distributed with Roughcut 2x4. Elites have some reports of poor stability and potential poor foam durability in higher powered springers.

W code:

There are two subtypes of W-code Streamlines.

Type 1: Whiteout Streamline sold in box stores; discontinued. Not included with any gun. Not otherwise known. Identified by the code being located opposite the tip hole. Type 1 tip is same bright orange color as K, E and A codes with dome shape similar to T code, and has smooth surface finish and relatively good dimensional consistency. Type 1 foam is extremely fine-celled and smooth-surfaced; identical to W-code micro foams.

Type 2: Some Whiteout Streamline sold in box stores. Some Sonic Series streamline (potentially sold in box stores); glow (tracer) streamline distributed with pre-NSE (green model) Rayven and sold in box stores. Tips from an obviously different mold than type 1; rougher surface finish on some earlier tips that has been corrected in recent production. Identified by the code being located under (i.e. adjacent to) the tip hole rather than opposite it on the tip. Notably worse tip dimensional control (asymmetry, centering during assembly) than Type 1 in earlier production with associated stability problems; seems to be corrected in later production. Tracer foam is larger-celled, coarser, has greatest durability and barrel fit retention of any stock foam to date; whiteout foam is identical to type 1.

For both types, tips are compound of hardness similar to T code. Plus section cores. Highest known stability. Foam is universally slightly over-diameter; improved fit over E code. These are the preferred darts in most cases. Testing shows significant variance in point of impact at 70-80', but less than other Streamline types. Accuracy is maintained up to approximately 50' and no whirlybirds occur. W-code standard orange streamlines of unknown type classification have been reported in some 100 round cases (newer) but are unconfirmed.

There are also code W micros, usually marked W1: Whiteout Sonic; standard necked micros (sonic) included with Barricade, Jolt and sold in box stores. Suction micro sold in box stores. Foam is identical to Type 1 W streamline foam; orange foams (standard micros) are a darker, more earthy color than K, etc. foams. Sonic micro tip is slightly harder compound; much less sticky/grabby than common K code types. Highest performance foam known for micros; this is the most desirable code for sonics and suctions. Foam diameter known to perform well in stock barrels and prevent Barricade's magazine from dropping darts.

Related markings are also known to be found on Vortex discs in some form (W11A, W11C...)

W code Elite darts distributed with some newer release guns; mostly small pistols packaged with 2 or 3 darts; confirmed with "elite" repaint Jolt, Triad. Little difference from other types of NSE dart. Some claim improved stability. Elite Firefly system, GITD tracer dart bundled with NSE Rayven, Firefly mag kits, sold in box stores and has improved foam (compare to T-Code Streamline) with better durability and reduced tip tack.

J code: Sonics distributed with Vulcan, Spectre, and Barricade. Sonic tagger (New Dart Tag blue tip) known to be distributed with Q16; possibly available from stores.; Standard Streamlines not known to exist. Many NSE darts available in box stores; NSE darts known distributed with Stockade in UK. Sonic tip seemingly identical to K code. Foam may be more rigid, but otherwise identical to K code foam. NSE dart tip is identical to K code; nominal performance. NSE foam identical to K code.

Y code: Reported for sonic tagger (New Dart Tag, blue tip). Reported to be included with NDT Stinger target and duel bundles; also has red and green tip colors with duel set. "Seem to be made kinda of cheap [sic]" per Nerf2Me2 reposted through basicnerf.



Section 2: What you need to know about the NSE dart.

- Lighter 1.0g (Streamline: 1.3g) mass and better balance.

- Notably better ballistics and more range for lower energy guns. Better stability characteristics.

- Current foam types aren't that great.

- Tip compounds have high coefficients of friction ("sticky") and tip lacks core, resulting in potential feed problems with magazine applications.

Finally, as has been informally stated by Nerf, the NSE dart is the future. Most, if not all, previous micro and streamline types have been discontinued. Aside from the tagger (which will probably hold out as long as the Dart Tag concept does), all nerf darts have been either converted to an elite derivative or functionally replaced by Elites.

If you want the last of the reliable feeding, high-performance, durable W-code streamlines, you had better take your share of the remaining stock from your local retailer and/or wholesalers like happyeverydaysales before they are gone!

This post is edited frequently to reflect new developments. Any information you may have should be posted in this thread for addition.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 10:38:44 AM by torukmakto4 » Logged

CT-2406
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2011, 01:40:51 PM »

I never really knew there was such a difference. this needs to be a post that never moves(up or down) It seems that this Information could be Extremely useful to every Nerfer in the world. I always wondered what those letters meant. Good job, Very good job.
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torukmakto4: What do you mean I can't use it in a thunderdome? It's a Reflex for pete's sake!
torukmakto4

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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2011, 02:11:47 PM »

I never really knew there was such a difference. this needs to be a post that never moves(up or down) It seems that this Information could be Extremely useful to every Nerfer in the world. I always wondered what those letters meant. Good job, Very good job.

Thanks. I just found that this was a rather unknown topic and that those letters on the tips always fall under the radar. Yeah, perhaps sticky this?

Anyone who finds something that contradicts my information in any way or notices something missing, POST. This is all based on my own observations of darts sourced from distributors in Gainesville and Orlando, Florida. In no way do I consider it entirely trustworthy. I might be missing a tip code, or you people on the other side of the world might be getting crappy Whiteout Streamlines, so if that is the case, make it known.
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maniac55


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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2011, 02:39:54 PM »

I've noticed this same thing but I always thought that it was just a production fluke. Go Nerf Science and bust out the piggy banks.
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2011, 04:08:26 PM »

Found one that's different from ones you stated, It's a whistler and its J code, not sure what it means, I've only found one out of the 10 random whistler's in my barricade(the rest were all K ) I also found an unmarked, It seems to be very well made.
For me this is how my basic stock goes,
I conducted some tests( I placed 6 darts in my Maverick and fired from a distance of 40ft at a window, I measured basic accuracy as well as distance)
U(Unknown/not marked) I think these are randomized into the E/T packages, They are the most durable, and most random fliers (highly inaccurate).
A( Some of the most durable, though there not good fliers)
K(least durable, better than previous fliers though)
E(not that durable but more so than A, relatively good fliers though they seemed the same though)
T(Pretty good fliers, pretty good durability)[Best so far]
J(unknown properties since I only found one)
Found a second one and was able to do a few tests, It seems these are slightly better than Whistling K's, they go about 4 feet further, though they seem to be as accurate as K whistlers.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 04:21:15 PM by Boom » Logged

torukmakto4: What do you mean I can't use it in a thunderdome? It's a Reflex for pete's sake!
torukmakto4

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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2011, 04:28:34 PM »

Found one that's different from ones you stated, It's a whistler and its J code, not sure what it means, I've only found one out of the 10 random whistler's in my barricade(the rest were all K ) I also found an unmarked, It seems to be very well made.
For me this is how my basic stock goes,
I conducted some tests( I placed 6 darts in my Maverick and fired from a distance of 40ft at a window, I measured basic accuracy as well as distance)
U(Unknown/not marked) I think these are randomized into the E/T packages, They are the most durable, and most random fliers (highly inaccurate).
A( Some of the most durable, though there not good fliers)
K(least durable, better than previous fliers though)
E(not that durable but more so than A, relatively good fliers though they seemed the same though)
T(Pretty good fliers, pretty good durability)[Best so far]
J(unknown properties since I only found one)

I also found a pack of J code sonics that was supplied with an older production vulcan. I edited.

Were those darts you tested all sonic/whistler? If so, does that mean that you found T, A and E code sonics?
If so, the foam fit in stock barrels, foam cell size/surface finish and foam rigidity relative to K code foams would be good to know, as well as anything slightly different about the tip (softer, harder, less/more sticky). I'm guessing that if there are E code sonics, that they have very slightly larger foam diameter than the rest.

Unmarked sonics in my experience are usually K code or something fairly close like J, perhaps older K or J plant production from back in the LS era when dart tips had no markings. Age could explain the inaccuracy.

Finally, range and accuracy testing of sonics from a mav is probably reading variation in/damage to individual darts themselves more than any identifiable difference between codes. With sonics, they all fly about the same because the tips are well designed and inherently stable. If one doesn't, it's probably because the tip wasn't properly installed or the foam is bent or punctured. Streamlines are where the tips really play into accuracy.

But the durability. I never even thought about that. How well the tips are glued on must vary between plants/codes. Thanks for the info.
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skullface1818

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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2011, 04:31:38 PM »

My problem, is Money!

I need to buy the 100 packs because of the fact that they have the lowest cost per dart....and people here steal darts like crazy soooooo
yea
quantity over quality I'm afraid Sad
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2011, 05:00:55 PM »

Actually when I was talking about the J code that was only for the Sonic's I didn't find any other types(like A T or E).
Also All of my Nerf blasters/Darts are no older than last year around this time. so they are all relatively new darts.
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torukmakto4: What do you mean I can't use it in a thunderdome? It's a Reflex for pete's sake!
torukmakto4

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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2011, 07:10:34 PM »

Actually when I was talking about the J code that was only for the Sonic's I didn't find any other types(like A T or E).
Also All of my Nerf blasters/Darts are no older than last year around this time. so they are all relatively new darts.

Hmm... the new-ish unmarked are rather strange. Still, from my experience, they are similar to K as far as Streamline tips and foam. There is a possiblity that the "uncoded tip" darts are coming from yet another plant/line and are different still, but it still makes sense to lump Streamlines of this variety in with the K/A "extremely unstable; unusable at range" category.

So those Mav test darts were streamlines? Well, your results seem to follow what I noted about stability. In order of increasing stability, they go something like unmarked/A/K, E, T, W. Really, a Mav isn't a good test of Streamline stability because even a heavily modded one can't destabilize and whirlybird a K-code. A class 2 longshot or heavily sprung 'pede can, and a class 3 longshot or other "war gun" pushes every code to the absolute limit (E is just BARELY stable and quite inaccurate).

Edit: To Skullface and others who buy streamlines in bulk: Look for standard W code streamlines. Since W codes have been showing up in standard sonic as well as Whiteout Streamline/Sonic form lately, it is likely that standard streamlines are either out there or in the pipe, and that they will bring the performance. I'm not 100% sure on the foam and its Informer-like properties NOT being a Whiteout-specific thing, but I know that SIMILAR standard W-code foam is out there and I THINK it will give you the optimal stock breech fits and mad ranges as well as the W-code stability. Failing that, go for T-codes. They're highly available and evidence seems to suggest that they aren't bad. Just DON'T EVER mess with code A or K, or the unmarked tip variety. Those suck.

Edit 2: Skullface, do you mark your darts?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 07:44:34 PM by torukmakto4 » Logged

CT-2406
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2011, 08:23:01 PM »

Actually My maverick does make the lower quality streamlines spin, as you said.
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torukmakto4: What do you mean I can't use it in a thunderdome? It's a Reflex for pete's sake!
torukmakto4

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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2011, 08:30:52 PM »

Actually My maverick does make the lower quality streamlines spin, as you said.

A whirlybird is a total destabilization. It's a phenomenon that turns potential 70-100' shots into darts landing 10' from the muzzle, and it requires a high muzzle velocity consistent with a 70-100' gun. It's named because the dart behaves like a maple fruit "whirlybird" while falling lazily to the ground.

A dart that fishtails, spins or oscillates in flight while continuing on a ballistic trajectory is not what I am referring to.

Unless that mav is powered by a Cobra tank or something, there is no way you saw a real whirlybird. When you get a real one, it is HILARIOUS.
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2011, 08:55:43 PM »

Yea My maverick can get around 60ft ranges with good darts(high 50's PTG), This wouldn't be perfectly parallel to ground when fired mind you( like 5-10 degrees above parallel), but I do see a lot of my lower quality darts start to whirlybird as you say. some of my other blasters that get similar ranges don't always have that problem because they have longer barrels, which allows the dart to travel at a more stable velocity(because of compressive forces that the dart experiences in the barrel (aka friction)). If I could draw a diagram to show what I see, you would probably agree it is doing a whirlybird, or at least beginning to(what I'm really saying is that my maverick is on the fine line, where you can easily see which darts are of lower quality ) If I put T, E, or W class darts in instead. I get at least ten more feet(This is where the 60ft range comes in), If not slightly more(plus no destabilization). With a couple of good darts my modded maverick can start to compete with my modded Vigilon.
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2011, 09:12:31 PM »

Thanks torukmakto4 for this analysis. 

I checked my inventory, and unfortunately, a majority of my streamlines are 'K' code.  However, the remainder of my darts appear to be 'T' code.  I have about 50 of these in my reserves. 
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torukmakto4

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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2011, 09:35:51 PM »

Boom: Lost 10' with rotation is not a whirlybird. If you want to see what I'm talking about, load a streamline BACKWARDS. That will show you what a K-code does out of a 100' gun. There is a reason another name for this phenomenon is "faildart".

Well anyway, if the instability becomes apparent, it's an effective test. Nicely modded Mav.


Ghost: Whether or not the K-codes are going to raise hell depends on the application. The K-codes are also a good candidate for mass additions. Gluing/siliconing/BBing the tips, wrapping E-tape just under the head, etc. can take these from unstable to marginally accurate.
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KatanasPWN
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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2011, 10:29:17 PM »

What letter do the gear up blaster streamlines use?
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