So I'm a big fan of Nerf's Barricade blaster. It shoots the most accurate stock ammo types, has a large capacity especially for a pistol that's barely larger than a Maverick or Spectre, its inexpensive, doesn't need to be pumped between shots (semi-auto), and to top it off it can out-range every other stock blaster by simply applying more voltage. It can't replace the high ammo capacity short range blasters, nor can it replace an expertly wielded blowgun, but in my opinion it would be better than every other blaster currently sold, if it wasn't for one very important thing:
Darts slip out very easily causing jams. Let me illustrate what I mean. (All thumbnails are clickable for a full-size image. Sorry for blurriness, my cell phone cam doesn't have a macro feature.)
Here's a barricade (my broken one, but still good for illustrative purposes) with darts in place:
With one sharp hit to the butt the darts shift out a bit:
One more hit and its clear that there's going to be problems. This happens easily while running or carrying the Barricade in any fashion that isn't barrel-upwards:
Pull the trigger and you already have one jam:
Fix that and its still not many more trigger pulls before the next jam. This is without running around fighting, just pulling the trigger normally:
My solution: Create a guard that physically prevents the darts from moving out of their slots. Supplies used for my solution:
1) Junk CDs
2) A small bit of cardboard
3) Something to write on CDs and cardboard
5) Sharp scissors
Step 1) Create a cardboard cutout to use as a pattern for the guard. Refer to the images at the end of this post to figure out the idea and where it goes. Use your writing instrument and scissors to shave the cutout down to size.
Step 2) Use the pattern to mark your junk CDs. I have AOL CDs saved up for some reason from back in the day of the dialup modem, time to put them to good use.
Step 3) Use scissors to cut the CD. Some CDs fracture wildly when cut, others cut very easily without fracturing. I couldn't figure any pattern as to why some behaved well when cut and others poorly. If one fails you, try another from a different batch. I've cut I think 11 of them now, and 6 of them were good, 5 bad. Here's an image of a bad one:
Step 4) Create a good cutout. Be careful of the scraps, they are sharp and can fly off into your eye or something if you aren't wearing eye protection.
Here's measurements of what ended up being an old version. They should be cut smaller than this on the outside bottom part. Be sure to test fit, the center hole of a CD is slightly too small for the center shaft of the Barricade and will need to be widened more. You want a CD cutout with no cracks in it at all. Keep trying until you make a good one.
Step 5) Test-fit some more, and mark your cutout with your writing instrument while holding it in place. You want to super-glue to only one half shell of the Barricade, not both, or you won't be able to open your Barricade without breaking off the CD cutout. Choose the half that sticks out more, both halves probably aren't completely flush due to imprecise manufacturing on Nerf's part, so use this to your advantage. Only glue to the yellow shell, not the orange part. If it doesn't seem stable enough, go ahead and glue both halves, after playing with it more, I've found that you can pry the CD off if you want to open your blaster later.
Below are some images of what it should look like when its glued into final position. Glue the "data" part of the CD facing the darts, the "label" side is glued onto the blaster. This is because the "data" side is slippier on rubber dart heads, and too much friction can be a problem.
You could certainly use other materials, like cardboard or wood or plastic, but to me CDs glue very well with superglue, are fairly easily cut into shape, and you can probably find some junk CDs that are essentially free to obtain.
Notes: It could be cut smaller, as it only needs to prevent the darts from moving out of position. And the guard makes loading the darts impossible except on the sides, but the smaller you cut it, the easier it is.
There's a problem with Whistler type darts in that in the worst case they can have too much friction and prevent the Barricade cylinder from spinning when the trigger is pulled. This effect is minimized by keeping the CD cutout just large enough to prevent the darts from slipping, and not covering the entire dart head. You could also lube up the CD itself I bet, soap or Pam or even something complicated like Lithium Grease would work, but I'd stick to something that is relatively safe in case the dart ends up in someone's eye.
Taggers are completely fine and awesome with this mod no matter what because the velcro slips easily. In fact if there isn't about 8 Whistlers all being bad at trying to fall out of the cylinder at the same time, the trigger pull is strong enough to rotate regardless.
Another thing I noticed... Nerf is weird about Whistlers... some they label "Sonic" and others are "Whistler". Here's an image showing the difference between the Whistlers I had before, a Tagger, and the "Sonic"-style Whistler that I got in the mail from the Free 50 Darts promotion, from Nerf, for buying this Barricade:
As you can see its longer and has updated colors. The foam is also slightly thicker meaning its much less prone to sliding out. Why Nerf has some Whistlers called "Whistlers" and some called "Sonic" I don't understand. Why they include the version that works poorly with the Barricade in the Barricade box I understand even less. If the Sonic version doesn't slide out, they should just put that kind in the box in the first place.