I'm kicking off the new year with this quick little Nerf Mod, or how to add a little too much power to a standard cheap NERF N-Strike Nite Finder. I purchased the gun at Target, but they can be found most anywhere toys are sold in a variety of colors. Amazon has a couple listed for 3rd party sale here and here at outragous prices. Look around, you can probably find them for under $10.
I picked up the spring at Home Depot, but I think this one on Amazon is the same:
Century Spring #C-836 7/8" by 4"
If you try other spring sizes please let me know. I actually think this would be better with a slightly weaker spring. More on that later.
Now it's time to tear into the gun. The process isn't too difficult, just be careful to get all the black screws, none of them are hidden. Once the top (right side of the pistol) is off you can see the plunger cylinder and trigger mechanism.
Draw a line with a sharpy across the joins in the barrel assembly so you can get them lined up properly later. Carefully remove the two screws that hold the cylinder in place and lift it from the body of the gun. Be very careful not to lose the little spring above the plunger lock. A bright light will help you look for it after it's made an unplotted jump through hyperspace to join the dust bunnies under your desk.
The first order of business is to remove anything that will restrict the air flow to the dart. This includes the little spring, baffle, and restricter plate. Look at the front end of the cylinder and remove the barrel assembly. Throw away the little spring and baffle plate, then using a sharp knife cut away the center post. Clean out the hole and you should have something like this.
Now the "messy" part. The plunger is lubricated with a little bit of silicon grease. It is transparent, and appears to wash out ok, but I wouldn't recommend wiping your hands on any clothes you care about. A paper towel or shop rag would come in handy about now.
Gently pull the plunger out, compare the original wimpy spring to our new seriously stiff and powerful spring. Cackle with glee as you imagine darts that can leave a small welt. Pay very close attention to the orientation of everything here. The little spring, the rectangle plunger lock, and the pull loop on the plunger. You'll need to make sure they all go back the same. Make marks with a sharpy if you need.
Unscrew the end of the plunger plate, careful not to wipe off too much grease, it's important for a good seal. Set the old spring aside and slip the new one on the plunger and re-attach the plate.
Reassemble the barrel. I used a little bit of duct tape to seal the joints and keep it all from falling apart when we're getting the spring loaded. Be careful to keep everything liked up like it was (you did mark the joints before, right?).
The new spring is a quite a bit longer than the old one and doesn't fit so well. You can chose to wrestle it into place, carefully holding onto everything (including the warp spring), or try my method with a zip tie to compress the spring. You want to compress the spring just barely enough to fit in the cylinder. It took me two tries to get it right. If you compress it too much it will curve and be difficult to slide in place.
Once the cylinder is screwed in place, carefully cut the zip tie and remove it.
Gently replace the cover of the pistol and all the little black screws. Most of them are the same length but a few of them are shorter than the rest. It would help now if you could go back in time and mark where the short screws go. If that doesn't work, trial and error will help you find the right holes.
Now you have a NERF gun that can leave small and slightly painful welts, scare your opponents with a loud report, and shoot in excess of 40 feet. The power is now so high that you can see the darts fishtail a little as they leave the barrel and for that reason accuracy sucks. I might recommend looking for some brass tubing (Hobby store) and extending the barrel a few inches, but I'll save that mod for another post.