With the popularization of after market foam, stock foam from Buzz Bee Nerf, Airzone and the like have found their way into bins that get shelved and stored away indefinitely. We all have them. Why not use them?
I've been using them for a while now and have been more than pleased with their performance once I've added a little magic. In fact, once I've performed these minor modifications, I've found they out perform any other Stefan style darts I've made using aftermarket foam.
I have many theories as to why this is but I can discuss that once you've looked through my write up.
Without further ado;
In conclusion, all of these darts out range their aftermarket counterparts. For example my beige foam domes out of my Hypermaxx get an average of 115' flat. With these, average ranges are 135' flat.
There are many factors which I believe contribute to their performance.
1) The stock foam is much denser than most aftermarket foam which lends to their resilience to degradation. It also is much 'slicker'. After market foam is Foam Backer Rod meant for insulation. The coating that it's treated with is meant to seal and has a minute bit of tack. This leads to friction within the barrel as it's fired.
2) The straw insert, as illustrated above, definitely adds to the darts rigidity exponentially. Many have expressed that stock foam "shreds" being fired from their primaries. The Straw insert definitely deters this from happening. My main primaries can fire these darts 130' to 150' flat without exploding or shredding or any signs of degradation.
3) The fact that the dart is a 'tube' as opposed to rod also contributes to it's increase in range. As the blaster is fired, pressure builds behind the dart along the travel of the barrel. As the dart exits the barrel, that pressurized air is also trapped 'inside' the hollow of the dart. It's only there for a split second but it's enough to help give the dart that extra push of acceleration. It's the same principle as a bottle rocket or the 'Air Hog' series where the pressurized air is contained and released within the projectile.
4) Since the dart is much more rigid than it's counterparts, there is less deformation from the dart being fired. As you fire darts, the pressure behind the dart pushes against the foam in effect 'squeezing' it causing it to slightly deform. As the dart exits the barrel, energy is used as it tries to straighten itself out. With the straw inserts, there is considerably less deformation meaning less energy needs to be used to straighten itself out and is instead used to project the dart forward. With less deformation, accuracy is also increased.
I performed a small test with pictures to help illustrate my argument.
I plugged the barrel with my finger and fired a dart so it would get trapped by the air pressure inside. I then layed down a dart of the same proportion and make beside the trapped dart to illustrate the difference caused by the air pressure on the dart. Obviously, the effect is exaggerated but nonetheless, it shows that energy is transferred 'into' the foam. It's a small amount of energy but it is energy that is not efficiently used to project the dart forward. As the dart exits, energy is also used to straighten itself out. Sometimes, as the foam fatigues we all witness this as a cause of 'fishtailing'. The more deformed the foam gets the more pronounced this fishtailing becomes.
...As you can see the least amount of deformation occurs with the straw inserted foam darts.
As an aside, my seal is 100% so as soon as I released my finger, the dart shot out because of the trapped air pressure.
Other notes: These hopper feed without trouble. The Yellow BuzzBee foam is HIGHLY visible which helps with dart retrieval. By no means do I claim these are indestructible. They just perform better and are less prone to degradation under normal circumstances compared to regular Stefan style darts.