Monday, February 23, 2015

Crossbolt: The String's The Thing!

Dart - New hit CW series
This weekend we were able to get our hands on the new Crossbolt at a local Toys R Us. What followed was one of the most excitement building reviews we’ve ever done.  Read on, or watch us in the videos below to see us get more and more ecstatic with each new test.

Not bad for stock
The Crossbolt itself looked very plain. Many features that were disliked when compared to other blasters. A top prime and bull pup design made it immediately fall into a category of “things that were not as good as the EAT”. The bow arms didn’t actually function as proper bow arms, and only seemed to add bulk to the blaster. There were no stock or barrel points and only one tac rail. This looked like a gimmick blaster that existed merely to cash in on the current trend of the archer upswing. Then we tried firing it, and to our surprise, opinions changed rather quickly.

Gotta test Koosh
Top prime and isn’t the worst design. While most of us here prefer an under barrel or shotgun style prime, the Retaliator is still a favorite among many players, and the design of this blaster lends itself to these choices. An under barrel prime would have required the blaster to be longer, and would have to maneuver around the bow arms. Not the biggest challenge, but certainly something unnecessary when looking at the purpose of this blaster. It’s supposed to function similar to a crossbow, which you would (more or less) most of the time need and prime in a similar fashion.

The bull pup design is also not terrible. While most blasters haven’t gone this route, and many of us enjoy reloading our blasters on the other side of the trigger, it again isn’t terrible and makes sense. In order for this design to work with a more standard mag well positioning, you’d need to again make the blaster longer, which just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Sure it’s not the biggest blaster by any means, but it would feel unnecessarily long and overly complicated if they went this route.

Everything really started falling into place after that. It wasn’t the most comfortable blaster we’d held, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. The lack of stock and barrel attachments were likely due to the fact that this blaster is pretty thin, Enough so that the normal attachments likely wouldn’t fit exactly right without it being thickened up. Yet, the minimized thickness seemed to be an attempt to offset the bow arms. Of course, with bow arms and no attachments, plus a top prime it didn’t leave many places for tac rails. The placement of the only rail on the blaster also made sense. No need to try to fit something on the priming handle like the retaliator.  It keeps the design sleek and elegant, allowing users to add a fore grip if they desire.  

There were still some things we didn’t like. It was a bit short for some of us, and the mag release could be in a bit of a better spot.  More than once a mag was accidentally dropped when shouldering. The trigger guard is a bit small for larger users, but nothing that makes it unusable.  

It performed better than expected out of the box, shooting straighter than most plunger or flywheel blasters un-modded.  The chrono showed it was a little above average, which was nice. A surprisingly solid and well-made blaster. We were pleasantly surprised, but we couldn’t stop there.

The first order of business was tightening the string. We unscrewed the string holders and tied off a bit of string from either end, then tested again.  We were surprised. Everything worked. We were happy that this might be one of the, if not THE easiest blaster to mod out of the box. What we didn’t expect was how effective it was. We were gaining an average of 20+ fps! For a simple and quick mod that costs nothing, the potential was huge!

Of course, we had to go one step further. We didn’t like the bow arms, and they really only served as a platform with which to tie the strings to and make it look like a crossbow. So why not get rid of them? The holes that the arms snap into are hollow and run all the way through the blaster. We decided to forego the arms and tie the string together in one nice little circle. Again we tested, again we were surprised. It was great, we could still get the increased FPS, but we could do it without the large arms taking up space! Plus we thought the blaster looked pretty awesome without the arms.

All in all this blaster went from something we picked up on a whim, to a blaster we are excited to recommend to new players.  As always we tell people to do some research first and try to play to your strengths. This doesn’t have slam fire and is slower to fire than other blasters. Your personal preference, play style, or game type might not fall in line with what this blaster has to offer. But if you want something that’s super easy to mod, and want something a bit more accurate, be sure to give this blaster a shot, you’ll be glad you did. 

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