One of the dark horse blasters that have popped up this year is the Buzzbee Range Master. I'd only read about them to date, as so far (at least from what I know) they're not available in Australia but have been generating quite a bit of 'buzz' (hehe) in the US given the unique firing mechanism and impressive ranges.
I find Buzzbee isn't particularly popular down under, so on my travels to the US I was intrigued.. enough to see it as worth picking one up and negotiating it into my suitcase (and eventually Australian Customs). So here it is, a Range Master review from the road (I think I wrote this up in a hotel room in Waco, TX) after the jump:)
It comes in an open card box with the Range Master, the barrel attachment, scope, detachable bipod and darts.
That all being said, there's still something kinda cool about it at the same time. Out of the box, the bipod is already attached (but can be easily removed) but chucking on all of the attachments makes it look a lil' more complete.
The bolt on the right side also serves as an air pump. A novel, innovative or just plain weird idea, at first glance I thought it'd operate somewhat like the Hunter, but you pull use the bolt to pump back and forth around 5-6 times to prime the Range Master.
The scope attachment is quite sizable, but doesn't do a whole lot given no magification- it does have a painted on cross hairs guide and LOOKS cool which is pretty much what scopes are for in these types of guns:) It just slides on to the top of the Range Master on an attachment rail.
The detachable bipod clips in and out similar to the way the Nerf Vulcan does- squeeze in the points and attach it into the bottom of the Range Master.
What's also good about it is the way it folds up and clips into the bottom of the blaster rather than just hanging there. It's all very Longshot like.
|Bottom of the legs have two lil plugs that come together..|
|And attach into the blaster.|
The Range Master is a single shot blaster- it's a fair amount of effort to shoot one dart off, but it IS in line with the whole "sniper" role play. Pull the bolt back opens up a door to load your dart- slide it in all the way in.
And this was where the Range Master came into it's own. I shot a dart outside the door of my hotel room and it went far. Pretty darn impressive distances really, even to the point some of the truckers sitting outside thought it looked like fun and all had a turn. Accuracy was pretty decent given the power of it all- it shoots HARD and pretty much everything (tried it with the BuzzBee darts, Air Zone darts, Elite darts..)
Best performances were with Elite darts and no barrel extension, and while I found the priming/pumping mechanism was a bit of a pain and awkward ( I am ambidextrous so for me personally I ended up switching to left handed fire/priming with the right for quick reloads) it was still really quite fun:) I personally found it the most fun with Dart Tag darts- the weight gave it a more satisfying 'thud' when it hit the walls.
It's been mentioned numerous times that the scope does sort of angle downwards, requiring you to tilt the Range Master back a little; this does make the darts soar further. Sneaky, but clever!
TO be honest I WAS sceptical about this gun but it the end, I've kinda grown to like it. It's given me quite a bit of fun shooting at the mirrors and windows of my numerous hotel rooms, and while it's not what I would see as particularly useful in field battle- I'm not an organised battle kinda fella, so I see it working quite nicely as a coffee table blaster for shooting at people up the stairs (or vice versa at people sitting on my couch). It actually feels 'sniper' esque. :D
Inexpensive, excellent performances and quirkly novel approach outweigh it's somewhat lack lustre design. I'd recommend it if you can get your hands on one. Not sure I'd go so much as to import one given the shipping costs, but it's really quite fun so I don't think you'd be a fool if you did.