Saturday, 23 September 2017

Review: Buzz Bee Double Drum (15m) [Barbarian]


The Double Drum is a slight reshell of the Buzz Bee Barbarian, formerly Blizzard, a new blaster fed from two 20-dart cylinders. It is a pump action, pump-to-fire blaster, which has drawn criticism as pump-to-fire is pretty much universally inferior to a triggered system. Regardless, having been pleasantly surprised by the very similar Buzz Bee Sidewinder, I had some hope that the Double Drum wouldn't be terrible.

Disclaimer: This blaster was sent to me for review by Buzz Bee Toys. Despite their contribution, I will do my best to ensure that this review remains as objective and unbiased as possible.
The Box


Nothing special about this box.


The Double Drum Blaster












The Double Drum is quite a chunky, bulky blaster, that is also surprisingly short. With no cylinders loaded, it has a large, unsightly gap in the middle. It has a single sling point on the back of the blaster.










The Double Drum's handle is awkwardly designed. It is not particularly long, and the angular protrusion at the bottom is poorly designed. I found my fingers squished tightly between the trigger guard and the bottom protrusion, which was especially uncomfortable.

Of note is the Double Drum's trigger, or rather, lack thereof. The piece in the trigger guard is a faux trigger, being purely for aesthetics. It is a little misleading and rather awkward to press against, especially as it is not particularly thick.
















The Double Drum is actuated entirely by its underbarrel pump grip. It is a decently sized pump grip, of good width and reasonable length. My hand fits on it quite comfortably with no issue. My only issue with the grip is that it is not ideally designed for sustained rapid-fire pumping, which a vertical type foregrip would be more suited to.


The Double Drum has a very wide faux barrel that allows it to fire from both cylinders.
It advances the cylinders using this small arm, that actuates on the forward stroke of every pump. It sits just next to the rear opening of the faux barrel.
The Double Drum uses two air outlets to fire from its two cylinders with minimum complexity. By design, the cylinders line up with one air hole, and completely block the other. As the system has a reasonably good air seal, this ensures minimum air leakage through the inactive air outlet.
The central void is wide open to receive the cylinder block.

The Cylinders








As mentioned previously, the Double Drum uses a pair of cylinders to hold its darts. Each cylinder holds 20 darts, for a total capacity of 40 darts. The cylinders are close enough together that they mesh together like gears. As such, turning one will also turn the other. This is convenient for reloading, as well as allowing the cylinder advancing mech to remain simple.

Like with the older Sidewinder, the Double Drum's cylinders have a cone-like protrusion at the bottom of each barrel. These protrusions help to keep darts in the barrels, however are quite a bit tighter on darts than more conventional stock barrel systems. As a result, loading up the blaster with anything but fresh darts can often take a lot more force and effort than is convenient.

The cylinders are held together by two grey pieces that click together on assembly.
Each side has a small piece that locks into the main blaster, and a button on the side that retracts said piece. This allows the cylinders to be easily inserted into the blaster, and relatively easily removed.
A small spring loaded piece ensures that the cylinders are always correctly aligned with the blaster's air outlets. Besides this, the cylinders are free to rotate, and can be easily rotated by hand.












Once the cylinders are fully loaded with darts, I think they look quite good.
The cylinder assembly is quite a large and bulky piece, pictured above next to the comparatively small Nerf 25 dart drum. This size of detachable assembly is quite inconvenient to store and carry multiples of, compared to more conventional magazines.

Fully Assembled









The fully assembled Double Drum is quite a bulky blaster, with quite significant width thanks to its dual drums. That said however, it is much better balanced than the Sidewinder, due to having its weight evenly distributed on its sides. It is quite front heavy though, and could potentially have benefitted from a stock.
The cylinder block locks into place by fitting into the shaping on the inside of the main gap. The two orange locking pieces prevent the cylinders from dropping out, but otherwise do not contribute significantly to cylinder positioning.
While the Double Drum is a very bulky and wide blaster, it is not actually that big. Compared to a Stryfe, it is only a little longer and not a whole lot taller.

Performance

Being a pump-to-fire blaster, both muzzle velocity and range are very difficult to accurately or consistently measure. As my chronograph is intended for airsoft, it would be near impossible for me to get a good shot off that could also be recorded. Range would also be very difficult to reliably measure, due to the constant and significant movement of the blaster during firing. Regardless, I did my best to keep the blaster as level as possible while still putting as much power as possible into each shot. I recorded ranges of around 12-17m at my best attempt at a flat angle.
Accuracy is of course hilariously poor. On top of Long Distance darts being terribly inconsistent and inaccurate, the pump-to-fire mechanism of the Double Drum also means the blaster will be jerking around quite a lot during firing. The overall result is that the spread of the darts can become incredibly large, so much so that 40 darts may not even be enough to hit a single target.
Rate of fire is one of the only aspects of performance not compromised by pump-to-fire. The Double Drum, with significant effort, is capable of around 5-6 darts per second depending on arm strength. A ROF of 2-3 darts per second is much less strenuous to sustain but still quite effective.

Game Utility
The Double Drum works best as a high capacity scavenger blaster for stock blaster games. Not too many stock dart blasters sport its capacity, so it can provide sustained for much longer than most other stock blasters. Its rate of fire allows it to produce quite significant wall of foam, though this is very physically taxing. Furthermore, the majority of its barrels are exposed most of the time, so are relatively easy to reload on-the-fly.

Unfortunately, the cone protrusions at the end of the barrels make properly loading worn, used darts much more difficult. Additionally, its pump-to-fire nature means that it has essentially no accuracy to speak of, so you will likely consume far more ammo with it than a triggered blaster.
While the Double Drum's cylinders are detachable, and more easily switched than the older Sidewinder, these cylinders are not currently available separately. Furthermore, they are quite large and bulky, and are still much more difficult to switch on-the-fly than more conventional clips or magazines.

Value and Summary
The Buzz Bee Barbarian and Adventure Force Decimator (of which the Double Drum is a recolour) retail for around 20-27USD currently. Compared to most Nerf blasters at this price point, it sports a far larger capacity. Unfortunately, Buzz Bee now has competition in this price range for a high capacity revolver, with the Dart Zone Magnum Superdrum and X-Shot Turbo Advance both sporting a 40 dart capacity in a similar price range. Furthermore, both those blasters have triggers. Compared to those two blasters, the Double Drum has few, if any, advantages, and as a result, does not represent as good value as if it were compared purely against Nerf. Due to the existence of the aforementioned blasters, both of which are as good, if not better, I cannot recommend the Double Drum.

Power: 6/7
Accuracy: 0.5/5
Rate of Fire: 4.5/5
Usability: 1.5/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall: 2.86/5

Personal Rating: 1.5/5 - I strongly dislike pump-to-fire blasters, as they have far less control and stability compared to a triggered blaster. I'm also not a fan of the Double Drum's ergonomics, and find it to be generally awkward and uncomfortable to use. It is more balanced and easier to quick-reload than the Sidewinder however.

A link to the review I posted on BlasterHub: link

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