- Small Screwdriver (Phillips
- Hot Glue (and gun)
- 1/2" PVC
- Crayola Barrel
- Rubber Bands/Bungee cords
- 1/2" PVC straight coupler/connector
- Electrical Tape
- Felt-tip marker
- Nerf Crossbow
To begin, unscrew the two
halves, and save all the screws. If you have done the previous crossbow modification,
in which you relocated the stock barrel to the front of the gun, then read on. If
you have not yet, then go to the other crossbow mod on the modifications page, and perform the part in which the front of
the shell was cut to make room for a new barrel. Once you have completed that
part, read on.
Once you have the shell
open, take out the plunger (with catch mechanism and its spring) along with the trigger and its spring, and set them all aside
(put the springs somewhere, like in a container, where they cannot roll away.) Pull
out the plunger casing, with the tubing and stock barrel still attached (it will either be attached directly in front of the
plunger, if you did the previous mod, or it will be above the plunger casing, with the tubing snaking all the way around to
the barrel; either way is find, it doesn’t matter.) Pull the tubing and
the stock barrel off of the plunger casing. You can throw away the tubing or
keep it; I don’t care. A lot of people will throw away the stock barrel,
but I put it back where it originally went, and glued a crayola barrel in it, so it’s an ammo holder. Do whatever you want with it, but you don’t need it for this mod.
Anyway, see on the end of the plunger casing, where the tubing was attached, how there is a fairly dramatic size change
at the very end, which is a lip that is there to hold the yellow tubing on? Cut
that lip off. Cut directly at the back of it, flush with the lip. It is too fat for our purposes, and we don’t need it anymore, anyway.
Now, apply some hot glue
to the sides of the end of the plunger casing, just blow where the lip was. Make
sure the glue is all the way around, and then slide the narrower end of your crayola barrel over this end, onto the hot glue. Add a small bead of hot glue around the base of the crayola barrel at the join between
the crayola barrel and the plunger casing, if so desired. I did, as I think it
may have helped the air seal a little, as crayola barrels have those three fins on the inside.
That could have caused a small air leak out the back of the crayola barrel. I
would recommend adding this extra little bit of glue, just to be safe.
This next part is important. Take your 1/2" PVC pipe, and your 1/2" PVC coupler, and insert the pipe into the coupler. Now try inserting the pipe into the other end of the coupler. Many PVC couplers are made with slightly different sizes on either end.
1/2" PVC pipe will fit into either end of the coupler, but you want to find the end that is easier to put the pipe
into and pull the pipe out of. Mark this easier end with your felt-tipped pen
(“Sharpies” work great for this...)
This part is what will make
your crossbow far easier, and faster to load. Take your hot glue gun and your
1/2" PVC coupler, and glue the coupler around the crayola barrel. MAKE SURE that
the EASIER end THAT YOU MARKED is NOT being glued to the plunger casing; it should face OUT, and AWAY from the casing. Be very careful to glue the coupler as straight as you possibly can, because if it
is not straight in line with the Crayola barrel, the crayola can bend a little to go into the PVC pipe when you slip it over,
but if the crayola is straight and the coupler is not then the barrel will be angled,
and the crayola barrel will go right with it, eliminating the concept of accuracy in your crossbow. Be SURE that the coupler is on straight, and apply glue liberally to make sure it won’t go anywhere. Then, wrap the join between the coupler and the plunger casing with some electrical
tape to secure it that little extra bit more. Every little bit helps.
Now, test the coupler by
inserting your 1/2” PVC into the coupler (only a little over 1/4" should be plenty enough; just slide it in a little
and give it a small twist.) Now, give the PVC a small twist and a pull, seeing
how easily it goes in and out. NEVER push your PVC into the coupler harder than
sliding it in, and a small, quick, 1/8” twist. It doesn’t take much
at all, and if you do any more than that, it will suddenly begin to get difficult to take you PVC out quickly and easily.
It’s time to cut your
barrel length. It need not be very long. Mine is about 11.5-12” long, and
it works beautifully. Try some different lengths if you’re not sure, but
make sure that the piece of PVC you use is the straightest part of the pipe you cut if from that you can find. On a Crossbow, you don’t skimp. Everything should be
perfect. It was on mine. My PVC
is about as close to perfectly straight as it gets without actually being straight.
About barrel length, anyway: you needn’t make it longer than, at the very most, 14”. Even that, in my opinion, is pushing the envelope a bit too much.
Also, there is such a thing as too short of a barrel. Once the mod is
completed, try firing you crossbow with a Stefan micro loaded in the crayola barrel, with NO barrel over it, and you’ll
see what I mean. I’d say for a crossbow, the absolute minimum you should
ever use in this modification’s case, would be eight inches. Even THAT
is pushing it a bit much. Nine is more realistic, but I can’t think of
anyone who’d want a barrel that short anyway. Don’t go too long,
though, because no matter how perfectly you make your darts, no matter how far from the edge the hot glue domes on your Stefans
are, the FOAM itself still does (believe it or not) rub the sides of the barrel, and barrels over about 14-16 inches TOPS
start to diminish the range in a drastic way. Instead of losing maybe half a
foot per extra inch (which would hold true for the 10-13” range) you start loosing maybe two feet per extra inch (which
holds true for barrels about 15” long and above.) The “added accuracy”
from the extreme barrel lengths doesn’t help you at all, really, if your dart can’t make it to your target, so
just be very thoughtful when considering barrel length.
Once you’ve got that
all figured out, reassemble the crazy thing. Before you screw the halves back
together, though, apply some hot glue to the plunger casing where it is held by those supports at intervals in the shell. The plunger casing sometimes rotates in the shell when you try to remove your barrel,
so we can eliminate this by gluing the casing in place. Now you can replace the
second half of the shell, and screw it all together.
Lastly, there’s some
work that you need to do with your barrel. Set up a row of targets in your backyard
or somewhere open, and go about eighteen yards away from the targets, with your Crossbow (attach your Rubber Bands/Bungees/whatevers
to it first) and pull up a chair with a back. Sit on it backwards so you can
use the chair back as a rest to make the shots completely unaffected by your ability (or lack thereof) to hold it steady. Now, start target shooting, aiming along the centerline of the shell. You should line up the target with the centerline, right at the end of the part that sticks up on the shell,
which used to house the stock barrel. If you don’t hit the target or the
darts are going off some other direction after three consistent shots, rotate the barrel in the coupler, and watch the tip. The barrel will not be perfectly straight, so watch the barrel slowly angle in new
directions as you turn it. When it looks like its new position would work better
than the previous, take three shots again, in the new position. Note: Does it
hit the targets? Does it do so fairly consistently? Does it go off in another, inaccurate direction? Does it do
this consistently? If the last two (or just the second to last one) are true,
try finding the barrel a new position, and test it again.
Once you have the barrel
in a position where you can hit roughly two out of every three targets consistently, and the third shot that misses is a consistent,
close miss, DO NOT REMOVE YOUR BARREL OR ROTATE IT. Instead, go get your felt-tipped
marker, and make a thick, two-inch or so long line directly in line with the shell’s centerline on the end of the barrel. This mark will tell you quickly and easily how to orient your barrel when you have
loaded a dart. Now, you can take it out, etc.
You will always put the barrel in the same way, so your Crossbow will always fire the same way, with the same accuracy. If you have the time to make a calculated shot in a war, you will rarely miss any
Enjoy your Crossbow! If this modification was done correctly and with care, it may very well go straight
to the top of your arsenal. It did in mine.
Take good care of it, though. Chances are, you’ll never get a hold
of another one again. I hope it works for you as well as mine does for me!