Thursday, 1 January 2015

Opinion/Rant/Discussion/Comparison: Elite Stryfe vs Elite Rayven CS-18

Before the release of the Rapidstrike, which is now considered by many to be the best flywheel blaster Nerf has, one of the biggest questions regarding flywheelers was "Stryfe or (Elite) Rayven?"
I'm going to try and address that question with my experiences and opinions.
This isn't a complete comparison, as I didn't get the Elite Rayven stock or with all its bits, so I can't do all of the ratings. But for the most part the question has been brought up because the two are similar blasters with some important differences.
Let's just get some of the basic things out of the way.
Basics
Range: Since the Elite Rayven has not had a grey trigger release as far as I'm aware, I'll just compare the orange trigger ranges. My Elite Rayven arrived pre-modded, so I'll go off RandomShadow09's YouTube range tests. According to him, both blasters get 45-50ft flat average ranges. Not a huge amount of difference, and both in line with most Elite blasters.
Accuracy: Pretty similar, the two blasters use the same firing mech and darts. The only difference is that the Rayven's faux barrel is longer, which should help grouping slightly, but in my experience there's not much difference.
Rate of Fire: The Rayven's trigger pull is significantly stiffer than the Stryfe's, which becomes painful in rapid fire. The Stryfe however has its dodgy dart sensor which causes trigger lockup if you try firing too quickly. As a result, in stock form the Elite Rayven and Stryfe end up with similar rates of fire.
Usability: Both blasters have their issues.
The Rayven's biggest issue is the stiff trigger pull, which is extremely difficult and uncomfortable unless you're used to such trigger pulls. Also a problem that was evident in the N-Strike Rayven was that the clip (mag) would not properly align with the flywheel cage, and so darts would not be fed properly and misfires called 'squibs' would occur. This is easily fixed with a thin piece of plastic and some adhesive.
The Stryfe's big issue is its dart sensor. It prevents the trigger from being pulled unless it detects a dart. However, it is rather faulty and often locks up the trigger even if the blaster is loaded. These problems are particularly evident with non-Elite clips (mags) and Streamline darts, and have caused many an unwanted and avoidable jam. It's incredibly easy to disable or remove.
If those easily solved issues are fixed, then both blasters become reliable and easy to use.
Capacity Out of Box: This is one of the major differences, the Elite Rayven comes with a Firefly Tech 18 dart clip (mag), while the Stryfe comes with a measly 6 dart clip (mag). 18 clips (mags) are cheap and abundant though, so if you're going beyond buying just a blaster, take that into consideration.
Value for Money: The Stryfe retails for 20USD, while the Elite Rayven retails for 35USD. A separate 18 dart clip (mag) retails for 11USD so a Stryfe + 18 clip (mag) costs less than an Elite Rayven. Taking into account the Rayven has a built in stock and Firefly tech on its clip (mag) while the Stryfe has an extra 6 clip (mag), and I'm going to call this round a draw, since they both come pretty close.
If pressed I'd have to give the edge to the Stryfe, because it's nearly half the price of the Rayven, yet the 15USD saved can make up for the Stryfe's other shortcomings.


Functionally the two blasters are very similar, both being semi auto flywheelers. The Stryfe has a much smoother stock trigger pull, however the Rayven's trigger pull is easily modified to match that of the Stryfe's. Range wise the Stryfe will always beat the Rayven unless the Rayven's faux barrel is changed, as it causes friction with the darts, slowing them down and reducing their range. If you're serious about range and you want to use a Rayven, switching the faux barrel for one of a larger diameter will fix the problem, and have the two blasters on par. So if performance is all you care about, both are pretty much equal provided you're prepared to put in the work for the Rayven particularly. If you don't replace the Rayven's faux barrel then the Stryfe will always have the range advantage.

The two have very different tacticool options.
The Stryfe can be built up from the base pistol it is out of box into just about anything, thanks to its various accessory attaching points. It can accept both barrel extensions and stocks, and has two tac rails ideal for sights and grips respectively. It is popular to use the Stryfe as an SMG/PDW style blaster, with a foregrip for comfort and a stock if desired, but no barrel. I personally use it with a Retaliator stock and foregrip, as I like the stability of a stock and the Retaliator stock is the shortest and most compact. However, straight out of box the Stryfe is just a pistol with a small clip (mag).

The Rayven is larger than the Stryfe and has an inbuilt stock, and so in its smallest form is already an SMG/PDW sized and styled blaster. It has less tacticool options than the Stryfe, though all it lacks is the ability to accept stocks, having two tac rails and a barrel accepting muzzle. Without barrel extensions the Rayven cannot accept foregrip, and so can be a little awkward to two-hand grip. However, unlike the Stryfe, the Rayven can comfortably accept a tac light on its side tac rail without sacrificing
comfort, as the Stryfe would have to sacrifice either its sight or foregrip to attach a light to a tac rail. I personally use the Rayven with a shortened Retal barrel extension, as I like the feel of having a foregrip, but don't want a long barrel. Again I use a Retal foregrip because I find it comfortable, and it helps handle the Rayven.


Besides tacticool options the key difference between the Stryfe and Rayven is the clip (mag) configuration.
The Stryfe has a "conventional" design, with the clip (mag) loading in front of the handle and firing trigger. Look for instance at the M16 and AK assault rifles, which are both (for the purpose of this comparison) conventional design firearms.
The Rayven has a "bullpup" configuration, with the clip (mag) loading behind the handle and firing trigger. Examples of bullpup firearms include the Steyr AUG, FN F2000, TAR-21 and FAMAS.

As the Stryfe uses a conventional design, for the ordinary person it is probably faster and easier to reload compared to the Rayven. Since the foregrip of the Stryfe is closer to the clip (mag) than the Rayven, it is faster to move your foregrip hand to the clip (mag), remove it, insert a loaded clip (mag) and re-grip the foregrip than with the Rayven. Alternatively with the Stryfe, due to its clip (mag) release button being just in front of the acceleration trigger, you can use your main hand to release the emptied clip (mag) from the Stryfe, while using your other hand to grab a loaded clip (mag), saving more time compared to the Rayven. The Stryfe is also shorter in its base form than the Rayven, as the Stryfe does not have the extra space between the handle and magwell, and extra length of a stock.

However as the Stryfe's clip (mag) is loaded in front of the handle, the Rayven is the shorter blaster if an equivalent length stock is attached to the Stryfe (Stockade stock is about the right length). This can be an advantage in close quarters when going around corners, as you want minimum length from the body for maximum maneuverability. Adding on a short barrel extension to attach a foregrip to the Rayven makes the two roughly equal in length.

The Stryfe also works better with drums than the Rayvens. The magwell of the Rayven is close enough to the back of the stock that if a large drum is loaded (e.g. the 35 dart drum), then if a right hander turns the Rayven towards the left, the drum will likely poke into their body. Do note that if you use a stockless Stryfe, the extra forward weight may be an issue for stability and handling.
I personally don't use drums as I much prefer straight clips (mags), but it's something to consider if you do like drums.


Ultimately all of this comes down to personal taste and preference, provided you're willing to put in the effort to make the Rayven equal to the Stryfe. I personally prefer the Rayven as I found it more comfortable to use than a Stryfe with a stock and I personally like the look of the Rayven more. You could just as well get the opposite statement from another Nerfer who prefers the Stryfe, as no two Nerfers are the same.
At the end of all that, I have a conclusive answer for myself, however I do not have a conclusive answer for you. You are not me, and so to answer this question for yourself, you'll have to go ahead and try both blasters, and see which one you prefer.

4 comments:

  1. I have both Elite editions. Personally, I don't have any issue with either, they are both great blasters. I'd have to say I prefer the Rayven for its more compact natures (and because bullpup is just so good!) The Stryfe may be the better blast overall, though I think the Rayven isn't too different. I'm used to the heavy trigger pull and reloading from prone is no issue for me. Both are fantastic carbines at their smallest, but the natural inclusion of a stock with the Rayven is definitely a point in its favour. And even with the 35 round drum magazine, it still feel comfortable enough to use in almost any game. It must be said that I'm primarily a gunslinger, so a pair of Sweet Revenges are my primary blasters, with any flywheel blaster as my secondary. For my style, the Rayven is just the better choice. A full internal overhaul has improved its performance to on par with any reasonable Stryfe mod. Really it depend on your style. Are you fast, or precise in your shot placement? Do you rush the enemy and take the occasional potshot, or slowly advance while spraying the area. Personally, I find rapidly advancing with a smaller semi-automatic blaster to maintain a covering fire, then getting in with two smaller blasters for accurate close-range shots to be my most stable loadout. But the stryfe or Rayven in stock form are both solid options. For moddding, the Rayven can easily be the better carbine, but stock I think the Stryfe has the edge.

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  2. For those modders out there that have the supplies, time and money, you can buy the two and do a Rayven shell integration on the Stryfe (a Strayven). It should have two magwells which means you will have more ammo in your loadout or less space on your vest. I believe that with a Stayven you get the best of both worlds.

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  3. I have 2 elite rayvens and a stryfe. All of the blasters work well with one of rayvens shooting farther than my stryfe. In my opinion the rayven is the better blaster since i find easier to mod and reload. However the stryfe has more taticool options.

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  4. The stryfe and the Elite rayven are practically the same except that one is a bullpup and the other; conventionally designed. It all comes down to cosmetic personal preference and modding ability (for those modders out there). Since I run on 2 superstock elite rayvens I might be more biased towards the elite rayven because I'm used to the reloading of the rayven and the bullpup design while I find it harder to reload dual wielded stryfes even with slings. I still think the stryfe is one of the best blasters out there though it isn't as cool looking as the rayven. It gets the job done efficiently and it's a usable primary in many games. But in my opinion, I believe the elite rayven is the superior blaster.

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