Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Review: Buzz Bee Air Max Tyrant (80ft US) + Internals

Buzz Bee's Mega competitor, the Air Max line, has a massive flagship blaster in the form of the Tyrant. It embodies much of what people wanted in the Mega line, a large clip (mag) fed pump action blaster that was reliable and powerful. Has Buzz Bee achieved that?
Like with the other Buzz Bee Megas, many thanks to Buzz Bee Toys for sending the Tyrant to me for review. As usual, note that their contribution will not affect the review in any way.

When the Tyrant arrived I was surprised just how big the box and the blaster were. Having not owned or seen a Centurion clip (mag), I had no idea just how big the Mega-sized clips (mags) were.
All the things in the box, minus one dart that I lost. Note that since my Tyrant is a US model, it came with suction tipped darts and has an 80ft range claim.

The Tyrant is a gargantuan blaster considering it doesn't have a stock, or underbarrel pump action. Unfortunately, for all that bulk the Tyrant has very little detail in its shell. It's quite plain and fairly boring. A stock would have been very much appreciated (much like the Rotofury). Without a stock for balance, the Tyrant is very front heavy and rather awkward to handle.
Here's the Tyrant next to my Elite Rayven, you can see the significant bulk of the Tyrant.
Looking down the muzzle, you can see that the breech does not mate with any piece like Nerf's clip (mag) systems, rather the breech is just left floating forward.

The Tyrant has a small orange fore-end piece, which works ok as a foregrip. It's quite narrow so not particularly comfortable, but does at least form a place to grip.

The Tyrant's handle is quite well designed, I find it quite comfortable. Notably however, it does not feel quite in scale with the rest of the blaster as it is regular sized, while the rest of the blaster is massive.

The slide is an odd rectangular slab of plastic on the top. It's not very sophisticated or well designed, but is sufficiently grippable to operate easily.
Given the size and bulk of the Tyrant though, an underbarrel prime would have been much preferred. Having to balance it with one hand on the handle at the back, and the other hand on top is pretty awkward.

As you'd expect from a blaster that uses Mega clips (mags), the Tyrant's magwell is pretty big. Like Buzz Bee's other clip (mag) system blasters, the clip (mag) release is a cylindrical vertical bottom behind the magwell. In the Tyrant's case particularly, the clip (mag) release button position is pretty awkward, as will be shown just below.
A look into the magwell, no locks or anything here.
Here's an image that serves well as a size comparison, my hand holding the 12 dart mega clip (mag), which is loaded in the Tyrant. My hand can't get anywhere near wrapping around the clip (mag) to reach for the clip (mag) release from a regular clip (mag) gripping position.
Instead I'm forced to shift my main hand to grip the underside of the Tyrant and actuate the clip (mag) release. The clip (mag) release is too far away from the handle to actuate otherwise.

The priming/cycling sequence of the Tyrant is the same as most clip (mag) system blasters. First is to pull the slide back, which primes the blaster and opens the breech.
Next is to insert/replace the clip (mag).
Finally to ready the blaster for firing, the slide is pushed forward, which chambers a dart in the breech.
Finally of course pulling the trigger to fire. Like with most blasters, the trigger is locked unless the slide is fully forward, and once a dart is chambered, the slide is locked forward until the trigger is pulled.
I was experiencing issues on the forward stroke of the slide. Like with most other springer clip (mag) system blasters, the Tyrant has a dart tooth to push the dart fully into the breech. However once the dart was fully chambered, the dart tooth was still up, and required unusual force to push it down. Normally the dart tooth will begin to retract as the dart is almost fully chambered, allowing for a seamless chambering and slide stroke. This severely reduced ROF as I had to make sure each forward stroke was strong and deliberate.

The Tyrant also has an odd issue where the clip (mag) can feel like it is inserted, but is not quite fully in. This is because the clip (mag) has a notch above the standard locking notch. This also can cause the clip (mag) to get stuck upon removal if the clip (mag) release is not held long enough. This is circumvented simply by holding the clip (mag) release down for the entire insertion/removal process.

Here's a shot of the 12 dart mega clip (mag) next to a Rebelle 12 dart clip (mag). It's pretty darn big, length wise it's comparable to an 18 dart clip (mag).

Finally for performance.
Range wise the US-spec Tyrant is pretty good. From my testing, with the suction tipped XL darts I was getting about 15-18m (50-60ft) ranges flat. The 80ft range claim is certainly achievable at an angle.
Accuracy, rather surprisingly, is not great. I found that the suction tipped darts tended to be less accurate than the regular flat tipped darts, sometimes floating or veering where the flat tipped ones pretty much always fired straight. It's still better than using Nerf Mega darts, but not quite perfect.
Rate of fire could be decent, if not for the dart tooth issue. I found that about 1 dart per second was about the best you could do while not getting it stuck up. With a few fixes, I'm able to get 2 darts per second pretty easily.

The Tyrant is the highest capacity Mega blaster currently available. Nerf's closest competitor, the Rotofury only holds 10 darts. The Tyrant holds 12, and with spare clips (mags) also reloads very quickly. Simply put, the Tyrant is the best primary Mega blaster around. It gets sufficient ranges, has a usable ROF (moreso when fixed), has the highest capacity and can also reload fast with spare clips (mags). Obviously the Tyrant is not something you'd normally use to compete with modified Rapidstrikes, Retaliators, etc.

The Tyrant currently retails for 20USD, which considering what it brings is a darn good price. None of Nerf's Megas get anywhere near the value or abilities of the Tyrant, which singlehandedly puts to shame much of Nerf's Mega line. It isn't as sophisticated as some of Nerf's offerings, but for sheer blasting ability it tops Nerf's blasters. If you are at all interested in Mega blasting, the Tyrant is something you should get. Even if you aren't into Mega blasting, if the Tyrant is available locally I'd say you should definitely consider it. While not the most practical or comfortable (or good looking for that matter) blaster, it is one of the best (if not the best) Mega blasters available.

Pros: Pretty powerful, massive capacity, low price
Cons: Awkward to handle (especially due to lack of stock), massive, poorly detailed, dart tooth issues hinder ROF

Power: 7/7
Accuracy: 3.5/5
Rate of Fire: 2.5/5
Usability: 3/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Overall: 3.8/5

Personal Rating: 4/5 - once you get around the dart tooth issue, the awkward ergonomics is the only thing really detracting from what could be a really good blaster.

Again, many thanks to Buzz Bee for sending the Tyrant to me for review, and again their contribution will not affect the review in any way.

A link to the review I posted on BlasterHub: link

Now for the internals. Like a lot of Buzz Bee's other offerings, the Tyrant's internals are fairly simple.

First the slide needs to be taken off.
Once the slide and all the screws are out, the Tyrant can be pried open.

The internals are not especially interesting, they're not too different from some of Buzz Bee's other offerings.
Here's the plunger system exploded. Note how the breech is separate from the plunger tube, akin to Nerf's Elite clip (mag) system springers.
The plunger tube is 2.9cm in diameter and has a draw of around 11cm, which gives a pretty substantial air displacement. As an estimate, it is probably about twice the length of an Elite clip (mag) system springer's plunger tube. The Tyrant has some serious power potential if its internals can hold up, that plunger tube is massive.

This is a slight alteration I did to the dart tooth piece, a shim that would make the dart tooth retract slightly earlier. It's been smoothened, so the forward slide stroke is now far smoother, and there are no chambering issues.
I also added a small spacer for a little spring precompression.
The alterations in the reassembled Tyrant internals. The spacer didn't seem to make much difference, but the dart tooth fix made operation much smoother and easier.


  1. Thanks for your review, hope to find one of these in Brisbane.

  2. Can the clip fit in a Centurion mag?

    1. As in will the mag work with the Centurion? I believe so, though can't confirm firsthand.