Monday, 11 January 2016

Review: BoomCo Rapid Madness (13m Aus)

I should really have done this 8 months ago. Back when BoomCo was first released, their flagship blaster was the Rapid Madness. It had many promising features, such as a 20 dart harmonica clip and a pump, indicative of an air powered system (which had disappeared from Nerf's line up years ago). This naturally drew many comparison to Nerf's Magstrike, a very similar blaster. Could the Rapid Madness start BoomCo's challenging of Nerf?

Out of the box, you get 30 BoomCo darts, a 20 dart Harmonica Clip, two targets and the RM itself with shield. Note from the box, the 45ft/13m range claim, which is pretty low by today's standards.
The darts are rather nicely packed alternately into trays of ten, necessited due to the dart heads being slightly wider than the body.

Let's take a quick look at the 20 dart BoomCo clip.
The 20 clip is quite a compact block of staggered barrels in complete blue. The white arrow shows which way the clip should be inserted into the blaster.
A top-down look shows the dart pegs better. No air restrictors here.
A look at the back shows the intricacy required with having a harmonica style clip.
Thanks to the staggered arrangement of the barrels and the thinness of BoomCo darts compared to Nerf darts, the 20 dart BoomCo clip is extremely short, shorter than a 10 dart banana clip. It is nearly twice as wide naturally, but the short length is especially helpful for easier storage.

The BoomCo aesthetic is quite distinct from any of Nerf's series. It is comparable to N-Strike/Elite in its sharpness, but also has its own futuristic style and colour scheme.

The Rapid Madness has 3 tac rails: two on top and one on the bottom of the thumbhole stock.
The top rails are ideal for mounting shields or a Railstinger, but the thumbhole stock one is a very odd place, and doesn't have a locking nub.
Nerf attachments will fit on BoomCo rails, albeit very tightly.

The RM's handle is quite a rectangular piece, and has holes cut into it. Despite this, the smoothness of the lines around the holes prevent the holes from presenting any major issue. The sharpness of the handle is a bit of an issue for me, though this is perhaps magnified by the weight of the blaster. I've handled worse handles, though this one may take a bit of getting used to.

The pump is an interesting angled design, half way between a vertical grip pump and a conventional pump. It is surprisingly comfortable, though I'm not a fan of it. One of the problems I have with it is that the pump is free to rotate around, so is hard to get a sturdy grip with. Additionally, as the pump is dual-action (meaning air is drawn in on both the forward and backward strokes), this pump grip is not particularly comfortable for the forward strokes.
I find that adopting a somewhat unusual grip as pictured above makes forward strokes much easier and more comfortable, though it is an even more awkward grip.

The pump stroke is ridiculously long, at around 24.5cm. This along with the dual action allows the pump to draw in massive amounts of air, certainly far more than most pump-up Nerf blasters. With some slight modification, the Rapid Madness can be pumped 25-30 times, which holds enough air for 40 darts. This easily eclipses Nerf's pump-up air blasters, like the Magstrike which needs minimum 15 pumps for just 10 darts.
A quick look at the stock plate, notice the screw. The screw can be used to adjust the OPRV, which alters how much air the bladder will hold. Removing the screw entirely will maximise the air capacity without having to open up the blaster.

Though the Rapid Madness at first appears to be quite a large blaster, much of its length comes from its largely pointless barrel. Remove the barrel and the RM becomes about the length of a Rayven. It is still significantly bulky, especially around the clipwell, and quite heavy.

The BoomCo's clipwell is vastly different to those in Nerf and Buzz Bee blasters, being that BoomCo "clips" are harmonica style clips, while Nerf and Buzz Bee "clips" are in fact magazines. As such, the RM requires a slot through the entire blaster to allow the clip to advance through.
Note the grey button on the left side of the magwell, this button will come in important later.

Here's the 20 dart clip loaded. Full clips are loaded in the left side, while empty clips are removed out the right side. The clip will only fit one way, so no issues with accidentally inserting it the wrong way.
Despite its large capacity, the 20 dart clip doesn't protrude out the side all that much, less than a 12 dart clip in a sideloader like a Rampage.

Since the Rapid Madness is a full-auto blaster, provided it still has air and darts, it will fire when the trigger is pulled, and will continue firing if the trigger is held down.

Here's a clip about half way through the clipwell.
And finally a clip ready to be removed. The clip will not eject itself, it must be manually removed. The clip can be ejected without pulling it out if you insert a new clip.
Once a clip is emptied, the aforementioned grey button must be pressed to reset the mechanism, allowing for a fresh clip to be inserted to continue firing, provided the bladder still has air. Inserting a fresh clip without pushing the button will reset the mechanism anyway, but I find that it loses more air this way than pressing the button.

The shield is a key feature of the first wave of BoomCo darts, with the front being lined with the same material as the BoomCo targets. This allows the shield to catch BoomCo darts quite well. Each blasters' shield is different and is designed specifically for that blaster.

The Rapid Madness' shield is a spring loaded flip up design. The release button works fine and the shield reliably springs into position.

The RM shield is designed to fit on the front barrel tac rail and does fit well, though there are big gaps between the shield plates and the barrel.

Having the shield open kind of makes the RM look like a Dilophosaurus. It's quite intimidating, and being the largest of all the BoomCo shields, also the most useful. The shields still aren't that large though, so for clear line of sight and maneuverability it may be worth just leaving them off. The protection offered by these shields is not particularly significant unless you're peeking around corners.

And finally for performance. Does the Rapid Madness hold up to Nerf's new Elite standards?
Range is about 9m average, about on par with a decent N-Strike blaster. Not very good by today's standards, but still usable.
Accuracy is superior to most newer Nerf blasters thanks to the far more stable BoomCo darts. Even with the Rapid Madness' slightly crazy and slightly inaccurate firing mech (darts can be seen being shot not quite straight out of the muzzle), the darts tend to land in a surprisingly tight bunch.
Rate of Fire is the Rapid Madness' party piece, it spews out darts at around 10dps when fully pumped up. Very few blasters can match it for raw dart output.

The Rapid Madness can be used very effectively for close quarters, where its spray is practically undodgeable and its middling range is not an issue. It is also very effective at suppressive fire, where the only way for non-ninja/Jedi to survive its burst is to take cover or get out of range. It can fire potshots surprisingly accurately, however the low range means that you'll have to fire upwards for any decent range, which makes the darts significantly more dodgeable.

The RM retailed for 100AUD on release, which was far too much. The Stampede was 100AUD, and that was sort-of worth the cost partly because of its *3* 18 dart clips (among other extras) [or if you bought the special super pack, 4 18 clips, 2 6 clips and 100 darts]. The RM has nowhere near the amount of stuff the Stampede had, and besides ROF isn't too special a blaster. Sure it's fun and well made, but it's just far too expensive. I bought mine for 50AUD, which is far more reasonable.

Pros: Rate of fire is ridiculous, high capacity clips that are quickly replaceable
Cons: Poor range, ridiculously high price, takes a lot of pumping

Power: 3.5/7
Accuracy: 4/5
Rate of Fire: 5/5
Usability: 3/5
Value for Money: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.47/5

Personal Rating: 3.5/5 - it's a bit heavy, clunky and the range is nothing special, but when it comes to raw dart output, few blasters can compete.

A link to the review I posted on Blasterhub: link


  1. Was a bit pricey when it came out. What are your thoughts about the rm handling in tight spaces?? i feel it would have been better if the blaster was more compact n shorter.

    1. It is fairly heavy and rather large, but not the biggest thing in the world. You can chop off pretty much the entire barrel which is a big improvement.
      In terms of length I'd say it's similar to handling a full length Rapidstrike, which is not the worst thing in the world to use in close quarters.