Thursday, 5 April 2012

Nerf Rayven CS-18 Review

This is a review of Nerf's latest addition to the N-Strike arsenal - the Rayven CS-18. It is part of the Light-It-Up line, combining the colours of N-Strike and Vortex, and adding the special feature of the Firefly REV-8 (GITD ammo) in a form called Firefly Tech. It's my new favourite blaster, and is also the first CS blaster to take this title from my AT for more than a day.
Firstly, I think you'll agree that the Rayven looks awesome. It is a bullpup blaster, which is very rare in the Nerf world because of the design of the firing mechanisms used in Nerf blasters.. In its standard form it resembles an SMG, but with a barrel attachment it can resemble an assault rifle or an LMG.
The Rayven accepts barrel extensions and has 2 tac rails - one on top of a carry handle, and the other on the right side. The top one is ideal for sights, while the side is good for a tac light or the Hydro Cannon's shield (as I exploited in a recent miniwar).
IMO the barrel extension compatibility is good because it improves the Rayven's accuracy and adds tacticoolness. Besides, it's just fun.

The Rayven has 2 key points which integrate it into the Light-It-Up line - its colour scheme (which IMO is pretty good) and the clip (mag). The clip (mag) has a few blue/violet/UV LEDs inside, which charge up the GITD darts quite well. The charge remains for a number of minutes.

The clip (mag) is a repainted and modified 18 clip (mag) with a battery pack on the side, a grey and orange stripe paintjob and no strip to ammo count.

The Rayven itself uses 4 AA sized batteries, while the light up clip (mag) uses 3. The Rayven is a flywheel blaster like the Barricade, but takes its acceleration trigger (which spools up the flywheels) from the Vortex Nitron. This allows you to spool up the flywheels easily only when you need to. Spooling up takes several seconds, but the Rayven is extremely quiet, even compared to the Barricade (which is already pretty quiet), making it more stealthy than the Barricade.

The jam door looks quite good, keeping the shape of the Rayven, as well as allowing you to remove jams (which in my experience only happen from incorrect usage). It also kills the power to the motors, stopping the flywheels extremely quickly. However, you can still pull the trigger if the jam door is open and the accel trigger is activated, resulting in a dart getting stuck in the flywheel chamber, and use of the jam door being necessary (ironically).

The clip (mag) release button, just behind the clip (mag) is extremely easy to use. With the other safeties disabled, simply tapping the release causes the clip (mag) to fall out - very convenient for quick reloads. It's also not in a position of vulnerability, so you're unlikely to accidentally hit it.

Trigger pull is quite stiff at first, but you get used to it if you've used a Barricade or other semi auto flywheeler. This is because the trigger and dart pusher are connected by a metal wire and a lever. The trigger is a lot closer to the fulcrum of the lever than the metal wire connected to the dart pusher, and anyone who knows anything about levers will know that this requires a lot more work. Those who didn't, well now you do. Usage tips here.

There are 2 safeties which have not been mentioned - both are related to the clip (mag). The trigger cannot be pulled if a clip (mag) is not loaded, and the flywheels automatically stop when a clip (mag) is removed. I found this annoying for reloading because you'd need to re-rev when you reload. I removed both safeties.

Now onto performance - the section many of you have been waiting for.
Ranges: using 4 non-rechargeable and brand new AA batteries, achieved a consistent 12m - above average for a Nerf blaster.
Accuracy: Pretty good for a CS blaster, but still bad compared to non CS blasters. Not helped by overvolting.
ROF: Being semi auto, the Rayven can achieve up to 6dps - only exceeded by full auto air blasters like Magstrikes.

In all honesty, if you can stand the flywheel noise, the Rayven is pretty damn good. You can get it for $40 from BigW, which is decent given ATs are $30 from Target.
The Rayven has been rendered obsolete by the Elite Rayven and Stryfe, although since us Aussies won't get the Elite Rayven, and have yet to see any Stryfes in store, the N-Strike Rayven will have to do.

Pros: Looks awesome, incredibly high novelty factor, power is decent, accuracy is decent for a CS blaster, semi auto is epic fun, good capacity, can be overvolted for great ranges
Cons: Rev up time can be a buzzkill and really annoying, flywheel sound is annoying, range is reliant on battery power, a little overpriced

Range: 5.5/7
Accuracy: 4/5
Usefulness: 4.5/5
Rate of fire: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5

Overall: 4.29/5

Personal Rating: 4.5/5 - really fun to play with, looks awesome.

Looks awesome, blasts great, epic fun.
My new favourite CS blaster (previous was AT).


  1. Good review I think I'm going to buy this gun! BTW the gun design is clearly based off of the magpul PDR:

  2. Great review, I think it's based on the QBZ-95B as they are very similar in shape.

  3. Got mine on sale for ten bucks :3

    Awesome blaster.

  4. great review

    i really want to get one

  5. Getting one for $20
    Awesome rewiew for an awesome blaster