Sunday, 23 August 2015

Review: Buzz Bee Air Max 3/Boss (15m Aus)

Buzz Bee's mid-sized Mega blaster is the Air Max 3/Boss, a 3-shot slide action large pistol seemingly as a direct competitor to Nerf's Magnus, but with one key advantage: having a Mega clip (mag).
Like with all the previous Air Max and Ultra Tek blasters, many thanks to Buzz Bee for kindly sending the AM3/Boss to me for review, and like with all of those reviews, their contribution will not affect the review in any way.

Standard Buzz Bee style box. I'm honestly getting a little tired of untying those cable ties, I much prefer being able to just slice through the paper ties Nerf uses.
 A warning/instruction sticker on the clip (mag). Note that the blaster pictured is actually the UT8/Champion.
Out of the box, you get the AM3/Boss, a 3 AM/XL (Mega) dart clip (mag) and 3 AM/XL darts. For the US releases you'll get the suction tipped XL darts, for elsewhere the flat headed AM darts.

Let's take a quick look at the 3 AM/XL dart clip (mag).

Buzz Bee's 3 clip (mag) is very square, and being that I'd never really seen a Mega sized clip (mag) before, its size was quite a surprise to me.
Next to a regular dart six clip (mag), despite the half capacity it's the same height and due to using Mega sized darts is about 50% wider.
Here's the clip (mag) loaded up. Note how unlike regular dart clips (mags) the feed lips pretty much entirely obscure the top loaded dart.
Naturally Nerf's Megas fit and feed just fine.
Interestingly the clip (mag) has two grooves in the back. The smaller rectangular one is of course the standard clip (mag) retention groove into which the clip (mag) release inserts, but I have no idea why the other one is there.

Unlike the UT blasters, the URT/Sentinel in particular, the AM3/Boss is a little lacking in intricate details. It comes off as a little basic compared to them, though still an improvement on some of Buzz Bee's older offerings. The plastic does feel a little better and less creaky than Buzz Bee's older blasters.
The muzzle piece is a rather odd round piece unlike most regular cylindrical muzzle pieces. That combined with the blaster's overall bulk makes the AM3/Boss fit quite well as a sci-fi style blaster.
The AM3/Boss is reasonably wide, but the main width is in the slide, the body itself is not exceptionally wide.
The AM3/Boss has sort of iron sights, but as with most other iron sights on Nerf blasters they're too small to actually use and of course aren't zeroed.
The AM3/Boss has this orange button like protrusion on both sides, but it does nothing.

The handle is reasonably sized and reasonably comfortable, no real complaints there.
What I do have to complain about though is that my trigger finger tends to drag along the top of the trigger area, and there is a small protrusion right in between the top of the handle and the trigger, which my trigger finger always scrapes along.

The AM3/Boss is a 3 shot blaster, so is a direct competitor to Nerf's Magnus. However the AM3/Boss has a key advantage over the Magnus, being that it has a 3 dart detachable clip (mag), and thus has a magwell that accepts Mega sized clips (mags).
Like with the UT blasters, the clip (mag) release is a cylindrical button behind the magwell that is pushed up to release.
Down the magwell, like the UT blasters the breech system is slightly simplified compared to Nerf's clip (mag) system things.

The AM3/Boss is a slide primed blaster similar to the Magnus, and has quite a long priming stroke. The prime is smooth and easy, no problems there.

For me the slide is quite comfortable to grip. It's sufficiently long and tall, and quite wide making for a good amount of grip area.
Using the AM3/Boss is the same as the Magnus, and basically every other springer clip (mag) system blaster. First up, open the breech by pulling the slide all the way back.
Once the breech is open, clips (mags) can be inserted/removed/replaced.
However the clip (mag) release is unfortunately rather difficult to reach with your main hand unless you have exceptionally long fingers. Pictured above is me barely reaching the clip (mag) release with the middle finger, and having to mostly release the handle to reach it.
The instructions picture this method, holding the underside of the blaster with your main hand to hold down the clip (mag) release.
I prefer this method, grasping the clip (mag) with my offhand and using my pinkie to depress the clip (mag) release, as it lets me keep my main hand on the handle.
One slight issue with releasing clips (mags) is that you can't just tap the clip (mag) release and drop the clip (mag), as the clip (mag) release will catch onto the second groove on the clip (mag), getting it stuck in the position pictured above. As such you have to hold the clip (mag) release down longer than with most other blasters, which given its slightly awkward position is not ideal.
Finally close the breech by moving the slide forward and it should lock into position and unlock the trigger. Pull the trigger to fire naturally.
The AM3/Boss next to a few other blasters. It's a little taller than the Magnus but is otherwise quite comparable. Compared to the Sweet Revenge it's significantly taller and bulkier, though not much longer.

So how does the Air Max 3 perform? Does it compete with Nerf's Mega line?
Ranges are reasonable, about 11m flat extremely consistently using the flat tipped AM darts. Switch to Nerf's Megas gives a significant range improvement, comparable to a Magnus, though consistency goes out the window, since some will drop short and some will soar really far.
Accuracy is pretty impressive, the flat tipped AM darts fly extremely straight. Even with bouncing I was having all the darts I fired land within a circle about 0.5m wide.
Rate of fire is decent, though not fantastic. The AM3/Boss is quite easy to prime, but without slam-fire and with such a long priming stroke it certainly won't be winning any ROF contests. About 2 darts per second is about what I can get.

The Air Max 3 is not currently widely available in Australia yet, but is available at Mr Toys Toyworld for 25AUD (for the purpose of rating I will be ignoring that price, as it's an independent smaller retailer). The RRP in the US is 10USD, which is absolute bargain, considering that's about the same as a Strongarm. Nerf's competitor, the Magnus, retails for about 15USD (though naturally on sale it'll drop down). While twice the price compared to the smaller Air Max/Baron, the AM3/Boss performs similarly well, is much more comfortable overall and as a general use blaster is much more practical due to its clip (mag) system.

If you're at all into the Mega line, the AM3/Boss is highly recommended. It's a cheap, effective and reliable clip (mag) system Mega blaster, something Nerf has failed thus far to do.
If you're purely into practical use, then the AM3/Boss is possibly a decent sidearm, though I'd personally only use it for such if Megas are treated specially (e.g. instant-eliminate a double-tap zombie) as for sidearm duty I personally would prefer the one-handability, greater capacity and smaller size of the Sweet Revenge. While the clip (mag) allows for easy reloading provided you have more preloaded clips (mags), reloading on the run is not as easy and so for scavenging/reloading on the run the Magnus is superior.
For just having fun, the AM3/Boss is a pretty good choice. It's very cheap, performs well and is really fun to use. An advantage it has over regular blasters like the Strongarm is that it fires Mega sized darts, which add a novelty factor not present with regular dart blasters. If you get yours from North America you also get the suction tipped XL dart, and sticking suction darts to flat surfaces is always fun.
I'd certainly recommend picking it up if you have a little spare cash and space.

Pros: compact mega clip (mag) system blaster, very cheap, performs quite well
Cons: poor for scavenging/reloading on the move without spare clips (mags), included clip (mag) is very low capacity

Power: 7/7
Accuracy: 5/5
Usability: 4.5/5
Rate of Fire: 3/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Personal Rating: 4.5/5 - it performs pretty well and feels awesome to use. I also find it quite comfortable (besides the trigger finger issue), and the low price of 10USD doesn't hurt either.

Again thanks to Buzz Bee for sending the Air Max 3 for review, it's another great blaster.


  1. This is titan. Can it use mega centurian clips?

    1. I'm pretty sure it can, though I don't own a Nerf 6 dart Mega clip.

  2. Is this or the Tyrant better?

    1. Assuming comparable ranges, I find the Boss more comfortable to use.