Saturday, 5 March 2016

Review: Nerf Rebelle Codebreaker (20m Aus grey trigger)

The Codebreaker Crossbow is an unusual blaster that I thought had promise, a pump action stringer revolver rifle/crossbow. I wasn't interested enough to pick it up myself, but a friend of mine picked it up and let me borrow it for this review.
My friend who owns this particular Codebreaker removed all locks as well as the combination lock before I could try it out. As a result my review may not be entirely relevant to a completely stock Codebreaker, and doesn't cover the combination lock at all.

The Codebreaker is an interesting blaster, with the typical sleek Rebelle style which I think works well for this design. One big aesthetic issue is the lack of detail on the left side, which is quite disappointing, especially as the Rebelle shell design tends to lack engraved details.
Interestingly, the Codebreaker feels very thin and light - not the norm for nerf blasters. In fact, I'd suggest that some of Buzz Bee's newer blasters, particularly the larger Ultra Tek blasters, feel as good, if not even better than the Codebreaker.

The Codebreaker is relatively narrow and fairly small. I was surprised how small its box was, and then how small the blaster is as well.
The handle and thumbhole stock are quite small, and the stock piece looks a little strange, as if it was an afterthought and just thrown on.
While the handle is nicely shaped, it's very small. My hand just fits on it, and I'm by no means a large person.
Additionally, the stock is exceptionally short, almost to the point of unusability. The Rayven doesn't have the longest stock, and yet it dwarfs the Codebreaker for stock length. The Codebreaker certainly feels like it's been designed for very small people.

The Codebreaker is a pump-action crossbow, and unlike its handle and stock, the pump grip is well sized. Though not the longest grip, it is quite wide and is very easy to grip.
The pump feels quite good to hold, and is very easy to actuate.

The Codebreaker is an 8 dart revolver, however being a stringer blaster, has a very unusual cylinder design. Unlike the conventional cylinder design, the Codebreaker's cylinder does not have full barrels, instead having a half-pipe barrel design to allow the string to fire the dart.
This halfpipe cylinder design is particularly evident once the cylinder is loaded up. Because of the halfpipe design, the cylinder feels somewhat strange to load, as you don't have a full barrel guiding the dart. It certainly feels a little tighter than loading a conventional cylinder.
Note the minimal clearance that the string has to engage the dart, the space between the edges of the cylinder and the far edge of the dart. This can result in issues with thin or worn out darts, where the string will simply slip past the dart instead of firing it. The Codebreaker is particularly picky about dart quality, I couldn't get it to fire my thin green Kooshes reliably, and even lightly used Elite darts were sometimes a problem.

The Codebreaker is a pump action blaster so the priming cycle is very basic.
The first portion of pump travel rotates the cylinder. The cylinder rotates counter-clockwise from the user's perspective.
The rest of the travel simply takes the string all the way back.

Then push the pump all the way forward to ready the blaster for firing. With the locks removed, it is actually possible to fire the blaster as soon as the pump is all the way back, as by design, the forward stroke of the pump does nothing. This allows a sort of psuedo-slam-fire which, though my experience is that it isn't too practical or reliable.
Here's a closer look of how the string aligns with the bottom dart in the cylinder.
And with the trigger pulled. Note the piece that raises when the trigger is pulled, this helps to ensure that the string pushes the dart and doesn't just slip past, though as mentioned earlier, thinner and used darts tend to misfire anyway.

Here's the Codebreaker next to the Elite Crossbolt. The Crossbolt is more compact, but also significantly less comfortable to hold.

Here's a comparison of the draw lengths - the Codebreaker's is much longer than the Crossbolt's.
Here's a comparison of how the bow arm widths compare - the Codebreaker's bow arms are noticeably wider.
Overall, the Codebreaker is smoother and easier to use, and also more comfortable. Ironically, as I'll get into in a moment, the Crossbolt is actually the better blaster.
Finally, performance.
Ranges are unimpressive, about 9-10m with good Elites. The prime feels excessively weak, but at least being a stringer, getting a bit more power out of it is easy. It should be noted though that I have heard that the Codebreaker's arms are not particularly robust, certainly less so than the Crossbolt's.
Accuracy is surprisingly not that great. Even with the low power, I was getting a lot of spread from good quality Elites and even Kooshes. It's not the worst I've seen, but it's far from the best and certainly incomparable to the Crossbolt.
Rate of fire is pretty decent, being pump action and having an easy prime, 3dps is easily possible (at least with locks removed). 4dps can probably be achieved with pseudo-slam-fire, but I find it too unreliable and inconsistent to be useful.

When first unveiled, I was hoping that the Codebreaker could be a stylish scavenging carbine, as its design leaves it no other practical use. It's small for a primary blaster and doesn't have the capacity or performance to hold its own, and it's too big and impractical as a secondary. Unfortunately, the Codebreaker's deep hatred of and refusal to fire non-perfect darts ruins its potential as a scavenging blaster. The only reason to use a Codebreaker in combat is against pistol-sized blasters, and even then your only advantage will be capacity, as the performance is not notably good.

The Codebreaker retails for 29AUD at best, which is certainly not that good a deal when the Retal is available for the same price. While it does compare favourably to the (slightly overpriced) Hammershot at 25AUD, the Codebreaker is generally not worth buying for its blasting ability. For 6AUD more, the Crossbolt is a far superior and more practical stringer blaster (though it shares the Codebreaker's hatred of imperfect darts), while the cheaper Flipfury and the same priced Retal are practically superior in many aspects. Unless you're in love with the shell, I'd give the Codebreaker a miss.

Pros: Sleek shell, smooth pump action, string allows for very easy power modification
Cons: Performance is generally poor, severe reliability issues, offers basically no advantage over similar priced alternatives, stock is very short, handle is a little small

Power: 4/7
Accuracy: 3/5
Rate of Fire: 3.5/5
Usability: 3/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall: 3.07/5

Personal Rating: 2.5/5 - while really cool in concept, I feel like it hasn't been executed too well. The Codebreaker is awkwardly small, notoriously unreliable with non-perfect darts and not all that good a blaster.


  1. Hello all Friends. I modified this codebreaker crossbow, removing all non-needed pieces, including those ones from the combination lock. Then I tunned the string tensiĆ³n, tightening it a Little bit more. Now, with huntsman darts protected with duct tape at their rear, the codebreaker Works very well, showing ranges up to 27-29 meters, and very good groupings.

    1. any chance you have a picture of the internals to share? I just picked one up but got frustrated by the locks. When I opened it up pieces kinda went flying all over and I didn't snap a picture. Reassembling it has been a bit of a pain and any help would be appreciated.

    2. Unfortunately not, I personally never opened the Codebreaker.

    3. Curious, what do you do when you finish reviewing a blaster?
      Do you sell it, or give it away? Or what?

    4. If I like it, I keep it. Otherwise I usually end up selling it.
      In this case, the Codebreaker wasn't mine so of course it simply went back to its owner.