Friday, 18 August 2017

Mod: Thermal Hunter Handle Replacement and Lever Mag Release

While the Thermal Hunter has a fair few things going for it, there are a couple of standout issues ergonomically. The handle and stock are very short, and the mag release is rather poor. Furthermore, the magwell and pump are quite far away from the handle. Initially, I had planned on straight replacing the handle and stock attachment point with that from a Retaliator, but after seeing John Yechan Seung's take, decided to copy that instead.

The lever mag release is pretty simple, a bar of plastic hot glued into the stock mag latch. This offers reasonable sturdiness, while also allowing sufficient flex for the mag release to work. I've tested it with a variety of mags and it works just fine.
I took the handle from a Retaliator as I had two shells lying around unused. Any handle can be used really.
Cutting and test fitting of the new handle.
Handle attached, in this picture just with 5-minute epoxy. It has since been reinforced with 3-day epoxy and epoxy putty.
After the 5-minute epoxy and epoxy putty had cured, I installed two screws on either side of the handle. These are just for extra insurance in case the epoxies break or fail. The 3-day epoxy is still in the process of curing as of writing this post.
I linked the two trigger mechanisms together with two screws, and some hot glue.
With a little shaving internally, this new trigger mech fits and works nicely. Annoyingly, since Nerf and Buzz Bee put their internals on different sides of the blaster shell, the trigger spring is in the other side of the shell. Take note of the screw at the back of the trigger mech, near the catch. Initially, I was experiencing issues with the top half of the trigger mech bending upwards, and thus not disengaging the catch fully. The screw rides along a plastic protrusion just below the trigger mech, keeping it from bending upwards.
Through the hole where the handle used to be, you can see the screw at work, preventing the trigger mech from bending upwards.
Overall shot of the new internals. At the moment, I've only added a stock spring from the Retaloid, and have yet to reinforce the priming rod. I do intend to upgrade the spring further, and will reinforce the rod later. For now, with the relatively weak spring load, it seems to survive just fine.
I had already made the necessary cuts and shaving for the Thermal hunter to accept Nerf mags.

Thermal Hunter reassembled. The handle is significantly lower than the stock one, which does shift the balance of the blaster a little bit.
Loaded up with the stock attached, this handle replacement solves several issues with the Thermal Hunter. The handle is no longer pathetically small, and it is much closer to the pump and magwell. Furthermore, the shifting of the handle has also effectively extended the length of the stock, and it is now a reasonable length.
Next to a Pump Retal, the stock now has comparable length to a fully extended Raider stock.

I'm quite happy with how this mod turned out. The Thermal Hunter is now substantially more comfortable to use, and its function has not been compromised at all. As mentioned previously, I do intend to give it a proper spring upgrade, and likely a priming rod reinforcement at the same time. I also intend to fill up the whole where the trigger used to be, though that's a pretty easy task to do.


  1. Very nice guide. I have just recently picked up a Thermal Hunter and am almost done printing a buzz bee to Nerf stock adapter. I already have made both parts and have finished printing the bottom part. The top part should be done today. If interested or just want to see pics, E-mail me at:

    (first letter of first name)-(first letter of last name)-seven-two-three-eight-nine-eight-two

    Be sure to remove dashes, make the words numbers, and the phrases letters.

  2. Did your thermal hunter include the thermal camera?
    If so, does it actually work?

    1. Depending on lighting and clothing, yes, to an extent. Indoors, it is easily capable of distinguishing a human (or anything hot really) from the background. Outdoors in sunlight, not so much.

    2. One more question. What work do you have to do to get the nerf clips to fit. Do you just cut certain parts, or does it accept from the start.

    3. It will not accept Nerf mags out of box, all that is required to make them work is a little cutting/grinding in the front of the magwell.