Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS

Nerf Stampede ECS. It's awesome.
The wait is finally over; months and months of speculation, Nerf have released their new 2010 flagship blaster- the Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS. Surprisingly, Australia hasn't been left that far behind compared to the rest of the world as with other Nerf blasters; 9-9-10 was the official launch date and there were those down under who actually got them in time. For me personally, my wishing and hoping for a Stampede must have been heard in spades, and I ended up with not just one, but two of them:) And to be honest, yes... the Stampede DOES live up to its hype:)

You've no doubt already familiarised yourself with all of the rumours and hype that lead up to this moment, so I figure we'll just get right into it:)
A box so large it takes up the entire frame.
The back of the box. 
 The first impression of the Stampede is it's very impressive..package;P The Stampede's box is HUGE; it definitely takes the cake for the biggest Nerf blaster box I've seen (even against the Vulcan EBF-25). It's quite slim though, which makes it very satisfying to walk out of a toystore with it under your arm:)

It is a very generous kit inside with many accessories- you not only get the Stampede ECS, but also three of the new 18 round clips, one traditional 6 round clip (not sure WHY they bothered with this, but I'm not complaining), enough streamline darts to fill the clips, a collapsible spring-loaded bi-pod and the tactical shield. Basically, you're getting everything you need for total foam automatic onslaught.. other than the batteries. Which is kinda important, because without 6 D cell compatible batteries, you're not going to be shooting anything in a hurry; the Stampede is fully automatic and reliant on a power source and unlike the Vulcan, there is no manual priming of the blaster. Reiterating this point- make sure you remember the batteries:)
The battery compartment sits at the back of the Stampede and is secured by phillips head screws. Once the batteries are loaded, you very quickly realise that you're giving the Stampede quite a bit more weight; I find it isn't that much of a problem and feels nicely balanced but maybe because it's a more traditional appearance but it does seem to feel heavier than the Vulcan. The fact the Stampede is fully automatic does mean you can dual wield them but if you're planning to do this for long periods of time, you may want to consider using D-cell battery adaptors to reduce the weight.

The Stampede ECS fires an impressive 3 rounds a second, which sort of makes you wonder why you'd bother with a traditional 6 round clip. The blaster does not operate without a clip inserted; once you've loaded a clip though, it's simply a matter of switching the "safety"on (ie the power switch above the trigger on the left side of the blaster) A quick squeeze of the trigger gives you a single shot, but pull it back completely and watch the foam fly; it really is quite a lot of fun:) The Stampede's ranges and power are very impressive, but being a clip system based blaster it can only take streamline darts, which aren't considered the best for accuracy and distance. If I was nitpicking, that would probably be the only strike against the Stampede head to head compared to a blaster with more ammo versatility such as the Vulcan, but given the close quarters environment I use them in (I'm staying over at my Dad's place this week so it was in his kitchen) I don't think it's a show stopper by any means.

The Stampede's attachments, like with most tactical rail accessories are more for aesthetics than anything else; the bipod and the tactical shield utilise the Stampede's tactical rails to attach and are supposed to be for extra support and cover from opposing fire. I was really looking forward to these attachments but I have to admit, while I think they're cool and like them, they do kind of get in the way and you probably wouldn't miss them if you were using the Stampede on a regular basis. Like with most tactical rail attachments, they don't feel secure (which is understandable given they're just two plastic clips attached by a groove!) and i'd be more concerned that they'd fall off while I was running for dear life (after emptying a clip into whoever was sitting there on the couch at the time).

Woooo. In its glory

The Stampede has tactical rails all over the blaster-the front mount is for the tactical shield, the bottom rail for the bipod, but there are also side rails on either side of the blaster and a rail on top of the handle. You could very easily load it up with tactical lights or scopes, but the Stampede does come with an inbuilt sight, not unlike those found in the N-Strike Deploy CS-6 which works ok I guess.

Ain't so LONG now eh?

Sizewise the Stampede is quite a large blaster (of course, it's the flagship model!) but given the type of blaster it is, that's to be expected. It's ranges are very impressive but that probably can be attributed to the fact that the Stampede apparently uses a direct plunger internal mechanism, that gives it more power out of the box than its reverse plunger cousins. This was a pleasant surprise and brings much joy to serious Nerf affectionados all over as well as opening up possibilities for modding the blaster- a few Google searches (or visit modworks for some good stuff on this topic..) should give you the info you need to get creative.

open wide.. 
The Stampede did jam for me a few times, but to be honest it was my own fault with how I loaded the darts in the clip. A simple slide of the jam door fixed the problem, and although the Stampede did shred a dart or two, it happens when you disregard the warning labels all over the 18 round clips to tell you to ONLY put in 18 darts. 
one of these things is not like the other one..
The new 18 round clips are a welcome addition to the Nerf CS blasters; of course as always they're interchangeable with other blasters in the CS line and the Stampede can in turn support the awesome 35 round drum of the Raider and the 18 round drum of the Alpha Trooper. It's quite generous for Nerf to equip the Stampede with three 18 round clips rather than just one. Thumbs up to Nerf on this one!
Can't use till u read this first... pedantic eh?
As I said earlier, all over the 18 round clips are warning stickers letting you know that you shouldn't load any more than 18 rounds per clip; I did learn the hard way that trying to stuff in 19 darts means eventually you will only have 18 rounds because the 19th will be shredded and unusable. Really- don't try it, it's not worth it:(

Ok. I get it! But what if I tried it with 19... just to be rebellious
Sooo.. what do I think overall of the new Stampede ECS? It's just awesome. Seriously, it's a fully automatic, direct plunger firing beast of a blaster with awesome range and power, new 18 round clips to keep you in the game and it just looks awesome to boot. The included tactical rail attachments in the tactical shield and bipod may be more or less just for show, but oh what a fantastic show they reveal:) 

Some have complained that it doesn't have a manual primer, but really I don't think it's a loss for this type of blaster; the fully automatic function makes sense for the Stampede and and it's not nearly as grating or annoying as the flywheel sounds of the semi-automatic Barricade RV-10. It's also a whole lot more fun than the Barricade, mainly because it looks cooler, feels nicer to hold and comes with some awesome accessories. Although it doesn't have the ammo versatility of the Vulcan and relies on the clip system, it's a much more maneuverable sleeker blaster and has more versatility as a blaster for a wide variety of role play scenarios. 

No kitchen sink here. Oh wait.there it is.
Is it worth the wait? More importantly, is it worth the cash? At $109 dollars AUS it's definitely not cheap. But the cool factor IS high and everyone who's seen it, loves it and wants to play with it again and again. It's been priced as low as a rumoured $78 from Kmart, but it comes down to how long can you wait for something this cool? And given what it comes with, I doubt it ever will be in the sub 50 dollar mark (albeit Vulcans did for a brief moment in the Kmart and Target big sales). If you're worrying about the price, you could probably get away with cheaper blasters that are just a fun, but there's nothing really like the Stampede ECS; so if you're looking to be thrilled- this one is it.

Usability: 7/10
Out of the box performance: 9/10
Cool factor: 9/10
Price point: 7/10 (its not cheap... but for what you get for your's not bad)


  1. I think I smell a new favourite =P

    Have fun with it. It looks like a whole packet of fun. Honestly though, I don't really buy the blast shield and the bipod grip thing. Throw the precision sight onto it and you have a formidable attacking weapon =)

  2. Have to agree with @malee on the shield and bipod. I can say though I was really impressed with its performance at my last HvZ - no jams at all. They're gonna need more OZ's when these become more common.

  3. Fun review, and glad you got yours in good time this go-around! Mine should be here Wednesday from Amazon ($49.25 USD with no tax and free shipping ... $109 AUS makes me really appreciate being a Nerfer in the U.S. Seems nuts how much higher the price is other places around the globe).

    Still jealous of that REV-10, though. =D

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I bought the stampede from K-mart a few days ago. i can't believe you paid $109 for the Stampede. I paid $79. It's an awesome blaster. The accessories are pointless in a war environment, but they still look cool. I love the 18 round clips!!
    Definitely a must buy for any Nerfer!!


  6. @Marcus: I got mine for $78 from K-mart too, & I'm already in love with it. :)

  7. My friend put the Raider's 35 dart drum in the Stampede and we decided to see how good it was.

    My team had two recons with 18 dart clips, a longshot with an 18 dart clip, a rapid fire as-20 and a vulcan.

    The guy with the stampede had 5 lives and we each had two and he won without losing a life.

    He's not even that good.

  8. just got mine today value pk w extra clip and dart on clearance at walmart in states for 40 never thought i would spend this nuch on an gun but it is well worth it as long as it doesnt eat through batteries like dogfood

  9. I actually find the battery life pretty decent on the Stampede. I also find the higher, better grade batteries mean it'll fire faster. Which is..awesome:)

  10. Great write out.
    You did a really good job and now im thinking about purchasing this gun.
    thank-you heaps.

  11. btw pocket, u could get info on nerf guns in in Indonesia from me. anyways i am trying to get a stampede and do u think is to big to ship?

  12. im getting vulcan and i wanted to c wich 1 is better. vulcan or stampede? and joe, it isnt too big to ship. i bot it in sg and i checked it in to the cargo and when i received it in indo, the box wasnt that much damaged

  13. Pocket. Esq.
    Just curious question, do you personally rate this gun as accurate over moderate long range? Mine is kinda having bad accuracy issue... in a sense

  14. Wow. $78 for the Stampede ECS. I got mine at a K-Mart for $54.

  15. at Target in Massachusetts you can get it for $50

  16. Mine keeps stuffing up, the sping constricts then doesn't shoot. PPLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSEE HELPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Mine rocks but I am a little upset about the weight. I'm 13 and it is still hard to lug around. I was hoping for something lighter than the Vulcan... ):

  18. I got mine today at a Zellers - so any Canadians reading I'm letting you know that for the next week they're at around $36. ... I went there yesterday looking to cash in on their 30% off all Nerf sale hoping to get a Vulcan. They didn't have one but I noticed the hidden sale sign for the Stampede going to be even cheaper today.

    I don't have batteries for the beast yet, but it's a welcome addition. About time I got something with some power since I mostly use Nerf pistols.

  19. I don't know if anybody said it yet, but I've seen Stampedes nowadays for as low as $54. I guess good things do come to those who wait.

  20. Just bought mine at KMart for $29. Yeah!
    It came with 100 darts, extra 18 & 6 clip, and bandolier strap.
    The hardest thing was walking out of there in my suit trying not to grin like the 25 year-old kid nobody knows I am.
    Glad to see a 'mature' fan-base of nerf is thriving.

  21. I have found one downside to the Stampede. Just before the dart is launched, it makes a great deal of sound. Its like running around waving your arms in the air saying I'M ABOUT TO FIRE! DUCK AND COVER!. Thats the only reason i hardly use it

  22. The gun is mad as! My favorite full auto Nerf gun! And where those batteries from Aldi?

  23. On Black Friday I saw at Walmart... A $20 (US) Stampede Bonus Pack with 100 darts!
    Basically a free Stampede, because that's the price of a hundred dart refill.
    I'm loving it, although I'm not getting quite the range as you guys are apparently, it's similar to my Recon.

  24. I just ordered it yesterday!!!! IT'S AWESOME!!!!

  25. Late in the Nerf collection.

    Got myself a 2nd hand Stampede for 38USD instead of the Vulcan, Stockade or Stryfe. I must say it is a very good blaster.

    The package itself is worth the buck given the number of clips you can use. Being fully automatic and without an acceleration trigger is also good but for those who dont want to spend too much on batteries, they should consider other models.

    PTG 25-30 ft using new batteries and elite streamlines. Rarely jams. Distance is good with single shots.

    My 8yr old niece uses my Stampede with no difficulty. It is a bit heavy but tolerable - suggest using sling.

    Can't compare it to the new N-Strike Elite Rapidstrike (76USD here) but for a N-Strike model it is a really good investment for a . Just take good care of it - always remove the batteries and avoid dropping it or strong impact.

    For those not keen on large blasters, the N-Strike Rayven is a good alternative for a battery powered blaster.


  26. I actually found more of a liking in this nerf blaster than the vulcan.