Back when BoomCo was first released, the Rapid Madness led the line as the first flagship blaster. It held promise, as it was the first air powered blaster we’d seen released in a while (besides Buzz Bee’s awesome Blastzooka). Preliminary videos showed us Magstrike-like performance, most notably of course an insanely fast rate of fire. Fast forward a little bit and the Rapid Madness would become available in stores for the painfully high price of 50USD/100AUD. As one of the first BoomCo blasters, how does it fare with challenging Nerf’s dart blasting cominance?
Take note of the 45ft/13m range claim on the box.
The Rapid Madness Blaster:
The BoomCo aesthetic is quite distinct and different from any of Nerf’s styles. While most similar to the sharpness of the N-Strike/Elite line, it is also more futuristic, and the colour scheme is quite distinct and unique. The Rapid Madness at first appears to be a large and reasonably long blaster, however the majority of its mass is concentrated towards the back, where all the functional internals are. The barrel itself serves little functional purpose, and if sliced off makes the RM comparable in length to a Rayven. The RM’s rear end is very bulky and quite heavy, but still length wise is surprisingly short.
The Rapid Madness’ handle is quite a rectangular piece, with holes cut into it. I feel that the holes do not present an issue, as the lines around them are well smoothened. However, I do find the edges of the handle to be a little sharper than I’d like. This could be magnified by the weight of the blaster, but I’ve held worse handles.
The pump grip is an interesting angled design, half way between a conventional pump shape and a vertical grip pump. Though it is well designed, I find it rather uncomfortable. Because the pump is free to rotate, it is very difficult to achieve a sturdy fore end grip. The pump is (rather interestingly) a dual action pump, meaning it draws in air on both the forward and backward strokes. While the makes pumping up the RM much faster, it also makes the forward stroke much harder. I find that this particular pump grip is especially poor for the forward stroke, I have to adopt an unusual and awkward grip to pump up the RM effectively.
The pump stroke is extremely long, at around 24.5cm. This combined with the dual action allows the pump to draw in incredible amounts of air per cycle, allowing the Rapid Madness to be pumped up much faster than similar Nerf blasters. Where the Nerf Magstrike needed an absolute minimum of 15 pumps to fire 10 darts, the RM needs less than 20 pumps to fire 20 darts. In fact, it is possible to modify the RM to hold enough air to fire off 40 darts in one burst.
Note the screw inside the stock plate. This screw determines how much air the bladder will store before it bleeds off excess air. Removing the screw entirely will give maximum air capacity possible that doesn’t involve opening the blaster.
There are 3 tac rails on the Rapid Madness: two on top and one on the bottom of the thumbhole stock brace. The top two tac rails are sensible/understandable, the front one mounts the shield nicely and the back one mounts a Railstinger nicely. The underside tac rail is pretty odd, though it doesn’t have the locking nub anyway. Some Nerf attachments will fit on BoomCo rails, albeit quite tightly.
Being that the Rapid Madness uses a harmonica style clip instead of a magazine mislabelled a clip (ie Nerf and Buzz Bee’s clip systems), it requires a slot through the entire blaster that will allow the clip to pass through. The clip well holds the BoomCo clip in place to prevent shifting during movements such as running, while also having a mechanism to advance the clip.
Note the grey button on the left side of the clipwell, that will be important.
The Rapid Madness accepts new clips from the left side, and empty clips protrude out the right side. Clips will only go in one way. Thanks to the design of BoomCo clips though, even a 20 dart clip doesn’t protrude out the side all that much. I was expecting a lot worse when it was first revealed.
The Rapid Madness is a full-auto blaster, meaning that it will continuously fire so long as it has air and darts, and the trigger is held down. Non-electric full-auto blasters are becoming increasingly rare as electrics are much easier to design, while air powered full-autos are typically fairly complex, and the RM is no exception.
Once a clip is emptied, the RM will stop firing and the clip will be ready to be removed. The aforementioned grey button should be pressed before inserting a fresh clip to reset the mechanism. Inserting a new clip without pressing the button will still reset the mechanism, however I find that it loses more air this way than just pressing the button.
The 20 Dart BoomCo Clip:
The 20 dart clip is worth a quick look. It’s a “harmonica” style clip, and holds 20 darts in a staggered formation. The combination of staggering and BoomCo’s thinner darts means that the BoomCo clips are far more compact than Nerf’s clips (mags). In the picture above, a 20 dart BoomCo clip is far shorter (though wider) than Nerf’s 10 dart banana clip (mag). The ability to store far more darts in a comparable length is a big advantage of the BoomCo system.
The Flip-Up Shield:
The shield was a signature feature of the first wave of BoomCo blasters, they were touted as defensive devices that would also catch your enemies’ darts. The front surface of the shields are coated in the same material used for BoomCo targets, and so the darts do indeed stick well to the shields. Each of the first BoomCo blasters has a different shield design that fits best for that blaster’s shell. The Rapid Madness’ shield is a spring loaded design that pops into position at the press of the top button.
The RM’s shield fits on the front of the handguard and does look decent, though there is a lot of space between the handguard and the shield plates when undeployed. When deployed, the shield makes the RM look kind of like a Dilophosaurus and it is somewhat intimidating. For the most part, I find that blaster mounted shields are a hindrance to vision and maneuverability more than they provide protection.
Range wise the Rapid Madness is competitive with mid level N-Strike blasters, around 9 metre average with parallel-to-ground shots.
Accuracy is superior to most newer Nerf blasters thanks to the extremely stable BoomCo darts. The Rapid Madness firing mech is not particularly accurate, but the darts tend to all land in a bunch.
Rate of Fire is naturally the Rapid Madness’ key feature. It can achieve an average 10 darts per second when fully pumped up, a ROF matched by very, very few blasters. I find that the RM tends to be fastest at full capacity, and slows down as the bladder is emptied, hence an average ROF.
Being that the Rapid Madness has an exceptionally high ROF and little else, it is best suited to close quarters and suppressive fire. In close quarters, its somewhat poor range is less relevant. Its ROF makes it practically undodgeable, requisiting ducking behind cover or running back out of range. Its surprisingly decent accuracy can be used to fire off potshots, but its low power requisites arcing, which makes it much easier to dodge.
Value and Summary:
When the Rapid Madness was in stores, it typically sold for 100AUD or more, which is quite a substantial amount of money. In Australia, it very rarely moved stock at that price, and typically only left shelves when dropped to 50AUD or less. The Rapid Madness simply doesn’t perform well enough or include enough stuff to be worth full price. The Nerf Stampede retailed for 100AUD, and that was semi-worth it thanks to its 3 18 dart clips (among other extras). The RM is a fun and well built blaster, but it’s not worth anywhere near the retail asking price.
The Rapid Madness’ firing mechanism is a rather complex piece. Achieving better ranges involves beefing up a few internal springs, however they are not easy to access, and increasing range will reduce ROF. Too much power and the darts will likely also be destabilised. The over pressure release valve (OPRV) can be easily adjusted to allow the air bladder to hold more air, allowing for more shots before having to re-pump. Naturally this will require more pumps to fill up. There’s not as much that can be done to the RM though, compared to some of Nerf’s more popular blasters.
A link to the review on my own blog: link