Sometimes sales flukes happen. For example, last week Walmart accidentally had a few Ultra Fours for sale online, and I was able to snag one for myself! Yay early reviews!
The Ultra Four makes a strong performance in dart velocity. However, there’s still that nagging feeling that, ultimately, the Ultra Dart itself is holding the line back from greatness.
The New NiteFinder
Every Nerf line needs its own basic, one-dart, spring-powered blaster. NStrike had the Nitefinder, Elite had the Firestrike, etc. Like Mega before it, Ultra opted to start with a flagship and a multi-shot pistol first, with the basic model only appearing now.
The Ultra Four is similar in size the Two, albeit somewhat thinner. It also shares the same handle, minus the rev trigger. Unfortunately, the handle is still short and not completely comfortable. The trigger area is a bit limited in space, but most hands should still be able to fit the index finger in there just fine.
Notably, the priming mechanism is not in line with the barrel. The (long) prime is connected via a gear system to the plunger beneath it. Like several other blasters (usually in the Rival range), you’re doubling the priming distance in order to compress a somewhat strong spring.
The Ultra Four has a single tactical rail on top, and storage for two darts sitting below the plunger tube. You’ll notice the plunger tube is exposed, like we saw with the Finisher; current trend in Nerf design?
Yep, Looks like Ultra
Everything else with aesthetics are like you’d expect: gold lettering only on one side, etc. In the case of Ultra “Dart DRM”, it simply involves the shape of the safety valve in front of the plunger tube. The rear protrusion of the dart is what opens the valve. Not nearly as complicated as the extra locks in previous blasters.
The “barrel” consists of a wide tube with an indented ring for holding the dart and providing the friction needed to hold the dart while pressure builds behind it. If you’re familiar with classic Nerf modding, that’s essentially what we did in old brass barrel mods, particularly when the foam diameter was in between sizes of tubing and needed a way to be held in place.
In terms of concrete numbers, the Ultra Four in my hands averaged 100fps. That’s quite impressive for a stock blasters. Rate of fire was about one dart every two seconds – not the fastest ever, but okay considering it’s a single shot, manually primed blaster. The extended prime really slows down that rate of fire.
However, we still get into the issue of the Ultra darts themselves. When they exit the barrel straight, they’re great. When you watch darts leave the blaster at a 10° angle and decide not to go where you aim…they’re not as pleasing. Strangely enough, my blaster (when the dart didn’t go straight) shot to the left at distance.
The effect isn’t as noticeable at closer ranges, but you can still fire at a man-sized target and have the dart completely miss. But I think we’ve beaten this dead horse enough.
As I usually try to do, here are the guts of the blaster. It’s nothing too complicated, just a gear train set up to double priming distance compared to plunger draw. The spring itself is quite stiff, and I’m not sure that trying to replace it will yield enough performance to justify the extra stress it’ll cause.
Do note that the front orange cap of the blaster is solvent-welded on.
As a single-shot blaster, the Ultra Four performs well. Things just circle back to the ammo type itself; had this been an Accustrike dart fired at 100fps, no one would blink an eye. Ultimately, though, without some sort of redesign of the dart type, Ultra’s ammo is ultimately going to hold it back. Mega already gave us the big, goofy fun, and performance was quite possible with regular darts, so…shooting these darts hard but without precision doesn’t make for the most competitive blaster.
Mind you, it’s still a FUN blaster, and I’d be completely fine trying to run around with one at a war or Humans v Zombies event. I’m all about fun. But if you asked for a recommendation, there’s still better out there.