I’m definitely behind on reviews, but when a listing mistake leads to a massive discount on a great blaster, it’s hard to ignore. To that end, let’s look at the Dart Zone Max Tomcat, and why it’s possibly the best pro blaster of the year – with or without a sale.
I may have bought five more, if that tells you anything.
I Like Big Drums and I Cannot Lie
The Dart Zone Max Tomcat is a slightly different beast from the Max Stryker and the Dictator. Those two are fed via magazine, but the Tomcat uses a massive cylinder. In fact, the feeding mechanism is similar to that of the Adventure Force Deuce Pro, albeit with far less rotational issues. A pusher breech, attached to the plunger tube, moves back and forth when priming the blaster. A mechanism rotates the cylinder to line up the next dart, and the return motion pushes a dart forward into the barrel.
Unlike the Deuce Pro, the Tomcat’s rotation coincides with the catching of the plunger. That, in addition to the large mass you’re rotating at small angles, makes it hard to skip and darts. At least in my experience, I haven’t had any skips with normal operation.
The drum itself is somewhat similar to that of the Tomahawk; each slot can hold two darts, with options to load from the back or to squeeze through the outside. I find it easier to insert the first dart in the back, then squeeze the rubber dart head through the retaining slot. Oh, and the drum is removable! So you can load it separately, or even swap in another drum.
The rest of the blaster fits the typical “pro” platform, with a pump grip, traditional main grip, a safety, and a stock. The stock attaches via an Nstrike point, of all things, but it also extends; a movable cheek rest is also included.
The entire top of the blaster is a rail for mounting accessories, and two pieces of iron sights are included. There is also a muzzle piece – it’s not necessary, but it looks cool.
Here is where the Tomcat stands apart. Of the Tomcats I’ve used, 163fps was the average with my original Tomcat, bought online. Out of the five deeply discounted blasters I ordered? The first one I pulled out was averaging 165fps after firing the entire drum. Just as importantly, the shots are very accurate at those speeds.
As for rate of fire, that’s the Tomcat’s main gripe. It does have slam-fire, and you can fire a good three darts per second that way. However, fast priming seems to have a…rhythm to it, and if you break that rhythm, the blaster hangs up partway through the forward motion. At that point, you have to pull back again, rotate the cylinder, and double-feed the blaster. I have yet to NEED to launch darts in rapid succession like that, but I could see it being an issue in some situations.
Internals and Mods
This is probably the best part about the Tomcat. Thanks to both the internal setup and community contributions, it has so much more potential. I’ll do my best to grade the blaster on its own, but that becomes harder once you see what can be done with it.
The blaster features a relatively long barrel, a large ovoid plunger tube, and a beefy spring. Given the spring dimensions, however, there are possibilities for both upgrades and downgrades. One of my Tomcats now has a “788” aftermarket spring, cut to the same length as the original spring, and hits under 130fps for HvZ games. “K25” springs can be used to shoot much harder, in contrast. If you 3D print, you can find Talon magazine adapters for yet another way to feed the blaster (and depending on how short your arms are, that may be more comfortable than reaching around the drum). I’ve found it quite easy to start rounds with the drum, then swap for magazines. But don’t just take my word for it…
Even ignoring sales prices, the Dart Zone Max Tomcat is one of the best values in pro-level blasting you can find. I have one with me at almost every game now, and there’s good reason for it. Grab one!