Thx again to the HvZ Forum. Again this mostly relates to Hvz, but maybe you’ll get some info out of this.
The Stampede is unique among modern Nerf blasters as being the only model that is both electric and part of the clip system family. This creates some fundamental differences between it and its pump-, bolt-, and slide-action counterparts. So forget what you know about Longshots, Raiders, Recons, Alpha Troopers, Longstrikes, everything- the Stampede is none of those.
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Compensating for Something
The first thing you will notice about the Stampede is its incredibly poor range and accuracy. Depending upon manufacturing variances, most Stampedes hit around 20-25ft flat. While this is not exceptionally poor for a clip-system blaster, especially when compared to the likes of the Raider, it is a fundamental weakness in the design. That said, it has a high rate of fire to make up for its inherent lack of accuracy. Resist the temptation to spray at 20+ft- you will waste large quantities of ammo and likely hit little. Instead, use the Stampede up close to repel charges and take out dodging zombies at 15-20ft.
The Critical Second
Another immediately obvious flaw in the Stampede design is the delay between trigger pull and firing as the motor extends the spring. This makes the Stampede a very poor choice in situations where immediate fire may be needed- for example, clearing rooms in an indoors game. It also makes the Stampede harder to aim, as you need to keep the barrel on target until the firing mechanism has done its job.
You Can’t Run
Owing to its bulk, and the time delay when firing, it is very difficult to fire on the move. When firing, aim. When not firing, run. Don’t try to run and shoot as you would with a Recon or Maverick. The Stampede is not that sort of blaster. So bring a sidearm, bring socks, pack lots of darts, and accept the fact that running from the zombies is not an option for you.
You Can’t Hide, Either
The Stampede is a massive blaster, and is impossible to conceal. I would recommend if you are set on using the Stampede, abandon any pretense of stealth. It’s big, loud, and brightly colored. Be ready for zombies to see you from a great distance, and try to avoid class-to-class routes that put you in the line of sight of many people.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Unlike most other clip-system blasters, you can easily increase the rate of fire. Also unlike most other clip-system blasters, increasing the range decreases the rate of fire, as stronger springs take longer to stretch. So you need to make a choice: Do you want range, or rate of fire? My money’s on the latter. A Stampede that can fire 1-2 darts per second out to 50ft is nice, but one that can repulse 5-10 charging zombies at once is even better. As a Stampede user, your role is not to snipe the zombies, it is to deal with groups, and given the Stampede’s inherent inaccuracy, sacrificing short-range power for longer range is wasting potential.
We Can Rebuild Him
Modifications for the Stampede are limited, due to the complexity of the mechanism it uses. So far, there have been three modifications done: Removed air restrictors, replaced springs, and replacement batteries. Air restrictors and springs are self-explanatory, but replacement batteries offer a few choices. The best, in my opinion, is to procure rechargeable NiCd batteries. If they have standard Tamiya connectors, they can be wired in series and connected to the battery terminals using alligator clips. I use a 9.6V pack and a 4.8V pack for 14.4V total- this provides a rate of fire of 4-5 darts per second. Another option is to use AA-sized rechargeable batteries, which can have typically up to 3V apiece, and can be used in AA-to-D converters. The primary limitation on rate of fire is jamming. At 14.4V, some drums with older or weaker springs will jam occasionally. Above 16V, you risk jamming with even ordinary magazines. 14.4V is easy to procure and provides the optimal mix of rate of fire and reliability. As a random note, if your Stampede fires uncontrollably without stopping, there is a possibility that the plunger catch control spring has come loose, and should be fixed. However, I have observed this behavior at very high (20V+) voltage even with all parts intact, so be sure that you simply haven’t increased the voltage too much.
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It
The primary role of the Stampede is for close-range fire support. With an increased rate of fire, you can deal with small groups of zombies simultaneously. Leave the sniping to the Longshots and Nitefinders, and focus on dealing with the zombies that are close enough to be immediate threats. When your job is centered around repelling hordes, ammunition capacity is important. Luckily, Hasbro decided to include with the Stampede what is by far the most useful magazine type for it. The 18-round magazines will not jam at a reasonable voltage, hold enough darts to deal with 5-10 zombies comfortably, can be stacked, are easy to carry, easy to reload, and you get three of them by default. You can alternate them facing up-down-up and duct tape them together to connect the three, or you can use spacers to have them all face the same way. While bulky, it makes reloading significantly faster if you don’t have dedicated magazine pouches. The Raider’s drum is another choice, but prone to jamming at higher voltage and exceptionally bulky. Compared to a pair of 18-round magazines, the advantage is not needing to quickly reload in the middle, while the disadvantage is the risk of jamming and difficulty in carrying the drum.
Thanks to the proliferation of accessory rails on the Stampede, you can now carry more extraneous crap than ever before. Seriously, most of the accessories are useless and simply get in the way. I use three accessories: A non-Nerf red dot sight to aid aiming from the shoulder, a 2-point sling to make it easier to carry, and the stock foregrip, gutted to remove the useless bipod. Notice how only one of these is a Nerf-brand product. This is not a coincidence. Adding pointless bits to the Stampede makes a significant problem (bulk) worse for very little gain. Do note that the under-barrel rail, however, is good for adding flashlights- either the weak Nerf one, or a real flashlight attached to a Nerf accessory rail.
The Devil is in the Details
There are a few more things to consider.
-Always double check the safety.
-Try to stay with a group, since you lack the range to deal with zombies shouting ‘HUMAN!’ from thirty feet away.
-Carry a sidearm, as jams are difficult to clear.
-Make sure the jam door is securely forward, or the Stampede will not fire.
-Socks are less important than with other blasters but still useful. Bring them.
-Don’t dual wield. You cannot reload, nor can you aim. Use the money to buy someone else a Stampede instead, it’ll be more useful.
-Consider minimization. The top accessory rail blocks access to the jam door and can be easily removed.