User torukmakto4 of the HvZ forums has collected info relating to Streamline and Whistler darts. Apparently certain coded darts perform better then others. This is a MUST READ of people who want to improve game performance, make the most of their money, HvZ players, and anyone who takes Nerf semi-seriously. You can read the rest of the info here. But for archive purposes I’ve also copied and pasted the info below.
For those of you who do not know, not all NERF stock darts are created equal.
It has been found that the codes molded into the rubber tips of these darts correlate to significant differences in the characteristics of the tip and foam, likely related to multiple production lines, plants or material suppliers. These differences can include foam diameter (thus barrel fit), foam cell size, tip mass, tip COM location, tip hardness, and, most importantly, stability.
The codes are usually 1 character in raised type and appear in the following locations:
Streamline – on the side of tip dome, usually opposite the vent hole but sometimes under it
Sonic – Near the base of the tip (close to the foam), on the side of the dome
Suction – On the top surface of the flat body of the tip, under the suction cup.
Tagger – See Sonic
Anyway, here’s the info I have collected on dart tip codes. For necked (non-Streamline) micros, the tip production doesn’t really matter because the tip is not poorly engineered and sensitive to small changes in compound and mold design. In that case, the tip code is of interest primarily in determining which foam you get. For Streamlines, the tip code matters a lot for stability.
K code: Streamlines found in packs included with Raiders, et al. Many sonic and tagger (pre-New Dart Tag era green/orange) and Streamline sold at box stores. Old style foam; softer and larger-celled with .50 nominal diameter (sub-optimal in stock barrels; optimal in 17/32, CPVC). Streamline tip is softer, stickier compound and has cylindrical core. Streamline is unstable; fishtails and whirlybirds readily. (*This code has also been found on Gear Up Streamlines which have tips identical to W code and perform similarly. This suggests that the tip models and foam type may not be linked to the codes as tightly as I believed… perhaps Plant K has acquired new equipment or adopted new specifications.)
T code: Many streamlines sold in packs at box stores; original Streamline production included with the first Longshots (tip unmarked). Orange foam/black tip; known to be distributed with Spectre; tip is similar to W code sonic tip; foam identical to newer T-code streamline. T code streamline tip is harder compound, lighter orange and rounder dome shape. Plus section core; noted as moderately stable to mostly stable. Some have reported newer production T-codes surpassing W code in range due to foam characteristics. Foam is identical to K code (older) or identical to K code in texture with larger diameter and higher rigidity (newer).
E code: Streamlines included with Stampede. Standard streamline not known to be distributed otherwise. Sonic streamline; particularly those included with Stampede. Necked micros not known. Streamline tip is softer compound; has plus section core; sharper “wadcutter” dome shape; moderately stable. Foam is slightly larger diameter; improved fit in stock breeches; has texture identical to K code.
A code: Streamline known. Tip is softer compound; slightly longer dome with thinner walls and plus section core. Reported to be unstable.
W code and variants/subtypes (W1, W11A, etc.): A complicated mess.
I’ll organize this into Streamlines and everything else.
There are two subtypes of W-code Streamlines.
Type 1: Whiteout Streamline sold in box stores; discontinued. Not included with any gun. Not otherwise known. Identified by the code being located opposite the tip hole. Type 1 tip is same bright orange color as K, E and A codes with dome shape similar to T code, and has smooth surface finish and relatively good dimensional consistency. Type 1 foam is extremely fine-celled and smooth-surfaced; identical to W-code micro foams.
Type 2: Some Sonic Series streamline (potentially sold in box stores); glow (tracer) streamline distributed with Rayven and sold in box stores. Tips from an obviously different mold than type 1; rougher surface finish. Identified by the code being located under (i.e. adjacent to) the tip hole rather than opposite it on the tip. Notably worse tip dimensional control (asymmetry, centering during assembly) than Type 1. Foam is larger-celled, coarser, slightly smaller OD. Stability is slightly reduced from Type 1.
For both types, tips are compound of hardness similar to T code. Plus section cores. Highest known stability. Foam is universally slightly over-diameter; improved fit over E code. These are the preferred darts in most cases. Testing shows significant variance in point of impact at 70-80′, but less than other Streamline codes. Accuracy is maintained up to approximately 50′ and no whirlybirds occur. It has recently been reported that W-code standard orange streamlines have been found. Possibly confirmed in some 100 round cases (newer). Type classification unknown.
It has come to my attention recently that some Sonic Series streamlines are in fact W code; note that there are also E-code sonic streamlines out there.
OK, now for the non-streamlines:
Code W micros: Whiteout Sonic; standard necked micros (sonic) included with guns (Barricade, Jolt confirmed) and sold in box stores. Suction micro known; sold in box stores; other distribution unknown. Foam is identical to Type 1 W streamline foam; orange foams (standard micros) are a darker, more earthy color than K, etc. foams. Sonic micro tip is slightly harder compound; much less sticky/grabby than common K code types. Highest performance foam known for micros; this is the most desirable code for sonics and suctions. Foam diameter known to perform well in stock barrels and prevent Barricade’s magazine from dropping darts.
This code is also known to be found on Vortex discs in some form (W11A, W11C…)
J code: Sonics and sonic taggers (New Dart Tag blue tip) known; Streamlines not known to exist. Sonic tip seemingly identical to K code; known to be distributed with Vulcan and Barricade. Sonic Tagger known to be distributed with Q16; possibly available from stores. Foam may be more rigid, but otherwise identical to K code foam.
Y code: Reported for sonic tagger (New Dart Tag, blue tip). Unknown characteristics.
Now back to Streamlines specifically: From my experience, the only problematically unstable (i.e. unusable at 50′ plus ranges) codes are A and K. Those are very prevalent, making up about half of Streamlines sold in bulk in most stores I have visited and being included with many guns. The other types don’t whirlybird readily and vary from fishing occasionally to being mostly accurate, even when fired from 100′ plus guns. And that makes sense – the reputation of the Streamline in the NIC is split. Some claim the round to be utter garbage (as I used to do) and/or note that glued or siliconed tips, BBs, washers and other such mass additions are necessary for all Streamlines; others routinely/casually note that their modded and homemade guns fire unmodded Streamlines at significant ranges and that they dominate in stock wars with them (OMW themselves are such an advocate of stock streamlines), and I think the commonly available codes K and T are responsible for each of these sides respectively. The E and W codes complicate matters; the E isn’t very accurate if pushed above 50, but doesn’t whirlybird; the W is even more stable than T.
TL;DR: You want code W for necked micros and streamlines. If you can’t get W code streamlines, settle for the T – avoid K like the plague!
I hope this helps…
Just a small photo confirmation.
Red Streamlines have the K code
Gear Up Streamlines have K, Camo has W