Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mega Review: Centurion and Magnus

If you've followed the Nerf Mega line since it's birth a few months ago you'll have found some pretty mxed reviews of both the Centurion and Magnus blasters. Frankly, I found it hard to find an honest review out there, as all I could find was reviews where the reviewer had quite obviously been given a care package from hasbro to sweeten them up, or reviews that were the exact opposite because they were overshadowed by the reviewer's emotion. So, I had to drop the cash on both the Centurion and the Magnus.

First out was the Centurion, apparently the successor to the ever popular Nerf Longshot. It's an absolutely massive blaster. It definitely fits the image of a powerful anti-material rifle, and it feels really empowering to hold. Features on the blaster are pretty minimal though, it has a couple of sling loops and a top tactical rail towards the back half of the blaster, a rail under the barrel which supports the foldable bipod that comes with the blaster. I guess there isn't much more you'd want with this blaster anyway, a funtional scope wouldn't go astray though. Unfortunately, the barrel isn't removable unless you mod it first by removing the locks.  It also comes with a 6-dart angled bottom magazine, which cannot yet be bought seperately.

So what's the main difference between this successor and the Longshot? The ammo. The Centurion fires a huge whistler dart, 20x92mm to be exact, much larger than the standard 12.5x72.5 elite dart. The massive dart carries a lot of energy compared to elite darts but doesn't sting like an elite due to the larger surface area on impact. The wall thickness of the foam is not much thicker than an elite dart's however, which does lead to faster deterioration, not very handy when these darts are hard to come by, and only come in packs of 10. Many people shun this type of new ammo, but personally I think some nerfers can be a stubborn bunch who are hard to convince. Mega darts are a type of specialized ammo for a specialized class of player.

Right, so how does it perform? Out of the box it isn't bad, it does out range other blasters by a small amount, but in't what you expect. There is a satisfying 2-stage KA-CHUNK firing sound and notable recoil. The reason for this, the internals. When you first open up this blaster, you think "oh god, what the hell is this?". The priming mechanism is very different from anything else. Pulling back the bolt handle operates a gear system which pushes the bolt forward, loading the dart and preloading the spring, as the plunger is already locked up. pushing the bolt handle forward unlocks all the safety mechanisms, making the blaster ready to fire. Pulling the trigger releases the plunger, which upon finishing it's travel unlocks the bolt from the closed position by pushing the latch up, and then the whole assembly slides back thanks to a return spring, and the plunger is locked up on the trigger again. The system is a pretty cool way of making the blaster feel like it has recoil and gives it a really cool firing sound, but unfortunately the plunger setup is a reverse plunger configuration. this means tons of dead space, limited plunger volume and poor efficiency overall. This is where most people's gripes are, and although I do see their side, I do like to remind people that a few years ago a large portion of Nerf's line-up were reverse plungered and didn't fire more than 30 feet out of the box, and the whole bolt return mechanism wouldn't work with a direct plunger, so I think we have to cut the designers a little slack, 70 to 80 feet isn't that bad. And of course, if you want extreme ranges, you're better of replacing the internals, regardless of the blaster, and the Centurion offers A LOT of room for a full internals replacement, probably enough to house a cleverly laid out air blaster system.

Ok, onto the Magnus. This pistol is pretty huge too, and just like the Centurion, it feels empowering to hold. It's definitely the Desert Eagle of the Nerf world. Again, it is minimalistic. It features an underbarrel tactical rail, and iron sights on top. In a nice touch of innovation it features something almost no dart pistol has: an internal magazine. Yep, pull the top slide back, load up 3 darts and you can rock and roll. This keeps the overall look very clean, and functional too.

Again, it fires the new Mega darts. And with huge punch for a multi-shot pistol, too. 85 feet out of the box is a range claim that stands up, and combined with the extra kinetic energy of the Mega darts, it feels like a hand held cannon when firing it. Accuracy out of the Magnus is also decent, and the ability to fire two more follow up shots seals the deal for me as a favourite pistol. Better yet? unlike it's much larger counterpart, it's a direct plunger system, and modding for more power is as simple as adding a nitefinder spring in combination with the stock spring.

Since performing this mod on my Magnus, I have not yet put it aside. It's a fun blaster that is satisfying to fire, and performs quite well. For under $20 AU it's well worth adding to the collection, especially if you're looking for a unique pistol. As for the Centurion, I wouldn't recommend picking on up at the going rate of $70+ right now, unless you're willing to drop some decent money, time and effort to replace the internals. It is definitely a great candidate for this treatment, the vast amount of space inside the shell and striking looks outside allow for a keen modder's imagination to really get cranking. I have my plans, but time isn't really on my side just now.

I don't know why it's so red in this photo, blogger does this to me sometimes.

Final note: This is what I deal with taking photos at night. A brush tail possum decided to see what was going on. These guys aren't quite as friendly as ring tail possums, so I had to pack up and head inside before it got cranky with my flash.

Don't try to feed brush tail possums apples. Trust me.


  1. MAG-nus, maybe it was named after it's internal mag but nerf calls them clips, also magnus means 'great' in latin if you search it up

    1. Hmm, you might be right, I never thought of that!

  2. Hey Rolley, did you know you can still buy clear Vulcans. They are still available at Stafford big w for $62 but they are never gonna go down in price.

    1. Wow, didn't know they still existed, good spotting! I still have my yellow vulc from when I first got into nerf, it was the first nerf blaster I bought off eBay.