How to Mod a Nerf Nite Finder Ex-3 With a Glued Barrel




Intro: How to Mod a Nerf Nite Finder Ex-3 With a Glued Barrel

A Nerf gun is, simply, a plastic toy gun that shoots foam darts. However, the gun is not nearly as strong enough as we would like, and, out-of-the-box, performs nowhere near its capability. Hasbro has installed a three-pronged "air restrictor" with a spring, slowing down the air coming out of the gun. Today, I'll show you how to modify this gun, even with a glued barrel.

Please Note: This mod is now a lot harder to do with the addition of the glued barrel and is intended for more advanced handymen/ really determined people. Please review steps 4 and 5 before starting if you feel unsure.

Caution: I strive to be as clear as possible in describing this modification. Please proceed at your own risk and with caution, as I will not assume responsibility for any damage done to anyone, the gun, or any tools used.

I created this Instructable after finding out how many modifications found online are outdated, and user-unfriendly. I hope this will help you in modding your Nerf gun.

Step 1: Unscrewing the Screws

First, take out the battery casing and two batteries if you have installed them. Then, begin to screw out each screw before attempting to open the plastic case. Count 14 screws. Do not open the casing until you read the next step.

Step 2: Opening the Case of the Gun

From here on forth, I will refer to the pulling mechanism as the arm, and the round casing the arm goes into as the barrel.

There are actually three delicate parts to watch out for as you open, or close the casing. I suggest you work on an open area on the floor during this process, to easily locate any missing parts.

1. The square metal bit with a hole near the bottom of the handle. This is what the battery compartment screws into.

2: A yellow, rectangular piece of plastic with a spring on the top of the gun. This is used to lock tactical rail attachments.

3: A spring on a rectangular piece surrounding the arm, which is very important, as it is the thing that cocks (readies the gun, holds the force until you pull the trigger.

Step 3: Taking Out the Barrel

Find the two black screws on each side of the barrel, and remove them. Also, take the arm out, and rest it on a liner (rag, tissue, few layers of paper...), as it is well-oiled. You may note that the barrel is glued, which is seemingly what Hasbro has decided to do to prevent this mod. Many other outdated Youtube videos and other step-by-step procedures show no glue. As this is the second Nerf gun I've modded, I seem to find that the barrel is glued even tighter, with super glue on the inside overlapping layer! There is really no quick way to open it, but I will show you how I've did it.

Step 4: Opening the Barrel

This is the single most frustrating step ever in modifying any Nerf gun! The part we need to separate is between the barrel the arm goes into and the housing for the dart. If you own something like a Dremel, then this will be incredibly easy, but for the rest of us, a saw will probably break the chamber with an imperfect cut, force will snap the plastic (which we're very tempted to do). So my solution is the wear out the barrel.

Step 5: Wearing Out the Barrel

First, use something with metal teeth that can grip the barrel like a nut cracker, or the thing used to crack lobster and crab shells. My solution was on the bottom of a pair of kitchen scissors. I grab the barrel part where I need it to open with the scissors, and use my other hand to spin the barrel on the larger side, not dart tube, creating a mess of plastic bits. I did this for quite a while, say 20 minutes. Then, using a utility knife, I wedge off a clipping about 2-3 mm thick, repeating a couple of times to make an circular groove all around. Slowly, frustratingly, but surely, the barrel starts to come apart. Gently wiggle the two bits every once in a while to check.

Alternatively, you may try a pipe cutter or rub the barrel against a cement or brick surface that has an edge.

Step 6: The Scraped Barrel

If you have completed the last step, the rest will be a piece of cake! This is how the barrel should look after you're finished with the previous step. The next step, is, indeed where you should have been at if Hasbro has not added the glue.

Step 7: Inside the Barrel

Inside, you'll see quite a couple of bits. The first two, a spring and a three-pronged bit of plastic make up the air restrictor, which makes the air slow-release, definitely not needed. You can throw those out.

Step 8: The Stick in the Dart Chamber

You will notice a stick that goes up the middle of the dart, and a six-pronged holder keeping it in place. The stick does not give the dart any extra accuracy, or stability. This stick actually prevents homemade projectiles from going into the blaster. Optionally, you may take it out with sharp pliers, but leave as many of the legs holding it as possible, so the dart will not go too deep into the gun.

Step 9: Sealing the Barrel

This step is a lot easier than opening it. The two parts will lock like a cap. Make sure the screw holes are in the correct pattern: up, down, up. Also, a little line in the plastic may help guide you into the right position. Next, grab a hot-glue gun and just apply it generously where the super-glue used to be. Wait for the glue to cool. Tape wrapped around the barrel might work, but I recommend the hot-glue, as the barrel is subject to a lot of force from the spring-arm.

Step 10: Optional: Other Modifications

Some people have come up with other mods that involve replacing the entire barrel with another pipe. I have not done any of these mods and are not sure of what they will do and if they work.

For your reference only:

Step 11: Putting It All Back Together

Take your now-cooled barrel and put the arm back into it. Make sure the plastic piece is spring-side up. Screw the barrel back on, making sure that the giant spring does not stick out. Now, for the casing, we will refer back to step 3, where the three "caution points" were noted. Make sure the tactical rail lock is on the top of the other plastic casing, with nothing on it. Push the little spring connected to a plastic piece holding the arm is pushed in. Now, take the other casing, and gently put it on, watching out especially for the rail lock. I recommend screwing only one screw right now: the top-left screw, near the arm. Your square washer will be a bit of a nuisance now: take a pair of needle-nose pliers and put the washer into the plastic clip while your other hand gently wedges the plastic casing up a little bit. Now, make sure the trigger isn't wedging up, and push the plastic casing in, making a click noise. Double-check for the square washer and tactical rail lock, and put all the screws back on. You're done!

Step 12: Trying It Out!!!

Your gun should now perform so much better, with just a slight tinge of recoil! The bang noise feels amazing, and makes the gun a bit more realistic. And surely, the range will improve by a lot, and firing it will be so much more of a delight; from the bang noise to the slap of the dart on the wall. Good luck and thank you for reading my Instructable! Also, please rate and give comments, questions, and suggestions

-Professor Do-it, 13-year old tool hobbyist



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    19 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 7

    In my experiences, remove those actually reduces the range a dart will fly! I am fairly certain those are actually put in to prevent large air blasts during a dry fire. The only thing that will actually increase the range of the dart is replacing the air compressor spring.

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Actually you are wrong, I have 3 Nite Finders. 1 without AR. 2 with. There is a visible difference. I shoot a wall from, say, 10 feet away, with the one with the AR it bounces back maybe to me. Without the AR, it flies back over my head. I did not change the spring in the one without the AR. The one with, hasn't even been opened.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I agree. I am a nerfer an when you take out the AR you are allowing the air to be decompressed more quickely causing the dart to fir even further.


    Reply 2 years ago

    once the dart has traveled around half way out of the barrel it will have ceased applying backward pressure (keeping it open) towards the air restrictor, this then allows the air restrictor to close behind the dart which then prevents further amounts of air escaping the plunger system and further propelling the dart.

    The dart usually achieves a better fps without an air restrictor however you may wish to use crispy fresh new darts with such a system to improve dart seal and prevent blaster damage.

    air restrictors do this to prevent the plunger from slamming into the end of the air compression tube and causing harm to the blaster.


    3 years ago on Step 9

    I've already modded three of these, and the easiest way I did it went like so. First, I took some needle-nosed pliers and twisted out the post the dart sits on. Then, I used a drill(I'm not sure what size the bit was, so you're on your own on that) from both sides to just drill out the air restrictor. There were a lot of small pieces of plastic in the barrel, so I ran a rag through it. The place where the thing used to be is a little jagged around the edges, but I haven't noticed any difference yet. If you're really worried about it, just stick a square of sandpaper in there and file away until you're satisfied. Hope this helps.


    6 years ago on Step 9

    Hot glue can fail as an air tight seal, so I would suggest using something like epoxy resin.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Mr do-it I was curiouse to find that no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get thet barrel to come apart got any good ideas on how I could do this?


    7 years ago on Step 12

    Well done, Professor! I have found this instructable extremely helpful in figuring out how to mod my own nitefinder. Thanks a bunch!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    instead of opening it with what he said, use a wrench and pinch the space between the 2 pieces, to seperate the pieces


    7 years ago on Step 10

    i also changed out the spring for a stronger one and added another o-ring to the piston


    7 years ago on Step 5

    Thanks for the help. I found it incredibly easy to just use a normal serrated kitchen knife (used for eating, not the giant one) and it opened up in about 2 mins! Maybe i'm just lucky...


    guys try putting it in boing water for like 5-10minuter it worker way better


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I don't have a nightfinder yet, but big chance im getting one. How do you know if it's a glued barrel or not?


    7 years ago on Step 5

    can you just use a hack saw?


    8 years ago on Step 5

    Thanks for this guide!

    I was stuck on the glued barrel, too, and your tip with the scissors helped me a lot. Maybe that's only because I have an exact same pair of scissors as yours here. ^^

    Anyway, the mod went well for me and my NF is now a little beast.

    Now I'll just have to add a CPVC barrel and then I'll strike fear in the hearts of my nerf buddies, one foam dart at a time. ;)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great Instructable. Thanks for the link you put on mine! Added it to the ible.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    well its nice to see some mature people here doing nerf mods, unlike most of the other people, very nice work, i hear pipecutters work great for cutting the glued barrel as well, and replacing the barrel helps alot, especcialy if you use stefans, and its tighter so it gives the darts a better seal. 5 stars

    1 reply