Choosing a fun 'water sprayer' blaster - long read

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James G.
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Choosing a fun 'water sprayer' blaster - long read

Post by James G. » Mon May 01, 2023 4:54 pm

Occasionally there are events here where we rent out a water slide and have a day 'out in the sun'. Given that it is very hot in Texas summers, and that there tends to be downtime between kids and youth getting up and going down the slide, I figured last year that it wouldn't be a bad idea to spray some of them down, to add a little excitement to the queue and to help keep them cool. I used my Super Charger 600 for this purpose last year, and it worked well, but I've wondered if I could do even better. I thought I'd make a post here about some of the qualities I had in mind and see if y'all had any suggestions. This is a very long list, so it isn't important that it check off every single one, but more are better.

The parameters I have in mind, ranked roughly in order of importance:
TL;DR: Like the XP 250, but with a trigger and not a lever.

1. At least one relatively small nozzle, 1-3x.
The main stream shouldn't be overly powerful, since little kids are likely to get sprayed with this, and because the spray should be fun and refreshing - not something that is distracting or uncomfortable. It's fine to have a good stream for a soaker battle, but a minimum of '5x' or '10x' is not going to work. I'm not even sure if 3x isn't too much, but the SC 600 mk2 is 1.5-1.8x and doesn't seem too bad, so I think I could afford to go up a little.

2. Not likely to break
My mechanical skills are lacking, and I don't always trust my motor skills. If it is a design that is inherently fragile or likely to break in the course of normal use (not, "I dropped it on concrete", or "I ran into a tree", but "I pulled the trigger/pumped the pump"), this is a serious fault. Besides the infamous Max-D trigger, my understanding is that lever triggers are susceptible to this.

3. Not QFD-dependent.
If I had a way to fill via QFD, this would be different, but I can't count on having a hose.

4. Good shot time and/or pump volume
If I spend all my time pumping, I might as well have a pump-action!

5. Access to a larger water supply than the SC 600 (via reservoir or backpack).
I could get a backpack supply for the SC 600 if I really wanted to, or just bring a cooler/extra water bottles, so this isn't a dealbreaker, but it'd be nice.

6. Decent ergonomics
Something requiring three hands or more for complete operation is a downside. I can live with the weapon requiring two hands, or being marginally awkward or unbalanced, but if a weapon is easy to handle, that is better than not.

7. Still decent in an actual water war
If there is a water fight, I would like to not be outgunned. I'm not overly worried about this, since any decent older blaster will tend to be overpowering in comparison to newer ones, but it is a mild consideration, especially if I loan my other blasters out.

8. Multiple nozzle options, in line with the following: 1-3x, 4-10x, some sort of fan or wide area shot.
I saw a screenshot of a fan blast. I understand it's bad for combat performance, but it looks useful for casual settings like this. A novelty shot like the 1-3-5's extra nozzles may not be out of place either.

As for the high-end nozzle, it is plausible I'll get in an actual water war, and I'd like the choice to break out something scarier for it.

9. Fairly old.
This is vanity, but vintage blasters are stylish; I like having a blaster that is closer to my age than that of most the people I'm likely to use it on.

_____

The XP 250 seems almost made-to-order for this. The main reason why I'm wary of that model is the lever trigger. For one thing, they say it is prone to break, and if it is a plastic part, I don't imagine age has done much to help it in that respect. My mechanical skills are very limited, and I am more likely to break something than to fix it, or to break something worse in the process of trying to fix it. I do know people who might be able to help, but I can't count on it being repaired quickly if I mess something up, and I don't want to spend a lot of money and then be stuck with a paperweight for weeks or months or forever.

For another thing, the inability to easily simultaneously pump and fire seems a bit annoying. I suppose this alone wouldn't make the decision for me, especially when the blaster is being used outside of combat, but it does limit shot time to an extent.

_____

I expect the candidates here are the types of weapons that tend to be recommended for soakfests. I could stick with the SC 600 and be fine. That said, I thought it'd be nice to see if there's anything else vintage that would fit the bill just so. I've considered CPS 2700s and Monsters, as well as the 1-3-5, which is bashed as a 'war' soaker, but might be well-suited for this type of setting (I understand the 5 nozzles won't all hit a target, but are the 3 any better?), and the rare Pool Pumper Blaster. All of these are expensive and/or rare enough that I haven't seen any great values yet.

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Re: Choosing a fun 'water sprayer' blaster

Post by SSCBen » Mon May 01, 2023 5:58 pm

A SC 600 sounds like a good choice, particularly given how common it is on eBay. The XP 150 is also a good choice and quite common on eBay. The pump is large enough that if you pump while holding down the trigger, you can empty the entire reservoir. However, I think it might be less durable than the SC 600, and I never particularly liked how its water reservoir is filled. If you're dead set on not repairing, replacing would be your best option, so you should look for easily replaced blasters that are readily available on the used market.

The lever triggers like in the XP 250 can break and always felt flimsy to me, but, unlike a conventional trigger, replacing the lever would be much easier. If you want something which would never require maintenance, you probably won't find it. But as far as trigger repairs go, the XP 250 could be repaired easily compared against other blasters. Another factor is the ergonomics, which I don't particularly like for the lever triggers.

If I were you, I'd also look into some of the more powerful motorized water blasters like the Water Warriors Tarantula: http://www.isoaker.com/Armoury/Analysis ... antula.php . The Tarantula isn't on eBay at present, though.

Water Warriors also has an interesting series of pump action blasters with the Steady Stream and its successors: http://www.isoaker.com/Armoury/Analysis ... stream.php . These blasters have fewer parts and are probably more durable than their contemporaries for that reason.

This is what comes to mind of the top of my head.

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Re: Choosing a fun 'water sprayer' blaster - long read

Post by the oncoming storm » Mon May 01, 2023 6:39 pm

I would say the Water Warriors Gorgon is a good choice, it’s got a reasonably large tank, the power to hold off CPS class opponents, and a good selection of smaller nozzles too.

They have most of the strengths of an XP 250 but a traditional trigger and smaller pump volume.

They’re fairly common on eBay too
If you ever bother reading these, I worry for your mental sanity. :oo:

James G.
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Re: Choosing a fun 'water sprayer' blaster - long read

Post by James G. » Fri May 12, 2023 9:53 am

A lot of times, people post threads like this and never reply. I don't want to be 'that guy', especially since I've made a few posts on this forum and there's a good chance I'll do so again, so I thought I'd provide a followup on what I ended up doing and why.

First, thanks to y'all for taking the time to give feedback. It might not seem like I took it into consideration when I reveal my decision, but it was helpful in giving me different perspectives, along with the reviews and articles I read on other sites, and I appreciate it.

I ended up springing for a XXP 275, for several reasons.

The first one is that it felt acceptable. This is not strictly logical, or something that many people would probably understand, but my decisions often are based on intuition, or 'feelings', or an inner voice. Logically speaking, if I wanted a lever-trigger blaster, I could have bought an XP 250, as I mentioned I was considering earlier in this thread. One is up for sale, it's in my state, and it's a good price. But I did not 'feel' that it was the right move in this case. Since there weren't that many alternative XP 250s available, and none of them which would be reasonable to buy (besides that one), then that implied I ought to look elsewhere. It was a similar thing for the Gorgon (I did have some other concerns about that one too, though*).

The second thing is that I (obviously) decided the lever trigger isn't a dealbreaker. The ergonomics are not ideal, but I noticed that when I'm carrying a blaster (like my SC 600), I often carry it under my arm, which is a pose conducive to operating a lever (and also one of the only poses that seem natural for this blaster, given that it doesn't have a regular handle). I still can't really pump and fire at once, but the shot times are long enough that this shouldn't be a critical issue, especially if it is being used as a water sprayer and not in a fight. In battle I might have some cause to regret it, but the reality is that given the state of the water warfare world today, and the places I go and the people I spend time with, it will probably always be the most powerful blaster on any field it is at. The only rivals it's likely to have are the ones that I bring myself, and although SC 600s and Equalizers are powerful, they're not stronger (in soakfests) than the 275. Its sheer force will make up for any weakness in that era.

The durability issue was a concern, but I was persuaded by your comments and the repair articles I've seen that it isn't a critical one. Compared to most blasters, opening up the 275 looks actually easy. I still doubt I could do substantial work myself, but I think I know someone who could, and that is reassuring.

Once I've decided these things above were okay, it follows how it fits the bill in other respects. It holds almost a gallon, which is twice as much as the SC 600 (actually, it is a little more than all of my other working water blasters, combined). The nozzle options are good. While it has dual nozzles, each one is a little less powerful (on average) than the comparable setting on the XP 250. That isn't normally considered a plus by enthusiasts here, but it's good for my usage case, since I don't want the individual streams to be overwhelmingly powerful. An old poster here mentioned that if you set one of the nozzles 'between' the selector, it's possible to run just one nozzle at a time. I'll have to see that in person to be sure that it actually works as he said, without fault. If it doesn't, it's not a big deal, but if it does it'd be a nice perk. It is a pretty old blaster, just a little bit younger than myself, so it has style. I admit liking things that are considered a little quirky, or 'outdated', and this is certainly that. It isn't difficult to refill like many of the earlier blasters are, so it at least is ergonomic in that sense.

I may provide further feedback on how the blaster worked out, once I get it. A number of you are probably familiar with these, but it isn't the most common choice, and as I've learned in my purchasing process, it never hurts to see more reviews.

* As y'all know, there are two major versions of the Gorgon, HP and AP. The HP version is apparently very similar to the Orca Mk2, except for the name and color scheme. The AP Gorgon is completely different internally, but *looks* like the HP version on the surface, with the exception of the nozzle and probably the date printed on the case. From what I can tell without actually seeing them in person, the HP version, and the Orca, include a fan; the AP version has only a quad burst/shower-ish mode, besides various regular nozzles. In my case, I actually want the option to use the fan mode, so if I was going to get one of these, it would make sense to get the Orca - better colors, better name, and a guarantee of not accidentally getting the wrong one when buying it on eBay. I was also concerned about pump volume, blaster repair, and durability; after reading reviews and articles, I'm sure of the vintage blasters in the first two of these areas, but I'm not sure of the newer ones in any. It is explicitly mentioned on HydroWar that the Gorgon is difficult to open (it doesn't seem a stretch to guess the Orca is the same way). These technical factors weren't the main reason I decided against this, but they did reinforce it. I appreciate the suggestion, though. There are a lot of them up for sale right now, one of them even cheaper than the SC 600 was last year. Purely going by bang for buck, it would have been a great choice.

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Re: Choosing a fun 'water sprayer' blaster - long read

Post by the oncoming storm » Fri May 12, 2023 10:57 am

I’m not entirely certain if the person who said that you can misalign the nozzles on an XXP 275 was me or not, but I can confirm that it works. Given a few little details like firing from a single on the 2.5x setting and a strong PRV that seems quite common on 275’s it’s not unheard of to hit 45’ on single 2.5x even a “normal” 275 can hit 40+ on single 2.5x

I’m a the odd one out at community wars but the 275 is my personal favorite water gun. I’ve been known to bully CPS 1000’s with mine as it can hit 45’
If you ever bother reading these, I worry for your mental sanity. :oo:

James G.
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XXP 275 Review (Re: Choosing a water sprayer)

Post by James G. » Thu May 18, 2023 2:59 pm

I got the XXP 275 today. It looks and works great, considering it's 27 years old, and I thought I'd offer a traditional review with points and some commentary, based on my testing. I think my expectations and perspective are different from the mainstream water blaster enthusiast's, so this may be helpful to some guests (though probably not longstanding members here).

This is largely in comparison to blasters I've owned and am personally acquainted with, which are the XP 70, the low-end CPS line (1000/1200), and the SC 600.

Handling & Using
Size
The XXP 275's dimensions are a little larger overall than the CPS 1200. Since it holds almost a gallon of water, when fully loaded, it weighs in at around 10 pounds. For a reasonably fit teen or adult, this shouldn't be a problem, but I wouldn't recommend letting a kid handle this, given that these soakers are so expensive nowadays (I got mine for $75, before tax).

Reservoir
The reservoir is a capped reservoir, made at a time when this was not common in Super Soakers. However, the cap isn't anchored. This probably makes it a little easier to refill, but it also means that you can lose the cap if you're not careful. The time period when you open the gun to let it 'air out' after use seems to be when you'd really worry about this.

Ergonomics
The blaster, on first impression, looks like an ergonomic failure. The trigger is an unusual lever design, and the handle is no more than vestigial. However, the whole package is easier to wield than it seems. The underarm carry feels natural, and operating the blaster with the second hand is simple enough. It is true that you can't normally pump and fire simultaneously. On most other blasters this would be a fatal flaw, but here you have long enough shot times, and a powerful enough pump, that you can compensate for this weakness.

Trigger Lever
The lever is supposed to be the 'part that breaks'; one or two reviews elsewhere have talked about it like it's made out of repainted pink plastic and is liable to snap at the gentlest touch. I was initially concerned, but my impression from looking at and using it is that it is a little more solid than that. I agree it could be a problem if you're involved in intense warfare and are doing acrobatics, but if you're careful with it, I don't see why it shouldn't last a long time.

Pump
There's a tradeoff with pumps, power vs. ease of use. This pump errs more to the side of the former. It refills the blaster quickly, but is more of a workout than the comparison blasters, and it feels uncomfortable and 'laggy' in a way that most other soaker pumps don't. That said, this is probably a necessary tradeoff, since you can't shoot and pump at once; although the shot times are good, you would be vulnerable most of the time if it was half as powerful (a normal pump volume for most other Super Soakers), or a quarter as much (a pretty typical Water Warriors pump volume). At the cost of comfort and requiring you to be physically fit, this pump style leaves the blaster ready for action virtually all the time. On durability: While I wouldn't say the pump is fragile, I wouldn't say it is sturdy either. It feels to me like it could be broken, and so it seems best to be careful with it, just in case.

Pressure Gauge
It features a pressure gauge which is in the center, just behind the firing lever, and easily readable given an underarm carry. Many gauges are known to be dysfunctional on vintage soakers, but as of my first testing, mine still worked. Given that the official recommendation is to precharge your blaster before use (12+ pumps), and that you don't want to expend all of your pressure, this serves as a way of measuring your shot time, and is a useful feature.

Firepower
There are four settings per nozzle, labeled, by convention, as 1x, 2.5x, fan, and shower (the names given on the box are a little different; I include them below, after the common-use name). The streams don't seem to be too 'punchy', which is not a bad thing when you're planning on using it for casual fun. It is fair to say that there are blasters that feel more intimidating: CPSes have recoil, the XXP 275 doesn't so much. But the options here are still good for soaking, and without a doubt they will easily overpower any blaster sold in stores today.

1x (Thin Stream)
This puts out a decent stream comparable to the XP 70 or SC 600. It's been a few years since I was able to use my XP 70, but I remember its streams having a stinging sound, look, and feel, while the SC 600 is gentler. This stream looks more like the SC 600, and strikes a good balance: decent range, decent soaking potential, and good shot time. This wouldn't be a bad setting in a modern-day water war against modern (which is to say, 'low-end') blasters.

2.5x (Thick Stream)
This turns up the power a notch, at the expense of shot time. It doesn't have the force of the 1000/1200's 5x stream, but with two nozzles, you might soak someone just as much. Although I'd be lying if I said I'd feel completely comfortable going up against a working 1000, this blaster ought to be able to hold its own here.

Shower (Spray Blast)
This offers greater water output and water spread at the expense of range. This is a medium-range weapon which hits somewhere from 20-30 feet (HydroWar says it's closer to 30), near the maximum range of most piston pumpers. I could see it being this blaster's most damaging attack, in terms of getting people as wet as possible (in spite of that, the 2.5x may feel a little more powerful overall).

Fan (Flat Stream)
Most soaker enthusiasts seem to hate fan modes; the mainstream line is that they are useless and should be drilled out as soon as the blaster is taken out of the box. I agree that this isn't the most useful setting for a war, but it does serve a purpose. This is a great way to get a number of people, of all ages, moist or wet, without drenching, hurting, or aggravating them. For this reason, there is a chance that this may turn out to be the most-used setting on my blaster.

Other Nozzle Traits and Options
The two nozzles are well-aligned and it is pretty easy to hit the same target with both of them. You can turn one off, as mentioned earlier in this thread, by giving a nozzle a partial twist, to 'in-between' a setting. This gives the remaining nozzle a little more force and range, and, of course, roughly doubles your shot time/halves your water usage.

Conclusion
Some blaster lines are accepted as being intended for kids (the SSes, lower-end XPs, and 'classic' SCs), while some are for teens or even young adults (some high-end AP/XPs, most CPSes and Monsters). But this is a 'big brother' blaster, the kind you might buy if you're a responsible teen and know that you're as likely to have a water fight with your 8-year-old kid brother and his friends as with your peers. It's a shame that Larami didn't revisit this design and its ideas when they had developed more advanced blaster technology. A theoretical "SC 900", with the same nozzles, the same reservoir size, a traditional trigger, and an elastic bladder would have been perfect. As it is, most* of the alternatives are either not powerful enough to hang in the big leagues, are a little too powerful to use with small children, or else have enough quirks to make them impractical in real life (e.g. QFD-only blasters like the Power Pak). This blaster, though, can do it all. It fits a niche, and although it has its weaknesses, I'm glad that they made it, and that I bought it.

* (At least on paper, many WW high-end blasters (Blazer-Gorgon, Vindicator) seem close. They have their own tradeoffs, though.)

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