Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Review: Worker Retaliator Bolt

I'm not sure when Worker released these, but I only became aware of their existence fairly recently. As someone who (currently) exclusively uses full length darts and doesn't do much high velocity stuff, these interest me far more than short dart breeches and mags, expanded plunger tubes and so on. I ordered three of them from Lightake for about 4USD each, including postage.

The Worker Retaliator Bolt is a trans-blue direct replacement for the stock Retaliator bolt. It includes the metal pin for securing it to the boltsled, the rear o-ring and the AR-like piece inside.

The bottom front edge of the bolt is slightly chamfered, presumably in an attempt to smoothen feeding and chambering.
The AR-like piece is friction-fit within the bolt, and can be removed. My preferred technique is to use a short screwdriver inserted in the rear of the bolt, and tapping it out lightly with a hammer. I only figured this out after an embarrassingly long time, having already spent reasonable time utterly disappointed in its performance with the piece still in.
Conversely, this AR-like piece can also be re-installed easily. This has its uses, which I've gone into more detail at the bottom of this post.
With the AR-like piece removed, the bolt is clean and clear, akin to an AR-removed, drilled-out stock bolt.

Here's the Worker bolt (below) next to a stock Retaliator bolt (above). Externally, there are not many differences, besides the Worker bolt's dart guide being slightly wider and thinner. The Worker boltsled pin is longer than the stock pin, and also features knurling on one end. I believe it is also a little thicker. All these make the Worker pin provide a much more secure attachment of the bolt to the boltsled. That said, I personally feel that the stock pin is already a decent enough fit, so I personally have just used those instead.

Looking down the two bolts, showing both ARs. Again, not a lot of noticeable or significant difference just from looking at them.
Besides the Worker bolt's removable AR, the biggest difference is the length of functional barrel in the bolts. In the stock bolt, there is only about one centimetre or so of bolt that has a tight, functional fit on darts. With the Worker bolt, there is a lot more functional barrel length, at around two centimetres. In the above picture, the darts are inserted into the bolts up until they reach the functional barrel. The Worker bolt's functional barrel starts much earlier than the stock bolt's.

The two o-rings are also slightly different. The Worker o-ring (left) is much smaller than the stock o-ring (right), but is also thicker. When installed, the Worker o-ring provides a much tighter seal of the bolt with the plunger tube. Personally, I found the fit to be too tight, often causing issues when quickly chambering darts and making the final section of forward bolt travel quite stiff and difficult. As such, I stuck with the stock o-rings.

The Worker bolt, as mentioned before, is meant as a direct drop-in replacement of the stock bolt. It is a simple matter to remove the stock bolt and install the Worker bolt, a few mere seconds once the blaster is open.
Here's the Retaliator with the Worker bolt installed. As far as I've experienced, it works flawlessly and has caused no issues that I'm aware of.

I also attempted to install one of the Worker bolts into my Stormtrooper Deluxe blaster. As demonstrated above again, the Worker bolt has much more functional barrel length than the stock bolt. As the two bolts are the same length, the Worker bolt can be installed without issue in the Stormtrooper Deluxe blaster.
It is worth noting that the dart guide segments of the Worker and Stormtrooper Deluxe bolts are rather different, however I experienced no functional difference after installing an unaltered Worker bolt.
The Worker bolt installs just fine into the Stormtrooper Deluxe blaster, and as far as I'm aware it works just as well as the stock bolt functionally.
The Worker bolt will not work in the Elite Alpha Trooper however, as its stock bolt is significantly longer.

Performance figures for the Worker bolt vs the stock bolt can be found in my chrono document. The Retaliator experienced an increase in muzzle velocity of around 15fps on average (106fps from 91fps), while the Stormtrooper Deluxe blaster experienced an increase of around 22fps on average (108fps from 86fps). With the AR piece still installed, the Retaliator saw a slight decrease in muzzle velocity of around 4fps, and became noticeably less consistent.

Overall I'm quite impressed with the Worker Retaliator bolt. For the blasters it is compatible with, it offers a substantial performance boost for almost no effort, at a low cost. With stronger springs, it may offer an even larger performance boost. I believe that due to its lack of AR, and longer functional barrel, it may also be compatible with short darts. I do not have the equipment to test this myself however. Additionally, its removable AR piece can be reinstalled if a lower muzzle velocity is required, and gives performance roughly comparable to a stock, AR-intact bolt.

Naturally, its performance is not going to compare favourably with a full sealed breach, as such systems allow for an even longer functional barrel. There are many aftermarket partially/fully sealed breach systems for short darts that would likely offer far superior performance. As such, I would not recommend this Worker bolt if you are looking to use exclusively short darts, or if you are aiming for as high a muzzle velocity as possible. What it offers over any other bolt/breach system is its very low cost, and very high convenience. If you're looking for a cheap, low effort performance boost over a stock bolt and use full length darts, or both full length and short darts (assuming it is compatible with short darts), I'd definitely recommend giving this Worker bolt a look.


  1. Yes, it would be compatible with shorter Nerf darts

  2. Hi.. I have a questions.

    I am wondering if this Worker Retaliator Bolt is able to install and work on nerf rampage?

    1. I don't know, I've never actually owned a Rampage. It's entirely possible since the bolt worked in the Stormtrooper blaster, but I'm not sure how similar the Rampage's internals are.

    2. I see..

      Thank for the reply. Btw Your reviews on the item was awesome and very detail.

  3. Curious if anyone has installed the Worker type-a retaliator plunger and seen an increase. It's like $12 CDN including shipping on NFStrike right now.