The NERF Rival Apollo XV-700 is a spring-powered, magazine loaded blaster which is currently the entry level blaster for the Rival range. It comes with a seven round magazine, although it can use the 12 round Rival stick mags.
The Rival range is aimed at the 14+ age range so even the basic Apollo will fire rounds faster than any standard Elite blaster at around 100FPS rather than the usual 70FPS for Elite blasters. They are also much more accurate and predictable – I love the Rival range for this!
As with all the NERF Rival blasters, it comes in 2 colors, red or blue, so take your pick (or see which one is cheaper and buy that!) but if you want something a little different then keep an eye out for the white “Phantom Corps” version, which was exclusive to Target stores.
- Fires at over 100 FPS (Elite average is around 70 FPS)
- Much more accurate than Elite N-Strike blasters
- Remarkably good value for money
- The 7 round magazine can be replaced with the larger 12 round magazine
- Good grip and trigger makes it nice to hold and shoot
- Cumbersome, awkward priming mechanism
- Cannot add a stock
- Very small magazine capacity out of the box
- Entry level Apollo blaster is really good value and an easy entry to the joys of the Rival range
- NERF Rival rounds is more accurate, but not interchangeable with other types of NERF ammo
- Also shoots at up to 100 fps (feet per second) / 30 mps
- Spring powered so no need for batteries, but the priming mechanism is a little awkward and limits the rate of fire
NERF Rival Apollo XV-700 Review
Named after the messenger of the Gods of the Greek pantheon, the Apollo is the entry point to the NERF Rival range. It is an unusual looking blaster, with the short barrel and long butt (you cannot really call it a stock). The priming handle is also in a unique position on the top of the blaster behind the tactical rail.
So are these ergonomics a stroke of genius or a quirk too far and how does the Apollo rate as the entry point to the Rival range?
Unboxing & Getting Started
Once you get the box opened and the cables off, you will find
- The Apollo blaster
- A 7 round magazine
- 7 Rival ammo balls
- and yes, the manual!
The Apollo is a spring powered, magazine fed blaster and about as simple as you can get. Once you have everything out of the packaging, you simply push the hi-impact Rival rounds into the magazine. The mag is clear, which makes it easy to see how many rounds you have left….but so can your opponent!
As with other products in the Rival range, the Apollo fires high-speed, high-impact spherical rounds made of soft foam, instead of the more familiar N-Strike Elite darts.
The Apollo is advertized as having a capacity of seven rounds, but it happily holds eight, which is a nice bonus. If you want a bit more ammo, it is compatible with the Rival Zeus magazine which holds twelve rounds. This does stick out of the bottom of quite a bit more than the standard mag, but it doesn’t affect much in practice.
The magazine also has a little catch on it, which you can pull to quickly unload the magazine. When loading your blaster this also marks the front and it has to be facing forward. The magazine slides in nicely, with a satisfying click.
To change the magazine you simply flick the little catch on the base of the hand grip and you can easily pull the magazine out.
Design & Ergonomics
When I picked up the Apollo I was pleasantly surprised. Most of the recent blasters from NERF seem to have grips that are just too small for an adult. I am over 6′ tall and, I assume because the Rival blasters are targeting a slightly older market, the grip and feel were much better than most N-Strike blasters.
After the initial good feelings of the grip, it must be said the rest of the ergonomics are a little weird. To prime, you use the handle mounted on the top of the barrel. This is a very strange choice as it means you have to take the blaster down from your firing position to prime. Also, the position on top means the action is not that natural and takes more force than you would ideally like.
I also found it a little odd to hold. You can wield it one handed with no problem, but if you bring it up to your shoulder the stock is too short. There is no way to add a stock, so this is something you have to live with unless you fancy re-skinning it.
On the top you will find a tactical rail. As with other Rival blasters, this is not technically compatible with the N-Strike accessories, but most will fit on there with a bit of persuasion.
There are also no sling points, meaning you have to carry it at all times as it is too large to realistically be holstered, another slightly strange ommission.
This is a spring powered blaster, and like most spring powered blasters you get a really nice mechanical feel from the trigger. As mentioned before the priming handle is in a weird location which makes it awkward to use as the force tilts the blaster as you prime it. This also means you cannot fire very rapidly either as you cannot realistically keep it pointed at your target as you prime.
While your rate of fire is pretty poor with the Apollo, you do have the benefits of Rival accuracy and power. Elite darts are simply not as consistent or powerful and this is why we like the Rival range so much.
The Rival balls have golf-ball like pimples on them, which makes them much better aerodynamically and hence you might not need that rate of fire as you can do the job with one shot!
Rival blasters shoot about 50% faster than Elite blasters, however, this does not correspond to longer ranges. The hi-impact rounds barely have any better range than the Elites. However, their more consistent accuracy means their effective range is much better.
Additionally, while it does not really help with the range, the extra muzzle velocity makes it harder to dodge. One guy I know prides himself on dodging shots – let’s just say he is not a fan of the Rival rounds!
Testing the Apollo’s muzzle velocities, it chalked up an average a little over 102 FPS. This actually turned out to be the best speed I got out of any Rival blaster….not bad for the baby of the family!
I find the Rival Apollo XV-700 Review a very odd cookie. It is undoubtedly good fun with its rival power and precision. However, I still cannot figure out what it is for. It is too big to be used as a secondary blaster but does not have the ammo or rate of fire needed for a primary
The saving grace, however, is the price – it was cheap when launched but now is a screaming bargain! So if you are not yet sure about the Rival ammo, get yourself one of these and just try it out.