S-Thunder 40mm Foam Ball Grenade Shell
S-Thunder 40mm Foam Ball Grenade Shell review by Booligan
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Next up in my review series of S-Thunder's products is their 40mm Foam Ball Grenade, both in the long and short variations. The grenade shells are a unique addition to S-Thunder's product lineup, and can certainly be a useful addition to your armory. You aren't just limited to foam balls with these shells, and I will cover all of the interesting aspects of them in this review!
I obtained these shells directly from S-Thunder, for the purpose of writing this review. I have several more products from them, so keep an eye on this section as I will have weekly review updates on these awesome munitions! You can order these directly from S-Thunder on their website, located HERE, or you can wait a few weeks, and these should be hitting store shelves. MSRP is listed at $65.99-$69.99, but I expect actual retail price to fall below that point when they make it to stores.
These shells are designed to launch 32mm foam balls out of 40mm launchers, using a variety of airsoft propellants. The shell body is available in two lengths, which give you either a longer barrel for single ball use, or the ability to cram more balls into the barrel for a shotgun effect. Now, why balls? Not everyone uses BBs in their grenade shells, nor do they want to commit to "rocket" launching systems, so 32mm foam balls make a great projectile, either as a stand-in for launched grenades, or just as a wacky thing to shoot at someone. Because these are basically 32mm ID barrels, they can fit a ton of other things, from handfuls of BBs, to confetti, powder, rubber balls, paintballs, small pocket nerfs, or pretty much anything else that will fit. The possibilities are endless, and these really are one of the most versatile shells that I've ever used.
The foam ball grenades come packaged in a cardboard box, complete with a clear plastic window showing the contents, as well as a plastic liner to keep everything in place. Like S-Thunder's other products, the packaging is retail ready, so you can expect to see these on airsoft retailer's shelves soon. The grenades have a unique design that is apparent the second you lay eyes on them. Â The included manual demonstrates the proper firing procedure for the grenade shells, as well as highlighting some safety risks associated with them.
At this point, click thumbnails to pull up full size pictures
Weight: .58 lbs
Diameter: 40mm (at base)
Weight: .45 lbs
Diameter: 40mm (at base)
Like most airsoft 40mm grenades, these are constructed entirely out of metal, which in this case is anodized aluminum. To put it bluntly, the overall appearance of the shells is one of high quality.
The short shell is probably the more universally useable of the two, the reason for which I will discuss in a few minutes. My short shell has a green base with a red barrel, however it is available in a few different colors. The thing basically looks like an oversized shotgun shell, both based on the colors and proportions. The barrel appears to have been lathe turned, giving it a very consistent bore and outer diameter. The inner bore is 32mm wide, and is about 2.25" long, allowing it to fit 2 of the included balls inside at a time. The fill port is located at the rear of the shell, next to the centrally located firing button.
Shot into the barrel
Shot of the base
The long shell is more or less identical in design to the short shell, only with a longer barrel section, in this case being about 5" long inside. The color scheme on my long shell is black base with a yellow/gold barrel. The benefits of the longer barrel are that it can impart greater velocities and range on a single ball, or it can hold up to four balls inside for a larger payload. Its long size is also its downfall in my testing. I was unable to fit this grenade inside my Madbull XM203, as it's just too long, and the launcher doesn't slide forward enough to allow it to fit. I foresee this as a problem with most sliding type launchers, however side loading, front loading, or pivoting breach loading launchers should all be fine. Like the short shell, the activation button and gas port are located on the base.
Shot inside the barrel
Both of these shells ship with the high strength CO2 valve assembly, as indicated by the pink inner valve. These can take pretty much any airsoft gas that you throw at them, from HFC134A to CO2, using a CO2 capsule filling adaptor. The valve easily resets by pushing the activation button in all the way, and letting it retract all the way back flush with the rear of the shell. In my testing, I never once needed to open the shell up to manually reset the ball bearings or anything of that sort. My source indicates that these cores should last for 200-300 shots using CO2, due to the high quality O-rings. These cores can also be used in their landmines which use a grenade type system, such as their compact powder, water, and "step and release" mines.
Size comparison between the long and short shells
So, how do you use these things? The basic functions are more or less identical to any other 40mm grenade shell, with the payload being the large exception. You basically have a 32mm wide inner barrel, in one of two lengths with which you can fill up with basically anything you want. The included foam balls are obviously the intended payload, however, you can fit a huge quantity of BBs inside these, sealing them off with some tissue paper and a rubber band.
Included foam balls
During this whole operation, it is very important that you wear eye protection! First things first, you will want to make sure that the valve is properly reset, so start by resetting the valve as indicated in the previous section. You then can fill the gas tank using your desired propellant. With condensed gasses (134, Green Gas, Propane) fill it until large quantities start coming out of the fill port. With CO2, you can use trial and error to determine your preferred charge, which will differ between different adapters, temperatures, and a multitude of other factors. Once you have filled the grenade with gas, you can load the projectile of your choice. For this demo, I will be using a single foam ball loaded into the short shell.
Single foam ball
Push the ball all the way into the shell
You can now load the shell into your preferred launcher. For this demo, I am using my Madbull XM203 based standalone launcher.
Load the shell
Shot into the launcher, loaded shell visible
What happens when I try to use the long shell inside this launcher?
Now that you are loaded, you are ready to fire, bringing us to...
Shooting the foam ball is certainly different than my normal projectile. The flight characteristics of the foam balls is interesting, as they are quite lightweight, and have a large surface area, slowing them down rapidly. Range is in the double digits, with 80-100' being possible after a fair bit of practice, and basically windless conditions. Indoor use is where these will excel. The report of the shell is pretty dang loud, rated at 90dB by S-Thunder. With multiple balls, the velocity and range slow down, obviously, but the recoil increases. Physics is you friend!
As mentioned repeatedly above, you are not limited just to the included foam balls. You can pour several hundred BBs into the barrel, and seal it up with some tissue paper. Velocity isn't too impressive with this method, but the sheer number of BBs flying out of the barrel of your launcher is damn intimidating. It really just shoots out a cloud of BBs. These are also great shells to use for 40mm based large bore mortars and launchers. The CO2 capable valve assembly makes these capable of big power buildups. A Nerf Vortex type projectile can slide down the barrel, with the main "football" portion sticking out the front. I've also tested this with several Milsim Labs projectiles, with great results in my 60mm bore launcher.
Milsim Labs round with long shell
Fits quite well in the barrel
Overall, even if you never shoot the included foam balls out of these shells, they are fantastic for launching other things, from clouds of BBs to foam rockets. The high power capabilities and one of a kind design really makes them a great option for any aspiring grenadier.
Here is a quick video of this launcher firing a single foam ball using CO2:
Huge payload capabilities
High quality anodized aluminum construction
Available in a variety of lengths and colors
Easy to reset and reload
Long shell is too long for some launchers
Pricier than some other shells, but has unique capabilities and is CO2 compatible
I wasn't sure what to expect with these foam ball grenade shells, but I was pleasantly surprised with their versatility. I've always been an advocate for using 40mm shells to power all manner of launching machines, from mortars to shoulder fired units, and these are an excellent power plant for those buildups. They allow you to put some big bore firepower in your launcher, and that is certainly a good thing!
Many thanks again to S-Thunder and of course, AirsoftRetreat!