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pfizerreg Thursday, March 22nd, 2007
Period of
Product Use:
3 months5 of 5 people found this review helpful.

4 years
Products Used:
Dozens of other pumps, many high ends such as Sniper IIs, Bushmasters and Phantoms.
Marker Setup: Too many pumps to list.

Get rid of the DYE hinge frame.
Strengths: Well built
Has some weight
Cocker threads
Weaknesses: Valve body backs out
Relatively complicated disassembly
DYE Hinge frame
Review: [edit] I have now sold my Newer Buzzard with DYE 1.5 frame and picked up an older pre-DYE model with a single swing frame and gloss annodizing. I'll go over the difference at the bottom of the review.

The Carter Buzzard is a work of art. Now that that's out of the way, it does have its weaknesses.

First thing I thought when I unpacked my Buzzard was that it was just beautiful. Understated milling, smooth components all around. It's a joy to pump and shoot, the SM-1 barrel it comes with is amazingly accurate, if a little oversized.

Let's compare the Buzzard to its closest rival, the Phantom. The buzzard is smoother, heavier and built to be more solid. When you shake a Phantom around, its internals and pump wobble around. The Buzzard is a solid chunk of metal. The pump stroke is smoother on the buzzard, although I would avoid getting a dust finish on the barrel. It feels rougher than when it is equipped with a gloss finish. Disassembly/reassembly goes to the Phantom. Two thumbscrews versus nearly a dozen screws. You must line everything up correctly for the gun to function properly. Misaligning the front snub, leaving the pump screws loose, or having the body lined up a couple degrees off leads to the pump arms rubbing and the pump stroke suffers. If the rear valve body is backed out, the gun will not catch on the back stroke. The Phantom comes with Hardline. My Buzzard came with Macroline, which is better used on a Semiautomatic, and looks cheap. The increased volume leads to decreases in 12gram efficiency. The Macro fittings also screw with the ergonomics when wrapping your off hand around the front of the VA adapter. I also believe that the Carter stock feed is a flawed design, as it relies on friction between the tube and valve body to stay put. This means it is on an angle, you can't put a gauge on the back of the body, and scratches eventually appear where the parts meet.

The worst part of this generation of Buzzards is, to me, the DYE Hinge frame. Yes, certain pump players drool over these and pay $80+ to put them on their Sniper IIs. That said, I think it's an over hyped piece of crap gripframe, and I believe that DYE neglected to put proper thought into producing it. The only reason that Carter is using these is because he probably has a bunch of blanks left over from when he worked alongside DYE to produce his guns. The fact that my gun has a big DYE logo on it cheapens the package for me. Sure, it may be a pretty frame to look at but I believe that it is the single WORST gripframe ever to come on a pump, from an ergonomic point of view. Pump players rely on their snapshots, and I don't feel comfortable with my firing point lowered to compensate for the overly tall frame. It is tall, because it was originally designed for Autocockers, which require a large leverage distance to activate the 4way.

The 1.5 finger trigger interferes with the wonderful Hogue wraparound grips that come stock on the Buzzard. When you try to put your middle finger where it wants to be, you run into the bottom of that terrible oversized trigger guard. I have had to put panel grips on, and I am forced to lower my hand down and use the bottom of the trigger. The WORST part about the frame is how DYE decided to mill the rear completely flat. There is no rounded milling on the back edge where the web of your thumb and palm must grip it - it is a sharp surface. This edge digs into your hand! What's worse is that with a pump, you push against the grip frame while pumping, so the pain is compounded even further. The only way I can see this being fixed is to cut off the bottom of the trigger guard, and to get some sort of backstrap to pad my hand. That, or wear gloves whenever I play with this one gun.

Fortunately, due to popular Demand, Carter is now producing single finger hinges and slider frames with humpback gripframes. The DYE frame will eventually be completely phased out.


In the end, I couldn't stand the 1.5 grip frame and I traded the gun away for a KP2 Rifle and extra parts. A few weeks ago, I snagged another Buzzard from ebay for a terrific deal. This one is an older model with the single swing trigger with humpback gripframe. The annodizing is a gloss polished finish instead of the dust finish of my other gun.

First impressions:

This older Carter (about 1995-98 by my guess) feels like a completely different gun, even though most of the construction is exactly the same. Everything is attached in the same manner, so disassembly and reassembly are just as tough as with the new Carters, at least compared to other Nelsons like Phantoms.

The trigger frame is very ergonomic, unlike my first (brand new) Buzzard. The humpback will be a familiar feeling to those who have used Intimidators, and it fits the hand very well. There is no biting into the palm or thumb web like with the DYE frame, and wraparound grips work very well since the trigger guard is a standard size. The platform is much better for snapshooting because the hand is now closer to the top of the frame leading to less wobble.

Unfortunately, the older frames are angled down at the bottom, and use the ancient Nelson hole width, which means you will want to possibly drill and tap the frame to fit standard accessories. It is possible that a "power angle" rail will bring the bottomline angle to more of a horizontal point. My old (Newer) Buzzard had a flat bottom but did not have bottomline holes threaded in.

The gun is smoother to pump and fire. For those who don't know, Dust finished guns are cheaper to produce (and it shows). Dust guns are just tossed in a sand blaster to even out the surface finish, while Gloss guns are hand polished to an even shine. Dust anodizing scratches much more easily, and in the case of Buzzards, makes the pump stroke much rougher. My gloss Buzzard has none of the "grittiness" that the dust finish on my last one gave to the trigger pull at certain angles or the pump stroke, and the finish is much tougher against dirt and rubbing.

Again, the gun is supplied with efficiency-sapping macro line, still a comfort issue for those of us who wrap our hands around the top of the VA.

Interestingly, this older Buzzard is much quieter than the new generation gun I had owned. With an 18" Boomstick, it gives a soft bouncing thump rather than a sharp bark. Accuracy depends greatly on the paint, but generally try to avoid double feeding as the gun is not very forgiving.

Conclusion: A wonderful pump gun. There is nothing else like it, but there are differences in the gun generations that can make or break your experience. For example, older guns didn't have removable barrels. Newer ones take Cocker threads.

I know that I will love my Buzzard as soon as I replace that piece of crap DYE Frame with a nice Carter Slider frame. I'm giving this generation of Buzzard an 8, just because of the terrible gripframe.

[edit] I am very satisfied with my older model Buzzard. It is more comfortable and looks better. It is quieter, smoother and tougher. The frame is the only major difference. Carter is now making his guns with single slide frames and single swing frames. Avoid the DYE hinge frames like the plague, and spend the tiny bit extra on gloss finishing and you will be very happy with your Buzzard. My rating for the pre-DYE Buzzard is a solid 9, with points lost for the valve backing out issue, the inevitable pump arm wear on the snub and tough(er) disassembly than most guns. I'm downgrading the DYE Hinge/Dust finish Buzzard to a 7.
9 out of 10Last edited on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008 at 1:59 pm PST

Review Comments
sonnemann Friday, April 13th, 2007 | 5:23 am PST
Buzzards/Comps actually take Sniper-threaded barrels. They are similar to Cocker thread, but many cocker barrels won't work because they lack the beveled inside edge where the bolt protrudes slightly into the breech.

pfizerreg Sunday, April 29th, 2007 | 10:51 pm PST
All of my standard autococker barrels work perfectly fine. I don't have any experience with older Buzzards - mine is quite new so perhaps E.Carter has fixed that issue.
Last edited on Sunday, April 29th, 2007 at 10:54 pm PST

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