[Ansteorra-archery] Results From my Testing of New Combat Arrows

Mike Wyvill wyvillmike at hotmail.com
Thu Sep 4 14:47:47 PDT 2008

I'll have to get some arrows completed befor teh Gates Edge event this weekend then and see if I can persuade some kind Heavy-Type to be a guinea pig. I am sure that HL Eadric has bolts ready to go as well.


From: kentheriot at ravenboymusic.comTo: ansteorra-archery at lists.ansteorra.org; mm at lists.ansteorra.org; ansteorra-missile at lists.ansteorra.orgDate: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 16:35:44 -0500Subject: [Ansteorra-archery] Results From my Testing of New Combat Arrows

I have honestly forgotten which list is the new one, so I’m sending this to all of them.
I spend some time experimenting with different types of padding, and methods to apply the wrap.  I had sticky-back 1/4-in. foam left over from Gulf Wars and I had the stuff that Eadric suggested, the sticky-back 2-mm. foam from Walmart (Darice).  It turns out that, on my arrows anyway, the 1/4-in. wrap was WAY more than was needed (about 1-3/4 in. diameter after taping).  I applied strapping tape around the wrap as tight as I could, and there really was very little in the way of compression.    
I made a majority of my original arrows with a leather disc on the tip, and even before applying a side-wrap, the diameter of the vast majority of these tips was already about 1-3/8 inches.  So 1 of the Darice 2-mm. sticky-back strips was really all that was needed.  
Nevertheless, I conducted an experiment with the ones I wrapped with 1/4-in. foam.  I shot 6 of the old arrows from my longbow.  They flew an average distance of 37 yards with very little variation.  Then I shot 6 of the fatter retrofit arrows from exactly the same spot.  There was no significant difference in the distance (or variation) that they flew!  Though it seems logical (and is definitely true to some degree) that a wider face would encounter more wind-resistance, and a heavier head would not fly as far; in (my) real-world testing, those differences were negligible, and amounted to basically no real difference at all.  
I did NOT conduct a test of impact force.  But the observations mentioned about folks being hit by arrows not feeling them may not be indicative of a cause-consequence situation from the retrofit.  Obviously I can't say this for certain, but I would bet money that if those same individuals were hit with the old arrows, their answers would have been the same.  A valid experiment would be to get some willing stick jocks (hey, I get to say that because I'm a knight;)) to let us shoot a random mix of old and new arrows at them, and report their reaction to the hits (blind experiment).  That would eliminate any possible bias on the part of the target....I mean other fighter;).  There still could be some bias in the way the testing archer since they would be able to see which arrow they were shooting.  But if we set up a way for the archer to shoot accurately WITHOUT knowing which arrows they were, we could do a double-blind experiment and have actual evidence of the differences, if any, in perceived impact to another human fighter.  
Does it suck?  Yup.  But if we give up in disgust, then we let the "enemies of CA" win!  Those "enemies," are mostly (not entirely) the dukes and other hot sticks who feel their years of training, and their amazing god-like skill should not be vulnerable to a weapon that a newbie can learn in a day.  We all know the arguments: how effective archery would have been in our period, presumed armor, plate armor, arrows and bows used at different times, archery is unchivalrous, blah, blah, blah.  That is pure doggy doo.  If ANYONE brings that argument up, all we have to do is say, "yeah, and a single hit with a 1-handed broadsword to a steel helmet would barely make a dent.  And wrap shots?  Shyaa!  Oh, and I love the "fighting-from-your-knees" part after someone slices one of your legs open (or off)."  Almost nothing we do as fighters in the SCA is "realistic."  But one thing is for sure, archers were an integral part of medieval battle, and there is no way I foresee a day when combat archery disappears from the SCA. 
Anyway, this has been my 2-pence (OK, maybe a more like 9 or 10) on the situation.

From: Paul Thorne [mailto:paul.v.thorne at gmail.com] Sent: Friday, August 22, 2008 8:49 AMTo: Archery within the Kingdom of Ansteorra; mm at lists.ansteorra.org; Missile combat in AnsteorraSubject: [Mm] Society Changes

Greetings Archers of Ansteorra,   With much discussion the Society Combat Archery Marshal has revised the recent rule change to allow the maximum padding to be 1.25" now.  This means that all of our current ammunition will be legal with the simple addition of a sidewrap to increase the blunt diameter to 1.5".  So as of right now the Society standard for padding is 1/2" minimum to 1.25" maximum.HL Jean-Paul de Calmont, CAOKingdom Missile Marshal, Ansteorra
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