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

Eadric Anstapa eadric at scabrewer.com
Thu Sep 4 15:12:08 PDT 2008

Sir Kenneth thank you for your tests and the report of your findings.

I didn't expect much different.   Lets face it the UHMW blunt with a 
sidewrap is basically no larger that a Baldar Blunt in diameter and 
still weighs less.  As far as stability and accuracy goes people have 
been using Fellwalker style blunts for a decade without problems in that 

Regarding impact force, it is certainly going to be different but there 
has always been a huge span there.   We have people using anything from 
wimpy wimpy bows up to 600 IP crossbows and a HUGE variety of foam 
densities and Baldar Blunts.  The retrofitted blunts are still going to 
impact within the range that we have already had to work with.

As far as HE Donnchadh's report that  "the problem is also that the foam 
is much stiffer so you don't feel the impact of the UHMW underneath"... 
   I can only say that if a person has been using blunts with 1" of 
padding that allowed the foam to bottom out so that the impact of the 
UHMW could be felt, then I would worry that person has been using 
illegal blunts all along.  The foam is supposed to provide progressive 
give so that ya don't feel the UHMW and that is particularly true for 1" 
padded blunts.



Ken Theriot wrote:
> 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.
> Kenneth   

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