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

Ken Theriot kentheriot at ravenboymusic.com
Thu Sep 4 17:51:36 PDT 2008

There is one big difference between my thrusting tips and my arrow tips.  My
sword doesn't get trampled on dozens of times by other combatants because it
got flung to the ground in the middle of an hour-long rez battle and could
not be picked up!  Every time someone steps on the tip of an arrow, it
weakens the foam just a bit more.  Eventually it gets soft or misshapen
enough that the foam CAN penetrate a grill when it couldn't when new.


That's why the new rule does not allow us to simply use a wider blunt.  Even
a 1.5 inch blunt with the old rule would still have enough padding in front
of it to be smooshed after getting trampled on enough times.  


Dinner is calling.gotta run:-).




From: Mike [mailto:meggiddo at netzero.net] 
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2008 6:54 PM
To: Archery within the Kingdom of Ansteorra
Subject: Re: [Ansteorra-archery] Results From my Testing of New Combat
Arrows - Possible New Design


What we are trying to recreate is a thrusting tip, which is what the heavy
fighters have been using on their swords, spears, and pole arms for

Based upon feedback local heavy fighters, which was need to stiffen up the
combat head on the UHMW, from this feedback. I started building thrusting
tips for my combat arrows - UHMW (1 inch long and 1.25 inches in diameter).
The construction involves 3 3/8 inches foam disks glue together, then glued
on the end of the UHMW combat head (the edges both leading and trailing have
smoothed or rounded off). 

Once the foam had set (about a day or so - I usually give it 2 days per
arrow). I then wrapped the entire package - the leading edge of foam disks
and all the way down the UHMW combat head in two to three wraps of Duct
Tape. Then applied strapping tape over the entire combat head assembly. 

The local heavy fighters and I tested it out, years ago, and it works - a
nice strict package which does not allow any part of the foam tip to enter
the grill. Then of course, we did not have all the "testing equipment"
available to us either. But just shooting it into a grill of a legal grill
on a helm on the ground at a distance of 3 feet, saw no impact nor did it
stick. Used a 30 lb. recurve at full draw. No impact clay behind the grill
to see if there was any type of penetration. 

I have been shooting this type of design for the last 5 years. 

I was just wondering why one one thought of this design. 

I have also cross posted to the SCA Missile list as well.

Ld Michael Kettering 
Combat Archer 
Missile Marshal 

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
From: Paul Thorne [mailto:paul.v.thorne at gmail.com] 
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2008 8:49 AM
To: Archery within the Kingdom of Ansteorra; mm at lists.ansteorra.org; Missile
combat in Ansteorra
Subject: [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, CAO
Kingdom Missile Marshal, Ansteorra


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