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Sturgeon

Archery Thread

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Toxn uses drag models to test his arrows on?

 

755684_orig.jpg

 

I know you're the Social Justice Prince, but I can't help that your genetic disposition to being a South African evil bad guy is winning out!

 

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Kidding aside, awesome write up.

Simpel drag models are actually a really tiny slice of the population, so using other models might have been a good idea.

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The difference in velocity etc. between a snub-nosed revolver and a full-length carbine firing the same cartridge (example) is about 85%. The performance difference between a 25 pound bow and a 100 pound bow where everything else is the same is about 65%. Change the draw length, string weight, limb design and so on and you can end up with 4x or 5x differences in performance with the same arrow.

 

For all practical intents and purposes bows have a much more dynamic performance relationship between the components than guns do. Hence "to a certain level of approximation". 

 

Feel free to come up with a less clunky way of saying all that and I will gladly include it in the post.

 

That's for a pistol round, which has a propellant curve with the majority of the area under the curve occurring at very short barrel lengths. For rifle rounds, you are looking at a factor of roughly 0.70-0.75 going from 24" to 8".

I say for clarity's sake drop all the noise about bows being less uniform from a performance standpoint (it's true, but not important to the point you were making) and just explain to us in basic terms what it being a man-powered, mechanically-launched device means. You mostly have done that already, so that should actually reduce word count and result in a leaner, less confusing article.

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Ehhh... You are talking about that one throwaway sentence in the first paragraph, right?

 

So one of the interesting things about bows/arrows is that, unlike guns/bullets the ammunition itself isn't providing the energy to launch a projectile. Accordingly a bow has a fairly complex relationship between the performance of the whole package and the individual components. By comparison; to a certain level of approximation, every gun using the same cartridge will have the same velocity, energy, trajectory, terminal effect and so on.

 

I like where he is going with the gun analogy because people understand guns (hehehehehehe) more than bows.

 

"Roughly speaking, guns with similar barrel lengths and cartridges will have the same rough ballistics." Or something. It is a throw away sentence that is nice in that it has a quick This-and-That comparison before going into why we are explaining THIS. Unfortunately, there are pedants who want to talk about THAT since this is the Internet.

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That's for a pistol round, which has a propellant curve with the majority of the area under the curve occurring at very short barrel lengths. For rifle rounds, you are looking at a factor of roughly 0.70-0.75 going from 24" to 8".

I say for clarity's sake drop all the noise about bows being less uniform from a performance standpoint (it's true, but not important to the point you were making) and just explain to us in basic terms what it being a man-powered, mechanically-launched device means. You mostly have done that already, so that should actually reduce word count and result in a leaner, less confusing article.

My training as an academic proves to be my Achilles' heel again! Speaking of which, allow me to go into detail about the origins and metaphysical underpinnings of the myth of Achilles, as well as a brief discussion of its relevance in the modern discourse surrounding socio-political movements...

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Ehhh... You are talking about that one throwaway sentence in the first paragraph, right?

 

So one of the interesting things about bows/arrows is that, unlike guns/bullets the ammunition itself isn't providing the energy to launch a projectile. Accordingly a bow has a fairly complex relationship between the performance of the whole package and the individual components. By comparison; to a certain level of approximation, every gun using the same cartridge will have the same velocity, energy, trajectory, terminal effect and so on.

 

I like where he is going with the gun analogy because people understand guns (hehehehehehe) more than bows.

 

"Roughly speaking, guns with similar barrel lengths and cartridges will have the same rough ballistics." Or something. It is a throw away sentence that is nice in that it has a quick This-and-That comparison before going into why we are explaining THIS. Unfortunately, there are pedants who want to talk about THAT since this is the Internet.

 

Wouldn't you agree that an establishing sentence should be as watertight as possible, so that people don't dismiss the article entirely? It's very bad to be wrong about something right off the bat when you are trying to teach people about some shit.

Having said that, I agree the error is minor in nature. Cleaning it up should be easy. If you want to keep the comparison in there, say something like "in comparison to bows, firearms have relatively few aspects that can affect their performance given the same ammunition". Having said that, I'm not sure Tox is keeping in mind all the ways firearms can vary even within a single chambering, but that is probably a subject best left there and not discussed further at the moment.

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Indeed Sturgeon.

 

Getting back to the subject, with the technical explanation given by Toxn and the fact that performance of arrows can be assessed by scientific methods like weighing them with accurate scales, measuring them with chronometers, assessing their aerodynamic quality by wind tunnels and high speed cameras and shooting them into drag queens in order to test their penetration, it is always a wonder that our ancestors were able to happen upon the proper - I'll put the quotation marks around "proper" as a caveat - use of arrowheads for the problem that they wanted to solve whether it be hunting game or piercing enemy armor. I'm assuming there was a lot of trial and error and hand-me-down knowledge from elder craftsmen and bow users. However I wonder to what exact extent they understood the physical properties that they were dealing with.

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Indeed Sturgeon.

 

Getting back to the subject, with the technical explanation given by Toxn and the fact that performance of arrows can be assessed by scientific methods like weighing them with accurate scales, measuring them with chronometers, assessing their aerodynamic quality by wind tunnels and high speed cameras and shooting them into drag queens in order to test their penetration, it is always a wonder that our ancestors were able to happen upon the proper - I'll put the quotation marks around "proper" as a caveat - use of arrowheads for the problem that they wanted to solve whether it be hunting game or piercing enemy armor. I'm assuming there was a lot of trial and error and hand-me-down knowledge from elder craftsmen and bow users. However I wonder to what exact extent they understood the physical properties that they were dealing with.

The joke is that many archaeologists now think that bows were developed from spear throwers precisely because the projectiles don't need to be as accurately made to get consistent results. Arrows can vary in weight by as much as 15% without drastically affecting their performance over the very short distances that you need to use to successfully hunt an animal.

 

As for understanding, I am always amazed that things like beer and cheese ever got invented, much less perfected. Developing a bow seems a lot more simple when you can imagine a first use as a toy or novelty before real innovations took off (not as much of an option where food is concerned). My guess is that, as bows have been invented multiple times, it just didn't take too long to discover that tying a stick to itself could be useful in a limited sense as a means to shift a stick or small spear. From there you have thousands of years (at least 50 generations) to experiment and tinker with the concept. Fifty lifetimes is a lot of time in which to improve something so long as you have that first spark of invention down.

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Ehhh... You are talking about that one throwaway sentence in the first paragraph, right?

 

So one of the interesting things about bows/arrows is that, unlike guns/bullets the ammunition itself isn't providing the energy to launch a projectile. Accordingly a bow has a fairly complex relationship between the performance of the whole package and the individual components. By comparison; to a certain level of approximation, every gun using the same cartridge will have the same velocity, energy, trajectory, terminal effect and so on.

 

I like where he is going with the gun analogy because people understand guns (hehehehehehe) more than bows.

 

"Roughly speaking, guns with similar barrel lengths and cartridges will have the same rough ballistics." Or something. It is a throw away sentence that is nice in that it has a quick This-and-That comparison before going into why we are explaining THIS. Unfortunately, there are pedants who want to talk about THAT since this is the Internet.

 

Actually there's something glossed over in that sentence that might lead to a better comparison, it's comparing bows/arrows and guns/bullets. This is actually pretty analogous in terms of which roles (structure/energy provider/projectile) are in which category if the implicit rest of the cartridge is on the guns side of the guns/bullets split. The gun is a mechanism to allow the propellant half of the cartridge to impart energy to the bullet, while the bow is everything but the projectile and provides the energy itself, and the structure is about providing that energy rather than containing energy from an external (internal physically but external to the gun as an object) source like the gun does.

 

The article is really talking about the arrow though, so it feels kind of weird to me that it's trying to clear up where the energy comes from and how important the different parts of the system are. I think the really important bit is that there's not really a distinct provider of structure separate from the process of imparting energy, and that there's important interaction between the projectile and launcher as the energy is released into motion that's essential to the function of the system.

 

Hope I'm not being a tired ranty pedant.

 

As a separate thing, it's pretty interesting to see how it seems to be that if humans have something and spend a lot of time making it without disruption it tends towards some local maximum pretty reliably, while discovery itself is somewhat far between and much less reliable (for example iron working)

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As a separate thing, it's pretty interesting to see how it seems to be that if humans have something and spend a lot of time making it without disruption it tends towards some local maximum pretty reliably, while discovery itself is somewhat far between and much less reliable (for example iron working)

^This.

 

Adding: people are generally pretty bad at coming up with something new, but pretty amazing at recreating something when they discover that it is possible. Often there is just a simple 'trick' to the thing that needs to be transmitted for the whole concept become viable. Chainmail was a good example for me, as I tried for a long time to come up with a usable weave without success before stumbling upon an approach to laying out 4:4 weave by stringing the first links up on a line. Ditto the concept of tillering - you only need to know about the idea of distributing stress evenly along the bow by thinning the limbs and everything else clicks into place.

 

Having the understanding that the Romans had all the tech needed to (for instance) make a primitive electrical grid, one has the strong suspicion that there are a huge number of other potentially game-changing inventions out there somewhere that we could pull off today if only we could think of them. At the same time, technologies tend to need the correct supporting infrastructure (including social) to become widely available and useful. So perhaps we're just not at the correct point for antigravity or whatever to make it.

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^This.

 

Adding: people are generally pretty bad at coming up with something new, but pretty amazing at recreating something when they discover that it is possible. Often there is just a simple 'trick' to the thing that needs to be transmitted for the whole concept become viable. Chainmail was a good example for me, as I tried for a long time to come up with a usable weave without success before stumbling upon an approach to laying out 4:4 weave by stringing the first links up on a line. Ditto the concept of tillering - you only need to know about the idea of distributing stress evenly along the bow by thinning the limbs and everything else clicks into place.

 

Having the understanding that the Romans had all the tech needed to (for instance) make a primitive electrical grid, one has the strong suspicion that there are a huge number of other potentially game-changing inventions out there somewhere that we could pull off today if only we could think of them. At the same time, technologies tend to need the correct supporting infrastructure (including social) to become widely available and useful. So perhaps we're just not at the correct point for antigravity or whatever to make it.

 

And of course if you don't have the prerequisites for a technology or aren't working with the right assumptions as a basis, all the discussion in the world about some form of advance won't make a whit of difference. For example, the conquistadors' horses meant that while they were on the Inka's world class road network, they had an awful time of things because those roads were built around llamas, and incorporated steep steps. And of course there's the topic of Inka metallurgy, which was actually quite advanced, but wasn't working with the same goals Europeans tended to have and came up with a totally different toolkit of great ways to do crazy stuff with precious metals and their alloys.

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So I ended up promising a work collegue that I would make him a bow after he kindly gave me some arrows and a foam target. 

 

The first bow (Kiaat on the back, lamboo on the belly) blew up during tillering. I subsequently stuck to lamboo until I can figure out what went wrong.

 

The second developed a crack and had to be patched - after which I didn't trust it enough to give to a stranger:

 

wwUBFFc.jpg

 

The third was a pretty stadard pyramid bow - 1.6m long, around 1cm thick in the limb, a 12cm handle section, 5cm at the widest part and 1.5cm at the tips. It worked beautifully, with only two problems. The first is that the draw was only 30 pounds or so (13.9kg at 75cm), which is a bit disappointing as I was aiming for 50. The second is that I completely forgot to take any photos of the thing, which is a shame as I went to all the trouble of making a wrapped sisal string for it.

 

I'll update if my collegue ever sends pictures.

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A video firmly in the style of artisanal firewood, but interesting nonetheless:

 

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/watch-a-guy-chop-down-a-tree-and-make-a-longbow-out-of-1784532506

 

Note the variety of rasps and scrapers, the lack of backing, the nice tillering setup, the inexplicable thing over the fire, and the fact that (as always) the little bugger somehow ends up well under the draw weight you were aiming for*. So all that's really missing is the part where it splits at the back when you draw to 75%, or develops a hinge at 90%.

 

Also, the comments are chock full of juicy, juicy longbow-wankery. Because the longbow is to bows as the katana is to swords, and with the same effect on my blood pressure.

 

 

* This poor bastard just spent the best part of a month making a 30-pounder, if the final shot is any guide.

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So I ended up promising a work collegue that I would make him a bow after he kindly gave me some arrows and a foam target. 

 

The first bow (Kiaat on the back, lamboo on the belly) blew up during tillering. I subsequently stuck to lamboo until I can figure out what went wrong.

 

The second developed a crack and had to be patched - after which I didn't trust it enough to give to a stranger:

 

wwUBFFc.jpg

 

The third was a pretty stadard pyramid bow - 1.6m long, around 1cm thick in the limb, a 12cm handle section, 5cm at the widest part and 1.5cm at the tips. It worked beautifully, with only two problems. The first is that the draw was only 30 pounds or so (13.9kg at 75cm), which is a bit disappointing as I was aiming for 50. The second is that I completely forgot to take any photos of the thing, which is a shame as I went to all the trouble of making a wrapped sisal string for it.

 

I'll update if my collegue ever sends pictures.

Since SH does not like editing today:

 

Having finally gotten around to giving the pictured bow a good shooting-in, I can report that it's still terrifyingly broken. It also shoves arrows into things with authority and absolutely no regard for your wrists. I'm probably not going to shoot it much, except to take it to the farm and see how far I can sling an arrow on a clear day.

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I've still been using my PSE Kingfisher quite often. My Chinese carbon arrows are cheap and heavy, but they work. I can now shoot comfortably from either a left or right handed stance (Even though the bow is set up right handed) and am now working on knocking out the 10" circle of my target at ten yards. 

 

I started shooting left handed until I realized that I'm doing exactly the opposite of everyone else with my handiness. 

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No pictures, but I did find a new channel to watch:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14ly4woqoSo

Following on from this, a thought emerges:

 

Bows are generally non-lethal when used for combat in the present era (significant caveats apply). Bows can also shoot a variety of projectiles.

 

Therefore: bows would make great anti-riot weapons*! We could train cops to shoot into crowds, then give them a selection of arrows to use (including whistling, blunt and so on) for each situation. This would not only be fairly good for crowd control, but it would also provide some much-needed visual flavour to the subsequent phone/gopro videos of the event.

 

 

*We've covered bows as riot weapons already

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The problem is that there's a huge difference between functionally nonlethal and legally nonlethal.

Plus, blue forend shotguns can do everything a bow can do and are much easier to use.

But think of the visuals!

{Makes twanging and whooshing noises}

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It's funny; you tell a man that an arrow can't punch through 2mm of hardened steel breastplate and he will shrug. Tell him it's a longbow arrow and suddenly the test is flawed, you didn't consider another head design, armour quality would have been different in the real world etc etc.

All of which are valid issues, but the sum total is that you're never allowed to make simple statements like 'a man in full plate armour was very well protected against longbow arrows' without a horde of folk trying to qualify it to death.

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It's funny; you tell a man that an arrow can't punch through 2mm of hardened steel breastplate and he will shrug. Tell him it's a longbow arrow and suddenly the test is flawed, you didn't consider another head design, armour quality would have been different in the real world etc etc.

All of which are valid issues, but the sum total is that you're never allowed to make simple statements like 'a man in full plate armour was very well protected against longbow arrows' without a horde of folk trying to qualify it to death.

I kind of like how Youtube kind of ends up spreading interesting information like this. You can get reactions to reactions and more interesting data keeps coming up.

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