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Message started by Hirtius on May 16th, 2021 at 4:19pm

Title: Arrow atlatl
Post by Hirtius on May 16th, 2021 at 4:19pm
Alright, stupid idea of the day: arrow atlatl. Instead of making an atlatl with a point point that goes into the indentation on the dart, make it flat and vertical to fit an arrow nock on. I’m curious to see how such a thing would work. Obviously not well since you are giving up the benefits of the atlatl and the arrow flexibility might be different, but it would be neat and save on space. I have 6 and 7 foot darts, they’re a mess to store.

I also think we need a new discussion on short atlatl darts in general. There are so few people who have ever tried it. Though I think there were Native American groups that hunted birds with 4 foot darts. How short can you go and be effective?

Title: Re: Arrow atlatl
Post by czechslinger1.0 on May 16th, 2021 at 4:50pm
I once tried 60cm(2ft) crossbow bolts in my atlatl(The fact that they were made out of rivercane made them fit the spur of my atlatl without any modification). It worked, the distance was not that bad, but longer darts worked better thanks to their heaviness I guess. I think heavier arrows or more like darts similar to kestros or a bit longer plumbata would work better than arrows/bolts.

Title: Re: Arrow atlatl
Post by Eino on Oct 4th, 2023 at 2:08pm

Hirtius wrote on May 16th, 2021 at 4:19pm:
I also think we need a new discussion on short atlatl darts in general. There are so few people who have ever tried it. Though I think there were Native American groups that hunted birds with 4 foot darts. How short can you go and be effective?


I use a lot of 4' darts since they're cheap and easy to make with dowels from the hardware store, which I've only found in 4' sections. They work really well, especially with a lighter atlatl (so that it is more balanced in your hand, not weighted towards the rear like with a heavier atlatl). The shorter darts don't pack the same punch as larger and heavier darts, but they still can punch through a layer or two of cardboard with a blunt tip.

4' is the shortest length of dart I've used, but I'd imagine anything shorter would be quite light and less effective.

Title: Re: Arrow atlatl
Post by StaffSlinger on Oct 7th, 2023 at 10:07am
I just did a quick backyard test using my Calusa replica atlatl and some old 32" x 5/16 diameter PO cedar arrows.  Re-working the pin to fit arrow nocks would be good.  The standard 120 degree fletch spacing -- at least on my 3/4" thrower shaft -- wasn't optimal -- the fletching was spring-like preventing me from getting/keeping good contact between pin and nock.  I have on arrow where the cock feather had been stripped, and it threw very nicely.

Definitely a case of 'more is better"  -- much more distance and better accuracy with *less* oomph in the throw.  Certainly great fun for backyard throwing!



atlatl_001.jpg (161 KB | 24 )

Title: Re: Arrow atlatl
Post by StaffSlinger on Oct 7th, 2023 at 10:10am
I just did a quick backyard test using my Calusa replica atlatl and some old 32" x 5/16 diameter PO cedar arrows.  Re-working the pin to fit arrow nocks would be good.  The standard 120 degree fletch spacing -- at least on my 3/4" thrower shaft -- wasn't optimal -- the fletching was spring-like preventing me from getting/keeping good contact between pin and nock.  I have on arrow where the cock feather had been stripped, and it threw very nicely.

Definitely a case of 'more is better"  -- much more distance and better accuracy with *less* oomph in the throw.  Certainly great fun for backyard throwing!



atlatl_002.jpg (60 KB | 21 )

Title: Re: Arrow atlatl
Post by Eino on Oct 12th, 2023 at 2:58pm
I tried a 3' long 5/16" diameter dart a bit ago, but it had way too much spine (the dart went vertical when thrown). I'll have to thin it down a bit sometime and try again.

Title: Re: Arrow atlatl
Post by Eino on Oct 14th, 2023 at 9:54pm
Just tried 3' and 2' atlatl darts. The 3' ones were 1/4" diameter and the 2' ones were 3/16" diameter. Both sizes ended up having the correct spine.

The 2' dart sort of reminded me of the assasin's crossbow in Mel Brooks' "Robin Hood Men in Tights" with how rediculously small it is :D

As for effectiveness, the 3' dart with a bamboo skewer on the front (which lengthened it to ~4') stuck through a cardboard box quite a bit from about 5-10 paces back. This one would probably be great for hunting birds or small game. The 2' dart, hovever, had little oomph in the throw, and would not be effective unless the tip was poisoned.

Pictures below.
20231014_184612.jpg (106 KB | 19 )
20231014_185932.jpg (361 KB | 18 )

Title: Re: Arrow atlatl
Post by Morphy on Oct 21st, 2023 at 5:56pm
I like the idea but one issue I see is the fact that darts fly slower so the typical dart weight of a full sized dart at around 1500 grains (i believe)helps with penetration. You "could" potentially make an arrow length dart with a lot of FOC weight added on with normal size center portion to flex correctly.  You could get the weight and the short length that way. Definitely something to look into.

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