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Different arrowheads and their penetration

Part 3 of 3

Waring, the old English bowyer of the eighteenth cen­tury, speaking of a 28-inch arrow, said, "A bow full drawn is seven-eighths broken." The English target bow of today invariably will fracture if drawn 30 inches. And it is true that yew, the most resilient and elastic wood in the world, will not stand an arc greater than 120 degrees, and usually is not drawn more than 105 degrees. To draw a yard shaft on a strong 6-foot bow would re­quire an arc of 180 degrees. This is impossible without sinew backing, which the English did not use. Bows 6 feet 6 inches, however, can stand the strain.

These arrows shot from a 50-pound bow at 10 yards, each one being drawn 28 inches and released with equal technique, penetrated the paraffin block as follows:

No. 1, blunt point, penetrated 1 inch.
No. 4, target point, penetrated 1⅜ inches.
No. 5, conical point, penetrated 1¾ inches.
No. 6, small bodkin, penetrated 2 inches.
No. 12, Ishi steel point, penetrated 2¼ inches.

The heavier arrows shot from a 75-pound bow at 10 yards penetrated the paraffin as follows:

No. 1, blunt 1¼ inches
No. 2, heavy blunt 1⅛ inches
No. 3, blunt point 1 5/16 inches
No. 5, conical point 2¼ inches
No. 7, heavy bodkin 4 inches
No. 10, spear point 3⅛ inches
No. 11, squirrel point 1½ inches
No. 12, Ishi steel head 2¼ inches
No. 13, deer arrow 2½ inches

In order to test their penetration in wood, I shot at a ⅞ inch fir board, green and very hard, using a 75-pound bow, 10 yards distant. No. 3 drove its point halfway through the board and split out a large segment of wood. No. 7, the large bodkin point, repeatedly split the 12 by 24 inch plank, and on being shot at similar boards of greater length, its point went 3 inches through, measured from the proximal face of the board. Shot into a pine block, it penetrated 2 inches; into a eucalyptus tree, it penetrated 3 inches, including the thin bark.

No. 10, spearhead, entered parallel with the grain and penetrated 3⅛ inches (see pl. 15, fig. 3).

No. 13, deer arrow, entering crosswise with the grain, penetrated 1¼ inches (see pl. 15, fig. 2).

No. 3, a blunt point, shot against a piece of dry seasoned redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) ⅞ inch thick, penetrated completely through and stuck out a foot be­yond. A segment was fractured from the rear surface of the board at the point of exit (see pl. 15, fig. 1).

In no instance did an arrow penetrate, head, shaft, and feathers, through an inch board. Where half-inch pine was shot at, the heavy blunt arrow and the bodkin point both pierced the wood going completely through; the broadhead offers too much friction to do this.