Here is a prototype assembly for what I hope will become, standard fodder for Firefly.   It is serving to ferret out any more “changes of mind” that might arise, before committing to a production run of perhaps a dozen projectiles.

Clearly we are not attempting to make this bolt a paragon of handmade virtue.   We need too many of them, and all nicely matching, for anything so refined as that.  They’re just reasonably authentic analogs that will be subject to the kind of abuse that makes their relatively rapid manufacture a necessity.  The tough plastic fins that can withstand multiple firings are the surest example of this pragmatic approach to data collection.  Definition is everything.

The finished weight of this new, pyramidal style head, came in at 210 grams, which is 37 grams heavier than the 173 gram bodkin used on that bolt we kicked out to 845 yards in that first round of flight testing from a few weeks ago.   The total weight of that bolt was 467 grams. This newly assembled bolt, tips in at 493 grams and is 34 1/4 inches long.  I’m guessing that the extra mass will reduce it’s range down to 800 yards.  That will still be ample for the type of long range accuracy trials we hope to start soon.

Previous experience suggests this bolt has an appropriate distribution of weight forward, and it seems to produce a nice stable flight pattern;  witness: zero oscillation in the tail of the bolt for as far as the naked eye can track it.  No reason to suppose it does not retain this virtue right up to terminal impact.

Zero oscillation mayhem, as it were.   Just about as remote a thing from Conan’s mind as possible.  “A bolt from the blue”, you might say.


The Rebecca has requested her own personal set of Duras, complete with the thinner style of foreshaft and stubby little fins.  The shafts will be painted in the same colour as her favorite set of arrows,  “Duck Egg Blue”.  Here is a photo of the only existing example of an original and intact ballista bolt  that was excavated in the ancient Roman city of Dura Europos. (Phot0 from Duncan Campbell’s book)

Apparently there will be bonus points if I can get her little blue hatchlings out beyond the 1000 yard mark.

Lucky me!

Leave a Reply