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Our roads up here are bogged with mud. As much as I want to take Firefly on a field trip to do some long range testing, I don’t see that happening for six weeks or so.

It looks like glandes are back on the menu. To which end, I’ve been researching how to end splice double braid dacron line. The Mk VIII limbs will require a new double string with pouch if we are to make any headway here. An endless loop of 5/8″ XLS seems like a good place to start.

Performing these splices with the precision necessary to control the overall length of the string is always a pain. Purists will, no doubt, skoff at this untraditional approach to string making. Be that as it may, using double braid (or yacht braid as it is sometimes called) is a pragmatic concession that allows us to try new designs without spending a fortune in time and money. This whole project has always been intended to just point the way, rather than anything so grandiose as a “perfect” reconstruction. One must crawl in the mud before tripping with the angels.

A good old scrounge in my junk pile is also in order. Some blocks of aluminum are needed to make a multiple cavity glans mold. I am thinking five or six cavities of different sizes. We might as well make them conform to the statisical averages of the artifacts in the British Museum.

More later….

Dr. Rihll has informed me that there are some original glandes in the collection of the British Museum that are of similar weight and shape as the 400 gram version we are using here. However, from what I can make out, the majority of them appear to be much smaller, perhaps half the weight of our slug. Which, of course, would make them ideal fodder for hand slings — as well as smaller, open framed inswingers. (My instincts are telling me that inswingers, smaller and lighter limbed than Firefly, could pump out 400 fps with a 200 gram glans. Talk about mud in your eye.)

One thing is for sure, I wouldn’t want to be in the vicinity while someone was trying that pouched-double-string technique with a closed frame outswinger. Too much danger of projectile bounce back off the center stanchions for my taste.

Nothing like an internal richochet to brighten your day. A fella might get to see stars and everything.

…. So it’s the start of season five here in the Little Catapult Factory. I’ve been on sabbatical, and what do I come home to? Catapult wars! And not just between mere mortals mind you. The CG’s are in a tiff over their glandes.

It was the last half of Mr. Duncan Campbell’s paper that caught our attention. Click on his name to view the whole thing: Duncan Campbell

A 400 gram soft lead glans sitting in the Rebecca’s dainty hand.

Our contribution to this shin-dig will be to toss out some more fast moving glandes from Firefly. In our previous experiments firing them, we had several of these 400 gram babies going 320 fps (97.5 ms). That translates into 1,403 foot pounds of energy (1.903 J). The shots in the attached videos were only going about 290 fps (88.4 ms), energy 1,152 fp (1.562 J). Compare that to Campbell’s unsupported claim of a maximum of 75 ms for a hand sling as speculated by Battz, and that with a projectile of unspecified weight. Quoting velocities without indicating the projectile weight doesn’t really mean much when it comes to evaluating power does it?

The targets in the following videos are set up at 50 yards. Check out the sounds of impact with the volume turned up. Pretty cool huh?

Click for vid: 20100701161210(1)
Click for vid: 20100701182936(3)

This level of performance is way beyond what can be accomplished with a hand sling. Unless, of course you are a romantic, and believe in the mystic power of ancient “slinging cultures”. Gotta love those fish stories. Did you know that Robin Hood could split the willow wand at one mile? One mile I tell you! It’s true!

The sheets of plywood in the videos are all 5/8″ sub-flooring material. Nice tough stuff. It is common knowledge in the gun community around here that 1/2″ CDX plywood is roughly equivalent to a human chest wall in terms of resisting puncture, (i.e. if it will go through a piece of 1/2″ plywood, it will probably go through a human chest wall). I read somewhere that back in the day the FBI actually considered 3/8″ plywood a valid analog for this; they must have been up against a particularly skinny criminal class back then huh? It is possible to Google a variety of opinions on this matter. Anyway, I count complete penetration of at least four “chest walls” in that second vid. By using 5/8″ plywood in the above tests, and because the 400 gram glans blew through all of them and then dissipated its remaining energy into the landscape, 4 CW seems a pretty conservative estimate acutally. In any event, there should be enough power in Firefly’s glans conversion to zip through at least a couple of stoutly built Gauls. Try that with your hand sling!

The really amazing thing about this experiment was that the special pouched bowstring for holding the glans was something I just cobbled together in an afternoon. In other words, the double-string design that yielded these results, was my very first attempt. Clearly, with more development work, even better results could be attained.

The conclusion I take away from this is that it would have been pretty darn easy for the Ancients to convert their sharp casters into effective machines for firing lead glandes. That is a lot of tactical advantage to pack around in your kit for just the sake of a special bowstring. It takes about 3 minutes to switch bowstrings, and hand casting glandes from molten lead takes about 1 minute per projectile compared to the hours and hours that go into making even a single sharp-tipped bolt.

Why wouldn’t the ancient Greeks and Romans have availed themselves this capacity for glans projection when it was so simply available to them?

Maybe they weren’t as smart as some fumbly old white guy tinkering away in his workshop.

…….. Which, I guess, would make me and my fellow re-enactors a bunch of geniuses, right?

Thank you Duncan. Appreciate the compliment.

Hibernatory debriefing has reached the toast and marmalade stage.

That is: Coffee, Eggs, Bacon.
……Toast and Marmalade……..
More coffee, etc. etc.

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