You are here

Tubular Ammunition

How to Make Tubular Combat Archery Ammunition: an Illustrated Tutorial

 

  1. Shafts
  2. Length of Combat Arrows & bolts
  3. Approved Heads for Sil-o-flex Arrows & Bolts
    1. Rubber Stopper
    2. Modified Baldar Blunt
  4. Head-making
  5. Fletching

The Written Construction standards above are the official construction standards. If instructions in this tutorial differ from the written construction standards or there are any questions about discrepancies between the two, the Written Construction Standards should be followed.


SHAFTS

After January 1, 2009 Sil-O-Flex or approved equivalent will be the only approved tubular  shaft for combat archery in the Middle Kingdom.  Golf tubes are no longer approved at Society level which means we can't use them here in the Middle Kingdom. 

The shaft of combat arrows and bolts must be constructed of Sil-o-flex, or approved equivalent, with a pressure rating of 100 PSI OR 125 PSI irrigation/ water pipe, with 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) exterior diameter and 1 inch (2.5 cm) interior diameter.

In the Middle Kingdom Sil-o-flex can be purchased at several locations such as Lowes . The Sil-o-flex comes in rolls.  To make combat arrows or bolts you will have to cut the piece to the proper length and heat the Sil-o-flex to straighten it.  There are SCA vendors that sell staight pieces also.

As mentioned before Sil-o-flex is a brand name and is not the only brand that can be used. 

If you do decided to use and make combat arrows and bolts using an equivalent you will have to bring the following with you when you have your equipment inspected.  A sample of the equivalent material that is marked on the outside of the tubing with the manufacturing specifications , It will include:

Marking

ASTM, NSF, and AWWA standards provide that pipe and tubing must be marked at frequent intervals. The labeling must include:

  1. The manufacturer's name or trademark
  2. The standard to which it conforms
  3. Pipe size
  4. Material designation code (PE 3408 or PE 3608)
  5. DWV if for drainage piping
  6. Pressure rating if applicable
  7. DR number or Schedule number
  8. If the pipe is for potable water, a laboratory seal

If the pipe isn't labeled with this information then its quality might be suspect.

So you see, you can use an equivalent material but you have to be able to show that it is an approved equivalent material. 

 


LENGTH OF COMBAT ARROWS & BOLTS

Arrows - The maximum length of a Tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) combat arrow is 28 inches as measured from where the bow string touches the nock to the base of the approved head.  A nock may be cut into the tail end, but may be no deeper than 1/2 inch (13 mm). Wooden nocks MAY NOT be installed or used.

Crossbow Bolts The maximum length of a Tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) combat crossbow bolt is 28 inches measured from where the bow string touches the nock to the base of the approved head.  There is no minimum length for a crossbow bolt. Past history has shown 14 inch length2 crossbow bolts fly well and works on most crossbows.


APPROVED HEADS FOR SIL-O-FLEX ARROWS & BOLTS

There are only two (2) approved heads for use on sil-o-flex (or equivalent ) shafts in the Middle Kingdom. They are Rubber Stopper Heads.

and Modified Balder Blunt Heads

Rubber Stopper

A 6.5 size rubber stopper, with a 1/4 inch hole in the center, is placed in the end of the Sil-o-flex or equivalenttube.   The standard 6.5 rubber stopper is one inch long.  The stopper must be inserted into the tube (1/2 inch) which is one half of its length .  The stopper with a hole in the center of it compresses to permit the required 1/2 inch insertion into the shaft. This is the only legal type of stopper for use in the Middle Kingdom.

Reworking Existing Solid Rubber Stopper Heads - Published March 2009 Pale by Count Alaric Lefevre, Earl Marshal of the Middle Kingdom: Any existing ammo made with solid rubber stoppers can be reworked and have a 1/4 inch hold drilled into it to meet the new standard as soon as possible but not to exceed being done by July 20, 2009.

Attaching an approved rubber stopper into a sil-o-flex shaft.

  • There is only one preferred method of securing the rubber stopper into the Sil-o-flex (or equivalent) shaft.  This method utilizes 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape to secure the stopper into the shaft. You must follow the construction standard to utilize this method.

    I would suggest all future new ammunition be made utilizing this construction method.

The Traditional Lacing Method for securing rubber stoppers into Sil-o-flex shafts is no longer recommended.  

Taping Method:

The holed rubber stopper needs to be 1/2 inch into the shaft. It helps to make a mark at 1/2 inch onto the rubber stopper. 1-inch Fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape is the only tape approved for securing the stopper into the shaft. You may NOT use electrical tape or any other type tape. The rules do not state a brand of strapping tape to use but I would suggest buy the best brand you can find and afford. It takes you just as long to put on cheap strapping tape as it does a better quality strapping tape. The big difference it holds much longer and is stronger.

The standard is to secure the rubber stopper into the Sil-o-flex shaft with two pieces of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape that will cross each other on the top of the tip in an "X" pattern. Each piece must start from at least 1 inch down the shaft (measured from the intersection of the tip and shaft), go up over the head and then back down the other side of the shaft at least 1 inch.

The intersection where the head meets the tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) shaft must also be secured with a piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape wrapped around the joining point.

WARNING !

Check to ensure that the proper PSI Sil-o-flex orequivalent is used. The photo to the left is 100 PSI while the photo to the right is 160 PSI. Notice the difference is thickness. The thickness of the 160 PSI tubing to the right is to thick and is not legal. People buy the 160 PSI because it comes straight. Both have the same inside diamenter but the outside diameter is different.

 

 

 

Photo 1 Shows:
  • approved rubber stopper with a hold stopper inserted 1/2 inch into the shaft
  • The black line on the blue tape shows 1 inch from the end of the shaft.
  • how far the strapping must go down the shaft.
  • stopper with 1/2 inch mark
  • Note: if you make your tape reference make at 1 1/2 inches it will also serve as your reference line for your foam side wrap

     

NOTES:

Fiberglass reinforced (strapping) tape must be used for this!

Electrical tape isNOT LEGAL for securing the blunt into the tubular shaft.

 

 

NOTES:

For purposes of these photos, different colored electrical tape was used to contrast the taping method.

The fiberglass-reinforced strapping tape will not look as neat as the electrical tape in the photos.

 

Photo 2  Shows the first piece of tape:

  • goes from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft
  • up the side of the rubber stopper, over the top and down the other side
  • to the 1 ½ inch mark on the other side of the shaft
  • Note: you can tape more than 1 inch down the shaft, just not less

  Photo 3:  Shows the second piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape

  • goes from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft
  • up the side of the rubber stopper, over the top and down the other side
  • to the 1 ½ inch mark on the other side of the shaft
  • The tape will cross each other on the top of the tip in an "X" pattern.
 

 

 

Photo 4: Shows a piece of tape (red for reference)

  • wrapped around the shaft
  • where the blunt goes into the sil-o-flex.
Photo 5 Shows:
  • side wrap of foam 1 3/4 inches by 5 inches
  • two 1 1/4 inch disks, 3/8 of inch thick. Combined they are 3/4 of an inch and after tapping should end up being at least 1/2 and inch.
  • Tip - Use a 1 1/2 inch hole saw (remove the drill bit) to get the 1 1/4 disks, then trim the rough edges

    Tip - For cutting the side wrap of foam I use a pair of 12 3/4 inch tip snips.

    NOTE: For Gulf Wars, rubber stopper heads must have 3/4 of an inch after taping of foam.

Photo 6 Shows:

Shows the first piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape:

  • goes from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft
  • up the side of the rubber stopper and two 1 1/4 inch foam disks that are 3/8 inch thick eac
  • over the top, down the other side to the 1 ½ inch mark on the other side of the shaft
  •  

Photo 7 Shows the second piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape:

  • goes from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft
  • up the side of the rubber stopper and foam disks over the top down the other side
  • to the 1 ½ inch mark on the other side of the shaft
  No photo yet

Photo 8 Shows:

  • The intersection where the tip padding meets the head must also be secured with a piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape wrapped around the joining point.
Photo 9 Shows:
  • taped foam head
  • laying on 1 3/4 inch wide, 5 inch long, 3/8 inch thick side wrap piece
Photo 10 Shows:
  • side wrap even with end of foam padding on tip
  • extending 1/2 inch down onto the shaft
  • wrapped around the shaft
  • first piece of tape clossing the gap in the side wrap
Photo 11 Shows:
  • side wrap even with end of foam padding on tip
  • extending 1/2 inch down onto the shaft
  • wrapped around the shaft
  • side wrap completely secured with 1-inch strappping tape.
Photo 12 Shows
  • the first piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape goes from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft up the side of the side wrap over the top
  • down the other side of the side wrap to the 1 ½ inch mark on the other side of the shaft
Photo 13 Shows:
  • the second piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape:
  • goes from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft up the side of the side wrap over the top in an X pattern
  • down the other side of the side wrap to the 1 ½ inch mark on the other side of the shaft
Photo 14 Shows:
  • the entire head covered with 1-inch reinforced strapping tape
  • goes from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft up and over
Photo 15 Shows:
  • The intersection where the foam sidewrap meets the tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) shaft
  • secured with a piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape wrapped around the joining point.
  • The ends of the crossover pieces must be secured with a wrap of fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape around the shaft as closely under the foam side wrap as possible.
  • This step helps anchor the ends of the crossover pieces of tape and to keep the side wrap from moving down onto the shaft.
  No photo yet

Photo 16 Shows:

  • the entire head covered with red duct tape

Foam for Rubber stopper heads: NOTE: For Gulf Wars, rubber stopper heads must have 3/4 of an inch after taping of foam.

 The top of the head must have resilient padding of at least 1⁄2 inch and at most 1 1/4  inches, (measured after taping).

Let's talk about foam. I will not tell you what to buy, but it is time to tell you what not to buy and why.

The blue camp pad foam from WalMark does NOT hold up well. You will end up having to rework your ammo more often than you want. Most of the foam related problems with combat archery ammunition failing inspection had the blue foam.

The self adhesive foam that several vendors are selling for use on the required side wrap does not hold up. Many of the of the problems with the side wrap being to soft and going through a inspection gauge and failing have been this type of foam. A heavy crossbow can be up to 1,000 inch pounds and may be fired at point blank range. The side wrap is very important to help insure the foam and head do not go more than 1/2 inch into a legal face grill.

I use and have found that the military or military type sleeping pads work best overal for construction and the ability to hold up. They are 3/8 inch thick. On piece works well as the required side wrap (1 3/4 inch by 5 inch) on the rubber stoppers. I use the same pad for my foam disks for the rubber stopper head (two 1/4 inch disks are needed)

The modified Baldar blunt has to be padded and I use two of the disks (one 1 1/2 inches, the other 1 3/4 inch) made from the military sleeping pad foam.

  Hint for shape and size

On August 22, 2008 and additional change was mandated by Society.  It states all Siloflex/Rubber Stopper ammunition must have a side wrap of foam added that brings the total diameter of the blunt to at least 1.5" after taping. This wrap must extend from the tip to at least 1/2" over the Siloflex itself.  So, after taping, the total diameter of the blunt needs to be at least 1.5 inches plus at least 1/2 inch of foam on the tip.

Modified Baldar Blunt Heads

 

 

The above images show an unmodified (classic) baldar blunt.

It must be modified for use on a Sil-o-flex shaft. A modified Baldar blunt is placed over the end of the Sil-o-flex or equivalent tube.  Any classic style of Baldar Blunt can be used in this manner, whether 1 or 2 piece mold or whether designed for fiberglass or wood.

Baldar blunts are modified by cutting the support fins away from the outer collar so that the blunt slides over the Sil-o-flex.

  

 

 

1-inch Fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape is the only tape approved for securing the Baldar onto the shaft. You may NOT use electrical tape or any other type tape. The standards do not state a brand of strapping tape to use but I would suggest buy the best brand you can find and afford. It takes you just as long to put on cheap strapping tape as it does a better quality strapping tape. The big difference it holds much longer and is stronger.

The modified Baldar Blunt is secured onto the sil-o-flex shaft with two pieces of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape that will cross each other on the top of the blunt in an "X" pattern. Each piece must start from at least 1 inch down the shaft (measured from the intersection of the tip and shaft), go up over the head and then back down the other side of the shaft at least 1 inch.

The intersection where the head meets the tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) shaft must also be secured with a piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape wrapped around the joining point. This side wrap of tape firms up this joining point.

WARNING !

Check to ensure that the proper PSI Sil-o-flex or equivelant is used. The photo to the left is 100 PSI while the photo to the right is 160 PSI. Notice the difference is thickness. The thickness of the 160 PSI tubing to the right is to thick and is not legal. People buy the 160 PSI because it comes straight. Both have the same inside diamenter but the outside diamenter is different.

 

 

 

Photo 1:
  • Make a mark 1 ½ inch down on the sil-o-flex shaft.  
  • This is your reference line for tape.
  • The white tape is only used to show the reference line more clearly for the photo.
  • A red, black or silver sharpie magic marker will make a line you can see on the shaft.

 

Photo 2: 
  • The modified Baldar slides over the end of the shaft and the shaft seats ½ inch into the inside of the Baldar.
  • You will have 1 inch left of your original 1 ½ inch tape reference line.

NOTES:

Fiberglass reinforced (strapping) tape must be used for this!

Electrical tape isNOT LEGAL for securing the blunt into the tubular shaft.

 

 

NOTES:

For purposes of these photos, different colored electrical tape was used to contrast the taping method.

The fiberglass-reinforced strapping tape will not look as neat as the electrical tape in the photos.

Photo 3: 

  • Shows the first piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape going
  • from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft up the side of the blunt,
  • over the top and down the other side to the 1 ½ inch mark on the other side of the shaft.

Photo 4:  Shows the second piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape

  • going from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft up the side of the blunt,
  • over the top and down the other side
  • to the 1 ½ inch mark on the other side of the shaft.
  • The tape will cross each other on the top of the tip in an "X" pattern.

 

 

Photo 5: Shows a piece of tape (yellow for reference)

  • wrapped around the intersection where the head meets the tubular (Sil-o-flex or equivalent) shaft
  • secured with a piece of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape wrapped around the joining point.

 

Photo 6 Shows:
  • one 1 1/2 inch foam disk and one 1 3/4 inch foam disk
  • each made out of military sleeping pad foam which is 3/8 of an inch thick
  • the 1 3/4 inch foam disk goes onto the head of the modified Baldar blunt
  • stack the 1 1/2 inch foam disk stacks ontop of that.
Photo 7 Shows the first piece of tape:
  • goes from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft
  • up the side of the modified Baldar blunt and the two 3/8 inch foam disks
  • over the top
  • down the other side
  • to the 1 ½ inch mark on the other side of the shaft
Photo 8 Shows the second piece of tape:
  • goes from the 1 ½ inch mark on the shaft
  • up the side of the modified Baldar blunt and the two 3/8 inch foam disks
  • over the top in an X pattern
  • down the other side
  • to the 1 ½ inch mark on the other side of the shaft
Photo 9 Shows:
  • the entire head covered by 1-inch strapping tape
  • one piece of tape wrapped around the shaft at the intersection where the foam is ontop of the modified Baldar blunt
  • one piece of tape wrapped around at the intersection where the modified Baldar blunt joints the shaft

 

Foam for Baldar Blunt heads:

The modified Baldar blunt has to be padded with Resilient padding of at least ½ inch and at most 1 1/4  inches, after taping, is then added to the tip of the Baldar Blunt and secured with 1- inch fiberglass –reinforced tape. 

I use two foam disks (one 1 1/2 inches, the other 1 3/4 inch) made from the military sleeping pad foam. I put the 1 3/4 inch onto the head of the modified Baldar blunt then stack the 1 1/2 inch foam disk ontop of that.

The diameter of the foam after taping must be at least 1.5 inches and the thickness at least ½ inch.  Hint for shape and size

The resilient foam is secured ontop of the modified Baldar Blunt with two or more pieces of 1-inch fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape that will cross each other on the top of the tip in an "X" pattern. Each piece must start from at least 1 inch down the shaft (measured from the intersection of the tip and shaft), go up over the head and then back down the other side of the shaft at least 1 inch. This is the same method of securing the head onto the shaft.

The intersection where the foam meets the modified Baldar blunt must be secured with a piece of fiberglass-reinforced (strapping) tape wrapped around the joining point. This adds strength to the edge of the foam.

You do not need a side wrap of foam if you use this style head. 

This type of combat arrow or bolt presently may not be used at Gulf Wars

 


HEAD MARKING

The head of all tubular combat arrows and bolts must be completely covered with red duct tape.


FLETCHES

  • Tubular shaft ammunition is NOT permitted to have any slit cut into the shaft to insert any type of fin or fletching.

Notes

2. History: In the past the Middle Kingdom had a required 14 inch minimum length on crossbow bolts. The 14 inches minimum was thought to insure that no one made really short combat bolts that would almost be like a dart. While no longer required to be 14 inches long it is a good length for most people. (Back To Text)

Resilient foam: The Society Definition is:  dense, plastic, closed-cell foam such as ethyl polymer. The foam military sleeping pad foam works really well and many times can be purchased very cheaply at surplus stores. (Back To Text)

Hints for shape and size: A piece of rectangular foam on the tip will have a bulge (thicker) on two sides of the shaft and not on the other sides. A piece of square foam on the tip you will have four corners that will want to stick out further than the rest, even taped. I use a round piece of foam for padding tips. I have found using a round piece of foam that is 1.75 inches round works well.  By the time you tape the 1.75 piece of foam over the head (either style) you will be left with at least the 1.5 inch. (Back To Text)

Tubular Ammunition Inspection Standards

Every piece of ammunition must be checked for all standards. 

See the Ammunition Standards and Ammunition Construction Standards Sections for additional details. 

See Appendix B: Tubular Inspection Standards for suggestions on the process of inspecting ammunition. 

Label

The label must be printed (not hand written) with the owner’s name and Kingdom

The label must be in English, utilizing a legible/readable font. 

The label must be completely covered with clear packing tape.  No reinforced or strapping tape may be used to cover the label. 

If the combat archery ammunition is group-owned/labeled ammunition, an individual’s name as a point of contact for within the group must also be on the label. 

Fletching, Colors, Markings and Length

Only duct tape fletches are allowed.  They must be securely attached and can not project more than ½ inch from the shaft. 

Ammunition may not be more than 10% yellow.

NOTE: 6 inches of alternating red and green stripes are only for experimental weapons. 

All ammunition has a maximum length of 28 inches from the back of the head to the point where the string touches the back of the ammunition. 

Shaft

Must be the correct size, thickness, and material as specified in the Ammunition Standards Section.

100 PSI (PE3408, PE3608, PE3710) or 125 PSI (PE4710).

1 inch ID or 1¼ inch OD.

NOTE: Not every piece of tubing will have markings.  Any unmarked pieces must be consistent with the marked pieces. 

Maximum length is 28 inches.  There is no minimum length, but they must fly without tumbling. 

No slits or holes are permitted, but a ½ inch deep nock may be cut in the end. 

The tail must be round. 

The shaft must be open all the way to the back of the tip, so the tip is visible. 

Head

The head must be completely covered in Red duct tape. 

The head must be secure.  Gripping the head with one hand and the shaft with the other, the head should be gently pulled, twisted, and bent to the side. 

The foam padding on the tip must be firm enough that it cannot fit more than ½ inch into a 1 inch slot. 

If it can be determined, the padding on the tip must me at least ½ inch thick (but no more than 1¼ inches thick). 

The diameter of the head must be at least 1½ inches.  It must be round (no corners). 

Every tip must be visually checked (by looking down the shaft) to make sure it is a rubber stopper tip with a hole or a modified Baldar Blunt. 

Rubber stopper tips must have a side wrap.  (Modified Baldar blunt tips do not.) 

The top edge of the side wrap must be flush with the tip padding.

The ends of the side wrap must meet without a gap.   

The side wrap must be at least 1½ inches long.  (If the side wrap is more than 2¼ inches long, more information is needed to determine if there is too much tip padding on the tip.) 

Tubular Construction Standards

Strapping tape is a heavy duty filament-reinforced tape, usually used for shipping. 

The padding used on the tips and the side wraps must be Resilient Foam, defined by Society as dense, plastic, closed cell foam such as ethyl polymer.  

Stoppers must be inserted ½ inch into the shaft; modified Classic Baldars must be slipped ½ inch over the end of the shaft. 

NOTE: See the tutorial on making tubular ammunition for PHOTOS of the following steps. 

The tip must be secured to the shaft with ¾ inch to 1 inch wide strapping tape:

  1. At least two pieces of tape crossed over the tip in an X, with each end extending down the shaft at least 1 inch, Then,
  2. A wrap of tape around the junction of the tip and the shaft. 

The padding on the tips must be made from round pieces of resilient foam approximately the diameter of the tip.  (Square pieces create corners that can penetrate too far into a helmet’s grill.)  

The foam padding must be secured to the tip with ¾ inch to 1 inch wide strapping tape:

  1. At least two pieces of tape crossed over the tip in an X, with each end extending down the shaft at least 1 inch. Then, 
  2. A wrap of tape around the junction of the foam and the tip. 

The side wrap must extend from the tip of the padding to at least ½ inch down the shaft, and must be secured with strapping tape:

  1. One or more pieces of strapping tape must wrap all the way around so that the ends of the side wrap meet without a gap.  There must be enough pieces of tape to cover the side wrap from the top edge to the bottom edge.  Then,
  2. The side wrap must be secured to the shaft with several pieces of ¾ inch to 1 inch wide strapping tape crossed over the tip and extending down the shaft at least 1 inch. When complete, the entire head must be covered with tape.  Then,
  3. The ends of the crossover pieces must be secured with a wrap of at least ¾ inch wide strapping tape around the shaft as closely under the side wrap as possible. 

NOTE: The length of the side wrap must be at least 1 ½ inches (½ inch over shaft + ½ inch on stopper + at least ½ inch foam thickness on the tip).  If the foam on the tip is thicker than ½ inch, the side wrap needs to be more than 1 ½ inches long. 

NOTE- After covering the head with red duct tape, a wrap of duct tape around the shaft covering the ends of the strapping tape will help extend the life of the strapping tape.  Using duct tape with an unusual design or color for this wrap can help identify your ammunition on the field and after large battles. 

Subscribe to Tubular Ammunition