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Dart Shaft Materials - What's YOUR Favourite Material?

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#1 Teach

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 05:05 PM

Hi guys, like most of you I have made darts from just about anything that was available from Qtips to nails and depending on the type of dart I have come to really favour certain materials especially with wire darts. I have had lots of guys say they really like flag wire for dart shafts so last winter on the recommendation from GKU I ordered and received a bundle of what he suggested but did not get the chance to try them yet. So let's maybe break this down into a few categories like - heavywieght metal - wire darts - lightwieght like wooden or plastic and last but not least - you favourite type of stunner. Let's keep this down to home made darts only. State your favorite materials and the reasons why they are your favourites in each category. Maybe we can all learn something here. If nothing else it should be interesting. I'll start off with mine.

Heavy wieghts - I like nails. They perform adequately for general duty and they are cheap as nails......get it? LOL (groan I know)

Wire darts - this one's easy. Although I have not had the chance to try the flag wire yet my all time favourite wire is piano wire which is a high carbon steel wire. It is almost indestructable. It never bends from hitting something or glancing off of something and when pulling them out of backstops like wood etc. they have enough spring in them to just bounce back straight again once you take the pressure off them. I guess spring steel has a lot of carbon in it too. It is probably some of the most expensive dart wire around but because they stand up so well they last forever and end up costing less over time than using cheaper wire.

Lightwieght - I enjoy bamboo if I can find a straight piece. That the only drawback that I can think of. It is resilient material, flies very fast and flat. Cost's next to nothing and widely available in the form of bbq skewers. I'm also playing with plastic drinking straws but finding suitable tips has proven difficult so far and the straws do get damaged easily but man do they ever fly fast!!!

Stunners - my all time faves are the marble/milkjug cone type. Fast, hit very hard, you can find marbles and milk/juice jugs materials everywhere. Make the cone with about a 3 or 4 to 1 length to diameter ratio and cut the tip of the cone off and crazy glue the cone onto the glass marble. Trim cone to fit your BG's bore. 

And for pure cheap enjoyment I'm still enjoying rolling my own all-paper darts just for shits n giggles.

What are your favourite shaft materials?


apologize for the annoying reverse video. I copied and pasted this from a post I made on another board. I didnt want to type it all over again.

#2 NaturalFork


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Posted 16 July 2014 - 12:46 AM

Steel wire.

#3 slingashot

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:54 AM

Nail darts for general shooting but 'umbrella ribs' are my current favourite for target shooting.

#4 muddog15

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 07:05 PM

Bamboo, sometimes with a sharpened broadhead.

#5 craftsman

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 03:56 PM

Grocery store in the summer ... 1/4 in. diameter 12" long bamboo skewers for 0.50 cal. hunting darts with a standard tailcone (modified shaft connection), and a Zytel plastic broadhead.  "Superglue" to mount both.    4 ft. barrel. 


Or, use a #11 Exacto blade. 

#6 sandynoobhead

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Posted 09 January 2015 - 03:36 AM

hmm that's a hard one, I have recently been hammering out my own broadheads out of wire hanger, but they are inadequate for long-range shooting, so my current favourites are: bamboo darts, I have found that using too long of a dart results in waggle tail and too short of a dart isn't heavy enough to penetrate as much... my second ( on par with first) has to be homemade stun darts, duct tape cone (heavy weight), I then get a long screw and "screw" the screw with the head facing out, I then hot glue it for that extra "oomph" and I have no problem in saying this will cave in a bird's or even a squirrel skull with ease :) 

#7 giwtro

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Posted 23 February 2015 - 09:52 PM

My favorite heavy darts for target shooting would be sharpened clothes hanger wire with a otoscope tip cone, favorite lightweight darts are bamboo with duck tape cones, and favorite stun darts would be paper cones with a screw put in the front of it much like sandynoobhead described.  I want to try out tyvek for cones, but have yet to come across some.

#8 Ducati250Single

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Posted 12 February 2016 - 06:13 PM

I use bamboo shewers, steel and aluminum nails and old bicycle spokes.

#9 Will Edwards

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Posted 13 February 2016 - 02:05 PM

I use bamboo skewers, wire, nails and marbles.

Nails- dirt cheap and good for targets

Flag wire- same use, but bends when shot into a dartboard and removed improperly.

Marbles-great stunner, can be found anywhere

Skewers great for indoor pest control or small birds/frogs. Usually breaks after shot into a hard target.

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#10 Interep

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 05:46 PM

Hello from England. Interesting post... great idea to use disposable otoscope cones GIWTRO.

Apologies for the metric measurements in advance. 


Heavy Weight Darts


My favourite heavy darts would have to be 75mm x 3.5mm steel nail darts with paper cone wrapped in and heavy duty duct tape for extra strength. I usually file these to a nice sharp point on a grinding stone with the tape taking up probably about 70% of the dart. These darts are great for showing off to your mates because they have the most powerful sounding thud when they hit something at full speed. 'Try getting that out' I usually say. They also don't bend as you prise them out of your target. 


Wire Darts


I have only ever made wire darts from bicycle spokes. They tend to be pretty straight and keep their sharp point very well. They do not however have a great deal of springiness to them so when pulling them out of the target they can often bend if you are not careful. Personally these darts are a little too spindly for me although they do fly pretty damn quick. As seen in my DP I use cork cones from bottles of wine (red wine of course) with a rubber washer glued to the backs to create a really snug fit. There is something very satisfying about loading these. 


Lightweight Darts


The lightest darts I have made so far are ones I am currently working on. These are made using 10mm x 3mm carbon extruded tubes, modified pointed razor blades and 15mm diameter polystyrene half cones wrapped in small magpie wing feathers for cones. Anyone who has ever held a piece of carbon tube this fine will tell you just how light this stuff really is. It weighs so little that you can't even really notice it just the feel of it on your skin.


The razor blades are the closest blades I can find to traditional arrow broad heads. I have modified them by snapping part of the bottom off so that they are more symmetrical and balanced in flight. I have then cut a groove down the carbon shafts (very carefully as my saw blades are 1/3 of the diameter of the tube) These have been glued in using two part epoxy. The polystyrene cones and feathers I have only ordered today but I hoping they will be easy enough to secure with tiny TINY elastic bands and some more two part epoxy glue. So far so good though! 


Stunner Darts 


The only stunner darts I have used are exactly the same as the heavy darts described above but with the nail head at the front. Very impressive to watch especially blasting them at cans! 

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