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Air power--blowgun

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,212
28
South Louisiana
This is the original air powered weapon-- a blowgun. I've been messing around with big bore blowguns for the last couple of years. Mine is 62 caliber. It was made from a 6' section of plain old 1/2" EMT. It's time to refinish it so I stripped off the old paint.


The object on the right is the mouthpiece and the two items on the left are cleaning cord hangers.
The blowgun is easy but the darts take a little more time. I used some of the leftover pipe to make a cutter for the dart cones. I ground a small bevel on one end and use a twisting motion to cut a perfect bore-sized plug from the pool noodle.



You insert the skewer in the center of the cone. Go in halfway from each side and any error will be in the middle.

You can sharpen the end or make tiny, lethal broadheads for squirrel and rabbit sized game. I've made complete pass throughs on birds robbing my fig tree.

Joey
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,212
28
South Louisiana
These are the types of darts I use most. The broadhead and blunt for small game and the long dart for general messing around.



The EMT for the blowgun, 100 bamboo skewers and a pool noodle on sale can be had for less than $10.00. Cheap fun. Surprisingly powerful, too. If you shoot one of the broadheads into a tree, you'll probably need a pair of pliers to pull it out.

Joey
 

seedtick

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2006
1,161
7
Denham Springs, LA
great ideas Joey,

but what keeps the darts flying straight?

do you adjust the length of the shaft to vary the center of gravity?

just doesn't seem to me that a stick with a piece of foam on the end of it is aerodynamically stable. Feathers on an arrow cause it to rotate for stability. Maybe I just don't understand...........(won't be the first time)
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,212
28
South Louisiana
Seedtick, you do need the center of gravity to be well forward on the dart. You can either make it long or add a little weight to the front. The foam on the rear works like a badminton shuttlecock. If the balance is right and the foam is concentric to the shaft, you get good flight. It's a pretty short range weapon. The dart starts dropping really bad out past 15 yards or so.
Swamprat, PVC is probably slicker on the inside than the EMT, but it starts to sag when it gets over 4' long. You would probably lose 25-30% in speed going from 6' to 4' long.

Joey
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
10,388
108
78
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
I have one here for target practice , one of the commercially made ones. Strictly for fun.

It would be interesting to make one like yours to get serious with. Not sure about the velocity I could get from it since I'm not a windy as some of the folks on here but it would really be interesting to experiment with.

If anything I would be in the low range velocity category , not the high range like a few folks I know. :lol:

Have you ever tried making one from Bamboo ?????? I'm thinking an all natural one would not attract a lot of attention when out paddling or camping.
Plus it would be a good ( silent) small game getter while in the woods. You are relaxing around the camp and some Squirrels decide to visit .... Supper has been delivered. Better yet a few Quail walk into the area. :D

Chuck.
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,212
28
South Louisiana
Bamboo would work. The local Chitamacha tribe used them for hundreds if not thousands of years. It would be a chore to clean out all the all the internal partitions. I think they would pour dry sand inside the bamboo and use a slender stick to scour away the inside.

I put a few darts through a chronograph and got speeds of 130fps. As for windy folks on this forum.... I'm not EVEN gonna go there! :lol:
 

jimsong

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2008
247
1
lakside village, texas
The Cherokee in eastern Oklahoma still make blow guns out of river cane.
Nowdays they use a red hot iron rod to burn out the segments.
I understand before iron rods were common place the segments were burned out with with the glowing end of a slender stick.
then sanded out with a stick and sand.
The darts were made of slivers of cane, and "Fletched" (for lack of a better term), with the the down of "Scotch" thistle. (Single malt might be the best, I don't know about that.)
I have never made one, or used one, but I saw a guy at Tsa-la-gi, put three darts, one after the other, through both sides of a one pound coffee
can, from fifteen paces.
Of course making and selling blow guns was what he did for a living. It would pay him to be real good at using them.
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,212
28
South Louisiana
Finished the blowgun re-do. Used the paint I had on hand. Shot the whole pipe with black and then fogged on some gray for a different look. Wrapped the cleaning cord holders with red yarn I had for fly tying.



Put up a piece of 1/4" fir marine plywood and took a shot with the broadhead dart.



Plenty of penetrating power for small game.
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,212
28
South Louisiana
tx river rat said:
JD
Did you polish the inside of the tube?
Ron
I did a little polishing in the bore. I took a long thin rod and wrapped a rag around the end with some polishing compound smeared on it. I chucked the rod in a drill and ran it up and down the bore until it was pretty smooth. I probably could get 20-30 more fps if I really mirror polished the bore.

This size bore is better for hunting small game because it shoots a heavy enough dart to be lethal. For just general target plinking, a smaller caliber would be better-- shooting a much lighter dart at a faster speed. I've heard claims of over 300 fps from the small calibers!!

Joey
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,212
28
South Louisiana
islandpiper said:
Sure, just keep it up guys, and when the Gestapo comes for your guns they'll have a list of your blow guns, too. Oh, and your hammers and pocket knives and baseball bats.

Ooops, this may be too political. Sorry Chuck.

piper
I guess they'll want all our "heavy, blunt objects" too. You know how deadly THOSE things can be. :roll: :lol:
 

tx river rat

Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2007
3,043
2
Waco Tx
JD
Do you know how heavy your broad heads are.
I have some aluminum thin wall tubing I wonder how the pvc would work as an inside liner.
Is 6 ft the best length for best efficiency.
Ron
 

tx river rat

Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2007
3,043
2
Waco Tx
JD
Why would they want my ex wife?
I guess they'll want all our "heavy, blunt objects" too. You know how deadly THOSE things can be
Ron
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,212
28
South Louisiana
tx river rat said:
JD
Do you know how heavy your broad heads are.
I have some aluminum thin wall tubing I wonder how the pvc would work as an inside liner.
Is 6 ft the best length for best efficiency.
Ron
Outer aluminum tube for stiffness and pvc for slickness-- sounds good. I've seen South American natives that use blowguns up to 14' long. I think longer is better up until the limit of your lung capacity. Trial and error is the best route. Make it long and cut it back until you get the best performance. I do think longer than 7-8 ft would cause sagging in most tubing materials. You can see it when you hold the tube horizontal and look towards a light source. Those natives' blowguns are almost 2" in diameter and they shoot mostly almost straight up, so not much trouble with sagging.

Experiment, Ron. For the price of a pack of skewers and piece of pool noodle you can have a ton of fun. I've played havoc with the local lizard population. I know I really shouldn't shoot 'em but the wife HATES them. You know what they say " If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! ":lol: