Combat Archery Testing Procedures - APD's
- This is part one of a many part document. Testing procedures for
tubular arrows will start to be compiled at the end of June.
Society Archery Marshal
Society for Creative Anachronism
Combat Archery Testing Procedures
The task ..
Devices must prevent penetration into a grill from reasonably expected
force levels. This means that while you might be able to drive an
arrow into a grill with a hammer, (or force it by hand) it might still
acceptably prevent penetration from a tumbling or bouncing arrow.
An arrow must be designed in such a manner which prevents the nock
from penetrating an SCA-legal helm more that ½ inch.
Society Earl Marshal
The following are the guidelines for the testing of Combat equipment
and their various components in the SCA. While up to this point the
procedures have varied greatly, the Combat Archery Council feels that
a standard guideline is appropriate. We have looked at the efforts of
many archers and have found that there are enough similarities that we
have put together this set of directions. We have a request however.
While many ideas have come and gone we request that if someone wants
to try a particular design or material, and whether it passes or fails
we would like to know of it. We would also like to know what you
tested and how you did it. We would like to have specific
information on the materials used. I.e.: Manufacturers information and
numbers if at all possible. This would save other testers in other
kingdoms the time and effort of duplication. Also we could easily
identify materials that just don't make the grade. So your cooperation
in this matter would be greatly appreciated. These guidelines are a
work in progress and will be updated as more information becomes
Society Archery Marshal
This document may be modified or updated in the future but will carry
that current date.
For testing purposes we recommend the following guidelines.
In order to prevent injuries to archers doing testing it is
recommended that the archer wear a minimum of a leather gloves during
testing, to prevent minor or major hand injuries. If your kingdom
requires a hockey glove on your bow hand, wear it during testing. If
you are testing where there is a possibility of bounce back, wear a
helm, safety goggles, or something to protect your face. Often bounce
backs at these ranges comes straight back to the shooter (or past).
Bows for testing, any bow that carries the mark of AMO (Archery
Manufacturer Organization) rating of 30 pounds (for APD testing) or 45
pounds (for tubular testing) at a 28 inch draw length is acceptable.
We realize that all bows are not universal in efficiency but for our
purposes any bow officially marked with either of these two draw
weights will suffice. All tests will be performed with bows drawn to
their specified draw length. I.e.: 28 inches.
Arrows will be designated as Shafted and Tubular.
Shafted arrows currently fall into two categories, wood shafted and
shafted. Most of these arrow designs are currently approved by the SCA
and can be found at the websites at the end of this missive.
Tubular arrows currently are constructed with Golf Tubes or
Golf tubes are currently approved and may be found in the website
information as well.
APD s (Anti Penetration Devices)
An APD is an item attached to a shafted arrow which prevents a nock
from penetrating an SCA legal helm more than ½ inch.
An APD is only approved for use with one or more specified attachment
methods. Each additional attachment method requires separate testing.
An APD must be tested (and approved) separately for wood shaft
missiles, and fiberglass shaft missiles.
The APD and attachment method must not greatly increase the chance of
The APD and attachment method must not greatly increase the chance of
a missile flipping end over end on impact, nor must not add greatly to
any other hazard.
...... the Society minimum for the spacing on helm bars is defined to
be close enough together so that a one inch (25.4 mm) diameter dowel
may not be passed through the opening... (society rules) Arrows
should reflect this standard as well. Check the 'test helm' to see if
it meets society standards before using it as a test piece. A helm
with bars set at a one inch spacing would be a good maximum spacing,
and a helm with bars set at no less than a 7/8 inch minimum spacing
would be a good for testing purposes. Report the spacing on the helm
bars as well.
There are several tests of an APD.
(Anti Penetration Device)
These tests are recommended for use by 600 in lb crossbows and 30 lb
All tests are mandatory for any new or current designs that are under
The first is a Drop test. The drop test is to insure that a nock end
of an arrow cannot enter a helm (face plate) in any orientation when
dropped or maneuvered by hand with a light force of approximately 5
pounds. Any penetration by any means greater than ½ inch is not
Drop the arrow with an APD attached into a helm face plate from 5
feet, 25 times, nock end first. Inspect the arrow and the APD after
each drop for damage. The nock end should hit into the eye slots at
least 10 times during the test.
The shot test is more severe testing procedure.
The second test is the Shot Test. Make an arrow with a nock on one
end, and a nock
on the other with an APD attached. Fire this arrow at full draw, APD
into a helm with a 30 pound bow. Shooting at an angle instead of
straight at the helm will cause an arrow to careen off in an odd
direction instead of straight back at you.
Do 15 Shots at 15 ft. Also do 10 shots at a 45 degree angle at 15
feet. Watch for differences in bounce back as an indication of other
problems, such as severe tumbling. A tumbling arrow or bolt in a
bounce back situation still has enough power as to cause damage to a
secondary target. The APD must remain in place and undamaged when the
missile is fired backwards from 15 feet at a helm face plate 5 times
at full power.
If the APD does penetrate the face plate, do the Drop Test again to
make sure the APD is
large enough to prevent 1/2 inch penetration.
For the third test, the APD must remain in place and undamaged when
the missile is fired forwards from close range at an unyielding
surface 20 times at full draw.
In all instances we are looking for progressive APD failure. In
other words for the APD coming loose or being damaged in such a way to
make it unsafe or the possibility of it being small.
The fourth test is a test to failure. Once you have a design that
passes the previous testing, shoot the arrow backwards until it does
fail. How many shots did it take? A failure at less than 5 backward
shots or 50 forward shots shall be considered as unacceptable. Report
these numbers as well. It gives a good indication of the realistic
life of the design.
Once you have a design that has possibilities there is one additional
test to try. It is the Trample Test. Take the arrows to an event near
you where there is a Pass or Bridge battle. Place the arrows on
the ground where the fighters will step on them. Have the marshals
instruct the fighters that it's okay to do this. After the battle,
inspect all arrows for damage. How did they do in real combat
conditions? When reporting, tell us if there were lots of fighters or
a few, and if the trampling occurred in a small or large space. This
will give us more information. If an APD breaks here, it doesn't
necessarily mean it fails the testing. Can it be shaped back; does it
keep its shape? Is it cheap enough and easy enough to make that this
doesn't cause a problem to replace ?
These tests are intended to damage the APD and its attachment method.
They pass if there is no failure. Sudden and complete failure without
warning signs is unacceptable.
Before you do On-The-Field Testing, approach your Kingdoms Combat
Archery Officer or
the Kingdom Earl Marshal to see who should inspect your experimental
arrows. Get approval for the testing to be done. Inform the marshal in
charge of the event that there is to be experimental arrows on the
field before they start. When testing is complete give us the
following information, your SCA name, Kingdom, Date, Material specs,
and description of design, drawings of design (photos welcome as
well). Also give us any information on any special taping that you
performed on the arrows. If the design failed inform us as to why it
failed. This information is invaluable as well.
One of the reasons for all the detailed reporting is that on the east
coast Strapping Tape has a different connotation than on the west
coast. Brand names and numbers do make a difference. So all
information is pertinent to the safe conduct of this sport.
Reporting of range and accuracy would be of help as well. A design
that passes the above tests but has a max range of 30 yards and an
accurate range of 20 feet is of little use and would be rejected by
most combat archers.
Website for approved arrows is:
Website is at: http://fellwalker.com/SCA/missile/ABD/index2.html
Other websites for reporting of results are currently under
Report your results to any of these people.
Sir Jon Fitzrauf sirjon1@...
Morgan Fellwalker m.Fellwalker@... Caid
Lady Tessa the Huntress tessathehuntress@...
Sir Erika Bjornsdottir archerbear@...
Erik Erikson the Scout ernie@...
Master Thorvald Grimsson prescotj@... Antir
THL Gwilym longbow@...
Siegfried Sebastian Faust eliwhite@...
Other members of the Council are
Duke Balder Trimaris
Lady Deallac Atlantia
Connor Bow Splitter AEthelmearc