Stone Point Information

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Stone Point Information

      Stone projectile points have been in use for hundreds of thousands of years and I've been hunting with them exclusively for over 20 years.  There's a lot of misinformation regarding their effectiveness, and some states have even outlawed their use for hunting.  Unfortunately these laws are based on conjecture and bias and not hard facts.  The information included here is based on years of research as an archaeologist, primitive archery enthusiast and a primitive bowhunter with over two decades of experience using primitive weapons in real hunting scenarios.    

       Flint blades can match modern surgical scalpels in sharpness and are unsurpassed for cutting and butchering tasks.  Flint is the best material to tip projectiles with if you want to bring down big game quickly.  Flint spearpoints and arrow points kept our ancestors fed and clothed for millennia, and the fact that we’re still here is living proof that these materials work.  I've conducted numerous penetration tests with stone points on freshly killed deer and the results proved that well-made flint hunting points made by experienced knappers are just as sharp and penetrate just as well as modern steel broadheads.  To see the video where I test Stone vs Steel, click here.

      However, the one striking difference between modern broadheads and prehistoric stone arrow points is their size.  Today’s steel arrowheads are much larger than the stone points used in prehistory.  Tiny stone arrow points were used across North America and tiny flint blades called microliths were used throughout Europe.  Though thousands of years and thousands of miles separated these people, how and why did they come to such a parallel in technology?

        I believe small arrow points were used for one reason: penetration. Prehistoric arrow shafts found in dry caves in the western U.S. were commonly made of reed.  Because reed is so light and fragile, Native Americans added hardwood foreshafts (and sometimes hardwood nock plugs) to reinforce the arrows so they could withstand the force of being shot from a bow.  These arrows were much lighter than the wooden arrows we shoot today, and therefore carried much less momentum. To make up for this and acheive adequate penetration, ancient people shrunk the size of their arrow points to tiny dimensions. Mistakenly called "bird points" by collectors, it wasn't until recently that scientists were able to test these tiny points for minute traces of blood proteins still preserved on their surfaces. The results shocked even the experts.  These points often had blood proteins from large game like Cervid (deer and elk), Ovis (Bighorn sheep) and sometimes even Ursus (bear), indicating that these tiny points were actually used on large game.     

          Tiny stone points allow lighter arrows to achieve lethal penetration even when launched from light poundage bows.  I’ve conducted numerous penetration tests on freshly killed deer using a 40-lb bow and lightweight reed arrows tipped with tiny stone points.  This seemingly underpowered combination had no problem penetrating to the far side of the chest wall.  Incredibly some of the "bird points" even broke the offside ribs. 

          Weaker weapons have another hidden advantage: greater accuracy at close range.  A lighter bow has a smooth, effortless draw, making pinpoint accuracy much easier in close-range hunting scenarios.  Generations of ancient hunting knowledge steered arrow technology toward smaller stone points that left narrow, deep wound channels as opposed to larger stone points that gave wider, shallower wound channels.  If small stone points were ineffective they would have been abandoned long ago.  But the frequency at which they are found on archaeological sites throughout North America and Europe is proof they worked.  That's a lesson I pay close attention to.  I've used the same small stone point technology in my own arrows and have never been disappointed.  From small grey squirrels to heavily muscled whitetail deer, small stone points have proved their lethality time and time again.

      The heavier wooden shafts we use today carry more momentum and are capable of deeper penetration than the light reed arrows of the past.  Yet stone points still have thicker cross sections that incur more resistance than a flat steel point.  Modern bowhunters should follow the lessons of ancient hunters and use smaller stone points.  When purchasing my stone hunting points, I strongly suggest choosing the smallest point you can legally use.  Some of my personal hunting points weigh only 15 or 20 grains.  If you need a 125 grain point for your arrows to achieve perfect flight, I suggest adding a hardwood foreshaft of heavier wood to the front of the shaft so flight is perfect before adding the stone point.  Stone isn't nearly as heavy as steel and a 125 grain stone point will be much too large for an arrow today.  Stone and steel points are different in every aspect.  You can't force stone points to fit the mold of a modern steel broadhead and expect identical performance.  Adjustments have to be made.  Ancient hunters learned that large stone arrowpoints achieve very poor penetration, so they made them smaller to compensate.  Back then hunting was a matter of life or death, and their survival was based on the effectiveness of their weapons.  Remember that.  Follow the lessons of our ancestors and use smaller, lighter points.  I have and they've never let me down.

To see firsthand what small stone points are capable of, watch this video where I test the penetration of tiny stone points by clicking here.

      Another common question concerns the durability of stone points.  Muscle tissue and soft, vital organs pose no threat to a stone point.  The serrated edges easily slice through soft tissue and open some ghastly wounds.  In addition, the ribs of deer-sized game are not as hard as you might think.  Flint arrowheads have no problem getting past them and penetrating into the vitals.  Careful autopsies performed on every animal I've killed with flint points proves they are durable, lethal, and just as effective as modern steel broadheads.  Usually a small chip off the very tip of the point is the only damage they suffer.  Sometimes small nicks are taken off corners or basal ears, though it's usually very minor and only a few seconds of repair will make them usable again.  Other times there’s no damage and the point is reusable.  My penetration tests also revealed another reason for shooting smaller points: they're much more likely to slip between ribs on entry.  Smaller points sometimes nick entrance ribs, but have never failed to completely penetrate the rib cage.  They are more likely to strike offside ribs as opposed to those on entrance.  By then the point has already done its deadly work and that animal won’t be travelling very far. 

     But if you miss your target then all bets are off.  Trees and rocks are much less forgiving and will usually severely damage flint arrowheads.  Hitting such objects usually results in shattered tips, sheared edges, and sometimes even pulverized points where only the very base of the point remains in the haft.  Often, though not always, these points are damaged beyond repair.  Sometimes, however, they will surprise you and can be chiseled out of tree trunks and rotten logs with little or no damage. 

      If the point hits sandy soil then damage is usually minimal, though sand is very abrasive and will significantly dull the edges of a stone point.  It’s a good idea to have a small, sharp pressure flaker and little leather pad with you so dull points can be resharpened in the field.  Points that hit soft dirt and clay will usually be undamaged, though the edges should be checked for sharpness and should be rechipped if there's any question.  

      I am very particular about protecting the edges of my hunting points and you should be too.  Stone points are very sharp, but they're also brittle and need protection to preserve their sharp edges.  Do not slide stone tipped arrows into a back quiver and allow them to bang against each other or they will dull very quickly.  Needle sharp tips are easily broken.  Edges that were razor sharp will become dull and harmless. Don't let that happen.  Always protect your stone points.  My hunting points are ALWAYS wrapped with a piece of toilet paper that's held in place with a twist-tie or small rubber band, and I only remove the protective coverings when I'm hunting.  That preserves the sharp edges until the moment of truth arrives.     

      

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