The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-17-2008, 02:07 PM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Springfield, IL
Posts: 8,258
Poisoned Dart Blow-Gun: Effective (Real?) Weapon or Hollywood Invention?

A recent episode of Mythbusters involved shooting a victim with a poisoned dart from a blow gun. In Hollywood depictions of the blowgun weapon that I've seen, the victim is impaled with a dart and then instantaneously keels over dead. However, I see several problems with this.

1) How much poison can you actually put on the tip of a dart?
2) Wouldn't the poison simply fall off the dart and/or evaporate during travel from the gun to the victim?
3) Is there any known poison that can instantly kill a healthy adult from a minute amount delivered from a superficial epidermal puncture?
4) If there is such a poison, do/did ancient cultures have the means to harvest or synthesize it?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 10-17-2008, 02:13 PM
lexi lexi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
One example is in south american rainforest - the poison they use is the skin secretions of the poison dart frog.

Last edited by lexi; 10-17-2008 at 02:13 PM.. Reason: typos
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-17-2008, 02:23 PM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
While in Brazil on the Amazon, one of the tourist things to do is to visit a traditional indigenous village (Well, it's probably some low budget Disneyfied thing, but it looks pretty authentic. They probably drive back home to their condo on their jet ski. ). They let you shoot a dart out of a blow pipe and it is pretty damn accurate at about 10 feet, even for a novice. I don't know about a grown man, but I hear that the poison is pretty quickly lethal when used on a small primate.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-17-2008, 03:46 PM
puppygod puppygod is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Re: 1. and 2. Actually blowgun darts were made of wood or bamboo and were soaked in poison. Plus, they were made prior to hunting trip (or war), and kept in moist container made of bamboo/gourd/something like that. So, the poison was fresh, applied in generous amounts and half-second of flight wasn't much of problem.

Re: 3. it's paralyzing poison. Check this link about curare, for example. It don't kill instantly, but it can render you immobile within half minute. Also, as noted above, amount of poison is quite significant, and it's not so superficial puncture, as dart can easily penetrate two or three inches of flesh.

Re: 4. Check link about curare and lexi link about poison dart frogs.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-17-2008, 03:55 PM
outlierrn outlierrn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
I recall a nature show in which it showed that Amazon hunters using curare darts needed to follow their prey and hit it multiple times for success, which gets progressively easier, curare being a paralytic, but still. I saw this many years ago.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-17-2008, 04:17 PM
Projammer Projammer is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SW Arkansas
Posts: 4,439
As an aside to the OP. What are the hazards of eating curare, or other toxin, impregnated meat? Do the poisons break down during preparation or cooking? Or do the diners actually ingest small amounts of whatever compound it was? What are the short and long term effects of they do?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-17-2008, 04:18 PM
puppygod puppygod is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by outlierrn View Post
I recall a nature show in which it showed that Amazon hunters using curare darts needed to follow their prey and hit it multiple times for success, which gets progressively easier, curare being a paralytic, but still. I saw this many years ago.
On the other hand, I've seen nature show where it took less than ten seconds for monkey to fall from tree. So it all depends - how potent poison, how good hit, how resilient victim.

But yes, multiple hits is standard tactic whether for hunting, or during war. Actually very few primitive weapons have considerable single-shot down capability, and turning target into reversed hedgehog is what you want to do.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-17-2008, 04:20 PM
puppygod puppygod is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Projammer View Post
As an aside to the OP. What are the hazards of eating curare, or other toxin, impregnated meat? Do the poisons break down during preparation or cooking? Or do the diners actually ingest small amounts of whatever compound it was? What are the short and long term effects of they do?
From above wikipedia link:
Quote:
Curares are active (i.e. toxic or muscle relaxing, dependent on the intention of their use) only if given/applied parenterally, that is, by an injection, or direct wound contamination by poisoned dart/arrow tip. It is harmless if taken orally because curare compounds are too large and too highly charged to pass through the lining of the digestive tract to get absorbed into the blood.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-17-2008, 04:44 PM
yabob yabob is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 7,220
As to the seriousness of the puncture, there are some people who use modern day versions of blowguns for small game hunting. I find it surprising, but you can apparently get enough velocity on a razor tipped dart constructed like a broadhead arrow to kill a rabbit or a squirrel without poison. It penetrates enough to reach the vital organs of a small animal. It would presumably produce a nasty gash on a larger animal or a person.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-17-2008, 05:01 PM
Fish Cheer Fish Cheer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
In veterinary medicine, blowguns with narcotic darts are regularly used to immobilize patients you couldn't get your hands on otherwise.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-17-2008, 05:29 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
As far as an instant kill or knockout from a dart is concerned, see this TVTropes entry. It's not a cite, but it does suggest that "instant" is a bit much to expect.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-17-2008, 05:42 PM
paperbackwriter paperbackwriter is offline
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 1,698
Quote:
Originally Posted by puppygod View Post
Re: 3. it's paralyzing poison. Check this link about curare, for example. It don't kill instantly, but it can render you immobile within half minute. Also, as noted above, amount of poison is quite significant, and it's not so superficial puncture, as dart can easily penetrate two or three inches of flesh.
This just leaves the question of how Tokugawa-era ninjas got a biological product from the Amazon through the sokuku restrictions on foreign contact.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-17-2008, 05:58 PM
Terrifel Terrifel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by paperbackwriter View Post
This just leaves the question of how Tokugawa-era ninjas got a biological product from the Amazon through the sokuku restrictions on foreign contact.
Dude, they're ninjas.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-17-2008, 07:40 PM
mmmiiikkkeee mmmiiikkkeee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
These answers seem to be considering only the traditional wooden type dart. There are books/manuals out there that show you how to make much better and more effective poison darts from easily obtained materials. Just imagine what could be done with a small syringe fitted with a cone and a rubber band for instance...

Blow guns really do work, but aside from the novelty, there are much better weapons/tools available to send a projectile into a target. Blowguns also are not nearly as silent or handy as the ones used in ninja movies.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-17-2008, 08:00 PM
chorpler chorpler is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Vegas, baby!
Posts: 3,251
This question reminds me of that exchange between Ian Malcolm and that other guy in The Lost World (I think it was in both the book and the movie). To paraphrase:

Quote:
Some Guy: I loaded these darts with the enhanced venom of (some super-venomous sea snail or cone shell or something), the most powerful neurotoxin in the world. Acts within one two-thousandth of a second. Faster than the nerve conduction velocity. The animal hits the ground before it even feels the prick of the dart.

Ian Malcolm: Is there an antidote?

Some Guy: You mean in case you shoot yourself? Of course not. You'd be dead before you realized you'd been hit.
I always wondered how such a thing could even be remotely feasible -- how would a toxin spread "faster than the nerve conduction velocity"? An explosion, maybe, but a chemical injected into your bloodstream? That sounds just plain stupid.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-17-2008, 08:12 PM
Fish Cheer Fish Cheer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by chorpler View Post
I always wondered how such a thing could even be remotely feasible -- how would a toxin spread "faster than the nerve conduction velocity"? An explosion, maybe, but a chemical injected into your bloodstream? That sounds just plain stupid.
It is. There are some very powerful toxins, but the risk is acceptable if you handle them responsibly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etorphine

"Etorphine is most often used to immobilize elephants and other large mammals. Etorphine is only available legally for veterinary use and is strictly governed by law. (...) Veterinary-strength etorphine is fatal to humans; one drop on the skin can cause death within a few minutes."

.. but only if you're a jackass, and don't have somebody with a sufficient dose of naloxone ready to inject standing by.



(And it still doesn't act even remotely as fast as the action potentials on your neurons.)

Last edited by Fish Cheer; 10-17-2008 at 08:13 PM.. Reason: spelling
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-18-2008, 04:24 AM
puppygod puppygod is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by paperbackwriter View Post
This just leaves the question of how Tokugawa-era ninjas got a biological product from the Amazon through the sokuku restrictions on foreign contact.
Well, if they wanted good poison they just had to make short trip to nearest fish market

Seriously, curare isn't only of it's kind. And cultural exchange with China gave Japanese access to variety of poisons discovered by Chinese alchemists during last couple of millenia and found over at least half of Asia.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-18-2008, 04:46 AM
cckerberos cckerberos is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by paperbackwriter View Post
This just leaves the question of how Tokugawa-era ninjas got a biological product from the Amazon through the sokuku restrictions on foreign contact.
[nitpick]
sakoku
[/nitpick]
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10-18-2008, 05:08 AM
Toxylon Toxylon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Blowgun hunter checking in. Blowguns are vastly more powerful than common sense implies. Using 5 gram wooden darts with razor sharp broadheads 10 mm wide, I can take down a duck or a rabbit inside 15 yards with one shot, the 16" dart flying completely through the animal, stopped only by the cone at the tail end.

Chronograph tests I've run give me velocities in the 40 m / s range, the sectional density of the dart equal to a bow-shot arrow. Maximum range of the heavy darts is 100 yards. I am positive I could kill a man with one dart, sans poison, if the dart didn't encounter bones. It wouldn't be instantaneous nor pretty, but it would do the job through profuse bleeding, internal and external.

The Cherokee and Choctaw among other SE peoples used blowguns and unpoisoned darts that were simply wood skewers sharpened to a point, to bag small game such as squirrel and pidgeon. "Superficial epidermal puncture" - not.

Poison darts become necessary when you need to kill mid-sized or larger game such as monkeys - and humans, at long distances. There's a multitude of traditional dart poisons, curare being just one of them and not the most powerful or revered one. SE Asian blowgun hunters usually used poison derived from the upas tree (Antiaris toxicaria). Tests done with upas darts have shown that a single hit can paralyze a large game animal (small deer) immediately, death coming in ten minutes. Smaller animals, especially birds, succumb much faster. SE Asian hunter-gatherers used poison darts on Japanese sentries to good effect as late as WW II.

Conquistadors got a taste of curare soon after entering South America. According to Spanish sources, a man hit with a curare dart died inside an hour. As curare kills by relaxation of the respiratory system, the victim can be saved by continuous mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the effect wears off (not a tip from the Conquistadors).

Strychnine-based dart poisons such as upas are deadly upon ingestion - natives cut out a chunk of meat surrounding the hit to prevent poisoning themselves. Curare, in the minute amounts on a dart - is safe to eat. Curare-killed meat is in fact considered a better treat than unpoisoned fare.

The blowgun, to my mind, is a very handy means to "deliver a projectile into a target". More silent than a bow-shot arrow, vastly more so than any pellet gun or silenced firearm I've shot, lightweight, foolproof and highly accurate at short range. YMMV.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 11-02-2010, 11:33 AM
Shadow.625 Shadow.625 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
re: Toxylon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toxylon View Post
Blowgun hunter checking in. Blowguns are vastly more powerful than common sense implies. Using 5 gram wooden darts with razor sharp broadheads 10 mm wide, I can take down a duck or a rabbit inside 15 yards with one shot, the 16" dart flying completely through the animal, stopped only by the cone at the tail end.

Chronograph tests I've run give me velocities in the 40 m / s range, the sectional density of the dart equal to a bow-shot arrow. Maximum range of the heavy darts is 100 yards. I am positive I could kill a man with one dart, sans poison, if the dart didn't encounter bones. It wouldn't be instantaneous nor pretty, but it would do the job through profuse bleeding, internal and external.

The Cherokee and Choctaw among other SE peoples used blowguns and unpoisoned darts that were simply wood skewers sharpened to a point, to bag small game such as squirrel and pidgeon. "Superficial epidermal puncture" - not.

Poison darts become necessary when you need to kill mid-sized or larger game such as monkeys - and humans, at long distances. There's a multitude of traditional dart poisons, curare being just one of them and not the most powerful or revered one. SE Asian blowgun hunters usually used poison derived from the upas tree (Antiaris toxicaria). Tests done with upas darts have shown that a single hit can paralyze a large game animal (small deer) immediately, death coming in ten minutes. Smaller animals, especially birds, succumb much faster. SE Asian hunter-gatherers used poison darts on Japanese sentries to good effect as late as WW II.

Conquistadors got a taste of curare soon after entering South America. According to Spanish sources, a man hit with a curare dart died inside an hour. As curare kills by relaxation of the respiratory system, the victim can be saved by continuous mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the effect wears off (not a tip from the Conquistadors).

Strychnine-based dart poisons such as upas are deadly upon ingestion - natives cut out a chunk of meat surrounding the hit to prevent poisoning themselves. Curare, in the minute amounts on a dart - is safe to eat. Curare-killed meat is in fact considered a better treat than unpoisoned fare.

The blowgun, to my mind, is a very handy means to "deliver a projectile into a target". More silent than a bow-shot arrow, vastly more so than any pellet gun or silenced firearm I've shot, lightweight, foolproof and highly accurate at short range. YMMV.
Toxylon obviously knows what the hell he's talking about. W/ the advent of Cold Steel's .625 Magnum blowgun technology has taken a great leap forward. Jivaro's .38cal blowguns of the 60's are so drastically inferior in power & accuracy that any realistic comparison is pointless IMO. A 200+fps broadhead tipped dart delivered to a target less than 40ft away is w/out a doubt IMO deadly. That same dart w/ as little as .5mg of a few select readily available poisons applied to it becomes one of a silent assasin's most effective weapons.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 11-02-2010, 12:04 PM
mozchron mozchron is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
When I was a kid, my brother and I made homemade blowguns out of copper pipe. The darts were made from nails with a paper cone duct-taped to the end.

From across the house, we could easily put one of those nails completely through a solid wood door of a kitchen cabinet. My mother was unimpressed, to say the least.

With a little bit of practice, those things were scary accurate from a pretty good distance. Not bad for something jury-rigged by a 12 year old.

On edit, must have some of that voodoo zombie poison on the darts for this thread...

Last edited by mozchron; 11-02-2010 at 12:05 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 11-02-2010, 12:24 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Quote:
This question reminds me of that exchange between Ian Malcolm and that other guy in The Lost World (I think it was in both the book and the movie)
Sorry -- no blowguns or poison darts in Arthur Conan Doyle's book. I've read it many times.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 11-02-2010, 12:29 PM
silenus silenus is online now
Hoc nomen meum verum non est.
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 40,467
Run away! Zombies got blowguns!
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 11-02-2010, 01:00 PM
outlierrn outlierrn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow.625 View Post
That same dart w/ as little as .5mg of a few select readily available poisons applied to it becomes one of a silent assasin's most effective weapons.
I'd be curious for so more information about these readily available poisons.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 11-02-2010, 01:17 PM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toxylon View Post
Blowgun hunter checking in. Blowguns are vastly more powerful than common sense implies.
It bears mentioning that hunting blowguns are also much larger than often depicted in movies. You won't drive a dart through an animal using a pencil-sized tube and your own breath; typical hunting blowguns are four feet long or longer and are supported by both hands. The length of the gun allows a long continuous breath (not a short puff) to build up impulse, imparting force and accuracy to the projectile.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 11-02-2010, 01:56 PM
blindboyard blindboyard is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
Sorry -- no blowguns or poison darts in Arthur Conan Doyle's book. I've read it many times.
I think the line is from Jurassic Park II.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 11-02-2010, 04:31 PM
River Hippie River Hippie is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: N.E. Indiana, USA
Posts: 3,409
Quote:
Originally Posted by mozchron View Post
When I was a kid, my brother and I made homemade blowguns out of copper pipe. The darts were made from nails with a paper cone duct-taped to the end.

From across the house, we could easily put one of those nails completely through a solid wood door of a kitchen cabinet. My mother was unimpressed, to say the least.

With a little bit of practice, those things were scary accurate from a pretty good distance. Not bad for something jury-rigged by a 12 year old.

On edit, must have some of that voodoo zombie poison on the darts for this thread...
Had very similar results as a 12 year old. We used big nails and stuck them through the caps from my sisters water color markers. Wrapped a little tape around the cap to get just the right seal. Could easily hit a pop can at 50' or more.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 11-02-2010, 06:56 PM
mozchron mozchron is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by River Hippie View Post
Had very similar results as a 12 year old. We used big nails and stuck them through the caps from my sisters water color markers. Wrapped a little tape around the cap to get just the right seal. Could easily hit a pop can at 50' or more.
Yah, they were fun.

It all started because we bought blowguns (with the wire darts) from a sketchy "martial arts supply" shop. Blowguns are illegal in CA, but this place sold them to 12-year-olds

(as an aside, it was a great shop. It was just like the shop in the old Simpsons Halloween special where Homer buys the monkey paw and the "frogurt" - even had the old chinese shopkeeper with the long hair and mustache. He sold us butterfly knives too.)

Those were cool, but we quickly tired of them and started messing around to see how we could increase the range and power.

Probably would have been arrested if we were kids doing that today.

Last edited by mozchron; 11-02-2010 at 06:59 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 11-02-2010, 07:28 PM
appleciders appleciders is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
I'm checking in to note that we drove nails through 3/4" plywood as kids. It was rotten and crappy wood, and we had to use 6' of PVC pipe to get the necessary speeds, but if we could jury-rig that in an afternoon, I'm sure a professional grade blowgun could get some serious penetration, and that someone whose life or profession depended on it could make something very successful too. Our accuracy was surprisingly good, too; after an hour's practice, I could blow a dart from the gun more accurately than I could throw a dart (the kind you'd throw in a bar, I mean).

Last edited by appleciders; 11-02-2010 at 07:31 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 11-02-2010, 11:15 PM
Kobal2 Kobal2 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow.625 View Post
That same dart w/ as little as .5mg of a few select readily available poisons applied to it becomes one of a silent assasin's most effective weapons.
Bit conspicuous, though

I wonder, wouldn't bagging a deer or similar using poison, especially blood-borne toxins or muscle relaxants, make its meat dangerous to eat as well ?

Last edited by Kobal2; 11-02-2010 at 11:16 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 11-03-2010, 02:44 AM
Shamozzle Shamozzle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by mozchron View Post
When I was a kid, my brother and I made homemade blowguns out of copper pipe. The darts were made from nails with a paper cone duct-taped to the end.

From across the house, we could easily put one of those nails completely through a solid wood door of a kitchen cabinet. My mother was unimpressed, to say the least.

With a little bit of practice, those things were scary accurate from a pretty good distance. Not bad for something jury-rigged by a 12 year old.

On edit, must have some of that voodoo zombie poison on the darts for this thread...
We did exactly the same thing. We used 4" finishing nails sharped to a needle point on the sharpening stone of an electric can opener, and long paper cones finely finished with scotch tape and trimmed for a perfect seal with six foot long hollow tubes. The darts were around 10" inches long.

These things, as you describe, were no joke. At close range it would be no problem at all to put one through the palm of someone's hand. Range was on the order of a city block. Not a toy.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 11-03-2010, 03:21 AM
Blake Blake is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 10,203
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kobal2 View Post
Bit conspicuous, though

I wonder, wouldn't bagging a deer or similar using poison, especially blood-borne toxins or muscle relaxants, make its meat dangerous to eat as well ?
This was addressed earlier in the thread.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 11-03-2010, 11:17 AM
Toxylon Toxylon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
It bears mentioning that hunting blowguns are also much larger than often depicted in movies. You won't drive a dart through an animal using a pencil-sized tube and your own breath; typical hunting blowguns are four feet long or longer and are supported by both hands. The length of the gun allows a long continuous breath (not a short puff) to build up impulse, imparting force and accuracy to the projectile.
True. But hunting blowguns are either made to put a light poison dart into an animal sitting on a distant treetop or to kill animals at short distances using heavy darts and no poison. The movie shot is different, as it combines lightweight poison darts and very short distances (the assassin shooting into a room through an open window, hiding behind the curtains etc.)

The tests I've run show that a short, movie-style blowgun won't shoot a heavy hunting dart worth a crap, but when using lightweight, movie-style darts, a 20" blowgun will reach approximately the same velocity as a 60" one, ie. length improves only accuracy (the reason aboriginals shoot even lightweight poison darts from long blowguns). IANAPhysicist, but it's clear that heavy darts need a longer tube to reach terminal velocity than light ones.

Very light, movie-style darts have very low mass and little KE. Yet, due to their high sectional density and the very low friction they encounter upon entering flesh they have good penetrative abilities. Lightweight darts made from small-gauge piano wire shoot (tiny holes) through animals, tried and true. With poison, they turn deadly.

Author and adventurer Dan Mannix used wire darts and a five-foot blowgun to bag a whitetail deer in Mexico in the '60's. He obtained curare through a special permit and put it on steel darts using grease as an adhesive. He hit a buck twice with the darts, and the deer went a quarter of a mile before going down. Both darts had penetrated the deer body up to the cone, or about four inches.

Given the distances that movie blowgun shots are typically made at, a two-foot or even a 16" gun and thin wire darts would be enough to make deep puncture wounds in a human. Properly poisoned, they would be deadly, if not in the "keel over dead" - style.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 11-04-2010, 12:30 PM
Shadow.625 Shadow.625 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
re:Toxylong update

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toxylon View Post
True. But hunting blowguns are either made to put a light poison dart into an animal sitting on a distant treetop or to kill animals at short distances using heavy darts and no poison. The movie shot is different, as it combines lightweight poison darts and very short distances (the assassin shooting into a room through an open window, hiding behind the curtains etc.)

The tests I've run show that a short, movie-style blowgun won't shoot a heavy hunting dart worth a crap, but when using lightweight, movie-style darts, a 20" blowgun will reach approximately the same velocity as a 60" one, ie. length improves only accuracy (the reason aboriginals shoot even lightweight poison darts from long blowguns). IANAPhysicist, but it's clear that heavy darts need a longer tube to reach terminal velocity than light ones.

Very light, movie-style darts have very low mass and little KE. Yet, due to their high sectional density and the very low friction they encounter upon entering flesh they have good penetrative abilities. Lightweight darts made from small-gauge piano wire shoot (tiny holes) through animals, tried and true. With poison, they turn deadly.

Author and adventurer Dan Mannix used wire darts and a five-foot blowgun to bag a whitetail deer in Mexico in the '60's. He obtained curare through a special permit and put it on steel darts using grease as an adhesive. He hit a buck twice with the darts, and the deer went a quarter of a mile before going down. Both darts had penetrated the deer body up to the cone, or about four inches.

Given the distances that movie blowgun shots are typically made at, a two-foot or even a 16" gun and thin wire darts would be enough to make deep puncture wounds in a human. Properly poisoned, they would be deadly, if not in the "keel over dead" - style.
Toxylon is THE man!!! Bro you need to write a freakiin' book. The Breath of Death(Paladin Pess) is needs an update.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 11-04-2010, 04:57 PM
chorpler chorpler is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Vegas, baby!
Posts: 3,251
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
Sorry -- no blowguns or poison darts in Arthur Conan Doyle's book. I've read it many times.
Fie on Michael Crichton for giving the book I was referring to the same name as Arthur Conan Doyle's classic... and I'm one of the few people who actually still thought The Lost World was a decent read (again, referring to the Jurassic Park sequel again, not Arthur Conan Doyle's book, which was a super-duper-AWESOME read, and also gifted the world the TV series that gave us the luscious Jennifer O'Dell playing Veronica Layton).
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 11-06-2010, 04:17 PM
Shadow.625 Shadow.625 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Real blowgun

Quote:
Originally Posted by appleciders View Post
I'm checking in to note that we drove nails through 3/4" plywood as kids. It was rotten and crappy wood, and we had to use 6' of PVC pipe to get the necessary speeds, but if we could jury-rig that in an afternoon, I'm sure a professional grade blowgun could get some serious penetration, and that someone whose life or profession depended on it could make something very successful too. Our accuracy was surprisingly good, too; after an hour's practice, I could blow a dart from the gun more accurately than I could throw a dart (the kind you'd throw in a bar, I mean).
Cider your story is IMO exactly what blowguns are all about. I'm not aware of any other weapon/sport where even kids can out of readily-available materials make the necessary equpment which technically could be used for hunting and/or serious target practice (comp target shooting). Even a state-of-the-art 5ft .625 magnum blowgun costs less than $30 AND you get a free quiver w/ 4 different kinds of 30+ darts for free. < That NEVER happens in any other activity I'm aware of. The most basic compound bow outfit (bow, rest, quiver, arrows) normally costs more than $200 at the least, and the quality is nowhere near Cold Steel. In fact in the archery world that would require a Mathews bow and would probably end up costing more than $350, most likely much more. All the while not providing anywhere near the enjoyment of a blowgun or the challenge.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 11-07-2010, 05:35 AM
Otara Otara is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
This sounds just a teensy bit like advertising?
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 11-07-2010, 06:42 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Eastern Connecticut
Posts: 15,329
No sounds like equipment fans geeking just like with computers or paintball gear.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 11-09-2010, 05:30 AM
Laudenum Laudenum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
People actually still use blowguns these days?

Interesting.

I'm amazed that there is enough demand that you don't have to make your own.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 11-09-2010, 07:56 AM
Shadow.625 Shadow.625 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
I suspect the odds of the avg guy constructing a homemade blowgun which could remotely come close to Cold Steel's is very, very slim. I got mine less than a week ago & I'm already getting 200 fps which amazes me. In a month I should be getting 220fps which for a blowgun is blinding fast, harness that w/ a razor tipped 5gr dart and you can kill just about anything under 45lbs w/out poison. Add poison and dropping a deer or possibly a man is w/in reach.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 06-18-2012, 05:35 PM
Shadow.625 Shadow.625 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
No updates in almost two years?

Its interesting to note that the size of the game usually taken w/ a blowgun is also more often than not the most healthful percentage of protein usually needed by humans for proper daily functioning and repair of normal tissue damage. A few rabbits or squirrels will provide plenty of animal protein need by a human (80% herbivore) while a grizzly bear or bengal tiger (carnivore) would most likely need a deer or similair sized animal.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 06-18-2012, 05:45 PM
outlierrn outlierrn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
You never got back to me on the issue of the 0.5mg of readily available poisons.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 06-18-2012, 05:51 PM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
I should mention that you can go to clubs in Thailand where the girls can shoot balloons with surprising accuracy with a tube inserted in an orifice other than their mouths. I was not brave enough to hold the balloons myself as it seems dangerous to be impaled with a rusty dirty dart in one of those places.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 06-18-2012, 06:19 PM
Covered_In_Bees! Covered_In_Bees! is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Jesus Christ shadow, you need to learn how to come back to threads in shorter than two years, for fuck's sake.

Also, are double zombies easier or harder to kill? They've died twice, so does this mean that third time's the charm or are they building up a resistance to death?
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 06-18-2012, 07:25 PM
Shadow.625 Shadow.625 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Out. - the internet is filled w/ interesting info if you look in the right places.

Darryl - No matter where you go in the world there's always some weird stuff like what you speak of and even weirder people willing to pay to see it.

Bees - your right. I only thought blowguns were my "latest obsession". Hmmm two years later & I'm just as fascinated. So much for what I thought.
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 06-18-2012, 07:36 PM
outlierrn outlierrn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow.625 View Post
Out. - the internet is filled w/ interesting info if you look in the right places.
Means nothing, I'm skeptical and don't know where to look
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 06-18-2012, 07:54 PM
ChickenLegs ChickenLegs is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict View Post
I should mention that you can go to clubs in Thailand where the girls can shoot balloons with surprising accuracy with a tube inserted in an orifice other than their mouths. I was not brave enough to hold the balloons myself as it seems dangerous to be impaled with a rusty dirty dart in one of those places.
And that's about the single coolest thing I've ever read.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 06-18-2012, 08:32 PM
samclem samclem is online now
graphite is a great moderator
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 21,632
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict View Post
I should mention that you can go to clubs in Thailand where the girls can shoot balloons with surprising accuracy with a tube inserted in an orifice other than their mouths. I was not brave enough to hold the balloons myself as it seems dangerous to be impaled with a rusty dirty dart in one of those places.
At the Petersburg, VA. fair in 1963, I saw something similar with ping pong balls. No doubt they could have hit a remote target.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 06-18-2012, 08:36 PM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
At the Petersburg, VA. fair in 1963, I saw something similar with ping pong balls. No doubt they could have hit a remote target.
Wait a second. This happened at a fair in Virginia? Are we talking about the same orifice? They also did a ping pong ball thing but I would describe it more like laying turtle eggs in a beer glass rather than shooting them.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 06-18-2012, 09:43 PM
samclem samclem is online now
graphite is a great moderator
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 21,632
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict View Post
Wait a second. This happened at a fair in Virginia? Are we talking about the same orifice? They also did a ping pong ball thing but I would describe it more like laying turtle eggs in a beer glass rather than shooting them.
Nope. Saw a guy in the audience(we were up pretty close) get hit from about five feet.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.