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Stay abreast of the latest sales, discounts, news, product releases, projects, and guides here on our blog. 

Out of Office

Silent Thunder Ordnance

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Due to the American holiday, we'll all be out of the office from 9.1.18-9.3.18. All orders will be filled/inquiries responded to as normal when service resumes 9.4.18. As a thank you we're offer a 15% discount for those who use this discount code (CM8SMHV) while we're on holiday. This discount applies only to orders placed on the above dates, and is not retroactively applicable. 

Thanks everyone. Get out there and shoot! :D 

Mughal Ring

Silent Thunder Ordnance

 Our Mughal Ring

Our Mughal Ring

Our latest design, the Mughal Ring. Swooping curves all around, but for a break at the back, this design allows for a broad range of string positioning depending on the shooter's tastes along with a fast clean release. Whether it is because you love the style, or want the fully rounded form for individual string placement, this really is one to try. 

Sword Games

Silent Thunder Ordnance

 A beautiful and fully functional katana with differentially hardened blade, ray skin handles, tight wrapping, and lacquered saya. 

A beautiful and fully functional katana with differentially hardened blade, ray skin handles, tight wrapping, and lacquered saya. 

Those of us with an affinity for historical archery tend to share a broader love of historical weaponry. Be that armour, shields, black powder firearms, spears, or swords. This story begins when one of us was browsing available swords and discovered that a fully functional through-hardened katana could be had for a mere 50$, deferentially hardened (real hamon) with ray skin handles and other flourishes for 100$, and folded "damascus" for 200$. Clearly, this newfound information needed to be put to work. 

 Showing off the differential hardening aka hamon, would you believe this blade was only 100$?

Showing off the differential hardening aka hamon, would you believe this blade was only 100$?

Test cutting is fun, and I suspect common practice among those who've bought a functional sword, but you can only hack so many water bottles or expensive tatami mats before it becomes cost-prohibitive and, dare I say it, boring. I liken it to target shooting in any variety of disciplines, sure you can spend endless hours refining form and fighting for those slim gains in precision, but eventually you want to spice things up with novel scenarios, targets, action, and competition. 

The answer came from the background some of us have in competitive pistol shooting. Borrowing elements of the target stands and overall competition setup, we set to work. 

A sword obviously has a lot more momentum than a 9mm pistol round, so instead of strapping we opted for a single 2x4 as the upright in the center of a four foot long segment. The method of assembly is simple. Cut four pieces each two feet long, add two ends, and a loose vertical in between them and dry fit. When you're happy with the fit, a cordless impact, screw gun, or your screw driving weapon of choice can quickly and easily zip the whole assembly together with two exterior grade deck screws per join. The vertical in the center can then be withdrawn leaving a modular "foot" that can accept any sort of target which can be mounted atop a segment of 2x4. With two people working, a dozen of these can be knocked out in an evening for perhaps 20$ or less. 

From there we need to build targets themselves. These days cardboard is perpetually coming and going from online orders and so on, it seems in endless supply and we recycle it by the truckload. Breaking it all down is a time consuming process, so lets put it to work. After all, shredding is part of the cardboard recycling process, what harm will a little extra breaking-down do? So we zipped together some clamp stands which use two boards in a T shape and a few screws to clamp a sheet of cardboard. With a cordless impact, zipping these open and closed to swap cardboard sheets takes a few seconds. Wanting some variety though, we also decided to make a pool-noodle stand, a cutting target more akin to a tatami mat while costing vastly less, but surprisingly challenging to defeat. And, finally, we created a platform stand where free standing objects, namely water bottles, could be placed for cutting. Understand this was all zipped together in the span of an evening with scrap material we had laying around, thus it represents just a fraction of the possible diversity of targets. What about a linked-stage for example, where the cutting of one target would release another target held on the end of a string which would begin swinging? A rolling ball target like in Bladesports? Or how about a free hanging rope? Or what about a combined stage where one starts with a bow or spear and then transitions to sword? The possibilities are truly endless. 

 If you look closely, you can see both pieces of the cut Gatorade® bottle still in the air. 

If you look closely, you can see both pieces of the cut Gatorade® bottle still in the air. 

It is worth noting at this point that swords are weapons and, like all weapons, are incredibly dangerous. Safe use and handling practices should be observed, and everyone who is not cutting should keep a reasonable distance and remain in a safe direction. This all should be fairly obvious, but a few sentences are cheap while injuries incredibly costly, so it bears mentioning. Less obvious is the importance of "real swords." Many of the cheap, often "stainless steel" swords out there are not suitable for cutting. This is less because of poor grinds or edge retention, and more due to fragility; should a piece of a sword blade part company from the remainder of the blade or handle, an extremely dangerous event has occurred. 

 A perfectly, precisely, decapitated mouthwash bottle. If you have one of these bottles laying around, look at how thick the plastic is at the mouth where it was cut. We were all amazed. The bottle was cut and left standing so perfectly, initially it was thought to be a miss. 

A perfectly, precisely, decapitated mouthwash bottle. If you have one of these bottles laying around, look at how thick the plastic is at the mouth where it was cut. We were all amazed. The bottle was cut and left standing so perfectly, initially it was thought to be a miss. 

How to score, how does it work, and what is it like? Smartphones being ubiquitous, someone pulls up a stopwatch app, and times as the person makes their way through the course. A completed cut adds no time. Each partial cut or uncut target adds to the person's time. At the end the lowest time wins. This is entertaining for hours on end as friends compete and new clever and challenging scenarios are set up. 

 Cardboard silhouettes provide great sport, but errors in blade alignment become readily apparent.  

Cardboard silhouettes provide great sport, but errors in blade alignment become readily apparent.  

Graphite Ring Finish

Silent Thunder Ordnance

 Our  Southeast Asian  ring with a graphite finish. 

Our Southeast Asian ring with a graphite finish. 

We're now offering an optional graphite finish for our polymer rings. This coating is applied on top of our polymer rings, providing a gray metallic lustre. Pictures really struggle to capture it. The question that immediately follows with any coating is "will it wear off?" In this case, the coating is quite abrasion resistant, but ultimately nothing can survive major abrasion of the ring. This can be taken as a feature though, applying the coating on rings of contrasting color resulting in an even more beautiful and exotic "weathered" appearance. For this effect to appear at its best, we recommend our metallic gold or metallic copper polymer rings as a base. 

Interesting in adding rings of this type to your collection? Get in touch with us using the contact form at the top right of the page or check out with a free Special Materials ring. 

 Our  Southeast Asian  ring with a graphite finish. 

Our Southeast Asian ring with a graphite finish. 

Product Introduction - Southeast Asian Ring

Silent Thunder Ordnance

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The history of this ring is a little murky. While it is popular today, we couldn't find an example over 200 years old. The style also seems to have popped up as far west as India. While the origins of the style are a bit hard to pin down, it's features are not. These rings all feature a pronounced lip, extended curving "tongue," a generous internal pad to distribute the load around the tendon, and tend to place a higher ratio of load on the thumb pad rather than on the knuckle. The result is a ring which many beginners find very comfortable and easy to use, particularly at lower poundages. 

Tong-ah/Majra/Solenarion

Silent Thunder Ordnance

 Our Majra seen here with our copper Ottoman ring and AF Turkish bow. 

Our Majra seen here with our copper Ottoman ring and AF Turkish bow. 

What was top secret military technology centuries ago, you can now purchase online. This tool has had many names across different cultures including Majra, Nawak, Tongjian, Tong-ah, and Solenarion. The basic premise is an overdraw device in the form of a channel down which a shortened arrow can ride. Unlike the Turkish Siper, which allows the use of an arrow a few inches shorter, the Majra allows use of veritable crossbow bolts. Why you might ask? When researching this project we came across a variety of different explanations and hypotheses, mostly centered around reusing shorter projectiles or increased projectile velocity. 

We manufacture these in house from poplar, selected because of its mechanical properties, strength and low mass. Each is cut from a single piece, finished with multiple coats of a durable varnish, and has a reinforcing eyelet. A leather finger loop completes the package. 

Product Introduction: Turkish Siper

Silent Thunder Ordnance

 Our Turkish Siper shown here with a lightning strike walnut plate 

Our Turkish Siper shown here with a lightning strike walnut plate 

King of the overdraw devices, the famous Turkish Siper. The longest flight shots of antiquity were almost certainly done off one, the markers of which still stand in Istanbul today. For those who don't know, the Siper is an overdraw device, worn on the hand, which allows the shooter to draw an arrow shorter than their draw length. This reduction in arrow mass contributes to increased arrow velocity and in turn greater range. Check out all the details on the PRODUCT PAGE

Bow Performance Project - English Longbow

Silent Thunder Ordnance

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This is a big one, the long standing debate on the merits of the the famed English Longbow/Warbow versus the Asiatic composite bow. Perhaps before setting out on this comparison though I should note a simple reality and associated reasonable expectation: while there are a lot of hotly disputed details, the English Longbow is broadly a single style/type of bow with singular morphology and construction. This contrasts greatly with Asiatic composite bows which (arguably) exist in a significant military context over a much broader span of time, space, function, material, and style. Thus it should be expected that the EWB can not exceed the composite bow in all categories simultaneously. There is also the very reasonable argument that the EWB is a tiny fraction of the manufacturing cost and complexity of a composite bow, which given that war is an economic entity as much as a technological one is a non-trivial detail.

The English Warbow Society has been an invaluable resource for the research of this article, and the majority of specifications have been drawn from their publications. For example, while immensely powerful, EWBs may have operated in the range of approximately 10GPP. 

To this end we sourced an English Warbow from a very polite and well reviewed gentleman ArcheyBowman. We liked it so much a second longbow in a more everyday poundage was also acquired. What can I say, they're massive, unwieldy, and yet beautiful, elegant, simple, and fun to shoot. There is just something about them. We're no stranger to stickbows here at CTR, but there is just something about these longbows that sets them apart and gives them a magic all their own. 

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The warbow is nominally 90#s@32", 76" long overall, made from a solid piece of hickory with horn nocks, bears the famous compass tiller, 5/8ths cross sectional-ratio, and conforms to all specs from the English Longbow Society for Proper Longbows. Actual length tip to tip is 77-3/4", 75" nock to nock. Mass is .775 kilos. After a bit of shooting, the F/D testing, etc the bow seems to have settled at 1-1/8" set. 

The longbow is nominally 55#@32", 76" long overall, hickory backed curly oak, and bares the same style albeit considerably smaller. Actual length tip to tip is 76-3/4", 74-1/2" nock to nock. Mass is .6 kilos. If that number jumped out at you, you're not alone. There is a lot going on here, but if we assume a poundage to bow mass ratio of 116.13 (that of the warbow), based on its mass this longbow should project out to 70 pounds not 55. Before you finger the oak, it is worth noting that the RELATIVE DENSITY of hickory is actually very comparable to that of oak. (hickory is nominally higher, but likely insignificant) It is hard to say if this increased mass will show up when we chrono, I personally was surprised the bow wasn't lighter as the tips and nocks are much smaller, however what I can say is that due to being laminated this bow has taken zero set. 

The force-draw curves of both these bows are subtly different from that of the Asiatic composite bows. Whereas the Asiatic bows climb quickly in early draw weight, level out in the middle, and climb again toward the end of the draw, the longbows are quite linear. To my surprise though, that linearity is continued all the way to full draw. I had anticipated a draw curve which looked more like an exponential growth curve, but it just didn't materialize. As a result, slopes and % gained in the last 2" are both right in the middle of the pack for both bows. No stacking here. And no stacking on a bow which is almost 100 pounds is an unexpected but very pleasant surprise. (we're not EWB experts here remember)

As we get to stored energy, things get even more interesting. There was definitely the expectation that, given no recurve or complex limb geometry, these bows would simply store less energy for their draw weight. Not true. The warbow is less than 3 foot pounds shy of storing 1:1 foot pounds to pounds draw force. The longbow ends up 3 pounds over. Again we're impressed. Another interesting note is that the warbow has 50% more poundage than the JZW Manchu (90 versus 60), both bows are ostensibly drawn to their safe physical/mechanical limits, both bows are quite heavy, both bows were designed to fire arrows of comparable (high) mass, and yet the warbow stores only 5 more foot pounds of energy at full draw. Apples to oranges? I think quite the opposite actually, two different bows from different ends of the same continent designed to do essentially the same thing: fire extremely heavy arrows at medium velocity against armored opponents. 

The Stored Energy/Poundage curve tells more of the story. Both bows start out toward the bottom of the pack, and just never claw it back. In a field of bows with levers on the ends resulting in fat mid-range power bands, I'm just impressed neither were at the bottom. The Warbow managed to beat out the lowest performer in this category we've ever tested, the Elong Yuan, by just a whisker. The longbow actually managed to finish in the middle of the pack, beating out quite a few other bows. In both cases though, this is attributable to the other bows beginning to stack rather than the longbows gaining efficiency toward the end of the draw. Had we run these tests at only 29", the Warbow would have been stone dead last and the Longbow only would have beaten the Elong Yuan and Grozer. Fair is fair though, and more than a few of us were both surprised and impressed. As long standing "Asiatic elitists" confident in the superiority of our advanced bow designs, the fact that these much simpler bows are contenders came as a real surprise. 

There is one final hurdle: the chrono. Surprisingly though, the JZW Manchu actually has the highest mass, so we may be in for a surprise there as well. There is also a question of safe minimum GPP. In the world of Asiatic bows, GPP is a real focus for reasons of bow durability/longevity. Surprisingly, speaking to the bowyer who supplied these two bows however, it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue. He must have sold hundreds of bows by now, but in our conversations revealed a very low failure rate and little concern for GPP. Perhaps I've simply not found the right source, but technical data on English longbows seems to be pretty scarce. 10GPP doesn't seem uncommon, and 3-4GPP in flight shooting is often mentioned as well, without the expected disclaimers of short bow life. Given historical arrow and draw weights, 10GPP even starts to sound conservative. Is the wood or the bow design itself better able to reabsorb excess energy than modern laminates? Are the bows just extremely efficient for their physical mass? What is a safe efficiency level? And lets remember something else important: efficiency doesn't scale. If your bow is 70% efficient and stores 20 foot pounds, it'll have to reabsorb 6 foot pounds. If your bow stores 200 foot pounds and is 70% efficient, it'll have to reabsorb 60 foot pounds. Modern glass and carbon composite Asiatic bows use the same glass and carbon laminates and vary core thickness to adjust poundage (for the most part). They also often fail at the glue joints. This means, despite identical efficiency, essentially the same working material and weak points have to absorb an order of magnitude more energy. This might have something to do with why very few Asiatic bowyers will make modern composite bows at any serious poundage. A notable exception is YMG, whose bows' performance and durability are legend, and they are far and away my favorite brand of bow. If you'll pardon the mild digression, the point is that EWBs are much more cost effective to manufacture, so are available at much more accessible prices in authentic materials and likewise should be expected to perform on par with their historical counterparts. So if a warbow is 180 pounds and shoots a 1750 grain arrow, that is 10GPP on the nose at the upper limits of poundage. 

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*UPDATE* 
After all this testing was completed and I was shooting the hickory backed figured oak bow, I draw and hear that dreaded "pop." The bow had pulled up a nasty splinter on the back, of course right at a grain boundary. It is important to understand that bows break, particularly bows made from natural materials, it is just part of the game. The question isn't whether or not the bow broke, but how the bowyer handles it. In this case I messaged the bowyer, and there was never a moment's question about whether or not the bow would be replaced. Within an hour of the pop, a new bow my choice was on it's way to me. It really doesn't get much better than that. 

I confess though, the bow is stunningly beautiful and I have trouble letting go. After some debate, I pulled out the bow on a tillering block to raise the splinter, worked some glue underneath it, and then firmly wrapped the affected area. When that cured I unwrapped it, scraped it, applied a paper backing to the area to transfer some of the strain and hold the splinter, and finally wrapped it again. I don't think it'll save the bow, but I'm hoping I can get a couple arrows throw the chrono at least. It is a real shame because it is just a stunner. Pictures don't do it justice. 

Leather insert for Sugakji

Silent Thunder Ordnance

 Our Sugakji, aka Korean Male thumb ring. Shown here in Silver Gray with the leather loop meant to tighten fit on the thumb. 

Our Sugakji, aka Korean Male thumb ring. Shown here in Silver Gray with the leather loop meant to tighten fit on the thumb. 

This is a simple and easy project to add a leather wedge to your Korean Male thumb ring. Really this project only requires a knife, cutting surface, and a ring but a straight edge, cutting mat, and rotary knife can make getting clean results a little easier. 

 Tools of the trade. The rotary knife and straightedge are for flourish, a sharp knife and cutting surface are really all that is required. 

Tools of the trade. The rotary knife and straightedge are for flourish, a sharp knife and cutting surface are really all that is required. 

Step one is laying things out. You'll want leather which is about 1-1.5mm thick and reasonably soft/flexible. You'll want a strip about twice to 2.5 times as long as the ring, and of equal width. This is then to be tapered so that at its thin end it is 1/3rd the width as it's thick end. 

 The leather strip should be 1/3rd the width at its thin end, and the full width of the ring at its thick end. The entire strip should be twice to two and a half times the length of the ring. 

The leather strip should be 1/3rd the width at its thin end, and the full width of the ring at its thick end. The entire strip should be twice to two and a half times the length of the ring. 

At the thick end cut a slot into which the thin end may be inserted. Pass the leather through the ring, and then insert the thin end into said slot. The result should form a loop. The overlay of thin end onto thick can be used to further increase the "wedge" capability of the leather. This loop shape can now be secured either with stitching, or a little leather adhesive. 

 Cut a small slot to insert the narrow end into the wide end. A stitch or leather adhesive will then make it permenant. 

Cut a small slot to insert the narrow end into the wide end. A stitch or leather adhesive will then make it permenant. 

And just like that, you're done. Rotate the loop to the narrow part in order to insert you thumb in the ring. Once in position slide the loop around until the leather comfortably secures your thumb in place. Easy as that. 

 Our Sugakji, aka Korean Male thumb ring. Shown here in Silver Gray with the leather loop meant to tighten fit on the thumb. 

Our Sugakji, aka Korean Male thumb ring. Shown here in Silver Gray with the leather loop meant to tighten fit on the thumb.