Air Venturi Air Bolt: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Venturi Air Bolts
Air Venturi Air Bolts turn a .50 caliber big bore into an air bow.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Broadhead performance
  • How fast do broadheads fly?
  • Can a broadhead be stopped?
  • How to load broadheads
  • Robin Hood!
  • What about the Wing Shot?
  • Wing Shot accuracy
  • Summary

This is a continuation of the report I started last week. Although it’s titled Part 3, think of it as Part 2, because I’m finishing things I didn’t tell you last week.

Broadhead performance

We looked at the performance of the Air Bolt from Air Venturi with target points. Now let’s see what they do with broadheads. Last week I showed you those lethal points that open as they penetrate the target. When I was researching this report I heard all sorts of claims for them. First, that they penetrate so deeply that no arrow stop in the world can stop one — they will pass right through. Also, they are heavier and will drop a couple inches more as they fly. Also, they are less accurate because they have those razor blades hanging out in the breeze as they fly. And finally they are so sharp that there is no way to attach them to an arrow without a wrench.

How fast do broadheads fly?

I did chronograph one broadhead immediately following a fill. Where the target points flew 492 f.p.s. from the Dragon Claw following a fill, a broadhead went out at 445 f.p.s. Yes, they do fly slower.

Can a broadhead be stopped?

This was the one that really scared me, because everyone I polled said the same thing — arrows tipped with broadheads cannot be stopped by an arrow stop. I told you last time that I bought the best stop the archery store had, but it was only rated for target points at 400 f.p.s. But we have already seen that is stopped target points flying a good deal faster than that. How would a broadhead do?

Air Venturi Air Bolts stop
This is the arrow stop I used for this test. It has stopped hundreds of arrows so far and not one has passed through. All 6 sides are usable, and I imagine it’s good for several thousand shots.

Yes, a broadhead can be stopped by this bag. They do penetrate deeper but they are also easier to remove. I think the people telling me they can’t be stopped are using inferior bags.

Air Venturi Air Bolts broadhead stopped
The arrow on the left has the broadhead. It went much deeper than the arrows with the target points, but it was stopped and did come out of the bag easily.

Broadheads do drop a couple inches lower at 35 yards, but that’s because of their lower initial velocity. The little testing I’ve done shows them to be just as accurate as target points.

How to load broadheads

Loading broadheads from the muzzle is simple and safe. Just don’t attach them until after the bolt is loaded in the gun. They screw in, so after the bolt is in place, just screw one down into the tip. I wouldn’t say it is completely safe and a head wrench would be a good idea. I plan to get one! Buyt be careful and you’ll do fine. If you are accident prone, use a wrench at all times!

Air Venturi Air Bolts arrow loaded
Here is an arrow with a target tip loaded. In place of the target tip, screw in a broadhead. Remove the knurled cap for more access.

Rossi Morreale, the host of American Airgunner, showed me a neat trick about loading. Remove the knurled muzzle cap and get more access for loading. That will really help with broadheads!

Okay, that’s it for the broadheads. Let’s look at some other things about the Air Bolt.

Robin Hood!

I loaned the target and my arrows to Rossi Morreale at the Texas Airgun Show, so he could sight in his rifle for a pig he was going to the next day. I don’t know how many arrows he shot, but one of them was a Robin Hood. Naturally it was Rossi who did it and not me. Still, it does demonstrate the inherent accuracy of the Air Bolt.

Air Venturi Air Bolts Robin Hood
This arrow hit the base of another arrow, sliding the rubber o-ring of the first arrow all the way up the shaft of arrow number two! You can even see some of the base of the first arrow still caught under the o-ring. A perfect Robin Hood.

What about the Wing Shot?

In Part 1 I mentioned the Air Bolt also works in the Wing Shot air shotgun. So I also tried that. Since the wing Shot is a smoothbore, the Air Bolts go out even faster. Here are some shots wirh target points.

Shot…………………….Velocity
1………………………….520
2………………………….533
3………………………….584
4………………………….502

As you can see, the arrows do go faster from the Wing Shot, but there is also one less shot because the air reservoir is smaller. Still, no hunter should need more than 3 shots for one animal. But what about accuracy?

Wing Shot accuracy

Pyramyd Air tells me they are getting better accuracy at close ranges with the Wing Shot than with the Dragon Claw. But after 30 yards the Dragon Claw takes over.

The Wing Shot I was sent to test came without the dovetail base, so I wasn’t able to attach an optical sight. I could have removed the base from the Dragon Claw and probably made it work, but since I was still testing it, I left the Wing Shot without a rear sight. So I moved up to 25 yards and shot using the front bead, only.

The aluminum head of the Air Bolt does not fit into the muzzle of the Wing Shot, so I shot with it sticking out of the muzzle. Even then I was able to put four arrows into a handspan of about 5 inches at 25 yards.

Air Venturi Air Bolts shotgun target
The high arrow on the right was fired from 10 yards, to make sure the gun was on target. The 4 arrows below were shot on a fresh fill from 25 yards offhand with a monopod rest.

The arrows from the Wing Shot dropped a lot more than those shot from the Dragon Claw. An optical sight would correct that, plus tighten the group a lot!

Air Venturi Air Bolts Tom shooting
The UTG Monopod made offhand shooting a breeze!

Summary

The Air Venturi Air Bolt has no competition in the world of air bows. For no additional expense your big bore rifle or shotgun is turned into an accurate arrow launcher that is currently the most powerful one on the market.

In all my testing that included hundreds of shots, I never lost an arrow. One arrow was fired into a railroad tie at 100 yards by another shooter at the Texas Airgun Show and could not be pulled out! Rossi’s Robin Hood destroyed a second arrow and I lost one while pulling it too aggressively from the target bag. But I saw where each and every arrow went.

Would I buy a set of Air Bolts? Certainly — if I wanted an air bow and also a big bore air rifle or shotgun. This is a combination that has no rival. As an air bow it cannot be beat!

30 thoughts on “Air Venturi Air Bolt: Part 3

  1. B.B.,

    From the size of the tear in the bag from the broadhead I’m thinking that although the bag can stop the broadheads almost as well as the target tips, it will have shorter lifespan unless the user bothers to repair the large tears the broadhead makes.

    How did you lose an arrow by pulling it too aggressively from the target bag? Did it snap in two? Where did it break?

    Siraniko.


  2. BB et all..
    The airbow sounds very intriguing in that you are using a large caliber airgun which can also be used as .. an airgun. No dedicated propulsion device like others on the market. If I were a hunter and the airbow system were legal here I would definitely be using it!!
    Bow hunting season is now in full swing here in AB and just this weekend I granted access to a couple of local bow hunters. My property is overrun with whitetails and muleys. It’s not uncommon to see herds of 40 to 50 animals on my back 40. My security system picks up a small herd of muleys going through my front yard every morning at daybreak. I won’t even try to estimate their populations locally but it must be way more than it should be.
    Along with elk herds of more than 100 animals, a good moose population, black bears and the odd grizzly, badgers, foxes and prairie jacks ( really good eating), lynx and mountain lions ( took two of my neighbours dogs about this time last year) we are in pretty good shape here in Rockyview County for wildlife. I won’t even try to mention the ones that fly – we have em’ all!! About the only thing missing is wild boar and alligators. They might survive the winter but not the coyotes. (Just kidding).
    I think systems like the airbow will become very popular and eventually legal for hunting. It’s just a matter of time and proper education of our governments.
    Cheers
    Dave



      • Hi BB
        Like I said I’m not a hunter. All the Dearie’s have to do is blink at me once or twice and I turn into a puddle and just want to pet them. Also I don’t care for wild meat – give me some good ol’ Alberta beef any day of the week and I’m a happy guy.
        I have been down to the creek bottom for the last 2 afternoons, beautiful fall days, high 70’s and 80’s with lots of rounds down range.
        Today is a little cooler, about 48°F and the wind has died down to nothing after a roaring gale this morning. Right now I’m going to hike down to my creek bottom range and do a bit of co2 action pistol shooting using the cold weather drill that I use in conditions down to below freezing.
        It’s getting late, 2:30 PM, so I’m going to run now and will explain in more depth in a blog entry later this evening.
        Cheers
        Dave


  3. G’day BB,
    Which is quietest the arrow or the 50cal pellet/slug?
    Which is the more accurate at longer range?
    Which is the most lethal as they both kill by haemorrhage on larger game?
    At $20 a bolt, it would be quiet expensive hunting game if they broke regularly compared to the pellet/slug.
    Cheers Bob


  4. In Part 2 I commented about how a broad head was humane because it cut the nerve paths before the ouch could register in the brain.

    I was going to put in a flip comment about “not trying this at home” but didn’t. As it turns out, my Daughter-in-law cut 1/4″ off the tip of her finger with a power meat slicer last Friday morning and had to get it glued (yes – glued!) back on!

    I asked her about it and she said that she felt the blade hit her finger but there was no sensation of pain – she actually didn’t realize how badly she had cut herself until a minute or so later.

    This confirms what the surgeon had told me about the lack of pain at the cut site. So while broad heads look “wicked” they are actually humane to use on live game.

    Hank


  5. Vana2;
    Very interesting and scientifically informative comments and observation. Now I am curious if there are any books written by explorers, soldiers, or frontiersmen from the late 1800’s who may have been shot by an arrow and wrote about the actual experience from a first hand encounter? Maybe a book by a doctor or army surgeon? How about an account from an emergency room physician who treated a person accidentally shot by a broadhead during a hunting mishap? Just wondering.

    Bob


    • Bob,

      I don’t know about any first hand experiences from people who have been struck by an arrow. I only have my own (and friends) bow hunting experiences to go by and can relate that if you don’t hit a large bone the deer react more to the noise/movement made by the hunter than any trauma from the arrow.

      I watched a video of a caribou taken with a bow. The caribou had its head in some bushes trying to keep the hordes of bugs away when the archer made a double lung hit. The arrow went right through and the caribou just flinched its hide to get rid of the “bug”. A second shot followed the first and the caribou turned and calmly walked a couple of steps before it collapsed.

      I have seen similar things to this myself – I made a double lung hit on a 250 pound doe slowly walking along the trail. She walked another 30 feet or so and folded – no fuss or muss. That was with home-made 52# maple long bow and an arrow with the broad head made from a circular saw blade – doesn’t need to be hi-tech to do the job!

      Hank



  6. Took my Beeman R1 out to the range this last Sunday. One thing that surprised me right away was no droopin the barrel. I was able to mount the scope from my 22 and it shot practically to the same point of impact. I was using some Centerpoint rings with a stop pen. It’s not pellet fussy at all. At 30 yards, I was able to get groups with three or four touching and then another about an inch wide, which was me. I shot CPHP’S, H&N FTT 8.4, Winchester 9.8 domes, H&N 10.19 copper (terrible groups), and Gamo Tomahawks. All were a pretty tight fit except for the Winchester. So far, I can shoot my Mike-Melick tuned XS46U more accurately but it is around 13.5 FPE where the R1 is probably around 16-18 FPE. The R1 fits me better and has a better trigger but is a beast to cock. Need to keep working on the artillery hold 🙂

    Brent


  7. BB these look awesome …to bad Penn. is so slow to allow anything new like airguns in general at least I’m 10 min from NY. I have been enjoying my mod.48 a lot and really have been considering a pcp in a larger caliber, but got stuck on the hatsan 135 .30 which way would you lean for a hunting rig probably out to 50 yards. Although farther is better I’m pushing 50 yds now in .177 with the 48?



      • Thanks BB I am excited to read your report I trust your judgement and every time I start to dream about the super model I read your blog about what I want and start talking with the girl next door again.lol. By the way any chance you could point me toward a club in the northern PA or ERIE area.


  8. If target points flew 492 f.p.s., and the broadhead flew at 445 f.p.s. — and they both weigh 100 grains — Newton was wrong. And I’m pretty confident in Newtonian descriptions. Having shot broadpoints and field points extensively, I can assure the world that broadheads do not add drag sufficient to cause this. Not at the 10 feet from to the chrony, or for that matter out to 50 yards. Just a plain non-issue, aerodynamically. Something else was going on.

    The rested accuracy @ 25 yards is not remotely acceptable. A deer’s vitals are only about 8″ across. Any competent archer with a compound bow would do better.

    ‘Robin Hoods’ are very common for decent archers. Hence all the spots on the target.

    Really unclear what these things are good for.



    • ContrariMN,

      I doubt that an archer would be able to do much better without sights, which is how I tested these arrows in this report. The one exception would be a longbowman using a traditional bow without sights. That’s pretty uncommon these days, at least from what I see.

      What are these arrows for? Well, they are arrows that can kill game.

      They are for varmints like hogs, coyotes (if you can call them in close enough) and so on.

      Or you can use them on anything at an exotic game ranch, of which there are many in this country. Or if you get into a survival situation, you can take any game animal you want.

      B.B.


  9. Hmm, I would of thought the target tip would of went deeper in the target bag. A smaller diameter frontal area.

    Maybe the broad head opens up the area it’s penetrating and frees the shaft to have less contact drag.

    Kind of interesting. What next. Maybe some little broad head tipped pellets for our air guns. Designed like the tips BB used. Folded when shot. Then open when hitting. I could just see what that would do out of a .25 caliber Marauder.

    I know I’m thinking outside the box again.


    • Gunfun1,

      Definitely thinking outside of the barrel with that idea. Polymer tips that dislodged are bad enough. But Broadheads? Might as well make the pellets out of a material that will deform into a particular shape when it hits the target.

      Siraniko



  10. B.B.,

    Nice job on overcoming your mechanical angst. 😉 Good pictures too. Too bad that you had to down rate the fpe recommendations. Of course, fpe (at target) would be the factor. The fact that it is free to “rock” should absorb quite a bit of energy. If I were to design something,…. 11 gauge steel would be the minimum. That runs right around .125″ thick. It would be interesting to know the .xxx” of this.

    I saw your comment from yesterday that you are going to do another series on the .25 M-rod. That caught my interest. I had thought that you were done with it. I also saw where you told someone that the M-rod would be “on the way” the other day. I thought that maybe you had sold it. Maybe sent it out for a bit of a “tweak”? At any rate, I will be looking forward to whatever you got “cooking”.

    Good day all,…… Chris


    • Chris,

      0.140″ And trust me — I have shot hundreds of these targets. That is nowhere near thick enough to take repeated poundings from a 20 foot-pound gun.

      No, the M-rod is staying with me. I’m sending it off to have the action modified for smoother operation.

      B.B.


  11. This just became available again after a long wait. I have a .357 recluse. I was wondering about the removal of the knurled end cap, does this affect Accuracy with pellets? What if any effect does it have to remove it? More than one of my rifles/pistols have this Knurled end cap.


  12. Thanks BB, I am excitedly waiting for my air bolts and accessories to arrive.
    On a sidenote, I took a very large groundhog yesterday at over 50 yards, with my Benjamin bulldog.
    I very much enjoy reading your material, and there is a lot of it!


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