Arrows and bolts

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Arrows and bolts

For the latest information and published rules on Missile combat, consult the The Missiles Officer's Training Handbook 1.3 or see the pages on Missile Combat

For additional unofficial information, consult the Archers Handbook.

All arrows and bolts to be used in combat must be fitted with rubber 're-enactment blunts' over a flat end.

Arrows should be long enough to be drawn to the chest.

Arrows and bolts.png

Blade - the part of the weapon from the socket to the point on a sharp arrow head.

Blunt (rubber) - that which should be placed at the business end of an arrow, also known as a pile.

Cutting edge - the narrow side of the blade from the socket or tang to the point and back to the socket on a sharp arrow head.

Fletching - the feathers at the rear of the arrow.

Flight - an individual feather that is part of the fletching.

Head - the whole of the metal part of the weapon.

Nock - the groove cut into the top of an arrow.

Pile - rubber blunt.

Point - the end of the weapon furthest from the end of the socket or tang on a sharp arrow head.

Shaft - the wooden part of the arrow

Socket - the hole through which the shaft passes and is fixed.

Spine - the ridge that runs down the centre of the blade from the socket to the point.

Tang - the part of the head which passes into and secures it to the shaft.



Arrowheads were usually tanged with the points inserted into the wood of the arrow, and then wrapped with thread to fix it in place, possibly reinforced with glue.

reconstructions of viking arrows from Borre

Not every archer wishes to, or enjoys, making arrows but it is a skill that all archers should master at least to some degree if for no other reason than that they can then talk with authority to members of the public. See the page on making arrows for a step by step account of how to make an arrow, it is not the only way, each archer will have their own little variations and opinions but it will get you started.

Logo.gif Official Society rules

  • It is serious disciplinary offence to use any weapon in public, for which you have not passed the necessary qualifying test. You may use any weapon in training, with the permission of the training officer.

Logo.gif Rules on Sharp Arrows and Bolts

  • Sharps and blunts may never be carried/stored or transported together.
  • Keep sharps secure by tying them together.
  • Sharps and blunts must be clearly fletched differently.
  • Sharp arrows/bolts may ONLY EVER be taken onto the battlefield for sharps displays. At no other times should there be sharp arrows in the combat arena.
  • Sharp arrows should be looked after in the same way as sharp knives in LH.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Sharp arrows must NEVER be pointed, or loosed, at any person or animal, or in any direction where you cannot see where it will fly.

Logo.gif Technical Specifications - Combat Arrows

The arrow shafts must be
Marked both top and bottom to identify the owner.
The arrow flights must
be either 4 or 6 in number;
not be trimmed or shaped;
have a total cumulative length exceeding 460mm (≈ 18”);
be bound onto the shaft for their entire length.
The nock must either be horn or cut directly into the shaft.
The blunts must
be of approved manufacture;
never be fitted over a sharp point.

Logo.gif Technical Specifications - Combat Bolts

The bolt shafts must be
Marked to identify the owner.
The bolt flights
May be made from natural feather flights or leather vanes;
May be shaped;
May be 2 or 3 in number.
The blunts must
be of approved manufacture;
never be fitted over a sharp point.

Illustration of a crossbow bolt

Arrow Colours

Below are the colours that have been adopted by qualified Archers in The Vikings. No names can be attached because of data protection regulations but the information is available in the Archers Hand Book. Arrows shown as having three flights are sharps.

Arrow Colours 1 - Doc.jpg Arrow Colours 1.1 - Doc.jpg Arrow Colours 2 - Doc.jpg Arrow Colours 2.1 - Doc.jpg Arrow Colours 3 - Doc.jpg