Do not forget that the plates of the dou provided more protection than the plates of the gessan.
That's not entirely true Luc. Some dou do have thicker plates, but as I work on a lot of dou, in their naked form I can assure you that the tetsu is often as thin as the gessen and sode sections, this is more prominent in momoyama pieces due to the shortage and constant recycling of tetsu. Later edo armours, and for some reason yukinoshita and oshu dou seem to have very thick plates.
Also there is a difference when shooting a dynamic target over a static one, and distance from target is also a key factor in terms of ballistic damage..
Also there is a difference when shooting a dynamic target over a static one, and distance from target is also a key factor in terms of ballistic damage..
I also think that this is the more important point to consider, for the bow and arrow probably even more than for the teppou. Either way, I'm very interested in the difference between that compund bow and a Japanese yumi. Period of course
David, The problem with a bow of any kind is the kinetic energy imparted to the arrow. Japanese arrows are not particularly heavy so penetration depends on velocity at impact. By the time an arrow has travelled any distance the drag caused by the fletchings will have slowed it down considerably. From experiments done at the Royal Armouries with a bow having a draw-weight around 100 lbs, and a relatively heavy arrow fitted with a BM type 16 head (basically a small war-head), it would not really do any damage to 2mm mild steel sheet. IanB
Ian, I just read my comment again and realized that Dave brought up two points in the quote I used: that of dynamic vs. static target, and that of the distance. What I meant to be referring to when I posted was how much more easily a moving piece of armour will deflect an arrow, but not a led ball. Also, if the armour is not hit at a right angle, the arrow seems more likely to slid off.
After reading your post, I'd like to rephrase my question: I'm interested in the comparison of draw-weight between compound bow and yumi, but also the difference in weight of the arrows - although that might not be much, I'm guessing glass fibre arrows? David...? Hmm, or even more simply put: how come David's neigbor did so much damage with bis bow, when the bow that was used at the RA back then did hardly do anything?
My Sendai gusoku is extremely heavy in all parts. I also have a Munesuke kabuto made of nanban iron and with tameshi that's built like a tank which I'm sure would resist some teppo fire. Not willing to subject it to further testing though!
Gents, rule number one applies always. So I'm very aware that there are examples of thicker plated dou and kabuto out there. However in saying that I would wager that I've pulled more dou apart in my 32year career that you have ever owned in your collections, or handled without lacquer. Weight and thickness means nothing until you strip away the lacquer. Plates have a thick layer of sabi, and even sometimes an additional layer of nerigawa glued to the tetsu for re-enforcement.
So I'm talking from experience and you have to believe me when I say that the majority of dou and kabuto that I encounter have very thin tetsu plates.
John, I mentioned that sendai dou have very thick plates, please read the posts. During edo the katchushi had access to better quality iron. But during sengoku this was not the case.
Dave is correct; we have to think that the majority of the armors worn in that period were probably munition armors with that thicknesses, but again tameshi item with thicker plates existed too.
One thing to consider especially when we talk about multiplates helmets is the overlapping of the plates; they leave in between them a void zone that act as a crumple zone in modern car, increasing the defensive capabilities by the 100% without adding weight.
I guess the rule that there are o rules apply here. I am sure you have everything from very thin tetsu reinforced by all means possible. If someone would know it is the katchushi, in this case I think Dave's exerience, pulling armour apart and rebuilding them counts high.
Regarding thickness; I have a late muromachi topponari kabuto, currently under restauration, with the weight of 4,3 kg, without wakidate. Dave estimate the hachi plates to be between 10 to 15 mm. That is something made to stop bullets in a way a papier-machee jingasa might not parallell. To use that much tetsu must have been extraordinary at the time.
Had 8 inches of snow yesterday, so will not be going to the outdoor range for a while. It is located at the end of a dirt road, and I suspect that it isn’t cleaned.
I changed the last picture that I posted to include a good picture of the 100 grain arrow head. The three blades are extremely sharp and have to be handled carefully. I also included the AK round for comparison, although I have no intention of shooting it at the oyoroi.
Still do be done at the range:
1) Shoot the oyoroi with the .310” ball. 2) Shoot the 1/2/3 layer of .042” steel plate with the 3 monme gun. 3) Shoot 2 layers of oyoroi with the 3 monme gun.
And if anyone wants to send me a dou, yumi, arrow or anything else to shoot or shoot at, will be happy to oblige. Maybe a real Japanese arrow tip, and I could just attach it to a modern arrow. Anything sent to me would be returned, with perhaps some dents or holes added.
From what I understand, the draw weight is between 30 (in modern Kyudo) and 130 pounds (war bows of some schools), with the higher figures for soldirs on fot. It really up to the archer what draw weight he can pull. In the end it is the strenght of the archer that limits the draw weight. You can build the bows as strong as you want as long as the archer is strong enough to pull, add more bamboo...
You also need to consider the thickness of the limbs on the bow, since that impacts the kinetic energy stored. A yumi with thinner limbs than for example a longbow with the same draw weight will propell the arrow faster.
The effekt of the draw weight is not linear, when you approach 100-120 pounds the force projected to the arrow is sinking relative to the draw strenght.
Regarding armor penetration it also up to the weight and the type of arrow heads used. In europe the bodkin arrow was useful against armor. The japanese arrow was lighter than the european but this is disputed.
The yumi is complicated since the balance between different curvatures and choice of bamboo gives different flight patterns. With a nice clean release (hanare) the arrow should go straigt and be able to penetrate some armor.
I am no expert, maybe you should PM Carlo, he was writing under the archery section, or I am sure Ian can explain in detail.
Thank you so much Anthony, those are precious informations!! May I ask which school used the 130 pounds warbows? So If I've understood rightly, yumi arrows are faster than longbow's arrows? Thanks, Luca
Luca, I used to practice archery in my youth so I do know a little. In England archers in battle were equipped with two types of arrows, those made of a light wood and others a heavy wood. The first were used when the enemy was distant since they flew further but the energy at impact is a product of speed and mass so a light arrow at the end of its flight will have little energy. Obviously the heavy arrows were used when the enemy was near and they had much more energy. There is another problem that in English is known as 'spine'. An arrow has to have a stiffness that is matched to the power of the bow. Because the arrow is not on the centerline of the bow but at the side, when the string is released the inertia of the head causes the arrow to bend before it actually moves. As it leaves the bow it curves off (in Europe) to the right, straightens then bends to the left and so on, each bend gradually getting less until it is staying straight and flying straight. A powerful bow needs a stiff heavy arrow because of this so for heavy war bows the range is limited because some of the energy is lost in bending the arrow and more in getting the heavy arrow moving. At the other extreme the flight bows of the Middle East shot tiny light arrows that were thinned at either end to reduce the weight and thickest in the middle for stiffness. The Turks could shoot over twice as far as the Europeans, but the arrows were so light as to do almost no damage. Putting a heavy head on an arrow risks the thing snapping because of the high inertia of the head. In other words it is all very complicated. Ian
Last year I bought a box of 100 .457” lead round balls. I was surprised to find out that the last time at the range that I only have 5 left. So, off to the store to buy some more lead balls. Can believe that I have shot the hinawajyuu teppou that many times. I also needed more powder, as when I last filled the powder flask it became apparent that I needed powder also. I also used the same powder to shoot my 32 caliber Kentucky long rifle, but only use 24 grains, instead of 40 grains with the hinawajyuu teppou. With 7000 grains to the pound, it made sense that more powder was needed.
Here is a picture of the store shelf with the powder for sale. There is no limit, I could buy as much powder as I wanted. I put two of the boxes of lead balls on the second shelf for reference purposes.
Cost of the powder was $27.99 / pound, and $19.99 / 100 for the balls. Bought one pound of Triple 7, FFFG, and 200 balls.
Store is in Pennsylvania as it is impossible to buy either items in New Jersey.
Piers, thanks for the link concerning powder types, very interesting reading.
Was able to get to the shooting range last week and try a few more ‘experiments’. Again with my friend Preston I brought along my Kentucky long rifle, which probably dates from about 1870. It is also a musket, but as a more modern musket, uses a No. 11 percussion cap for the ignition source. The barrel is 32 caliber, and shoots a .310” 45 grain ball, pictured previously in this thread. I use 24 grains of FFFG powder. The target was set at 20 yards. This is Preston shooting the 32 caliber Kentucky long rifle:
Our first target was two layers of the same kind of plate that we had shot previously. Before shooting there were no holes in either metal plate. Both the Sendai teppou hinawajyuu (.457” ball) and the Kentucky long rifle (.310” ball) had no problem in piercing the 2 mm plate. The following picture is the two layers of steel plate, total thickness .084” or 2.06 mm. I know that one may argue that two 1 mm plates are not as strong as 1 2mm plate, but this was a test as to whether overlapping plates provide any protection:
For the second target we used some of the armour plate that was previously sent to me by Dave Thatcher. Duct tape was used to secure the armour to the target stand. I know it doesn’t look very nice, but it did hold the target in place. This is the armour plate attached via duct tape:
The upper left target consisted of two plates that had not been shot previously. As can be seen, both are easily penetrated with the .310” ball and the ‘457” ball.
The lower left target consisted of 3 non metallic plates. Again, both are easily penetrated with the .310” ball and the ‘457” ball.
As to the lower right, I also brought along a rifle that shoot .22 LR (long rifle) bullets. As there was no reason to shoot the lower right target with either of the muskets, we just used the 2 layer lower right target for practice. It might appear that there are 3 plates on the lower right, but there are only 2 plates and a shadow due to a very sunny day.
Still haven’t determined exactly what thickness of plate will provide protection against the teppou hinawajyuu, but that will be another day at the range with some thicker metal targets.
Was at the gun range today with my friend Jeff who had never shot a hinawajyuu before. We had a good day with only a few fuhatu misfires. The angle of placement of the match cord hinawa in the hibasami is extremely important in order to not get a fuhatu. Learned today that the two hinawajyuu have a very different angle in order to ignite the pan powder.
This is the first time that I have had hinawajyuu #1 and hinawajyuu #2 at the range together.
Also worth noting was the variable time between pulling the trigger, the ignition of the pan powder and the firing of the main charge. Sometimes immediate, other times the powder burns in the pan for a while and then the gun fires.
It was also a very quiet day with no wind whatsoever. Which is probably why there seemed to be more smoke coming from the muzzle when the gun fired.
Yes, both Jeff and I are left handed. I have been 'severely' lectured by one Japanese friend and 'warned' by another that these hinawajyuu were made for right handed people and are only to be shot in a right handed manner. I was advised that shooting left handed is 'improper', 'incorrect' as well as 'dangerous'.
With that said, I always wear safety glasses and would never allow anyone to shoot these things without safety glasses, either left or right handed.
And once, only once, I, wearing a short sleeved shirt, had my right arm too high. After firing, I found my right arm covered in bits of unburned gun powder. Just had to brush them off, but did take a bit of time as they stuck to my arm. No damage or any burning of my arm, just inconvenient.
More dangerous is the final location of the burning end of the match cord after firing. It can and will occasionally rest against your hand or forearm. Routing the match cord through the hinawa tosi no ana 火縄通しの穴 doesn't seem to help as I have experienced / seen this problem either way.
Was at the gun range a few days ago with my friend David who had never shot a hinawajyuu 火縄銃 before. We had a surprisingly good day with no misfires.
I would like to announce that I have decided to finally take all of the advice that I have been given that I should be shooting these things right handed, and that left handed is dangerous. Will be difficult as I am a very left handed person. I even have left handed chopsticks that I purchased in Japan many years ago.
The hinawajyuu that I am shooting has a rather larger pan hole and takes more powder than the previous ones. This has resulted in a couple things, good and bad. The good is that I never experienced a fuhatu 不発 misfire. The bad is that when the pan powder ignites, a lot of the unburned powder get blasted out of the pan and back into my face, and down onto my arm.
Here is a video of my shooting this hinawajyuu. My grin at the end is due to having to brush bits of unburned powder from my right arm.
Second reason is the following picture (of which I am particularly proud) of my friend David, as it captures the moment of the ignition. I never really realized that such a large burning of gun powder is occurring so close to my eyes.
I will continue to wear safety glasses for the time being, just to be on the safe side, and there is a good chance that I will accidentally shoot one of these left handed again by mistake.
Also, I was given a present of a hatimaki / tenugui last year from the Kawagoe reenactment group. I wanted one with my own name on it and was told it was very easy to have custom made in Japan.
As my English last name, Sigafoose, is hard to pronounce in Japanese, it was suggested that I use 4 kanji characters as my last name, si-ga-fu-su, しがふす、志賀風寿。 But this was too many very nice characters, so I just shortened it to siga, 志賀, which is a not so common Japanese last name. It also creates some interesting reactions when I make hotel reservations under the name Siga, and when arriving at the hotel, I announce that I am Siga san, those at the front desk look a little confused.
I just took the design from the Kawagoe group and replaced the Kawagoe characters with Siga to have printed on the tenugui. So my new group (with only me as the member) name is 「志賀藩火縄銃鉄砲保存会」, which reads as Siga han hinawajyuu teppou hozon kai, or Siga clan arquebus gun preservation group. The font I used is called Kanteiryu, which is a kabuki font, very artistic and hard to find.
I was also advised that sewing some small straps onto the tenugui turns it into a nobori bata. I was sent a 3 section nobori bata pole to properly display the nobori bata. I have ordered 3 more poles, inexpensive, about 600 円、and should have them in a couple of weeks. I am wearing my new tenugui in the video with my nobori bata displayed in the background. Was also very careful to not have the tenugui folded inside out as in a previous video. Following is a video of the nobori bata at the gun range, just waving in the wind:
Hata is a flag, it is true. Nobori means rise, ascend, climbing, aloft, etc., true, generally meaning a vertical banner. Put these words together and the first 'h' sound of the second word changes to a 'b', giving 幟旗 Noboribata. Nobori on its own can also be used, such as in 鯉幟 Koi-nobori or carp streamer.
Another example of this pronunciation change would be 背負い旗 'se-oi-bata' (or 指物背負旗 sashimono seoibata), a 'hefting' back flag for sticking into your ukezutsu.