Stone versus steel arrowheads on a deer

Friday, June 21st, 2019

“Primitive archer” Billy Berger performs a penetration test comparing stone versus steel arrowheads on a fresh deer carcass:

I don’t want to get shot with either option.


  1. Lu An Li says:

    Flint-edged weapons are sharper than a surgeon’s scalpel. Flint scalpels are available and in use by some surgeons who prefer them.

  2. I know the fellow in this video pretty well, and he’s used both types to hunt all sorts of big and small game for many years. I’ll have to ask his preference next time I see him.

  3. Phil B. says:

    Although it would be impossible to prove, I am willing to bet next month’s beer money that stone-tipped arrows have killed more people and game than all the firearms used to date. They have been killing for a lot longer and over a much wider geographical range.

    Add in metal-tipped arrows and I estimate that the numbers would greatly dwarf those killed by firearms.

  4. Kirk says:

    Phil, I think you might be right, in that it’s unknowable, but… The rest of it? I just dunno. Think about the ancient population of humans, which was supposed to be around five million for a long damn time, and then compare that to the world population after the dawn of civilization. Just the killings by the Mongols probably match a pretty big chunk of the time, and they were using steel arrowheads for most of that.

    To really quantify it, I think we’d have to start by drawing our parameters a lot more clearly.

  5. Graham says:

    All the references in Game of Thrones to the zombie-killing potency of “dragonglass” weapons always reminded me of the obsidian edges inlaid in Aztec macahuitl weapons. Given the edges, I’ve mostly seen them described as swords, but they seem to be more like clubs with edges, so to speak. I suppose their use was effectively the same.

    I can well imagine their sharpness, as weapons produced by a civilization at the very outer end of the neolithic technology tree and the heirs of millennia of development.

    I am curious about how robust they were. How does obsidian compare to flint, for example.

    I assumed they were effective and durable against unarmoured or cloth armoured enemies, less so against leather and not against metal. Fair?

  6. CVLR says:

    Very cool video.

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