Military

Rac-Em-Bac puts a bullet in your bow

Bow Mag increases the striking power of your arrow with the insertion of a .38 special or .357 Magnum handgun cartridge
Bow Mag increases the striking power of your arrow with the insertion of a .38 special or .357 Magnum handgun cartridge
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Bow Mag increases the striking power of your arrow
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Bow Mag increases the striking power of your arrow
The Bow Mag arrowhead ready to fire
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The Bow Mag arrowhead ready to fire
The business end of the Rac-Em-Bac Bow Mag arrowhead
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The business end of the Rac-Em-Bac Bow Mag arrowhead
Detail of the Bow Mag arrowhead
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Detail of the Bow Mag arrowhead
Javalina, or collared peccary - a favorite game animal for hunting in the Southwestern United States and Mexico (Photo: © Hans Hillewaert / CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
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Javalina, or collared peccary - a favorite game animal for hunting in the Southwestern United States and Mexico (Photo: © Hans Hillewaert / CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Rac-Em-Bac's Preloaded Scent Arrowhead
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Rac-Em-Bac's Preloaded Scent Arrowhead
Bow Mag increases the striking power of your arrow with the insertion of a .38 special or .357 Magnum handgun cartridge
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Bow Mag increases the striking power of your arrow with the insertion of a .38 special or .357 Magnum handgun cartridge
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The Rac-Em-Bac Bow Mag arrowhead
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The Rac-Em-Bac Bow Mag arrowhead

Many archers in adventure stories and comic books use arrows with unusual heads. These include the standard explosive and grappling hook arrows, and the not-so-standard boxing glove arrow, Greek fire arrow, handcuffs arrow, and the ever popular atomic warhead arrow. While real archers generally have to make do with target and field heads, Louisiana-based archery company Rac-Em-Bac is now providing some spirited alternates.

A hunting arrow shot by an archer will on average have a kinetic energy about equal to that of the lowest energy .22 short cartridge and momentum about three times that of the .22 short. Still, some bow hunters might want a bit more bang in their quiver when up against an animal as tenacious and well-armed as a New Mexico javalina (collared peccary) or the latest costumed criminals. For these folks, and others simply interested in unusual archery ammunition, Rac-Em-Bac of Southwest Louisiana offers three rather atypical arrowheads.

The first, and arguably the strangest, are the Preloaded Scent Arrowheads (PSA), which serve to set the scene for the hunt. They come in ten scents, some of which are far less pleasant than others, and disperse their scent in a three to five foot (1 to 1.5 m) area centered on their impact site. The object is to place a scent that will attract game, or at least be sufficiently interesting to make game animals stop and sniff, so that the hunter can shoot at a stationary target.

Rac-Em-Bac's Preloaded Scent Arrowhead
Rac-Em-Bac's Preloaded Scent Arrowhead

By dispensing the scent via arrow, there are no traces of human scent leading into the scented area. I'm sure that an enterprising urban crimefighter could adapt these to contain Russian knock-out gas, but I suspect that the smell of rutting bears would be sufficient for most uses.

The second is the Bow Shot, a preloaded arrowhead quite similar in design to the PSAs, but containing #7 steel shot instead of scent. There is no powder charge to propel the shot so relies on the kinetic energy of the arrow to dispel the shot. The overall effect is rather like a Glaser Safety Slug, a prime self-defense handgun round which releases a cargo of #6 or #12 birdshot (#12 is half the size of #7) when it hits a resilient target.

However the Glaser releases its shot at perhaps 900 ft/s (275 m/s), many times faster than shot would be released from an arrowhead. This brings the #7 shot into the realm of truly tiny energy (about 1/1,000 of a .22 short bullet, which limits its use to hunting small game and vermin.

Finally, we reach the powerhouse of the Rac-Em-Bac offerings, the Bow Mag. The concept here is that you attach a hollow plastic arrowhead (the Bow Mag) to your arrow after inserting a .38 special or .357 Magnum handgun cartridge. The Bow Mag has certain similarities to the 3D-printed Liberator, as the construction is all plastic save for a metallic firing pin. The other distinction is that the Bow Mag is not intended to survive even a single shot.

The Rac-Em-Bac Bow Mag arrowhead
The Rac-Em-Bac Bow Mag arrowhead

It may reasonably be asked what difference exists between launching an arrow tipped with a Bow Mag, and launching an arrow tipped with a powerhead? A powerhead is a specialized firearm that is used for underwater protection and hunting. It consists of a short tube, within which is chambered a round of firearm ammo together with a firing pin. The firing pin may be spring-loaded so that the powerhead fires when it gently touches the target, or may be inertia-fired, which requires a stronger contact.

To this casual viewer, there is no difference whatsoever between the Bow Mag and a spearfishing powerhead when both are attached to an arrow. Powerheads are more expensive, as they are usually made of stainless steel, which also allows them to be reused. They also have a safety, which seems a good idea.

The Bow Mag has only an inertial safety of sorts, which is strong enough that the Bow Mag often fails to fire when it impacts a target, as can seen in this video. In both cases, the added killing power is provided more by injection of the propulsive gases from the fired cartridge into the prey than by the bullet, which will be moving very slowly indeed in the absence of a barrel.

There are some potential legal issues, particularly with the Bow Mag. While most oddly garbed crusaders tend not to sweat the small things, the US laws about weapon restrictions for hunting are different in each of the 50 states, and often vary for localities within a state. Rac-Em-Bac states in their FAQ section that, "It is important to check with your local or state game warden before hunting with the Bow-Mag, although it is legal to hunt certain types animals, such as wild hogs, coyotes or other nuisance animals."

There are other potential issues, as powerheads are considered firearms if not permanently attached to a speargun shaft. As with all unusual weapons, the purchaser should do their homework before parting with their cash.

In the end, do the Rac-Em-Bac arrowheads make hunting easier or the kills more humane? Time may tell, but I can't make a forecast. Reports will come in as serious hunters try out these devices, but I am most interested in hearing the exciting tales of those who bravely wear the heroic unitard.

Source: Rac-Em-Bac

28 comments
GiolliJoker
IMHO (confirmed by comments on firearms/hunting relatead blogs) serious hunters will just steer clear from something that is more likely to injury the prey with a loud bang instead of killing it in the shortest time possible (with a suitable broadhead). Personally I'd prefer the opposite approach: http://www.laruetactical.com/ruger-10-22-deluxe-arrow-conversion-kit
MPB
It is my understanding that some 50% of archery hits are not clean kills; they're just wounding hits and the targeted animal can suffer for days at a time with an arrow in it's body. How incredibly painful would that be? Wounding hits are nothing less than cruelty to animals. Have you seen the pic of a deer with an arrow through it's nose and exiting it's muzzle? It took days before that deer died. Archery ranks with trapping as the cruelest acts perpetuated on our wildlife. Hopefully, as a supposedly civilized society, we'll eventually ban archery hunting as well as trapping.
MBadgero
It is illegal in many states to put explosives on arrows for hunting. MPB, there are archers and good archers; trappers and good trappers; gun hunters and good gun hunters; city slickers and good city slickers. Visit a slaughterhouse and then talk about how cruel archery is.
Tom Phoghat Sobieski
Are they kidding with this, or what? This has got to be one of the dumbest ideas ever conceived.
VirtualGathis
MPB, I'm confused by your statements. The problem I've seen with most archery hunting isn't the weapon as usual it is the operator. It takes skill to use a bow to hunt. The reason so many hits are not clean is more because the operator failed to learn to use the tool before taking it to the field. Unskilled operators will result in terrible pain and suffering regardless of the tool used to apply it. I've seen deer with awful scars from buckshot and badly aimed rifles too. So maybe we should ban firearms from hunting as well. Having banned firearms, traps, and bows that pretty much leaves no hunting whatsoever, which is not going to happen. The 2nd amendment crowd would die of collective apoplexy, or lynch the lawmakers, before it reached law. Making prospective hunters take a competency test, regardless of the tool used, before issuing a hunting license would improve safety and reduce woundings. I sincerely hope though that your wish is not fulfilled banning bow hunting. Bow hunting happens to be one of the only ways to deter wolves without practicing genocide. If you use an arrow with a strong human scent you only have to kill a single wolf to deter the pack for three generations. If you use a firearm you have to kill every member of the pack to prevent them coming back. It has to do with wolves being learning animals. Wolves cannot see the connection between loud bangs, humans, and death. If you use an arrow they can see it originate with the human, kill the pack-mate, and the scent tells them human. They then connect human scent with death and stay away from it. You do have to leave a potentially valuable carcass to rot as the pack will come back for their pack-mate and seeing it dead and reeking of human strengthens the connection. The pack then teaches its pups to fear humans for at least three generations. On a technical note I'm confused by the statement that arrows only have the kinetic energy of a .22. I'll have to go research that as I was always told that modern bows and x-bows especially hit harder than most rifles. That came from a crowd that hunts with a 30/30 for large game so they would not have been comparing it to a .22 anything.
MPB
MBadgero, you're just trying to rationalize the torture of wildlife. You're not even acknowledging the worst of the archers, hunters and trappers out there. I'm an ex-hunter, live in grizzly and wolf country, climb mountains and know how to survive so don't give me any crap about being a "city slicker." Without question, shooting arrows into wildlife and trapping wildlife with snares, leg hold or conibear traps is cruelty to and torture of wildlife. PERIOD. There are some clean killing rifle shots but where I live, idiots with AR-47s fire multiple shots into elk herds, wounding many. They're frigging slob hunters. I think the ethical long barrel hunter is a dying breed - slobs have taken over.
GadgetGeek
Hey there MPB... the "Non-Cityslicker" and avid outdoorsmen-informed ex-hunter... Ummm you end with a comment about "AR-47's"... I think you mean either "AK-47's", or "AR-15's"
MBadgero
No, MPB, I am not rationalizing torture of wild animals. But I believe killing animals, wild or not, is justified for food, clothing, or protection of life or property. There are more or less humane ways to kill, but none are perfectly humane. As for the crap about being a city slicker, all I know about you is what you say, and you claimed that 50% of archery hits are not clean kills. Maybe where you live, but not here. And your comments about trapping are totally off the topic of this article.
MPB
VirtualGathis, you fail to realize that as we hopefully evolve as a species, we will eventually learn to live with wildlife instead of killing wildlife for idiotic reasons, such as trophy hunting. Numbers of hunters of all methods are in a serious long term decline in the U.S.A., and that's a good thing. If the American public really knew the torture that hunters and trappers force upon our wildlife, they wouldn't tolerate it at all, NRA, congressional reps and everyone else be damned. Your statements "If you use an arrow with a strong human scent you only have to kill a single wolf to deter the pack for three generations" and "The pack then teaches its pups to fear humans for at least three generations" are absurd and have no basis in reality. Show me the science behind your statements. You can't do it. Wolves have a valuable place in a healthy ecosystem. Remove privately owned cows and sheep from our public lands, e.g., OUR BLM lands and OUR National Forests and the issue of wolves taking livestock suddenly disappears. I'll say it again: I hate archers, trappers and most hunters.
ezeflyer
I would like to see arrows tipped with tranquilizer darts. Great white hunters could shoot animals, tranquilize them, cure disease, vaccinate, and take data and videos to show off their manly hunting prowess and release their "trophy" for another to "hunt". Archery gives hunter's prey more of a fighting chance than guns do. Hunters tend to kill trophy animals, the best examples of the species. This harms the species' gene pool. Predators usually cull the ill and less well adapted, enhancing their gene pool instead. In fact, meat hunters would do better to cull young, better tasting animals rather than older musky trophy animals.