A few months back after reading a review on John Lowe style darts and the comments on them I decided to try a set in 21g.

Having previously thrown straighter, longer darts I was amazed at how well the Lowe darts flew through the air. I decided to try and understand why!

I subsequently purchased other sets of these bomber/torpedo shaped darts and compared them with other longer darts. To compare them I threw thousands of darts going around the board on targeting double and triples and recording the results. Sometimes I would do this 10 times to make sure the results were true.

On every occasion the shorter and in most instances fatter darts outperformed the longer darts by a huge margin, sometimes being 40% more accurate.

I also noticed that the shorter darts could be thrown with very small flights.

Why!

It appears that physics is the answer, in particular the principle of "Moment of Inertia". Once a dart is released its COG is kept in line with its parabolic trajectory by the force of the flight and its lever (shaft). The moment of inertia of the dart barrel is the force required by the combined effect of leverage (determined by shaft length) and the two dimensional force of the flight (determined by two dimensional flight size).

Inertia requires a greater force to start, accelerate or stop an object. Moment of Inertia is a measurement of the rotational force required to turn an object about a given axis, in this case the darts COG.

The formula for calculating the Moment of Inertia (I) of a rod is : Mass (m) x Length (L) x Length (L) divided by 12.

Darts that have different weights and lengths therefore have different (I) values, shorter dart barrels require less force to rotate around the COG than longer darts.

Put simply a dart barrel with a low (I) value will be more stable in flight (less fishtailing), will fly faster (due to less oscillation / drag) and be more accurate and consistent than a longer dart fitted with the same shaft and flight.

The following calculations and images are based entirely on the characteristics of dart barrels excluding the points. As most darts have standard points any difference

in the (I) values would be constant.

The following image shows how I have roughly eliminated the effect on (I) of the darts point. It also shows how I have determined the "True Length'' of a dart, this takes into account the effects of weight distribution such as hole depth and barrel shape. A forward weighted darts have increasingly lower (I) values the further forward the weight is distributed.

The following image shows a selection of darts and their (I) values.

A. Red Dragon Featherlite 10g. When comparing (I) values the comparison should be between darts of similar weights, I have no other dart in this weight range but would love to compare it to a "baby bomber" with a length of around 27mm, 95% tungsten and a hole depth of 15mm, would fly like a little rocket.

B. John Lowe 21g (red paint by me). A superb dart.

C. Harrows Bomber 21g. Superb dart and great value.

D. Elkadart Razor 21g. Good honest dart, not as accurate as a bomber.

E. Harrows Retina 21g. Similar to Razor.

F. Harrows Bomber 23g. A great dart that is probably the best, also great value.

G. Winmau Saracen 23g. Another great bomber dart.

H. Harrows Aero 23g. An average dart that is outperformed by most of the others.

I. Elkadart Razor 23g. Not for me.

J. Red Dragon Knight 24g. Superb dart in the 24g -26g weight range.

K Harrows Bomber 25g. A top, great value dart.

L. Bulls V8 25g. Good dart.

M. Red Dragon 26g. Reflex A superb dart.

N. Unicorn Bristow 26g. Not in the same league as the Reflex, would make a great fishing sinker.

O. Elkadart Rhino 29g. About as ugly as you can get but performs well.

The image below shows how changing a darts length and weight distribution effects (I).

The following image shows the dramatic effect on (I) when changing weight distribution.

I hope the above information is helpful, I wish I was aware of the advantages of shorter darts when I first started.

The (I) value of a dart is the biggest factor in dart stability closely followed by forward weight distribution, the figures and testing of the above darts has convinced me that my straight longer darts will have to find new homes.

Having previously thrown straighter, longer darts I was amazed at how well the Lowe darts flew through the air. I decided to try and understand why!

I subsequently purchased other sets of these bomber/torpedo shaped darts and compared them with other longer darts. To compare them I threw thousands of darts going around the board on targeting double and triples and recording the results. Sometimes I would do this 10 times to make sure the results were true.

On every occasion the shorter and in most instances fatter darts outperformed the longer darts by a huge margin, sometimes being 40% more accurate.

I also noticed that the shorter darts could be thrown with very small flights.

Why!

It appears that physics is the answer, in particular the principle of "Moment of Inertia". Once a dart is released its COG is kept in line with its parabolic trajectory by the force of the flight and its lever (shaft). The moment of inertia of the dart barrel is the force required by the combined effect of leverage (determined by shaft length) and the two dimensional force of the flight (determined by two dimensional flight size).

Inertia requires a greater force to start, accelerate or stop an object. Moment of Inertia is a measurement of the rotational force required to turn an object about a given axis, in this case the darts COG.

The formula for calculating the Moment of Inertia (I) of a rod is : Mass (m) x Length (L) x Length (L) divided by 12.

Darts that have different weights and lengths therefore have different (I) values, shorter dart barrels require less force to rotate around the COG than longer darts.

Put simply a dart barrel with a low (I) value will be more stable in flight (less fishtailing), will fly faster (due to less oscillation / drag) and be more accurate and consistent than a longer dart fitted with the same shaft and flight.

The following calculations and images are based entirely on the characteristics of dart barrels excluding the points. As most darts have standard points any difference

in the (I) values would be constant.

The following image shows how I have roughly eliminated the effect on (I) of the darts point. It also shows how I have determined the "True Length'' of a dart, this takes into account the effects of weight distribution such as hole depth and barrel shape. A forward weighted darts have increasingly lower (I) values the further forward the weight is distributed.

The following image shows a selection of darts and their (I) values.

A. Red Dragon Featherlite 10g. When comparing (I) values the comparison should be between darts of similar weights, I have no other dart in this weight range but would love to compare it to a "baby bomber" with a length of around 27mm, 95% tungsten and a hole depth of 15mm, would fly like a little rocket.

B. John Lowe 21g (red paint by me). A superb dart.

C. Harrows Bomber 21g. Superb dart and great value.

D. Elkadart Razor 21g. Good honest dart, not as accurate as a bomber.

E. Harrows Retina 21g. Similar to Razor.

F. Harrows Bomber 23g. A great dart that is probably the best, also great value.

G. Winmau Saracen 23g. Another great bomber dart.

H. Harrows Aero 23g. An average dart that is outperformed by most of the others.

I. Elkadart Razor 23g. Not for me.

J. Red Dragon Knight 24g. Superb dart in the 24g -26g weight range.

K Harrows Bomber 25g. A top, great value dart.

L. Bulls V8 25g. Good dart.

M. Red Dragon 26g. Reflex A superb dart.

N. Unicorn Bristow 26g. Not in the same league as the Reflex, would make a great fishing sinker.

O. Elkadart Rhino 29g. About as ugly as you can get but performs well.

The image below shows how changing a darts length and weight distribution effects (I).

The following image shows the dramatic effect on (I) when changing weight distribution.

I hope the above information is helpful, I wish I was aware of the advantages of shorter darts when I first started.

The (I) value of a dart is the biggest factor in dart stability closely followed by forward weight distribution, the figures and testing of the above darts has convinced me that my straight longer darts will have to find new homes.