My guide to keeping flights on stems.
I did a search for a similar guide and couldn't find anything. If someone already made one, feel free to delete. No biggie.


It's 4AM (Pacific time) and I'm loaded up coffee to stay up for F1 racing and darts...figured this would be a good time to make a longer post.

One of the most asked questions I get from beginners is....how do I keep my flights from falling off?

I'm mainly going to focus on plastic stems. I've never been a fan of metal stems for various reasons...we can argue for days about the advantages/disadvantages but there is a reason that just about 95% of the pros use plastic.


First of all, word of caution. This information only applies to a standard shaped plastic stem.

This shape.

[Image: designanylonstemtweenienaturalwhite.png]

This is the most common plastic shape in stems. You'll find this shape from A180 nylon, Target Pro Grips, Laros, Designa, Pure Dart Deflectagrip, etc.. It's usually the generic stem available from most large dart retailers.



This information does NOT always apply to stems that have tapered body such as Unicorn Grippers. They can use some styles of rings but not all...so just know that not all of this applies to these types of stems (I don't use these so I can't tell you what works/doesn't).



The absolute budget/cheapest way.


Coiled stem ring.
It looks like a small coiled spring.



[Image: XMYUBwC.png]



All you do is place this spring on your stem and then insert your flight as usual.
Since the coil spring is pinching on the flight tongs (that's how it holds the flight in tight), you may not be able to get your flight inserted if you have the spring pushed to the top.  

Instead, pull the spring halfway up the rear slotted area, insert your flight up to the spring, place the stem upright on a table (threads down), and then take your fingernails on each side of the ring and slide it down using the table as leverage. The flight may also take an extra push to get tight. Just be careful not to bend the flight by pressing too hard.


The good..

-Cheap..you can buy 50 at a time.

-Often included free with stems

-Just about everyone has them laying around their dart bag


The bad...

-They will stretch out

-They can pop off and be lost forever when you go to remove your dart from the board and accidentally pull the flight off. The spring will typically go flying never to be seen again.

-They can be robin hood catchers. They have a great ability to catch the dart's point. You can then toss out that spring because it's stretched out/trashed (but who cares, they're cheap)




Metal stem ring (thin style)

Just a small metal ring.

[Image: titaniumprogripringset.jpg]



These are the rings typically found on Target Pro Grip stems. Personally I think they are the best bang for the buck. They work exactly like a regular coiled spring but have a lower profile and don't stretch out so much.

I have broken/snapped these before. If you want to get the best version, buy the Target Titanium pro grip ring (make sure it's the "Pro grip ring".....NOT "slot lock." )The titanium versions lasts a lot longer.

Buy 3-5 packs...you'll see why in a moment. Example....
http://www.puredarts.co.uk/dart-orings-c...rings.html


The Good

-Free if you buy Target Pro Grip rings

-Low profile

-Can get them in colors if you choose aluminum

-Won't stretch unless they take a few hard hits. I've never had a titanium version stretch.



The Bad

-These are the masters of getting lost. I know one of my local pubs probably has 15 of my Pro Grip rings somewhere on the floor. If you use any kind of grip points, make sure you grab the dart by the barrel. It's easy to casually grab your darts and end up yanking off the flight when the dart is still in the board. With these types of rings, 99% of the time you will be staring at a naked stem left in the board. These rings are TINY and almost impossible to find on the ground. Carpet? Fuggitaboutit


Pro-tip = take some florescent paint (orange/yellow, etc..) and do a light coat...easier to find (if you ever raced RC Cars, we used to do this with dogbones/axles..so much easier to find if you toss one).




Slot rings. The thicker ring.

They also are sometimes just called generic "alloy rings." I'm going to refer to them as Slot Locks to keep it simple.


[Image: SD06yRm.jpg]


These can be used in two ways.

1. Use in the same way as the above rings.

2. Used with a flight punch (will mention in a moment).


Since slot lock rings are thicker, you won't be able to slide your flight all the way up where you normally can. It varies with stems but if you try to slide a Target slot lock ring on a Target stem, the slot lock ring will stop 2-3mm short.

BUT...this can be an advantage and a disadvantage.

Advantage: Say you're experimenting with different stem lengths and you can't decide between an intermediate and a medium....or a short and intermediate. If you put a slot lock ring on your stem, the flight will now sit 3-5mm further back. You now effectively have a "middle size" between each of the main three sizes. Like a short+ (between a short and intermediate size). Not a huge deal but it's fun to experiment if you feel a shorter stem is making your darts nose dive while the next size up is making the dart fishtail.

Disadvantage: Since your flight can only go halfway up the slot, you won't get the same firm hold as you would with a thin ring/spring.


Goods...

-Usually cheap

-One of the best setups if combined with a flight punch.

-If you buy the aluminum Target versions, they come in a variety of colors like red, blue, yellow, pink, black, etc..


Bads...

-If you're using it like a thin/Pro Grip ring or coil spring ring, you won't get the same hold since it can't fully slide up the stem.

-Thicker/bulkier than a Pro Grip style ring above. My standard alloy version were REALLY beat up/misshapen after a few months.

Pro tip = buy the Target Titanium Slot Lock rings. These are awesome and can take a pounding. No pretty colors though.
http://www.dartscorner.co.uk/product_inf...s_id=69050

Pro tip Part Duex = If you buy Laro stems or ever come across "L Style L-Rings,"
you'll see it's a slot lock ring that's made of plastic. Toss them in the bin. They break/bend so fast. Just garbage.



COMBO SYSTEM!!!!


Flight punch.



It's simply a hole punch looking device that punches a rectangular hole in your flights to be used with SLOT LOCK/thick rings.

Buy one that looks similar to this....

[Image: flight-punch.jpg]


Harrows, Target, and a bunch others make a similar style.


DO NOT BUY ONE THAT LOOKS LIKE THIS.....

[Image: puti6.jpg]

Again, these are pure garbage. Physically they're smaller and could fit on a key chain.

Did I mention they are garbage? I've had 3-4 (most were given to me over the years) and they either....
-punch the square off center
-don't fully punch the flight all the way through
-a thicker flight will not even fit.

STAY AWAY. "Puti" is one of the brand names.




So now that you have a GOOD flight punch (Harrows, Target, or similar) punch away.

With a flight punch, you really want to use the thicker rings like the Slot Locks. You can use the thinner Pro Grip style rings or coil spring rings...but I find they tend to rattle and not keep the same amount of grip. Your results may vary.

But the best fit is the thicker Slot Lock ring above.

All you do is punch the flight, insert the ring in the slot when the flight is still folded, unfold the flight, slide the setup on.


The Goods...
-One of the best setups for pure grip force. You'll RARELY have a flight come off unless you're constantly pulling off flights for storage...the grip will slightly loosen after awhile. In my opinion one of the best setups.


The bad...

-If you're using a light dart, it may upset the weight balance. I noticed this with 14g Hankeys.

-If you pre-punched your flights and get to a match only to realize you forgot your rings, punched flights with no ring is not the easiest to slide on. That square slot now becomes a "crumble zone" and will often bend/get crushed rather than wanting to slide on the stem easily. If your friend has aluminum stems, forgot their flights and wants to use a set of your punched flights, good luck....it's almost impossible to not crumble them.

-Usually won't fold down flat for storage unless you remove the ring.


Pro tip: If you ever want to try the fancy non-folding flights from L Style (they always keep their shape), buy the STANDARD L Style flights, NOT the Champagne flights unless you feel like buying Champagne caps.

The Standard L Style flights are pre-punched. All you need is a good set of slot lock (preferably the titanium versions) and you now have a great setup.

Again...THIS style of L Style flight.

[Image: s_l1_g.jpg]





If you have $$$$$$$$

There is a couple different versions of this system. Whitlock has a setup, L Style, and One80 has one too.

I'm currently using the L Style version.


It's expensive but worth trying out if someone has one to borrow. Some shops will offer to punch your flights in this shape when ordering so it might good to test it this way instead of spending $50 on the punch.

It's a flight punch that puts a bullet shaped hole in the flight. This allows you to insert a cap instead of a ring that caps the end of the stem. The caps have ridges that supposedly keep your folding flights in a perfect 90 degree angle.

The punch....

[Image: lstylelshelllockpunch.png]

This little monster is expensive...like $50.

Then you need to buy the SHELL LOCK RINGS (NOT "champagne cups"). The Shell Lock rings have slots in them to keep your folding flights at a 90 degree angle.


The Good
-I've used mine off and on for 6 months and have never robinhooded a flight. Typically I do it once a week with other setups.

-I find that the slots actually work and keep your flights at the right angle. I rarely fiddle with my flights even after a hard bounce off the floor.

-Lots of pretty colors if that's your thing....red, green, white, blue, etc..

-Flights seem to stay on tight. You'll push on the flight and at one point it makes almost a "click" sound telling you it's full seated.


The Bad...

-$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

-The stupid wire clamp that you use to keep it folded up for storage always wants to flop down when you're punching flights and locks the punch...I always find myself having to flip it back up. No biggie though.

-Some people say it's garbage, you can still robinhood, they don't hold on your flights, etc.. I've never experienced any of that myself.

-Storing flights can be a pain. Popping off/on the little cap is not always easy. The best way is to store the flights on your dart.

-Did I mention the cost?





Verdict.


-Best bang for your buck?
Use the thin rings like Target titanium pro grip rings or just buy Target Pro Grip stems and use the alloy rings that come with them. I would buy extras though because they will get lost.

-You want to experience minor stem length tweaks
Use the thicker Slot Rings like you would with regular rings.

-Best overall setup?
My opinion? A standard Target/Harrows punch and titanium slot lock rings. Some prefer just a standard alloy ring or coil spring.
You just have to mess around and see what works best for you.
Reply
Very in depth guide. +1 for the good work. Rebel
[Image: cqbsH5q.png]
Reply
Thanks. Yeah, I needed coffee to stay up for darts and wanted to just brew one cup...I ended up making a cup of WAY TOO STRONG coffee from my french press. It's been awhile since I used it and typically just drink tea. I'm wired.



If anyone has anything to add or disagrees with anything, let me know. I'll edit/modify it if I messed up or if you have a better suggestion.
Reply
Very nice Jeff! Great guide and very useful to have! +1 from me, thanks! Smile
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Great advice and well done for so early in the morning. I've been using a flight punch with the aluminum slot rings for about a year with pretty much no flights coming loose. The rings get all chewed up but hold on the flights. Thanks for taking the time to show the options
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+1 for you but as i said a couple times the best way is to use Target pro grip stems and with coiled stem ring, when its coming expanding just turn it around and u got a new stem, i do that so many times that u have nice strong stem and durable.
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Nice!

(ps... 90*, not 45*. I'll blame the 4am posting Wink )
[Image: GetSignature.ashx?id=359]
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haha...thanks!
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Excellent post. You should continue to drink that strong coffee. Permission to reprint this as is in our leagues newsletter. Great job.
[Image: Munchie.png]
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(11-09-2014, 08:22 PM)Munchie Wrote: Permission to reprint this as is in our leagues newsletter. Great job.
Go for it! May need some proofreading though.
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