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Durability of Slug Darts

They seem to lose their heads

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#1 Naturalman7

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:07 AM

Has anybody else had the recurring problem of frequent loss of their slug darts' heads? Mine seem to be very good at breaking this way. The washers/felt pads don't seem to be held on very good at all with hot glue.

Does anyone have any good solutions to this?

Posted Image


I do melt a hole first with a glue gun.
I'm using Mcmaster 1/2" grey foam.
I'm also using #6 Mcmaster washers.
I wash(ed) my hands when I made my darts.
I am using a low-temp glue gun (can be found below) and this glue:
Posted Image


I've just washed all of my washers. Threw them all in a large bowl, threw in some good soap, gave them all a good moving around and stuff, dried them thoroughly.

I sanded both sides of 5 of the washed washers with 220-grit sandpaper. I made 5 darts with the sanded and washed washers, 5 with just the washed washers, and 5 without washing.

5 darts isn't much of a testing group, but so far at 20ft away from concrete they all broke in either 1-2 shots. Most broke on the first. Did not notice a pattern in which group lasted longer. I will increase testing group size and post my results.

-tested with a 16" CPVC singled snapbow mk.5 from 20ft away from concrete. Snapbow was only hitting low 70's hoppered with #6 slugs


1. As well as washing your washers (like many have said). Wash your hands. Don't eat chips while you make your darts.

2. Rough sanding.

3. Glue isn't adhering to your washer very well. It could be that the glue has cooled down to much before you were able to get the felt washer combo on to the foam.


1. I washed my hands prior to making my darts. Also didn't eat chips while I was making them.
2. I found sanding the washers greatly increases the time it takes to make each dart. It also didn't seem to work for me, but I'm sure there was a difference between what you mean by "rough sanding" and how I sanded them. Despite how much I don't like the time and difficulty of it, I will test with more sanded washers.
3. I don't think this is it because there isn't much of a delay between the gluing and the adding of the tip. Only delay is of setting down the glue gun.



Though there is one defect (but not that big). I noticed that about 6 or 7 out of 400 started to rust.


Have not noticed any signs of rusting on mine. Probably because I dried my very thoroughly.




A picture of the level of sanding I do:
Posted Image

Edited by Naturalman7, 08 December 2012 - 07:18 PM.

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#2 zx532

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:42 AM

Which method are you using?

Do you just glue the tips? Or do you drill into the foam with the hot glue gun?

Look in the darts forum for more info
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#3 Mully

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:47 PM

Here's probably the best way.
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#4 Naturalman7

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:23 PM

Here's probably the best way.


I've followed this guide ever since I started making darts. Except I use the LGLF's way of straightening the foam from their guide.

Edited by Naturalman7, 06 December 2012 - 05:23 PM.

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#5 DICE134

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

A method I use is to wash the washers before sticking them on the felt pad. I had noticed that the washers have like a "powdery grease" on them. I thought that hindered with adhesion on the felt pad and the hot glue in the foam. I plug my sink drain, fill it with water then dump the washers in. After that I let them sit for a minute, then I mix them around. After I take them out of the sink I hand dry them as much as a could, then I let them sit on a tray to let them air dry. Though there is one defect (but not that big). I noticed that about 6 or 7 out of 400 started to rust.
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#6 Naturalman7

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:58 PM

I had noticed that the washers have like a "powdery grease" on them. . . After I take them out of the sink I hand dry them as much as a could, then I let them sit on a tray to let them air dry. Though there is one defect (but not that big). I noticed that about 6 or 7 out of 400 started to rust.


I don't think I've ever seen any powder on my washers, but, in general, the washing does make some sense. However, they shouldn't need washing to work sufficiently (I don't believe many people wash their washers). 6-7 isn't bad seeing as how I've seen a greater defect rate just in some of the washers not being made right.

Also, not to say that I don't like your dart making process, but the darts you gave me for the comission weren't much more durable than mine, if at all, so I'm not sure if that method works well enough.

Edited by Naturalman7, 06 December 2012 - 07:00 PM.

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#7 Bchamp22795

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:39 PM

I've changed to goop because it seems to be a lot more durable than hot glue. I used to think it didn't matter, but since the switch, I have not had a single dart break because of the adhesive. All my broken darts come from the foam being torn as it shoots through cardboard.

Goop makes a considerable difference.
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#8 snakerbot

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:43 PM

Use just a touch more hot glue in each dart, and see if that helps.
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#9 DICE134

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:45 PM

I don't think I've ever seen any powder on my washers, but, in general, the washing does make some sense. However, they shouldn't need washing to work sufficiently (I don't believe many people wash their washers). 6-7 isn't bad seeing as how I've seen a greater defect rate just in some of the washers not being made right.

Also, not to say that I don't like your dart making process, but the darts you gave me for the comission weren't much more durable than mine, if at all, so I'm not sure if that method works well enough.



The darts I sent you was my second batch of stefans. I had just came up with the process very recently. You don't really see the powder on the washers themselves, but if you noticed, after you touch a few washers your fingers have a grey look on them; that's the grease they put on the washers so they don't stick to the conveyer belt.

Through my tests of shooting the wall with my pumpsnap, the darts that didn't have the washed washers, more of them fell apart. If I remember correctly I shot ten of the non- washed and ten of the washed. I believe(from what I remember)that 4 of the non washed broke, and 1 of the washed did.
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#10 mysterio

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:48 PM

You want to test them much more than that. Like 100+ times so you can establish standard variance and empirically test your theory. 4 times isnt enough.
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If two powerful is a problem then just go with one powerful. I guess this style of hopper will work even beyond three powerful..


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#11 cheyner

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:18 PM

Hot glue is not known for its adhesive qualities, Goop or Gloozit(Canadian made Goop) works much better.
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#12 Naturalman7

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:10 PM

Use just a touch more hot glue in each dart, and see if that helps.


I would definitely try this, but it would probably have to wait until I get a dual-temp hotglue gun. Right now I'm using a little weak low-temp one that seems to lose its heat after a while of use. It literally takes 5-7 full squeezes to get the cavity decently filled.

Posted Image


I'll first try using goop becuase all of my local stores only have these small low-temp ones or the protected high temp ones. Also, has anyone besides Ryanmc#s had issues with a dual-temp on high melting mcmaster foam too much? I think that'd be the only issue as far as I know. The issues I have with goop is it's more expensive, smells relatively bad, takes longer to dry, and I'm not sure about the best way to apply it to the cavities in the blanks.

This is the goop I would use:
Posted Image

Edited by Naturalman7, 06 December 2012 - 11:11 PM.

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#13 Hammy

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:53 PM

It normally says (on the instructions) on applying adhesives of any kind you need to make sure the surfaces are clear from grease and dust. So washing the washers in detergent makes good sense.

Edited by Hammy, 06 December 2012 - 11:53 PM.

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#14 Carbon

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:35 AM

More glue will not fix your problem, since it looks like the glue is staying put in the hole in the foam. This also isn't a problem with your glue gun, as I use the same cheesy glue gun, and have no problems. Anyway, I have the same experience with hot melt melting the foam.

The usual way slugs fail is when the glue rips out of the foam. Seeing as how there's little to no glue left on your washer, you're having adhesion problems there. Personally, I'd bet on an oily film on your washers, as that can be a common addition to metal to prevent oxidation. Like others have said, try washing your washers, or just find a different source.
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#15 Kanashimi

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 11:35 AM

My darts seem relatively well held together, so I'll mention what I do. When I glue my darts, I put hot glue directly into the hole of the washer and then onto the foam. The hot glue seems to bond well to the felt pad and the foam; the glue sticking to the washer is non-essential. So, that might be a thing to try.

-Kanashimi
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#16 makeitgo

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:59 PM

As well as washing your washers (like many have said). Wash your hands. Don't eat chips while you make your darts.

I've also given my washers a rough sanding. Especially on the rounder smooth side. Like most surfaces that need adhering, the common practice is to sand and clean the surfaces that need adhering.

From the looks of it, the glue isn't adhering to your washer very well. It could be that the glue has cooled down to much before you were able to get the felt washer combo on to the foam.

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#17 shandsgator8

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:10 PM

I too, wash my washers well before using them for slugs.
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#18 mustachemods

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:19 AM

I would use goop just bcuz it claims to be stronger than most other adhesives and personally I use domes.why? I usualy use a hopper and m I would want to make up for the range difference but in out to hurt ppl

Last warning: clean up your post quality (spelling, grammar, not using text-speak) or you're gone.

Edited by Carbon, 08 December 2012 - 05:40 PM.

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#19 Naturalman7

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:00 PM

I've updated the op with some relevant information. I'm not seeing a difference in durability when I used the above methods, but I'll continue testing with more than 15 darts.

if you noticed, after you touch a few washers your fingers have a grey look on them

Also, after handling a few washers, I don't notice anything on my fingers.
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#20 TheSilentRebel

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 01:49 PM

Just wondering, what kind of hot glue are you using?
I've never had a problem with the generic Ace hardware kind or the "Arrow" brand that I get at Lowe's. However, I've never tried any other kinds to see how their strengths compare.
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#21 Naturalman7

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 07:17 PM

Just wondering, what kind of hot glue are you using?
I've never had a problem with the generic Ace hardware kind or the "Arrow" brand that I get at Lowe's. However, I've never tried any other kinds to see how their strengths compare.


I'm losing the gluegun you can find above and this glue:
Posted Image
I also have never tried any other brands.

Original post has been updated with this information.
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#22 Elmo1234

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 01:12 AM

Sorry for the necro, but I use the same glue sticks, and the same glue gun, and my darts work great. Try out some better foam, like Mod Mans foam or Msnickers Beige.

Edited by Elmo1234, 29 December 2012 - 04:28 PM.

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