Arrow Machine Gun

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Arrow Machine Gun"


Explanation: Did Dionysus the Elder of Alexandria invent an ancient machine gun of sorts more than 2,300 years ago? Historical documents describe Dionysus' weapon as a crank-powered crossbow capable of spitting out five arrows per minute. The arrow gun's authenticity is questionable though, since no artifacts prove the Greek weapon ever existed off paper.

Fortunately, MythBusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage specialize in solving such historical mysteries, and the Greek gun was no exception.

The MythBusters followed the archaic blueprint for the arrow machine gun as closely as possible, constructing a crossbow that feeds fresh arrows into firing position by cranking a sprocket. Before shooting their wooden weapon, Jamie and Adam established a three-pronged criterion for success: The gun had to shoot at least five arrows per minute; the arrows had to travel at least 200 yards (183 meters); and the arrows had to fly with accuracy.

The gun proved to be a triple threat, performing with speed, distance and precision, and the Greek machine gun myth struck the plausible bull's-eye.

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