Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Black Powder and Primitive Weapons

The Apple Thrower - Simple Effective Primitative Weapon

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ModernSurvival:
I grew up first in Florida but then at 13 moved to rural Pennsylvania in the heart of the coal region.  I was in heaven as this is a place where the first day of deer season is STILL a school holiday.
 
Anyway we lived in a house my family owned since the 1890s with a lot of land no one claimed behind us.  On our land and all over this other land (100 or more wooded acres) there were apple trees.  Not juicy delicious apples, small, hard, tart apples that mostly were golf ball to base ball sized when they fell from the trees.  First summer back I was out in our back yard that over looked an old strippen hole and shooting at cans with homemade sling shot.
 
My dad came out carrying an old hatchet and said he wanted to show me something he and his friends did as kids.  He chopped a sapling down about 5 feet long.  Birch if I remember right and then trimmed off all the limbs.  Ended up with a stick about the diameter of a broom stick on the bottom with a fast taper and not much bigger then a fat pencil at the tip.  He takes a knife and sharpens the tip and jams an apple on it.
 
I was interested at this point but did not figure the "throw" would be that impressive.  He aims at a can on a stump about 30 yards away and basically casts like he is tossing a big bait cast rod with an abrupt stop.  That apple went like a bullet and missed the can by perhaps a foot to the right.  He reloads and hits the stump just in front of the can, third time again hits the stump just in front of the can, bounces into the can and flattens it. 
 
Of course by then I was grabbing at the stick wanting to try but he says hold up.  Across the hole from where we are is about 110 yards which I know well from my 22 shooting.  He points at a big pine tree and twack!  Nails it about 3 feet up from the ground.
 
From that point on my friends and I tossed apples all over (now I know why those trees were fricken everywhere) at targets, the occasional bird or rabbit and each other.  Apples can make a nasty bruise, we came up with rules at least so far away and "not in the face".  As a kid this was nothing but fun but it is a valuable survival tool.
 
The apple can be replaced with anything, another hard fruit, a rock with a hole in it, you name it.  The key is the flexible branch gives it a LOT of speed and you get very accurate very quickly.  I have never seen any versions of this "weapon/toy" anywhere else and was just wondering if anyone else has ever done it?  If not it is a fun way to connect with your "inner child" or "ancient roots".

jj309802:
at first, I thought you were gonna do some batting practice, but this is MUCH better!!!
hadn't heard of it before, but now I'll look for an oppritunity to give it a whack!

archer:
An apple atlatl!

ModernSurvival:
Yep same basic principal though there is more "flex" involved.  You should start atlatl thread.  I think they are cool, I knew a guy with a modern one who hunted on exotic game ranches with it.  The "spear" was a long aluminum arrow with a broad head and the atlatl was pretty much the original deal.  He could hit paper plates at 20 yards with about 65% of the penetration of my compound bow (65 LBS!)

guarddog1757:
Yep what memories!  As a youngster I used the same kind of stick to hurl apples from my uncle's backyard trying to nail train boxcars passing by on the tracks about 75-100 yards away.  And here I thought at the tender age of 10 I invented something unique and now I find out your father came up with the same thing!  Obviously a very wise and insightful man.

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