Saturday, December 18, 2004

A Christmas Recommendation

Quick Coffee Blog: Coffee Blog? You figure it out. It's Saturday morning here. Are you thinking about buying some expensive darts for someone for Christmas? Here is my recommendation in the "80 dollars or more" range:

These are the 28 gram Smooth Black Hammerhead GT's that I'd mentioned a few posts back. I said then that I wish I'd never bought them, but I'd now like to soften that up a bit with: "I wish I'd waited to buy them." Waited for what? Read on to find out.

This was one of the first sets of darts I ever bought with hard earned cash that couldn't be picked up at Fred Meyer's for less than 20 bucks. My first major darts purchase. So I didn't know then what I know now. And that is: I prefer fixed point over movable point (but I do throw MP from time to time), and 28 grams is too heavy for me, I need something between 22 and 24 grams to throw consistently and comfortably.

I also wish I'd waited until some of the features of the GT's had been ironed out, and some of them still aren't. One they have improved is the threading in the base of the barrel where you screw in the shaft. I bought them, fortunately, during the first year that they started threading the inside of the barrel. Unfortunately they still weren't threading deeply enough. I guess they'd determined they'd like to have a screw on shaft at some point and were experimenting. Model's earlier than mine were smooth inside and you just shoved in a little rubber gasket that held the shaft on. Later, when they finally released the screw on shaft, I bought a set (they are pictured below) but the tinly little screw that you have to screw into the back of the darts was too long, and I had to have a friend take a grinder to it so it would fit in my darts. otherwise there was a small gap between the shaft and the barrel and it was unsightly.

Another aspect of the GT's is that they are MP only. And if you like movable point darts then these are EXTREMELY good darts for you to purchase and worth every penny because they have many good features. But for my money, I will not purchase another set of them until they release a fixed point version. Afterall, I am patient, I have plenty of other darts to throw in the meantime, and it isn't as if Bottelsen is morally opposed to the FP. They have other lines which are fixed point. So I am confident they will do the right thing and make a fixed version of the GT's some day. This begs the question: why don't you just put a set of conversion points on them? I have tried that, but then the darts just look goofy and that goes against my darting aesthetics.

[NOTE: re-reading this over a year later I laugh at my predictions. Since I have written this I have bought three (yes, three!!) additional sets of GT's in various weights. That is how good of a dart they are.]

Another thing they need to improve is the coating they put on the "black" GT's. It wears off almost immediately. Look at my darts below and you can see what I mean. Laserdarts does something similar with their Black Widows and their system seems to be better. I throw my widows all the time and the coating has not worn off yet. So this is another feature Bottelsen needs to improve.

So what do I like about the GT's? Many things. On the whole they are extremely well made darts in terms of throwing. They have a nearly perfect taper, which is by far the best taper in the business. This makes for a very good front loading of the dart. And front loaded darts have the tendency to correct for sloppy mechanics, or flawed mechanics to some degree because the majority of the dart follows that mass of weight in the front of the barrel. A thin, straight barrel does not sport this advantage (but they have different advantages). Also note that heavily tapered darts such as the GT encourages a gripping style in which the middle finger is placed on the point of the dart, just in front of the thickest part of the barrel. This means that you are grabbing the dart around its center of gravity. This is why there is no need for knurling, rings, grooves or any of that other gripping texture common to other barrel types.

So in short, I recommend these to throwers who appreciate movable points who also like front loaded or tapered barrels, an absence of gripping texture, a smooth throw, and excellent styling. Buy whatever you buy your darting friend for Christmas, good luck and happy holidays!


As always, click the image for a larger picture.

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