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Stems and flights matter!

The first part of this may be quite boring, but stick with me here ‘cause if you’re serious about your darts, this will be well worth the read.

I have played darts for over 30 years (you’d think I’d be good then aye?), and currently have a dart setup of a Target, 22g Phil Taylor Gen 3 golden dart, but have added a 35mm long anodised aluminium golden stem and British Pentahlon Ireland flights (the wife’s Irish).

So as the owner of one of New Zealand’s leading “darts only” online selling businesses, I get the benefit of using some darts made from all over the world. Maybe even add an extra set on a bulk order if I think that they would suit me.

Well I recently bought a set of Viking Hammer, steel tip darts from Shot Darts who are the only manufacturer of top quality darts here in New Zealand. A 23g dart to be exact.

I had a throw with the darts with the set-up provided straight out of the box and I was quite inconsistant to say the least. So I changed the stems and flights provided with the Viking barrels with my own stems and flights set-up that I was used to. Once again the entire set-up felt long and it regularly flew to the right and into the “1”. That’s not good! So I changed the stem’s from the alloy 35mm to a Unicorn Gripper II stem, slightly shorter at 32.7mm and kept the same flights.

The entire setup felt completely different with it feeling much shorter than before even though the stem length differed by just 2.3mm. The first throw registered a 140 and within the first session I had shot a 180. Needless to say the throw felt straight and was consistant. But all I did was change the stems from a 35mm length to 32.7mm!

Yes the change of just 2.3mm made a difference, but it wasn’t just the length of the stem that made the darts fly better. I had also changed from an alloy stem to a nylon stem which changes the weight of the back end of the set-up. A lighter and shorter set-up ensured the flight path of the dart had less resistance in the air, hence flew straighter.

This didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know but I was amazed at the difference with just a 2.3mm stem change. You know, most people tend to stick with the same stems and flights that they’re used to thinking that it’s all about the barrel shape and weight. The barrel is (hugely) important, but a different style, length, shape or even brand of stem can make a massive difference too. Same with the flights. Some standard shaped flights weigh a lot less than other standard shaped flights. Well a few microns at least. And this can make a huge difference.

Of course throwing a dart straight is not just about the dart set-up, but next time you buy a new set of darts, or find your current one’s want to go on holiday into the one or five or some other far away destination, try tinkering with the stems and flights. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

Straight arrows everyone.

Paul Webber

Owner – Bullseye Darts


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