Here are some test results and photos, gang.
Overall, not a hard project. I was suprised how weak this bow is, but then again, I probably tillered the bamboo bow so it is on the whimpy side. The next one I build, I will shoot for a 30 to 40 pound draw. As it is, the little bolts dont penetrate the target very well, and one hits the next and knocks it out. I guess that if you were shooting with poisoned tips, just a scratch to any exposed flesh would be enough, but at this rate, this weapon won't even penetrate normal clothing.
I made the string using an extra 15 strand reverse twist flemish bowsting (B50), and it seems to be holding up really well to the excessive rubbing that this little machine creates.
For a finish, I ended up staining the wood with black and a dark red stain. The magazine lid and bow are black, the rest being that red shade. The symbol I painted on the side of the weapon is the Chinese symbol for rain using clerky script, which dates to the Han and Qin dynasties. The idea being of course that I will create a rain of arrows. I used a brush and India ink for this, and wish I had been a bit more careful.
I was surprised how accurate the groupings were. I know I was shooting at ultra close range, but figure that these little bows were intended for up close and personal combat. I did try fletching some arrows, but I had not factored that into the build, and so I didnt have enough clearnance in the little barrel section of the bow. Next time
Notice too that I have to give a bit of a nudge to the string to catch it in the notch as I push the lever forward. I have to tiller the bow so the tips are further back, or string it with more tension. I didnt want to risk breaking the bow by bracing it back too agressively at first, but still got a good rate of fire overall.
One other issue I found with this weapon is that it can jam if a bolt slide back and jams between the back of the magazine well and the string. Not sure what do to do about that yet. There is I am sure a solution.
Overall, it was a satisfying project, and very cool looking. I do plan to try building more of these, including a big one after an image I saw of ship to ship combat. The double barreled ones look pretty groovy too.