I knew it wasn't just a question of replacing the prods, I had to figure out why they were failing and try to prevent it. I had a sinking feeling that it might not be a quick fix, and I was right- once I had it all disassembled it was obvious the cracks were coming from contact with the slots in the aluminum chassis they were mounted into, despite the padding I thought was ample. This build has already been down a few dead ends and has a lot of extra screw holes to show for it, and had a few other inherent problems, so rather than mess with it any more I did a brand new build, the Margot Mk II:
This one is more compact and much better balanced, the first one was very front heavy while with this one the center of gravity is right there in my hand. It's much shorter, mostly by getting rid of unneeded length but the total draw is also about an inch shorter, a concession to extending the life of the limbs. The prod mount block is carved from a block of Delrin with an aluminum plate in front holding the limbs in place. I recently invested in a tap and die set and I've been using it a lot on this build. The butt cap in back, the internal rails, limb tips, and over claw style string retainer are also hand carved Delrin, while the trigger and toggle lever are cut from 1/4" Delrin sheet. All of the changes made to the design were intended to increase the durability and shootability of the weapon, and in most regards I think I succeeded- the action is smooth and solid and crisp, the balance couldn't be better, though it is a bit heavy for one hand. I substituted a rubber shoulder pad from a rifle sling in place of the wooden grip on the cocking rope, I found it natural to hook it over my shoulder to get my hands free and this one is even better at that. The limbs, 80 pound fiberglass pistol prods, are seen here completely sheathed in shrink tubing.
So, how does it shoot? Well, I put maybe 50 or 60 shots through the first version before I noticed the limbs failing. This one I've fired twice, and twice I broke brand new limbs! I think it was Geezer mentioned recently on another thread how if you change one little thing and it impacts everything else. I have to figure out what I did wrong, I've been through a few theories, right now I'm thinking it might be that the new string was a bit longer than the original. Good thing I have a bunch of those limbs, because I'm going to keep breaking them until I find out! In the meantime, I guess it's fun to look at.