Hidden Gems: Bob Anderson B&W 18g

In 1988 Bob Anderson claimed his World professional title. At the time his dart was distinct from the other star players of that generation. Bob used a narrow, quite long looking, dart with a smooth, slim nose-cone and a simple, but fine grip.

A fantastic set of Bob Anderson’s classic design. B&W Darts from around 1988.

Spec Sec:

  • B&W 18g Original Bob Anderson
  • 50.8mm Long
  • 5.5mm Width
  • Smooth Nose Cone
  • 95% Tungsten (Natural)
  • Consistent ring grip
  • 0.5cm Stem Blank
After 30 plus years they are still virtually perfect for throwing.

Bob’s dart was produced by B&W darts and had been so for a while. With the benefit of hindsight, they should be considered a premium piece of both manufacture and design. Very few modern darts are made in similar dimensions today, even most stems are two wide for them and leave an annoying lip at the join.

The 95% tungsten content ensured that Bob’s dart could be as thin as possible whilst still being dense enough to carry 18g in a 50mm barrel. The smooth nose was superbly reduced to as close the point junction as possible and certainly close than the early Unicorn models managed. The short blank at the stem end ensured strength was present even at maximum thinness.

The ring grip is quite fine and was originally quite deep. This gives an edge when newer, good for very light holders, but also allows the darts to age and wear with their owner.

But, unusually, Bob switched company to, the biggest name at the time, Unicorn darts. Initially, Unicorn produced a similar dart but shorter and wider (Phase I).

  • Unicorn 20g Bob Anderson (Phase I)
  • 48.5mm Long
  • 6.4mm Width
  • 90% Tungsten (Natural or Gold)
  • Smooth Nose Cone
  • Consistent Ring Grip
  • 0.9mm Stem Blank

Soon Bob switched back to his traditional design. Unicorn produced an updated version (Phase II), of his signature dart. This was closer to the B&W dimensions but regarded as a lower quality version of the B&W original.

Originals in Bob’s favoured weight 18g are highly sought after and change hands for over £100.

As he got older Bob required more grip on the barrel and so changed his grip style with the aid of the Unicorn boffins. The basic barrel is similar but the grip patter created a far less smooth feeling and less consistent dart (Phase 3).

Although relatively popular, Phase 3 is a different dart. It turned out that there was a loyal demand for the original models.

The B&W model has become more & more sought after and even more so with the original case and or accessories. Often similar darts are presented on eBay, or in collectors groups online, as being original B&W Bob Anderson darts. Very few actually are and it pays to have a close look and ask for proof of the length, width. If possible some provenance to back up the dimensions would be ideal.

A ‘tribute’ replica was recently available online.

At least one niche manufacturer is now making a high-quality, hand made replica of this dart. At around the £60 mark, they are a, less costly, nice ‘tribute’ to this classic set. They may not be the last model to be replicated in this way.

Many sports or leisure activities revert back to their classic vintages at times. Perhaps these ‘Hidden Gems’ will see the spotlight again.


If you have a classic set or an unusual collector’s item with a back story, drop us a line here: articles@dartsworld.com

A picture/image or two or to illustrate why your fond of them might be useful.

SnapShot Review: Red Dragon Dragonfly 3. A Deceptive Gem.

  • Product – Darts (Steel Tip)
  • Brand – Red Dragon
  • Model – Dragonfly 3
  • Edition/Variation – 24g
  • RRP – £25.90+
  • Marks – 8.5 /10

First Impressions:

Dragonfly 3 is a very deceptive dart. They look almost delicate at first glance but are very effective and no-nonsense in reality. The 95% tungsten, and clean-cut grip, produce a very efficient and impressive dart. At 50.8mm x 6.35 (24g) they are a very conventional dart and should a wide cross-section of player.

What’s in Pack, Jack?

The Dragonfly series has been around for a fair while and the DF 3 seems the best all-rounder and most popular. The three tungsten barrels are supplied, boxed and presented, with Black Nitro Stems and Black/Grey Hardcore flights. Available in 20,22 & 24g weights.

Barrel Style & Grip

The Dragonfly 3 is a parallel dart. It has much in common with the ‘Bristow Barrel’, 13 grooves below the blank and 3 above it. However, the grooves are cut in a double pattern instead of evenly distributed. This seems to give a nice grip that is easier to feel the traditional style. It’s not aggressive but is about 3/5 on a smooth to very aggressive scale.

There is a slight nose cone on the as the point area is reached, most throwers of this type of dart are happy with this and with the rear blank location.

Player/Throw Style: testers suggest that these throw very nicely with a rhythmic and steady throw. If you have a complex throw like akin to Eric Bristow or a pendulum-like action in the mould of Ian White or Jamie Hughes, these could suit you very well.

Downsides:

It seems that the specific grip pattern may not suit very quick players. If grabbed quickly they may feel inconsistent between each dart. Our test set was unpainted so this may have been exaggerated. In addition, a minority of players don’t seem to like 95% tungsten. They claim it to fly to direct and feel too hard. This may be simply psychological.

Marks: 8.5/10

One of our testers was very keen indeed on these and gave them a 9 or 9.5 out of ten but the consensus was of an 8/10 solid, no-nonsense dart.

SnapShot: The Dragonfly 3 is a high-quality dart for a low-midrange price. Excellent value. If you take to them you may well become a devotee!

Winmau Navigator 3 – A Great Value Classic. Test & Review.

  • Product – Darts (Steel Tip)
  • Brand – Winmau
  • Model – Navigator 3
  • Edition / Variation – 23g
  • RRP – £12.99 +
  • Marks – 8/10 (10/10 for value!)

First Impression:

Over the years there have been quite a few models and editions of darts given the ‘Navigator’ moniker. Winmau seems to have used it as a standard nickname for simple mass production darts that they promote via chain stores or as starter packs. They are not just for beginners though, we hear a rumour of a current tour player using a set!

What’s in the Pack, Jack?

Navigator 3 at Argos: All for £9.99-£12.99

These are billed as a complete starter kit or value pack. The three tungsten barrels come boxed with two sets of ‘Prism’ stems and two sets of Std shape flights (colours vary). Two sets of stem rings are included and the package is contained in slimline Winmau dart box.

Tester Quotes:

These are a lovely dart, basically the same as my old Bristow’s, for a tenner!” – Keen Amateur

These are a great dart for testing or trying out to see what throw style, or grip, comes naturally to a player” – A.I.M Coach

Our test set paired with Nitro Stems

Downsides:

For less than £10 it seems almost mean to find fault with these darts. One of our testers thought they might feel a little less finished than some higher-cost darts. Another player was not keen on the narrow grooves at the stem end.

Durability:

We have put these through there paces very heavily, they have been used in at least 150 legs of darts. The testers have differing styles and provide a good test. There are the usual dints and marks, but essentially they are unmarked. A case can be made for darts, of this style, getting better with use.

Marks: 8/10 (10/10 for Value)

At less than £10, or even at the full £12.00 (RRP), they are a basic dart and lack some of the flash and multi-faceted tech of many new models. We have tested many darts over the last few years. None have received such good reports on the value side of the equation.

The Navigator 3 is a superb dart for assessing the shape, grip or style of dart. They are also a superb place to start for many beginners.

An exceptional value, 95% Tungsten dart.

The SnapShot:

A great example of the classic “Bristow Type Barrel”.This edition has been available at Argos for £9.99 (RRP is £12.99). This is exceptional value for a 90% tungsten dart. Available here: https://www.argos.co.uk/product/7376593

5 Darting Bargains – In An Age of Spiralling Costs.

Darts World has noticed that the costs, especially player and premium, of darts have increased substantially over the past few years.  Increased and improved cosmetics, together with some technical innovations, can be blamed for some of this. But, the increased popularity and worldwide expansion of darts seem to be resulting in a golf or tennis like spiralling of some equipment costs. 

Not quite within our bargain criteria, but the Pro-Line is an excellent dart for a mid-range price.

Less than five years ago very few sets of darts would cost more than £50 and the vast majority were between £20 & £35. These often included accessories such as a case and or spare flight & stem setups. Today, a brief look at any of the major sellers reveals thirty or forty different models with an RRP of over £60 with a handful of models on or around the £100 mark. 

Does all this mean that darts is becoming a rich pursuit for those with more disposable cash? Can the average young person still get a decent start and does all this extra cash actually make much difference? 

Darts World asked A.I.M: to look into the best value darts available and to put them through their paces. We set them a maximum of £25 per set and asked them to assess quality, performance, value, and accessibility.  Here is the first summary of what they found; 

1) Pro-Style (21-26g) – Darts Clearance £12.99-14.99. http://www.ebaystores.co.uk/dartsclearance?_fsub=7330512015& 

These are a lovely dart for the £15 cost.  The 22g model is 48mm x 7.2mm (widest) and has a slight taper from the front to rear. There is a small blank near the stem and the grip is what could be described as an original Bob Anderson style grip but slightly more aggressive. They have a slight front weight but still, feel well balanced. Almost indistinguishable from the McKicks Alan Glazier darts. 

The darts come with nothing but a point protector in order to keep the costs, and postage fees, at an absolute minimum. They were popular with all our testers and all standards. Even our elite player was very impressed. The ‘Pro-Style’ compared well with other models even those of higher cost. The tungsten content will be at least 80% and may be higher.  

Pro-Style – Excellent value at a bargain cost.

2) Winmau Diamond 23g – Red Dragon Clearance £24.90 (RRP £55)  – http://www.reddragondarts.com/winmau-diamond-3-23-gram-12105.html

These are a serious bargain. Originally £55+ they represent the combination of high-quality tungsten and a diamond fusion grip. Winmau seems to have abandoned this grip style and thus you can now pick up some serious bargains. 

Winmau Diamond Grip – Currently less than half price.

These have a great deal in common with John Lowe or Andy Fordham shape darts. The extra grip near the nose can be handy. They are 90% tungsten and measure 40.6mm x 7.7mm. The diamond grip was very popular and will be missed by some serious players. However, after a while, it can rub the other darts into looking shabby and wears itself down. 

In short, these are a premium dart for a one-off price. I doubt these will last long. Well worth a try or even to get yourself an extra set if you use them already. 

3) Designa Dark Thunder – £22.95http://www.dartscorner.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=42991 

A lovely dart, in a classic style, for under £25.

These are a very good value, 90% tungsten dart. They have a lot in common with Unicorn (Taylor) Phase 1. The black barrels with natural highlights are a popular look and have a touch of the Noir range about them. A very grippy dart that is not chunky in the hard or over-complex in design. Various weights are available with 22g and 24g being the most popular. With Darts Corner moving their priorities to Mission darts these may not be around forever as the Designa badge may fade away. 

Monster – The Cobra – £24 (RRP £50+)  – http://www.dartscorner.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=1190_1692&products_id=31539

These are available in the clearance section of dartscorner.com and may not be for very long at this price. This model became Jelle’s signature shape and style for quite a few years and during his most successful PDC spell.  

The Cobra – A £50+ premium dart for a clearance price.

90 % Tungsten, superbly designed and engineered to be a superb combination of aerodynamics and style. 42mm long x 7mm (at the widest) they are highly individual and you might wish to try before you buy! Although badged as 22g this is misleading the barrel weight is only 20.4g. 

Two of our testers loved these and one has kept them! However, our third player could not get used to them at all. It seems that ‘The Cobra’ is a bit Marmite! 

Alan Tabern – V180 – £20http://www.a180.co.uk/product.php/10304/v180-alan-tabern-90-tungsten-darts-21g

A classic player dart for only £20. Alan Tabern’s simple barrel.

You don’t get many classic player darts for under £20. However, V180 makes a small range, all of which are pitched at a great price. Perhaps the best of these is the Tabern dart. These could be made by Target, Alan’s old sponsor, they are a classic style ring grip dart. Only Alan’s 21g edition is available. They are a little over 47mm x 6mm wide they feel very well balanced and are 90% tungsten. 

Our players thought that these were a lovely dart. The only downside was that they are not as heavily gripped as some current models. Our more traditional testers were fond of these darts, whereas our younger player, seem to find them over delicate and harder to control. 

It can be seen from the above, that despite the recent increases in the cost of premium products, high-quality darts can be sourced. A little creativity and patience can result in darts of the same   

SnapShot Review: Red Dragon – Raptor (Points).

  • Product – Raptor (Points)
  • Brand – RedDragon
  • RRP – £8.90
  • Dimensions – 33mm (28mm exposed)
  • Features – Collared, Grooved & Barbed

Our resident coach is strongly of the opinion that “there has been little, or no, beneficial innovation in darts since the tungsten barrel”. He does, however, allow one notable exception, points!

Red Dragon Raptor Points – Perfectly paired.

Our friends at A.I.M: are currently conducting extensive tests on the various types of points on the market. Collared, coloured, grooved, coated and almost every other option available are being put through their paces. Some things have become obvious early on in the testing. The first is that Raptor from RedDragon is an exceptional product.

First Impressions: These points don’t come with flash packaging or attached to their own range of dart. However, it is immediately noticeable that they are unusual. They are plain and appear very well made indeed. They are 33mm long with 28mm exposed after fitting. The point is collared in style (to eliminate join between point & barrel), there are 4 grooves, from the collar downward, that allow for exact finger placement/grip. The lower section is slim and sharply tapered, for good board penetration and there is a small (2mm) barb for both finger feeling and board retention.

Fitting: We fitted Raptor points into three different brands of darts. The fitted easily and snuggly into all three with no complications.

Raptor’s grooves, barb and slim lower section all proved very popular.

Grooved Section: The grooves worked excellent for those who like to feel their finger in the same place but not to slip during delivery.

Lower(Smooth) Section: Testing showed that this penetrated the board well and was a good alternative resting point for those who like their finger on a smooth area.

Point Barb: Very unusually Raptor has a small, less than 2mm bard at the very tip of the point. This proved excellent in improving board retention, even the gentlest thrower had full confidence that their dart would stay in place. In addition, it proved very useful with those who naturally rest their finger at the point, Dennis Priestley style, for control.

Durability: The Raptor seems to have overcome one of the problems of newer complex points. Despite heavy usage, and a few drops, we have not broken one yet!

A.I.M: Independent Darts Consultancy

Player Quotes:

  • “Brilliant, much stiffer than my current collared point” – Serious Amateur
  • “Nice and not all flashy” – Elite level player
  • “All round winner” – Coach

Downsides: The only recorded downside was that they seem to be only available in this length. At least one player would move to them if a 30mm (external) option was provided.

The SnapShot: First impressions, and initial testing, reveal raptor to be an exceptional product, that raises the bar for modern points. The problems of over flexibility, breakability and clumsiness that affect some complex, or collared, points are solved in one go. Red Dragon have produced a superb product and the fact that it can be added, at point of purchase, to a huge range of darts, is a boon.

SnapShot Review – Swiss Point: Target Seek The Holy Grail.

Holy Grail? Swiss Point attempts to solve an old problem.

Product: Swiss Point

Brand: Target 

Interchangeable Point System (Steel Tip) 

Elsewhere within Darts World, you may soon come across our review for the SP03 Darts from Target. The SP Range is brand new and offers some interesting and original designs. Its most attractive feature is what those initials (SP) stand for, Swiss Point

For many years darts players and manufacturers have sought to make the replacement, or changing, of points a simple and attractive feature. In short, they failed. It was usually a fiddly task involving quite a lot of effort and a good few minutes per point. Not exactly ideal during a game or in between rounds. 

Modern point innovations have made this quest even more urgent than previously. 

Has the Swiss Point solved these issues and will they catch on

Introduction 

As can be seen, from the shot above, the Swiss Point is an all-round system with the barrels, the points and a specific tool, all designed and made for the purpose of swift, secure and simple point change. Each point is exactly the same as a standard version until the blank near the blunt end. A unique screw-in system is incorporated to the last section. 

Swiss Point barrels, regardless of model, have the reverse of the screw within them. This ensures a perfect fit and a very solid feel.  

There is a slot just below the blank. This is for the SP tool to grip and to ensure that a broken point can still be swapped in and out in very quickly indeed.  

The current range of SP barrels is restricted to a range of specific SP darts (01-03) and the latest Generation of Phil Taylor’s darts (Gen 6). Phil himself seems very impressed: 

“Swiss point is the biggest innovation in darts since Tungsten”  

16 X World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor 

The points themselves are currently available in selected lengths and models. But the range is quite extensive, covering most of Target’s popular point types. Diamond-Cut, Fire Points and Standard are all included and at least two lengths and two colour options per point.  

The retail price of around £5 per set of points (and £3 for an SP point tool) represent good value and seems to have been pitched to include all. The comparative price of player models will be interesting to note. 

Testing:  

We subjected the SP to rigorous testing with a variety of styles and players. We have a player who wanted to change his points according to the hardness of the board. He, therefore, changed them twice during a practice match. It took him less than 1 minute to change all three points and he could not tell the difference between these and his normal set-up. 

We then introduced an amateur, who has only played twice, to try and change the points with the minimum of instruction. They also succeeded and did so within two minutes. The SP Tool simply fits over the point and locks onto the slot end of the point. A very few turns ensure the point can be detached and then  

Even world champions seem to agree;  

“I use Target Fire points; as I like that extra grip for my finger on the point. With Swiss Point, I can now swap out my points in seconds.” Rob Cross 2018 PDC World Champion 

We then deliberately broke a point, by repeatedly dropping on a hard tiled floor, and indeed we changed the point just as easily with no problem whatsoever. Every change resulted in three perfect points, the same length and fit etc. with no variations or difficulties. 

All three players reported no difficulties with the feel of the point and reported that they could not feel a difference at the point/barrel intersection. 

Marks: 9/10 

All three of our testers gave the idea and the execution at least 8/10 and one of the 10/10. All could change the darts perfectly and in no more than two minutes. Their only question was how soon we thought they would get more models, and players darts, available. 

The Future: 

It is always difficult to predict the success of an innovation, especially when it is only available on restricted models and from one company. Target have big plans for the SP; 

 “Our vision is to make Swiss Point the new standard and we see all our darts coming with Swiss Points as the new standard in the future. For me, Swiss Point is the biggest innovation Target has ever done and the one I am most excited about.” Garry Plummer MD Target Darts 

Testers View:

The SnapShot:  

A.I.M can see the SP being a huge success. If it is introduced to a wider range of models as quickly as possible, and not over-priced, we predict very high demand. Our only question mark is how the system/points will wear over a long period of time. Will the internal screw loosen, if changed often will the points wobble and clink. The build quality appears to be very high indeed and thus the problems are unlikely. But as with all things, the more moving parts, the more there is to go wrong. 

We look forward to reporting back with a Swiss Point update in 6-12 months. 

SnapShot Review – Daryl Gurney Special Edition

Glancing at our social media last Friday, we could not fail to notice the new weights added to the Gurney SE. We are in the middle of our in-depth testing of this model. It’s fair to say it is going very well.

As the range is expanding we thought a Snapshot review might help those thinking a splashing out on a set:

Latest Edition to the Gurney SE Range. A 26g Steel (and 22g Soft) tip weight option.
  • Product: Darts (Steel Tip)
  • Brand: Winmau
  • Model Name: Daryl Gurney (Special Edition)
  • Variation: 22g
  • RRP: £42.90+

General:

The SE was originally commissioned to celebrate Daryl’s Victory in the World Grand Prix. But it has gone from strength to strength since and proven very popular. Despite conventional dimensions (50.8mm long and 6.4mm wide (widest)), the SE is certainly not a conventional dart in other ways!

It is a nicely engineered but simple looking dart. The silver/grey areas look muscular and practical with the lurid green flashes adding a dash of flamboyance. The grip is impressive and original. Cuts to the barrel are used in both directions (axial & radial) in order to produce smaller, almost cube-like, grip blocks.

The Gurney SE has the “Compound Grip” style that is like mini cubes instead of long solid grooves.

These blocks (Compound Grip) mean that the grip is very flexible, it appears, so far, from testing, for almost any type of player. A very wide cross-section of player type liked this dart and enjoyed trialling it.

The ‘Freeflow’ grooved & collared point is an excellent addition and round the dart of well.

What’s in the Box? As with most Winmau darts, these days, the pack comes with one set of (Daryl Gurney SE) barrels (22g) together with a set of (black) Prism stems and colour coordinated (green & white) set of Prism flights. It should be added that the ‘Freeflow’ points are far from standard and could be counted as a premium extra.

Tester Quotes:

As purchased: Barrels, Prism Flight & Stem set, point protector.

“…I loved the grip on the lower half of the dart. It feels like I can put my fingers anywhere and it feels the same..” County Lady Player

” … there is a bit of my old Barney’s in them but much better…” Youth player

” these are just so much better than I imagined. I was never keen on the Gurney style of dart but this is just totally different…” Elite player.

Downsides:

Like in everything, there are always a couple of Debbie downers!

They seem few and far between here though. One player was not keen on the lurid nature of the green colour that highlights the top end of the barrel. Another would have prefered the blank in the centre to either be moved or removed. Often though these things are simply knit-picking and a matter of personal taste.

The SnapShot Review: An Outstanding Dart. Surprising and impressive in equal measure.

Durability:

So far the Gurney (SE) has stood up very well they have been used in close to two hundred legs by a variety of different players over a few weeks.

Marks 9.5/10 – The SE have received the joint highest mark of any dart we have tested so far. Indeed two maximum 10/10s were given with nothing negative to say. One player has switched to them and another was waiting for his weight to be released!

SnapShot: An Outstanding dart, popular with all testers and throw styles. Durable and exciting as well as superbly engineered and manufactured. A truly Special Edition

A full and more detailed review, including test results and more information, will be published in DartsWorld magazine soon. Het your subscription or copy here: http://www.dartsworld.com/product/magazine/

A.I.M: Independent Darts Consultancy based in the U.K.

Fitton in Orange or Something More?AmberJack (14) In-Depth Review.

Boxed Amberjacks (14)
 
Product: Darts (Steel Tip) 
Brand: Red Dragon 
Model Name: AmberJacks
Variation / Edition: 14 23g 
RRP: £18+ 
Marks: 8/10
  
 

General Summary

AmberJacks are a Red Dragon legacy range of, cosmetically coordinated, steel tip darts. There are around a dozen variations, of barrel type, with a mix between ring grip and knurled designs. The colour scheme ( Orange/Black/Natural) and styling ensure that the range is distinct from their other value ranges. Often the models appear to be slightly modified versions of player or other models.

The Amberjack 14 is a fine example, the wide ring grip, and gently tapering shape, is strongly reminiscent of Daryl Fittons’ usual dart. The grip is both simply and effective. The Amberjack 14 will suit most players but especially those with a firm throw who throw in an exact way. 

At over less than £20 they are a nice piece of design, production and performance for the lower-cost end of the non-player market. 

In the Box: 3 x AmberJack (14) 23g Barrels, 3 x Nitro Stems (Medium) & 3 x Hardcore badged flights. Both are orange & black in theme. 

Player Quotes: 

“A simple, solid and nice-looking dart with a classic grip and nice feel” 

“I love the shape, the front section is nicely shaped, but feels like deep/sharp old fashioned ring grip” 

“….Great combination of style and performance, best value dart I have come across for a while”. 

Testing Process: 

A.I.M used a couple of different players including one strong amateur and one youth player. We subjected the AJ14 to a variety of throw styles, conditions and setups. In total at least one hundred legs and close to two thousand darts were thrown. Our testers used the dart in a variety of circumstances including practice and competition.

In addition to the supplied set up, Nitro Stems & Hardcore flights players were asked to try their own or any other set up they felt might complement this type of dart. 

The Results:  

  •  First Impressions: All three of our testers were very impressed with the general look of the AJ14 model. The ring cut grips were familiar and the colour scheme was deemed attractive. Our three players liked the initial feel of the dart in their hand. The words smooth and comfortable” were used. Both players were keen to try the dart and thought the shape might be worth a try for them.
  • Performance: Our youth player was most strongly positive about the AJ14. He was of the view that the dart performed very well and felt very comfortable in the hand. He felt his consistency level improved. He suspected that this was because he was having to concentrate on each dart and not assume anything. In addition, our more social player was less keen, the grip style did not seem to suit their very loose hold on the dart. But he liked the shape in general.
  • Downsides: Our serious player was intrigued by AJ14 overall. As he uses a very strong grip, he liked the feel of the dart but felt the overall grip was not strong enough.
  • The Tech Bit: For such a heavily engineered dart AJ14 come in at a slim 6.9mm wide. The subtle grip pattern combines to create the impression of an even slimmer dart. The 50.8mm length is the middle point in recent times and allows many different throw styles to feel comfortable. The ring cut grip is wider than some and more in line with ‘Bristow’ style darts than the more recent narrow cuts.
Amberjack 14: Strongly resemblant of a Daryl Fitton type dart?
  • Durability: Amberjacks (14) stood up very well over the 100+ legs. Our social player barely made a mark on them over a whole weekend. Our strong amateur caused the usual surface marks and our elite player maximised the contact between the arrows. Yet, due to the colour scheme and styling, no difference was noticed to the appearance of the dart in the board. In the hand, the darts felt very comfortable and slipped from hand to hand with ease. It should be noted that the tapered shape and smooth surface seem to decrease wear and tear on the flights.

Marks8/10: Both testers gave these the same marks. They were impressed by them and thought they were an exceptional value dart. But each had reservation due to grip and or shape.

A.I.M: This is an excellent dart for a highly competitive price. There are few better, that we have come across, for less than £20. The supplied set up is good quality and works well. Any similar set also seems to be effective.

Careful players, rather than rhythm styles, seem to like this dart very much. The tapered style seems to benefit the accuracy of those who throw individual darts. AJ14 were best used by those who held the rear section, close to the stem, or the midsection, near the widest point.

Shorter set ups failed and seemed less stable. Pear & kite flights also seem inadequate.

Stephen Bunting Gen 3 – Review

The Bullet himself has been a little subdued for a while now, it’s not surprising then, that the time has come for a refresh of his darts. Could this new version result in Stephen recapturing his best?

Product: Darts (Steel Tip)

Brand: Target

Model: Stephen Bunting (Gen3)

Variation: 12g (90% Tungsten)

RRP: £39+

Marks: 7 – 9 /10 (overall 8/10)

First Impressions: After ‘The Bullet’ stuttered during 2017 & 18 he, and Target, seems to have gone back to basics here. Out goes the strawberry grip and the golden styling.
The Gen 3 is totally smooth but has a slight bulb toward the point (6.9mm widest). A flat smooth area lengthens the gradient from a narrower section to the curved nose area. A little like smooth Dennis Priestley darts. A lovely feeling dart that warms quickly and then is surprisingly grippy. At 48mm long it is much longer than most ultralight darts.


As Supplied: Fitted with short traditional points and set up with Pro Grip Target Stems, in medium length, and Bullet logo flights, black & red. All contained within the standard target packaging. A nice overall image and coordinated colour scheme is the result.

Testing Procedure: As usual, we used three players with different styles and skill levels. This time an elite player, a youth player and a decent amateur all were enthusiastic to try these highly unusual arrows. An initial practise session was used to adapt and then two more sessions were held over the next couple of weeks.

One of our players used these over a social darts evening with a group of friends. Another tried an open event in the Midlands. Overall the Gen 3 had well over 100 legs worth of use and were given a thorough work-out.

Results & Reactions:

  • Elite: Struggled with the weight initially. These are ten grams lighter than his usual choice. After adapting, however, our elite player enjoyed using these in practice. Trying to use them in a competitive leg seems to prove too much.
  • Strong Amateur: Our strong amateur player uses quite a light dart by choice and is quite wristy. This seemed to suit and it did not take long until our player was as effective with these as with his default arrows. He liked the smooth grip and the slight bulge made the dart feel more secure in his fingers. With time and practise he is sure these would become his new ‘weapon of choice’!
  • Youth: Our youth player was perhaps the least impressed of our testers. The short barrel was not easy for him to get used too and no comfortable grip could be found. The desperate remedy of a social night out, mixed with alcohol, was used. Could a less focused environment help? Sadly, this was not much of a success, although others who attended the evening got on much better, with the Bunting darts, than our player. Including somone who had never played before!

Comments:


A.I.M:An excellent dart if you can persevere with getting used to such a light option with no apparent grip. Many will lose patience but those who didn’t may become permanent converts“. We notice that “players with less preconceptions are much more positive to these darts and perform well with them”.

I loved these and may get myself some on payday. The little bulge makes all the difference from other lightweights I have tried. These feel much better” – Amateur 1.

I liked these but could not translate practise into match form. Perhaps they would work as a practice aid?” – Elite Player.

Marks: The marks varied between a 7 from our youth player, generous because he saw others get on with them. and a nine from our strong amateur player. very light and smooth darts are always likely to polarise opinion. They do not obey convention and take time to master. But the overall 8/10 is pretty good for such a specialist dart.

Carnage! SnapShot Review of a Surprise Package.

Brand/Maker: Red Dragon

Model Name: Carnage 

Edition: Spec 2, 22g 90% Tungsten.

RRP: £44.90 

Marks: 8.5/10

The Carnage range is something of an open secret within the RD 2018 range. With its ‘coallike’ shot-blasted finish it seems less flashy than many models and could easily be missed. Indeed, we at A.I.M: only came across it while using them to test accessories. Our testers rated them so highly that we conducted a full-scale test and review. 

First Impressions: The 22g (Spec 2) version we used features two sections of grip on its 50.8mm barrel. Above the stylish silver blank are seven narrow rings that feel slightly reverse cut to be grippy but not too aggressive for those who hold at the rear of the barrel. The lower section is milled and grooved both across and down the barrel, axially and radially. This creates a very precise grip that is totally reliable. In addition, it gives the dart a much slimmer feel than the 6.3mm that it measures. A rounded nose cone is perfect to ensure excellent grouping is possible. 

Results: Three testers used the Carnage dart for at least 60 legs in order to get a real feel for the plusses and minuses of the dart. Our world-class player, who holds the rear section, was very impressed and found them to be at least as good as his signature dart. Our wristy player, who is very good in practice, was very surprised that he got on well with these, and felt very comfortable, despite an increase in weight and grip. The best results, however, were from our good pub player who noticed an increase in confidence due to the improved grip. All three players liked the titanium PVD grip coating and were impressed with the feel of the dart. 

Downsides: Only two slight negatives were reported, for those who hold the dart tightly the grip is too good and the black barrel and black point combination was too monotone for one tester. This would be easily corrected with a new point selection, either at the point of purchase or later. 

As received. Carnage are supplied with a decent nylon wallet and the Red Dragon Nitro Stem/Hardcore flight combo.

The supplied package included the RD nylon tri-fold wallet, best free included case out there, and a very nice set up of white Nitro stems (Medium) with Hardcore flights. A.I.M: is currently conducting accessory tests, so we will return to this later, but it is safe to say that the accessories at least match the quality of the barrels. 

SnapShot: Carnage is a superb dart with excellent grip and top-level functionality. The durability looks good as well. Our sets have had over 180 legs and look only slightly used. In the £40-45, non-player endorsed, range you will struggle to find a better dart. With four variations, in six weights, you will easily find your preferred method of causing Carnage. 

A.I.M: is an independent darts consultancy specialising in design and coaching