General Discussion

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Crossbows

   
Crossbows

I am a firearms enthusiast. I load and fire everything I can lay paws on, whether it's old Eastern Bloc machine guns, flintlocks from the world over, modern military weapons, or anything in between.

But that's as far back as my firearms history goes. My own "oldest piece" are a pair of smoothbore muskets. Sometimes, I want to pull a trigger without thinking to myself, "Well, there goes fifty cents down range." So, I've been thinking for a couple of years now that I might want a crossbow. But not just any crossbow. I want something that will be historically accurate and appropriate to a period.

So, the Myth-Weavers crowd tends to be pretty diverse, and I suspect many of you have experience in various Medieval hobbies. What sort of experience do you have, what sort of knowledge? I'm not looking for anything wild and crazy, but an "appropriate" draw (for a six foot guy in reasonably good shape), something that's not going to break bolts, and something that will be "reasonably" accurate for popping targets (read: Hay bales). My tastes tend to lean towards the Germanic (I love my flintlock Jägers and my Mausers), but I don't discriminate.

So if anyone has any thoughts or advice, I'd love to hear it!

What are you looking for, a bit more specifically?

Would you prefer a (one) hand crossbow, or a big two-hander? I believe the German tradition leans towards the latter, but not sure. A little 20-pound hand crossbow is decent, and has the advantages of being small and easily reloaded by hand; figure that it pretty much goes up from there. I've used an 80-pound hand crossbow, and it was similar to a handgun in terms of not only acuracy and range, but also in slight recoil.

On my end, I'm looking for a more "true" infantryman's crossbow. Two-handed, heavy draw, shoulder-fired, you get the idea.

Though I'm not sure how much is TOO much on the draw. I use and abuse my back daily lifting patients, I worry there is no proper "drawing technique" that would be "not bad" for your back!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Powderhorn View Post
On my end, I'm looking for a more "true" infantryman's crossbow. Two-handed, heavy draw, shoulder-fired, you get the idea.

Though I'm not sure how much is TOO much on the draw. I use and abuse my back daily lifting patients, I worry there is no proper "drawing technique" that would be "not bad" for your back!
'S what ratchets and winches are for.

I made a crossbow once with 3 planks and the nails I pulled out of them, a few hours of carving and all the blisters I could carry in one hand netted me a hunk of wood and string that could stick a tent peg in a tree from about 20 yards with fair accuracy, the notch for the string only went back about 8-12 inches.

Previously I owned a more-or-less modern hand crossbow made of metal and plastic, I managed to rig fiberglass limbs for it and they lasted for a few really powerful shots each before breaking. As I recall I used it to shoot chopsticks, chinese night had repercussions.

The question really is; how far are you willing to go to get a good crossbow, if you want a decent one made by you personally then you only need to find a good piece of wood (I was using trash from a bonfire and it was still the most dangerous weapon I've ever made by accident) and remember the bow carving skills your dads irresponsible friend taught you.

If you want to buy one then I can't really help you there =D

You know, I remember when I (DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME) made my own musket out of PVC piping, a wine cork, some duct tape, and a drill. Worked too, for exactly one shot. I mean, it would probably still work, but when I fired it once and saw how roughed up the PVC was, and the fact that the cork flew away about as fast as the bullet did... At at least got SOME sense and retained all of my fingers and toes!

That being said, I'm not sure if I want to buy it, or, more likely, do it as a joint project with my friend, the blacksmith and materials engineer. It's leaning more and more toward the latter, but I DO want it to be something that is effective, a semblance of historic accuracy, and durable.

Well... there's THIS.I don't know if the guy is still in business but the information is all there including his 'Iolo's First Book of Crossbows' which looks pretty informative. It even breaks down stock styles by region.

As to the build... I have a bit of experience with wood working and I can tell you that a natural wood crossbow will be a process of experimentation no matter how much research you do. Different kinds of wood bows will have a different characteristic depending on every factor from type of tree, moisture content of the wood, shaping of the bow, what you finish it with and even the climate you are in. For what it's worth, I suggest using a bound design where the bow is wrapped with a material. It will reduce splintery disaster when it fails (and it will).

See, I was thinking something like his Central European bow, with a steel bow and... I'm not sure what sort of wood should be used. If the stock tends to fail, then maybe I should go with some sort of fairly hard wood, I'm sure I could buy a block of it. These things LOOK easy to make, especially if I were to buy some of the stuff pre-fab. Though I suspect they look deceptively easy to make.

They look dangerous to make to me. Lots of stored energy that is released when something snaps...

I guess if you are a firearms enthusiast, you'll also have protective gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbender View Post
I guess if you are a firearms enthusiast, you'll also have protective gear.
Yah, a med bag, a medical background, and a filed will and living will!




 

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