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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

Posts: 281

PostPosted: Sat 29 Jun, 2013 3:05 pm    Post subject: Thought Experiment - Crossbows         Reply with quote

Whilst reading s topic somewhere about 5-600 lb draw-weight crossbows, I got to thinking. With reference to crossbows made in the medieval era, or of materials only available in that era .. is there a *theoretical* MAXIMUM poundage for such a weapon ? I suspect that it would have been possible to make bow itself of a very high poundage, but there must have been a limit lower than that because of the need for a bowstring to sustain the shock of firing it ? Mechanically spanning the bow could be done but the shock of firing would snap any material of the period ?
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Sat 29 Jun, 2013 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My two cents... I think it's just carrying the crossbow. There are siege crossbows that fire bolts the size of spears, and you can spin rope however thick you need, but at some point it becomes too bulky to carry, lift and aim.
"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Gabriele A. Pini




Location: Olgiate Comasco, Como
Joined: 02 Sep 2008

Posts: 239

PostPosted: Sat 29 Jun, 2013 10:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In this days I'm starting to draw my own crossbow, so it's a problem I have affronted a bit.

What is the difference between a crossbow and a siege crossbow?

I would suggest that we define a crossbow as capable to be fired standing without support, even if clumsily, whereas a siege engine is necessarly mounted on a rack, wheels or wall. So, as Matthew said, the problem became the weight.

Defined a weight (if someone has tried free shooting very heavy crossbows he can give us an idea) you have to calculate how much weight you have to give to the stock and how much to the prod.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Jul, 2013 6:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Heaviest number I've seen for a crossbow that can be carried by one man is 4200 pounds. I don't remember where I got that from, however, and if the number is true then that thing must have taken forever to span!
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Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

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PostPosted: Thu 04 Jul, 2013 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as spanning goes, I'm curious as to the amount of force required to wind or crank heavy crossbows. According Payne-Gallwey, a child can span a siege crossbow with a windless. Did some technical limitation prevent them from using higher ratios? Given that earlier spanning methods relied on strength, it seems like it would have been better to have devices that required more brawn in exchange for greater speed or power.
Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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