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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Fri 21 Aug, 2015 6:45 am    Post subject: stress and reloading bows/ crossbows/ muzzleloaders         Reply with quote

in one thread, its been noted or suggested by one person whose name escapes me, that the requirements for training, deploying crossbowmen and the power and ballistics of their weapons s well as how the weapon is held when shot. suggested that the knowledge of the deployment of crossbow companies in battle would have formed the backbone of how early renaissance and late medieval armies would have viewed how to make use of gunners

and the more i thought about it, this kind of made sense

and one of these in particular is the reloading process, a muzzleloading firearm, like a crossbow is seen as a weapon that relies on a series of small steps that rely on your fine motor function, this means if you are stressed, your liable to, say, spill your powder, fumble when slotting your crossbow cranequin or windlass into place etc etc

this means that crossbowmen and arquebusiers/ musketeers needed to, ideally, practice over and over again in the drill of reloading in order to be able to not get shakey fingers, as well as the fact that a more ingrained instinctive series of actions reinforced by muscle memory tend to happen quicker.

although as i thought that i had some doubts about this theory i also call upon more qualified voices to help address is

-was there any evidence of drill or sequential practice for reloading a crossbow historically

- is this REALLY any different to the sequence of needing to practice with a normal bow, either a longbow or composite bow since youd do a ton of practice to learn to smoothly and consistently shoot a bow as well.
(since you can fumble a bow as well (like, drop the arrow or not be able to smoothly nock... (or is this easier)

-lastly, while stress affects fine motor functions, i would imagine a crossbowman doesnt deal with quite as much fumbling nor does he have to deal with lots of small booms going off every few seconds all around him


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R. Kolick





Joined: 04 Feb 2012

Posts: 114

PostPosted: Fri 21 Aug, 2015 11:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been shooting for 8 years and an observation I've noticed is that it take about the same amount of time to train a bowmen to be accurate at close to middle distances (say up to fifty yards) as it does to train a crossbowman the major advantage that crossbows have (and by extension guns) is that they gain effective power faster and skill retention is longer.

with a bow its easy to train someone to shoot accurately with a light bow (40-50# or less) but it takes years to build up the muscle and strengthen the tendons to use a bow heavy enough to be effective in war (110#+) however with a cross bow you can train on any weight bow and just as easily use a bow strong enough to be useful in war with only minor adjustments.

another thing is you need to practice constantly to keep any respectable level of accuracy with a traditional bow especially at high weights to maintain the muscle to shoot over long periods with out hurting yourself. i shoot a 77# english longbow and if i don't shoot at least once a week I lose a lot of stamina just because the strain it puts on the muscles and it throws of my shots. in comparison if you put down a 600# crossbow for a week you don't have the same muscle fatigue and in my experience anyways you accuracy improves much quicker than if you where using a bow

so while the sequence is identical (nock, draw release- prime,load,fire- draw,load,release) the mechanics are different

i hope this helped and sorry if i rambled
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