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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Mon 25 Sep, 2017 1:44 am    Post subject: 1250 lbs windlass crossbow tested         Reply with quote

Hi All,

I have just posted up a new video about a 1250lbs windlass crossbow I made, shooting it, discussing it and demonstrating loading speeds.

I hope you like it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMoL_SBD6gw&t=254s

Regards

Tod

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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Mon 25 Sep, 2017 6:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very impressive power and range although accurate range for hitting a single target might be closer to 100 yards, but shooting at a massed formation at maximum range could be harassing fire.

If the number of bolts where limited very maximum shooting of volleys might be rarer than what we assume often based on movies ?

You almost need to use a windlass to pull out bolts from the targets when you had to put your feet to the target to get the leverage to pull the bolt out. Wink Laughing Out Loud

If shot into a tree trunk at the same range I doubt you could remove the bolts by hand, and the bolt/quarrel would probably be too damaged to reuse without repair or completely trashed: Maybe the point could be reused if one managed to pull it out and the bolt shaft wasn't pulled out of the point's socket.

The noise and recoil shock seems to be contrary to our expectation although I think you have mentioned in the past that crossbows are at least moderately noisy.

Very entertaining video and impressive work making the crossbow.

Is one of the two windlass crossbows you made is the one that Skallagrim ordered ? You should mention to him that bolts may be impossible to remove without damage depending on target stop selection.

The rotation of the NUT is important for the crossbow string to be held by the nut and I wonder what happens if one doesn't reset the NUT in the correct position when re-cocking the crossbow ? If this might cause damage to the crossbow or even be dangerous to the person loading the crossbow you should be sure to include this information to the buyer(s).

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Henry R. Gower




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Sep, 2017 12:08 pm    Post subject: 1250 lb. windlass crossbow         Reply with quote

Very impressive. I always wondered what the real range of one of those with a war quarrel would be. Oh, sure you can read it in Payne-Gallway and other literature, but it's just numbers. If someone told me 235 yards I wouldn't be able to picture it. However, seeing it paced out on Tod's video, well, that's the kind of demonstrative evidence that impresses with visual impact.

Henry
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Henry O.





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PostPosted: Mon 25 Sep, 2017 12:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Tod,

I had a thought the short draw lengths and relatively poor efficiency of crossbows like this. One of the issues when it comes to fighting with bows and arrows is that they still have a fairly low projectile velocity. Even at a skirmish range of 30-50 yards a longbow might need to aim 12 feet ahead of a sprinting person, or worse if the target is paying attention they might have enough time to raise their shield, step out of the way, or duck behind cover before the arrow hits.

So does it feel like a shorter draw length makes the crossbow more "reactive" or makes it easier to hit a moving target at short ranges? Maybe the idea behind the design was to have a weapon that could pierce armor but still minimized acceleration time and maximized initial velocity to reduce the time between the trigger and target?
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Gregory T Kallok




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Sep, 2017 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This was a good video. I hunt with a compound bow which is a far cry from your crossbow. After discussing this vid with some friends that do use modern crossbows the conclusion is that your bow with a proper razerhead , one could use it for hunting deer easily. The accurate range would be in the 50 yard range while the range one could hit a tall vertical target like a man would be greater, maybe in the 80-100 yard ranger consistently and with a fair amount of practice. Good vid
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Sep, 2017 2:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Huh. If we believe Ralph Payne-Gallwey's range results with a similar 1,200lb crossbow, the historical crossbow he used must have been somehow more efficient. And not just a little bit more efficient, either: 460 yards is a lot more than 235 yards.

What's the powerstroke on this crossbow?

Have you done any velocity tests with this bow? It's possible the bolts aren't optimized for range.

In the tests from The Great Warbow, the 150lb yew bow they used shot a heavier arrow (3.38oz) a bit farther, 250-270 yards.

Assuming the same aerodynamics, which is unlikely, that would imply bolts from this crossbow have less than 124 J of initial kinetic energy.

It's likewise possible that Payne-Gallwey was wrong or intentionally deceptive.

If a 1,250lb windlass crossbow only manages something short of 120 J with a 3.1oz bolt, then the crossbow's advantage must have been accuracy rather than 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.

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Thu 28 Sep, 2017 1:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the response guys.

In Response to Jean, no this bow is not one of the two I recently made but was made several years ago and was back for repair and so is not Skallagrims bow. However I should receive the bolt heads tomorrow, so it should ship next week I think.

In response to Henry O. Yes at 25 yds you can step aside from an arrow off a 70lbs longbow if you are paying attention, so you could step aside from this at say 30-35yds.

In response to Benjamin. I have wondered about his claim for many years, as I have never seen proof or even got hints that this may be possible, so at the moment I would say I am very skeptical.

The bottom line is that I am using a bow of the same profile and size as originals, in a spring steel with a similar draw length/powerstroke and shooting similar weight bolts. My string sits just on the stock and does not bare down heavily, the string is the same kind of size as originals and the bolts are similar.

Basically I have no doubt there are little tricks and things that I am missing that out forefathers knew about to maximise the results from the bow, but could those tricks more than double the distance a bow would shoot? I doubt it.

I suspect in a very Victorian way, he had an agenda and made it up to fit the story; he would not be the first. The other alternative is that it is possible he took a contemporary Flemish target bow of similar weight (but very different design) and used that and convinced himself that because the weight was the same, the effect was the same.

That said I know a UK guy who made an 800lbs 'medieval' bow that he claims shot 500yds, but that was with a light bolt, dacron string and an 8.5" draw and as we all know 2" makes a world of difference.

I am personally now happy that my bows perform pretty much as steel bows performed then. That said I am still hunting for the 'little tricks' . For the record a string that severely cants over the stock and so rubs hard, loses about 10% off bolt speed and yet you still see bows in museums with a set up that does this.

Tod

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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Sep, 2017 2:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The thing is, if historical windlass crossbows only managed around 120 J with a 3.1oz bolt, what did, say, the very popular goat's-foot-lever crossbows deliver in terms of kinetic energy? 80-90 J? That's still enough to be credibly threatening, but not very impressive.

Additionally, what can we make of the accounts, mostly from before the era of steel bows, of the crossbow's tremendous power? Were 11th/12th-century crossbow more powerful than 15th/16th-century windlass bows? Were 11th/12th-century bows somehow so soft that significantly less than 120 J inspired awe?

I don't get it.

Of course, there is that mid-15th-century account of a Dutch crossbow volley doing about as much harm "as a shower of rotten apples." If 120-150 J was the pinnacle of crossbow power and English warbows performed about the same at the common 150-160lb draw weight, then it's not surprising that English archers outcompeted crossbowers on various occasions.

Assuming the above is correct, then Manchu bows look even more impressive. According to this test, which has some issues, an 82lb Manchu bow shot a 2.82oz arrow at 190 fps for 134 J.

Even a 50lb Manchu-style bow, albeit made of made of fiberglass, managed 74 J with a 1.71oz arrow.

If these numbers are all approximately correct, a 1,250lb steel crossbow, 150lb yew bow, and 80lb Manchu bow all performed similarly with a roughly 3oz projectile.

That supports the old narrative that English yew bows were just generally better than crossbows - except, perhaps, in terms of accuracy - as well as the notion that Asian nongunpowder projectile weapons were just generally better than European ones.

It's also possible that composite European crossbows performed better than steel ones, but that steel won out for cost and maintenance reasons.

I'd still be curious if you've done any chronograph tests on this 1,250lb crossbow, to get the exact velocity and kinetic energy.

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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