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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 2:51 pm    Post subject: Assassins crossbow repro by Tod         Reply with quote

Hi All,

It has been a few years since I made one of these and so I thought I would post it up here.

I have posted a similar bow previously and there is a whole build thread here http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=191...balestrino

Ballestrinos were small, powerful crossbows commonly called 'assassins bows' that were popular in Italy and Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries. I am not quite sure what they were for and my particular opinion is that they were either executive toys or self defence weapons but personally don't believe they were for assassins as a trade group as such, although I guess they could have been used for this.

The bows are clearly very powerful, though with a short powerstroke they won't deliver what a full size bow would. This particular bow has been tested at 212lbs at 50mm (2"). There are very few of these bows existing and the only one I know vaguely near to me is one in RA at Leeds; all the ones I know about have very different trigger systems and are visually quite different. I think that there were not enough of them made to fall into standard patterns which explains the variety of styles. They all have a common layout in that they have a trigger block that slides forward and engages the string and then is drawn back using the inbuilt screw in the handle.

This particular piece has some elements in bronze and has a bronze lion brazed to the end of the twist grip.

I have made a film about the bow and that will get posted up on due course, but not for a few weeks I would think but as part of that I did some shot testing. Of the three or four bolts I shoot at 12mm ply wood, one poked its point through the back side which was unexpected and impressive for what it is especially as the bolt energy was 4.6J or 3.5ftlbs. Not an elephant stopper.

I hope you like it and any questions or comments, please fire away (pun intended).

Tod



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Preben B




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That bronze detailing really accents it beautifully, amazing piece.

I think owning one of those would drive my rust paranoia to new heights, but damn if it wouldn't be worth it, can't wait to see the video.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 5:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Absolutely awesome! The derringer of crossbows! And....a work of art from a master....as always. Big Grin ...........McM
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Ben Joy




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2018 9:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is the first I've ever seen one of these and I'm now utterly fascinated. I read the whole build thread on the first one; and I must say I'm extremely impressed.

Honestly, I like the lack of information and the possibility that, while they seem like neat "executive toys", they very well could have been actual self defense or assassination tools. Add in the fact that certain cultures had obsessions with poisons at the same time these were apparently being made, and it creates an intriguing mystery. A small "poke" from one of these with highly distilled hemlock, belladonna, foxglove, nightshade, or other poisons popular at the time would prove incapacitating (if not lethal) in short order. While certainly not anything I'd consider a "common" assassination tool, it certainly could be one for people with money; and it provides the luxury of hitting a target while they're unsuspecting. Let alone the fact it'd be bypassing the whole food taster business, that was a byproduct of the poisoning obsessions.

Sometimes a bit of mystery keeps things interesting; and much of the assassination business, through the ages, is wrought with mystery.

Regardless, I look forward to the video and applaud you for the fine work on such an exotic piece.

"Men take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities." -Napoleon Bonaparte
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Wed 31 Oct, 2018 6:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Guys,

I have made a video of this bow for YouTube and you can find it here https://youtu.be/eM9t3Zk4KCs

Matt Easton and I also had a chat and a play around with it here https://youtu.be/3A5Bgktb96o

I hope you find them interesting and enjoyable or at least one of the above.

Tod

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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Wed 31 Oct, 2018 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this Tod! It's such a cool little crossbow. It was very enjoyable to watch it in action!
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 31 Oct, 2018 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very cool video. It would be a lot of fun to shoot these!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov, 2018 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:
Hi Guys,

I have made a video of this bow for YouTube and you can find it here https://youtu.be/eM9t3Zk4KCs

Matt Easton and I also had a chat and a play around with it here https://youtu.be/3A5Bgktb96o

I hope you find them interesting and enjoyable or at least one of the above.

Tod


I watched the first video just now and I had viewed the one with Matt Easton yesterday and both videos are very entertaining and educational.

As to deadliness I agree to a degree that killing with it without using poison is impractical, but could not kill you is not 100% correct in my view: If you hit the carotid artery, maybe hitting the temple on the side of the head, through an eyeball to the brain might well kill you, although hitting these targets would be a low probability event no matter how skilled unless maybe 5 feet away.

Well, you might kill someone 6 weeks later from an infection if a gut shot reached the intestines ...... Eek!

I probably saw your earlier build video some time ago, and I didn't view it again before posting, so that video might have the answers to this question: How did they machine the frame of the body of the balestrino ? Did they have some form of machine tools at the time like milling machines or a lathe ? Hand cranked, water powered ? When historically where these in use ?

I imagine that forging is possible plus a lot of file work or cold chisels to completely make these by hand.

With your reproductions I assume that you don't limit yourself to using only hand tools when using a milling machine would make the job a lot faster ? I could imagine that doing something by hand might be essential only if doing it with power tools would fundamentally change the nature of the finish product making too different from the objective of recreating something historically correct, even if modern shortcuts are used ?

Oh, and say hello to Matt for me as I do enjoy his Youtube videos even if I don't subscribe: Note since I check on his site almost daily I don't miss any of his new videos, but I'm not adding to his statistics of subscription totals .... I guess I'm still adding to his views numbers.

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Terry Thompson




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Nov, 2018 9:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Nov, 2018 9:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean, sorry for the silence, but stuck on a phone so will answer when I can type properly

Tod

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