Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Bows and Arrows

Crossbow Basics.

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Steve Cover:
Lots of good information on crossbows on this site.

However, I haven't seen a lot on the actual mechanics.

For example, draw weight does not necessarily mean a faster bolt speed.

There is also the draw length to consider.  The longer the string stays in contact with the bolt, the longer the power transmitted by the string has to accelerate it.

When we get into inexpensive 100 lb - 150 lb draw weight crossbows often seen in advertisements, take a look at the draw length.

Back in the late 1950 to 1960s Wamo offered an 80 lb draw aluminum prod crossbow.  It shot fairly well because it had an 18" draw.

The small inexpensive crossbows I see advertised today might have a 150lb draw weight but only a 12" draw.  These don't shoot any better than the old 80LB Wamo.

Now to contrast these cheap bows to the "Gee-Wiz" top end crossbows available today, they all have a reasonable draw length and are very powerful indeed.



Learning to keep the fingers out of the line of the bow while loading a bolt.



25 year old Barnett Panzer 150 LB 13" draw crossbow.  Modified by adding a recoil pad the lengthen stock, and a foot stirrup to assist in cocking.

I make my own strings.  Center serving is 0.020" Stainless Aircraft Safety wire.

Hope this has made some sense and clarification

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS:
Keep the string well waxed and inspect often... Any frayed areas mean new string now.
Always wear eye protection.... A broken string propelled by a 150lb prod can take out an eye instantly.

Steve

Jimbo:
"SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS:
Keep the string well waxed and inspect often... Any frayed areas mean new string now.
Always wear eye protection.... A broken string propelled by a 150lb prod can take out an eye instantly."

 Damn Skippy, your sage advice deserves an ECHO BUMP!! 8)

chad234:
Steve- what would you recommend as a high quality starter crossbow? Any techinques you can suggest for cocking or shooting? 

Steve Cover:

--- Quote from: chad234 on January 30, 2010, 09:01:34 AM ---Steve- what would you recommend as a high quality starter crossbow? Any techinques you can suggest for cocking or shooting? 

--- End quote ---
How do you define "Starter"?

What do you really want a crossbow for?  The more important to your survival, the higher quality the (& price) of the bow.

I haven't shopped for a crossbow for many years.

My little Barnett is my only one.  For what I use it for, it is all I need. 

I target shoot with it, but since I make my own arrows, many of the broken arrows, become "Throwaway" bolts.

In a true apocalyptic survival scenario, I can attach broadheads to these bolts, and have a quiet shortrange weapon.

If you want to try a crossbow before committing a large sum of money, check out your local archery shop and see if there is an archery club in your area.

There is usually a crossbow owner or two in every archery club.  I'm sure that they would let you shoot one.

They would also have opinions of current offerings, much more up to date than mine.

The upscale bows available now are truly awesome, (As is their price).  But, if it's legal for you to hunt with one they are the way to go.

There many low end Barrett copies available mail order.  This will get you into crossbows cheap, and if bowfishing is a practical option, might be a good first bow. 

You can convert your cheap clone  into a fishing only setup if you upgrade to a more expensive bow.

Considerations:

My simple glass pod bow can be easily broken down and packed in a flat case I designed for it.

If you get a Block & Tackle system, takedown is impractical.

NEVER USE WOOD for crossbow bolts on the more powerful crossbows.  These are not ARROWS. 

While I make very short bolts out of broken arrows for my 150 pound Panzer, I do so at my own risk....  Always go Aluminum or Carbon for bolts.



MIDEIVIL ARROW & CROSSBOW BOLTS

If you don't make your own strings, get several replacements. 

Check the string often and keep it well waxed. (Reduces the friction within the string).

Any sign of wear, and its gone.

My Little Barret Panzer didn't have a foot stirrup when I git it.... Believe me, your stomach will thank you. 

What ever crossbow you get, put a stirrup on it.

As far as cocking assists go there are several.

The Medieval "Goat's Foot" lever is adaptable to most crossbows, and some of the shoot through trees monsters have a little windless crank to draw the bow.

My little Panzer is only 150 pounds, so, I just put my foot in the stirrup and grunt (Literally) the string back to cock it.

However, I recently ran across this picture showing a improvised cocking aid that I'm planning to make.



I have a great time with my little Barnett Panzer, and have eliminated a couple of pests on my 300 Meter Silhouette Pistol Range in Eastern Washington.

Get as many opinions as you can, and then spend wisely.

I'm sure you will have as much enjoyment as I have had.

Take Care,

Steve


chad234:
A friend of mine growing up loved crossbows. They have opened up the laws on them in MI, but I have still not gotten into them.

Seems like re-cocking in a treestand might be a dangerous proposition.

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