Re: [SCA-Archery] Crossbow Inspection Criteria
- Hi everybody. I'm up in Oregon and i was wondering if you all knew where i could purchase sca combat crossbows and bolts...and any input on what type is good, what type to stay away from....etc...any help would be appreciated....thanks, Greg
Hugh Prescott <hugh345@...> wrote:
Just a couple of point in clarification based on about 14 years of building
target and combat crossbows.
Note that Barnett prods when installed in a Barnett crossbow can be wiggled
and appear somewhat loose when properly mounted. This is because Barnett
recommends that their prods be mounted with a rubber pad between it and the
stock. This reduces the stress on the prod at the edges of the stock.
A loose prod is not a problem if it stayes in the same place when being
used. Just because it is loosely mounted is not a safety hazzard, the
builder is just following the manufactures recommended mounting practices in
the case of a Barnett prod. My experience with Gladuis prods indicate that a
slightly movable prod shoots with better accuracy than a hard mounted one,
possibably because less of the vibration fron the prod is transfered to the
prod at release.
An off center prod or a string not quite 90 degrees to the stock is also not
a safety or hazzard problem. In any well constructed and tuned crossbow the
prod may be shifted sideways to correct for a stronger limb on one side. If
not mounted at the "center of force" a crossbow with a strong limb will
throw the bolt with a butt left or right attitude degrading it accuracy.
That is one of the things that causes bolts to pinwheel.
I have encountered this belief (Solid fixed mount, mechanical centered prod
& string 90 degrees) at many wars over the years. I can usually talk the
inspecting marshal through the logic of why it's done and that it's not a
safety problem but it's getting to be a old record.
There is a lot more to building a crossbow than sticking a prod on the end
of a stick.
Even funnier was the VIP Marshal that saw me press cocking my crossbow at
Pennsic one year and ran over ordering me not to do that as it was unsafe. A
Calontir Archer Duke steped into the conversation which ended up with
everyone aggreeing that it was safe and that the only reason she thought it
was unsafe was because she had never seen it done before. She had never met
a crosbowman with a bad back!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce R. Gordon"
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2005 9:02 AM
Subject: [SCA-Archery] Crossbow Inspection Criteria
> I agree with Carolus here, trying to describe an inspection procedure
in print is quite difficult - invariably, someone else will point out
something you forgot, or have difficulty in understanding what you've
written. Personal one-on-one training is best, particularly as there is no
one "right way" of doing things - every marshal has their own style.
> Still, I offer the following as an exercise in, not futility, perhasps,
but as an example of the possibilities and perils inherent in such an
attempt. Readers are invited to comment, and consider how they might do
> Crossbow Inspection Criteria
> 1). Briefly look over the crossbow overall. You are looking for major
structural problems (cracked stock, badly misaligned prod, obviously broken
or frayed bindings, etc.), and also checking for SCA-legal issues (not a
center-shot, no cams, not a break-cocking style, no hollow stock, no front
> 2). Carefully examine the string set, to determine if it lies at 90
degrees to the stock. This can be determined best by use of a small
T-square, but any convenient right angle can be made use of.
> 3). Carefully sight down the release surface to determine if the string
lies fully on it. Ideally, the string should rise in an extrtemely gentle
angle from the nocks to the release table from either side. It is acceptable
if the string traverses from nock to nock in a straight line in contact at
all points with the release table. There will likely be problems if a gap
can be seen between the string and the release table.
> 4). Carefully examine the prods, largely to determine if they are centered
correctly. If they "don't look right, somehow", measure each limb by means
of a ruler, from tip to edge of the stock - the results should be identical.
> 5). Check the string, as you would for a handbow. You are looking for
adequate waxing and general health, as opposed to fraying, "fuzzies", loose
or broken servings, etc.
> 6). Check the bindings by attempting to move the prod. Brace the crossbow
on the ground, pointing up. Firmly holding the stock in one hand, first try
to move the prod in the other, at 90 degrees to the stock (in other words,
try to slide the prod out of the bow). Then, try to wiggle the prod (looking
at the front of the bow, try to make the prod move like an airplane
propeller). Finally, with bow still braced on the ground, grasp each end of
the prod and attempt to move them up and down. In all these checks, there is
a fine art to applying not enough force, and too much force. You should
expect some slight movement in any or all the dimensions, but nothing
significant. It is recommended that persons unfamiliar with crossbow
inspection watch an experienced marshal do this, and then train under
supervision to get a feel for this step. NOTE. There is a variant system of
holding the prod in place which makes use of small metal wedges, hammered
gently into place. If encountered, !
> these should be carefully examined to insure they are tight, but on no
account should the inspector attempt to remove or wiggle them.
> 7). Check the release mechanism.
> a). Roller nuts: Holding the crossbow in one hand, brace your thumb
against the teeth of the nut, and push. There should be no give. While
continuing to apply pressure, gently pull the tickler (trigger bar). There
should be a sudden rotation of the nut forward and down. Problems are
possible if "stickiness", sliding, or other anomaly presents itself.
> b). Barnetts and other claw styles: Insert a strong but relatively slender
cord (unused crossbow string is ideal) into the release chamber, tug firmly
on the ends to apply pressure to the claws. Gently ease back the trigger -
again, there should be a sudden release of tension as the string comes out.
NOTE. Many of these type of crossbows have auto-safety mechanisms, and
pulling the trigger will have no effect whatsoever until the safety is
toggled off (by means of a small bar to one side of the release mounting.
Note also that some of these styles have a lock toggle inside the release
chamber, to be activated when the string is pulled during cocking. You may
have to fiddle with the mechanism somewhat to get everything to work in the
manner in which it should, for inspection procedures.
> c). Other systems: Occasionally variant release systems will be
encountered, normally involving push-pegs (from underneath) or overhead
paddle-levers. These are normally much simpler mechanically than the more
typical releases, and should present no difficulties in determining if they
work properly. But note, these systems often stress the string in odd
patterns, so if encountered, be sure to check the string carefully once
> A general note on what NOT to do: Do not cock a crossbow during
inspection. A cocked crossbow without a loaded bolt is a severe danger to
itself, and a cocked crossbow with a loaded bolt is a deadly weapon.
> 1). Checking bolts is relatively straightforward, and quite similar to
checking arrows. Essentially, you are looking for evidence of greenstick
fracturing, compression fracturing, and genmeral signs of health or
otherwise in the shaft. Fletching need not necessarily be feathers,
acceptable period fletches were of a variety of materials, including vellum.
Plastic fletching is not permitted, though, and the shafts must be of wood,
as with arrows. Points should be secure, there are no nock points. Length
is, in the case of crossbows, not a safety concern. Butt caps may be
present - they are not necessary but some archers like them. If you see butt
caps, though, note whether they are flush with the shaft or not - often they
are very slightly larger than the shaft itself, in which case they will very
slowly debrade and mar the surface of the release table - this should be
pointed out to the owner. It is not a safety issue as such, though.
> Three things never heard from the mouth of a Celt:
> "Do these colors match?"
> "Is this too much jewelry?"
> "Is that my drink?"
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