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    How many meters could the most powerful handheld crossbows shoot over a horizontal trajectory?

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    JimKS
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    How many meters could the most powerful handheld crossbows shoot over a horizontal trajectory?

    Post by JimKS on Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:36 pm

    I've read articles that claim that medieval crossbows could accurately hit a target more than 300 yards away. However, I don't whether to believe that, considering that the modern crossbows that I've seen can't accurately hit a target more than 60 yards away. 

    What was the effective range of the most powerful handheld medieval crossbows?
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    Re: How many meters could the most powerful handheld crossbows shoot over a horizontal trajectory?

    Post by Geezer on Sat Jun 28, 2014 3:02 pm

    Well, if you're talking about true point-blank, fired horizontally from the shoulder... say 6 feet from the ground, from a medieval bow, you'll get @ 200 fps... maybe as much as 250 or as little as 150, depending on the weight of projectile, efficiency of prod, etc. etc. So point blank will probably be around 50 yards... that's when the bolt hits the dirt.  Some modern crossbows get up to 400 fps, so their point blank would be rather longer, but not awfully much. 
    If you want to know about Effective Range, strong medieval bows, shooting heavy bolts will max-out at about 300 yards, released at 45 degrees.  Sir Ralph Payne Gallwey got 460 yards out of a 1200 lb. steel bow, with 4 ounce bolts... that's pretty darned far.  But in fact, hunting ranges were probably no more than 50 yards.  One international shooting match in the late 15th century featured a 15 cm target at @ 100 meters.  (this is all recollection... the story came from the new Metropolitan crossbow book... I think) at a 15 cm target.  Archers got 100 shots, and the winner got @ 40 on target.  So I think you could say nobody but William Tell or Robin Hood would bother to shoot at a person or a deer at over 100 yards, unless they had lots of spare bolts handy.  Emperor Maximilian (Hapsburg) is supposed to have shot a Chamois with a crossbow at some stupendous range... like 175 yards, and he may have done so, but I'll bet he missed a lot first.  After all, if you shoot enough bolts into the blue, eventually you'll hit something worthwhile.  So practically speaking, medieval crossbows were no more accurate than modern ones, outside the fact that some of them were to our eyes ridiculously powerful, and hence could push a Really Heavy bolt very far down range.
    So long range shooting into the brown 350 yards. Shooting at masses of enemy troops... 250 yards. Showing off to your friends with fancy shooting at something... like a wand or watermelon... 100 yards.  Practical hunting, 50 yards.  There, does that answer your question?  Geezer.
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    Re: How many meters could the most powerful handheld crossbows shoot over a horizontal trajectory?

    Post by Todd the archer on Sun Jun 29, 2014 4:02 am

    I would like to add that today modern crossbow are accurate to beyond 60 yards. Just watch some on youtube.

    Here is a link to another site showing how accurate they can be.

    http://www.crossbownation.com/forum/topic/30614-robinhood-with-the-raptor-almost-double-robinhood-60-yards/

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    Re: How many meters could the most powerful handheld crossbows shoot over a horizontal trajectory?

    Post by Rizzar on Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:30 am

    Well, horizontal trajectory has nothing to do with range and accuracy.

    A ballistic curve can be, with the right weapon, bolt and sight, very accurate.

    I do not have numbers and noone should expect wonders nut those examples are a good basis.
    Besides even very strong steel crossbows do not throw further than normal ones (if both are built to its maximum power), the difference is a higher possible bolt weight causing higher energy impact on target.

    A stell bow is always limited to the material, steel is slow and "strong", wood fast but "weak" concerning stored energy.


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    Re: How many meters could the most powerful handheld crossbows shoot over a horizontal trajectory?

    Post by Geezer on Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:15 pm

    Rizzar:  You're basically right, having a stronger bow doesn't necessarily make it shoot any further, particularly if it's a heavy, slow steel bow.  But in principle, heavier bolts may have less surface area relative to their mass, so given the same initial velocity and takeoff angle, with all other things being equal, they may lose velocity more slowly to friction.  Hence, very powerful bows (cross or hand) may shoot a little further if properly matched to projectile, but when you go out on the field, you're gonna discover it's very hard to hit any sort of archery target at a hundred yards.  In the old days, they did 'clout' shooting at 200-300 yards.  That's a tall stick (wand) with a piece of cloth tied to the top.  The trick was to loose at high angle and get closest to the stick.  That's how 'rovers' was shot on the old Finsbury Fields archery course N. or London, back in the 15th century.  Geezer

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    Re: How many meters could the most powerful handheld crossbows shoot over a horizontal trajectory?

    Post by Rizzar on Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:06 pm

    Ahh, Geezer, you´re absolutely right.

    I payed the price my physics teacher should do caused by his simplyfieing and excluding air friction.

    Simply forgot about its better resistance.

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    Re: How many meters could the most powerful handheld crossbows shoot over a horizontal trajectory?

    Post by Geezer on Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:03 pm

    And just to make things more complex, there are problems of scale with really large bows.  When they get beyond a certain size, the limitations of materials become paramount.  (Consider that a 10 foot long 2X4 pine board will break more easily than a 2 foot board... the short board is much stiffer and will take higher loads, due to the leverage provided by a long board.) so there are real limits imposed on making giant bows... which is why Leonardo da Vinci's giant, wheeled crossbow is a non-starter. The leverage of those long limbs will simply overwhelm the materials-strength.  That's why really big catapults usually relied on torsion provided by hair or sinew rope, rather than the flat spring of a bow.  There's always something.... Geezer.

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    Re: How many meters could the most powerful handheld crossbows shoot over a horizontal trajectory?

    Post by wdh1974 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:48 pm

    Just add this to your crossbow, would be interesting if the FPS from a geezer style would line up with this, its pin point dial in by the yardage. in other words, you ZERO the scope to 20 yards, then 60 yards, then bam, its adjustable by 1 yard at a time from 20 out to 100 yards. its magic! lol, or math, which ever.....rage that target out to 46 yards, jsut dial in 46 and your dead zeroed.

    http://www.hhasports.com/catalog/8/optimizer-speed-dial/

    maybe build a rock solid mounting system for a medieval style and throw a holo sight on it

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    Re: How many meters could the most powerful handheld crossbows shoot over a horizontal trajectory?

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