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    Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

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    topfmine
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    Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by topfmine on Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:17 am

    Been looking at ball shooting crossbows to see if they have the potential for accuracy compared to using a bolt/arrow. Also the life of the limbs/ prod firing a light ball, lighter than a bolt/arrow that it was designed for. Seen some reasonably priced cheap end ball/arrow shooting crossbows just to give it a go and to see if i could make one, but not worth the effort if these are just a fad or gimmick. what do you guys think and has anyone used or own one, can't seem to see any reviews on the web. https://www.surplusstore.co.uk/armex-hawk-of-the-forest-ii-recurve-crossbow.html
    See here as an example. Thought shooting a ball would benefit in not loosing arrows or bolts. Also would lead be better than steel ball especially bearing in mind the ricochet factor.
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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by kenh on Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:47 am

    Screw the "ricochet factor" -- you should be shooting responsibly against a solid backdrop, not just flinging balls any old way!  Lead balls, as a "throw it into the environment" kind of ammunition, has been banned in shotguns in most countries for many years.  Not an environmentally friendly kind of ammo.  

    Bullet- or pellet-firing crossbows have been around since the 1400s(?) -  a loooong time.  Check out Payne-Gallwey's The Crossbow for examples.  Not a "fad" but not as popular as bolt-firing bows.  

    Why?  Probably because you're throwing away virtually every bullet as opposed to occasionally losing a bolt.

    Those ball and bolt bows are a compromise; probably not particularly accurate with either.  Of course accuracy is relative --  some people want to put six bolts/pellets in a teacup at a hundred meters; others think hitting a dinner plate at 10 yards is good enough.
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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by Geezer on Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:49 am

    Geezer here, with my traditional semi-annual comments on ball-shooting bows.  Yes, stonebows have been around since at least the 14th century, and probably much longer. 
    In nineteenth century Britain, they were quite popular for small game, but seem to have been driven out of the market by .22 rimfire cartridge guns, which were cheap to shoot and more accurate.
    In medieval times stonebows were used for shooting small game: rabbits, squirrels, birids. Those guys mostly shot baked clay balls at fairly short ranges.  Now here's the disclaimer:  Beware, double-string pouched stonebows can hang up at release, and actually shoot the ball backward into your eye.  I know because I have done it.  Didn't quite lose the eye, but came very close.  If you want to build a ball shooting bow, look at Payne Gallwey's 'bullet bow' that shoots the ball down a tube.  Those won't shoot backward, no matter what you do wrong.  For accurate shooting with best power, I recommend steel balls, but old fashioned glass 'catseye' marbles make very consistent lighter shot.

    And yes, it is possiblel to make a bow that will shoot both balls and arrows. There are two approaches: either build a double-string Italian style stonebow with a removable bolt-groove, or make a ball-carrier that fits the string on a regular crossbow, and carries a ball in a cup.  Both systems have drawbacks and will be a little less efficient than either/or.  You'll end up with an inferior ball shooter that shoots bolts pretty well, or a crummy bolt shooter that maybe shoots balls fairly well. 
    If you absolutely must make a classic Italian stonebow, be sure to use a large, peephole or slotted rear sight.  That should give you some protection when/if a ball comes back at you.  Enjoy.  Geezer

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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by topfmine on Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:50 pm

    kenh wrote:Screw the "ricochet factor" -- you should be shooting responsibly against a solid backdrop, not just flinging balls any old way!  Lead balls, as a "throw it into the environment" kind of ammunition, has been banned in shotguns in most countries for many years.  Not an environmentally friendly kind of ammo.  

    Bullet- or pellet-firing crossbows have been around since the 1400s(?) -  a loooong time.  Check out Payne-Gallwey's The Crossbow for examples.  Not a "fad" but not as popular as bolt-firing bows.  

    Why?  Probably because you're throwing away virtually every bullet as opposed to occasionally losing a bolt.

    Those ball and bolt bows are a compromise; probably not particularly accurate with either.  Of course accuracy is relative --  some people want to put six bolts/pellets in a teacup at a hundred meters; others think hitting a dinner plate at 10 yards is good enough.
    First of all i know the dangers of all type of projectiles light and heavy ordnance as well as bolts and arrows, been shooting most of my life with all the firearms and other forms of weapons you can name and many more military and civilian. You certainly don't fire ball bearings at a solid back stop especially board or wood. When did i imply that i went around recklessly firing ball bearing lead and steel. Both projectile are not a friendly option anyway not just lead, not every country has these environmental laws. If i use a slingshot i use reformed 9mm pistol heads and always recover them for reuse for target practice, as for going out killing things i don't. Thanks no thanks for the safety and environmental lecture.
    As for the technical question which i was originally asking, not having used a modern ball shooting crossbow I am well aware about the stone bows of long ago and have the Gallwey book which i have made a few things from. Especially my windlass crossbow.
    Who said i was throwing away every ball if i were to use such a bow, you seem to be quite aggressive in your response as if someone p***ed on a spark plug.
    Your last paragraph was at least helpful.
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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by kenh on Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:00 pm

    Lighten up!   

    You certainly didn't come across as someone who knows everything in the universe about

     " the dangers of all type of projectiles light and heavy ordnance as well as bolts and arrows, been shooting most of my life with all the firearms and other forms of weapons you can name and many more military and civilian."


    You came across as one of the teenage Airsoft shooters who knows nothing much about anything.  And now you're coming across as an arrogant know-it-all.  
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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by Geezer on Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:16 pm

    Geezer here again: years ago, I made my first stonebow (Italian style, with the deep U front) and fired a heck of a lot of marbles with it.  In face, one can make a shot-trap to catch projectiles, which will certainly reduce your losses.  You won't get all back, but probably most.  One disadvantage I found in shooting balls vs. arrows/bolts.  With bolts, you can clearly see where you're hitting, As You Shoot, even without a spotting scope.  Shooting marbles at tin cans is quite satisfying of course, but cans make an uneven surface, so there's more chance for projectile loss and ricochet.  After blasting thru 500 hundred or so marbles, I decided shooting bolts was more satisfying and went back to one of my medieval crossbows.  It's a matter of choice of course, and its obvious lots of medieval shooters got plenty of enjoyment from stonebows.  Just remember, the double-string type can 'trip' the string at the end of its stroke, and retain the ball, to fling back in your face at recoil.  If you insist in making a ball-bow of that sort, you must take some precautions or rue the day.  And lighten up, have fun! Geezer.

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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by topfmine on Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:38 pm

    Geezer wrote:Geezer here, with my traditional semi-annual comments on ball-shooting bows.  Yes, stonebows have been around since at least the 14th century, and probably much longer. 
    In nineteenth century Britain, they were quite popular for small game, but seem to have been driven out of the market by .22 rimfire cartridge guns, which were cheap to shoot and more accurate.
    In medieval times stonebows were used for shooting small game: rabbits, squirrels, birids. Those guys mostly shot baked clay balls at fairly short ranges.  Now here's the disclaimer:  Beware, double-string pouched stonebows can hang up at release, and actually shoot the ball backward into your eye.  I know because I have done it.  Didn't quite lose the eye, but came very close.  If you want to build a ball shooting bow, look at Payne Gallwey's 'bullet bow' that shoots the ball down a tube.  Those won't shoot backward, no matter what you do wrong.  For accurate shooting with best power, I recommend steel balls, but old fashioned glass 'catseye' marbles make very consistent lighter shot.

    And yes, it is possiblel to make a bow that will shoot both balls and arrows. There are two approaches: either build a double-string Italian style stonebow with a removable bolt-groove, or make a ball-carrier that fits the string on a regular crossbow, and carries a ball in a cup.  Both systems have drawbacks and will be a little less efficient than either/or.  You'll end up with an inferior ball shooter that shoots bolts pretty well, or a crummy bolt shooter that maybe shoots balls fairly well. 
    If you absolutely must make a classic Italian stonebow, be sure to use a large, peephole or slotted rear sight.  That should give you some protection when/if a ball comes back at you.  Enjoy.  Geezer
    Hi Geezer, thanks for your response, i see that the modern ball shooting crossbows throw from a tube. Wouldn't like to build something that would cause an injury to myself, it does make you think especially when people in the past have been killed or seriously injured with the prod snapping let along a projectile flying back at you.
     It would be interesting to see if anyone used any of these modern ball shooting crossbows to see if they were consistent especially when you see the skill and marksmanship and accuracy of hits with some slingshot users who can hole the bottom end of a coke can at a 100 yards using just eye and hand coordination, thought that a ball shooting crossbow would have the advantage. Having never examined these ball shooters i wonder if the size of tube to ball would make the difference to accuracy and if there was a compromise to ball and tube size to arrow/bolt size keeping in mind that these modern ball shooters have slots in the tube to accept the fletchets of arrow which would cause friction if forced down a simple tube. Interesting design concept that could be improved upon depending upon the accuracy that could already be there. The other query was the affect on the limbs or prod, as crossbows don't like being fired without some form of projectile from them. I thought that a 8mm light steel ball which would be lighter than a bolt cause damage hence the lead ball of the same diameter being heavier.

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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by topfmine on Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:01 pm

    Don't worry i am lightened up. i can see your concern assuming i may have been a teenage airsofter who may go out and give crossbow shooting a bad name,it can easily happen in this day and age with yobs shooting a cats and dogs and abusing the very things we enjoy building making and using, only two clicks away from the authorities to ban such activities because of a few idiots, doesn't take much for that to happen. But wow I thought i was being told off and lectured by mum for assuming i was a naughty boy.  Kiss and make up now all is forgotten, back to the topic in question. 
    Shooting the stone bow with marbles was the accuracy consistent and was the accuracy the same as the  using bolts. May look into the stone bow as a build.
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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by Geezer on Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:54 pm

    The stonebows I made were pretty low power and I never spent a great deal of time looking for pinpoint accuracy, but I would say they should be capable of accuracy similar to that of crossbows of comparable power.  I think the form should admit a lot of research and development for maximum performance.  Geezer.
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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by dutchbow on Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:42 am

    The ball shooting crossbow is still being used in Belgium for competition shooting at a popinjay. These crossbows are pretty accurate.
    I have some links for more information. unfortunately they are in dutch.

    http://erfgoedceldenderland.be/img_1831/
    http://www.sintservatius.com/index.htm
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=56&v=s6H_6NntQRY
    https://www.vlas.be/vlaspdf/infofolders/balboog.pdf
    [url=http://users.skynet.be/fc753581/Geschiedenis/Geschiedenis Willem Tell.htm]http://users.skynet.be/fc753581/Geschiedenis/Geschiedenis%20Willem%20Tell.htm[/url]

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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by topfmine on Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:46 am

    I like the name ball archers, it would be interesting to find some of these designs, Thanks for enlightening me. Its only across the channel.
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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by dutchbow on Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:39 am

    I also would like to find some designs of it.
    However the design does not look to difficult, in principle it is similar to the 
    Belgian target crossbow but with a barrel added for the ball.
    In my opinion the lock can be of the same type.

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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by topfmine on Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:17 am

    Where would i find more information about these popinjay ball shooters are they called something else.

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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by topfmine on Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:04 am

    Slurbow.
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    Re: Ball shooting Crossbows worth the bother

    Post by septua on Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:07 am

    dutchbow
    The links were great. I have bookmarked most of it. The quality of barrels on these Belgian competition bows is most likely beyond most amateur builders. The 16mm lead alloy balls are also made to precise standards, however they must be somewhat loose. It has done the job a long time anyway because at 18m vertical one directional variable is minimized.
    I have commented several times here regarding my ball shooting experiments. The most important development was the track profile shown in avatar, ball never contacts track. The ball holder “shuttle” is in firm contact with the track and allows 1/2” ball bearings to group better than I can aim at 62ft 19m. The drop is about 15” 38cm.  Of course a target trap is there to catch ammo and deposit it into a plastic jar screwed into bottom back. Any balls that acquire surface defects are discarded.           

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