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Crossbows - Everything about Building, Modding, and Using your Crossbow Gear

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3 posters

    Medieval Slur bows

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    Shamwari
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    Post by Shamwari Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:36 am

    Being new to this site you will excuse me if I am bring up a subject that may have been well-covered in the past. I have noticed that slur bows occasionally appear in the inventories of weapons held in armouries during the Middle Ages. For example,in Elizabethan times an inventory of weaponry at the Tower of London included a considerably quantity of "crossbows, slur bows and long-bow arrows for fireworks"
    Few slur bows (and as far as I know, no English-made ones)
    survive and apart from knowing that the bolt was discharged through a tube, we don't appear to know much about them.
    The fact that the bolts had no fletchings must have detracted from their accuracy but presumably there must have been circumstances when their use was prefered over crossbows or longbows. What could it have been?
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    Post by Geezer Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:42 am

    Slurbolts unfletched? You may be confusizing slurbows with bullet-bows. Though some slurbows may indeed have shot their bolts out of a tube, its clear others had a top-plate over the bolt-groove to help keep the bolt in place. Slurbows seem to have been used at sea...possibly for shooting fire-bolts, which may explain the bolt-cover. Anyway, with a top-plate rather than a tube, you can shoot fletched bolts from a slur-bow.
    As far as accuracy without fletchings, or at least without large fletchings, that's do-able. Chinese repeating crossbows don't use fletching either, but with properly designed bolts and reasonably narrow bodkin-type points, you can get accurate flight.
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    Post by kenh Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:14 pm

    From my reading I understand that slurbow bolts were unfletched, or used carved channels in the aft end of the bolt body. Some were fletched with very low feathers. Since they were muzzle loaded rather than top loaded, minimal fletching was the rule of thumb.

    Some slurbows had what looked like a tube barrel but it was actually a "top plate" for the groove channel.

    I get the impression from the literature that slurbows were sort of the period equivilent of the .22 rifle -- a weapon for plinking and shooting small game at close ranges. As Geezer says, with properly designed bolts (nose heavy) you don't need much if any fletching over distances under 30 yards.

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