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    sights on medieval crossbows

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    Post by Todd the archer Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:11 pm

    First topic message reminder :

    Seeing the thread on set triggers got me thinking; what sighting systems were used in medieval times. I know that sighting over the bolt was probally the most common method used, but think I remember seeing sights of some sort on Italian crossbows. I hope some more knowledgeable people could explain the different types used back then, maybe with pictures.

    thanks, Todd
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    Post by ferdinand Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:56 am

    Hmm, bolt length is something wich can change when using different bolts.
    Its not really medieval but i am considering making a folding rear and fixed front sight. Anyone seen those on medieval bows? Pictures are much apreciated!!!
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    Post by Rizzar Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:02 am

    Greetings

    Harmuth describes in "Die Armbrust" different types of sights.
    The ones seen in the italian video above are a help to control elevation though he mentiones to have a mark on the belly of the prod instead a special attachment like with those sporting weapons.
    I would assume sights were common with high quality hunting crossbows, too.

    Sensfelder writes in the book fo the Netherlands Royal Army Museum Collection about some of the crossbows with hints to sights but mostly later ones (18-19th century).

    The thumbthing is quite easy, the point is to make shots as constant as they can be, so with dents (or similar hints) in different positions in your tiller where you can put your thumb in and afterwards laying your cheek on, you can regulate elevation.
    With this bolt length has to be equal, too.

    Greetings Rizzar
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    Post by jds6 Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:38 am

    Are there any known photos of these so called notches or dents on any crossbow. Would love to see what they looked like.

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    Post by Geezer Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:39 am

    Dents or reference-points for sighting: easiest to find for many 16th century Germanic bows is a dimple in the top of the stock, near the tail. Often it's shaped like a scallop (pilgrim's shell) and sometimes it's even made of inlet ivory. The 1592 bow I referenced earlier has a thin iron plate that shows at the top of the stock... has several little notches on it. I can't think of any other reason for it to be there. Geezer
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    Post by jds6 Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:42 am

    Thanks Geezer. So let me see if I am following this right. By placing your thumb in the dent, following the line of sight to the bolt tip, the closer the dent to you the higher the elevation? So was this method used from shooting with the butt of the tiller against the shoulder or atop?

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    Post by Geezer Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:27 pm

    in all probability, the dimple was used for shooting 'freehand', with the butt of the bow clear of the shoulder. You sight over the bolt-point. For longer ranges, you drop the butt of the stock, rather than raising the point. Does this make sense? Geezer
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    Post by jds6 Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:40 pm

    Makes perfect sense. Thanks for this valuable information!

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    Post by Stonedog Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:06 pm

    Ferdinand- good idea! How would I make a read peep l-r adjustable for windbags when using the tip of the point as a front reference point?

    Ideas or pics? It definitely has me thinking ...
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    Post by ferdinand Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:30 am

    Stonedog wrote:Ferdinand- good idea! How would I make a read peep l-r adjustable for windbags when using the tip of the point as a front reference point?

    Ideas or pics? It definitely has me thinking ...
    I made a really easy one on my first bow. The topic should be around somewhere. It works really well, its fast and easy to aim. Currently working on a different one i copied from an existing one that whas posted in this topic from a privat collection. It has 3 points of elevation, folded down thru a groove and up thru a hole in the middle or a nother notch on the top. Once i take out the sideways deveation i practice different distances to see where i am with the three points of elevation.
    I am really exited to go and tune it. But after it is mounted i have to heat up the forge to make bodkin heads. The bolts need to be exactly the same length and weight. I'll post pictures if i can.
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    Post by ferdinand Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:38 am

    This is a link to an earlier topic with loads of pictures and links to other sites! https://thearbalistguild.forumotion.com/t372-simple-rear-sight-design

    And this is the one what i made up.
    https://2img.net/h/i1261.photobucket.com/albums/ii583/ferdinand1980/DSC_2943.jpg

    The new one i will post later.
    Hope this helps u in any way. Lots of discussion on sights around, seems like we al want to be a William Tell and get that aple!
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    Post by stoneagebowyer Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:37 am

    Ferdi, I'd rather shoot the kid in the forehead and say "whoops, sorry." Smile Cool little sight. How did you fabricate that? From sheet steel? Welding or forging?
    BTW, I just picked up a simple flux wire welder last week. Because I have to work outside (workshop is too full of wood and other inflammible things), I opted for this method. it should give me more options for making various components like ticklers, plus I get to wear all that cool protective gear. My wife said I look like a mass murderer with the welding helmet on. Too many horror movies, perhaps.
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    Post by ferdinand Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:58 pm

    stoneagebowyer wrote:Ferdi, I'd rather shoot the kid in the forehead and say "whoops, sorry." Smile Cool little sight. How did you fabricate that? From sheet steel? Welding or forging?
    BTW, I just picked up a simple flux wire welder last week. Because I have to work outside (workshop is too full of wood and other inflammible things), I opted for this method. it should give me more options for making various components like ticklers, plus I get to wear all that cool protective gear. My wife said I look like a mass murderer with the welding helmet on. Too many horror movies, perhaps.
    Dane
    It is sheet steel and i solderd it to the stem with silver.
    About that helmet, u shoold take it in to the bedroom haha! Next to the egg whisker and ze wet sellerie! (little 'Allo Allo' humor).
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    Post by ferdinand Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:08 pm

    Allright! Here goes nothing! This what i came up with. Bolt head is the forward aim point. The hole is for the resetting. Didnt have enough space so had to make do like this.
    Its all forged out off 10mm round bar. sights on medieval crossbows - Page 2 DSC_3996_zps6361cb72
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    Post by ferdinand Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:33 pm

    And this is one looking over the bolt. Thru the top groove u can see the tip of the bolt!!!sights on medieval crossbows - Page 2 DSC_3995_zps4d37ae7e
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    Post by kenh Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:28 pm

    Slightly off topic, Ferdinand, but how is the decorative bone plate with the black line drawing done on that prod? Looks very nice.
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    Post by ferdinand Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:14 pm

    kenh wrote:Slightly off topic, Ferdinand, but how is the decorative bone plate with the black line drawing done on that prod? Looks very nice.
    Hey Kenh!
    Dont think people will mind if i tell u!
    Its imitation ivory wich i engraved with a dremel tool. Some black paint and when its dry a quick sandpaper over the top. The 'ivory' is old domino pieces wich i cut straigt and thin and glued together. Worked fine! Lots of work though, but cost me a buck and a half! The picture i copied from a site.
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    Post by stoneagebowyer Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:53 am

    ferdinand wrote:
    stoneagebowyer wrote:Ferdi, I'd rather shoot the kid in the forehead and say "whoops, sorry." Smile Cool little sight. How did you fabricate that? From sheet steel? Welding or forging?
    BTW, I just picked up a simple flux wire welder last week. Because I have to work outside (workshop is too full of wood and other inflammible things), I opted for this method. it should give me more options for making various components like ticklers, plus I get to wear all that cool protective gear. My wife said I look like a mass murderer with the welding helmet on. Too many horror movies, perhaps.
    Dane
    It is sheet steel and i solderd it to the stem with silver.
    About that helmet, u shoold take it in to the bedroom haha! Next to the egg whisker and ze wet sellerie! (little 'Allo Allo' humor).
    I took your advice, and she screamed and threw things at me. I kept telling her to blame that guy Ferdi Smile
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    Post by kenh Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:05 am

    Thanx Ferdi. I'm thinking of adding some faux irovy panels to my latest build (see Loose Laminate Pinlock). My faux Ivory is Holly wood (not Hollywood) which is nearly white. Same idea would apply but I'd have to be a bit more careful with the paint...
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    Post by ferdinand Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:09 am

    stoneagebowyer wrote:
    ferdinand wrote:
    stoneagebowyer wrote:Ferdi, I'd rather shoot the kid in the forehead and say "whoops, sorry." Smile Cool little sight. How did you fabricate that? From sheet steel? Welding or forging?
    BTW, I just picked up a simple flux wire welder last week. Because I have to work outside (workshop is too full of wood and other inflammible things), I opted for this method. it should give me more options for making various components like ticklers, plus I get to wear all that cool protective gear. My wife said I look like a mass murderer with the welding helmet on. Too many horror movies, perhaps.
    Dane
    It is sheet steel and i solderd it to the stem with silver.
    About that helmet, u shoold take it in to the bedroom haha! Next to the egg whisker and ze wet sellerie! (little 'Allo Allo' humor).
    I took your advice, and she screamed and threw things at me. I kept telling her to blame that guy Ferdi Smile

    Did she really?! U must be doing something wrong....
    I'll have to come over then, show u what i mean! Haha
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    Post by stoneagebowyer Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:55 am

    Come on by and show us, by all means. I have both electric and manual egg beaters and some wisks, too. Smile And a spaetzel maker, as well.
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    Post by ferdinand Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:53 am

    stoneagebowyer wrote:Come on by and show us, by all means. I have both electric and manual egg beaters and some wisks, too. Smile And a spaetzel maker, as well.
    Oe la lá! I think i will take yvette and ze electric egg-beater in ze upstairs room!!!!! sander lol!
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    Post by drawknife Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:51 am

    Hi, as far as I know the medieval crossbow did not have a sight, the crossbow was aimed using the thumb knuckle on the top of the stock and the point of the bolt as the forward sight. I presume the shooter used aiming points as do longbow archers today, and would know the ranges of their bows through constant practice. When I shoot my longbow barebow style sometimes my sighting point is a marker well below the target for short range.

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