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Trebuchet Catapults - Fully Assembled Working Model Trebuchets , Trebuchet Kits , Trebuchet Plans

The Crossbow   >  Chapter 4   >  Bolts Used with Crossbows  >  p.17

Table of Contents List of Illustrations Index Appendix

The Bolts Used with Crossbows

the former never seeming to feel the full energy of the bow-string of a powerful crossbow.

Even bolts suitable for a large sporting crossbow require to be from 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 oz. in weight. Fig. 77, p. 126.

In order to give a sufficient substance for the thick string of the crossbow to act against, the height of the bolt at its butt-end was the same as the diameter of the bowstring, which was usually 1/2 in. thick.

The bolt was then tapered forward to a slightly increased size, which caused the fore-end of its shaft, over which the sheath of the iron head fitted, to be 5/8 in. thick.

This gradual preponderance of weight towards its point was a necessary feature in the short length of a bolt for a crossbow, in order to give it a proper balance.

The fact of the bolt being tapered as described, also caused the head and butt only of the bolt to rest on the grooved stock of the crossbow ; hence friction was reduced, and a longer flight given to the missile than would otherwise have been the case.

As the recovery of the bolts and arrows discharged in warfare could not well be expected, especially by the vanquished side, and as immense numbers were required, they were but of plain construction, for a bestowal of high finish would have been a waste of money and labour.

On the other hand the bolts and arrows intended for killing deer, or for target practice, were made with great nicety, their smoothly hammered steel points being shaped with particular care, and their shafts had always three feathers, the bolts and arrows used in war usually having only two.

Crossbow bolts for military service were often winged with thin strips of wood, leather, skin or horn, instead of with goose or swan feathers.

In some instances a bolt had its feathers, or the material that took the place of feathers, fixed on spirally, so as to cause the shaft to rotate, with a view to its maintaining a true direction in transit through the air.

This spinning bolt was called a ' Vireton,' from the French word ' Virer,' to turn, but I do not find it is more accurate than the usual kind, or has so long a flight.

A simple and effective method of winging crossbow bolts in former times was as follows. A fine slit was sawn a few inches up the centre of the shaft

The Crossbow   >  Chapter 4   >  Bolts Used with Crossbows  >  p.17


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The trebuchet kit includes fully precut and drilled frame parts, pins and axles, sling cord and sewn pouch, projectiles and fully illustrated assembly and firing instructions. 

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Inspired by the great war machines and siege catapults of Leonardo da Vinci , this all Red Oak hardwood trebuchet features an open counterweight cabinet for range and trajectory adjustment. 

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