Continental Bolt Shooting Crossbow
height as regards the elevation of the fore-sight bar E above the stock
of the crossbow. The screw-heads of the frame are adjusted by means of
a little spanner.
The back-sight is an ordinary peep-sight. Aim is taken by first looking
through one of the apertures in the back-sight, and then covering the mark
with the small point E, of the fore-sight bar.
The stock of the crossbow is 2 ft. 6 in. long, and 1 1/2 in. wide across
its grooved surface. From its fore-end to the catch of the lock 15 in.,
the draw of the bow-string being 6 in.
The steel bow is 3 ft. long. It is 7/8 in. wide and 3/4 in. thick at
The bolt is 12 in. long and 9/16 in. in diameter, and weighs 1 3/4 oz.
In shape it is the same as the bolt shown in fig. 157, p. 218.
The target-shooting range of this crossbow is from 70 to 80 yards, its
extreme range about 280 yards.
These weapons were very popular on the Continent, especially in Germany,
Switzerland and Belgium, from about 1750 to about 1820.
It is said that in the first quarter of the eighteenth century similar
crossbows were employed by the Swiss and Tyrolese hunters for killing chamois.
It is possible an earlier weapon of the kind was thus used,1 though
certainly not the one shown opposite, which, owing to its delicate sights
and high finish, was evidently intended for target practice only.
There is no doubt that at 60 yards, a sharp heavy bolt discharged from
a crossbow with a steel bow of such length and strength, would cause the
death of a chamois. It should also be remembered that there were a hundred
chamois to shoot at in the beginning of the eighteenth century where there
would be only one now.
1 How to stalk and kill chamois with the crossbow
is fully told by Gaston Phoebus in his famous book on sport written in
the fourteenth century (see note on Gaston Phoebus, p. 78). I may add that
the sporting crossbow of the fourteenth century was not so powerful or
accurate a weapon as the one described in this chapter.