The Small Bolt Shooting Target Crossbow as Now
Used in Belgium
Here we have a crossbow which somewhat resembles that described in the
last chapter, though in this case the steel bow is smaller and is not bent
by a goat's-foot lever.
This Belgian weapon as now made, represents the experience of centuries
of cross-bow construction, and is the most perfect article of its kind
at present produced.
For nearly three hundred years, this form of crossbow has been popular
for target-shooting in the north of France and in Belgium.1
Its chief place of manufacture and sale is Brussels, where several firms
deal in these weapons.
In Brussels, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp and in part of the north of France,
and their environs, there are to this day societies of crossbowmen, whose
members compete for prizes at the ranges attached to inns, clubs and private
The Belgian target crossbow, though it has a small bow in comparison
with what was used in mediaeval days, shoots with wonderful accuracy and
With this crossbow, I find that at a distance of 60 yards, I can generally
place eight out of twelve bolts in the 6-in. centre of the usual archery
target, and the other four bolts close round the edge of the gold.
At a range of 60 yards, the weapon sends its bolts with a force that
causes them to pass through the ordinary straw target and often out of
sight beneath the ground beyond.
As this spoils the target, the bolts being so much thicker than the
arrows of a longbow, it is advisable to pack between its painted face and
the straw behind it, three or four layers of stout canvas.
The extreme range of the Belgian crossbow is about 250 yards. It is
almost as accurate as a rook rifle up to 50 yards, and its mechanism, including
its lock, sights and hair-trigger, is excellent.
1 Shooting with the crossbow is a favourite
pastime in Saxony, particularly in the vicinity of Dresden, Chapter XLVIII.
Crossbow-shooting is also practised to some extent in Switzerland and in