Belgian Target Crossbow
The steel bow is powerful for its length, and of superior finish and
This crossbow is well adapted for target practice in the grounds of
a country house. It is capable of affording much amusement, and is noiseless,
safe and easy to manipulate.
It is, however, more than a toy, as at a range of 60 yards it has sufficient
strength to drive its bolt through a hare or rabbit.
For this reason, should the crossbow be carried on a summer's evening
for killing rabbits whilst feeding it is best to employ bolts with blunt
heads instead of the sharply pointed ones that are used at the target.
The bolts with sharp points are liable to be lost if discharged at rabbits,
as they are apt, if they miss the mark, to penetrate out of sight beneath
I will describe this crossbow in detail, as it is one that an amateur
mechanic of fair skill should be able to make.
If the lock and its catch present difficulties, the simple mediaeval
lock given in Chapter XXI may be substituted, which, though not so suitable
for accurate shooting as the one shown in Chapter XLIII, will answer fairly
To obtain a steel bow of correct size and shape, first cut out an exact
model of it in wood, then send the model to a spring maker or better still
to a Liege gunmaker, to have it reproduced in finely tempered steel.
Do not forget that the ends of the bow should be canted up 1/2 in. above
its centre, as explained in fig. 58, p. 102.
If the ends of the bow are not given this upward cant, the bow-string
will press too hard upon the stock of the crossbow, with the result that
the friction of the bow-string, as it travels along the surface of the
stock, will greatly reduce the velocity of the bolt.
It might be thought that the stock of this cross-bow was unduly large
in proportion to the size of its bow.
A fairly large and heavy stock is an advantage in a crossbow used at
the target, as it gives steadiness to the aim and accuracy to the bolt.
The projecting curved handle below the stock is grasped by the left hand
of the crossbowman when he is in the act of aiming, and enables him to
hold the weapon securely in a level position as he pulls its trigger.