Chinese Repeating Crossbow
B, fig. 174. The lever is here pulled back, with the result that the
bow is bent and the bow-string stretched. By pulling back the lever a little
farther than shown in this sketch, the projecting end of the trigger will
be pressed against the surface of the stock of the crossbow. This causes
the upper end of the trigger to lift the bow-string out of the notch and
set it free. The arrow is then discharged and the crossbow returns to the
position shown in fig. 171, p. 238, and is ready for the next shot.
From this description, it will be understood how simple and rapid is
the action of the crossbow. All that need be done to shoot off the arrows
contained in its magazine, is to work the lever to and fro as slowly or
as quickly as desired.
It is even possible to discharge a dozen arrows in fifteen seconds.
By a slight alteration in the construction of the crossbow it was sometimes
made to shoot two arrows, instead of one, every time its bow recoiled.
In such a case, the magazine and stock were about 3/4 in. wider than
in the weapon just described. The magazine had a thin partition down its
centre which divided it into two compartments. On each side of the central
partition a dozen arrows were laid, one over the other. The bow-string
passed over two parallel grooves instead of over a single one, each groove
being, of course, exactly beneath a compartment in the magazine. As the
lever was worked, two arrows dropped from the magazine and remained side
by side, one in each groove, both arrows being propelled together when
the bow-string was released.
By means of this arrangement one hundred men could discharge two thousand
arrows in fifteen seconds, or double the number which one hundred men could
shoot off in the same time with the ordinary repeating crossbow.
The effective range of these Chinese weapons was about 80 yards ; their
extreme range from 180 to 200 yards. The bamboo arrows, though short and
light, were well made and had steel heads that were heavy in proportion
to the length of their shafts. They had no feathers, so that their freedom
of movement might not be impeded as they dropped one by one from the magazine
when the crossbow was being used.
For the same reason, the width of the magazine - inside - was slightly
in excess of the diameter of the arrow.
The length of the arrow was from 12 in. to 16 in., according to the
size of the crossbow ; its diameter 5/16 in. to 3/8 in.
Build a Repeating Crossbow with our easy, step by step plans and instructions.
When complete, the repeating crossbow measures 32 inches long and will
fire up to 10 bolts in as little as 8 seconds without reloading.
Based on the ancient Chinese Repeating Crossbow, our crossbow uses modern
materials, including a bungee cord for a bow, to ease construction while
maintaining a historically correct mechanism and action.
Easy to Build
plans use common, inexpensive and easy to find building materials, available
at your local hardware store or home center. Basic skills and tools are
required, but the straightforward designs require no complicated layout
The Repeating Crossbow plans come complete with:
All the information you need to complete your project quickly and easily.
Parts Shopping List
Measured Drawings for all parts
Step by Step Assembly Instructions
Step by Step Operating Instructions
> Chapter 49 >
Chinese Repeating Crossbow > p.241