James Crouchet crouchet at
Fri Mar 24 08:54:59 PST 1995

Thank you for the information.  That was a close shot, but apparently legal.

If I may approach the issue of this "hard hit" logically:

I have seen sword blows crease helms and dent armor, but these thistle 
missiles can not do so from a combat legal crossbow at 10'. This tells me 
they do not produce as many pounds of pressure *per square inch* (psi) as 
many sword blows. In any case the formula for force is

           force = mass x velocity

where the force is the strength of the crossbow (currently limited to 600
Inch pounds), the mass is the weight of the bolt and the velocity is how
fast the bolt travels. What all this means is that if you shoot a heavier
head (such as the TM) the bolt goes slower and *still hits with the same
amount of force*. 

Another factor affecting how hard a hit _feels_ is the elastistity of the
strike, which is determined by the materials used.  Basically, the harder
a substance is the more elastic it's strike will be (this is a gross over
simplification) and thus the harder the strike will feel.  The rubber in 
the TM is harder than the foam in the Markland-style bolt, but the ratan 
of swords is harder than the rubber TM. Either way you look at it the TM 
on a crossbow bolt is still delivering a gentler shot than a sword blow. 
I'll believe otherwise when you show me the arrow dents in your helm.

I also find the idea that our crossbows somehow deliver a harder shot 
than a bow a bit silly. Let's do the math:

Crossbow - Max force = 600 IP.  (usually 10" throw @ 60 lbs)

Longbow - Max specs 28" throw @ 30 lbs (28 x 30 = 840 IP)

I have read some nonsense about the crossbow hitting harder at close 
range because it accelerates the bolt quicker.  Bunk.  Unless you are hit 
by the bolt or arrow *before it leaves the bow* it will fly with the 
force indicated above -- 600 Ip for an x-bow and 840 IP for a long bow.

The way that both of these bows work they apply maximum force to the 
arrow when they are at full draw.  As the string pushes the arrow or bolt 
out of the bow it continues to apply (a gradually decreasing amount of) 
force and thus accelerate the arrow or bolt until it leaves the string. 

There is one final factor to consider.  Crossbow bolts are much lighter
than arrows because they only have about 12 in.. of shaft where an arrow
will have about 30 in.. This means that given the same amount of force a
crossbow bolt will fly *faster*. But remember, the _amount of force will
still be the same_. And as I have shown above, the long bow is actually
allowed MORE force than the crossbow under our current rules. 

If folks still have a problem with the TMs Iolo and I have a solution to 
make the strike softer.  Just have the archers glue a layer of foam to 
the top of the head.  This would reduce the impact without messing up the 
flight characteristics of the arrow (with the right shape we think we can 
actually improve them). Sound good?

Now that I have argued for the crossbow, I will say to all the would-be 
archers out there, if you have a choice, use a long bow.  In combat it 
has better range, more striking power, better accuracy and a higher rate 
of fire (shoots more arrows per minute). What's more, if it gets 
destroyed you only need another cheap bow, not a pricey crossbow. The one 
real advantage of the crossbow is that it takes less practice to learn to 
hit your target.

On Wed, 22 Mar 1995, David Mann wrote:

> Greetings,
> The shot was from a crossbow at a range of 15-20 ft. One thing is
> that a sword hit normally covers a larger area (excluding tip 'ouch' shots)
> than the point on the thistle missile. Several others had said the shots 
> from the crossbows felt harder than the longbows. That difference might be
> due to the acceleration difference between the draw length of the longbow
> and the crossbow. A good test would be to set up a crossbow and a longbow,
> of legal weights, with thistle missiles, and fire them at the same time. The
> arrow that arrives at the target first would have the highest acceleration,
> and potentially higher impact.
>                                             Marke
> ______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
> Subject: archery
> Author:  PTM2792 at UTARLG.UTA.EDU at SMTP
> Date:    3/21/95 8:41 PM
> Still catching up from my spring break absence:
> Savian raised this point:
> "On Wed, 15 Mar 1995, David Mann wrote:
> "To Maire and All, Greetings.
> "As of a conversation in the last couple of weeks between Sir Barn, 
> myself and others. Sir Barn expressed an opinion (not official) that the 
> thistle tips are okay on long bows, but was intending on examining them 
> shot from crossbows because at the northern region event last Feb. he 
> was hit by one from a crossbow and it was a fairly hard shot. I 
>                                                ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> think Sir Barn is intending on bringing the subject up at the Goofs 
> meeting @ Gulf Wars. I shall remind him tonight.
>                                                        Marke"
> Savian responded:
> "Is that to say, a harder shot than he is use to taking from a sword? If 
> so, it would be very interesting to know the poundage of the bow and the 
> range.  If the TMs are hitting harder than swords and polearms I guess they are 
> in danger of crushing helms and shattering bones.<g>"
> And Galen comments:
> I saw the same thing when I read that note, as well.  Although I am loathe to 
> fault someone's words when reported secondhand, _if this is an accurate account 
> of the Earl Marshal's feelings_, then perhaps my brother in chivalry has fallen 
> prey to that fallacy that arrows shouldn't hit hard.  As I've long said, 
> Inman's spear hits much harder than Leon's arrows.
> - Viscount Galen of Bristol
>   "noblesse oblige"

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