Help ID this museum piece.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by mshootnit, Apr 13, 2022.

  1. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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    This item is in a museum, and the curators know very little about who made this, or when. See if you know. It is a "crossbow" that appears to have a barrel. Any information appreciated.

    20220413_162048.jpg 20220413_162044.jpg 20220413_162038.jpg
     
  2. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    That’s slick. I wonder what the projectile was intended to be. Perhaps a short bolt or a ball.
     
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  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Good question! Maybe both? Sort of like a dual-purpose, high-tech (at least back when it was made) target crossbow made in Europe.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2022
  4. Legionnaire
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    Legionnaire Member

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    Can't help with your question, but must say that is very cool.
     
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  5. Col. Harrumph

    Col. Harrumph Member

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    From the shape of the buttstock I'd guess it came from the Middle East.
     
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  6. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    Given that it has something of a barrel, it's probably meant for a spear-like projectile without flights or fletching, as it looks to be loaded from the muzzle.

    That stock could be Bavarian. There's a lot of engineering there, that's a double set trigger; it has adjustable sights, too. Have to wonder if it's Swiss (or proto-Swiss) given the Helvetican zeal for archery (old William Tell was a crossbowman.)

    That stringing has no pocket or stiffening at the "nock"--now, given that this is a museum piece, we have no idea if the stringing is original or not.
     
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  7. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    It appears to be able to shoot either shafts or small balls interchangeably.
    The balls would be loaded through the small hole that passes through the lock plate after the bow string had been pulled back to the catch.
    I have seen engravings that included weapons similar to this but I have never seen one in person or in a photograph.
     
  8. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    That trigger guard screams Germanic. Lack of embellishment suggests it's not Middle Eastern.

    Looks like it shoots a bolt through the barrel.
     
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  9. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    I'd say balls, look where the string would be held to fire, it's round like a ball could fit.
     
  10. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    That notch is pretty classic for where crossbow string is held back in the trigger.

    Not sure that string would bear well on a round ball for how skinny it is. In proportion to the presumptive ball diameter. Of course, that might not be the original string, either. Dunno.

    We probably need better pictures of the "lock." Traditional, later ear crossbows use a rotating catch shaped much like a comma. Which rotates around 150-180° typically, with the string held down out of the line of travel. The trigger usually engages from the bottom, traditionally, too. Which needs a notch in the stock. Especially as late-era crossbows might have strings in the 800 or 900 pound range or more.

    But, that's extrapolation on my part.
     
  11. Poper

    Poper Member

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    I wonder what the card at the far right of the display case says?
     
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  12. Nuclear

    Nuclear Member

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    “Bow Rifle

    This crossbow rifle is thought to be one of a kind, hand carved piece. Its origins are unknown.”
     
  13. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    I wonder if there was some sort of cocking device. Otherwise it looks quite awkward to cock.
     
  14. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Simple answer to the OP, that is a BULLET CROSSBOW or possibly SLURBOW. Note, there are barreled and non-barreled bullet crossbows. Slurbows are known for firing bolts. From what I can find, they tended to be short barreled.

    Maybe one of a kind in that it was hand manufactured, but googling "crossbow barrel" (which are the key unique features) got me too many modern examples so I revised it to historic crossbow barrel (to add in the age factor) and that revealed other historic barreled crossbows.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=historic+crossbow+barrel&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwi5grCXnJb3AhWPsHIEHZLaBPUQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=historic+crossbow+barrel&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQAzoHCCMQ7wMQJ1C6GFi3JWCeKGgAcAB4AIABXYgB2gSSAQE3mAEAoAEBqgELZ3dzLXdpei1pbWfAAQE&sclient=img&ei=SXlZYvm5B4_hytMPkrWTqA8&bih=766&biw=1600&client=firefox-b-1-d#imgrc=QulKtEfMrWDj8M&imgdii=plPvlXiotE2EIM

    Following links there led me to this forum and post number 2 with a historic drawing identifying a very similarly item as a BULLET CROSSBOW.
    http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21352

    Googling Bullet Crossbow led me to this Wiki page...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullet-shooting_crossbow

    Apparently, such devices date to the 16th century.

    More info here?
    http://www.crossbowbook.com/page_220.html

    German example from circa 1665, repeater with magazine
    https://www.olympiaauctions.com/sales/arms-armour/as031214/view-lot/226/

    More looking through links found these also have the name of SLURBOWS, at least the ones firing bolts
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2022
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  15. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    That "club butt" was a common European design for most of the 17th century (1600's), along with others such as the "fishtail butt."
    Exactly.
    Yes. I don't see any stud on the lockplate, which would have been used to engage a fork-type cocking lever. Cocking, therefore, would have been by simply pulling back on the string by hand. This implies that the device had relatively low power. My guess is that it was used for target practice rather than combat. (And that was in an era when armor, such as breastplates, was commonly used on the battlefield. The projectile, whatever it was, could not have penetrated armor.)
     
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  16. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Apparently, these were hunting/sporting shooters more so than weapons of war. I saw where a modern remake of one could send a 230 gr lead ball out at 400 fps.
     
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  17. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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    thanks for the replies, very helpful. This is part of a very nice display, and collection.
     
  18. Mark_Mark
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    Mark_Mark Contributing Member

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    If they recreated that as a Retro Gun/Vampire slayer. Would you guys buy one???

    Me… Take my money!
     
  19. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    There is a stud just in front of the limbs on the forearm portion of the stock. Maybe for a footplate of some kind so the bow could be cocked while sitting prone on the ground? Otherwise you are looking at resting the barrel on the ground and sticking the awkward butt of the stock in your gut. Even if it was "relatively low power", the engineering in it looks better than that. The thickness of the spring steel limbs suggest it would be a beast to cock without some kind of aid or footplate.
     
  20. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Yes, I see that, but it's too far forward to use as a fulcrum for applying leverage to the string (unless the cocking fork is more elaborate than is usually seen). I've seen crossbows with stirrups for use as you describe, but they're at the "muzzle" end of the weapon.

    What is the item projecting below the stock in that location?
     
  21. aarondhgraham

    aarondhgraham Member

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    I can't tell you anything about the weapon in your post,,,
    But I did own something very similar to it as a child.

    It was a "Toy" crossbow almost exactly like the museum piece,,,
    You "cocked" the bow and used a wooden rod to load cork balls into it.

    It didn't take me very long to figure out,,,
    Glass marbles would also fit down the barrel.

    It was purchased on one of those roadside attraction stores on old Route 66,,,
    That would have been sometime in the mid to late 50's,,,
    Somewhere in New Mexico I believe.

    The dang thing had some "whang" to it,,,
    I could knock over a steel beer can across the living room.

    Those big fat pencils from kindergarten/first grade worked well too,,,
    But they didn't have as much range as the marbles.

    Mom trashed it when I wouldn't stop shooting marbles at my big sister's butt.

    Aarond

    .
     
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  22. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    I'd imagine it's cocked with "span tackle" (aka "windlass") hitched on the stud on the "tang" of the piece. hence, no stirrup nor "gut plate."
     
  23. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    It's possible that the root of the bow itself acted as the pivot stud for the device's cocking lever or goat's foot.
     
  24. mope540

    mope540 Member

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    Looking at the screws on the side plate above the trigger guard I'm wondering if they have checked for maker ID markings on the inside of the plate.?.? They don't look to have been removed for inspection, but then again maybe they have been. I'm sure they are much more careful and less clumsy than me.
     
  25. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    For the OP weapon, there must have been some kind of ramrod to push the projectile down the bore. Yet we see no evidence of it.
     
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