The Various Kinds Of Archery Bows
Archery is now a very popular sport and hobby all over the planet, but once, long ago, it was even more widespread. Every army had bowmen and men hunted with bows for food. Every country or every region invented its own particular design of bow and therefore, even nowadays, there are many different styles of archery bows. Modern technology has meant that new varieties of archery bows are still being invented.
Some bows were invented by people who rode horses a great deal. These bows were shorter, other bows were intended for long range shooting and these bows were longer. I will list some of the main varieties of archery bows below with a short description of each
The traditional Welsh or English longbow was made from a single piece of yew (or other wood) at least the size of the bowman, but up to about six feet six inches (two metres). It was ‘D’ shaped in contour with the flat, bark side, facing away from the string. The curved inner side followed the natural growth rings of the limb. The timber itself was left to dry for two years.
The draw weight of a longbow was between 160-180 pounds, which is difficult to achieve by modern man. In the days of the longbow, in the Middle Ages, men and boys were obliged by law to carry out target practice with longbows at the village butts every Sunday. The target range for a man was to be no less than 220 yards by order of king Henry VIII.
The longbow was used to great effect as long range (400 yards) artillery by the British army at Crecy in 1346 and Agincourt in 1415, raining lethal three ounce, three foot long arrows down on the enemy. As the armies drew closer the longbow could be used accurately to aim at individual targets. Not long after these great victories, which can be attributed to the archers and their longbows, bows were replaced as military weapons by guns.
Flat bows, just as the longbow, can be over six feet long, are not recurved and can be crafted out of a single length of wood. However, they are rectangular in profile, not ‘D’ shaped.
Short bows are comparable to longbows or flat bows in every detail except size and because they are shorter, they do not have the potential or the distance of the other bows. Sort bows are easy to carry and easier to use in cramped situations like woods or a forest, so they were used by and large for hunting small animals.
Recurve bows are more powerful that any other bow inch for inch of length. The tips of a recurve point frontward when the bow is unstrung and look odd to the inexperienced. The recurve was very popular from the Mediterranean to the Far East from about 2000 BC until 1700 AD. Nowadays, the recurve is the only kind of bow permitted to be used in the Olympic Games.
Compound bows use very stiff materials in their assembly so have pulleys or cams to help bend or draw the bow. This mechanical assistance to drawing the bow to the best length means less physical force on behalf of the archer, which means that the archer con focus on the target more.
Crossbows have the limbs mounted crossways on a length of timber and the draw string is held by mechanical means until it is released with a trigger. The arrow, or bolt, is a great deal shorter. They are practically half-way houses to firearms.