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Ask me about archery, longbows especially.

Discussion in 'Research' started by John McDonell, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Look up some statistics on bullets fired per casualty caused for something like WWII. You'll be astonished.
     
  2. Ivan Sailor

    Ivan Sailor Dreamer

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    This Thread is awesome. I think it should be made sticky along with the one about swords.
    I have a few questions though. Beyond the Recurve, Reflex, Longbow (or stick bows? which is it?) and weird Japanese Yumi are there any other types of bows?
    I have a carbon (I think) recurve bow. One of the ends has bent slightly to the side, probably due to the fact that I kept it strung for months. Is there any way of repairing it?
     
  3. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    Amen to that!

    Hundreds of thousands of rounds per kill? Knew that-- but that's how people actually use guns, firing at long range or suppressive fire to keep the enemy from getting a clean shot, and using cover, along with all the machine guns that go through it all faster.

    The point is, you can't simply dodge a bullet (the closest you can come is try to guess the moment he'll fire, and hope it's a single-shot gun)-- but now we know heroes CAN dodge an arrow. :)
     
  4. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Okay, I want to say something about heart wounds too... the heart is a massive muscle, right? It's actually pretty tough. One thing I learned in fencing is that in a real sword fight (unlike ours, where a touch is a kill), you must guard going in and guard coming out of a thrust. Because in a real fight, even if you stab your opponent in the heart, he can live for twenty minutes! Or he can die on the spot.. but let's just say that there's plenty of evidence of people being mortally wounded by a stab to the heart and running to a doctor to seek medical attention. So I guess loads of things are possible in a literary sense. You could make several outcomes happen, depending on what your story calls for. One thing that makes people die quicker is panic. A little off-topic, but I live where there are tons of Black Widows. One thing you need to know about their bite, is that for normal, healthy people, the bite rarely proves fatal on its own. Most people get flue-like symptoms and recover. The normal, healthy people who die, usually die of cardiac arrest because they panicked when they got bit by a poisonous spider and they essentially killed themselves. Or so Discovery says, anyways. I dunno, I just squish the buggers when I see 'em and go about my gardening.

    But the way you react when you're injured has an effect on how you live or die. Some people can remain calm, apply pressure and even stitch themselves and use herbs or minor medical/ survival training to prevent infection. Infection kills a lot of people in wars, historically, sometimes more than lethal wounds that cause rather immediate death. I have a mercenary character who travels with a little kit with needle and thread, antiseptics, salves, and a scalpel. Heck, if you can't fix it with those, you can't fix it, right?
     
  5. Valentinator

    Valentinator Minstrel

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    Shooting in heavy rain, how realistic is it? How do accuracy and distance change?
     
  6. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    (Including, how hard is it to have a working bowstring in rain? Though even then, you might be shooting out from a shelter.)
     
  7. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Traditional bow strings are waxed so they can operate for a time in wet weather. That will wear though. If the string gets too wet (penetrating through the wax coating), the string will stretch and be useless.

    As long as the distances are short, rain shouldn't have a dramatic effect on an arrow's flight. Wind & obstacles like branches are a much greater concern for arrow flight. Bow limbs are typically treated to be water repellent, but like strings, that has a limit. Limbs can twist and warp, greatly dismissing accuracy, power, or both.
     
  8. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    Would it be possible for a pregnant or breastfeeding woman to use a bow and arrow? I ask this not for a story but because I have an anthropological hypothesis that projectile weapons like the bow and arrow came about so that pregnant or breastfeeding women in prehistoric times could hunt alongside men and unburdened women.
     
  9. Lord Ben

    Lord Ben Minstrel

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    I only read the first and last few pages but I have read that the Mary Rose bows were the elite people of their time and not the average longbow type wielders. Arrows were longer and heavier than others found in the time period, etc. Not sure if that's accurate but the English Longbow certainly suffers from a lot of the same type of things that the Japanese Katana does. People tend to overemphasize it's advantages and dismiss it's disadvantages or take extreme examples like Mary Rose of the elite soldiers of the day and extrapolate that into the tens of thousands of archers in a mass battle from 200 years previous to the MR sinking. Like anything else, war changes.

    Also the "overly large arms" from skeletal remains happens to people who use one arm more than others in modern professions too. Tennis players, construction workers who use their hammer in one hand, etc etc. It didn't make them very obviously physically deformed or anything most likely.

    My biggest pet peeve in archery is watching a "demonstration" of how easily an arrow can penetrate armor by firing one at near perfect angles into an unmoving target. Armor exists to deflect the arrows and other blows as much as it does to simply soak up the damage through sheer thickness. It's not unique to archery though, it repeats itself with people hacking apart mail, etc too with their swords and axes.

    I've hunted with my bow and of all the things that annoy me in movies the most it's probably when people just keel over and die immediately.

    RE: Pregnancy, I don't think it'd be an issue that couldn't be worked around. I know quite a few females who hunt (and especially Men with pregnancy sized guts) and I don't remember any of them having to stop hunting hough I can't say it would be comfortable or easy if seriously pronounced.
     
  10. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    I'm using only the hours of talks I've had with my wife's doctors during her pregnancy, so I'm not an expert. From what I understand, women can perform physical activities during pregnancies, but there are windows where the baby is vulnerable. All women have different degrees of difficulty during pregnancies (my wife was an extreme case). I know some women who went to Crossfit while pregnant, but others who had to reduce their physical exertion considerable.

    It wouldn't make sense for women to use bows for hunting during those times. They wouldn't know the difference why woman A had no problems while on hunt, but woman B lost her child. As a general rule, after the first few deaths, the society would link the high mortality rate with hunting and forbid the woman from doing so.

    This would dovetail nicely with the fact that women ushered in the agricultural age. They were stationary, observant, and put two and two together. If they were hunters like the males, the agricultural age would have been delayed hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

    Also, consider the children. Women who hunted would be required to leave their young at home. Who fended for the children if both male and female were hunting? The old? The average life expectancy was very low. There wasn't that many elders.

    Finally, breastfeeding requires a lot of energy. For a woman to join the hunt would tax her body, possibly prevent the production of breastmilk. No milk for the child means death. There is no other substitute for breastmilk that will give the baby the same chance of survival, especially during those times.
     
  11. John McDonell

    John McDonell Dreamer

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    Regarding shooting in the rain:
    Lots of traditional hunters use plastic bags to keep their fletchings dry in the rain. Compound bow arrows generally have plastic fletchings so it doesn't affect them. Turkey feather fletchings, however, tend to lay close to the shaft and bunch up when wet so the result is that the arrow will fish-tail a bit, depending on how reduced the stabilizing effect of the feathers is. Accuracy will be reduced but not eliminated.
    Regarding using a bow while breastfeeding:
    Traditional archery clubs have lots of female members generally and some of them use a 'breast protector', for want of a better word. I am not sure what the actual name is. It is a device that basically compresses and protects the woman's left breast, (assuming she is shooting right handed...ie holding the bow with the left hand.), from being hit by the string. It is essentially a leather or hard pad that is held in place by a strap going around the shoulder, I think. I believe it is worn under a shirt. I have never seen a woman wearing one, just saying they are out there. I do know that it can be a problem for women, breast feeding or not, to avoid getting hit by the string.
    Proper shooting stance means you hold the bow straight out from your side, not out in front of you. When you shoot at a target you should be sideways to it, not facing it, so the string would necessarily pass close to one's chest.
    As for big stomach's, ahem not that I have one...well not too big at least. It isn't a problem because the 'v' of the string where the arrow is noched is usually anchored on your face when you draw. If you anchored on your belly it would be a problem I guess. You can also 'cant' the bow, meaning hold it diagonally, rather than straight up and down, that may or may not help with string positioning. Hope this helps.
     
  12. John McDonell

    John McDonell Dreamer

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    Sorry I missed the range thing. I am going out on a limb here and say that I don't think your bow's range would change much but your accurate range would. Most bow hunters I know would not take a shot at a deer over 30 yards away with traditional gear-longbow or recurve. That doesn't mean they couldn't hit it further away but ethically your chances of making a good killing shot would be less. For me I would be closer to 20-25 yards. Im not sure if I can give you actual numbers but say in optimum conditions I would shoot at a deer at 30 yards. In heavy rain I would probably not shoot more than 20 yards. I am guessing here and I'm not entirely sure what I would in those circumstances, but that might give you a basis to work from. Basically the heavy rain would reduce my accurate range by 1/3. Hope it helps.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
    topazfire likes this.
  13. Valentinator

    Valentinator Minstrel

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    John, Allen thanks a lot for the answers. It was really helpful.
     
  14. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Does anyone here have information/knowledge about cable-back bows used by Inuit? Or anything similar? I've been doing my research but the internet--surprisingly--has been vague. I'm thinking of a short bow made of birch with a cable made of animal skin. :)
     
  15. John McDonell

    John McDonell Dreamer

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    backed bows

    I haven't heard the term 'cable' backed, but I have heard of bows with backing. Basically it is a way to add strength to a wooden bow. I think it was used mainly in areas where there was a lack of strong types of wood for bow making. Many of the Native American tribes backed their bows with snake skin or elk sinew to add strength and there are still many bowyers today who back their bows. Rattlesnake skin is a popular backing because of the unique look it gives the bow.
    The sinews from elk legs can be bought on ebay from time to time for the purpose of backing a bow. The backing process is simple I think, although I am only going by what I have read or heard so I have no first hand experience. The skin or sinew is laid on the back of the bow, which is the part that faces forward when held properly. The material is expanded, by soaking it in water and stretching or the like, and then glued on to the bow. As it dries the material shrinks and tightens, thus adding it's strength to the bow.
    I forget what the glues are made from but they are all natural ingredients.
    I am sure there are other types of sinews and skin that can be used for backing as well. I would be interested in learning more about the Inuit bow if you find more information.
    Another interesting Native American bow is the Penobscot bow used by Native populations in Maine. It looks like a bow with a second bow attached, similar to this shape: )( although the forward side would be smaller. There are strings or sinews attaching the 4 ends, thus adding more snap and power. I am not sure how effective they were but they look cool.
    Two good magazines for research are Traditional Archer and Primitive Archer.
     
  16. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Wow, thank you for the information! I'll look up those archery mags. :)
     
  17. servenvolley212

    servenvolley212 Scribe

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  18. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    Has anyone in here seen the recent Hobbit sequel with the badass elf archers? I have to say I was amazed at how rapidly and yet accurately they were able to shoot on the run. How could they pull that off?
     
  19. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    I chalked it up to the elven neuromuscular system.
     
  20. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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