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Norton Sporting Goods
100 Norton Rd
WaldoOH 43356
 (740) 726-2616
Norton Sporting Goods  |  100 Norton Rd WaldoOH43356  |  (740) 726-2616
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The History and Evolution of Crossbows

The History and Evolution of Crossbows

If you're a fan of the popular zombie apocalypse television series The Walking Dead, you're probably familiar with the crossbows used within the show — which has driven crossbows to a new popularity in recent years. While the word 'bow' is contained within the term 'crossbows,' there are fundamental differences between the two. Crossbows have the potential to be much more powerful and can shoot heavier bolts or quarrels as opposed to arrows. Other than firearms, few other pieces of hunting equipment can boast such a strong impact on cultural norms as the crossbow.

History of the Crossbow

The history of crossbows may fall as far back as Biblical times when war engines called ballistas were used to reach a distant target with large projectiles. While the overall design was similar, the scale was much different — with ballistas having the ability to heave monstrous stones and massive arrows over long distances. There are slightly more recent records of crossbow-like weaponry in China from the 4th Century BC followers of Mozi and mentioned later in Sun Tzu's book The Art of War. Egyptians are thought to have introduced repeating crossbows with the introduction of the Zhuge crossbows, by Zhuge Liang in around 230 AD. With an effective range of nearly 300 feet, these crossbows were a force to be reckoned with. While crossbows continued to be used in warfare throughout the ages, their usage waned around 1894-1895 as firearms came into greater usage.

Conventional crossbows have enhanced accuracy beyond that of a traditional bow and arrow. While great archers require many years of training to gain the strength and endurance needed for this demanding sport, crossbows are a little more forgiving.

Crossbow Limitations

With all the benefits of crossbows, why were they not more extensively used throughout history? Many historians believe that this gap was due to the time required to reload and aim a crossbow, versus the relative speed of aiming an arrow and quickly firing. Also, crossbows tend to be more unwieldy and heavier to carry than a traditional bow and arrow, making it more difficult to travel long distances without fatigue.

Crossbows of Today

Conventional crossbows have enhanced accuracy beyond that of a traditional bow and arrow. While great archers require many years of training to gain the strength and endurance needed for this demanding sport, crossbows are a little more forgiving. Regardless of size, the majority of people can adequately aim and shoot a crossbow, allowing for wider adoption even among women and children who are looking for a little variety or adventure in their shooting. Crossbows are quite specialized and are used for either sport or hunting, but rarely both. 

Want to learn more about how you can incorporate crossbows into your sport shooting? Come see the friendly and knowledgeable team at Norton Sporting Goods in Waldo, OH, or give us a call today at 740-726-2616. Want to gear up early? Learn more about hunting in Ohio, including laws and regulations you need to know on our blog. 

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