Crossbow is primarily used as a weapon. Crossbow is often confused with a bow. It is similar to a bow in operation, but both are different. The structure of a crossbow is like that of a small bow attached over a small piece of wooden plank, constructed with a small lever mechanism to shoot small arrow like structures.
Crossbows are believed to be originated in China. Originally developed as a hunting weapon, crossbows were also used as an efficient and powerful weapon in ancient war fields. In the hands of a skilled warrior, a crossbow could be as deadly as any other weapon to fear.
The small arrows like structures that are used in a crossbow are called ‘bolt’. A bolt is more similar to an arrow, but has a reduced length when compared to an arrow. A bolt has a metal tip in the front and a light feathering at the rear end. The feathering is used to guide the bolt and the metal tip to hit the target hard.
The major difference between a crossbow and a normal bow is that a crossbow has a shorter drawn length than a bow. A lighter crossbow can be drawn by hand easily but heavier ones are in need of some sort of mechanical setup. Some of the mechanical support systems used in crossbow are the pull lever, push lever, windlass, etc.
The string used in a crossbow is made up of strong fibers. These fibers are made of different materials like whipcord, linen, hemp and sinew. In ancient times crossbows were made of only wood. Modern day cross bows are made of fiber glass and wood. Crossbows are used in match competitions over 10m (33 ft) and 30m (100 ft).
Crossbows are considered to be the inspiration for modern day guns. Guns operate in a similar way as that of a cross bow. Bullets are used in place of bolts. The process of loading a gun with bullets and firing is similar in function as that of loading a bolt and shooting in a crossbow.
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