Consisting of a prod (the bow) mounted onto a stock, and shooting bolts called quarrels, crossbows were used in battle as early as 200BC by the Chinese. Modern-day crossbow enthusiasts mostly hunt (if permitted) or enjoy the artistic design aspects of recreating medieval crossbows. The crossbow prod is one of the primary features of this popular hunting tool.
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Prod Design and Material
The primary difference between compound and recurve-style crossbows is in the manner the string attaches to the prod. Compound crossbows use cams, spherical track wheels, to reduce the force and strength needed to span (prepare to shoot) the crossbow; these crossbows are more compact and more efficient. The string of a recurve-style crossbow attaches to the end of the prod and pulls the prod into the spanned position; these are easier to restring and tend to be wider than compound crossbows.
The prod of a crossbow can be made from different materials such as fibreglass, steel, aluminium alloy or hardwood (such as hard maple or oak).
Crossbow Prod Accessories
The crossbow string is responsible for spanning the prod; if properly cared for, the string should last at least 100 good shots. Crossbow builders use durable strings made from artificial sinews (waxed nylon-type threads) such as Brownell B-50 Dacron, a material used in modern bowstrings.
For recurve-style crossbows, crossbow prod end protectors (or crossbow nock ends) protect the crossbow string from fraying and breaking. They attach to each end of the crossbow prod.
Crossbow: Buy or Build
There is no one best style, model or brand of crossbow. Some crossbow enthusiasts might prefer to purchase an already-made crossbow for hunting or medieval re-enactments. Some may prefer to have crossbows custom-made with varying levels of options and add-ons. Others might want to make their own crossbows from kits or from designs created by others. And there are those who prefer the challenge of making a crossbow from scratch, based on research and experience. Which option is right for you depends upon your personal preference.
Since crossbows are weapons and there is a great potential injury, anyone building or handling a crossbow must take precautions and great care.
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