Archery Longbow

April 26, 2010 by Bowhunter  
Filed under Archery Longbow

Archery has always been a popular sport, and longbow archery may be the purest, most basic form of the sport that exists. From pre-history through modern times, some form of archery has been present in most cultures and practically all continents, but it wasn't until relatively recent history that the longbow came to be.

Longbow archery,which is also known as the The English Longbow, and is also called the Welsh Longbow (which is a type of tall bow developed for archery), is a powerful type of bow that was developed during the medieval era which occurred between 500 - 1450 A.D.

The longbow is a tall bow, standing well over 6 feet in length if placed on the ground, and has been used both as a weapon of war and a weapon for hunting by the English, the Scots and the Welsh. The longbow was particularly effective for the English during the 100 Years' War (1337 to 1453) against the French. And the longbow served those who used it well for a large part of the medieval era, well into the introduction of the classic and powerful crossbow, which uses compounding technology to make for a more powerful weapon.

The classic longbow from centuries ago was made of a wood called yew, while ash and other strong and flexible woods will make a good longbow as well. Using a process that often takes as long as four years, the longbow's structural wood pieces were painstakingly dried, then gradually shaped and curved to for maximum efficiency and strength for arrow launches. This process can be shortened considerably by wetting the wood before final shaping, but classic longbow purists insist taking this shortcut by wetting can result in a much weaker longbow.

The draw weight (the force required to pull the bowstring back into launch position) for the classic longbow can be quite high, as some require up to 160 lbf (pounds-force) at a 30 inch draw length. Maybe that's why ancient pictures of longbow warriors show the men as well muscled and strong-looking, as they would have to be very powerful to effectively use an ancient longbow! Modern longbows typically require 60 lbf at around 28 inches draw. Of course, along with a much easier draw force comes a much shorter arrow trajectory - the arrows will travel much less far as shot from a modern bow.

While there aren't any records of arrow shot length for the classic medieval longbow, experts estimate its range could be as great as 249 yards, given perfect conditions. In contrast a modern longbow can travel about 200 yards maximum. It's no wonder that the modern longbow will shoot an arrow a shorter distance than that of the ancient weapon - consider the difference in draw force, 160 lbf vs. a mere 60 lbf for a modern weapon.

Modern longbow archery is alive and well, thanks to ancient hunters and warriors developing and refining this very important weapon.

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