How Far A Medieval Bow Shoots

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Sometimes the question arises, how far the bow shoots. Now we will try to answer it. The bow is one of the oldest small arms. It has been popular throughout human history and is even used today. Scientists do not know when and how the bow was invented. Only thanks to archaeological excavations it is possible to calculate that it was used already 10 thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age.

Bows were divided into simple and complex. Bows were called simple bows, consisting of one single piece of wood. For example, the English bow is an example of a simple bow.

English medieval bow

Complex, composite bows combined several pieces of wood, connected together. A prime example is the Mongolian compound bow. Compound bows were significantly superior to simple bows in terms of their characteristics. Only now they used compound bows mainly in the east. Such bows were the weapon of the Mongols, and were also used in Russia.

Mongolian medieval bow

Simple bows prevailed in Europe and the most striking example is the English yew bow. It was not inferior in performance to complex bows, but it had to pay for it in size. Its length was different in different countries, but as a rule it was equal to the span of the arms, which in a tall person roughly corresponds to growth.

To find out the maximum firing range, it is worth remembering what features the bow and firing from it have. The first is that the arrow flies straight straight only 40 meters, so archers had to shoot in an arc to shoot at serious distances, pointing the bow upwards. The farthest shot was obtained when fired at 45% degrees.

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Boom flight range depending on the degree of the shot

The second feature is the speed at which the bow shoots an arrow. The arrow flies out at a speed of 60 meters per second and then its speed constantly decreases. Therefore, shooting at a distance of 150 meters, the archer has to aim much higher than the target, which means that the arrow flies longer, as a result of which it loses speed and is more dependent on external factors and weather conditions. Therefore, the aiming range at a stationary target was about 90-100 meters. As a result, bows began to be lengthened to increase the firing range. For example, the English bow reached 2 meters.

Maximum firing range

At the same time, it was inconvenient for the nomads to ride horseback with a two-meter bow. They preferred to collect composite. The farthest shooting from composite bows, which were assembled from a variety of high-quality materials, reached 250 meters.

As for the maximum range, there is no need to talk about an exact figure. It is known that the firing range of the bow was equal to 150 of its lengths (with a length of 2 meters, the arrow of a conventional bow flew about 300 meters). Depending on the specific instance of the bow and the type of arrows that the shooter uses, the range was from 200 to 300 meters. Some artisans have increased the curvature of a composite bow to 4 bends. Such a bow was called retroflex. The flight range of his arrow reached 400-450 meters.

The history mentions cases of shooting at 500 or more meters. Some researchers tend to trust these figures, some doubt them. Probably, this range was achieved when firing from a hill.

Now you know how far a medieval bow shoots. Look for even more interesting facts about the Middle Ages on our website.