Some Old Style Crossbow Designs

Not many people know this but there are several different crossbow designs that were used in the past centuries. Some of them still being used today and some of them not being used in modern times. Some of their designs were actually quite clever. They had slingshot type bows and mechanical ones that could shoot several arrows/bolts at once crossbow with scope.


This first one is still being used today but more for sport then for hunting.

1. Pistol Grip Crossbows: This looks like the name sounds. It’s a smaller crossbow that is usually held with one hand. This type of crossbow has very low velocity though and thus making it a bad choice to hunt with. It’s not even recommended for small game because of the small bolts they shoot. These are used more for target practice and fun than anything else. These types of crossbows have also been around for centuries. The average draw weights on one of these is usually around 50 pounds and can sometimes reach up to 80 pounds.

2. Stone Crossbows or Stone Bows: These crossbows were made with two strings which shot smooth stones. This type of crossbow was used mainly for small game and birds.

3. The Chinese Crossbow: This crossbow was a very high tech design back when it first came out. It was actually a mechanical crossbow. It was also designed to shoot several arrows/bolts at the same time. It had an interesting forward and backward lever which allowed it to fire in a repeated motion. It was actually used back in the 1800’s when China and Japan were at war.

4. Bullet Crossbow: The English perfected this crossbow in the late 1800’s. This bow was made out of steel and was made very straight which made it deadly accurate. And it shot exactly what it’s name says. Lead bullets. So it was more like a slingshot that looked like a crossbow.

These are some of the older model crossbows that were used for centuries for hunting and warfare. Crossbows sure have come along way since then. If our ancestors could see what crossbows look like today I think they’d be very impressed with how far they’ve come. Also before you go out and buy or make any of these types of crossbows please ask your local Fish and Game office if any of these are legal for hunting in your state. While some of these are fun to shoot, some of them aren’t ideal for hunting.